Thursday, November 29, 2012

the holes in my heart

Grandma, Grandpa, and the Aunts, Unc and Mum
When we are young we think we are immortal.  Death is unknown to us, and we think it can't touch us.  Every now and then, when someone we know dies a young death, we are shocked into feeling our mortality for a moment.  Then the shock passes, and we move on, busy with living our lives, and not wont to dwell on death and the uncomfortable thought that maybe we too, are susceptible.

Then middle age hits, or in my case, older middle age.  (Because who truly knows what middle age is as the population lives longer every year?)  And suddenly, we are losing people we love, that we never thought would leave us.  But they do.

Tonight I found out another person I loved has passed from this life.  Aunt Judy.  And though I have thought of her over the years, I never thought she would pass from this world.

Before her passed my other mother, my mother in law, of whom there will never be an equal. Before my other mother was Aunt Joan.  And before that was my dad.  Before him my wonderful Aunt Irene.  And before that was my father in law, my other dad, John B.  Before that was my Grammy.  Before Grammy was my Grandpa, and my Grandma after him, and before that was my step mother, a gentle soul who showed me kindness and love when I was so homesick I thought I would die.  There have been other family members and loved ones, but these people impacted my life and changed me as a person.  And with their deaths, I changed again.

I have lost, but I have also gained.  And learned life's most valuable lesson.
my sisters laughter and love is contagious

Live every moment.  Be aware of those moments.  Once gone, they cannot be regained.  All you will have left is what your mind and heart capture in memories.

Don't waste a single moment.  There will be no chance to relive them.  So live them, savor them.  Open your eyes and look.  Feel.  Taste.  Smell.  Touch.  And love each moment, each day as though they were your last.

My life is better for having Aunt Judy and my other family in it.  They can't be replaced.  Aunt Judy was unique, there was no one else like her, and never will be.

They have left holes in my heart that can never be filled. is truly good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

clash of the tight-ans

Thanksgiving was different this year.  In our family it is always a bit different but we manage to hang on to several traditions so it seems a little less bizarre.

There is the traditional turkey and dressing.  You can read about how that usually goes for me here.  This year was no different.  Turkey, dressing, and we divided up the sides with everyone making what they usually specialize in.  Macaroni and cheese and deviled eggs for Wretch.  Jen did the beans and potato salad, and threw in a couple of pies.  I did the  turkey and dressing, and pies.  (I cheated and bought the pies.  I reasoned that wasn't really cheating when you work, that was being organized and thinking ahead, something I lack most of the time.)

Wretch called me the night before Thanksgiving.  She was sick, I mean really sick.  I could hear her slinging snot on the phone.  I cringed, hoping I wouldn't catch it just by talking to her.

Wretch: Mom, do you think I should be making deviled eggs?
Me: Why not?
Wretch: Because I am sick and I thought someone might catch it if I handled eggs they put in their mouth.
Me: Not unless you get snot on them.
Wretch: Really?
Me: Yes, if your nose is running, put some toilet paper up both nostrils, then wash your hands really good with soap and water, and don't touch your face while you are making the eggs.  It should be ok then.
Wretch: Ok. (She was laughing about the toilet paper, but it is an old trick I learned years ago.  Moms don't get time off for sickness when they have little kids.)

Then Jen texted me asking for a recipe for Lemon Ice Box pie.  WTF?! I was thinking, I haven't made one in years, and I was at work.  Did she expect me to pull the recipe out of my ass?

I did the next best thing.  I Googled a recipe and texted her back the link.

So far, things were going smoothly.  Too smoothly.  The hair on the back of my neck told me it wasn't a good thing.  My karma was going too well.

My karma did a 360 on Thanksgiving morning when I was running late (as usual) and trying to get ready.  It had taken me three hours to get headed to the shower after puttering all over the house.  I picked out some cute cable patterned tights, a black skirt, and a black top to wear.  (Everyone knows if you wear black on Thanksgiving you can eat twice and much and your bloated stomach won't show.)

I got out of the shower, lotioned up all over per my usual routine, then started to put my tights on.

That was when the war began.  I put my foot in one foot of the tights, and pulled it up.  All the way up my thigh.  Then I lifted my other foot and tried to put it in the other foot of the tights.  That was when I realized that I couldn't get my foot up high enough to get in the top of the tights that were located around my hips, because to do that would have required the agility of a gymnast.  I tried jacknifing my foot as high as I could get it, got the tip of my foot stuck in the waist of the tights, and fell back against the glass door of the shower, sliding all the way down to the floor.

I stood back up, pulled the tights back down around my ankles, then stuck both feet in at the same time.  That worked.  By now I was sweating.  Not a good feeling when you just got out of the shower and are standing in a tiny room with steam still hanging in the air around your head.

I pulled the tights up.  Then realized my feet were located about midway in the calf of the tights, with the feet trailing off in the floor, empty of human flesh.  So I grabbed the tights at the feet and started working them up my legs.  That was when I discovered the split nail I didn't know I had and snagged the tights.

I cussed a bit at that point.  Then realized it didn't matter, those tights were going ON my butt no matter what.  So I kept pulling, and snagging, pulling and snagging.  They were finally up, all the way up, I thought.

Then I realized the crotch was down around mid thigh.  I could wear them like that, but I would walk like a duck all day.  So I snagged and pulled some more, and finally the crotch was on my crotch, the feet were on my feet, and the rest was somewhere on my legs.  I looked down proudly.

The cable pattern on the tights was doing a grotesque twisted thing around my thighs and calves.  I did a few more snag and pulls, and then realized I had managed to twist the right leg of the tights and put it on backward, because it was digging into my crotch like a rubber band thong from hell at that point.

I took the right leg part of the way down, and snag/twisted it back around all the way to the foot, then pulled it back up and stood for a minute as I caught my breath.

They felt pretty good.  I could breathe and move I realized.  I looked down at my legs in trepidation.  That was when I noticed that I had pulled some spots so thin my skin was showing through the opaqueness of the opaque tights.  I pondered about redoing them again for about a half second, then said f*#@ it and finished blow drying my sweaty body and hair, got my skirt and top on, added warpaint to my flushed face, and hair gel to my limp hair, and headed out the door.

Valuable lessons learned about tights:
1. Never apply lotion right before you put on tights.  They stick like glue to your skin.
2. There is no exhaust fan big enough to suck the humidity out of a bathroom.
3. Tights should be put on in a public, dry air place.
4. Don't buy tights with a cable pattern that has to line up.
5. Put both feet in at the same time unless you enjoy popping your hips out of joint.
6. Remember that during a clash, the tights usually win.

Next Thanksgiving, I am wearing velour. is very good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Sunday, November 25, 2012

she's all that and more

I am a Type B personality.  They don't come more laid back than I am.  I am the one who got lost in Disneyland when I was a kid.  The one who got lost at the State Fair as an adult.  The one who gets caught up in what is going on around me and totally forgets everything and everyone but the moment.  The one who can read a book in a noisy crowd, and tune everything and everyone out.

Two of my kids are a bit like me.  One is the polar opposite.  My oldest, Jen.  The accountant who loves numbers and organizing.  The kind of stuff that makes me break out in a sweat.  Her twins were going to be like me I decided before they were born.  The type of people who would experience the world completely, and not try to organize it.

Duncan is sort of like that.  Since he was put on medication for ADD he has become focused and is a different boy.  He can finish tasks now, but that doesn't mean he likes doing them.  The art stuff that is.  He did do a great job on his birdhouse, but I think he saw it as a chore.

Oh well, that leaves the girl.

Maddie has drawn pictures since she could hold a crayon.  They have gotten more intricate as she got older.  I chortled to myself in glee when I saw that.  Ok, here's the one who will be like me I thought to myself.  I loved her drawings, and had all these plans in my head for helping develop her into an artist who would set the world on fire with her talent.

Then she started making lists.  Of everything.  And I cringed.  That smacked of her mom's OCDness.  I thought I might be wrong.  So I kept encouraging her art.  And she drew, but she was making more lists than drawings.

Being the optimist that I am, I refused to give up on Maddie.  The boys were all lost causes, but I still had hopes and dreams for the girl.

Until Jen told me about the project they worked on for her Brownie Troup.  Something about healthy snacks.  What struck me was that Jen was trying to make Maddie be neat with the art part of the project, to protect her expensive table from glue and glitter.  Maddie decided to do it her way, and they got into an argument.  Jen told me she didn't realize how much Maddie is like her (which means she isn't like me) until she saw her at the Brownie meeting and watched her getting her fruit ready to be made into kabobs.  She showed me the photo and asked me what I noticed.  Now I may be Type B, but it jumped right out at me.  Right in my face.  And my despair climbed as I hollered:
She's got that damn fruit lined up perfectly!
Jen started laughing out loud.  Then I started laughing.  If you look at the photo, you will notice Maddie is the ONLY girl with her fruit organized.  Grapes lying side by side, not end to end, pineapple lying end to end, and a banana in the middle at the top and bottom to divide the fruit.  Even the look on her face is intensely OCD.  She is doomed I thought to myself.

As I left the next day, I noticed the orange tree poster.  Perfect.  I just sighed.  Then I remembered the letter Maddie wrote to her mom after their argument during the project.

The last line is what I noticed.  The one right above I love you.  It said: "besides, it doesn't have to be perfect."

There is still a faint little glimmer of hope burning in my heart for Maddie.

I just hope her mom doesn't snuff it out. is really good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Thursday, November 22, 2012

giving thanks

Nothing deep on my mind today, no wisdom to share or funny story to make you laugh.

Just me, being thankful.  For my family, for my job and home, for the joy and beauty I see all around me  and the ability to be able to capture a small part of it through my camera lens and on a canvas.

Thankful for being able to occupy my small space on the blue marble.  What a marvelous ride it has been.

I am thankful for what is right in the world.  We see the negative and ugliness of humanity and what we are capable of every day.  But we are also capable of astounding goodness, and I see evidence of that every day all around me, and I am thankful to be witness to it.

For social media (YES!) I am thankful.  The people I have come in contact with, and learned from, and laughed with, and marvelled at, have been an epiphany for me.  I am glad every day that I stumbled across Twitter, Blogger and Facebook, Instagram and Flickr, Tumblr, BlogHer and Stumble Upon.  What amazing things I have seen and learned, and shared.  I am a better person for it.

For you who take the time to stop by and read my thoughts; and those of you who take the time to make a comment that brightens my day.  For all of you, I am thankful. is truly good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Sunday, November 18, 2012

hostess, i'll miss you

Ok, they aren't healthy.  They contribute to tooth decay and elevated blood sugar.  But Twinkies have been around for longer than I have been alive.  Invented in 1933, they have been a staple in kids lunch boxes for years, and every time I opened my lunch box and saw a package of Twinkies, my day was a bit brighter.

Now they are gone.  Forever.  There have been imitators, but nothing ever came close to a Twinkie for me.  I was surprised to hear that Hostess was liquidating, due to decreased profits and a union strike that could not be resolved.  In our health conscious society, it has become harder for makers of high sugar products to continue to make a profit.  Competing brands didn't help either.  For many years Hostess was the king of the baked goods market.  Do you remember Wonder Bread?  I do, and ate it for years when I was a kid.  Now we avoid processed white flour products like the plague.  The thing I remember most about Wonder Bread was that they advertised how nutritious it was and that it helped build strong bodies.
It is a fact of life that nothing is static, and things change.  But still, I was a bit saddened to see part of my youth gone forever.  To try to capture one last bite of that youth, I sent Stevie Wonder on a Twinkie hunt yesterday.  It was too late.  Even in remote areas Twinkies were sold out.  There was a run on Hostess products by people who were feeling nostalgic and a little panicky, like me.  In fact, everything Hostess was sold out, except for this:

Yes, all that was left was fruitcake, and it looked and felt like it was left from the holidays last year.  That was probably why it was the only thing left.  Stevie Wonder brought it in and held it out in his hand like it was  precious metal, and he had found the mother lode.  I am not a fruitcake lover, but I snarfed most of that down like a dying man having his last meal, and enjoyed every bite.  It wasn't a Twinkie, and it wasn't about Twinkies at that point, but about enjoying the end of an era.

Goodbye Hostess.  I'll miss you. is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Thursday, November 15, 2012

sky gazing

Every night I drive into my yard after work, step out of my car and look at the sky.  I am a cloud watcher, a sky gazer.  And one of the most beautiful views in the world is in my own front yard.  The sun sets to the right of my house, and there is a clear view of the nearby woods, silhouetted against the setting sun.

Tonight, as I often do, I spent a few moments just watching the sky.  I live in the country, so there were no noises, and it was eerily silent.  Even the dogs weren't barking their usual greeting from the back yard.

And so I stood, and looked.  I get a bit melancholy this time of year, and I was a bit sad as I looked at the sky.  But as I stood, and marveled at the beauty of the clouds and colors, I felt my spirits begin to lift.  Suddenly I feel as weighed down by mortality, and an inner peace began to take over. I pulled my iPhone out of my pocket, and shot a photo of the sunset, almost as an afterthought.

As I stood and continued to look, breathing in the crisp coldness of the autumn air, I realized that I wasn't me, I was part of a bigger whole.  A small microcosm of something so perfect, and that everything was as it should be.

Slowly I turned and walked into the house, feeling renewed.  Centered. is very good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

when you least expect it

Sometimes, instead of hearing gloom and doom on the local news, you hear something different. Tonight was one of those nights. While reporting election results and analyses about why this person or that person won, there was a story about a commissioner elected in another county. He won by 51%.

There was a small hitch in the results though; the person who won died three weeks ago. But he was still on the ballot. It must be cheaper to leave a dead person on a ballot than to reprint it.

The reporter interviewed several people at their homes in the county. No one seemed to be aware of the candidate's demise. That leads me to draw a couple of conclusions, totally based on my own thoughts. Nothing scientific about it.

1. People don't pay attention to the obituaries anymore. That may be because there are fewer papers in print these days.
2. People are dedicated to their party of choice. Even if you die, you can still be elected.

The best part of the reporter's story was the woman in a wheelchair with a sandwich in her hand, sitting in her doorway. The reporter told her the person who won had died three weeks earlier. Her head whipped around toward someone in the house and she hollered:

"Did you hear that? I voted for a damn dead man!"

I think I am going to run for President after I die. I may have a good chance of winning.

life is good... cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Thursday, November 1, 2012

john and the butterfly

I was at home today.  Unusual for me during the week except I had been to the clinic yesterday with the crud.  The doctor kindly decided I needed to be back on my feet fast.  (Wait, I'd already been on my feet all week!)  So he had the nurse give me a shot and I got three prescriptions.  There were two problems with this.  The first problem was the shot contained a steroid.  Steroids and I don't deal well with each other.  The second problem was that I didn't find out there was a steroid in it until it was going in my hip.

The end result was I had no sleep last night.  Felt worse today, and called in.  Then slept and did paperwork at home all day.  A crummy way to spend the day.  John was up, and Steve was keeping an eye on him.  His mom is sick and she had gone to see the doctor today.  (Not sure if this whole originated with me or John, who had a runny nose last weekend and had been dispensing fish kisses to everyone.)

John came up and beat on the door.  He'd been outside helping his Gramps fix the lawnmower, and was covered in dust.  I looked out the door and saw butterflies all over my flowers.  John saw them too, with a two year old's amazement.  Sick or not sick, I saw a photo op, and grabbed Big Girl and started shooting.

This is what I got, almost unretouched.  Just some minor light changes, a vignette edge added, and some extraneous details cropped out of some of the photos.  I think these are the best raw photos I have probably ever taken.

Maybe I ought to only take photos when I am sick.

 is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter