Wednesday, October 31

Today was officially/unofficially Halloween.

We don't DO the Halloween concept here,
1.) Because I think running around to various houses begging for anything is inappropriate, unless you are bleeding from several orifices and can't find a phone.
and
2.) I have always feared all the urban legends about freaks picking Halloween as the one day of the year to do something totally obscene, it would invariably happen to me.

It's the devil/witch/decomposing corpse part of Halloween that I don't like.

HOWEVER - there are a few aspects that I do find exhilirating.

I love the whole costume thing. Actually, we are having a party here this weekend. It is costume.
So I guess I could be called a hypocrit. I like the costumes, but not what the holiday is based on.

Kind of liking the Christmas presents, but not wanting to associate that with Jesus.
hmmmm.....
I might have to reconsider myself again.

I have thought about having a "Costume Party" in the summer.....but somehow it takes the fall to get adults even in the slightest mood to dress up as Barney or Henry the 8th. So I don't think that would fly.
So I guess I will forever label it as the "Fall Costume Party"
a thin disguise at best.

I did get over my parental tsunami from last night. Sleeping on it made me realize that there is very little that I can change about prostitutes, drug addicts or derelicts - other than to let my kids never think that lifestyle would be appropriate. My job is to try and influence my small circle of life and hope others like me will do that also.

And on an unrelated note...
It is so funny/strange to be sharing stories and feelings with one of your friends and to realize that the very thing that you thought made you a freak - was the same thing that she also thought no one else would understand...that blank realization in the return stare lets you know that maybe you aren't the only mal-adjusted, psychotic FREAK on the planet! oooh - creepy.

My brother is getting married in May. There, I said it. I still can't believe it, but it's gonna happen.
5 years my junior, I can't imagine him mature enough to handle a lifetime committment. Just a casual generic sister observance to be sure, but none the less, it is still something I shake my head in disbelief at.

Very often in my life to date, I stop and think I should write a book. My brother getting married was another reminder of just how much information I could share with people just starting out - or those who thought they were ready to. I am thinking of putting together some type of sisterly wisdom in the printed format, and presenting it to them.

I think they would be genuinely appreciative and not offended. After all.... I've pretty much done it all, and I did it backwards to boot. Who WOULDN'T appreciate my advice?

HAR HAR HAR - now I am sounding like an old lady!
I will make a wonderful mother-in-law someday.

Someday, like in 25 years.

Tuesday, October 30

Soooooo
Much to talk about.

I just got done watching a special on HBO about kids in danger, narrated by Susan Sarandon.
First of all, I shouldn't watch these things. Second of all, I watched it on the heels of Oprah - who had Dr. Phil on there, with his group of 42 people in his "Get Real" focus group and they were talking about how your parents affect your life.

Anyway - as I said, I was already emotionally wounded after Oprah - so I took this all in like a new sponge.

I watched kids in the Harlem district of NY who lived with strangers because all their family members either died of AIDS, or had been shot in the drug trade. I saw children of drug addicted prostitutes grow up in foster care, orphanages or worse yet - alongside their mothers. I watched and watched and watched. Sometime along in there, my 13 year old wandered through the LR and sat down to see what I was doing. As we watched together, we both received a big dose of something we hadn't counted on....
HUMILITY.

We both knew that she would never want for food. We knew that she wouldn't need to live under an overpass in a cardboard box because her parents moved away and left her at school one day with no where to go. (well, we hope that doesn't happen) We also knew that she was "safe" from lecherous family members who would sexually abuse her.

What I want someone to explain to me, is WHAT HAPPENED?
I have some vague ideas, but I want to know FACTS.

Why can we all ideally recall the hardworking nature of our ancestors, who believed in a hard day's work and the pride in owning or earning what you had? Nowadays our society has reduced itself into a cesspool of welfare and crime. I remember when anyone who accepted welfare was a hardship case. Now, it's vogue. There used to be a huge stigma attached to public assistance in all but dire cases.

I am sure that some could point out to me, certain areas or populations where this has been the norm for generations, and that I am overreacting. But I see it everywhere.

Kids go to school to be taught more than academics nowadays. It seems like everyone forgot about manners, respect and protocol. I fume during school events when the Anthem is played and there are kids goofing off, or when there is a speaker and no one is giving them any respect.

I am also an advocate for diagnosis based medical care, but when every "active" boy and or girl is labled ADD, or ADHD and given drugs for decades to control their behavior without assessing the psychological or emotional needs, what are we teaching them, really? We are saying that pills will help, and it's really not your fault that you can't control yourself.

< I must include the disclaimer that I have close family members and friends who do take such medications, but they are constantly supervised in all areas, not just in the "activity" department>

Where are all the ADD kids from 50 years ago? Is this new? Is it a product of our society?
Or are their parents saints for raising them med free?

Kids just aren't kids anymore, and I now sound like my Grandmother.
I see girls not even beginning the stages of puberty wearing makeup and carrying on like 18 year olds.
Anymore, I cannot tell you if a girl I see at the school is in 6th or 11th grade - they all look 26.

I know you are dying to know what MY opinion is, since I am never short one in any situation....

My feelings are, that we don't pay enough attention to our kids anymore. We all ramble about how we had it, and the "Good Old Days" Well, stop to think about it folks. If I would go back to my Grandmother's age, her daily life as a 10 year old involved some type of farm chores before breakfast, and then the arduous task of dressing for school in 4 layers of petticoats and pinafores. After that she would hop on the wooden school bus and be there until 2. After that, there were more chores waiting for her after school and by dark, it was bedtime. Family time was from 6am to dark - excepting school.
They HAD to talk or interact, because there wasn't TV, VCRs, CDs, PS2s,Cellphones, Computers and Radio.

I really think it's not too far a stretch to imagine a household where the kids are born, raised and sent out into the world where the parents know nothing of the people they will become.

I used to have serious issues with my father, and his style of parenting. Mostly, he left it up to my mom to be the disciplinarian, and to sort out all my wrinkles. He generally did not acknowledge my capacity to either be good or bad. I felt him to be pretty indifferent to my existence.

What that did in turn, was leave me, this freakishly willful child in the hands of a "parent pleaser"
I don't think my mother ever intentionally disobeyed any request her parents gave her.
Thats a whole 'nother story though.....one I am glad there was a happy ending to!

But now, I look back, and see that even though my perceptions of my parenting
were disappointing, how can I say that he didn't do all he knew how?

Somewhere along the lines we have opted for convenience vs. parenting.

We percieve that the kids are happy because they are busy, or entertained. When in actuality, we need to give them the gift of us......their families.

now my head hurts



Thursday, October 25

I have been re-adjusting.

We come sailing in, high on the crest of the wave that was Fair, then school starting, onto Volleyball season and we crash head-on into Fall/Winter. The adjustment comes in the form of now having some down time in our lives. My husband isn't working 80 hours a week anymore and the kids are home after school. None of us know exactly how to manage at first.

After bossing around a crew of 6-10 employees for 14 hours a day for 7 months, my husband seems to think that we are now an extension of the people who get paid to listen to him. He doesn't realize that we are now hostages in his dictatorship. That stage has a life of about 38 seconds before he gets ousted by the reigning Queen (which is me) and I have so far been reluctant to cry "OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!"
But that too, could always change.

The kids, well they are kids, and if you don't keep them busy you will either go insane or kill them - maybe both I will have to let you know.

I guess I like this time of year because it will become a busy time, but it revolves more around our family and whats going on in it. We aren't pushed so much by sports schedules and 4-H meetings right now.

We will soon all get involved in the nursery that will be our barn, full of new lambs and momma's. I don't know a better way to bond with your 13 year old than when you both are bent over the back end of a ewe, trying to pull out stubborn twin lambs that are all tangled up at 2am and 15 degrees outside.

I watch the winds bring Fall in, and on the immediate tails of that, Winter. I always feel such closure at Fall...like coming to the last 15 minutes of a really good movie. You know the end is coming, but you don't want it to get here. I will cling to each sunbeam, hoping that it will have friends with it. It never does at this time of the year, just more clouds that will turn the sky to Grey and the world to black and white again until Spring.

Thanks for checking in, I like to know that you still check up on me. I'm still here.
Oh my - nearly 10 days have gone by.
I guess life right now just isn't that interesting, or I'm not....I cant decide.

Actually, there is a week of the month where I can't think my way out of a wet paper bag, let alone write coherently, so I spare you all my musings during that "dark" period.

Ahem....
Now where was I ...?

I found out recently that I have a new "law" to abide by with my sheep. It's not a difficult law, nor a challenging one, but I still have my reservations.

Before now, if you had a sheep and wanted to sell it, trade it, give it away or send it to Rio for a vacation, you could do just that. No hassles, no worries.
NOW then want you to permanently ID these creatures with a tag that says EXACTLY where it came from. Like I said, not a bad idea, it just brings up some future concerns.

For those of you who don't have sheep, I will explain it a little differently.

Suppose you have 3 children. Child one, is a glowing example of your parenting skills. You take this child to weddings, family gatherings and church meetings without fearing them saying or doing anything offensive. This kid eats his vegetables, gets straight A's and does his/her chores without being told.
They grow up and discover the cure for Cancer.
This kid gets a tag in his ear that says you are their parents, and you are proud.

Child two, starts out as child one, doing well, acting fine....then goes to High School, drops out and joins an all gay review of Evita...This child too, gets an eartag proclaiming they are your offspring, and you are glad they live in San Francisco.

Third Child, well, you knew it would happen sometime. This child revolts against traditional upbringing, hops the first plane out of the country and re names himself under the Muslim religion as Bin Laden.
He too, will forever wear the shroud that haunts you.

Theres my problem.

We have a very high turnover rate here, and some sheep leave our home before they are two years old.
I have no idea what might infect or affect them throughout thier lives. Thats scary since it can all come back to haunt ME.

You might say that now, I should be highly conscientious when breeding my sheep. Once again I will agree, but have to add the disclaimer that sometimes 2+2= 37. You just never know what might happen.

Wednesday, October 17

I am glad that I haven't ever taken a class on dream analyzing. Sometimes I have real doozy's.
Lately, I seem to be remembering them almost nightly, and some are too odd.

The one I had just a few nights ago was a great story - although it didn't really fit into the "dream" category where everything is off kilter from reality in most senses. It flowed more like a movie, with a beginning, middle and end which I don't usually have. either I start in the middle, or never get an ending.

Ok - Lets go to the land of make believe.

In my dream, our entire family was out to eat with my daughters softball team at a KFC/Taco Bell. All the parents were visiting and eating.
I realized that it was nearly time to leave and I hadn't ordered anything to eat yet, so I went to the counter and decided to just get 2 biscuits to go.
Just two simple biscuits - plain - shouldn't take too long.

At this time, everyone else is throwing away their trays and putting on their coats to leave to get on the buses, and into their cars.

As I am waiting, I stand at the counter, tapping my fingers on it.

The server brings my biscuits to me in a bag, and tells me that my total is $18.75.

I explain to her that the biscuits are only .49 cents each...?
She tells me that as I tapped my fingers on the counter, I was really adding charges to my bill, because the entire counter was a computer cash register.

Of course I say that is ridiculous, because I had no idea I was doing that, and could she please take the charges off my bill because I need to leave.


She tells me to wait and she goes to get the manager. They reappear, I politely explain my situation to her and they then give me knowing nods, and she says that my bill will be the same....it was my fault.

So I go Postal. I really can't believe what is happenning. PLUS - everyone now is leaving and the softball players are already gone. My husband is in the truck waiting on me.

I shout a few expletives, throw a general fit and when I see that there is no hope of them caving in - I throw a $20.00 bill on the counter and tell them to just hurry up and give me my change.

Well....they didn't seem to like that. Now, all the other employees are observing the crazy lady who doesn't know enough not to tap her fingers on the counter with disgust.

My server tells me that she has other customers to wait on right now, and I will have to wait until she can help me.

I feel like a red hot poker. Seething, I stand in line behind the last customer there waiting.
When my turn finally comes, no one is behind the counter. They all have disappeared. I can hear them, but I can't get to them, and they won't answer me.

My husband is long gone. Heck, by this time, the game is probably over too.
I end up spending the night, waiting for someone to come back and help me.

don't ask why I didn't just leave, it's a dream I was just along for the ride.

At that point, I wake up in bed.....ready to hurt someone. It takes me a few minutes to get back in my own reality....and then I can't sleep anymore.

analyze that.

Sunday, October 14

The Fortress

Thats what we are building in our barn.
It is our turn to keep Satan's spawn over the winter. (Our Ram)

When we bought half of him, I guess I should have inquired to his housing arrangements before I signed the check. We have an entire enclosed area that we will keep him in, but in order for us to feed him, and check his water it must be reinforced.

He can jump 42 inch fence if he wants to, and he has also snapped 4x4 treated wood posts in half when he was upset about something.

I know it's going to take some angle iron and a lot of metal panels...

My husband didn't like my ideas... one was to encircle his pen with electric fence, the other was to put him in our livestock trailer all winter...

But I do know that he is waiting, counting the days until he can get another good shot at me.
Times coming......
I know.....I know.....
you don't have to tell me.

Tuesday, October 2

Sometimes I just have to laugh out loud.

Usually it is at someone other than myself....well, because I am nearly perfect and far above reproach.
(yeah right - okay)

This time, it was at my husband, who does on some plane, exist only to humor me. He would not agree of course, and I feel fairly safe that his eyes will never cross this page, so I am safe in exploiting his lunacy here. (I know, cheap entertainment at expense of others)

ok - lets get with the story.

When my dad died, and my mother moved into a condo - we inherited a riding mower that I am sure Adam probably used in his garden of eden to keep the grass trimmed up. Little by little, the poor thing has been trying to die, but we have sucessfully rescuscitated it numerous times. The kids have driven it into the side of the barn, tearing off the entire hood, we have broken off the wheels on the deck... By now it should be a bionic mower, or at least have received a purple heart for service.

She drinks about a half a quart of oil each time we mow...and the left front tire always needs pumped up before you begin your trip around the yard. The blades are uneven, so there is always a 3 inch strip of grass left tall, no matter how many times you try and go back over the yard to catch it.
I had grown very accustomed to her finer points of operation.

Tod had recently been discussing replacing her. I have a hard time parting with things in my life that are loyal, as you know, and I didn't think we should even talk out loud about getting a new one, just in case she might be listening. I also didn't appreciate the prices of new ones....especially since my husband had been dreaming about one of those new-fangled silly looking mowers that remind me of go-carts with their handles, and levers to steer with. Of course, they are also the most expensive kind.

Cut to early September.....

Some dear friends came across a working go-cart mower, and the goodness in their hearts led them to bring it to live at our home after hearing my husband yearn for one. The cost, was that it needed some minor repair work, and it was ours.

Hearing my words echo over and over in my head about driving one of those things....I watched as they unloaded it and I also observed my husbands eyes glaze over as if he had just found out he had been selected to spend a holiday weekend, as the only male, on a deserted island with the Swedish Bikini team.

It wouldn't mow at that point, but he proudly started it up and drove it around the yard like the pope in his golf cart. Smug as a snake. His eyes were mocking me at every turn those little levers made. I think, had he been 3 years old, he might have even stuck his tongue out.

Beaten, I retreated to the house.

The very next day, the "NEW" mower had an appointment at the fix-it place. The 2 week wait was harder on him than my 32 hours of labor for our first child. I bet he called 4 times to check up on it. He didn't go and visit it that I know of though.

All that while, I mowed with old yellow. Coaxing her to make just one more trip around the yard, and she did, gladly. I couldn't quite bring myself to tell her that her days as an only mower were over. I know she couldn't take it. I put her away last Thursday, in the garage after checking her oil and washing her off.

He brought the "other" one home on Monday. He had worked late, and it was almost 8:30 when they arrived. He immediately unloaded it, and began to mow in the pitch dark. It has no headlights like old yellow, but across the yard he went. For an hour he tooled along blindly in the thing. He didn't quite finish, so tonight he did the same thing...in the dark.

All I could see in the blackness of night were the flashes of his white teeth as he flew by, smiling.

..............................................