Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas memories

With Christmas less than a week away, I've been thinking about memories of Christmas past. Growing up, even though we were pretty poor, I always got what I asked for. Someone asked me the other day what my favorite Christmas present was and for me, it was a doll named Swingy. She was a blond doll who danced. She just kind of moved all around in a circle. At one point I had broken her, I think I actually threw her across the room for some reason. I remember picking up her head and crying because she was broke. What felt like months later, my mom called me into her bedroom and there she was, all fixed and dancing across the floor. I don't know if she fixed her or if she bought a new one, but I was happy as can be.

One year, I wanted a vanity. I came down the stairs and there it was, right in front of the tree. I ran to it and just knew it was mine. It was one of those antique white plastic vanity's with the pink top and little drawers to put things in. I sat there looking in the mirror not wanting to get up, but Mom and Dad made me sit at the table to eat breakfast before I could play with it.

I remember the year my sister Judy got four barbie dolls in one case. One of them was called Casey and she had short brown hair and had modern clothes. There was a black doll in the case, and I think her name may have been Teresa. The barbie I got that year was a Skipper doll with bendable arms. She had long long blond hair, just like Jan Brady. I loved that doll. I remember having a scooter doll with her and I looked more like Scooter than Skipper.

A few years, I had to laugh at my gifts. I was surprised one Christmas to receive a guitar. I didn't ask for one, but my brother John did. My mother couldnt' remember who asked for it, and she thought it was me. I don't know why I didn't just give it to John. I had no interest in learning the guitar. I played the drums. I wanted to play the flute, but I wasn't any good at sound instruments.

Then one year, my sister Tisha and I were snooping in Mom's room to see what she was hiding. She used to hide things under the clothes in her closet. This was right around 1968-1969 and I had never owned a pair of jeans or pants, other than an occasional stretch pants that I could only wear at home. We didn't wear pants to school or really outside. We wore snow pants with our dresses. Tisha and I found this bag and there was this ugly pair of pants in it, it was sort of brown and green patchwork. They looked sort of like camouflage. We laughed and talked about how ugly the pair of pants mom got for John was. They were hideous. Well on Christmas morning, much to my surprise, I opened one gift and there were the ugly pants, for me. Here I wanted the cool big bottom blue jeans like Amber had, and I had the ugliest pants in the world.

When we were married, my ex husband was never very good at buying christmas presents. For the first few years, I didn't really receive anything. Then one year, he bought me a pink sweatshirt. It was cute. And then my mom sent me a pink sweatshirt. I thanked both of them for the gift. This was around 1982 or so when sweatshirts were "in". Then for at least the next ten years, both of them bought me pink shirts, sweatshirts or sweaters. I quickly learned to despise pink shirts of any kind. But oh, those were the days.

My most favorite gift I received as an adult was a book by Jimmy Stewart. He used to come on Johnny Carson and read his poems and I just loved them. One poem, he wrote about his dog named Beau. We had a dog named Lobo and it just reminded me of him. I still have that book :)

I wish I could recreate the excitement of the holidays that we felt as kids. Every year Tisha and I were going to stay up all night and just catch Santa Claus (no, we never did). One year me, Tisha and brother John were looking out the window trying to see if we could see Santa and it must have been a falling star, because we saw this sparkle in the sky. John assured me it was Santa Claus. Even though we would all do our own thing throughout the year, every year on christmas morning the five of us would race down the stairs to scramble under the tree and pick out the packages with our names on them.

As we got older, Tisha and I realized that the one's who stopped writing to Santa Claus received less and less each year. So we continued to write Santa Claus well into our early teens, to the point that our mother told us, "No, there is no such thing as Santa Claus. It's just us." We argued and pleaded that no, we still believed, we still believed :)

I don't know what the holiday is going to be like around here next week, but at least I have the wonderful memories of a house full of giggling kids watching their dreams come true.

Merry Christmas :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

So six months later ......................

I can't believe six months has passed by since my last blog.

I just finished reading a blog from a former christian discussing why he doesn't pray anymore. He decided that this many years later, he just doesn't believe in "the big guy." So sad, for him anyway.

I think I have probably prayed more this year than any other year in my life, active prayer that is. I've prayed for the election. I've prayed for a close friend whose marriage has come to an end. I've prayed for my children: for the oldest to mature and be more responsible with his family, for my middle one who plans on seeking out her birth mother in less than a year, and then there is the prayer for my youngest. He is the one I pray for the most.

I imagine being 13 is a lot more complicated these days than it was in 1973. Our lives were so much easier. We went to school, came home and did chores, ate as a family at the dinner table, watched a TV show and went to bed. We didn't have 100's of TV channels to captivate us until the wee hours of the morning. We didn't have computers or IPODS and we damn sure didn't have cell phones. We went to school with the same kids from kindergarten until we graduated. Every once in awhile we would get a new student and everyone wanted to be the first one to make friends.

My 13 year old wrote a paper for his English class this week in which the theme was "Memoir". He wrote about the "worst years of his life". He talked about how many times he has changed schools, how many times he has had to start over making friends, trying out for teams, trying to fit in-somewhere. As I sat there reading it, was it any wonder he has progressively gotten into trouble at school and having problems fitting in? I never had to worry about being the new kid in school. I grew up with Ellen and Freddie and then added several other friends along the way. My best friend now is the same best friend I had in junior high school. We may not live near each other, but I know that, if I need her, she'll come.

As a former army wife, I moved just about every other year, and have left a "best friend" in just about every community I have ever lived in. Gabby in Thatcher, Arizona; Erma and Ann in Killeen; Denise, Gabby, Teri, Tina, Cindy, Pat and a bunch of others in Dallas; Kathy up in Maryland; Bill P who is now in NC. Since I've been here in Orlando, I've been able to make several close friends who I love dearly: Doreen, Pat, Lenny, Pam, Lisa, Kesha, Nesha, Isabel, and Beth. Then I have my internet friends: Linda in CA, Carol, Mia, Dani, Sandra, Diana, and Dale :)

And then there is Johnny :) He actually used to be my ex-husbands best friend. Man, for the first couple years, he used to drive me nuts. I would get so mad at him, I couldn't stand him. We are like night and day, polar opposites. At several points, we lived in the same house and actually got along. Before I knew it, Johnny grew on me, so much so, that I don't know how I would have made it over the years. He can always make me laugh. He knows how to comfort me when I need it. He knows how to calm me when I am in a rage. I think out of all of the friends I have had over the years, he is the one who truly "gets me". Who'd a thought :)

When I read about the man who stopped praying and didn't believe in God anymore, it just made me think about all of the friends God has givenme over the years. I don't believe that the people I have as friends were just coincidentally living in the same place as me. They are all angels in my eyes, heaven sent. Each one of them just seemed to be there when I needed someone. They showed up right on time in my life. I think they are all answered prayer. On so many nights when I didn't know what to pray for, I would pray to God for comfort, for love. Just to know that someone out there cared about me. And so he sent a friend.

At home, as a young teenager thrown away by my closest friends, God sent Debbie to pick me up off the ground. I don't even remember how it happened that we became such good friends, she just showed up when I needed a friend. When I got to Arizona, away from home for the first time, and feeling lonely, and definitely not fitting in with anyone, Gabby showed up out of nowhere. When I went to Germany, God sent Erma my way. We ended up buying houses together down the street from each other, and having kids at the same time.

When I think back now, when I lived in Dallas, I had so many wonderful friends, I was so lucky. I don't think it was mere coincidence that I had so many "best" friends all at one time, because little did I know, but I ended losing my marriage there. I fell so completely apart and lost my will to live, that it took a village of friends to bring me back to life.

God has continued his pattern of sending me the friends I need as I go along in life. How can I doubt the existence of God? How can I not pray? I think so many times we ask God for things and then we don't see them when He sends them. I didn't realize at the time, but every time I asked for comfort or asked for a sign that someone loved me, He sent his troops in in the guise of these wonderful angels. All I had to do was open my eyes to see answered prayer.

Its taken me these 48 years to realize the power of prayer. To all of my friends out there in the world, thanks for coming into my life and lifting me up. Thank you God, for sending them.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Okay, enough already, here's a story :)

(This is Thatcher, Arizona, where the sign says on both sides "Eastern Arizona College". It is the only stop light in town.)

Eastern Arizona College

Joy Duncan - wearing my bathing suit

Since I have been nagged by a few friends to write some more, here goes, this one's for you Lenny:

A long time ago, in a galaxy, far far away, in a land called Arizona, I went to college. I picked Arizona because the family that I used to babysit for were planning on relocating there and I figured heck, if I couldn't get to Hawaii, Arizona could be the next best thing. Eastern Arizona College. The brochure the school sent was wonderful, obviously meant to paint a fraudulent picture of life in Thatcher, Arizona. It showed pictures of the ocean, pictures of beautiful mountains, rivers etc. Very picturesque. For those of you who may not know anything about eastern arizona, there is no water, no rivers, and it is not near an ocean. There are mountains though, rocky mountains. Picture a desolate desert town, with a few buildings and one stop light.

I was visiting an older brother in Arkansas who put me on a greyhound bus to my destination in Arizona. The "kind" greyhound bus driver told me he was dropping me off in the front of the registration building, such a nice, caring man. I grabbed my two little bags and hopped on off and was a little slow in noticing that I was dropped off in front of a crowd of about 100 big muscular guys. Just happened it turned out to be the boy's dormitory. Keep in mind, I had only seen maybe two or three minorities tops, in my entire life (seeing that St Lawrence County in NY is made up of only white, french, catholic, short people).

Two guys walked up to me and told me that I shouldn't be headed in that direction, that it was indeed the boy's dorm and they offered to walk me to the Registration building. I remember thinking how kind they were. On a side note, I ended up marrying and later divorcing one of them (thats a whole volume of stories).

I was assigned a room in Nellie Lee Dormitory, being the third female to arrive on campus that semester. I could take my pick of rooms. I unpacked my belongings which included some sports jerseys and trophies from high school. (Proud soccer, basketball and softball player for the OFA Blue Devils). I had one picture I made in shop class out of copper, where I engraved the face of the devil on it and painted the perimeter blue, in keeping with our theme.

As the dorm is filling up, I was assigned a roommate, Sydney. Beautiful girl, blond haired, pretty enough to be an actress. We was rather quiet those first two nights, didn't talk much and I figured she was shy. On Day three, when I got back from lunch, she was gone, bags and all. She had moved to a private room. Her reason? She believed me to be a devil worshipper because of my copper blue devil. She was only the second person in my life I had ever met who wasn't a Catholic. She was a member of the Mormon church, which most of the campus was.

After that, the dorm was filling up rapidly, but no one wanted to be my roommate, because I was a New Yorker. I had girls ask me, "so what is it like to shoot heroin? and have you ever worked as a hooker?" I couldn't believe it. They thought I was some big city tramp with a drug problem, just because I was from NY. I tried in vain to explain that where I am from in NY, its just a little tiny town on the border of Canada and the worst crime reported in the newspaper back then was "Dog found running at large.". Needless to say, I was without a roommate until a week before classes started.

The dorm mother, the wonderful Martha Winkler, comes to me and asks me if I would consider this girl, Joy, to be my roommate. She was also from New York. I was like, "sure, no problem, why wouldn't I?" Well, I was told, "well Joy is a 'colored' girl". Everyone else refused her as a roommate. I couldn't believe it. And come to find out, she was from Auburn, New York, which wasn't far from my hometown.

Joy Duncan. Her mom came with her to school and her mom stayed for the first two weeks. Joy was such a nice quiet girl. The mother was so nice, too. At the end of the two week period, Joy's mom headed on back to Auburn. That night, the first night her mom was gone, Joy went to dinner and didn't come home. I was scared to death. I remember thinking that someone kidnapped the black girl because they didn't want a minority in our building. I had visions of all these horrible things happening to her. Poor little Joy. The security guard just kind of laughed at me when I told him at midnight, that Joy was nowhere to be found.

I went to breakfast the next morning, and who shows up? Well, Joy, with about a thousand hickies all over her. She was a lighter skinned black girl, but do you know how hard it is to have that many hickies on that kind of complexion? I told her I was worried sick about her and where in hell did she go. Well she told me, she spent the night with Randy "mad dog" Jackson, this little scrawny white guy from Georgia. I look around and Randy is sitting with the rest of the football team and showing all of them his "hickies", including the ones that were below the belt line, if you catch my drift. Ah, to be so young and so naive. (translation - stupid). And I worried about her nasty ass.
Over the next semester, she would come back to the room every few days and finally take a bath. She never brushed her teeth. One day, a few other friends and I grab her and drag her to the bathroom and hold her down on the floor and take a toothbrush and toothpaste and brush her teeth, telling her that her breath smelled like shit and we couldnt' take it anymore.

Next thing, she starts wearing my clothes. Not just my clothes like jeans or shirts, but my underwear. Now I grew up in a house full of girls, but I would never wear any of my sisters underwear, still gross just thinking about it. So I would take my clothes from the bottom of her closet and wash them, and toss the underpants in the trash. At this point, we started arguing on a daily basis. "Don't wear my shit, especially with your nasty whorish ass, and your stinky no teeth brushing breath." She kept it up. And she kept up her late night escapades in the boys dormitory.

So much so, she ends up getting kicked out of school. So for a few weeks, she was trying to get up enough nerve to tell her mother she had to come home and made up some story. I gave her an ultimatum, get out of my room and don't touch my stuff.

I am off with another weird friend one day, looking at the accident site where a fellow student, Greg Morales died (thats another story) We had to ride bicycles to get to that place, because it was a few miles out on the highway to Safford, Arizona. This friend comes by in his car and tells me that he just took Joy to the greyhound station and she was gone. I remember feeling such relief.

Then he tells me. "She packed all your shit, all your clothes, your blankets, everything, your shoes, underwear, everything. She took it all." WHAT?????? So he tells me again, "yup, she took your suitcases, and packed everything of yours and took it all with her home to NY. I told her not to, not to be like that, but she said too bad." ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

I thought it had to be a friggin joke. He gives me a ride in his car and I am in tears, still not sure whether to believe him or not. Well he wasn't lying. I get back to the dorm, and back to my room, and it was all gone, everything. Absolutely everything. Well she left me the hotplate and a hairdryer. But everything else I owned was gone. The clothes, the linens, even my hairbrush, all gone.

All I could think about was how naive I was, once again, "will you let this poor girl be your roommate? no one else will. And her mother is such a nice lady, she is here with her and her mother approves of you." hhmmphhh.

One of the first people who came to console me, was my original roommate of two days, Sydney the Mormon. We had become friends afterall over the months of that first college year. She decided about three weeks into school that she no longer wanted to be a member of the Mormon church and plotted ways to get ex-communicated. I think her final action which worked was she slept with the local bishop. She got ex communicated all right. Then she threw this wild ex-communication party. It was one of the best parties I ever went to in college.

Is there a moral to this story? Not really. It just taught me a thing or two about first impressions. The crazy Mormon chick might be your best friend a year from now, and the familiar voice from home may be your worst nightmare. Oh yeah, and never have a roommate.

to be continued.............

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

For Pete

Everyone once in a while I feel motiviated to write, just a little. Here is my latest, a poem for my friend and buddy Pete:

What do you say when you want to give a friend hope.
You want to make sure, that they survive, and not end up, with their neck through a rope.
You want to tell them stories that encourage them and promise great joy and true happiness.
Let them know that they can come out alive, from their current life mess.
So where do you go, to find what you want to say, and what stories to tell,
The bookstores have books on this, which they would be more than happy to sell.
There are books by men named Max Lucado and TD Jakes,
Which are a million times better than the ones written by some Christian fakes.
My favorite is probably max’s book, He Still Moves Stones, in Chapter Three.
In a story about a man God has called to set his people free.
Born to a slave, who set him upon the Nile to find the pharoah’s daughter,
To prevent him from being one of those babies killed in Ramses infant slaughter.
Raised as a king’s son, in the palace with no expenses spared,
But when witnessed a slave murdered, his actions showed that he cared.
He killed the man who killed the slave and to the wilderness he fled.
I’m sure old Ramses just thought he was dead.
But God had other plans for this man they called Moses, a shepherd he was to be
Because he would be responsible for helping the Hebrews to be set free.
One night while sitting around a certain bush, thinking about his sheep
The bush became engulfed in fire, it was so quiet, at first Moses couldn’t hear a peep.
But then came the voice from Heaven, for it was God who would now speak.
Telling Moses to take off his shoes, and letting him know on holy ground he stood
Explaining that he could lead his people to freedom, walk right out of Egypt he could.
I wonder what Moses was thinking when the creator of the universe explained his plan to him that day
Probably, “there is no way in heck I can do this, there is just no way”
I am just a nobody, an old man who tends sheep
Why do you bestow your faith on me, Dear Lord, isn’t this a giant leap?
I imagine the Lord giggled, I am sure he has a sense of humor
Remember the armadillo? God laughed when he made it, of this I heard a rumor.
“Why Moses, you wonder, why I chose to select you for this important mission
I know all, I hear all, and I see all, imagine this vision:
My people will walk from the west to the east
They will take their belongings and all of their burdens of beast.
I know there is a sea, that is directly in your path, on the way to your new land.
But I will be there, like always, and I will give you a hand.
For god is all powerful, all knowing and mighty as can be,
With the wave of his rod, he allowed Moses to part the Red Sea.
Nothing can stop the Lord, from what he chooses to do,
Not the actions of little old me, or little old you.
When God makes up his mind that there is an action he wants you to take
He uses all kinds of drastic measures, causing you to choose the option you must take.
It may not seem like magic, the ways that he chooses to help us all out
Sending us to jail to help us? We surely do doubt.
Being in jail tends to put people where they belong, way down on their knees
But God is there, he is there always, He never leaves.
He wants us to think about the life he has given us, what a great gift that is
We always choose our own ways, instead of following his.
He has given us the rules, the Ten Commandments, we know them well
Living by those rules, never breaking them, is a story I would like to tell.
But we are mere humans, not Godly and perfect like He
But one day in heaven, that is exactly how it will be.
Every day we see glimpses of heaven all around us, here and there
I have seen a few of them, and I have a few stories to share.
I’ve seen a boy named Payton with a dog named Brownie, laughing and running
I’ve seen a bride out in Texas, the prettiest, the most stunning.
I’ve watched people run to those in need to help out
In places like New Orleans, when Katrina caused so many to doubt.
I’ve watched the birth of babies, many who weighed less than a pound.
They have survived, all miracles, we’ve found.
I’ve seen people with no legs, who have learned how to walk
You see Jesus performs real miracles, he speaks the real talk.
You may think he doesn’t know about you, young Peter Lalonde, yes you.
But I assure you not only does he know you, he really loves you.
His death on the cross washed away all of our sins
And for this reason, we can do nothing but win.
Life is about dreams, and the hope that they one day come true.
Look up at the skies, and watch the stars following you.
God is upstairs watching over you and me
He loves us so much, he wants us to be happy.
When life leaves you doubting about what is wrong and what is right
Look up into heavens, and look for that bright light.
God loves us all so much Pete, I hope you can feel it tonight
Say your prayers, believe in Him, and He will make things just right.
As proof of above, he has already given you the best gift of all
A daughter named Adrian, and for her you must not fall.
You just have to learn from your mistakes and have faith in the Lord,
Keep busy, make plans to do things for when your life becomes bored.
Learn to love yourself Peter, is the message God told me to give to you
God loves you, you belong to him, yes, you most certainly do.
I wrote this for you my friend, my buddy, my little Pete
You have always been special to me, yes my little sweet.
God says to tell you, he has a special message for you,
“Hey Pete, this is God, I really do love you.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's just another day in the neighborhood, another day....

Just sitting here thinking about what to write, and all of a sudden I was thinking of Fred Rogers, not really quite sure why, and probably don't really want to know. A couple friends told me they were looking for my next blog, so I am trying to oblige...

It's been almost ten days since my last blog, so trying to remember what has happened in that time. The Giants of course are on their way to the superbowl with the Patriots. The cowboy fans in the house are now planning to root for the Patriots. Not me, I just can't join that Tom Brady bandwagon. Something about the whole abandoning a pregnant girlfriend thing and being a schmuck. So when Sunday arrives, I'll be in my recliner cheering on the Giants. I am a New Yorker after all.

Youngest son is still trying to drive me straight to the funny farm. He has gotten detention probably 9 of the past 12 school days. It is still "never his fault." It's a conspiracy. He was only asking a question. He was only trying to twirl his erasers, he really wasn't trying to hit the girl in the back of her head. He makes my brain numb, because I just don't get it. How can anyone enjoy public scolding on a daily basis and then come home to a livid mom who wants to beat you?

It was a bad week for one of my friends and I felt so bad for her, I wanted to search out the piece of scum who hurt her and destroy him. Why is it always the really nice people that get hurt? The ones who so quickly open their hearts and help others, who truly know how to love people, they are the ones that the evildoers just wreck and destroy. This girl, it just kills me, I have watched her for about four to five years now, she is such a beautiful girl, in site, in personality, and in her heart. She is the type who would do anything for anyone in need. If she were on her way to the ball, but if on her way, she came across a poor unfortunate soul who needed a ride, or food, or someone to make a phone call for them, anything, she would drop her plans and do for them. When I think about all of the times I have had bad attitudes, and done negative stuff, or lost my temper, it just makes me feel so very humbled when I think of how she is. She is truly, genuinely one of the kindest souls God has ever put on this earth. Unfortunately, I don't know how find the cretin who hurt her. I feel like calling my friend Jackie in New Orleans, and having her put that "potion" on him. If I had his picture, Jackie would show me how to put it in the hollow of the tree, and make the wind blow him away, forever. I better make sure my friend doesnt' have any underwear planted in her front yard. Since I am a Christian, I have to turn to God for help and I hope and pray the Lord deals with him, in just the right way.

The other highlight of my week was going to a "women's get together" with some friends. It was supposed to be to just get out of the house, have some laughs, and spend time with other women. Hey if you don't have a guy to spend time with, women with a sense of humor are the next best thing, or so I thought. I offer to drive the one friend to the hosts house. We get there, absolutely stunning house. I look around, and its about 20-25 really young women, 20ish. It's a catalog party, but what I didn't really understand, its a sex toy catalog party. Sooooooooooooo the last place I would have wanted to be on earth, was at this type of party, especially with a bunch of skinny, snotty little 20 year olds. The sales lady, (and I feel very generous using the word lady), had a table of products. They had gels and lotions and during the party, she had several of the girls go into the bathroom and put these products on, and come out and tell us how they made us feel. I leaned over and asked my friend, (is this supposed to be for lesbians, because they KNOW WE ARE NOT, RIGHT?). She tells me its just for fun. They mix product show and tell along with games, for entertainment. One of the games required all of the women to write down phrases said during sex. Everyone put their papers in a pot, and then drew one out. When they called your number, you were supposed to stand up and shout out, with emotion, the words written on your paper. Initially I just stood in the corner, and refused to write anything. I finally jotted down, "oh shit! this is stupid and disgusting." referring to the game. The lady came and took my paper. When they handed them all back, I managed to get my own paper back, which made me chuckle. I ended up deciding this was no place for me, and I went outside and looked around her house and yard, admiring the beautiful tile in the driveway. If I hadn't brought the other ladies, I would have left as soon as I saw the products on the table. But I felt bad because I was the driver so I sat in the corner, just watching the others. In one chair was two lesbians. One had a teri cloth sort of wrap on, the kind of thing you wear over a bathing suit. Only this chick wasn't covering a bathing suit, she was butt naked underneath. She decided to spread her legs and give us all a view, and then stand up and bent over right in front of us, several times. As a nurse who had to go to labor and delivery for years, I have seen about 1000 more naked women than I ever wanted to, so I just shook my head. No one said anything. I sat there thinking I am nuts, as I am the only person apparentlybothered. Or so I thought. I started watching the sales lady and after closer examination she reminded me of this one particular prostitute I was aware of named Sherrie. At that point, I wanted to vomit and told my friend that I was leaving. Most of the people had gone by that point. My friend was thanking the host for inviting her and I noticed one of the other women go over to the chair that the britney wannabe was sitting in, and she sprayed lysol all over it and wiped it down. I think I would have opted to throw the damn chair away.

As I left the party, I accepted the fact that the world doesn't' believe in tupperware parties anymore. I picked up my kids and went home and made the decision that if I am ever invited for anymore "women get togethers" I think I will just pass. While I don't relish staying at home listening to my 12 year old son tell me excuse of the day, I would rather sit in my bed playing solitaire on my laptop.

I never thought the day would come when I would admit, I miss Mr. Rogers

Monday, January 21, 2008

Kids can drive you to drink, amongst other things..............

All three of my sons have drove me nuts today. My youngest, with the attention span of a fly, did everything but the things I told him he needed to do. I guess its my fault, because I should know better than to ask him to do anything when I am not right there to instruct, monitor and guide all along the way. He did manage to find time to talk to girls half the day on the telephone.

Second son joins everything he can possibly can, with our relationship being chauffeur and person being chauffeured. He thinks that because his activities are all at church, I should be happy and it should all be allowed. I am supposed to provide rides on Monday evenings, Wednesday afternoons and evenings, Thursday evenings, occasional Friday evenings, Saturday afternoons or evenings, and Sunday morning and afternoons. If I can't get him there, he will ride his bike, which should make me happy. However, the road to church is a major four lane thoroughfare, which crosses under a major toll road and the road where more pedestrians have been killed than any other street in Orlando. He comes home and tells me how he made the team for one more activity. Yippee............ arghhhhhhhh. I am happy for him, I just hate the thought of spending one more minute on that road going back and forth everyday. I should have been a cab driver.

The third son is the biggest PITA. He and his wife separated just before the holidays. I don't believe in divorce, but realize this was something doomed to happen from the beginning. I am not going to say anything about her, I will leave her to her mother, handling my son is enough. He is the epitome of immaturity. The father of four kids, yet he can't get off his butt and make a better life for those kids. He wants to, just doesn't have the wherewithall to get up off his rump and do something about it. He can come up with excuses just as quick as a five year old when they break something they weren't supposed to be touching. Tough love is such a hard thing to do. You don't want to see your kids or your grandkids go without. But giving them every penny you have doesn't change anything either, because they will lose, give away, or destroy anything you do give. If only he were 12 years old, I would go pick him up by the scruff of his shirt and beat his ass. There are so many guys his age (28-30) who can sit for hours and hours each day in front of the latest gimmick from Sony, any nintendo, play station, Wii, any game system in the world. Those things they can concentrate on. But leaving the house to apply for a better job, no way. They are crippled. Cleaning up their apartment? Well they can pick up all the empty drink cans and throw them into a trash bag in the corner, and wipe the food off the TV stand and get rid of all the pizza boxes, but they can't make their beds or wash their bathtubs out. While they can afford the games that cost a few hundred bucks, they will not splurge on an iron and ironing board, heaven forbid. My grandkids aren't into reading books, but they can beat all of their aunts and uncles in any mario brothers games. I don't think my son has any higher aspirations than working as a waiter at Red Lobster. After all, he doesn't need to own a house. He doesn't care if they never have real furniture-heck, all you need is a mattress on the floor in front of the TV/game system. He's not into the finer things like a real set of dishes for four people, or bath towels that don't have holes all through them. Who needs a washer and dryer? You can wait until get you get 20 loads, and then run to the laundromat and do it all together, just once a month. Kids don't really need socks, they can just wear sandals, after all, they live in Texas. You barely need even sandals out there most of the year. If they actually went outside they would need them to protect their feet from the heat of the pavement, but no, the kids don't like going outside. When they lived here, my oldest granddaughter became hysterical when I made her walk around the block with us. She was sure a big dog was going to come and get her.

Thank goodness my daughter and her wonderful husband are not the same way. Their daughter is as normal as I am (hehehehe). She already loves to be read to, and I am sure will read on her own soon (and will learn to say, "I know thats not my Nana, Mama, it's a banana"). She loves going to the park to play with other kids, climb monkey bars, and to go see the animals at the zoo. I don't think she will be owning any electronic games anytime soon, if ever. They had a really nice set of furniture before I ever did. Their house is generally cleaner than mine (although, these days, Mama may be a little busier with someone little to run around behind). There is no way their daughter would ever be running around with no clean clothes available.

I guess it all averages out, the kids who drive you crazy with the kids who put a smile on your face. God surely has a keen sense of humor and knows how to make one chuckle :)

Some of my favorite quotes about children/parenting:

It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge. ~Phyllis Diller

You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back. ~William D. Tammeus

It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't. ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

The beauty of "spacing" children many years apart lies in the fact that parents have time to learn the mistakes that were made with the older ones - which permits them to make exactly the opposite mistakes with the younger ones. ~Sydney J. Harris

Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children. ~Marilyn Penland

You will always be your child's favorite toy. ~Vicki Lansky, Trouble-Free Travel with Children, 1991

There may be some doubt as to who are the best people to have charge of children, but there can be no doubt that parents are the worst. ~George Bernard Shaw

Now the thing about having a baby - and I can't be the first person to have noticed this - is that thereafter you have it. ~Jean Kerr

Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day. It would have been called Independence Day, but that name was already taken. ~Bill Dodds

Parents are not interested in justice; they are interested in quiet. ~Bill Cosby

If your kids are giving you a headache, follow the directions on the aspirin bottle, especially the part that says "keep away from children." ~Susan Savannah

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Go Giants!!

Little did I realize I was amongst traitors until I sat down to watch the New York Giants score an easy win over the Dallas Cowboys this afternoon. I am happy to report that the members of my household who were rooting for the 'boys are rather silent, as they do their chores this evening. Not that I would gloat or anything, but I just couldn't be happier this evening, thinking about the cowboys having to watch the superbowl from the privacy of their own homes :)

My feelings about the cowboys started such a long time ago, when I was a mere child growing up with my older irritating brother John. I would be happily sitting in the living room on the footstool watching either the Partridge Family or the Courtship of Eddie's Father, some nice little family show, and he would come running into the living room, tackling me onto the floor, shouting out the name of some dallas linebacker. You would never have caught me singing the virtues of the likes of some guy like Roger Staubach.

Years later, when I was forced to reside in the state of Texas thanks to the US Military, it just reinforced my hatred for the cowboys. The longer I lived there, the more the cowboys seemed to embody everything I didn't like about Texas. For a short while, I started to suffer a little loss of brain function and actually thought about "maybe" trying to be a fan, but then they fired Tom Landry and that thought never entered my brain again.

Tom Landry was one of the nicest men, of who I had good fortune to meet, once upon a time. I met him under unfortunate circumstances with the illness of his daughter, who succumbed to cancer at a very young age. It was such a tragedy.

Then between Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson, I learned to despise the cowboys even more. I lived in Dallas during the times that just about everybody on the team besides Troy and Emmitt were arrested. To me, Michael Irvin represented everything I did not like about the team. Occasionally some of the local radio stations would give away tickets to Texas stadium to see the cowboys and I would rush out to whatever intersection they were at to win a pair, just so we could go to the game, to boo the cowboys. I don't care who they played, it was great fun to stand in the stands full of fans and yell YOU SUCK DALLAS!!

At the time, I worked at Baylor University Medical Centers NICU, and the other nurses all loved the cowboys. They used to bring in cowboy material to make the beds of all the babies in the unit on the weekends they had games. I would scramble all over dallas to find material for whatever the team of the week was who was opposing them. I would have my two babies beds decorated with everything I could find for the other team.

Even though it was a long time ago, I still get a big smile whenver I see the cowboys lose. The topping on the cake today, was having them lose to the Giants. Who better to beat a Texas team than a New York team :)

So in addition to my blog tonight, I am sending big smiles to Cindy G, Fay, Patbo, Tina Wina, Gabby, and brother John :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Public Area Pet Peeves

After spending quite a few days out in public over the holidays, I've run into a few of my old favorite pet peeves. The things that people do in public that just make you wanna go crazy and say some stuff, you know you don't really have any right to say.

One of my least favorite things about being in crowded public places is the fact that so many people don't know how to get to hell out of the way. They are in the middle of a large walkway, but decide to stop on a dime, for no apparent reason, or perhaps to do something like just stand there and talk to whoever it is they are with, or better yet, to someone on their cell.

I went to Disney over the holidays, first with my daughter, and then with my friend from Texas and her adult son. With my daughter and I, we were just walking along, in a New York walking pace, trying to get through the crowds. With my friend, I was pushing her in a wheelchair through the crowds. Notoriously, people would stop dead in front of me and just stand there. First thing in the morning, my tolerance for their ignorance is pretty good. I have been known to say, "excuse me, excuse me, ummm excuse me" a number of times and then smile as I push my way through them. By the end of the day, I have zero tolerance. I limit myself to one very loud and New Yorkerese "EXCUSEEEEEEEEEEEEE MEEEEEEEE" at which point if they don't immediately move, I have no qualms about taking a baby stroller or a grocery cart, or a wheelchair and just ramming it into their heels as sharply as I can. I feel zero remorse or guilt. I don't care if they are five years old or fifty five years old. My children have told me I am mean as did my friends son. I admit it, I don't care. I really don't give a shit if I rip the skin off their heels. My belief is that if you are going to be in front of people and you need to stop, for any reason, then move to hell out of the way. I could not believe the people who walked right in front of my friends wheelchair to hurry up and get in front of her, just as I couldn't believe the people who when she was walking with her cane, hurried up to get in front of her, not caring if they knocked her down or not. It happens all of the time when I have my granddaughter in a stroller in the mall or the airport, anyplace public. I guess the nimrods don't realize the force of forward motion when someone jumps in front of them and comes to a complete halt. Matter doesn't stop on a dime, but apparently these people have never heard of or understand inertia. So in my sick little mind, if I am going to run into them anyhow, I may as well give a little extra umph, and push whatever I am commandering into them with a little extra force.

I must have gotten the ankles of at least ten unruly children whose parents were in outer space over the last two days. Which brings me to my second pet peeve: retarded parents who should not be breeding.

At one of the attractions, my friend and I were looking at the couple in front of us. Mom appeared to be mostly normal. Dad was definitely a chromosomal aberration of some sort. The three boys with them apparently received more of dads genetics than moms. They just had that "look" that most neonatal nurses are familiar with. We used to call it the 5P look. The piss-poor-protoplasm-poorly-put together. The kids who are born and we all know there's an extra allele or something or maybe Mom and Dad are relative, if you catch my drift. One of the boys of this family kept running around stepping on people, bumping into people, bumping into the walls, etc. At one point, he runs head on into the wall and strikes his forehead into a metal ornament on the wall, actually hard enough he could have spliced his forehead open. The parents never noticed. The kid staggers, trying to fight tears, holding the skin on his forehead together, looking like he probably had a pretty good concussion. Mom and Dad are looking around the walkway not paying attention to any of the kids. We next go up some stairs, which has a door blocking the downstairs, and chains and other items apparently set to block anyone from trying to go down the stairs or look over the banister. The same boy who hit his head, wants to look over the banister. So Dad the dumbass lifts him up, and hoists him over the barrier so he can look over and see whatever may be down there, that he apparently thought was worth the risk of killing his son should he drop him. Just amazing. As a former pediatric nurse, I know the kind of parent all to well. We used to deal with parents like this all the time, as we would shake our heads in disbelief at how stupid some people are.

My third pet peeve came around lunch time. At any of these amusement parks, its always the same thing. A bunch of little expensive food stands, selling burgers, fries, an occasional salad, different kinds of ice cream treats, and your stand bottles of water and soda. And why are the lines so long?????? Because dumb ass one and two at the head of the line can't make up their minds. The ones who could read the menu from fifty feet back in line and had 20 minutes or so to make up their minds before they ever hit the cashier, but no, they can't decide. Like all of a sudden the menu from Red Lobster is going to show up and they really will have a choice of more than a burger, hot dog and fries. THATS ALL THEY HAVE FOLKS. It's the menu for yesterday, its the menu for today and when you come back to Disney ten years from now, it will still be the menu. And if you havent' been able to make up your mind after 30 minutes in the line, go to the back of the line and let the next person order their food. These must be the same rejects who go to Mickey Dees or Burger King and sit there at the window for ten to fifteen minutes perusing the menu. Can anyone in america really not know the entire menu at a mcdonalds in this day and age? Kids may not know how to write their address, but they all know everything on the menu at mcdonalds.

My last pet peeve is probably my biggest, and that is people who bring small children to these large amusement parks, Disney, Universal Studios, Seaworld etc. None of these parks is for small children, none of them. Sorry Walt, but even magic kingdom is no place for a two year old to spend more than one to two hours. I typically feel zero pity for children, but this is one of my exceptions. These poor little babies do not need to spend 8-15 hours strapped in a stroller, in the hot sun, being pushed around an amusement park like they are. If you stood near the exits when people are leaving, you'll see all these pathetic little toddlers, strapped into strollers, almost always sunburned, crying or screaming. They are exhausted. So the parents have just spent a small fortune dragging these poor kids through this. For a family of four, its now over $300 a day to get in the park and get something to eat for one meal. Most of the day is spent waiting in long lines for rides, or in the bathroom line waiting to have a diaper changed. The rest of the time is spent passing out in the stroller from exhaustion, or waiting in a food line behind the retards who cant' decide between a cheeseburger or a chicken leg.

I want to conduct a study one day whereby people are photographed and interviewed at their entrance to the park, and then photographed and interviewed when they exit. The study needs to include all the money they spent for the day so when the results are tallied you can send the parents a report showing how much they paid to take their kid home at the end of the night screaming with "pleasure".