Sunday, January 28, 2007

To quote a friend

I have a friend who is in "hurting" mode over her weight. I totally empathize.

Her doctor told her to lose weight. My friend writes in her blog: "My GP told me in June, after looking at my knee, 'You need to get thin.' I looked at all 87 pounds of her and thought 'Yes well, and what if I told you you needed to grow a penis? Let's have a race! GO!'"

I chuckled.

Keep the faith, friend. Keep the faith.


Friday, January 26, 2007


Deborah and I had a date tonight. Everyone had somewhere to go to except Deborah, so away we went. In McDonald's she told me about her day at school. She played with Chloe the first recess, but the second recess she said she and her classmates huddled close to the building. "It was only -17, but it seemed much colder." She is a true Canadian.

Afterwards we went to the observatory to see the planets. She was indignant when they were all locked up but their open sign was up.

Our final stop was 7-11 so she could buy a treat. I parked right in the front door so I could watch her. She looked so big and so confident. I kept thinking she's growing up, my baby is growing up.

Back in the van, she asked if I wanted some Starbucks because that was what she'd bought. Starbucks candy was new to me, but I quickly ascertained that she'd bought chocolate covered coffee beans.

She handed me a red Starburst.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ejecting Tables

Many years ago I got acquainted and spent some time with a lady. Her name was Beverly and she had a great personality and sense of humor. But she had a horrible problem with mixing metaphors and getting her cliches all bungled up. Now mind you, I didn't know her well enough to help her out with this, I never even told her she did it. It was quite a problem for her. She did it every time I was around her.

Well once I made fun of her to my sister Diane. Diane knew Beverly too so I pointed out this fault in great detail. Presently I can't think of any of Beverly's blundering cliches, but just to give a couple of ideas of things she might have said; "You gotta think outside the circle," "American as blueberry pie," "low man on the pecking order." Do you get the idea? Well, I thought it was a hoot and I hooted it up telling Diane all these things poor Beverly had said.

One does reap what one sows. (Bev might have said, "what goes around you reap.") God is my witness, and Diane is too, that the very next day after I made fun of Bev, I was stricken with this weakness. It has been at least 15 years since I knew Beverly, but I am here to tell you, that since that day, I've had trouble with cliches, euphemisms, and words. Now you might not know that because you READ me and don't hear me speaking. But when I speak, I'm much more likely to do it. I often use the wrong words, mix up cliches, etc, etc.

Last week I did this at work. I've recovered enough to tell about it now. But at the time, or shortly thereafter because at the time I didn't realize what I'd said, I thought I would expire in bright red fashion.

A bit of background: I have told how disorganized, crowded and sometimes chaotic my work place is. There is an inside joke among the ladies I work with about exploding tables, angry tables, and a few more things of that nature. By these expressions they really mean that the table is too full - a common problem with our tables - and that its contents just went onto the floor.

Last week two hoity-toity type ladies bumped a table just so and sent its bolts of fabric all over the floor. One of my colleagues might have labeled that as an exploding table. I try to avoid being such a follower and come up with my own word pictures. What I meant to draw with my word picture, be it poor as it was, was a cd player spitting out its cd. The word I meant was eject. I know, it's a stupid word picture. (But give me some credit I am not a follower.)

So the two up-tight ladies bumped the table and plumf, plumf, plumf, the contents began to descend. When the falling had ceased they made irritated sighs as if to say, "you stupid people who cram these bolts so tight...." I totally empathise with the sentiment, because I think the exact same thing. The way I deflect people's anger before they lash out it to make a big do. "Don't worry about that, I'll take care of it. It happens all the time. yada, yada, yada." In this particular instance, I saw their irritation and wanted to draw a word picture quick before they said something rude.

What did I say????

"There goes our ejaculating table."

They looked at me like I'd just talked dirty. I realized what I'd said about 7 minutes later as I was cleaning up the bolts of fabric.

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pokie finger

I just laid with Rachael as I tucked her in. She loves it when Gordon or I do that. Her love language is definitely spending quality time together.

As I laid beside her I wondered a few times if her eyes were open. As I wondered this I remembered a little habit of Christopher's when he was wee. He too liked it when I laid with him. I'd lay very still hoping he'd fall asleep before I left him. He laid very still wondering if I was asleep or awake. Ever so slowly he'd raise his hands to my face and gently stick his finger in my eye to see if it was open or closed.

He was such a wittle cutie.

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Thursday Thirteen

Things I love about winter.

1) The snow illuminates the outdoors at night. I can see outside my window almost like a yard lamp is on. In the wee hours of the morning, I always notice how the light is reflected off the snow creating light aplenty for the middle-of-the-night bathroom visits .
2) I cook lots of soups, chilies, and homemade bread. They are easy, very hearty and so very soothing on a cold cold day.
3) Warm evening drinks
4) Christmas festivities
5) Reading on the sofa in the evening with a throw draped over me
6) spending more time in the family room. In the winter I always spend more time in the cozy family room. I'm not drawn to it in the same way other times of the year.
7) My girls are Canadian indeed. My soul smiles as they build snow forts, ice skate, and whatever else they do outside. I'm a watch-from-the-window kind of mom.
8) I love the clean unpolluted untouched snow. Parks and yards (the ones without children and dogs) look so beautiful.
9) spruce trees laden with snow
10) I sweat less. You did want to know that didn't you?
11) Cleaning windows is so easy. Soups cooking produces a condensation on the windows and I wipe it off with a towel, and presto, the window is clean. So so easy. No excuse for a dirty window. That is not to say there aren't any.
12) Lucy loves to play in the snow.
13) Sweat suits! I love sweat suits.
And since I'm on a roll, I've only been privileged to see the Northern Lights a few times, but it's always been on winter nights. A beautiful experience.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Big Brother Is Watching Me

Yesterday the most interesting, weird thing happened to me. I came home from work to find a citation in my mailbox. Not a mailed citation, a hand-delivered one. It was for my little Bear not being licensed. Yes, Bear was spotted in the window (he sits on the back of the sofa in the window protecting us from those with sinister motives).

Evidently, Mr Ticket Fellow travels with a portable computer and typed in my address when he saw Bear. To his apparent delight, he found I only have a big dog licensed. The ticket was in my name for my "small breed brown dog."

I admit my negligence. But I have to admit assuming there was more grace in the system. I cannot license before 6 months, and the little guy is only 8 months old. Mr Ticket Fellow deserves a merit on that one. Johnny-on-the-Spot, he is.

I licensed my puppy last night. The $250 fine that would apply should I not license him within 7 days was motivation aplenty.


Just Trivia

"Stewardesses" is the longest word typed with only the left hand and "lollipop" with your right.
Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.
No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.
"Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt".
Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.
The sentence: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter of the alphabet. The words 'racecar,' 'kayak' and 'level' are spelled the same whether they are read left to right or right to left. They are called "Palindromes".
There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.
There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: "abstemious" and "facetious."
TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the typewriter keyboard.
All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the $5 bill.
A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.
A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.
A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.
A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.
A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.
A snail can sleep for three years.
Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer.
Almonds are a member of the peach family.
An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
Babies are born without kneecaps. None, until a child reaches 2 to 6 years of age.
February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.
In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.
If the population of China walked past you, 8 abreast, the line would never end because of the China birthrate.
If you are an average American, in your whole life, you will spend an average of 6 months in your car waiting at red lights.
Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.
On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the Parliament building is an American flag. Peanuts are one of the ingredients of Dynamite !
Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.
The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing.
The cruise liner, QE2, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns.
The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.
The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.
There are more chickens than people in the world.
Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.
Women blink nearly twice as much as men.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Anger Management

Yesterday I witnessed a tiny episode of road rage. One driver yelled at another, then they yelled back and forth and exchanged gestures. It went through my mind that they both needed therapy and that led to another thought.

After Gordon and I married, I think I've expressed before, I had numerous anger issues. NUMEROUS. (This is a totally different story, but once I was talking to a car dealer and he gave me such a load of phooey. As he phooeycised I grew increasingly annoyed. Very calmly, not trying to be funny or threatening, rather plain ole matter-of-fact, I said, "You're feeding me a load of crap, and I think it's important that you know I have anger issues.")

Back to my original story. When we were first married I worked at a hospital. I was new to the culture, new to everything, and suffering from anger issues. But, to my credit, I was aware that I wasn't quite right and that the level of anger I had was not normal.

Working at the hospital, I'd occasionally see posters for anger management classes. I mulled it over for awhile and decided that was what I needed. I learned that enrolling in the class wasn't just signing on a dotted line. I had to have a referral. That really should have tipped me off a bit, but like I said, the whole culture was new to me.

I spoke to a psychiatrist who worked at the hospital and was friends with Gordon. He gave me the referral and I started anger management classes every Tuesday morning.

Right off the bat I knew something wasn't quite right. I looked a little more together than my classmates. We started the class with a "few housekeeping details." I'd never heard that phrase before, and quickly thought they were about to assign chores: "Bill you bring cookies next week, Valerie you tidy after class..." Moments into the housekeeping details, I twigged in that the phrase meant "the rules of the class." Well, rule number one was no hitting. I had anger issues but I never thought about hitting my classmates. The second rule was not to ask another why they were there. Unfortunately, the rest of the rules went over my head. I was still stuck on "no hitting" and "duh, we're all here because we're angry." I thought rule 2 was pretty stupid.

I studied my classmates and wondered what their "anger issues" looked like. I was really pumped after my first class thinking this was really going to help me lots. I chuckled lots in class and knew that was good for me. And I had lots of colorful stories to tell Gordon when class was over. Yes, this was a good thing.

One fellow in class used the phrase, "my own strength scares me." I thought that was hilarious and I used it all the time for weeks.

Week 2, 3, and 4 indeed gave me lots of chuckles, lots of colorful stories, even stories that embarrassed me to sit through. I think it was around week 4 that I started figuring things out a little. No one has ever accused me of being the sharpest tool in the shed, it's true. But for the life of me, I was totally naive and unaware of who my classmates were. I would get the tiny flash of light where I'd think something like, he's a criminal, but never anything to really hang my hat on.

During bathroom break one class, the man sitting beside me (in class, not in the bathroom) asked what I'd "done." It went right over my head. I surely looked like it had gone over my head, because he said, "yeah, rule 2, no asking what you did." Dense, that is what I am. I thought, this is a really weird conversation but still I didn't really get it.

Back in class, my friend right beside me, who had just asked me what I'd done, called me Miss Goody Two-Shoes. The class facilitators chided him for calling me a name.

The guy across the table slammed both hands down on the table and said, "You know the best feeling in the world is having an orgasm at the exact same time as your lover." He looked at me and said, "Don't you think?"

My upbringing forbade me to answer. I honestly don't know what I was feeling or thinking. Perhaps I was simply trying to have a poker face. I really can't remember. He hit the table again and said, "well, don't you think?" We stared at each other while the class stared at us both. Time stood still.

"WELL HAS IT NEVER HAPPENED TO YOU?" he bellowed, hitting the table again. This time I was aware that the conversation had taken a sour turn. I meekly said, "yeah, I guess."

"YOU GUESS WHAT?" he asked. Thank God, at this moment, the facilitator took control of the class and explained, "Some people don't feel comfortable talking about sex with people of the opposite sex." I sat there stunned and embarrassed wondering what the conversation that had just transpired had to do with anger management, or anything else for that matter. But I was about to learn that sexual desire is strongly linked to anger. Don't ask me how, I totally "checked out" for that discussion.

Things in my group were steadily growing more uncomfortable for me. One facilitator was a fruitcake and had more issues than I had. When I asked a question, she snapped my head off for my stupidity. (I once asked her a "why" question and she about blew up. "Don't ever ask a why question?" I did the unthinkable, and asked, "why not?" She answered, and I am not lying, "because why is followed by x, y, and z." I have no clue what she meant, but like I said, she was a fruitcake.)

One by one my classmates were opening up about what they'd done. None too quickly I realized that everyone in that room except me (and the facilitators) were there by a judge's order and as a result of some crime, anger induced crime I'm guessing. But it's just a guess. I'm not too bright on those things.

Anger Management classes didn't turn out to be all that helpful for me. I think I dropped out around week 5.



Gordon and I have a dressy affair to go to tonight and I am really frustrated with my inability to look nice and be comfortable at the same time. I can do one or the other, but not both. There is no way I'll enjoy myself if I'm not comfortable. So off with the girdle, pantie-hose, fitted blouse, high heels. I'm gonna look as nice as I can in a sweat suit. Just joking. I'm not wearing a sweat suit, but oh how I wish I could.

My sister Stacie always gets right into my dressing woes. I think she secretly wants to send me to a fashion farm and let them work me over. She was giving me ideas of what to wear, but she doesn't understand my high need for extreme comfort. Finally I sighed, "You know, I'm gonna wear what I have on. I'm gonna walk in and say, 'Folks, I have got a GREAT personality.'"

PS. Well even what I had on wasn't comfortable enough. Before we left the house I donned something more comfortable. Awhhh, much better.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Beppe's Work is Never Done

Okay, so my sleepers are a wee big. The baby will grow! Now I know he's a boy and I can concentrate on manly things. Out with the sissy stuff.

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Spiritual Encouragement from Deborah

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A poem by Hannah

The Cabbage Patch Children
by Hannah Dykstra

The Cabbage Patch Children can you guess who they are?
They’re your friends that don’t live vary far
They're bunnies of course do you know their names?
They’re Cupcake and Candy and don’t leave out Shames
They dig in your garden looking for clovers and peas
But all they find is a few brown old leaves
But when they find carrots, now that’s a treat
Although they always eat neatly cause neatly is neat
When they are finished they end with a fart
But when they are ready they go back to the start


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's a Boy

Stephanie had an ultrasound today and their baby is a wee boy. She said he flopped around like a fish and was very active. The sweetest thing is she saw him sucking his thumb with his pinky finger up. Precious, isn't it? His name is Roman Carter.

Gordon and I have decided to follow the Friesian tradition instead of the Dutch for what our grandchildren will call us. So, we think we are throwing out Oma and Opa (the Dutch and German words for Grandma and Grandpa) and adopting Beppe' and Pake' (the Friesian words for Grandma and Grandpa. Friesland is the province in the Netherlands that Gordon's family is from. Beppe' is pronounced Bep-pa and Pake' sounds like Pa-ka.) I can hardly wait to be a Beppe'.

I have been so grandmotherly of late. I've made three sleepers, two for a girl and one for a boy. I made several receiving blankets for a boy. I have been so excited to make little girl stuff. Those patterns are so cute. But now I'll change my mindset to more manly things. Only manly things for my grandson. No sissy stuff.

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A few photos

Before Braces
After braces.

My little Brownie. She has lots of badges on her sash now, but unfortunately the picture came before the badges.
Aren't my lil' ladies cute?

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2006 Christmas Letter

I know some of you still haven't received my Christmas letter and that disappoints me. I'm posting it, but really wish you had a hard copy. What can I do? Is it you or me that's on the outs with the postal services?

December 2006

Merry Christmas All!

Here we are at the end of another year. For us it has been a good year and I hope it has been the same for you.

Thankfully, we are all in good health and all our needs are met. That puts us in the top 20% of the planet’s occupants. I’m thankful that we have warm beds, clothes, plenty of food, and medical care when needed. I’m thankful for the freedom we enjoy, the good job Gordon has, good friends and family. I’m thankful for this season with the hope, joy, and peace it represents; for the Savior who left His home to come and live among us and make provisions for us to some day live with Him. And I’m thankful for the wonderful people I share this house with.

Gordon is still an xxxx with xxxx. This year he received a promotion and is now a xxxx as well. I was torn when he got this promotion, because as a xxxx he doesn’t get to wear that uniform that he looks so good in. I try to be mature about that. The xxxx job allows him to be home every night for supper and we love that. I’m praying for the position to become permanent, but only God knows what is best. Gordon continues to be my hero. He’s hard working, intelligent, witty, and disciplined. I love his commitment to us.

I took another job this year, working two jobs for a couple months. In August I said goodbye to xxxx after two good years in their employ. Now I work at xxxx. xxxx, at least the one I’m at, is incredibly unorganized and unprofessional, but I love the fringe benefits. I want to keep honing my sewing skills and now I get lots of fabric to practice with and spend nearly nothing doing so. I miss the tidy predictability of xxxx, but xxxx caters more to my areas of interest. As with xxxx, xxxx honors my request to only work during school hours. I’m home when the girls leave for school and home when they return. I couldn’t ask for a better fit; I only wish the working conditions were a bit more pristine.

Our sweet Rachael is 11 and a daughter any parent would be proud of. She has an amazing work ethic and is tremendously helpful and nearly always with a good attitude. How she blesses me! In grade 6, she got to join the youth group this year. She goes to girls’ Bible study on Wednesdays and youth group on Fridays. She took a paper route recently delivering flyers to 85 houses three times a week. Gordon or I go with her and we never tire of seeing her good attitude. This year she enjoyed a Fine Arts tour with her school to Vancouver; outdoor school; and winter camp at Gull Lake.

Hannah is 10 and in grade 5 this year. She is our clown. Her sense of humor keeps us tickled as she’s always seeing the hilarious in the mundane. She loves singing, art, and animals. A car struck her dear Frodo in June and her heart was broken. By August she had found a breeder willing to give her a payment plan. Hannah put $100 down and made $20/month payments. Now she has a Pomeranian Chihuahua cross named Bear. She still grieves the loss of Frodo as he was a “perfect” pet, but she is a good mama to Bear who has a perpetual bad attitude and arrogance issues.

Our Deborah is 7 and in grade 2. She is polite, sweet, and a real joy, -- if you’re not her teacher. She tries her dear teacher who may get some extra jewels in her crown for her patience with our little one. Deborah is forgetful and easily distracted, but she is also kind, engaged and quite articulate, which balances the education equation nicely… most of the time. She goes to Brownies and has enjoyed going door-to-door in the neighborhood selling Girl Guide Cookies. She’s the cookie selling diva of her troop.

Today, as I write this, Stephanie and John Mark are celebrating their first anniversary. Stephanie will finish nursing school in a few weeks and hopefully will land a good job shortly thereafter. The really sweet news though, is that they will be having a baby in July. She is about 2 ½ months pregnant and feeling well. Stephanie and John Mark still live in Northwest Arkansas.

Christopher is nearly 18 and in 12th grade. He’s a wonderful young man of character, integrity, and kindness. He is a football star and being “courted” for football scholarships by several universities. He will learn the dollars and cents of these potential scholarships in February. We look forward to seeing what’s offered and what he’ll choose. At this point, it does appear that he’ll have several choices.

This summer we camped near Aspen Beach Provincial Park with our friends, the Lozchuks, from Calgary. It was our first time to camp with friends and it was wonderful. Their boys and our girls are comfortable with each other and it made for a restful holiday with the children playing well and parents sitting back watching.

Rachael, Hannah, and I spent US Thanksgiving with my family in Arkansas. It was so wonderful to see everyone. There wasn’t enough money for our entire family, so Deborah volunteered to stay behind for “special time” with Daddy and Beppe’. Beppe’ is Gordon’s mom and we were blessed by her willingness to help make it a good time for Deborah.

Our hearts were torn this year as our church went through crisis and subsequently shrunk to the point that nothing was left for our girls. It was painful leaving, but we have found a new church that we attend regularly, and we’ll probably settle in for the long haul. xxxx has what we want for our girls and Gordon and I are both enjoying the teaching. We have many fond memories and feelings for those from Zion that we grew to love so much. These are the complexities of the fallen world in which we live. But in this too God will be glorified.

We at the Dykstra Home are very blessed. It’s been a good year. We’ve enjoyed safety and health and innumerable good times as a family. This letter captures so little of the year; actually it is but an outline. Nonetheless, it’s a tradition that I love; both capturing the overview of our year as well as hearing the overview of the friends and family that also write Christmas or New Year’s letters. I look forward to reading those.

So for now, we wish you a hearty Merry Christmas filled with love, joy, and peace. Hopefully we will connect with many of you before next year’s letter.

For the Gordon Dykstra Family

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Monday, January 15, 2007

2006 goals met

I just read my 2006 resolutions. I accomplished four of my goals. Four is a long way from the number of resolutions I made, but four is better than zero.

1) We finished the bathroom renovations; there are still a few details to totally finish it, but overall it is done.
2) We got new basement windows.
3) I became a blood donor.
4) Did 10 squares on my anniversary quilt.

You readers may not know it, but in a way you're my accountability group. I simply couldn't not do some of my resolutions since I had resolved them "publicly."

Thank you for being there for me. ;-)


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cabbage Problems

Earlier in the week one of our meals had cabbage as the main ingredient. Cabbage produces copious amounts of gas. At one point Gordon said, "I think we'd better turn off all the pilot lights before we blow this place up."

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Hang Up While Driving

Especially to those I love:

Study results are in and here are the findings. People who drive while talking on a cell phone are four times more likely to be in an accident. And no, voice activated, hand-free devises don't make much difference, the risks are still high. Matter of fact, some studies suggests that hand-free devises actually exacerbate the problem by giving drivers a false sense of security.

So I will say no more about it, but I hope you'll think about making it a New Year's resolution to hang up while driving.


Daddy Get Your Gun

When I was growing up we lived in New Potter, not to be confused with Old Potter or Potter Junction. Yes, they were all within walking distance of each other, but for some reason I took pride in being from New Potter. It sounded, well, newer than Old Potter and it wasn't on top of the train tracks like Potter Junction. That too was good reason to be grateful.

Our county was a "dry" county. That means liquor wasn't sold. I never thought it strange or unusual until I moved away and heard "you're joking" when I told people that detail of my roots.

(There were few races other than Caucasian, but that's a different story. I use to joke that the only other race in my home town were Mexicans and those two were my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. It made a cute joke, but it was a gross exaggeration.)

New Potter is roughly 20 miles from the Oklahoma state line, known to Polk County folks as "The Line." It was a reasonable route to take if one had been over The Line drinking booze. You see, just over the state line the taverns began. One would less likely be detected, by eagle eye law enforcement ever ready to nab imbibing youth, if they traveled back roads like ours.

Our house was on a lonely dirt road with few passersby. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but when a car would pass, my dad would go to the window to check it out. If I didn't look out the window too, I'd shout from where ever I was, "who is it?." In this way I was very much like my dad. If they were on our road, we thought it only reasonable to see them, and hopefully identify them.

Friday and Saturday nights, our quiet road sometimes became a regular thoroughfare, perhaps with 3 or 4 cars. After we went to bed, a few cars might descend the hill by Mrs. Nash's place making us giddy with excitement. Stacie and I would raise up in bed, perch on our knees and look out the window. We were quick to assume the people in those cars were kids coming from the "beer joints" across The Line.

Occasionally youngsters would drive into ditches, trees, or whatever and find themselves stuck. So every so often there would be a loud knock on the door at 12 or 1:00 in the morning. Stacie and I would quickly be alert and attentive side by side in the window. Daddy was less than amused.

He would quickly don his cap and boots - to accessorize his underwear, I'm sure - and grab his rifle. (I suppose he felt naked if he didn't have his cap and boots on.) Attired in a cap, underwear, and boots carrying a rifle, he'd flick the porch light on, open the door just enough to shove the barrel of the gun out and snap angrily, "whut you want Boy."

The boy, no matter the degree of intoxication, would find himself significantly closer to sobriety at that moment. He'd do a nervous shuffle and begin to explain his car troubles using "Sir" about 3 times per sentence, much as if Daddy was a drill sergeant.

Daddy would less than graciously excuse himself long enough to put on jeans and a shirt. They would leave together and Daddy would somehow get the boy and his friends back on their way. For the entire exercise, his rifle stayed by his side.

The next morning he'd laugh as he described the boys and their "begging" him not to call their fathers.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Gordon just read a business article challenging managers not to use the word "but." But cancels out every thing said before it. But really means "behold my underlying truth," the article admonished.

Today I said something just a little on the crass side. Gordon smiled and rebuffed, "Valerie, your but is showing."

(Get it? Your "behold your underlying truth" is showing.) Don't you just hate it when your jokes aren't quite defined enough to know for sure if others get 'em?


Monday, January 08, 2007

Beards and Such

When I was down south, my neice, a beautiful lady, bemoaned that she sees her great grandmother when she looks in the mirror. "Of all the relatives I could look like, why XXXX?"

True enough, XXXX wasn't the prettiest chick at the SonLight Center for Seniors, but before my neice pointed it out, I'd never thought about XXXX's looks, or her beard. As my neice told the similarities between the two of them, my brother piped in with a slice of advice. My neice of course doesn't have a beard, but just in case she followed in XXXX's footsteps, Michael told her, "Just stay clean shaven."

Females and clean shaven in the same paragraph, let alone the same sentence, are grounds for alarm.

As I've told you, my mother, grandmother and I were in a car accident. It was a cultural experience, the whole ordeal. Unfortunately the following tale doesn't capture the normal clean- shaven folk who stopped to offer assistance. There were some wonderful kind normal people at the scene, but as you know, wonderful kind normal people aren't interesting to write about. It's the other kind that practically grab my pen and scream, "write about me, write about me."

After I pushed the car up the mountain and onto the shoulder yelling, "Get your foot off the break Mama," I collapsed on the side of the road. ("Collapsed," sounds so dramatic, which is precisely what I want, but honesty dictates that I express that I really just laid down. My head felt like it was about to blow off. I simply wanted to get horizontal. But that sounds so boring, whereas collapsed sounds nice and action-filled.)

Mama and Memaw, both clean shaven, were getting all the attention. I was fine with that, really I was. I just wanted to be horizontal and under most circumstances, I don't like being horizontal with onlookers.

As people huddled around Mom and Memaw, the tiny crowd made it impossible for some to get up-close and personal with the injured. That's when I was noticed. I pulled myself - hurting head and all - into an upright position. (Where I come from, public horizontal women are tramps and I was plenty well enough to remember that detail.)

"Are you okay, are you okay?" I lifted my eyes to the voice and looked directly at the most harry woman I've ever seen. I was speechless. She had a full beard that she hadn't shaven in a few days. I am not talking a few stray facial hairs. Picture your husband, son, father, or Arnold Schwatzenegger having missed 3 or 4 dates with a razor.

"Are you okay?," she asked again. It was at the point I realized my mouth was agape and I was staring, and probably looked like I was in shock. I was in shock, but not the medical kind. I told her I was okay, I just had a headache and a bruise on my leg, which was now the size of a tennis ball. She asked about my headache, where it hurt, etc and then told me my blood pressure was probably high and that I might be on the verge of a heart attack or stroke. "I know a man who said he was okay after a wreck on 246 and that night he was dead as a hammer. Heart attack!"

"No really, I think I'm okay," I offered.

"Yeah, Harold said the same thing," she replied.

My head hurt. I didn't want to continue the conversaiton. Enter another concerned citizen. "Are you okay?" "Yes, I'm fine," blah, blah, blah. Then she introduced me to the onlookers, - complete with handshakes and all. "This is Jerry, he's cousins with Jim over there." Jerry came and shook hands and I smiled and said, "Nice to meet you Jerry, I'm Valerie."

One by one she told me who everyone was, how she knew them, and a few of the family secrets represented in the group. The tiny crowd left me for more action by Mama and Memaw. The family-and-friend-reunion lady stayed to keep me company.

After offering me a drink of her Dr Pepper, she told me in detail how she came to be part of our little conflab. Now none of this made any sense to me then or now, but she said she was at the bottom of the hill directing traffic with a flag. She had to pee, but no one was there to take her flag, "So I wet myself. Don't you just hate it when you wet yourself?"

I affirmed her, yes I too hated wetting myself in public.

My head was throbbing and my bruise continued to grow, but I wasn't in too bad shape to think, I've got to remember to write this down. This is crazy! A bearded woman, heart attack, formal introductions with the gawkers, and now talking about wetting yourself in public as if it's normal!

By now my stepdad was at the scene. As I walked to the truck, the bearded lady rejoined me. She told me I needed to get my leg - the bruise and swelling were quite impressive by now - looked at. I told her I was pretty sure it was just a bruise. "Well you'd better have it looked at still. If a blood clot sets in, you might lose your leg."

I thanked her for her kindness and climbed into the truck feeling somehow richer having experienced life of the shoulder of Hwy 71.

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cute kids

Kids are so cute. Mothers are so silly. I am assuming mothers every where smile at the ways their children pronounce, or mispronounce, words. I've actually never had a conversation with mothers on the subject. Don't you just love when your kids mispronounce words? Doesn't it make you smile from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? It's one of those things that makes mothers mothers.

When Christopher was little, he couldn't say the l sound. His l's all sounded like w's. He was such a wittle cutie. He carried his yewow wasso with him taking wuv and good feewings every where. Until Gordon entered the picture. Gordon began gently tutoring Christopher on luh, luh, luh. All the while I was nearly crying because my baby was about to learn how to pronounce his l's. Soon enough, Christopher grew from a wittle boy to a little boy carrying a yellow lasso. I was secretly annoyed that Gordon had moved Christopher from wittle boyhood to little boyhood.

(Once he made me a picture. I bragged and thanked him for the picture of the dinosaur and he replied, "That's not a dinosaur, that's a wizard." His lizard picture was taped to my cupboard door for months and I'd look at it frequently, smile and think, "That's not a dinosaur, that's a wizard.")

When I was a young girl of 11 or 12, my toddler nephew was left in my care for a while. I took him for a walk. At each mud puddle, he'd say, "wa-wa" and I'd correct, "wa-ter." After a while we came to a puddle and I absent-mindedly said, "There's more wa-wa." Randy corrected, "wa-ter." I had mixed emotions. I was so pleased that I'd taught him something, yet apprehensive that someone might be mad at me. (See, my warped thinking goes way back.)

When I was a foster mom, one of my little charges put the emphasis on the last syllable of necklace and she gave it a long a sound too. Instead of nek-les, she said it nek-lace. I always smiled and never corrected her pronunciation.

I hadn't thought about these things until last night when I once again smiled from my head to my toes. Hannah got a devotion book for Christmas and has diligently journaled in it. One of the questions is about verses that give you inspiration or encouragement.

She wanted to share with me all the verses that gave her inSPIREation. I smiled as she she read verses that spoke inSPIREation to her wittle, I mean little, heart.

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Godly Leadership

A few days ago Gordon and his friend talked about godly leadership as a husband. More specifically, how to lead without being overbearing. (Between you and me, Gordon is good at both leading and being overbearing. Unfortunately, I am too.)

Gordon was sharing this conversational tidbit tonight and indeed I found it interesting.

Later as we sipped tea together, he asked if I'd noticed he mopped the hall and kitchen while I was at work. I looked at the floor and wondered how on earth I hadn't noticed. I was excited and quickly quipped, "Now that's the kind of leadership I can affirm."

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2007 Goals

It's the time of year when anal retentive people like myself make lists and look at last year's list to affirm successes and justify failures. Quite a fun time of year; a time that requires thought processes that have been slumbering peacefully for roughly 365 days.

Th glass-half-empty people scoff at those of us who make lists. I will not be deterred. Lists are good! God makes list -- The Ten Commandments. I want to be like God. :-)

So after much thought and deliberations, I will share my 2007 resolves.

1) Read the New Testament through.
2) Walk Lucy more. My Lucy is a delightful furry friend and she loves walking the neighborhood. Hannah walks her every day, but I want to walk her too. Good for me, good for Lucy.
3) Eat 6-7 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. That's the daily recommended allowance and what my dietitian advises.
4) Lose a bajillion pounds. If I succeed you'll know because I'll be plastering pictures of myself all over the world wide web. Move over Babes, hear I come.
5) Do 10 more quilt squares. Lordy, that's depressing to write. Will I ever finish it? Slow and steady wins the race. Slow and steady wins the race. Chant with me please. Slow and steady wins the race.
6) Send out 24 manuscripts.
7) Get Christmas cards out by December 1. So it's January 8 and some of my southern relative haven't received my Christmas card. This makes me look like a loser and that isn't the look I desire. I mailed them on the 15th of December.
8) Give blood 4 times in 2007.
9) Get my hair one length again. I admit it's not my best look, but it's the easiest. Hey, once I've lost a bajillion pounds, nobody's gonna be looking at the hair.
10) Find or create a yard manger scene.
11) Have my mother-in-law to dinner at least twice a month.
12) Give up Soduko for Lent.
13) Start buying 1% milk. (That's exciting, eh?)

I may add more, but for now, that's what I've resolved. Writing them down was the easy part.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Deborah and Beeswax

My girls have a neighbor and friend who lies. Yesterday Deborah and this friend, let's call her Darla, were playing. Darla told Deborah she got an Ipod, portable DVD player, cell phone, electric guitar, and some other piece of technology that I can't remember. Deborah was quite intimidated by this.

I told Deborah that I kind of wondered if it was true, that perhaps 2 of those things she got, but I doubted all of them.

I asked Deborah if Darla asked her what she got for Christmas. Deborah said yes, and that she had told Darla, "None of your beeswax."

I guess when you're feeling inferior, it's darn easy to be a brat.



I just took down the Christmas tree. But before I did, I sat and looked at it to see if I could conjure up a poem. This is a personal tradition I started last year; I poem that is Christmas tree related. My Christmas tree is a very personal thing, so I wanted to capture some of the memories. Again, I'll say what I say every time I write a poem: I am not a poet. A couple of "real poets" read my blog, so I want to add the disclaimer, lest someone thinks I think I am a poet. However, I do find the exercise and discipline of trying to write a poem good for me.


White paper angel
crowning my tree
Hailing love and good tidings
from friends near the sea.

A heavenly being of
gold sequins and thread
Bittersweet reminders
of memories dread.

A blond angel in a red dress
and a brunette in blue
Bearing pictures of daughters
aged one and two.

White feathered angel
that shines a blue light
Bidding me love from
my darling tonight.

Angels of beeswax
and alabaster too
Crystal and gold from
friends old and new.

My angels bear greetings,
love and goodwill
Bringing annual joy to
my heart with appeal.

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Another Day of Work

I've decided to take another work day. I told my boss I'd do this each week, but was clear if it was not working for the family, I'd let her know within the month. So we shall see. I don't foresee any problems.

Last night Gordon asked if there was anything particular I wanted to do with that extra money. (Grant it, it won't be much.) I paused for a few seconds before I answered, "I can't think of anything, so I guess not. But if I say I want some money, you'd better say, 'how much?'"

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