My Happily Ever After

I’ve known my husband since I was eleven years old and he was twelve, that’s how it is in a small town.  My family ran onto some hard times and had to move to the po’ side o’ town.  That’s the poor side of town for those who aren’t from there.  You’ve heard the joke…..we were so po we couldn’t afford the ‘or’.  Jason lived 2 blocks away to the right.  We did not have a love at first sight experience.  Actually, he was crushing on my sister instead and would bring her roses he’d stolen from somebody’s flowerbed.  They were outside sitting on the porch and I could be found next door watching Golden Girls and Cagney and Lacey with my Grannie, not giving two thoughts to boys.

We went to Middle School and High School together where he was a year older than me.  We hung out in different crowds, but said hello in passing.

I was in my early adulthood when I figured out that I knew everyone in both the police record and the wedding announcements.  Small town stuff.  Early adulthood is when society dictates that you should get married.  I wasn’t married, nor was I anywhere close.  There’s a sort of panic that sets in when you figure out that you aren’t on the same time frame as the rest of the world.

Being a single girl in a small town is not an easy thing to do.  Up until I found and married Jason, I was constantly being asked who I was dating, why wasn’t I dating, or someone was trying to fix me up.  Eventually the well meaning townsfolk decided I was probably a lesbian and left me alone.

One day in 1998 I went to the grocery store to buy Fruity Pebbles and Ramen Noodles, staples in my single-girl diet.  As I was walking out, a girl I knew stopped me in the parking lot and told me someone’s truck had just rolled into my car.   In small towns everyone knows what everyone else drives.  I rolled my eyes and groaned. This turned out to be my third wreck in a parking lot!  In my experience, you’re pretty much out of luck.  The police won’t do much because it’s considered private property.  You just have to hope the other guy has insurance and is a respectable dude who will take care of it.  When I got into eye shot, I saw this empty, avocado green,  beat up Ford pickup had knocked out of gear and rolled about fifty feet before slamming his taillights into my headlights.

It belonged to Jason.  I knew that the minute I saw it.  Small town stuff.  Neither of us were in our vehicles at the time.  It was almost as if  this old, green, beat up Ford truck  saw this fancy, new, bluish purple Mustang and said, “Hey there, wild thang with the 4 cylinder.   I think you need a better look at my rear end.”   I leaned against the side of my car and waited for him to meander out of the store.  He was all apologies, promised he’d take care of it.  And he did.  He called me up and asked me to take it to a certain body shop, the car got fixed and life went on.  And that was that.

For five more years.
Dates with crazies came and went.
Then I became a recluse.
I would never go out. People would tell me I needed to be out meeting people. But I had met people, and they turned out to be daddy’s boys or killer cops and I’d rather stay home and watch Survivor alone. If somebody wanted to date me, they were going to have to knock on my door. And that was that.

Then one day I came home from work to find Jason’s name on my caller ID.  That was curious, but I assumed it was a wrong number.  He called back two days later and asked me out.  We talked for three hours.    I was teaching school and a parent of one of my students, that happened to be a friend of his, had suggested he ask me out.  He remarked that I was too sweet for him, which is true.  But a few days later, we passed each other on the main road in town and waved, and prompted him to call.  I’d had my experiences with cowboys, not to mention their dads, and didn’t figure it would go anywhere, but I agreed.  Eating Ramen Noodles was getting pretty old by this time.

It worked out pretty good.
He wore a yellow shirt.
I ordered chicken.

We had a second date.
He took me horseback riding.

I needed a boost on the butt.

He happily obliged.
I was petrified.

We had a third date.
At a comedy club.
His truck started breaking down on the way home.

A few months later he proposed to me on bended knee.
We got married.
He still has to give me a boost on the butt.
A much bigger boost on a much larger butt.

Sometimes, when I get nostalgic, I’ll think about the wreck we had in the parking lot both in unmanned vehicles.  I learned later that of course that po’ boy didn’t have any car insurance  but knew a guy who could fix my car.  They did a little bartering and Jason broke a horse for the body shop man in exchange for payment. Small town stuff.

It’s a funny story I guess.  Maybe even a coincidence.

Perhaps it was Fate.
Or Destiny.
Or the cosmos aligning perfectly with Mercury in the Sixth House.

But if you really want to know the truth, I believe it was God.
I believe that he intended for that collision of two unmanned vehicles to be the beginning of Jason and Angel.  A collision of love.
And we just weren’t listening.

That was a move on His part to create His will for two dumb pilgrims down here, and we missed it.  So he went to Plan B.    He works around our goofs.
Because He’s cool like that.

This entry is #15 on a list of 30 things.  How I fell in love.

Lions, Tigers, and Bears, Oh my!

Snakes, spiders, tornadoes, heights, death, the dark, the number 13.

The fear of colors, the fear of music, the fear of wrinkles, even the fear of the belly button.

Fear, fear, fear.  Dear, dear, dear.  There are so many things to fear.

My mother is a fearless woman.  She taught us not to fear by not being afraid herself.  Her sister on the other hand, whistles when she’s in the dark.  My dad was a mighty fearless guy but  got the heck out of dodge if there was a snake around.  I’ve been told of my uncle who was so afraid to sleep outdoors one night that he kept a firm grip on a knife while in his bedroll, only to roll over and stab himself in the gut.  We all know the types:  the fearless or the afraid of their own shadow kind.

Franklin Roosevelt told us there is nothing to fear, but fear itself.  But really?  The world is full of rapists, ax murderers, and scientists attempting to recreate the dinosaurs.  I’d say there’s plenty to fear.

I am a “what if” person.  I wish I wasn’t, but something crazy will come into my head, and before I can stop myself, a whole scenario has played out.  What if I received a call that my husband had died.  What if I contracted mad cow disease.  What if Sara Lee stopped making pound cake.

My former boss once told me I had an “adversarial relationship with the fates.”

In other words, If I can imagine it, then by just imagining it will stop it from happening.  I think she nailed it.  I also think by imagining things, we can  overcome our fears.  To say I have no fears would be crazy, I have a few, but I certainly don’t dwell on them, that would be crazy.

I  do have a real fear of snakes.  At least I did.   I don’t like them.  I don’t want to watch them on the Discovery Channel striking at the camera, I don’t really mind them if they’re in a cage at the zoo, but I certainly don’t want to coil one around my arm and I definitely don’t want to be bitten.  My first real encounter with a snake was traumatic.  We lived in our little trailer house on the prairie, it was spring, and there was a snake in my dirt driveway.  I was panic-stricken.  Because it was spring, it hadn’t shaken all the cold out of it’s belly yet, and was moving slowly.  I didn’t know what to do.  Panic overtook me.  My thoughts raced.  I paced the drive.  I called my husband.  I stewed.  I fretted. Knowing I couldn’t rest until something was done, I built up the courage of David the little shepherd boy and with a shovel, I whacked that baby snake to death.  Yes, I said baby snake.  Baby bull snake at that.  Not even a danger to me.  It didn’t go as I thought.  Instead of one good whack and a lost head resulting, my shovel bounced off that snake like a game of wall ball.  I had to remove myself from within myself, and go all ax murderish on that bad boy.  I became one with an ax murderer.   It was not pleasant, but I knew I could do it.

Afterwards, my fear and the reoccurrence of snakes in the driveway and front yard caused me to learn to differentiate between good snakes and poisonous snakes. I googled pictures, I read articles, I researched what to do in case of a poisonous bite.  I learned to ignore the good snakes.   Eventually to overcome my fear, I had to play out the entire scenario of being bitten by a rattlesnake, if I were 3 miles from home on a walk, 10 miles from a hospital, without my cell phone, pushing my baby in a stroller.  I envisioned it all.  Would I run and risk the venom cursing faster through my bloodstream, would I slowly walk to preserve my life.  What if I passed out on a dirt road and nobody came by for one hour, 3 hours, 12 days?  What would become of my baby?  It sounds crazy, but if I imagine the worse case, then it’s not as frightening and I face it.

Right up there with fear of snakes is my fear of water and my fear of illness. I don’t like the deep water.  I think the ocean is a beautiful, miraculous, intriguing place, but I would be scared to death to be in it.  Give me a kiddie pool please and I’ll use my imagination.  I also fear a long, drawn out illness befalling me.  I fear losing my health.  I don’t want to be remembered as someone who was strong through the suffering.

Most mothers fear something might happen to their children, but I don’t allow myself to go there.   I won’t allow myself to play out the possibilities.  They are too vast and not to be toyed with.

There’s a fine line really.  We can’t live in fear, yet we can’t be so fearless that we become foolish.

A person can drive themselves crazy with fear.  When I have the kind of experience when I’m afraid to be home alone at night and begin imagining all the episodes I’ve seen on America’s Most Wanted happening to me, I hold tight to the promise of God who says to Fear Not for He is with me.

 Sidenote:  Did you know, 365 times the Bible tells us not to fear.  One for every day of the year.  The most frequent Biblical command.  So, yeah, stop fearing!

Sidenote #2:  I’m not afraid of belly buttons, but I’m afraid of not being able to find mine real soon.

This is # 2 on a list of 30 things.  list 3 legitimate fears.

Dream Job

I’m pretty sure I was an odd child.  No one ever told me this, but if they knew of my imaginary play they’d likely agree.   I was the youngest of 4.  My brothers were much older so while I was playing Barbies, they were cruising the drag picking up chicks, well attempting to anyway, and making the police earn their money.  My sister was just a tad bit older, almost 2 years, but still old enough to not want to be bothered with a younger sister.  I spent most of my time playing alone, using my imagination.   

I dreamed of being a ballerina or an ice skater.  I would don a black and white checked taffeta skirt and practice twirls, leaps, and one footed reverse triple axels in the living room.

I longed to be a teacher.  My parents gave me full reign of the garage where I created a make believe classroom.  I built a podium, drew out a map of the United States and rolled it up with a string to pull down during Social Studies.  Tired of using a sock for an eraser, I stealthily carried a real one out of my second grade classroom.   I taught my stuffed animals the 3 R’s to the tune of a dowel rod and never grew weary.

I tried my hand at song writing and wrote a song called “Black Thunder”.  It was Christmas season and my parents were out for the evening.  My sister and I hadn’t plugged in the Christmas lights on the outside of the house.  When they returned it was dark and they questioned why the lights weren’t on.   I showed them my song I wrote and they were so impressed they thought I’d plagiarized it.  In order to convince them that I really was a dadgum song writer (name that movie), my dad told me to go write another one.  He gave me the title, “it just ain’t Christmas if the lights ain’t on”.   It turned out to be slow and sappy and not near as good as my rock anthem “Black Thunder”.  That was the end of my song writing days.

There were times I set up a chair and desk perpendicular to my bedroom window and pretended I was a bank teller working the drive thru.  I sat at a desk at my Grandmother’s and pretended I designed cosmetics after watching The Bold and The Beautiful one day.  I’ve wanted to be a psychologist, I’ve wanted to be a journalist.  I was silly enough to want to be a waitress and even a maid.  I now realize I liked the aprons.

I’ve had many dream jobs in my life.  There is still much I wish I was better at. One of my husband’s professors once said, “find something you love, and then figure out a way to make money doing it.” But there is also something else I know:  once a hobby or interest becomes a job, the fun sometimes goes away and is replaced by responsibility and drudgery.

Right now in my life, having no job is pretty much a dream.  I’m glad to stay home with my baby and give her the time and experiences that help her grow.  But if someone wants to pay me to blog, that’d be alright too. 




This entry is #7 on a list of 30 things.  What is your dream job?

Day In, Day Out

I never  awaken on my own.  I’m usually smack dab in the middle of some amazing dream when a little person whose feet are in my ribs begins to stir and repeatedly request “muck”, the translation of milk in baby talk.  Staggering out of bed with my daughter in my arms, leaving my dream of lottery winning or beach lying behind forever, I put aside all my needs, never considering even a trip to the bathroom, to satisfy hers instead.  Because that’s what mothers do.

Eventually, I manage a cup of coffee or two, breakfast consists of oatmeal with brown sugar and milk, while a well-worn DVD of Sesame Street or Barney provides the background noise.   I sing along and speak the lines by memory knowing I could recite the entire episode better than a 7th grader reciting the Preamble to the Constitution in History class.  Repetition will do that.

Our outdoor surroundings are breathtakingly relaxing and outside time is a must even on cooler days.  We’re surrounded by trees, pines, hummingbirds, deer, and birds of all colors.  So Emma and I spend our time in the backyard with our dogs, chickens, slide, and sandbox soaking up Vitamin D.   My girl toddles around exploring the ins and outs of pine needles, rocks, dog water, and sticks and I use this opportunity to read a short story or a chapter in a book.   I might take my notebook and colored pen out and attempt a little short story of my own.  But my mind gets weighed down with my character or the conflict that needs to surround him, the voice of inadequateness drowns out the voice of creativeness until I seek refuge in facebook or a round of Words with Friends on my phone.   Eventually  I become distracted enough with technology that I don’t even notice when my fictional character  sneaks away and drowns in the river next to our house.

Lunchtime comes and goes, a cuisine suited to a toddler palette:  noodles, goldfish crackers, bananas and the like.  A yawn or sometimes a one year old frenzy indicates  naptime so  we shake the sand from our shoes and climb into an unmade bed for an afternoon nap.  She wallers and hums.  I pat and sing, and eventually she dozes off.  I then sneak out of bed and quietly bottle around the house doing odds and ends; housework, exercise, more reading or occasionally I may be so bold as to nap with her.

During late afternoon, we pack up and head to the Middle School to pick up my niece Ash from school, then it’s back home for more of the same.  Usually after it’s too late, I realize I didn’t plan anything for supper.  This realization throws me into a maddening search on the internet for a recipe consisting of tomato sauce and salmon.

My husband returns from work, and the evening passes as all other evenings in American households.  Supper, dishes, baths, and bed.

Once a week we join a playgroup and two days later we visit the library  where I engage in adult conversation, usually about kids.

I spend most of my day on a toddler level.  I sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider, I read Goodnight Moon, I blow bubbles, mold homemade play dough, hold hands while climbing steps, clean noses, wipe butts, give hugs and kisses and receive as many back, wash high chairs, cook spaghetti, step on hair clips abandoned on the ground, wipe crayon off the wooden floor, wash sticky hands and faces, and wipe tears.

Through it all, I dream of writing.

Some days I wonder if this is all there is.  I am in the trenches of motherhood.  Stay at home motherhood.  There are times I feel very purposeless, unimportant.  Cooking and cleaning is my existence.  But deep in my soul, I know there is no greater purpose for me than this girl named Emma, whose hair hangs in her eyes, whose nose wrinkles when she grins.  I am the most important person to her right now.  I won’t always be.  This time is numbered, and I’m doing my best to make it count.  For both of us.




This entry is #12 on the list of 30 things.  Describe a typical day.

Ending My Writing Drought

It’s just a common old ice box.  Fridge on bottom, freezer on top, almond in color.  It came with the house.  Unlike other women folk who show pride in their appliances, notably the cleanliness of it, the outside of my fridge looks much like the inside.  And if you’ve been reading here long enough, you are witness to the fact that my icebox could easily appear on an episode of What Not to Eat.  And if you haven’t been reading here long, enter at your own risk.

It will not come as a big surprise to discover inspirational quotes, scriptures, and hand print art decorating the outside doors of the fridge, held in place by various magnets either given to me or picked up for free throughout the years.  There is Ashlynn’s Algebra papers with A’s stacked on top of Emma’s immunization records affixed in place with a #1 Teacher magnet.  There is a Christmas card photo halfway covered by a magnet boldly displaying Poison Control’s 1-800 number which fortunately I have yet to call since I know from previous experience that eating rat squares didn’t kill my niece Zoie, so until somebody eats at least two, I won’t worry.

A fortune from 3 years ago announcing I will inherit a large sum of money is stuck randomly next to a postcard size depiction of Jesus in a white robe and open arms that my mom brought with her on her last visit.   You can always count on your mom to worry about your soul.  Don’t worry, my soul is safe.

And hidden behind all of this is a torn piece of notebook paper from a spiral notebook.  On that paper I have scribbled 30 things that I was going to blog about.  I attached to the fridge so I would see it often and  I wouldn’t forget to blog about these particular 30 things.  Anyone else see the irony?

It’s really not that I forgot.  Okay, sometimes I did.  But also, it’s  hard.  These topics may leave me vulnerable, they force me to think, and think hard, and quite frankly some are just dull.  But I said I would, and so I will.  Starting tomorrow.

My blog is currently under a dry spell, and this is my effort to bring some life back to it.

Not to mention afterwards I can throw away the list on my fridge and replace it with a scribbled color page with coffee stains.

What about you?  What’s the oddest thing on your fridge?

And by the way, this gem right here is my 500th blog post.  Here’s to 500 more.  Cheers.

A Broody, Moody Hen

I’ve got a broody hen.  In other words, she wants to be a momma.

This hen in particular sits in a wheelbarrow.  Day after day.  Night after night.  She won’t eat.  She won’t drink.  And if you go near her, she puts her hackles up and makes a noise that frightens me.   I’ve never been harmed by a chicken, and yet I still am frightened.  It is an unwarranted fear that I can not explain, especially considering the fact that my hens are darlings.  Perhaps it dates back to when I read a children’s book, “Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in her Pocket” and Junie B. was worried that the chickens were going to peck her head into a nub, and she would have to walk around in a pair of overalls with a nub as a head.  I’m sure that is it, since that is so very logical.


So day after day, night after night, this yellow chicken sits in a red wheelbarrow hoping beyond hope that the egg she ISN’T sitting on will hatch.   Crazy chicken.

It is  impossible that she will ever set a nest and have a baby chickie because:
1) there is no rooster here to fertilize her egg, so no matter how long she sets a nest, it will still just be an egg.
2)  There is no egg that she is setting since we removed it from underneath her weeks ago, hoping she would be about her business.

No such luck.

Day after day, one of us, (mostly Ash, but sometimes me if I’ve had a shot of whiskey first) will pick up the hissing, pissed off chicken, afraid that her head is going to spin around and start pecking me to a nub and throw her out of the wheelbarrow, so she can get a drink of water and maybe a bite to eat.   And as soon as we do, she lets us know she is not a happy chicken.  And as soon as she can, she makes a run for the water trough, gets a drink, and before you know it, she is back in her wheelbarrow on her imaginary nest, dreaming of waddling babies.

But if you were ever wondering where the expression  “got her feathers ruffled” originated, my belief is it came from an insane broody hen after she was tossed from her wheelbarrow.