Posted in Dear Diary

An Un-Manic Monday

I just crawled under my big white down comforter next to EK who is already asleep and snoring just faintly.   It’s a Monday afternoon and it is far from manic.  You all remember the Bangles?  They used to sing a song called Manic Monday.  It was completely dumb but I can’t help but think of it every time someone mentions their crazy Monday.  And now, it’s on repeat in my brain.  If it’s on repeat in yours, then I’ve done my job well.

I can’t help but think of what a good place I’m in with my life right now.  I’m happy.  Truly happy.  Yes, of course I still have “those days”.  Everyone does and we all will until we breathe our last breath, but for now, for me, I’m content.

I don’t have anything profound to say today, just wanted to say hi, but since I’m here why not unload a few thoughts on ya?

Thought #1:  Early in January I received a big  manilla (used to call it vanilla, doesn’t every kid) envelope addressed to me with my maiden name from my only blood uncle.  Inside was some writings and photos of my dad’s.  I kind of thumbed through it all, not really diving in, and then put it away.  I’m not sure why, but like the ostrich I buried my head in the sand and pretended it wasn’t there, not sure I wanted to take that emotional ride at the time.  Since then, I’ve pulled it out and there’s a few more stories that I’ve never published on here before so I’m going to have a few more installments of Stories By My Dad very soon.

Thought #2:  It is 4 weeks to the day until I turn 39.  Woo hoo, woo Hoo!  No really, I’m very excited about that knowing I’m one year closer to my 40’s.  Crazy I may be, but I’ve been looking forward to my 40’s for a few years now.  I think they are going to be great.
Fabulous Forties.
Fantastic Forties.
NOT Frumpy Forties.

So, the bad part about it being 4 weeks until my birthday?  I was going to lose 16 pounds by then.  You want to know how many I’ve lost so far?  +1  Yes, yes, I’m up a pound and it’s not for lack of effort either.  But I’m not letting it get me down.  I’ve been consistently exercising (except for one week in January when it got a bit crazy) and eating healthier and I can see my body changing.  I’m not going to let the number on the scale discourage me when I know it’s working!  Carry on.

Thought #3:  I almost, ALMOST gave Ozzie away today.  Remember Ozzie, that little chi weenie I got a few months back?  Well he’s a royal pain in the rump.  AND he cannot learn to get along with the chickens.  I truly think he killed one, but I can’t be sure.  I only know I found a headless chicken and I totally wigged out.  I have no proof it was him, but my suspicion in high.  That was several months back, maybe in the fall.  J-Dub was out of town working.  Let me tell you, I became a basket case.  I didn’t even know it was in me to behave in that manner.  But I did what I had to do,with  snot running down my nose, and got a shovel and disposed of the headless bird.  To top it off, I think it was  Freedom.

So last night it was arranged that I would take Ozzie to someone today at 4:00.  I was emotionally ready.  Or so I thought.  And then he and EK started playing and cuddling and she was saying, “I love Ozzie so much.”  “He’s a good boy”.  That’s when the guilt started.  You see, I’m from the camp that believes once you get a dog, you have that dog for life.  Yours or its.  So guilt and failure came creeping in.  Then he got up in my lap and laid so sweet and when he looked at me, it was like he knew and was pleading with me.  I was sad and guilty yesterday evening and this morning I was almost in tears.  I held him and stroked him and thought of the time I’ve put into him.  The times I woke up in the middle of the night to take him outside to potty when he was tiny.  The times I carried him on our walks because he was so little and pooped out to make it back to the car.  I thought to myself he’s almost a year old, we’ve almost made it through the puppy stage, and I shouldn’t give up on him.  So I backed out.  I did.  And I’ve felt much better all day about it.

Thought #4:  I love quinoa these days.  If you’ve never tried it, you must.

Thought #5:  I checked out two books from the library BEFORE Christmas and have re-checked them like 2 or 3 times since.  They are due Thursday and I think it’s time to add them to the list of books I never finished.  One is We Were the Mulvaney’s by Joyce Carol Oates and All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthey.  If you’ve read either one and you think I’m making a big mistake by returning them unfinished, stop me now.

Let’s see, what else?

Welp, I think my well has run dry now, there’s nothing else going on in this brain of mine now except the Bangles song.

I hope your Monday is good and un-Manic!

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Pruning

A few days back when the sun was shining and all was right with the world, I decided to sit my plants outside.  I only have 4, but they’ve been lighting up my world for several years now.  I placed them in the sun, gave them a big drink of water from the hose, and allowed them some fresh air.  Then I went in the house. 

Three days later, after 3 nights of freezing temperatures, I remembered them.  No longer green, they’d taken on a color of ash, and sat wilted and lifeless in the backyard.  I was so upset with myself.  One of those stupid, forgetful acts that I find myself doing more and more often.

I managed to kill them all.  But with a closer examination, I noticed a touch of green life remaining in each of them.  A shimmer of hope in the base of a  leaf.  Could they be revived?  I reached for my scissors and began cutting out all the dead with a faint hopefulness in my task.  My friend Pam (who my dad called Mrs. Demonic, not meaning anything bad, simply because it rhymed with her last name) told me it’s very scriptural to prune the dead.

John Chapter 15, verse 1:  words of Jesus:  I am the true grapevine and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.  You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.  Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.  Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches.  Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.

So taking this literally,  I hope my plants survive the brutal cold they endured.  Spiritually translated, I hope the pruning of which I am presently experiencing may allow me to produce much fruit. 

Fruit of the spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience,  kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

And I wish the same for you.  May the pruning of today, produce fruit for tomorrow.

Ashy loves this song.  Can you believe I have it on my iPod?

Somebody help.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Moon

“I see the moon, 

And the moon sees me.

God bless the moon,

And God bless me.”

I went to feed my dogs last night and I caught a glimpse of it.  Of course my camera and photography skills can not do it justice.

I was looking through the oak trees and it was shrouded in clouds and carried a spooky air.

“He covers the face of the moon, spreading his clouds over it.” Job 26:9

It reminded me of a graveyard scene my sister drew when she was in the fifth grade that I copied.  Stone cold graves carved with RIP resting on hills underneath thin clouds floating across the moon.  My picture wasn’t as good as hers.  My hills were too humpy.  My clouds were too puffy.

In this picture above, I changed the setting on my camera to “night” and it lit up the foreground, giving it a different look.

This morning when I awoke, my bedroom was cast with the light from the moon.  But really the moon has no light of it’s own, only a reflection from the sun.  It’s a little deceiving isn’t it?  I took this picture this morning.  The moon wasn’t as close, just a pinpoint in the sky.

Funny how things so big can appear so small.

When you’re lonesome and missing someone, do you gaze at the moon and does it remind you that it is smiling on both you and the one you’re missing?

Even though the world is so large, and the miles are so vast, the moon gathers the two of you under it’s light and holds you in the same place and time.

Unless of course the one you’re missing is across the world, then it’s daylight over there, and this whole romantic notion is ppppffffffttttttt.

 

When I consider your heavens,
   the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
   which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
   human beings that you care for them?

Psalm 8:3-4

Have a wonderful full-moon Friday.

Posted in Uncategorized

Goulash, Grandparents, and Regret

Last night I attempted cooking, which in and of itself is a feat.  I can honestly say, of the things I have been complimented, cooking is not one of them.  There are people who are renowned simply for being a good cook.  If their name comes up in conversation, people’s eyes roll back in their heads as they utter the words, “oh, she’s a good cook, Have you ever tried her carrot cake, she can make the best homemade rolls I’ve ever tasted.”  Etcetera, etcetera. Blah, blah.

Not me.  Okay.  It’s not something I’ve ever learned to do or really enjoyed doing.

Last night, my little drummer boy husband grabbed his drumsticks and headed out to play a  gig, so it was just me and my niece Ashlynn at home. 

I wanted goulash.  J-Dub doesn’t like goulash, but I love it.  Mind you, I’ve only ever had one person’s goulash in my entire life, and that was my grandmother’s.  If she ever used recipes for cooking, I haven’t the foggiest as to where to locate those.  So when I searched the internet for recipes similar to her goulash, I was met with an assortment of crap.  Crap, I tell you. 

Obviously, goulash is a Hungarian dish, not a southern poor man’s dish as I always thought.  The  recipes called for ingredients that I’m sure my Grannie never had in her pantry at any time, like Rotel for instance.

So I text my sister, and she immediately texts back with a bunch of rigmarole ingredients for so-called “Grannie’s Goulash”. 

I had an idea that she was crazy.  Mustard really?  So I called my Aunt Bert (my Grannie’s daughter).  She thought it was a little this, and a little that, and maybe some of this. 

Well that seemed closer, but it just wasn’t good enough for me.  I need a recipe!!!  I need to know how much of this and that. I operate in teaspoons and tablespoons, people.

I returned to the internet, and googled Southern goulash.  Recipes popped up with okra in them.   Who in the world puts okra in their goulash???? Huh?  Huh?  Just answer me that.   Next I googled Old-fashioned goulash.    Marjoram and tomato soup?  Puh-lease!!! 

Then when my frustrations were at an all time high, and my stomach was growling, I got the crazy notion to google my grandmother’s name and goulash.  Just hoping maybe, just maybe, someone had published a long-lost recipe of her goulash. 

And to my surprise, that brought up absolutely nothing. 

Except it led me to an ancestry site. 

So my search for goulash took an unexpected turn to ancestry on my mother’s side.    And I’m fascinated.  I’ve never given much thought to my ancestors, but now that I’m getting older, my brain is changing, along with my priorities, and I’m understanding  the impact of my lineage. 

Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of “old” family.  There are people my same age, who grew up with a great-grandmother, a great-great grandmother even, but not me.  I’ve only ever had grandmothers.  My great grandparents died before I came into this world, and I never even knew a grandfather.  Sad huh?  I guess my people died young, or procreated old, and too many years are in-between.

I’ve heard my Grannie talk about her parents, but I’d forgotten their names until last night when they started showing up on my computer screen.  Suddenly they became real people, with dreams, and love for one another, and hopes, and journeys, and trials. 

Just like me. 

Now I wish when I sat in the TV room with my Grannie,  while she rattled on with stories I’d heard before, about people who were cold in the ground, with events that were unimportant to my teenage ears, that instead of slumping over in my chair and wishing she’d stop droning on, that I’d had a cell phone with voice recorder, a video recorder,  a tape recorder, shoot even a pencil and pad and would have written down her stories.  But of course, I never thought they’d matter to me. 

How foolish we are in our youth.

Since I’ve begun blogging, I’ve been forced to dip into my memory banks.  Often I find them empty or half erased, and I must fill them in with how I believe it must have been.  Was I wearing tennis shoes in that blizzard, or were they high heeled show girl boots like my dad remembers? 

I have stories to tell, people to remember, events to unfold.  Other people may not care about them, but I do.

“You and your husband might have looked out the same kitchen window for twenty years, your eyes might be as green as  your uncle Harry’s, but twenty bucks says you don’t see the world as they do.  Start writing to save your life.  Stories only happen to those who can tell them.”—-Lou Willett Stanek

 

START WRITING TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.  STORIES ONLY HAPPEN TO THOSE WHO CAN TELL THEM. 

And then others must remember them, and in turn, tell them.

My great -grandfather Eugene “Gene” Ira married my great-grandmother Emma Olive (oh my gosh I love that name) and had 2 daughters, Mary and Imogene, my grandmother. 

I want to talk to those people.  I want to talk to them real bad.  I imagine their black and white faces, their frumpy clothes, their aprons, their weathered hands.  They were tough.  They had to be. I want to hear their stories, and share their stories.  It’s like instantly, I realize I am on this earth, in part because of these people. 

They are MY people.  

My great-grandparents:

Eugene “Gene”  Ira: Aug 22, 1883-Jan 15, 1966  Age. 81

Emma Olive:  Dec 7, 1879- Aug 7, 1911 Age 32

My grandmother Imogene, whose name came from her dad Gene and her mom Emma loved me, cherished me, delighted in me and made the best goulash of which I can not recreate.

And me?

I’ve forgotten her stories.

 Stories only happen to those who can tell them.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Memory of a Sound

I recently purchased this magazine.
I say recently, but it was way back in 2010.

I have no idea why I would purchase a magazine called Do it yourself, since I don’t do anything myself.  There must have been something that caught my eye on the cover, but now…..who knows? This is one of those mags that if you have nothing to do all day except create adorableness from egg shells and paper, this is your heaven.

It does have some extremely cute crafts in it.

 

See, I even dog-eared this page on crafting with felt.  Felt makes me happy.  Not that there’s even a remote chance I’ll be frolicking with felt in the future.

 

This is an old railroad tie used as a mantle.  I love it.  We have a similar piece of rustic roughness found in an old building that we are going to use as a mantle in our little trailer house on the prairie.  Maybe in 23 more years or so.

But the point of this whole post is this:

These canisters.

My old grannie had an ugly-as-sin, avocado green tin canister just exactly like the one in the back of this picture.

It sat on her countertop next to the stove, and she sometimes stored goodies such as homemade peanut butter cookies in it.

I remember stealthily trying to lift the lid off to sneak a cookie or treat.  The “swoosh” of the lid coming off the canister echos in my head.  I would try not to make a sound, and inevitably always would pling, plang, and gong one against the other, giving myself away.  Like sneezing during a game of hide-and-seek.    

Sometime during my childhood, we got a new step cousin in the family.  He wasn’t one of us, and I remember treating him as an outsider.  When memories like these flood back, I always try to blame my sister.  But truthfully, I don’t know who was the instigator of being harsh with him.  It could’ve been my idea, or my cousin’s (his step-brother) or my sister’s, regardless I remember the four of us being outside huddled under a tree, being ugly to our new family member and telling him that “WE (the privileged real grandchildren) knew our grannie’s secret hiding place for goodies and that he had better be nice or we wouldn’t let him know.”

I wish I could go back under that tree and change that conversation.  I hope he doesn’t remember.  I’m ashamed.

Seeing these burnt orange canisters in a magazine stirred something inside me.  I asked my mom, who now lives in my grannie’s old house, if she knew where that avocado green canister was.  She said it was around there someplace.  Then about one week later, I received a call, and lo and behold, the little criminal she has living with her (another story for another time) was cleaning out the garage and it turned up. 

Here it is.  On my kitchen countertop by my stove. 

It’s not in as good of condition as the orange ones in the magazines. 

Why I have this in my house, in my blue and yellow kitchen, is something that I must explore deep within my soul.  And maybe discuss with my therapist, which happens to be Marie, my school librarian. 

Why, when I am desperately trying to simplify and minimalize, did I bring this old junky, unfashionable, semi-unpractical item out from the dust and mire of a dirty garage to sit purposeless on my already cluttered kitchen counter? 

Why do I sometimes go to my kitchen for no other reason but to lift the lid just so I can hear the pling from my childhood? 

I know why. 

It’s so I can see my grannie sitting in her chair with a poodle on her lap. 

 Or standing at the kitchen counter pressing out the peanut butter cookies.  She would let me mash on the cookie dough with a meat tenderizer to create the little indented designs and then sprinkle sugar on top when they came out of the oven, soft and warm.

I’m suddenly having a peanut butter cookie hankering.

And I need a tissue.

Posted in Uncategorized

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.

Posted in Uncategorized

Five Reasons Not to Have a Blogging Buddy

Five days ago  an idea for bloggers to pair up with a blogging buddy went out over the world wide web via wordpress, the site that hosts this blog.  This is an effort to motivate, uplift, and encourage bloggers to keep up with the commitment they have made to blog in 2011.  Much like an exercise buddy who will hold you accountable, unless you are both weak-willed and convince each other ice-cream and beer sounds better than jumping jacks and bicep curls.  Within minutes of this post, bloggers from around the world were holding hands and skipping in circles.  I stood on the edge of this online playground, watching the happy bloggers, scared to get in the game for fear of rejection or dashed hopes.  

I am approaching this like everything else I approach in life, with fearful trepidation.  This idea of a blogging buddy both intriques me, yet scares me.  I did a little pondering and came up with a few reasons why I’m still sitting on the swings while everyone else is playing kick-ball.

Five reasons I’m scared of having a blogging buddy:

1.  I’m afraid they won’t  be committed.  They might say at first they are going to post a blog daily, but are they still going to be as enthusiastic come May 17th?

2.  I’m afraid I’ll end up with a moron.  You know, someone who can’t use there, their, and they’re appropriately.  I might have to let loose my inner teacher on them.

3.  I’m afraid I’ll get a buddy who thinks Jesus is a fake.  Then I’ll have to worry about their soul in addition to their blogging. 

4.  I’m afraid my buddy will be a completely superficial fashion blogger who will tempt me to buy new clothes of which I’ve decided I am buying no new clothes in 2011.  I am simplifying my wardrobe, not adding to it.

5.  I’m afraid I’ll have nothing in common with my buddyand won’t be able to intelligently respond to his posts about nuclear war heads and/or guitar riffs.

Again today I searched through the 800 plus comments of people wanting blogging buddies.  I clicked on a couple of blogs that I found interesting, but alas they disappointed.  Perhaps I’m  taking this a little too seriously.  Afterall,  this is a blogging buddy, it’s not eHarmony.  I don’t have to marry this person, just read their blogs for Pete’s sake.  But I’ve been on bad dates before, and my past experiences  are reminding me how painful this blogging buddy experience might turn out to be.  There is still 11 and a half months left in the year.  Eleven and a half months to blog daily and encourage someone else to as well.  

But I faced my fears today and went ahead and walked out onto the playground.  I’m five days late but  I put myself out there to see if I could still get in the game. 

This is my post.

Hello, I’ve been perusing on this site some, trying to find my “perfect” match.  I’ve been  blogging daily, even when it’s hard, even when I don’t want to, even when I’m super busy, and I want someone who appreciates and possesses the same commitment.  My blog is http://www.chroniclesofarocketsurgeon.com and it is about my life as a fumbling earthling.  I tell stories mostly, try to make people laugh once in a blue moon, and blog about simplifying my life.   I would like  a blogging buddy, but to be perfectly honest,  I’m scared of getting paired up with a moron or someone who lacks commitment, or someone who we later find out we have nothing in common.   So please, if you want to choose me, don’t break my heart 🙂

 

Appealing, isn’t it?  This might help to understand why I didn’t marry until age 29. 

I’ll keep you posted.