Posted in Children

She Battles

Each day, right after her cup of coffee, she laces up her tennie runners as her dad used to call them, straps the baby in the stroller and begins her walk down a lonely dirt, country road.  Slow at first, building steam, gearing up.  Just barely after she starts, her mind tells her to quit.  Gives her the talk.  Lists the excuses. But she has no excuses.  Time is no excuse.  Ability is no excuse.  Rain or snow is no excuse.  So she perseveres.  Each day she goes a little farther.  Pushes herself a little harder.  Forces herself to make it just past the cotton field with the new plants pushing through, then a little farther to the windmill.  Finally to the red barn where she can turn around.

Most days she prays.  She prays for her loved ones, she thanks God for her family, her health, her many blessings.  She thinks, she sings, she talks to her baby who bounces along with her Clifford pacifier in her mouth, the breeze blowing her little crop of hair.

She’s in the midst of a battle.  An all out war against the baby weight.  A daily struggle.  She remembers her former self.   The younger her, before marriage and pregnancy transformed her into a jiggly blob.  She curses her body.  Its slowness, its sluggish metabolism, its saggy skin and weakness.  But with the next thought, she recognizes its magnificence.  Its ability to create life, to bring it forth, to nourish and sustain it.

She makes herself run now.  From telephone pole to telephone pole she runs.  The next telephone pole cheers her on.  Encourages her, reminds her that the next one is not too far off.  Until her mind once again tells her to quit, catch her breath.

She walks now.  Pushing her sleeping baby. Gasping for air.  She passes the stench of death.  Something lying in the bar ditch beneath the tall weeds.  She turns her head as the smell of rot burns into her nose.  She imagines it a mouse, a bird, a skunk.  Surely the worst is over.  “Decay faster you S.O.B.,” she mutters aloud.

Her body glistens with perspiration.  Her face is the color of beets.  Her shoulders tanned in the sun, the right one a shade darker than the left.  She turns into her drive, slowing to a snail’s pace.  At the front door, she lifts her dozing baby from the stroller and places her heavy head against her sweaty neck.  The air conditioning is a wonderful respite from the early morning heat.  Her eyes adjust to the darkness of the nursery as she places her in the crib to dream the sweet dreams of babies.

Her next battle is laundry.

 

 

 

 

 

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Decisions, decisions.

Decisions, decisions. 
Thankfully not life or death decisions.  More on the caliber of comfort kind of decisions.  As in “should I do an exercise tape or go to bed and read?”  And along the lines of “I just ate mac and cheese, but I really want some milk toast.” 

Do you know what milk toast is?  Does the very mention of those two words together make you throw up in your mouth?  I was raised on milk toast.   Probably not exactly correct, but the modern day version consists of toasting some bread, buttering it, putting it in a bowl, adding sugar to it, then pouring milk over it.  Hence the name Milk Toast.  So yeah, if you don’t like the idea of soggy bread, it might not appeal to you, but to me, it’s like manna from heaven.

Since the weather here has turned colder and the wind has decided to rear his ugly head once again, my walking regimen has been put on hold.  Now for a little cause and effect.  Because my walking regimen has been put on hold, my belly has increased dramatically in size in the last couple of weeks. 

So instead of eating milk toast, then going to bed and reading, I decided perhaps to blog and bore you with more uninteresting stuff like milk toast recipes. 

I’ve reached the age where my mind still says I can but my body says No Way Jose.  Case in point.

Weekend before last, J-Dub, Ashy, and I took a weekend trip to Ruidoso, New Mexico.  We were hoping to see some beautiful foliage, visit some family, have a nice weekend get-away, and find a house to live in.  Not really on that last part, but my husband is set on moving to Ruidoso.  Or anywhere close to the mountains. 

Ashy and I decided to take a little walk around the neighborhood Saturday morning, so we set out with our tennis shoes, no cell phone, and a camera for a nice little stroll on a walking trail that wound around a fenced off golf course. 

We stayed on course enjoying the weather, watching the crows that were as big as my yard chickens, and simply enjoying one another’s company. 

Before we set out, we were told that the trail was about 3.5 miles long.  Not bad.  We could handle that.  And we did.  We did just fine until our trail ended and we were on a street. We didn’t know whether to turn left, turn right, or cross over.   You might say we’d come to a crossroads.  Literally.   We lost sight of the trail and were forced with a decision, decision. So we decided we’d take a right turn since that was sort of the way we came.   After walking a few several blocks, we still had our eyes on the golf course and knew that we weren’t lost.  But then somehow we ended up behind some buildings that dead ended into the fenced off golf course again. 

All during our walk we read signs posted on the golf course chainlink fence that read:

NO TRESPASSING
VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED

But before you knew it, we found ourselves trespassing across the golf course.  We could see the trail on the other side.  There were runners, walkers, and all we needed to do was get over there to them.  It made sense that the quickest route to the trail we needed to get on, was to cross over the golf course. 

Decisions, decisions.  So we headed out walking across this golf course with elevated heart rates, not from the walk but rather from the thrill of trespassing, and all the while Ashy chanting, please don’t prosecute us, please don’t prosecute us. 

Our destination was in sight.  The trail was right before our eyes.  We had traversed the golf course and made it to the trail.  There was nothing stopping us from stepping onto it except the dadgum chain link fence that surrounded the entire golf course. 

There was no gate nearby. No doorway.  No tunnel.  We’d been walking at least 45 minutes.  My feet hurt.  I was getting warm.  I was thirsty, and I was tired of this adventure.  I turned and looked around the area behind us of which we had travelled.  Our choices were either to turn around and re-trespass over the golf course prolonging my misery or climb the chain link fence. 

Decisions, decisions.

“We’re just going to have to climb this fence.”  I told Ash.  Of course the fear of getting caught was weighing on my mind.  I thought surely no one would really harass a pregnant lady and a 12-year-old, but you never know in this day and age.  We took our chances.

We walked over by a little grove of trees away from the trail, behind some buildings which we later discovered to be the police station, and I stood while Ash positioned her sandaled foot just so-so inside the chain links and climbed up and over the fence.  I have never seen anyone climb a fence so slowly.  I was on high alert, looking around for golf carts and flying golf balls, men with badges, and passersby. 

“Hurry up!”  I snapped at her, hoisting her on the butt.  Then as she slung her leg over, of course her pants got hung on that pointy little part sticking over the top bar of the fence, and I had to wiggle it and yank on it to get her free as she gingerly positioned her feet on the opposite side and climbed herself down, safely on the non-trespassing side.

Now for my turn.  Piece of cake.  I mean how many chain link fences have I climbed  in my life?  At least 300.  Not only have I climbed my own fences,  I’ve watched COPS.  I’ve seen how criminals can get over a fence in a couple of seconds time.  My mind knew I could do this.  All I had to do was put my hands on the top bar of that chain link fence and hoist my six month pregnant self on to the bar, then swing my legs over and climb down.  

Now all I had to do was convince my body.  I hoisted.  I strained.  I grunted.  I jumped.  I stood on my tippy toes.   The fence was wobbly.  My upper body was weak.  After a few attempts, my heart rate was really elevated from the anxiety of getting caught climbing a fence and the exertion it was taking.   I was sweating.  In the mountains.  In October.

Finally, with all the strength I could muster, I hoisted and slung my leg at the same time.  I managed to get on top of the bar and laid there smashing my poor baby girl into my backbone, then flipped my legs over and let myself down.

Panting and red-bellied we limped home.  Well I did anyway.
Thankfully without prosecution.
But more than likely, the whole thing is on someone’s surveillance camera.  I hope they’re getting a kick out of it.

I think I’ll go eat some soggy bread now.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Breaking Ice

I have a new BFF today.

He’s my good pal.

My buddy.

My friend.

He’s a little furry.

And maybe a little smelly.

But I don’t mind at all.  Especially today, when he doesn’t see his shadow.

Picture

I’m ready for an early spring.

Here’s some pictures of our world.

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Yesterday it was 5° at 5:30 p.m. with 30 mph winds.   After you do all that meteorological mumbo jumbo that comes out to equal -15 below zero wind chill. 
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Notice all the wind breaks out here on the high plains.

The wind slices you like a knife.
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Coming down the road, you can see that the cows are thirsty.  Instead of getting down into the breaks out of the brutal wind, they are huddled around the drinking tub.

But this is a first.

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My husband J-Dub has seen many cows, and many drinking tubs, but has never seen a cow standing on top of a drinking tank before.  Frozen solid. 

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It’s a wonder she didn’t fall through.  She weighs approximately 750 pounds. 

When I stood on it to cross over into the other pasture to chase a rolling black Stetson, it began to crack under my weight.

Which means I out-weigh a cow.

Probably by 100 pounds.

Not a happy thought.

It’s a real wonder I didn’t fall through.  I carefully held onto the post and tiptoed on the edge.

J-Dub had to break the ice for them to get a drink.  If you wonder how he does that, it’s probably how you imagine. 

With his brute strength!

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And an ax.
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This is hard work, I don’t care who you are.

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Add the bitter temperature, this isn’t even close to being fun.
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It’s tough being a cow.

And tougher being a cowboy.

Today my sweet husband had to break ice on 18 different drinking tubs across the panhandle of Texas.

Did you enjoy your hamburger today?

Be sure and thank a cowboy.

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Journey to the Land of Less is More Mile 3: Just Say NO!

 About seven years ago I lived in a small 2 bedroom house on a busy street named Somerville.  It was a little tan house with dark brown trim.  There was nothing fancy about the place.  It didn’t have a garage, or a second bathroom, or a fireplace, but it had a quaint porch.  It was an extension of my living room.  My dad bought me a wooden rocking chair from the Cracker Barrel.  One morning I went out to sit in my chair, and nearly busted my tailbone.  It had been thieved in the night.  Some low-life had crept upon my porch in the dark and stolen my rocker.  I felt violated.  And my dad bought me another second one.  He said he hopes whoever stole it gets a splinter in their butt when they rock in it. 

I had my sister’s porch swing hanging from the edge with a garland of sunflowers twisted around the chains.  I had a few plants, a decorative flag that hung from a pillar, it was an inviting place.  I sat on that porch every evening, every Saturday, every Sunday, watched the cars drive past, and waved at people I knew.  And some I didn’t.  Friends and family would come and sit with me.  We’d swing or rock and visit.  It holds good memories, even if I did get my rocker stolen.

Also in that house there was a small pantry. Just two doors that opened up with narrow little shelves.  Inside those doors I hung my “pantry emails”.  The emails that touched me.  The ones that really made an impact. The ones I wanted to read.  And read again. 

I began blogging in November of 2008.  I really do not remember why I started blogging, except for needing a place to write my thoughts and stories down.   My very first blog post was a copy of a “pantry email” entitled Great Advice.  I reread it today, and decided to camp awhile on advice number four.

 Say No to projects that won’t fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.

In my journey to the Land of Less is More,  I want to unclutter not only my surroundings, but also my time.  After reflecting on how I am spending my time,  I found some places to say No.

To my house I say No!  No to the pointless cleaning that only dirties itself up again. 

To the book I am reading, I say No!  You are mediocre, and not worth my time.  I hope you turn out well.

To the barking dog next door I say No!  Although you are not a project, my mental health is on the line here.  You. Will. Stop. Barking.  Although I cannot state how as it may be used against me in a court of law.

And  to my sister Jolea, my exercise partner, my FIRM buddy, I must say No.  No to the workouts.  No to the jumps and the squats.   I am 2 workouts behind schedule.  I don’t want to do it.  And it is making me fatter.

By this I mean the exercise, not the box of 24 packages of Rolos I’ve eaten since Christmas.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Arm Flab and Pit Bulls

I’ve been exercising lately, it is January after all, and I’m sore.

When you haven’t exercised in like a millenium it’s usually a good idea to start off slow.

I started off slow and I’m still sore.

But you know, in a small way I’m glad I’m sore.  It makes me feel like I actually did something.  Something good for myself.

And perhaps my exercise will help slow down the aging process and keep my arm flab at a minimum.

Teachers must be careful about arm flab.  Let me tell you why. 

I recommend this experiment if you are undecided about whether or not your arm flab is a menace to society.

Imagine yourself in a short sleeve shirt.  Or a tank top if you feel like breaking the dress code.  Something that accentuates your upper arms. 

 You got it? 

Now imagine yourself standing in front of a chalkboard.  A markerboard if you’re in 2011.  There is a room full of young, yet precocious children waiting to soak up the knowledge you are about to bestow upon them.

Are you there?

Okay raise your arm, with chalk or marker poised, and write a sentence on your imaginary board.  Something like “The dog’s balls were round.”

Now pull your mind out of the gutter, this is a lesson on possessive nouns of course.

Go ahead and write it in cursive, it’s a handwriting lesson as well.

Write it big and long, stretch your arm out and write by golly.  Write like you’ve never written before!

Now stop.  Time for an arm flab check.  How’s it doing?  Swinging slightly?  Or did it circle around and nearly slap you in the ear?

A boy in the back of the room just snickered about your possessive noun sentence.  He’s probably got a big brother or two.

You don’t allow snickering in this classroom. 

Get the eraser.  Get it. 

Erase that sentence fast.

Erase it big.

Choose something much more appropriate and repeat.

This now concludes the demonstration. 

So how are you feeling about your arm flab now?

Children are brutally honest and they will point out fat, jiggly arms in a heartbeat.  I only know this from experience.   I no longer wear short sleeves. 

Or write on the board. 

There was a story of a teacher, a rather large teacher who was teaching elementary age students.  The kind who haven’t yet learned the inappropriateness of certain topics.

One day, one of her young boys said in the most horrified voice, “Mrs. B, what IS that?”  while pointing to her flabby upper arm.

“Oh, honey”, the kind, large, gentle teacher replied, “that’s just my ole’ fat arm.”

“Whew”, the boy replied with a sigh of relief.  “I thought it was your titty.”

**********

It’s an issue with kids, don’t ever think it’s not.  It ranks right up there with calling shotgun.  It’s a big deal.

Today I was working with a small group of students.  One of my little angels began talking about her grandma.

This is what she had to say.

“She’s just so flabby.  When she raises her arm,” and the little girl raises her arm to demonstrate, “10 flabs fall out.”

Another student was curious, “What’s a flab?”

The little darling raises her arm again, and proceeds to explain to the child whose family obviously has the thin gene, about  flabby arm fat. 

She waves her hand under the raised arm to indicate the severity and jiggliness of the flabs.

She continues, “They’re  like dogs.  Like pit bulls. ”

 

And then she bares her teeth, shakes her head, and growls ferociously.

I only hope I don’t have your granddaughter in my class. 

Just think, this could be you she’s referring to.

Now go perform 3 sets of 20 triceps presses.

And Hurry!

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Everything you ever wanted to know about a Leek, but were afraid to ask

I’ve been reading this book called “French Women Don’t Get Fat”. I’ve been reading the parts I understand anyway.  It’s a bestseller and I trust that.  The author Mireille Guiliano (pronounce that if you think you’re so smart) claims leeks are magical. 
Leeks. 

If you’re anything like me, perhaps this will help.
They’re hidden on the produce shelf. 
They’re a vegetable. 

The skinny French woman has a soup called “Magical Leek Soup”.   You are supposed to drink leek broth for 48 hours.  Straight. 
Leek Broth, doesn’t that sound yummy?
 If you get hungry, you eat the leeks with a little olive oil drizzled, until the 2nd day’s supper, then you have a little fish or meat with some veggies. I’m thinking fried taters and gravy qualifies after 48 hours of leek broth.

And that my friends is why I’m reading this book.

This 48 hour cleansing is the jump start to a great lifestyle change.  Kinda sounds a little like starvation if you ask me, but who am I to question the French?

Yet, there is something about magical leeks that appeal to me. 

I like magic. 
Birthday candle blowing magic, shooting star wishing magic, genie bottle rubbing magic.

I could use a little magic around here. 

For starters, I’d like to:

Magically-lose-all-my-cellulite.
Magically-have-a-clean-house.
Magically-have-Ed-McMahan-ring-my-doorbell.  Wait.  Is he dead?
Magically-have-Ed-McMahan-return-from-the-dead-and-ring-my-doorbell.

There’s just no limit what these leeks might do for me.

I called the grocery store to make sure they carried them before I ventured out.  They did, they were hidden but they were there.  I was curious to how fresh they were.  I pondered how often people buy these things. 

 I had to watch a video on how to prepare them.

I couldn’t help but wonder where they’ve been all my life.

But truthfully, I didn’t wonder too hard.

I really didn’t think I could handle the Leek Broth.  I know my limitations. Thankfully, the skinny french woman has a recipe on her website http://www.fwdgf.com/ for Leek Mozarella with a lovely picture, so I decided why not get a jumpstart on my new year’s resolution and prepare a healthy vegetable.

I’m thinking anything covered in cheese has got to be tasty.
Anything that looks like a pasta dish from Pizza Hut surely is yum-o.

Evidently the leek is from the onion family. You only use the white part of the vegetable.

Which means all this goes in the trash. Doesn’t that seem like such a waste?  I was half-way raised by my Grannie, who was half-way raised during the Depression. She would have never thrown these out. The skinny French woman says they can be saved and made into stock. But okay, we’re talking about me here.  So into the trash they went.

Then you boil the white parts, after you rinse well, because there’s a lot of dirt in there.  That’s because they’re a vegetable, and vegetables grow in dirt.

Kinda looks like a cross between onions and celery, with a severe case of hypothyroidism.

Here’s the recipe, if’n you’re interested.
INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds leeks, white parts only
1 cup fresh basil leaves (I didn’t have this of course.  We’re talking about me here.)
8 ounces mozzarella
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon wine or sherry vinegar
Salt (preferably freshly ground—fleur de sel works magic) and freshly ground peppe
Yield: 4 Servings
RECIPE
Preheat the broiler.
Clean the leeks thoroughly, and boil in salted water 6 to 10 minutes, until cooked but still firm, then drain.
Put the leeks in a baking dish, and cover with a layer of basil leaves. Cut the mozzarella into 1/4-inch slices, and place atop the basil layer. Put the dish under the preheated broiler, and watch carefully. In 3 to 5 minutes the cheese should start to melt and brown; at this point, remove the dish.
Mix the oil and vinegar and drizzle over the mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately with a slice of country bread.

So far, I’ve eaten them twice.  They aren’t terrible.  They ain’t taters and gravy either. 

I’m still waiting for the magic.
So far, I’ve gotten better results from birthday candle blowing and shooting star wishing.

But Wait.  Somebody’s at the door.