Monday, September 26, 2011

StRAwbErRy fiELdS FORever...

Let me take you down...

I can't sing.  I never know the words, I have no pitch, and I have an annoying little lisp. I never could sing... but that never stopped me.

When I was in High School, my Bestie, Richie, and I were involved with a Christian youth group called Young Life.  we enjoyed singing along to the songs...quietly. But when we got in the car to head home, we belted them out as loud as we could, not caring how horrible we sounded.

I have always been a singer. I sing along to the radio. Even the songs I really shouldn't know. I sing when I have headphones on, looking and sounding weird. I sang to my Babies, and sing to my pets.

Songs left me a couple years ago. Not completely... but, the songs from my heart, singing a joyful tune, singing because you are happy... were gone for too long.  My depression stole that joy from me. It's been a silent couple years.

Guess what?  The songs in my heart are back!  I find myself singing aloud a lot once again. Whistling & humming came first...Then it happened.  I found myself once again singing in the shower. Singing in the car. Singing all the time.

Happiness has arrived and I feel the joy in my heart.

It feels good to be back♥

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Perfect Fall Weekend

Yesterday was the first official day of Autumn.
Because I do not work on Fridays, I enjoyed an additional beautiful crisp day for my weekend.
I ran to Half Price Books to look for a couple of easy sewing books for the girls at school. I did find  some good ones, then I wandered over to the Children's Books. I have ALWAYS loved Children's books.  Even before having children I had a collection on a shelf. I have always been a reader & I thank my Mom for taking us to the Library every couple of weeks.  During the summers of Junior High we had the Book Mobile park across the cul de sac. I was thinking about picking up Early Readers & Story Books for my Daughter, Emily.  She will soon be teaching and wants to build her library supply.  So hard not to buy dozens!  These books are awesome! Always in beautiful condition.  I picked 9.
She's excited.
I will give them to her today after Church.

Yesterday Hubby & I went back to Ball State for more tailgating.

It was great fun. I love our friends, the Boyd's, and we had fun catching up. Hanging with the "Baby", Annie, is always a treat. She showed us the house she signed  her 2012-2013 lease with. Amazing she is just starting year 3 at BSU, and already finalizing plans for year 4 living. But if you want a good place, that is what you do. She and two current roommates will join four more for a house of SEVEN Roommates!

When I got home I snapped a couple of photos of a sneak peek of our lovely foliage. It's already starting and soon will be full bloom.
look at Dakota in the background
I love the pop of color
random leaves & branches daring their color
evergreens filling with pine cones
I must make sure I make a trip to Brown County this year for the full effect.  It is quite spectacular and I must share it with you this year.

Today is rainy.  I still love it. One of the best things about living in the Midwest is the change of seasons.  We really get it all and I feel blessed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Oh Crap!
So, Hubby is out of town and I have been trying to get caught up in Blog World with this free time.  Which okay, truth be known, I can get rather consumed in the reading & commenting and not pay attention to whats going on around me.
I work a 9 hour shift and give myself time to get there & back so it makes for a long day for the dogs to be cooped up in their room.  I decided earlier to let them lounge outside and soak up this beautiful fall day as long as possible.
Okay, confession time... We are a little bit Hillbilly... just a little when need be. The one reason I did not want to buy this house is the stupid association rules that do not allow me to put a fence up in my backyard. Oh, wait a minute... I can put a fence there liking which means a wrod iron fence to the sum of around $12,000 to surround my yard & not even give me privacy. It's my damn backyard & I really want my critters to be able to gallop about and enjoy the yard.  so anyway here's the Hillbilly thing. We have a stake in the yard with a long tie down leash (actually to make it more Hillbilly, it is two leashes linked together). I then link Riley's leash to the end of it, with Bandits leash handle through the tie downed leash so he can run the length as well.
Anyway.. every now & then they will pull the stake out and wander the yard. Not very often, but it has happened.  By The Way... Dakota isn't leashed, he just stays right next to Riley & Bandit.
So, I am engrossed in Blog reading with the dogs out, and I hear a dog howl...hmm, that sounds kind of like Riley. But I don't get up. There it is again.. But it sounds far.  hmm. Back to reading.

Then all Hell breaks loose & I am sure that is Riley's bark, although not in the back yard, accompanied by Bandits bad ass gonna kill you bark & Dakota's little yeah...that's right! yipping.
I dart out back, hear the dogs but not in sight.  I am calling them, trying to figure which direction to go. A neighbor a few homes down appears and waves telling me they are over here.  I run to find my dogs tangled with the Hillbilly leash stuck in between beautiful landscaped pine trees, making a mess & still trying to attack my neighbor Tim.  He had wanted to help them when he noticed them but they wont let him approach. Even with me present, they pretty much want to eat Tim.  Yes, I am that neighbor with the mean dogs.  The unpetable dogs in a neighborhood swarming with the friendliest dogs you'd ever meet. I thank him & apologize and we agree he needs to step off so I can get them untangled...  I can only imagine what he was thinking of me, the leash tiedown, and my unruly Dogs.
To make matters worse, I get a bunch of tree sap all over my hands and my fingers keep sticking together.  See? Nice how my ring finger is now attached to my middle finger.  AND I have an annoying habit of running my hand through my hair... It is sticking to the hair.  When I try to talk with my hands signing today, I will be a mess.  Scary hands.
Hey~ did you notice the cool crackle polish? Here's a better picture with a clean hand from last night. Im petting Riley.  I bought a bunch of polish for my girls at the School.  Their school colors are orange and black so I did the crackle with orange & black.  I know! I am so cool!  No wonder the girls all love me! I also braided hair last night. I hope no one ask tonight because my sticky hands will get caught in their hair.
I have been searching turtles as we thought it would be fun to have a pet turtle.  But I forgot we live in INDIANA, where little turtles are banned from selling. And the turtles over 4 inches (legal size) are so expensive. I have also realized with all this research that they really are not the pet we should be looking for.  I mean come on, my animals always outlive their normal life expectation and therefore could easily out live us all!  Nah... maybe I will look more at Hermit Crabs. Please don't mention gold fish..we already tried them. Long story..
I best be getting my butt off the couch & start getting ready for work.
Have a great one all!

No Regrets.... from now on

I admit. I have had a few.
Maybe too many.
Would I have arrived where I am without them?

I do wish I could twitch my nose, and POOF! that didn't happen!

But... I can't.

And that's okay.

I have learned a lot over the past few years. Particularly the past couple.

What has happened, has happened. 

As Betsy has taught me... "you can't changed that chair into a couch no matter how much you want it done!" With that being said, I am ready to move on.

From writing, and reviling some scars I have thought much about some of the things I have endured. I am not looking for pity here... I just wonder how things were overlooked and I was not rescued.
...from the abusive teacher
...from the abusive uncle
...from the abusive friend of a parent
...from the abusive boyfriend
...from the neglectful friend

was it really hard to step up and protect the child? the teen? the woman?


Then, I think of the mistakes I have made on my own. Sure, blame it on someone or something, but when you get down to it, I made my paths myself.
What was I thinking?
Why wasn't I thinking?

sigh times two.

Today is a new day. 
From here on, I am not going to allow myself to be a victim. 
I am going to continue to be me... moving forward with a generous heart full of love. I am going to be giving and helpful. I am gonna keep smiling and laughing.

I feel a sense of relief.  Like a heavy burden has been lifted.

dare i say it?


Sunday, September 18, 2011

That's Not ME!!!

Hubby & I
Have you ever got ready to go somewhere... and felt pretty good about your hair, make up, and clothes? Felt you are looking good... healthy.. grateful for the few shedded pounds, feeling comfortable.  But then, later, catch your reflection, or see a photo and think... who is that? I know I left the house looking better than that!

Yesterday, I had to attend a wake service thingy, for my Brother-In-Law. I chose a brown dress that makes me feel pretty.  Both my Daughter and Father In Law, commented on how I looked, that I looked thinner & pretty. Made me feel very good.

We got home made a quick change & took off for a college football game and tailgating fun.

I still felt good about looking how I felt. I thought my hair was behaving (not doing that stupid cowlick thing I catch in most photos) and was happy that my jeans were actually needing a belt.

Things aren't always the way they seem.  Rather than a person with an eating disease that thinks they look worse than reality, sometimes things are flipped & you don't look as good as you thought.
My friend Carol took this photo...obviously, not a good profile of me. My waist is not that wide... I'm still a size six, but I hope that it's just the damn chair making me look like that... And the bus driver arms... please someone tell me how to rid myself of these cruel oldie reminders..

I use to embrace aging. I absolutely loved the ages 35-45.  I had a rocking little body that I finally accepted. My hair was healthy, and my skin was amazing. Something started changing once I past 45 and let me tell you... it's been down~hilling ever couple of months.

Weight gain... whatever. My hair lost it's shine & has odd gray curly hairs that stick out like floral sprays. I get these "age spots" all over my body, as well as stray "eyebrows" that manage to make their way in the worst places... not to mention the occasional skin tag and sebaceous cysts. My vision has weakened and I can't always see well enough to get make up on without looking like a clown (hence why I rarely wear it).
I am MENOPAUSAL... Oh now this is quite a joyous journey. Mom had a Hysterectomy at 35 so she skipped this little phase of womanhood.  My Sis, just told me her Doctor told her it can sometimes last 10 years. WTH? Seriously?  Not what I needed to hear! I'm always hot... I get teary EASILY... I have to admit, I get annoyed and yes, occasionally bitchy.  (I'm sorry to those in my path).

I wanna be that woman I know I can be & look.  The one I see myself... in my mind... not in the mirror!

I wish Calgon could really take me away in a wonderful bath like the old commercials.  I need my "Peace in the Valley".

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What Happened to Kristen

This is a somber anniversary.  9/11 affected us all in one way or another.
My cousin and her husband worked in the Trade Center, and I am not sharing her story.  I still, even after all these years, know just bits and pieces of her story. She was pregnant with her twins. She & her husband survived. It's difficult for her to talk about it, and she shares very little of it.
My high school friend, Kristen Frederickson, was living in New York also in 2001.  She and her family now live in London. Kristen has a fabulous blog in which I follow.  Recently she posted two wonderfully written post on what they experienced on that date. With her permission, I am sharing her story.

Kristen in London~ What Happen to Us
Avery Curran
You may also want to read this follow up post.
Kristen In London~ Recovery
Avery Curran
I can't tell you how moving this story is. You have to read it for yourself. Let it touch your heart.

ps.. i love you kristen. you are remarkable. thank you for sharing your story.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Adventurous Michelle

Michelle in the Netherlands
My darling niece is off on another adventure.  If you have been following me for a long time, you may remember a couple of years ago, when Michelle went to Germany for a year of study, prior to entering College. She adapted so well, emerging herself into the German culture. Learning, growing, and even falling in love. 
Since there she has been to multiple countries, embracing all she can. She attends Depauw University, in Indiana, and takes advantage of all the opportunities she can to travel abroad.  Earlier this year she even traveled to Israel.  Michelle knows four languages. English, French, German, and Latin.

Recently she went back to Germany to visit her Host Family and see her Dominic (the charming German she has fallen for). She visited a few places including Paris, before starting her next adventure.

She is currently studying abroad in Madagascar...
from her flight, viewing the beautiful island of Madagascar
My Sister, Julie, shared a recent letter from Michelle.  She seems to be adjusting well to this interesting place.  She is quite the minority... Not just as an American, but her delicate frame, with blond hair & blue eyes.  Something that is not seen often there. 
Here is an insert of her letter:
here is a description of the city (first impressions) i wrote right after the ride from the airport to our hotel. It was about 45 minutes down small city streets, with vendors and markets, people selling whatever they can sell (from vegetables to car seats..). Children walking barefoot, women carrying bundles on their heads, men pulling extremely heavy carts of wood. Chickens (both dead as meat and alive walking around on the street) were surprisingly skinny. I've never seen chickens that scrawny before. Hundreds of people out on the streets, in open air shops, walking, sitting, cramming together in vans (somewhere between carpooling and hitchhiking, that's how a lot of people get around i think), and not one single white person
a view of the countryside in Madagascar
a city view of Madagascar
another insert:
They have electricity and running water, they even have internet (which is surprising). Not wifi though, so I won't send this until tomorrow (right now I'm lying in bed typing on my netbook). It's not nice by american/european standards (in slight disrepair), but I'm pretty sure it's nice by malagasy standards. It's the first malagasy house I've been in though, so I can't rightly say. Running water is a luxury though. I have my own room, which I'm rather grateful for. It's nice to have some personal space.

I'm surprised at how well I can communicate in french! Not to say I can speak french well, so much as to say that I had very low expectations. But understand what the other is saying about 75% of the time which is not bad at all for the first day. It really helps that I'm in Madagascar, not in France, because it's their 2nd language, so they speak slower than French people do and use less vocab. That's good. We haven't started learning very much Malagasy yet. I know some basic words like excuse me and thank you. Other than that, shamefully, I only know how to say "No, I don't want to buy that" and "No, I can't give you money" because I get hassled a lot from venders and beggars because of the color of my skin. About giving money, little kids, who are otherwise happily playing a game, upon seeing the color of my skin, will hold out their hands for money! It's depressing to see the way race is socially constructed. I feel apologetic for the color of my skin, knowing the atrocities that my people have committed. What can I do, though? Also I've gotten more "cat calls" from young men in the past few days than I have otherwise in the entirety of my life. Having long blonde hair makes me stand out even among the americans. I get a lot of coy smiles and "bonjour madamoiselle!" and a lot of "vasa vasa!!" (malagasy for "foreigner"), and a lot of snickers. But people are just amused, not hostile.
view from the Host Family home Michelle is staying with
 I look forward to hearing more of this adventure. And as I find it fascinating, I will share with you bits and pieces.  Michelle has told me she doesn't mind me Blogging about her before, so hopefully she will still feel the same.
Sis~ I know you are reading this so just say the word if you think I should keep private & not share it.

It is so interesting how brave and adventurous Julies kids have always been.  My Girls are more like Hubby & I, not as curious about the world. We'd rather explore the many places here in the states we haven't seen.  Or just hang at a beach...

However... Annie is getting the travel bug and moving forward to her plans of traveling abroad for a Journalism program this summer to cover the Olympics in the United Kingdom. (I just wish this wasn't so costly!)

For now, I will continue to pray for my amazing Niece and this journey she is on.  If you are reading this Chelle~ I LOVE YOU♥


Tried to make some Whoopie Pies yesterday...

Used my favorite Cookbook (thanks to Pammy of Scottie's Place), A SLOB IN THE KITCHEN.
I so love Karen Duffy and her humor she uses with the cookbook.  Anyway here is part of the recipe.
Simple enough, right?  Nooooooooooooooooooo.
I don't know. I can blame it on my oven... it's the second worst oven I have ever had and it really needs to be replaced. Nothing cooks even or correct...

Maybe it was the cake mix I used.. Duncan Hines has always been kind to me in the past...
Anyway... Mine doesn't look as tasty...
They turned out so flat. Not fluffy or rounded. I still made a couple but Hubby started snacking on the flat cakes without the filling.
I decided to try a cake with the filling as a topping.

The filling was REALLY STICKY. Marshmallow creme, butter, powder sugar & vanilla doesn't really like merging...
So I used some of this for strength to get me through the task...
It always helps when I get frustrated. I read too many blogs & watch too many Food Network programs with GOOD CHEFS. Grrr! They make it look so easy!
My end results were not pretty, but I will admit they were tasty!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

an apology

apology: An acknowledgment expressing regret or asking pardon for a fault or offense

 Monday was a difficult day.  More of a heavy heart day.  
I felt sadness for my Hospice patient's death. Not really for him as much as his beloved wife. This was my first "death", in Hospice Volunteering.  I knew it was going to happen.  I am glad I was able to assist in the family as far as giving respice care. I tried not to become too emotionally attached (yes I hear you snickering those who know me and my ability to get emotionally attached to everyone & everything). But, still it was sad to see the widow, of 62 years of blissful marriage, say good bye to her beloved.

I am sorry for the family's sadness.  For their loss.

I also attended a case conference for the student I work with at  ISD.  Of course I want what is best for this sweet child. I understand and appreciate all ISD has been able to do for this child. However, once again, I got myself emotionally attached and now, as it has been determined this child needs may be more than we can currently give, the child had to become a day student rather than residential, while we scramble to find ways to meet needs. At least until we are able to provide a more acceptable circumstances for the child. As I participated in this conference, I remembered to keep the child's best interest at heart, although I knew it may mean I may miss the child.  It broke my heart...especially hearing the family stress the child will be so broken hearted.

I am sorry for this situation. I am sorry it wasn't able to work out as many had hoped.

Later once I got off work, I checked my emails and ran across a message from my Sister.  We had both been to a high school reunion block party last Saturday.  Hubby & I left before my Sis & BIL.  Julie told me she ran into an old neighbor of ours. The Bully, that beat me up everyday for two years.  Apparently, this has been heavy in his heart for some time. He expressed to my sister, how regretful he is about the abuse he put me through. He told her, how he would tease me, wrestle me to the ground, and beat me up.

This boy was my age. We were friends, neighbors... then one day he started beating me up. Don't sit there & think, awe, his way of saying he liked you.  We were in the 6th and 7th grade.  He would stand on the bus turn to face me and say with a grin, "Time for your daily beating". I would try to get away. I would beg the bus driver to make him stop (whom rarely did... usually if it got rough he would tell the boy to wait wait till we were off the bus). My parents would confront his Mom (Dad was never available). My parents then tried to teach me to defend myself. {Thanks Dad~ I still remember some of those moves}. This Bully was odd. I would get beat up, once a day & the rest of the day he'd act like we were friends. He'd talk to me, played kick ball together with the neighborhood, we had school classes together, he once rescued a puppy a man was drowning in the nearby creek, and brought it to me, asking my Dad if I could have it... One day I was to be disciplined in class, for excessive chattering (imagine and I was going to get paddled.. My Bully stood up, told the teacher, he would take my whacks. She let him.. As he walked by me, he said, Im the only one allowed to hit you.
We all knew everyone's business in my little neighborhood. Everyone knew that he & his brothers got beatings from a drunk Dad. But, I still didn't deserve to get the beatings from him.  And by the way... he only beat me up. No one else, Except maybe for those neighborhood boyhood scuffles. Few friends ever tried to make him stop. In fear they would become his target. My Sister, his brother, Bestie Mary, and a couple others would actually stop him...or he would avoid hitting me around them.
One day, he caught me cutting through a hidden shortcut to a friends house.  I was terrified as he threw me down and rather than punches, he choice to start touching me inappropriately.    This was different and I was scared. Some older boys heard me scream and came into action. They pulled him off, Picked me up, helped me straighten myself out and told me to run home. Im not sure exactly what they did to him, but he never touched me again. the beatings also stopped.
I could breathe again.

Back to Saturday evening, when he ran into Julie...he proceeded to take the next 10-15 minutes telling Sis to be sure to tell me that he is so very, very sorry for all the trouble he ever caused me. She assured him she'd let me know but he persistently kept on about how he had it hard with his dad being a drunk and beating him, and how the big kids on the block used to beat him up too, and how he just turned mean and took it out on me. She told me there were tears in his eyes and she know he wished he were talking to me instead of her.

I am glad he saw her instead of me.

I am glad he is apologetic.

Thirty years later... apology accepted. Thank you Jamie, I do appreciate it.

A weight has been lifted somehow from my heart. And I hope he can be at peace as well.

This apology came at a rather good time.  I hadn't thought of the nightmare of getting beat for a while, however, it does come to mind sometimes.  It is hard to understand why a scrawny girl would have to be the victim of such a thing. But, I am sure that it has helped mold me into the person I am.

The cheerleader of the Underdogs.
The nurturing Queen.
The Goddess of kindness