Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Mom Heart, Her Pets, and Her Hero

Hey everybody.
We aren't necessarily moving.
Sorry for the scare.
It's just that LG is looking for a new job,
and that could bring a new residence.
Let's face it,
the economy sucks.
And you have to go where the work is.

Today one of LG's cousins said they were looking for a dog.
My mother in law so kindly offered up ours.
She knows I have been thinking about finding her a new home.
I have been stressed about finding a new place for her to live,
in case we have to move.

You know, I do that stress thing from time to time.
Because I am a mom.
That's why.
And I have a mom heart.
I can't help it.
And I want to make sure that all of my kids (and pets) are taken care of.
I take no child left behind to an all new level. It's called no living thing left behind.

So, this cousin, who would provide Olive (our dog) with a wonderful home,
offered to take her on a trial basis.
My in-laws were pulling out of the drive-way,
and it was all up to me,
as to whether or not Olive was going to go along.
At least that is what LG said.
I started loving on the dog,
and I couldn't keep the tears away.
My 12 year old Alice
who lost her best friend Major (a German Shepherd)
to the vet's needle,
seemed to show her true self.
She screamed,
"Please don't make me do this."

It was decided to postpone the decision for now.
Relief washed over me,
and the 12 year old Alice
thanked me incessantly.

Once a mom decides to care for something as her own,
nobody should try to come between them.
Unless they want to watch the mom cry
for any amount of time.

The funny thing is that I have complained about this dog.
I have constantly complained.
I'm the only ones who feeds her.
Or takes her on walks.
I have to bathe her.
And cut her nails.
And get up with her in the night.
And I have to run after her when someone lets her out,
and she can run about 80 miles an hour.
From the get-go I took the majority of the responsibility for cleaning up her messes.
And it took about 6 months and ripped out carpet to properly house-train her.

But gosh danget...she is MY dog.
And I am not giving her away.
Because I promised to take care of her.
No matter what personal sacrifice I have to make.
And I love her.
And she loves me.
And my mom heart can't handle abandoning her.
And just writing the word abandon makes me want to throw up.
A mother can never abandon her children or her dogs.
She will throw herself in front of the train if she has to.

And her reward at this very moment is a dog sprawled out on the rug looking up at her with loyal eyes and her cat sitting next to her arm that rests on the desk while typing.
And on lots of days, that is more than her kids ever offer her for all of her sacrifice.

So, after my in-laws drove away,
LG says to me,
"Alice, I just made an important decision. If we do have to move, we are just gonna have to find a place that will let us have the dog and the cat."
"Why do you say that?" I question.
"You know why."

I wrapped my arms around him and started to bawl.
I love that man.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I heart Tennessee.

We have lived in Tennessee for 7 & 1/2 years.
I will admit, for this sheltered Western girl,
it took some serious getting used to.

I have blogged about some cultural differences in the past.
I have also blogged about some of the finest parts of the State.
I have laughed about the language barrier.

But, now as I face the possibility of leaving the state,
I can't stop crying.

Knoxville Tennessee has become more of a home
than any other home I have had.
Our little stone cottage
as humble as it may be,
is the place where I've
grown into my own skin.
It's the place where
LG finally finished college.
It's the place where
our 4th child was born.

It's the place where
so many memories were made.
Good and bad.

And isn't it funny how the only
difference between a good and bad memory
is time?

What's really crazy to me
is that even the things I hate about Tennessee
have become endearing overnight,
as I've faced the possibility of leaving.

And even the bad memories
have become some of my favorite
when I think of leaving the place
called home.
And every small thing
is remembered as a big miracle.

I think it kind of fitting that when I got here
I couldn't stop crying for about a year.
Because if I ever have to leave,
I am sure that will be about the same amount of time
it will take me to overcome my
home sicknesses.

I am so grateful I have blogged
about so many of my favorites.

(not affiliated in any way -
really, they are both just
showcased in the same post.)
(I am glad that the calling
of activities director
has been retired
because I never wanted that one again.)
(I don't think I will ever
get out of the habit of checking it
Our yard.
the good and bad.
And last but certainly not least
(I consider it an honor and privilege.)
We have come far
from the days
we were white trash.

And thanks
to Tennessee,
We now embrace ourselves.

Even the parts
that in the rest of the country,
we might be expected to hide.

If we end up having to move,
I hope the rest of the country
is ready for some Southern living.
Because we never plan to wash a car again.
And we have learned the art
of lawn ornaments.

Surely they can put up with our bad habits,
once they taste my
Southern cooking.

More tears.
I am never gonna make a biscuit again.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Love Affair

I have a confession to make.
I have a new passion in my life.
Or an old passion rekindled.

I figured if I was in survival mode for most of 2010,
I may as well accomplish something.

So for my moments of needed escape,
I gave in to my all alluring friends.


They are my free entertainment.
They are my free therapy.
They are my free daydreams.
They are my free history lessons.
They are my free writing critics.
They are my free friends.

They are even my free lover on the nights when my hubby and I are too tired to hash it out.
Wow, that sounds gross. K - so not really my free lover, but they are usually way more romantic than my main squeeze, even if I don't do romance.

My friend Rita just sent me the nicest compliment.
She said my librarians said that I am one of their favorite patrons.

I think that may be the best compliment I've had in a long time.
Because it means that they know that I love to read.
But it also means that they don't think that
I am all that bad of a parent
even when I have had many melt down moments
with my children while perusing the shelves with a toddler in tow.

Well, I was proud of myself because in 2010, I read 41 books.
That is 3+ per month.
My goal in 2011 is to do 48.
One book a week.
I will do it.

(Oh, and yes, I just came back to fix these numbers
because after the initial publish I realized that
there aren't 48 weeks in a year,
but I can't remember how many weeks there really are...52?
I am laughing at myself so hard right now.
Math was never my thing.
I'm an English kind of gal.
And the goal is staying at 48
because I am giving myself
however many other weeks there are in a year OFF.
Geez louise. I'm a mess.)

Just as soon as I get past reading The Scarlett Letter.
It is taking forever because the Old English is hard
and I don't know all the vocabulary words.
Oh to have that kind of eloquence.

So, I know you are dying to hear what I read.
Since I quit writing book reviews.
(My other goal of the year is to let go of guilt - so get over it.)

Here it goes: (in no particular order)

1The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (I read every Christmas)
2The Help by Kathryn Stockett
3The Book Theif by Markus Zusak
4The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
5Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
6The Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
7He Did Deliever Me From Bondage by Colleen C. Harrison
8Ford County by John Gresham
9Still Alice by Lisa Genova
10Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
11Leaning into The Curves by Nancy Anderson
12These Is My Words by Nancy Turner
13Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
14A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Future by Michael J Fox
15The Maze Runner by James Daschner
16Afternoons with Emily by Rose MacMurray
17The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
18The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
19The Titans Curse by Rick Riordan
20The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
21The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
22The Last Talk with Lola Faye by Thomas H Cooke
23Uglies by Scott Westerfield
24Pretties by Scott Westerfield
25Specials by Scott Westerfield
26Extra by Scott Weseterfield
27Cars from a Marriage by Debra Galant
28The Walk by Richard Paul Evans
29The Past by Jodi Picoult
30To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
31Boundaries by John Townsend
32Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell
33Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey
34Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakaner
35Defensive Tactics by Steve Westover
36The Seeker by Ann Gabhart
37Behind Ever Good Man by John Bytheway
38AA - The Big Book
39The Peacegiver by James Ferrell
40The LDS Guide to Addiction Recovery
41Motherhood: the 2nd Oldest Proffession by Erma Bombeck

I heart books and reading and writing and all things literature.
It is my dream to write a really good novel someday.
I came up with a great idea while reading this year.

It's a mixture of survival and future like Hunger Games
but with a cowboy indian flare like These Is My Words.
Those were two of my favorite books this year.

As a mother of 4, I find my 2010 reading accomplishments congratulatory.
If I could just include in my numbers all the children's books I've read this year.
I am sure I read Brown Bear at least 100 times.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Snow Blues

After a month of almost consecutive snow days and Winter Break,
this mom is officially in Cabin Fever mode.

I even pulled out my old gowns as a new point of interest.

I have been in a foul mood.
I am not sure quite why.
It's a combination of things, I am sure.

The lack of sunshine.
My house being at 60 degrees to conserve cash.
The cooking three meals a day,
EVERY day.
O.k. I'll be honest:
no breakfast
just lunch dinner and the 4th meal.

The daily routine of
Wizards of Waverly Place, Hannah Montana, and Cake Boss
should be envious.
(And just for the rest of you moms who are trying to survive
with a Netflix membership
because the remote
to the digital converter went missing ages ago
and you don't have any real T.V.
the last of those three shows is the winner of
Best Entertaining TV)

And there's nothing like a really long
run-on sentence to express the true sentiment
of my last month.

I've been dreaming of going to Carlos' Bakery
for a warm lobster tail or crumb cake.
Of course, in my dreams,
I am decked out fashionably
with my hair done, make-up on, and nails brightly painted.

I guess if my mind really had some imagination
I should have been wearing a Miley wig
and some Wizard glasses.
Because that is what the kids would find entertaining.

But, in my dreams,
I am all alone.
Go figure.

And then I sit to blog.
Because maybe it will help me find myself.
Or at least pull me out of this mood.

And I stumble upon this old photo:

and I remember how awesome my kids are.
And how fast they grow.

And then the smell of a poopy diaper
brings me back to my senses.
Just as Caroline goes flying off the bottom of treadmill.

And for the millionth time
with my kids
we laugh.
And I think
it's too bad
their teachers don't get to
see them at their best.

And I tell myself
to embrace these snow days.
Because even though the days go by so very slow.
The years fly by.

And, next winter,
if I am lucky
The Tennessee weather God
may bring no snow at all.

But of course,
by then I may be living in South Dakota.

And LG will still be saying,
"Oh, but this is still nothing
compared to the Winter of '88."

And I will no longer wonder how my mom survived
with seven children
because I will be longing
for my childhood
Southern California.

Where snow days
don't exist.