Thursday, October 31, 2013

2 Boys and A Bird In The House

Yesterday I spent the day grocery shopping, cooking, 
being entertained by a great guitar player and singer, and chasing a bird in the house.

The girls had their boyfriends come over for dinner. I made 2 pies, chicken casserole and rolls. No big deal except that it was 80 degrees yesterday, Oct. 30 for Pete's Sake! My oven is ratchet. Did I use that word right? Besides baking unevenly, bottom too hot, top not hot enough, it turns my whole house into an oven. Nice in the winter, not so much in the summer, or in October when it feels like August. 

Jared, Rachel's guy, has been over lots of times, and is just one of us. Rebecca's guy, Ross hadn't been over before. I'd met him once and threatened him as nicely as I could. This time I was for real nice. I decided I like him. He's musically talented and that scores him a big brownie point with me. He can play about any instrument he picks up. God doesn't give that gift to many people, so I figure he's special. Plus, he makes Rebecca happy and seems like a smart, nice, funny guy. He's allowed to come back. He was nice enough to entertain us. I got the camera out to take some pictures, but the batteries were dead. Yes, I still use a regular camera, not a cell phone camera.  How can I buy AA batteries by the dozen and never have one when I need them? I was going to try and figure out how to post pictures on here. I'm very challenged like that. I can do email and FB on a computer. I can even write a blog, but I can't post pictures yet. Something about a URL. I've asked Rebecca and Rachel to show me how to post them on FB but they just get irritated with me and do it themselves. Rebecca said she would show me how on here, but I doubt if she will have enough patience.

Early in the day, I heard a bird inside the flue of the wood stove. Poor thing fluttered around. Ginger went crazy clawing at the stove pipe and meowing really loud. She's not a normal cat who meows, so it was funny. Cliff and James took the flue apart. The bird hid in a little corner making it impossible to reach. Cliff had the bright idea to poke it with a screwdriver and the thing took off. We were all laughing, screaming, ducking and hoping we wouldn't get bird-pooped on. The sparrow flew the length of the house, round and round. I had a broom to try and shoo it out, but James jumped up and caught it. Now that was cool! 

So the day was a success. Even the sparrow got to have a happy ending. Ross is cool. James is now in charge of animal control. Dinner was good. Life is good. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Makes You Beautiful?

A couple days ago I had this song in my head by the boy band One Direction, "What Makes You Beautiful?" I don't know all the words so I just sang the ones I knew and made up some of my own. A few lines are, 
"Everyone knows you are pretty but you." 
"Your smile is beautiful." 
"If only you saw what I can see." 
"You don't know o-o- you're beautiful."
"You don't need make up."

I appreciate those boys telling young girls that they are beautiful, because I know they don't believe it. How can they with the ridiculous standards society has made? So what does make a girl beautiful? Let's see how many ways I can say this....YOUR BEAUTY COMES FROM THE INSIDE!!! I'll try not to yell at you again, but no promises. 

I'd love to take credit for that saying, but it's actually in 1 Peter 3:3. "Beauty is not in hair, jewelry or clothes. Beauty comes from within you, a beautiful, quiet spirit. This beauty will never fade." 

Whether or not you believe the Bible, there are certain universal truths in it.
Your gonna die.
You are wonderfully made.
Things do not buy happiness. In fact, the more you give away, the happier you'll be. Weird, huh?
Do good and good will come to you.

We all know girls with perfect teeth, long, flowing hair, flawless make up any hour of the day or night and  size -2. They are blessed with good genetics, and probably a good hair stylist, who they pay outrageous amounts of money to. They probably go to the gym every day and eat an apple for breakfast and lettuce for lunch and dinner. But look back at that verse. Inner beauty does not fade. So guess what? Outer beauty does fade. Gravity is not kind to women. Your body will age and change. Pregnancy will be havoc on those tight abs. 

We don't even want to be pretty just to impress guys. We want to impress girls too! Who doesn't want to be the one that all the girls are jealous of? 

When I was a teenager my cousin Peggy and I always watched the Miss America Pageant. We would have a sleepover at her house, get in our robes and have snacks ready, so we wouldn't miss a minute. We would have pencils and paper in our laps. We took our jobs as judges very seriously. As we wrote down our Top 10, one of us asked Aunt Kay, "Who do you like?" Which of course, meant "Who do you think is prettiest?" I forget the state, but Peggy and I were not impressed with her choice and asked why. She said, "Because she's modest." My teenage self didn't know how to respond to that. Her dress had long sleeves and a high neck. It was still pretty and sparkly, but it was in fact, modest. I get it now! Aunt Kay was right. You don't need a plunging neckline. Cover it up, girls. You'll be respected and appreciated more. Besides, the guys you attract by dressing in revealing clothes are not the ones you want anyway. 

The most attractive thing on your body is your smile. Did you know if smile when you are depressed or sad, you'll trick your brain into thinking you are happy? Don't just smile with your mouth. Really light up the room by smiling with your eyes as well. When you smile, no one is looking at your waist. People will feel more at ease and consider you a friend if you flash your pearly whites. 

Be confident. Sometimes this is tough and you have to fake it, but confidence is attractive. Stand tall. Walk with purpose. Speak clearly, don't mumble. We all have insecurities or fears that can hold us back. Just like you can smile if you don't feel like it, you can also, DO IT SCARED. Doing anything out of your comfort zone is scary, but that's where you grow. Your self esteem will grow because you will have conquered something. Unless you want a life of mediocrity you will have to venture out, be brave and do what is difficult. 

You are beautiful when you speak positive, life affirming words. Don't give negative thoughts a voice. Don't put that out in the universe. I speak to dozens of people at work every day and I can tell you that the ones who are always grumpy are not fun. There they are every day, never smiling, hating their job and making sure you know it, complaining about everything, including the price of their sandwich, like I have anything to do with that. Not nice. Then there are people who are naturally happy and pleasant. Well, maybe not so naturally. Maybe they do have to work at it, but they make an effort to be positive and cheerful. Really try to make someone smile. Be a blessing. Give a compliment. It will make you beautiful. 

I hope I have successfully made my point. Your self worth is not defined by your body. Your beauty comes from your attitude, your smile, your spirit, the tone of your voice, being kind to others. Be the best you, you can be. One Direction is right, You are beautiful. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

No Justice for JonBenet

As mentioned in my first blog I have a real problem with unsolved murders.  JonBenet's is unsettling for so many reasons. 

The 6 year old daughter of John and Patsy Ramsey of Boulder, CO died from strangulation and blunt force trauma Dec 26, 1996. The family was affluent. The media went nuts. Their reporting was mostly speculation and half truths. They were quick to point fingers at John and Patsy. Even 9 year old brother Burke was a suspect, at least by the tabloids. Patsy did it because JonBenet wet the bed! No, John did it because he sexually abused her and thought she would tell. No. Burke did it because he was jealous of her. Each accusation more absurd than the one before but we still followed the reports, as pitifully inaccurate as they were. 

The child was pretty, without the garish wigs, makeup and $500 pageant dresses. In K Mart pajamas with wet hair, she was pretty. What went so terribly wrong is still an unsolved mystery. I'm finding it hard to write about it in a sensible way because it just didn't make any sense. 

For starters, the ransom note didn't make sense. If you write a ransom note, you take the kid and hold her til you get the dough. One theory is that it was in fact, a kidnapping gone wrong. The writer demanded $118,000, the amount of a bonus John received that year. Logically, that should narrow the suspects down to a small circle of people who knew that. 

The investigation didn't make sense. This was the only murder in Boulder that year. They weren't experienced in handling much crime at all, let alone one this heinous. They could write traffic tickets and scold teenagers for smoking weed, but this was way out of their league. They should have called in some Detroit homicide investigators. Maybe then they would have had a chance of solving it. 

The crime scene was compromised. It wasn't sealed off for several hours after the first responders arrived. Friends and family of the Ramsey's were in and out of the house. John and two of his friends found JonBenet in a little storage room in the basement.  Of course, they touched her and picked her up, further botching up the scene and forensic evidence. She was duct taped and strangled with items that were not in the Ramsey house. She was wrapped in her own little white blanket. You can't think of the case without imagining the sheer horror the child experienced. Whoever killed her looked in her eyes and saw terror. 

John and Patsy were exonerated when their DNA suggested they were not involved. 

On Oct. 25, 2013 previously sealed documents were opened indicating that a grand jury voted to indict John and Patsy in the murder on charges of child abuse resulting in death and being an accessory to crime. The D.A. dropped it. That is a very uncommon occurrence. Was it because the D.A. was a family friend? Was it because they had money and paid someone off? 

Patsy died of ovarian cancer in 2006. Maybe she has been reunited with the daughter who captivated a nation. Has she apologized to JonBenet? Can you imagine, your child murdered in your home, on your watch? And you didn't protect her? How could you live with yourself? I would cry and hug the child and say, "I'm sorry I wasn't there for you when you needed me," at least ten thousand times. "I should have saved you or died trying."

This murder will probably go unsolved forever. I hate that. I hate that a killer got away with murdering a child in her own home. Maybe he is dead by now and in his own personal hell. Or is he still walking around with a terrible secret from 17 years ago? Somebody knows something!  It is a shame that still there is no justice for JonBenet. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Men In My Life

I'm not talking about my husband or brother. I'm talking about random men that the universe plants in your own little world, in it's own time. Usually people come into our lives to teach us a lesson. Sometimes it's about love or compassion. Sometimes it's about anger or hurt. Right now there are several men in my life who are here for a reason. I'm still learning from them. I'm not going to use real names here.

Spiritual Giants: There are a few. Some of them write articles or blogs online. I hang onto every word. I like learning from anyone, but when they are older, wiser, and spiritually mature it's natural for me to be drawn to them. The ones that I know and see encourage me to be the best person I can be. I like that. I want to be more like them, because they are so much like Christ. You can't go wrong there. 

Brothers: "Ray" and I speak at work nearly every day. It's always briefly, but in those moments we have learned that our pasts are so similar, it's uncanny. I'm a couple years older than him. We were born in the same hospital in Gary, IN. We went to the same high school in Lake Station, IN. We didn't know each other then. We both lived in the Ann Arbor, MI area at the same time. Now, we not only both live in Cookeville, we work at the hospital together. He asks me a lot of questions starting with "Have you ever..." been to Mackinac? Of course, what Michigander hasn't? We talk about the hotels, horses, tours, and restaurants. Next day. "Have you ever been to the Big House?" If you are familiar with MI you know he is not referring to the slammer. Even the other guys around us get in on that and say they'd love to go there someday. They haven't been. Ray and I have. Recently, he said to me, and anyone else who would listen, that we have the same eyes. I said he must be my brother from another mother. He said, in all seriousness, "I consider you a sister." 

Dr. P: Good guy. Smart guy. Chain smoker. He's the doc who gives me free medical advice. Please no comments about how that's unethical and illegal. Not interested. He takes smoke breaks illegally (see, he doesn't care either) on the loading dock at the hospital. I walk over and ask him questions about anything from dog bites to migraines. If I thought I was being a pest, I'd stop, but I think he enjoys chatting. He has even come looking for me to ask another question, (You ask a doctor one, they respond with twenty!) or tell me something else he thought of that may be helpful. Good guy. 

Jay: I trust him implicitly. He has been my sounding board a million times on dozens of issues. Occasionally, he may offer advice, but usually he just listens. I appreciate that because it is a lost art. Finally, a man who doesn't try to one-up all the time. ie: "You think that is bad? One time I...." He doesn't try to "fix it" like most guys. He knows it's my struggle. I have to figure it out on my own, but it is nice to have him to listen to me vent. I'm sure he has thought, "Deb, I really don't need to know this," but has been kind, and never said it. 

 One guy carries a little torch for me. There I said it. Don't spread vicious rumors. It's perfectly harmless. I'm an old married lady, so it's kind of an ego boost when a guy thinks I'm swell. 

The Father Figure: Not only old enough to be my father, but demands respect. He lets me know when I screwed up, and doesn't bother to be kind and gentle about it. Just basically, "You really screwed that up, kid." Old folks have already lived through what us "kids" are just now getting around to learning. Recently, at the barber shop, a bunch of us were talking about raising kids, having teenagers, wanting to be their buddies but knowing we really have to be parents. An old gentleman getting his haircut sat there smiling the entire time. He never piped up. He's been there, done that, been around that mountain. He knows. He knows. 

I'm blessed to have such great men in my life. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Birthin Babies

Yesterday I saw the newborn baby of friends from work. I call her Papoose because she was breach, sitting on her bottom, arms and legs crossed like a little Indian. She even has Indian roots. I wanted to hold her but she had a couple minor issues. I'll get my hands on her soon though.

Didn't I just have one, tiny and precious like Papoose? Almost fifteen years since the son came along and completed my family. Memories of pregnancy and childbirth came rushing back. Let's see what I can write that is suitable for this forum. I only have about four readers, but still I'll try and not say anything too obscene or grossly detailed.

My pregnancies were a breeze. Labors were all long and difficult lasting at least 24 hours. Deliveries were incredibly easy thanks to big old child bearing hips. I wasn't good at dilating, but how many women have actually given birth without pushing? They just crawled out on their own.

I had great experiences with doctors and nurses. There was the nurse who told me nicely several times not to dig my nails into her hand. After Rebecca was born the nurse, walked me to the toilet, stood in front of me and while peeing I grabbed her skinny waist and pulled her close. I buried my face in her tummy and started bawling. I thanked her for being so patient with me. I chalk it up to hormones. There was the doctor who had to keep assuring me everything was fine, when I kept insisting something is terribly wrong because, "I don't think it's supposed to hurt this much." With Rachel, the nurse who had been with me for her twelve hour shift, stayed late, when I told her I was really close and wanted her to be there with me. Lots of great people supported me.

Number 1 was supposed to be a boy. We never could tell from an ultrasound, but the doctor told me all along that the heartbeat sounded like a boy. So much for that scientific method. Cliff and I didn't even agree on a girl's name, although we knew we needed one, "just in case." I wanted Sarah. He wanted Rebecca. When someone announced, "It's a girl," I asked "A girl?" x 5. When she was laid on my chest, I cried, "Oh, Rebecca!" So she was Rebecca not Sarah, and in that instant was exactly the baby I wanted. She was perfect for me and I couldn't imagine having a boy, now that I had my baby girl.

Rachel came along 25 months later. A healthy 8 lbs. 9 oz. I did have to work a little bit to get her here. She was my only chubby baby. Not much comes to mind about her birth. The best part about her arrival was seeing Rebecca with her. We still laugh when we imitate how Rebecca said, over and over, "Ana hode it." (I wanna hold it.) I was determined that Rachel would not be fed a bottle. On her first night home, she cried nonstop. I didn't produce enough milk to fill her tummy. So we both cried. Rachel from hunger and me because it was 1 AM and I was stupid enough to have a two day old baby at home and no formula. I was the biggest loser on the planet. What sorry excuse for a mom doesn't have a bottle for her baby? I left my mom sitting in the kitchen, with a hungry baby while I trekked to Farmer Jack in the middle of the night. They had the goods to feed a baby. I didn't. I was such a terrible mother. I should have called DHS on myself. Rachel was easier to take care of than Rebecca. It was fun watching the two of them together. They became best friends right away.

Fast forward 24 months. That's three babies in four years if you lost count. James is a week overdue. My mom had already been at my house for a week.  She came from FL to MI to be with me all three times. I had a brilliant idea. I called the University of Michigan Women's Center, where I would have the baby, and asked to speak to someone in Labor and Delivery. I explained to the lady on the floor, as pitifully as I could sound, that I am a week overdue. "Do you have a bed available so I can be admitted and you can induce my labor?" I think it took her a minute to figure out what I was saying. Then I'm sure she had to try really hard not to laugh at me. She explained that just because I was a week overdue I couldn't just check myself in. My doctor would have to do that. She made a suggestion, to try and start labor naturally, that was just nauseating. Well, when you are 41 weeks pregnant, big as a bloated beached whale, cranky and do not want touched, it's nauseating. I said, "Fine, I'm calling my doctor and I'll be there tomorrow," and slammed the phone. That was back in the day, when you could get mad at someone and actually slam the phone in their ear. I imagine her sitting at the desk telling all the other nurses about the crazy lady who thought she could just come in and be induced. Well, when one is overdue with her third baby in four years, the irrational becomes rational. The crazy becomes perfectly logical. I digress. My doctor did take pity on me and I showed that nurse I meant business by checking in the next day. I was not anywhere near being in labor. They had to get it started with Pitocin and a bunch of other drugs, needles and tubes. I stayed in that bed for 2 days as labor dragged on and on. Finally, James was ready. I must have dilated quickly at the end, because it went from quiet with one nurse in the room to a bunch of worker bees scurrying around, trying to keep calm in the midst of chaos. I knew there was a sense of urgency. I just kind of sat up, and he fell out. I don't even think a doctor caught him. When it calmed down and the room cleared out it was just me and Cliff staring at this beautiful boy. All three were born pretty. No really, they were. No coneheads here. It occurred to me that I was famished. I sent Cliff off to find me something to eat. He returned with Wendy's, cold fries and burgers. He went on home late that night. I kept James in the room with me. I was absolutely exhausted and James was not happy. I fed him. Rocked him. Patted him. Cry. Cry. Cry. I was sitting up in bed holding him and fell asleep. I nearly dropped him! Once again, loser mom! I called the nurse and sent him to the nursery.  Finally, I slept. I woke up a few hours later and walked down the hall to find the baby I kicked out. There was a row of bassinets and without looking at faces or reading name cards, I was drawn to my baby instinctively.

My friends will have stories to tell Papoose about her birth. Their story is unique, just for them. I'm anxious to see the three of them together. A new family is born. Enjoy your baby and ana hode it.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Halloween is not my thing

I REALLY love Fall. I could live in this climate year round and be happy, happy, happy. I love stepping outside and being just chilly enough to wonder if you needed a jacket after all. I love opening up windows and airing out the house. I love the colors of leaves. In dying  they turn beautiful. I like the house cool enough to need a sweatshirt but not the furnace. Fall is nature at it's finest. Except for one minor detail. I don't love Halloween.

I am tempted to say it is because of it's pagan roots, but I know that Christmas, Easter, the days of the week and months have pagan roots. So I'll just be honest here. I hate it because I find most costumes absurd. I don't understand how we tell our kids, "Don't take candy from strangers," but one day a year it's ok to beg. When my kids were little I rose to the challenge of coming up with the cheapest costumes possible, usually a hand-me-down or something we created with odds and ends from closets and the make up drawer. I did find it entertaining to walk up and down the street with three kids in tow. When Rachel was four, she would knock, yell trick-or-treat, thank them for the treat, then proceed to try and enter every house. I guess to a four year old, when you knock and the door is opened, you are automatically invited inside.

When I worked at Cheddar's, I dreaded having to come up with a costume that I could still move and work in. One year I wore a bunch of Christmas stuff. Santa hat, Christmas shirt, Christmas vest, Christmas broaches and pins, Christmas tie, jingle bell necklace and earrings. I was Christmas-Time. How many times do you suppose I was asked, "What are you supposed to be?" or "Are you an elf?" I would smile (on the outside) and say, "I'm Christmas-time!" "Idiot." (on the inside)

I like scarecrows, corn mazes, cider mills, and apples. I just don't like Halloween parties, costumes and kids rotting their teeth out on taffy. Isn't there something else we can give kids other than sugar? Remember how we hated the houses that gave out pennies or plastic rings? Yea, I guess I won't win that one. They only want the sugar.

Then there is the safety issue. If it's really necessary to take your bucket of loot to the cops so they can check it out for you, maybe you should just play it safe and skip begging and buy half price candy Nov.1. You would never eat an apple put in your pumpkin bucket because it might have a razor in it. But no one gives apples out anyway.  It's kind of cool how the churches have their own trunk-or-treat. Even if you don't go to church there, they'll share their stuff with your kids, and you know you won't have to inspect every tootsie roll because, well, they are Christians.

We used to get pumpkins and make a big, sloppy mess carving them. They never came out looking great. More like someone took a chainsaw to it. The smile was lopsided. The triangle eyes looked like circle-squares. I might put a pumpkin on the porch. Uncarved. Happy Fall Y'all. And for those whom I haven't convinced to give up trick-or-treat, Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Gettin My Blog On

I started a blog 3 years ago, posted a few, and decided I didn't have anything else to write about. I thought maybe I'd like to try it again, but can't access that blog because the email account I used then has been deactivated. I can't remember my password and can't retrieve it or set a new one. 

I have several friends whom I stalk, I mean follow, on their blogs. They have unknowingly inspired me. 

I thought I should just post some random facts about myself. You know, things I like, dislike, rants, etc. 

1. I rarely eat meat or eat at restaurants. I'd be certifiably insane without peanut butter and chicken. They are my main sources of protein. 

2. My former blog is if you care to read what was on my mind 3 years ago.

3. When I was young I thought I'd become a filthy rich, famous singer. Think, Celine Dion, without the grandpa/husband or Whitney Houston, without the addiction. I was certain that at some point, an agent would hear me, and say, "Kid, I can make you rich." Still haven't quite figured out how that never happened. 

4. I am a christian and believe in the Bible. I also believe God is far more understanding and loving than we give Him credit for. I believe that in the last couple thousand years certain parts of the Bible have been misinterpreted and paraphrased so many times that they have lost the original meaning. Try to interpret Hebrew and Greek from that long ago to modern day English and there is going to be some confusion. It's inevitable. If you've ever taken a foreign language then you have heard, "We don't have a word for that in English." or "We don't have words that mean the same, so it's kind of like...." That being said, I do believe it is the Holy Word of God. It is the "Jesus Story" and we are invited to be part of it. 

5. I believe I will die in my 60's. I attribute that mostly to bad genetics and not taking great care of myself. I hope I live long enough to enjoy a couple grandkids, but really, once my kids are independent, I'm ready when He is. 

6. I love the show, "The First 48" and get very upset at the end of the show if they haven't found the killer. Other than that, I don't watch much tv. 

7. I am the wife of Cliff, the mom of 3 teens, Rebecca, 18. Rachel, 16. James, 14. A dog Molly and a cat Ginger. Ginger is a boy. We thought he was a girl when we got him, but never bothered to change his name or start calling her him. So to us he/she will remain Ginger, the girl cat. 

8. I have a mixed up muddled accent. I'm a northerner transplanted to Cookeville, TN. I'm a yankee/redneck who speaks with an Indiana/Michigan/Canadian/Tennessee accent. It's ok to have a laugh at my expense. I'm used to it. :) 

9. I think I'm a boring person because I can't think of 10 random facts about myself. Well, I can but the rest are even more irrelevant than the first 8 or too personal to share with you guys/ (MI speak) y'all (TN speak) just yet. Plus, James is pestering me to get off the computer.