Wednesday, August 31, 2011

cloud porn

IMG_9098rsIMG_9100rsIMG_9108rsIMG_9122rsIMG_9124rsIMG_9103 dknrs
IMG_9108 crprsIMG_9109 crp dpnrs

Cloud Porn, a set on Flickr.
Another one of those evenings when I drove into the yard gasping for breath as I gazed up at a magnificent sunset. So it was off and running to grab Big Girl and capture the sky with my lens.

An intense 10 minutes later, the spell was broken as the sun set behind the trees. I patted Big Girl gently, and whispered to her... "well done girl, well done".

~cath xo

summer's end haiku

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

the green tray

First published on October 18, 2010.

Oh to be five years old again and to think so concretely about things.  All the world is a wonder, and all things are possible!

Maddie is positive she has won a trip to Disney World.  Let me explain how she got to this point.

There are some Kid Cuisine frozen dinners in the market that advertised a trip to Disney World if the tray is green.  They come in blue trays but the winning trays are green.  The winner gets a trip for four to Disney World.

Maddie told her mom (Jen) yesterday that she had won.  And the winning dinner is at Gramps' house.  Steve was upset that she thinks she has won.  He said the picture on the front of the box shows the color of the winning tray, and Maddie saw that and thinks that is what is inside the box.  A green tray.  She has had Steve buying them for weeks trying to win.  And now she has somehow taken that next leap in her thoughts and decided she has the winning tray.

Steve was almost wringing his hands when he was telling me the saga of the Kid Cuisine.  I was laughing about it (I am evil that way...I know she will be disappointed, but I also know she will survive the disappointment, just like her mom survived not owning a pair of Chic jeans like all the other girls when she was in school).  I told Steve she'll be ok.  Girly (her nickname...we live in the south after all, and your nickname is the second name you get...the one everyone knows you by...the one not on your birth certificate...) is tough and she will survive...I know that about her.

The funny part is, as soon as she decided she won, she told Steve she would be taking her dad with her and Dunc and her mommy.  Steve was abandoned, even though he had spent a small fortune on Kid Cuisine TV dinners.  Ungrateful little rat.  (I was never in the running to go I guess.  That would be five people, one too many.)

I am laughing as I write this.  Five year olds are just too funny. 

Maddie has her Grammy's luck too.  I know this because we tore open the Kid Cuisine boxes this morning to see if maybe she was psychic and knew something we didn't...

They were both blue....we are considering raiding the local grocery stores to surreptitiously tear open all the Kid Cuisines.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

raiders of the lost bark

Once upon a time 2 cute Lab puppies came to live with us.  We named the first one Gabriel, because my sister Vix brought him to me on a plane from California.  I thought he was an angel.  He pooped in his dog carrier on the way home from the airport.  That should have given me a clue. But I fell in love with his puppy cuteness.  Never knowing that Gabriel the Angel would grow up to be Satan in a brown fur coat.

Gabe was chocolate, and his tail curled like a candy cane.  Lab #2 came to live with us from a friend of Wretch's in Tennessee.  She named him Caesar for no particular reason.  Of course, we live in the south where everyone gets a nickname, so these two guys quickly became Gabe and Suzie.  And Gabe was further warped to Goob.  (It's a redneck thing.)  Gabe and Suz were about 8 and 10 weeks old when they arrived.  Gabe arrived first, Suz about a month or so later.

And the fun began.  We didn't know anything about the Labrador Retriever breed.  We had been around the mother of Gabe briefly.  She had been found by my sister and brother-in-law, and after many failed attempts to find her owner, they decided to keep her.  Maggie arrived with her toenails painted and was a mature dog.  Calm.  Loving.  A family oriented dog.  Perfect.

So I decided I wanted a Lab.  My decision.  So I take most of the responsibility for what happened after the chocolate Labs arrived.  Don't ask me why I decided to keep two.  I think it was because they both became available about the same time, and I hated to tell my sister or Wretch's friend I didn't want one of them.

So they became part of our family.  The next two years are a blur.  Of destruction.  Of thievery.  Of cunning, strength, and determination that could only be compared to Sherman's March through Georgia.  We couldn't keep up.  No one could have.  Those two dogs were amazing.  Among the things we discovered about Labs:

They will chew anything.  Gabe is the one I remember being the worst.  Among the things I learned:
1  Corners.  The house, the hearth, the bedroom dresser.  If it had a turn in it, it had teethmarks.  If there was anything left after he chewed.
2  Cables and wires.  I heard a rubbing, snapping sort of sound while I was on the computer one day.  Gabe was outside (epic mistake...never leave a chewer alone for more than 5 seconds) and I heard a weird sound.  Steve and I went to investigate.  Gabe had stripped the television and phone cables off the side of the house.
3  Don't get them chew toys.  This just encourages the addiction.  They can finish a rawhide chewy the size of a dinosaur bone in about 2 minutes...even if the package did promise you it would last your dog for weeks.

They are raiders.  It is in their nature to steal.  Labs are obsessive about finding stuff and bringing it home.  Among the things Gabe and Suz brought home to litter the front yard:
1  Shoes.  Every size and shape.  Sometimes even a pair.
2  Clothing.  Women's pants, underwear of different sizes and sexes.  Socks.  Millions of those.
3  Rain gutter off the side of a house.  We never figured out which house.  It was brown and even though Steve searched for a house with brown rain gutter, he never found it.
4  PVC pipe.  I shudder at this one.  I just know someone somewhere within our dogs' running distance lost their water one day.  Or their toilets stopped flushing.
5  Buckets, toys, tools, mop handles (the mop was probably chewed off) and anything that doesn't fall into the above category.

Our solution to the chewing was to repair as fast as we could.  And keep an eagle eye on the dogs.

Finding a fix for the raiding was a bit harder.  Steve finally took everything they had stolen out to the main road at the end of the road we live on, and made a huge pile of stuff.  He said maybe the owners would find it.  Not the best solution, but the only way we could get all that stuff out of our yard.

And by then we figured out that we needed to pen these raiders up to stop their thieving ways.  And that is when we discovered the good thing about Labs.  They can't jump over fences.  So that saved us an investment in Constantine wire.  But Gabe has jaws of steel, and there have been times he literally ripped the gate open.  That's right.  He grabbed the chain link in his jaws and yanked until he could escape.

So now our lives have taken on a routine.  The dogs outgrew their chewing at about 2 years of age.  They stopped thieving about that time too.  Our routine since then has been:

1  Let the dogs out of the pen.  But only after the garbage truck has run and there is a slim chance any strangers might show up.
2  Go fetch the dogs home after about 30 minutes.  A run or romp for a full grown Lab can cover about 5 miles.  With stops to visit neighbors along the way.  That includes taking a swim in the neighbor's pool at the end of our road.  (Having their own pool hasn't stopped that behavior.)
3  Listen to Steve say "BAD DOGS BAD DOGS...GOING OUT THE ROAD!  BAD DOGS!"  Which hasn't fazed them or stopped them from going out the road.

And so it goes.  Almost nine years.  Nine long years.  Of loving these stubborn, smart, happy creatures.  These raiders of our hearts. 

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Friday, August 26, 2011

a tuckered out moment

{this moment}- A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

“This Moment” is a ritual I have adapted, found on Pamanner's Blog, via Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama. Check out their blogs, and if you are moved too, please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

blinded by the light

About a week ago, I decided my hormone cream, specially compounded by a local pharmacy just for me, wasn't working.  When I ran out, I tossed the syringe in the trash and kept going.

I really couldn't tell anything different.  There were still middle-of-the-night hot flashes, and I still awakened white-eyed many nights.  I thought I could just live with these things and not use anything.  Cold turkey off my hormones.  Stevie Wonder mentioned once or twice that he would be glad to go pick up the cream.  And I just scoffed, saying I was doing fine without it.

Until yesterday morning.  In the space of a few seconds, my life changed.  I went blind.

Well, not truly.  That is the drama primpcess playing the world's smallest violin, just for me.

What happened was this...I started seeing a clear shimmer in the middle of my eyes.  A bit different in each eye.  I noticed it when I sat down to do some paperwork and read email.  A big part of my job now is using my eyes for hours to read and write.  I don't mind, but my eyes aren't real happy about it.

I looked at that screen (a nice big flat screen by the way), and realized I couldn't read.  Actually, I was reading, but my mind was filling in letters, because the words were twisted.  Then I got to the point I couldn't read the letters.

So I called.  First I called my boss' administrative assistant.  And of course she was out of the office and didn't answer.

My vision was rapidly getting worse, and by this point I was a bit panicky.  So I do what I always do when I panic.  I called Stevie
Wonder.  Who didn't answer the phone.  So I left a terse message that basically said "CALL ME WHEN YOU GET THIS MESSAGE!!!" and hung up.

Then I started laughing.  Me, who had responded to untold emergencies, both in real life and at work, couldn't get an answer.  After I laughed, I calmed down and realized this was some sort of phenomena, and just decided to wait and see what happened.
Then the drama primpcess emerged again, and I called the admin assistant.  She answered the call.  And I heard the concern in her voice.  And decided maybe it was serious.  By then I was seeing shimmering waves around the edges of my vision.

She told me to put my head on my desk and rest my eyes.  WHAT?  Put my head on my desk like a kid?  Ok.  I tried.  Really I did.  Lasted about 1 minute.  Because: a) I am a woman of action, and b) bending over and laying my head on my desk bunched up the fat on my abdomen and cut off my breathing.  The combination of a and b caused me to jump up and start searching for contact lens lubricant.  My eyes were dry I was betting.  I found them and shot about half a bottle of it in both eyes.

Nothing.  Shimmering waves.  Kind of like being at the beach.  In your eyeball.  Without the sand.

About that time admin assistant walks through the door, and so does the nurse practitioner.  She listens to me describe it, and says "it's probably an optical migraine".  That sounds reasonable.  By this time I have made an appointment to go see an optometrist that afternoon.

And by the time all this happens, while I am talking to the CRNP, my vision starts to clear.  And of course I go back to work, and then go to the optometrist that afternoon.

Yep, ocular migraine.  Never had any pain with it.  He was amazed.  No pain, no nausea.  Just the optical show.  Along the way I get a really good eye exam and some new contacts.  Hooray!  I can see again.  Well sort of.  He dilated my eyes.  So I could see but was blinded by the light.

I learned these lessons yesterday:
1. Never take eyesight for granted.
2. Ocular migraines are often related to hormone levels.
3. Never make snap decisions about not taking hormones.
4. Being able to see is worth sporting a mustache.

Blinded by the Light, written by Bruce Springsteen and performed by Manfred Mann's Earth Band:
~cath xo

Sunday, August 21, 2011

why i'll never be a youtube star

*Please note, there are words (well one word) on these videos that may offend more fastidious souls...that having been said...

I tried, really I did.  

Who scoffs at the idea that any tech gadget thingy is beyond my scope of understanding
Who laughs in the face of no directions to go by
Who spits in the wind at anyone who tells me it can't be done
was scoffed, laughed and spit on by the gods of technology today...

Things I learned today while trying to immortalize myself on video:
1. Blogger is smarter than me.  I can shoot a video sideways, or upside down, and it will magically turn it in the right direction.  Every time.
2. Go lighter on the makeup when you are in front of a camera.  Or end up looking like Tim Curry doing a Bette Davis impression.
3. When you try to upload 10 video screw ups all at the same time, Blogger will laugh and vomit them back at you, while pretending that they really uploaded.
4. I will do anything for a laugh.  Even humiliate myself on camera and then post it.  (Ok, this one is a stretch.  I have been humiliating myself for laughs on camera since I was a kid in front of my Dad's Brownie 8mm home movie camera.)  But posting it is new.  So there.
5. I need to leave "sh!t" out of my vocabulary (aka manure mouth) when I am recording for posterity.  

So here is my attempt at!!! (oh sh!t).... 


my seven deadly sins

Ok, so they aren't sins.  I think.  But it got you past the title, right?

Normally I hate chain letters, chain messages, chain recipe club emails, chain Facebook posts, any type of chain.  Because it means I have to continue it or break the chain.  I have broken so many chains that Cool Hand Luke would have been proud to have me as his getaway partner in crime.

So when I saw my name on Thom Brown's blog To Gyre and Gambol, I cringed.  Literally.  I really enjoyed reading his list of choices from his own blog (click on the link above to read some amazing posts).  But I didn't feel I had the ability to pick any of my own.

So I've mulled it over for a while, as I tend to do when I am perplexed or uncertain of something.  And then decided to jump in.  Heck, what's a challenge like this for, but to stretch your mind and reasoning?

The piano part is that I have to pick from my blog list.  And after a year of posting some weird, sad, funny and hopefully insightful things, I had to wade back through them.  Not an easy task since I have posted 213 times in the past year since I first hit "publish post".

So here goes.  Remember, these are my choices (mostly) and so if you don't like 'em, skip 'em.

my most beautiful post:  I think that probably it would be this post.  It sprang from a ride home one evening, when life was weighing heavy on me.  clouds got in my way 

my most popular post:  That would be the one with the most views, and the easiest to choose.  I checked my blogger stats (don't we all want to know who is reading what?) and it was a tie, so I am posting the links to both: brothers and sisters and morning has broken.

my most controversial post:  I don't often step into an area of criticism of others' writing or thoughts, but when I read the article that spawned my post, I just had to speak up.  I feel, very strongly, that there is way too much misinformation on the web about addiction, mental illness and medications.  I know, because I work with the mentally ill and monitor medication efficacy.  the flip side

my most helpful post:  I try to share thoughts in this blog that are uplifting, and often use humor to get a point across.  This is not an advice blog, or a self-help blog by any stretch of the imagination.  Just me sharing my thoughts and ideas, and sometimes those thoughts resonate with someone.  That is good to my way of thinking.  I believe we all grow through connecting and sharing ideas, and the blogosphere is a wonderful way to do it.  prejudice

the post whose success surprises me:  I just wrote this the other day.  I was driven by negative emotions after an encounter online that was negative and full of anger (not my anger) and felt, as I often do, a need to create something positive out of the negative.  I was shocked at the number of views and comments it got.  I thought it would slide under the radar, because basically it was not written in the usual happy, peaceful vein that I prefer to live and write from.  litany

a post I feel didn't get the attention it deserved:  This is a hard one.  People read what they want to.  I write because I am expressing myself.  I don't really have angst about what people choose to read.  Not everything I write will hit people's eyeballs and stick.  Sooo...I will just close my eyes and choose from one of the posts that didn't get any comments.  the long black limo 

the post I am most proud of:  This was also the hardest one for me to write.  I have taken the liberty of adding my dad's favorite song to it.  I hope you will take the time to read and listen.  And understand why I still hate august....

The people I wish to pass this test of blogging endurance on to are:
oh hell...they've all been used up by other blog buddies who are faster than me at here are links to their links of their seven links:
Skank, Rattle and Roll
Reflections from a Redhead
The adventures of Cilgin Kiz
DON'T hang up!
To Gyre and Gambol
Hajra Kvetches!
What Little Things?

Oh, wait!  I do have a few blog favorites left, so they can feel free to respond to the 7link prompt, or just be the wonderful bloggers posting just for me (that I feel they have been):
A Blog Day Afternoon 
Jerened's Blog
Sweepy Jean Explores the Webby World

And if I can't convince you, or overwhelm you, or guilt you into reading all or any of these many links...I want to encourage you to at least click a few...and read...there is a world of ideas out a few a day, and comment when you takes just a moment and is such a small thing to reward a writer's hard work with.

Thanks to Thom for listing me, and reconnecting me with my written thoughts, and to Hajra for starting this off.  The community of bloggers I have connected with and who have supported my humble endeavors and given me such good advice never ceases to amaze me.  You are all outstanding human beings...

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Thursday, August 18, 2011

confessions of a relaxed housewife

I married when I was 17.  Two days after I graduated from high school.  I just couldn't wait to get started on my life of romance and adventure with Stevie Wonder.

Then I realized.  I was a housewife.  I had to quit the part time job I had as a nurse's aide because we only had one car, and well, the Air Force kind of had this unrealistic expectation that Steve would report to duty everyday.  So I became a stay-at-home wife.  (Somehow, stay-at-home looks so much more important with the hyphens...)

I knew how to clean.  Mum had been very thorough in teaching us about cleaning the house.  But I didn't know how to cook.  Mum never let us.  I knew what to do with dishes after we ate, that was time for the wet towel wars (that's another confession).  But I couldn't cook.

And to be honest, other than keeping my clothes neat in my drawer most of my housecleaning experience was knowing how to keep the bathroom immaculate (my job was latrine duty...good training for living with a man with bad aim).  I didn't know how to do laundry either.  And that is definitely another story.

Over the years I developed my own housekeeping style.  Because I discovered early on that I would much rather be reading a book or learning a new crafting skill, than dusting furniture, cooking, or doing laundry.

Some dos and don'ts I learned that have served me well over the years:

1. Babies make great vacuums.  No matter how much you vacuum or mop, they will find the stuff you miss.  So don't bother buying a vacuum.  Just use your baby (I am on my second generation vacuum cleaner now, also know as grandbabies).  It will save you the cost of electricity, and develop the babies eye-hand coordination.

2. You can save the time ironing if you just wear your clothes straight from the dryer.  If you absolutely have to steam iron something, hang it in the bathroom while you take a shower.  It will be fresh as a daisy and so will you.

3. Cloth diapers make excellent coffee filters.  Just don't mention it to your husband.  A man who will pee in the bathroom floor rather than turn the light on to see to take aim, will become absolutely squeamish about drinking coffee filtered through his baby's diaper.

4. Don't buy a dining table.  It will only be used as storage for every tool your husband owns, and for anything else he carries in from outside.  ("Honey where's the duct tape?"...."on the table"...."honey where's my Skil saw?"..."on the table"..."honey where's the heartworm medicine for the dogs?"..."on the table"..."honey where's the..."..."on the TABLE".)  Eat on TV tables.  You have your meal and your entertainment at the same time.

5. Tea bags can be reused to make tea if you let them dry out in between uses.  About 3 times.  Then the bag disintegrates.

6. Kids can be bribed to do anything.  And if you can't bribe them, the second best thing to do is fake a nervous breakdown.  They will believe anything you tell them if you put enough drama into it.  This also works on a lazy twin grandson who makes his sister do all the work.

7. Doors were made for one thing.  To hide stuff behind.  If it's too big to hide behind a door, then put it in the room and shut the door.

8. Toothpaste makes a pretty good jewelry polish.  And it has the added benefit of making you smell minty fresh even if you've just chowed down on your favorite garlic-dripping pasta.

9. Never use Pledge furniture wax to polish the floors, then wear socks to walk on said floor.  You will end up horizontal.  Every time.  (I learned this from my dad.)

10. A room with dim lights gives you four corners to hide stuff in, especially if you live in the room and can't use the door (see #7).  I call this "hiding in plain sight" and unless you are trying to hide an elephant, it works.

These are just a few of my more innovative discoveries.  They make my life easier.  I share them gladly today, because what this world needs is more relaxed housewives.  I am sure that husbands will agree.

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Thursday, August 11, 2011

the goat chronicles, part one

We had goats.  Or maybe I should say, we had a goat period in our lives.  When the kids (not goat kids, our kids) were small, Stevie Wonder decided we needed goats to clear out the underbrush on our land.  So he fenced it in, and began the period in our lives I call The Goat Chronicles.

We started with a couple females.  One young, one older, borrowed from a herd that belonged to our brother in law's dad.  Stevie being the Wonder he is, came up with some unique names for them.  Southerners always name the things most important to them in their lives.  Cars, kids (human), dogs, and of course, goats.

So we had Nanny.  And Granny.  Inventive names huh?

Then the neighbor's billy goat discovered the goat girls.  And the trouble started.  He would break into the fence, Steve would chase him back out, and repair the fence.  He would break in again, and Steve would chase, and repair.  This went on for some time.

Until one day Mr. Bill had enough.  The day the kids (our kids) and I will never forget.

Mr. Bill arrived in the back yard.

(If you don't know anything about billy goats, let me tell you the most important thing to remember.  They stink.  To high heaven.  To a girl goat, the smell is an aphrodisiac.  To a girl human, it is abominable.  Worse than a skunk.)

We knew Mr. Bill had arrived because we could smell him before we ever saw him.  And we were inside the house.

Steve flipped out.  (He has a very sensitive stomach, but that story is for another time.)  So he decided to do what any red blooded Southern boy would do.  He got his gun.  His BB gun to be exact.  (He wasn't aiming to kill the neighbor's goat, just convince him to go home.)

Out into the back yard went Steve, BB gun aimed, and started shooting Mr. Bill.  In the buttocks.  Mr. Bill started moving away.  Steve kept shooting.  Mr. Bill stopped.  He'd had a gut full (translation> he's had enough).  Steve stopped.  Mr. Bill turned around, stood on his hind legs, cocked his head at Steve and charged.  At that point, Steve used the BB gun to push him down.

Mr. Bill stood up.  On his hind legs, and cocked his head sideways again.  Steve used commando tactics at that point.  He whopped Mr. Bill in the head with the barrel of the BB gun (bending said barrel and rendering gun useless at that point).

Mr. Bill stopped, shook his head.  Then stood up on his hind legs (again), cocked his head sideways (again), and charged Steve.  Steve used survival tactics at that point.

He ran.  Right out of his flip flops and down the path to his mother's house.  Without a backward glance.

Had he glanced back he would have seen this:

The billy goat standing in the yard watching him run.  (Mr. Bill had stopped after about 20 feet.)  And the kids (human kids) and I standing on the porch bent over double laughing our heads off.

...end of part one of the goat chronicles...stay tuned...

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Last night driving home, I was feeling reflective.  I live close to home, and the car can find it's way, so I often let my thoughts wander (partially wander, I am not airheaded enough to not pay attention while I drive).

I was thinking about something Wretch said last weekend.

"Mom, it's a good thing we can all laugh at ourselves.  We are a strong family because we can laugh at so many things, especially at ourselves and each other.  We may have a weird sense of humor, but we understand it."  (Or something to that effect.)

And from that thought I remembered the night before, when Wretch and I were watching TV.  We've been having a lot of thunderstorms the past few days.  (Muggy days but a bit cooler than the three inches from hell we normally experience this time of year.)

Crash of thunder...blink of electricity.

But when the electricity blinks, it causes the satellite TV receiver to reset itself.  Doesn't sound like much, except that it takes minutes to recover from that split second.

So Wretch and I were griping about it...then we hear a faint voice that sounded like it was coming from a great distance....

"son of a b**ch..."

Wretch and I looked at each other....

The electricity blinked again....

"what the h*ll????"

We looked at each other was *Darth Vader...making himself known to us...

The electricity blinked again...

"well I'll be a peeled pig fart..."

That did us in...we looked at each other and burst into laughter...and laughed like maniacs for the 5 minutes it took the satellite to reboot...knowing Vader was missing the end of the show he was avidly watching in bed...

*Darth Vader = Stevie Wonder in his C-Pap, a device made to aggravate anyone sleeping near him...when he wears it to sleep at night and speaks, it sounds EXACTLY like Darth Vader... well ok, with a southern accent.

May the force be with you...laugh today...
~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Monday, August 8, 2011

a year ago

It's been a year today since I published my first "real" blog post.  You can read about Kayla's lipstick adventure here.

When I first published that post, I did it so I would have it to remember.  It was a moment in my life I wanted to have saved to a spot that was more than just a memory in my head.  I enjoyed that little bit of time with Kayla so much, I wanted to save it so that someday she could read it and see how much fun we had that day.

After I first hit that publish button, something happened to me.  I got a sense of pleasure from it, for sure.  But I also got a sense of continuity, of being able to have a bit of my thoughts out there for my family to read, and maybe laugh at, and just enjoy.

Because that is what life is really about.  Bits and pieces, memories and moments, laughter and tears.  That is also what families are about.  It is the thread that ties us together.  It is the bond that gives us strength.  Familia, always there, and continuing on from one generation to another.

So as I started recording my thoughts, my feelings about this blogging experience gelled.  And I began to realize that I wanted these thoughts of mine to be something my grandchildren could have when I am gone.  My legacy.  What made Grammy more than just Grammy.

And so I kept blogging.  And posting photos, thoughts, haiku verse, and anything that passed my mind.  Occasionally I have ranted.  I am not a ranter by nature, but some things just touch a nerve in me, and when I feel strongly about something, I try to respond in a way that is ultimately positive.  You can read a rant of mine here (about prejudice), and another one here (about self worth).

But mostly my thoughts are just that...whatever crosses my mind.  Not interesting enough to turn into a book (I have absolutely NO desire to author a book).  And I have no desire to develop a huge fan base and turn my blog into a mega blog.

The thing that has surprised me most?  As I read my way through other blogs, I have met some amazing people online.  People with interesting things to share, who are fun to discuss ideas with, and who have helped me grow as a person.

So what has happened over this year?  I have evolved, and have seen myself change the way I think and look at things.  I have discovered the world of blogging, and how much darn fun it can be.  I have not let it take over my life, but it does take a pretty hefty chunk of it.

And the bottom line?  My thoughts are here.  For Maddie Kate, Jack, Duncan, and John.  It has served the purpose I intended it to serve.  And I plan to keep on sharing my thoughts, one by one.

Thank you to all of you who have read my blog.  I would be lying if I didn't say it was one of the nicest surprises about blogging.  I am still amazed every day that there are people like YOU out there who think these thoughts of mine are worth taking the time to read.  I appreciate every comment I get.  And I plan to be doing this for a long time to come.

My journey continues...sharing my thoughts...share yours with me...

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie

Friday, August 5, 2011

phobia phright

Once upon a time, there was a Little Girl with a blonde ponytail who loved to take walks with her favorite little red wagon.

Little Girl had a Grammy who loved her dearly.  She loved to visit her Grammy and play outside with the red wagon.

Grammy lived close to the highway, and her driveway was not very far from that highway.

Grammy would tell her little granddaughter not to go near the highway with the red wagon.  At first, Little Girl listened.  But soon she got carried away with all the fun she was having and walked closer and closer to the highway.

One day she got all the way to the end of the driveway.  Grammy started looking for Little Girl, and found her close to the highway.

What was Grammy to do?  She thought and thought about it and then decided to teach Little Girl why she shouldn't go near the highway.

So Grammy took Little Girl's hand and together they walked to the end of the driveway, up to the very edge of the highway.  Little Girl held tight onto her Grammy's hand.  Grammy began to explain why she shouldn't go near the highway.  Grammy explained that there were lots of cars and big trucks on the highway, and that Little Girl could get hurt very badly if she wandered out into traffic.

Little Girl listened very carefully to her Grammy.  As she listened, she watched the cars and trucks go by.  The trucks were very big, and as they drove by, Little Girl could feel the wind hit her face as they rushed past.  This scared Little Girl.  She realized how dangerous these trucks could be, and how much bigger than her they were.

Grammy stood by the road with Little Girl for several minutes, letting her feel the power of the machines as they went by.  Then Grammy led Little Girl back down the driveway to the house.

Little Girl never went near the highway again.

Little Girl grew up to be me.  I realize now what an important lesson my Grammy was teaching me that day.  But I also have a phobia about being near trucks now.  I cannot drive side by side on the highway without finding my heart beating faster, and anxiety rising up in my throat so palpably that I feel as though I will choke on it.  That was a very important lesson Grammy taught me.  I was about 4 or 5 when it happened.  Over 50 years later I remember it as though it was yesterday.

Thank you Grammy for loving me enough to take the time to teach me a lesson.  And making me realize that I never wanted to be a truck driver.  Ever.  :D

Twitter @jonesbabie

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

happy birthday to me

Ok, now the fun begins.  Today I start the last year of my fifth decade.  Or you could say I begin the first year of my sixth decade.  (No I am not going to spell out how many years that is.)

Am I morose?  Bowed down with grief at the thought of my lost youth, never to be regained (or even briefly visited)?  Anticipating the end of a life of ups and downs, ins and outs, trials and tribulations, failures and successes?

No.  Because I am my dad's daughter.  And my mum's daughter as well.  From dad I got my airhead, resilient attitude.  From mum I got my temper and resolve.

Sounds like a strange mix.  But it has taken me through a life filled with adventures and happiness.  There were times I truly wished I could have been living on another planet.  And there were times I wouldn't be anywhere else.

And for every moment of this life, I am grateful.  Thanks mum and dad for my existence.  And for raising me to be a strong woman.  And for teaching me to look at life with humor and appreciation.

Thanks to my family for being my heart and soul.  For what keeps me going.  For always being there no matter how I behave, or think, or act, or speak.

Thanks to my children and grandchildren.  When I look at them, I know I did one thing right in this life.

And thanks to all my friends, new and old, for adding immeasurable richness to my life.

It's my life.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.  My life, my adventure.

Twitter @jonesbabie