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Things and Stuff

A few years ago, I went to a training by a lady named Ruby Payne.  She is reportedly an expert in studying the poor class and gives insight to understanding  poverty.  When I first took this class I was a fairly new teacher and I remember being fascinated by what I learned.  I wanted to share it, so I excitedly told my dad I had been to this great training, and had learned this fabulous stuff from an expert in poverty.  His response was, “You’re pretty much an expert in poverty too, ain’t ya?”   He’d lived it himself, and really didn’t care what she had to say.

In Ruby Payne’s book, she has a short test to take.  You check things off that you can do, for example, open a checking account, order from a French menu, bail someone out of jail.  Then you tally up your checkmarks, and you discover which social class you could survive in:  poverty, middle class, or wealthy.   

Among the items I checked that I was able to do was “move in half a day.”

I must confess, I could no longer check that one.  Back when I took the test, I practically owned nothing.   I was a single gal, living in a one bedroom house and had to hang my clothes on a line to dry.  It would’ve been easy with a few friends and a couple truckloads to get all my possessions out of one house and into another in a very short amount of time. 

Not now.

We started the moving process five weeks ago.  A matter of fact, I was in the throes of packing my kitchen cabinets the day I received the phone call telling me my dad had died.  Boxes of plates and dishes sat abandoned for a week while we dealt with the stuff one must deal with to bury a loved one.  When we returned from Oklahoma, I resumed life and work, and the following week we began moving.  There are still boxes to unpack at my new house, boxes to load at my old house, and dumpsters to fill down my alley.

Today I had a garage sale.  I have too much stuff.  Don’t we all?  Aren’t we just a bunch of spoiled rotten Americans? 

Here’s a little trivia to gnaw on.

The average size American home in 1950 was 983 square feet compared to  2,349 square feet in 2006.  Interesting?   Yes, I think so.

My garage sale turned out pretty good for me, but I had some tough decisions to make while preparing for it.  Should it stay or should it go?  After all, we have moved to a smaller home with practically no storage at all.  So I had to say good-bye to some old “friends”.

It seems that I get sentimentally attached to my stuff.  I had a little pink tea set that my oldest brother bought me probably 12 years ago.  I’ve held onto it because it’s one of the few things I’ve received from him.  But as I was sorting through my crap and dealing with the mental banter of keep it, sell it, keep it, sell it, keep it, sell it; these thoughts occurred to me:  1) My brother doesn’t remember giving this to me.  2) He didn’t even purchase it himself  3) He gave my sister or my mom  20 bucks in an airport once and said “Buy Angel something.”  4) It was probably the only thing in the airport gift shop under 20 bucks 5) Look how dusty it is, it’s just something else to clean.

Those thoughts made my decision much easier. I put it in the garage sale,  but I didn’t sell it.  Actually I gave it away to my realtor aunt who dropped by to put a for sale sign in the yard.  She said when she got home she would put my name on the bottom of it so I could have it back someday!!

AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHH!

I hope she at least dusts it first.

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Would you ever do this?

I’ve acquired new learning. 

And anytime I have new learning, I must share it.  It’s just something about me.  Maybe that’s why I teach.  I want everyone to have the same knowledge I have, regardless how inane, unimportant, or disturbing it might be.  And I repeat disturbing.

Today’s new tidbit may fall in one or more of the previous categories.  I repeat disturbing.

I was perusing some blogs about simple living etc. and I came upon a post that caught my eye.  And made my mouth gape open. It was truly unbelievable to me at first.  Then I read more, and more, and the more I read, the more fascinated I became, the more I wanted to know, so I googled it and found it to be a semi-common practice.

I guess I just need to come out and say it.

{Deep Breath}

Okay.

I’m ready.

{Exhale}

It’s the practice of placenta eating.

No need to reread that.  I said placenta eating.  As in afterbirth.  As in eating afterbirth.

I KNOW!!  I KNOW!!  That was my reaction completely.

Can you believe this?????

The first time I heard about it,  was on a blog of a lady who lives out in the boonies.  She was having a complete natural childbirth in a water bath with midwives in her home.  She said after watching her goat give birth, and afterward eating the afterbirth, she realized what a natural thing it was, and that she planned on eating her placenta.  All mammals (except humans) do this.  It’s just a natural instinct in the animal world.  So her husband saved her afterbirth, cooked it down, and ground it into capsules for her to take after her childbirth. 

After reading her blog, I was all like, *blink blink* these are a bunch of backwards hillbillies.  Just look at what happens when people marry their cousins.

I was horrified.  But then I began to question, what if?  I’ve mentioned before that I believe there are healing elements all around us, in plants and in nature.  Maybe just maybe, the civilized part of us Westerners  hinder us from attaining it, because certain things seem so barbaric.  Like say, eating our placentas.

After my initial horrification(not sure if that’s a real word) wore off, I began to see this as completely natural, and dare I say, even beautiful.

 It’s actually called placentophagia and is practiced around the world, although discouraged in the western world.  Why would women do this, you may be thinking?  The potential benefits of eating the placenta include: staving off post pardum depression, replenishing nutrients, increasing breast milk production, and helping the uterus heal and tone itself back up.

In my google search, I found there are actually women who eat their placentas raw, and then others cook it up and make capsules.

Here’s a You tube video I found of a professional placenta chef.

The strange thing is, this isn’t the first time afterbirth has appeared on my blog.

And it’s not likely to be the last.

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Journey to the Land of Less is More Mile #2–Emails

This is the year for simplification in my life.  I am working towards uncluttering my surroundings and living with less.  I’m taking baby steps, even though to me they are like miles.  My destination is the Land of Less is More.  It’s my imagined Nirvana where the capital city is Simplicity. 

I spent some time this past week cleaning out my emails.  I’m unsubscribing to all the emails that dominate my inbox and my time.  Instead of just deleting them like I’ve been doing for years now, I’ve been taking a few extra seconds, sometimes minutes, to roll down to the bottom and hit unsubscribe. 

I’ve said good-bye to constant reminders to lose weight and tips for a healthier me.

Adios to ads for 20% off and Last Day Sales.

Sayonara to instructions for a weekend project to build a backyard pergola.

Ciao to Daily recipes for the world’s best chocolate cake.

So long, See ya later, Hasta La Vista, baby.

In cleaning out my emails, however, there are some that I cannot delete.  I’m very sentimental to emails that I receive from people just saying hi.  Not the forwards about what a great friend I am or wishing me well, but a personal note.  This sentementality must be a love language of mine.  I’m tender to letters, cards, and emails that are genuine.  I have kept letters from my grandmother from when I would visit my dad in Oklahoma in the summer and she would write me.  I have a note from my second grade teacher  telling me how much she enjoyed having me in her class.  I realize she gave one to everyone, but it still means something to me.  I save cards from my husband that I know he stood and pored over and even though all he wrote was “love, jason” they still mean the world to me.

I have emails from my dad too.  I’ve saved them all.  As I spent some time going back and reading them, I smiled a bunch.  He never pays much attention to spelling or punctuation.

I thought I’d share a sampling.  Even though you may not know him, being Bob is his job, so listen to him.

About Exercise:

“i’m really enjoying it, although i’m sooo tired by the end of the week. hope i can stay focused and motivated. i kno i’m never going to be small again, but, who wants to be a little old man, then everyone in town would be beating me up.”

On Learning How to Use Email/computer

“hey ang, got your email earlier and just found out how to get back to you.  how ya’all doin’. can’t find the question mark.”

On grandchildren:

“i’m getting awful anxious for little hannah to make her appearance soon, aren’t you?  That little ashlynn is such a little apple dumplin’ aint she?  this grandpaing is getting to be quite a kick.  think i’ll just live forever.”

On pictures he doesn’t want posted on facebook:

“my gosh, angel, lets get rid of that pic of me and you sitting outside your house. it looks like i forgot to p-ut my teeth in or sompin.”

When my brother lost his artificial floating on a raft in the Illinois river:

“i’m so sorry that stan lost his leg. at least he has another one
at home,”

On gangsta talk:

“hey ang, what up, homes?”

On poker (I have no idea what he’s talking about here, except he didn’t win me an inheritance)

“hey girls, i played in a million dollar freeroll tournament yesterday, and
only made one bad play, and it cost me. i was about 2, 800 in chips and we
were down to about 1100 players. i was dealt pocket nines, and bet out for
about 800 bucks. the guy smooth called, and i put him on A-big, or a pretty
good hand like that. over the next two cards we got all our money in the
middle, i turned over the nines and he had aces in the hole. i say i made a
bad play because i led out bettin on the turn and river. i let him trap me,
i should have been checkin on the 4th card, and if he bet big, i could lay
the nines down. but, i wassn’t thinkin. i find a lot of people doin this in
a game with over 5,000 people in it. also people playin, 9-2 off suit, or
5-3 suited and suckin outon people. people that really have no idea what
they’re doin.”

On pets:

“so, you have a new dog…well, y’all be good to him and make sure he earns his keep. it sounds like he has more training then i could ever give him if he knows what “whoa” means. our stupid dog thought it meant “go at a high speed away from here” because that’s what he did when the gate was opened. i still miss him tho.”

On coming for a visit:

“I’m just going to drive all the way out to gray county, then i may get a room if i am
so tired i can’t continue. Once my truck gets a whiff of Pampa, it’s awful
hard to shut down, so i’ll be coming in at a high lope. Hope that your old
General Moters product don’t shake its self to death on that one stretch of
hi-way. Angel if you can put me up (with out me having to do anything)(and
for free) lemmee know, ok?…………………..love you’ns, “

On Whining:

“i’m so lonely. noone ever emails me. i wonder what my kids are doing. probably eating icecream.
 
no body ever comes to see me. the neighbors won’t speak to me. my dog ran away. woe is me.”
 
On Advice:
“my best advice i can give is this: DON’T GET FAT.PERIOD.”
 
On Love:
“remember i love you both. so love me back…..dad”
 
I love you back dad.  Thanks for the emails.
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The Story of How Me and Jason Became Happily Ever After

I’ve known my husband since I was eleven years old and he was twelve.  My family ran onto some hard times and had to move to the po’ side o’ town.  That’s where Jason lived too.  He was sweet on my sister for a while, and would bring her roses he’d stolen from somebody’s flowerbed.  I stayed inside watching Golden Girls and Cagney and Lacey with my Grannie and didn’t give 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.  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 I think people 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, probably.  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. 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.  I walked a little further and noticed that this old, green, beat up Ford pickup had rolled out of gear about fifty feet and slammed his taillights into my headlights.  Neither of us were in our vehicles at the time.  This old, green, beat up Ford just so happened to belong to Jason.  I knew that the minute I saw it.  Small town stuff.

So I waited on 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 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. That was my mindset.

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 decided he’d get his nerve up anyway.   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. 
We had a second date.
He took me horseback riding.
He had to give me a boost on the butt.
I was petrified.
We got married.
He still has to give me a boost on the butt. 
A much bigger boost on a much larger butt. 
 
But sometimes, when I get nostalgic, I’ll think about the wreck.  I found out later, that of course that poor boy didn’t have any insurance and ended up breaking a horse for the guy to pay for my car repairs. 
 
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 probably one big gigantic 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.

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A Bad Man Once or Twice

Happy Valentine’s Day my friends.

Recently, my life has been getting in the way of my blogging.  I have overloaded my plate once again, and if I have one more commitment added, I think I’ll internally combust. 
Right now I am supposed to be running seven miles, training for a half marathon that I so foolishly signed up for, but the wind is howling and I’m not doing it.  I’m not.  Instead I’m blogging.  And eating sunflower seeds.  And drinking chocolate milk.  Ah, the simple pleasures in life. 

Jason is in a cooking mood.  Tonight he’s preparing veal chops.  Baby calf.  Speaking of baby calves, on the way to Sunday school, my niece Ashlynn commented that it smelled like the baby calf’s bottle.  It was just my hands.  I had rubbed on some Bert’s Bees Wax milk and honey lotion and coincidentally, it smelled like cow udders.  Nice.

And my brain is like a ball of yarn.  I chase rabbits occasionally.

I’ve had a whole week’s worth of blog posts planned to lead into Valentine’s day, and haven’t had 2 seconds to sit and write this week. 
In honor of the blessed day of love, I give you this quote: 

“A woman’s got to love a bad man once or twice in her life to be thankful for a good one.” 

And I have a good one, let me tell you.  He’s the best. 

And I’ve had one or two bad ones too.

I didn’t marry until I was 29 years old.  In that amount of time I had about three dates.  One was forgetful, but that quote jogged my memory of the other two.

I met this guy one time at a hockey game.  He asked me on a date.  I don’t know why I said yes, because he was about eight and a half feet tall and we looked like Mutt and Jeff.  He wore a black cowboy hat and said yes ma’am.   We lived in two different towns.  When he called me on the phone, he said he’d like to take me to the cowboy church.  Well, isn’t that sweet?  A good guy finally.  I don’t remember all the details, because I’m low in B12 and I found out at my doctor’s this week that if untreated long enough, it can lead to dementia, which I think I’ve surpassed.  But somehow we met up.

Now don’t get me wrong, I thought going on a first date to church was a bit odd, but I was  looking for a good Christian man and figured it just might be the will of the Lord.  You know how sometimes he screams things at us?  So we went to the Cowboy Church.  His dad sat with us.  As far as I remember it was a good message.  When it was over, we were going to get something to eat.  Well come to find out, he and his dad had Chinese buffet every Saturday night after church.  So we went and had chinese……with his dad.  Okay,  now it was just way weird.  Tex didn’t have much to say anyway, his dad didn’t either. I don’t recall saying too much myself.   I kind of felt like a third wheel ruining their regular Saturday night ritual.  Seems to me, Tex could’ve told his dad that he was having a date and needed to be alone, but perhaps he was too shy to have a date by himself.  I’m not sure, and I didn’t stick around long enough for him to poke his head out of his shell.

I met this other guy at a baseball game.  (I’m making myself out to sound like some sort of a sports nut, and that’s the farthest from the truth.)  He was a handsome devil, and in law enforcement.  A dangerous combination I agree.   He invited me to go on a motorcycle ride with him.  So the next day, I climbed on, helmetless, and he took me down some crazy back roads I’d never been before.  The whole time I was thinking of all those 20/20 episodes I’d seen where killer cops had never been found guilty.  We finally stopped on some desolate road in an obscure location by some water.  I had no idea where we were.  He proceeded to pull out a six pack of beer from the back of his motorcycle and drank all six in a matter of 30-40 minutes and then, we got back on that motorcycle with no helmets, and CHiP drove 100 mph home as I prayed the entire time. 

At one point, he took his shirt off and forced me to stare at his hairy gorilla back that he thought was tan and muscular.  It was tan and muscular from what I could tell when his hair wasn’t blowing up my nose.  Then he actually said the following words to me…….these words actually came out of his mouth……..”if I have any zits back there, go ahead and pop them.” 

Really y’all, I can’t make this kind of stuff up.

After that I locked myself in my house and never answered the phone again. 
Until Jason called. 
That’s tomorrow’s story.