December 29, 2003

I am so tired. I

I am so tired. I stayed up way to late with Sex and the City the
fourth season. The fifth season is being released on Tuesday and I needed to
finish up last twelve episodes. Some people complain about it: offensive,
risque, racy. Yes, it is all those things, but it also a fantastic escape from
the grind for many of us. I confess to indulging in the "single girl in the city
fantasy:" Sleeping until time to go to brunch, testing the infested waters of
fish, money for shoes and hot spots, no car insurance, studios, the art
galleries. It's entertainment, not a theological documentary or seminar. If you
don't like it, then don't watch it. Now, the less inflammatory stuff: we have
one week off from school! Hurrah! Our plans are: 1)Watch a few movies. Some old,
some new, some borrowed, some blue. 2) Play some new games, enjoy some old
favorites. 3) Color, paint, playdough, make annoying crafts. 4) Read. 5) Work on
a 1000 piece puzzle. 6) Drink hot chocolate with marshmallow cream. 7) Play
dress-up, real make-up included. 8) Take drive up the mountains. 9) Have friends
over, one for everybody. 10) Make resolutions, both unreasonable and feasible.
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

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Sleep overs. They are foreign

Sleep overs. They are foreign to the male
mind. Attention male readers: sleep overs not equal to shacking. I am talking
about girls sleeping over at one another's houses. The kind your sister had. You
feigned annoyance only secretly excited at your front row seat to secret female
behavior. Sleep overs confuse the heck out of R. Our girls like to have them
with each other. No sleep over is complete without three things: food, a video,
and late night whispering and laughing (every working man's nightmare). So, when
it's striking 11:30 and they are up excavating the pantry, they equate this to
fun. When they watch their favorite movie at 1 a.m. because it's their favorite,
this is quasi-elicit (it's to do with the time), and when they are giggling at
2:30, they are bonding. An invite to a sleep over is the big time. It means
you're a true, tight friend. E is sleeping over tonight! I am ecstatic for her.
This move has been hard for her and the look in her eyes at two invites in a
row, first to spend the afternoon at a friend's, then for the two of them to
head over to a mutual friend's to, well, not sleep over, but to stay awake over,
made my day just perfect. Well, that and the rice.

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December 28, 2003

I don't have many vices.

I don't have many vices. I got too old
and became a mother. Not sure if I'll pick any of them back up again once the
children are old enough to be gone. I enjoy a good glass of wine, but haven't
been drunk in over 13 years. I came dangerously close last summer at R's 20th
High School Reunion. No, it wasn't purposeful. I went very confident after a
delicious shopping trip earlier that afternoon. I attended looking fabulous and
assured of my husband's fidelity. While sitting and chatting with a wife, I
remembered suddenly how I was now in the position to try a Cosmopolitan. Seeing
Carrie order them piqued my interest. I stepped over to the cash bar and ordered
one. It was love at first libation. I drank it rather quickly and ordered
another. It wasn't until I polished off the third that I realized the strength
of that vodka shot. I wasn't even buzzing, but knew that one more would do me
in. I had already seen one wife get physically sick from drowning her
insecurities and decided that I didn't want to be the encore. So, a cup of
coffee and cream and a glass of water staved off any possible drunkenness. Sex
in marriage isn't really a vice, so that's out. Or is it? Hmmm, I guess that
depends on what exactly is happening. Clothing must be my vice or at least the
spending of the money to get them. My friend says that dressing well, "is a
closely held family value" for me and my mother and brother. I think she is
right. Pieces of fabric sewn together in just the right way can really make me
want to spend money. No different than a man and stereo or technical equipment.
See, R has a thing for Chevy trucks. Please, let me just say my husband is
highly intelligent and doesn't wear his wallet chained to his pants and owns no
cut off flannel shirts. Currently, we have about five trucks. (They are
"investments," yeah, so is my Kate Spade collection). Until the fence was done,
it appeared that we aspired to replicate Sanford and Son. At least they are well
hidden now. I have always appreciated knowing that when R does a double take
while driving down the street, I ask what make and model, not what hair color
she has. Books. They are a vice for me. Especially as I prefer hardback. My
ideal day is to stop by the coffee house and then head over to the local used
bookstore to peruse their shelves of discarded books. I have found some real
treasures there. I like the library, but always checking out a book is like
eating out every meal! I want a few things at home for feasting and snacking. We
currently have over 2000 volumes, mostly children's literature. I can't wait to
read their parent's childhood favorites to my grandchildren and send them home
with cookies, hugs, and a bag of books. One of A's favorite memories is reading
such classics as Wind in the Willows and A Secret Garden on my bed before
naptime everyday. Later, we began to read them at the table while taking our
lunch. I always eat while preparing their food so I am ready to read while they
eat. The bon mot is quite valued in our home. Well, the roasting chicken needs
to be basted and herbed again and I must start the rice (delicious brown made
with chicken bouillon, garlic, onions, celery and tomatoes). It has been a
lovely Sunday afternoon.

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December 27, 2003

Who can be down listening

Who can be down listening to Stevie Wonder? A got R The
Definitive Collection. Full of all his best music spanning 22 years, it is the
most uplifting, positive music: "You are the Sunshine of My Life," "Signed
Sealed Delivered," "My Cherie Amour," "For Once in My Life," and "Overjoyed."
The ones that are fantastic to get the field day done are all included, as well:
"Superstition," "Higher Ground," "Sir Duke," "Master Blaster," "Do I Do," and
"Boogie On Reggae Woman." It is so fun to introduce the girls to this music. No
Brittany Spears in this house, now, then, or ever. Recently the we spent an
evening coloring and listening to The Velveteen Rabbit: 20th Anniversary Edition
narrated by Meryl Streep and Composed by George Winston. It was a quiet evening,
the loudest sounds being the crayons moving across the paper. With George
Winston's music wrapping around us like a favorite quilt and Meryl's voice
slipping into our heads like satin, I realized that quietness can be relative.
We went to bed soothed and satisfied. It was a good sleep.

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December 26, 2003

So, we all are different

So, we all are different
people. Some like this, some prefer that. I think that growing up in a medical
family (mother a nurse, step-monster father anethesiologist) has biased me
toward the medical establishment. As in, I prefer them to the whole
homeopathy/naturopathy route. My thinking is that people died from things now
considered very simple while thinking that rubbing some wild root into their
feet and dropping garlic oil into their ears would heal or remove an infection.
I like antibiotics when used properly, but I don't think that we should shove
pills into our mouths just to alleviate the pain of an ingrown hair. So, where I
am going with this is that my neighbor almost died from a ruptured appendix. She
had intense intestinal cramps for five days. She could hardly walk and had
chills from the fever. She went to some naturopath who told her what I did two
days earlier: "Go the hospital!" On day six, she finally did. All the baths in
ginger and taking all the herbs everyone recommended did nothing! Nothing! So,
in the end, she met with a surgeon and his scalpel. He removed the gangerous
appendage and now she is recovering. She has her life (and some interesting
photos) thanks to the very medical profession that she questions and thinks is
so screwed up. It just amazes me that when none of the weeds of the field seem
to work, where do they go? The oldest child who is the same age as E is with the
other four children by herself while the father is at the hospital. E told me
that she feels sorry for the girl because she is often left to care for the
children. So, E went over to help keep her company. I asked E if she thinks that
I leave her in charge of her siblings too frequently and she said not at all.
Then I asked if she felt compelled to tell me what she thought I wanted to hear.
She was insulted that I would even think that she would not tell me the truth. I
run errands occasionally and leave whoever wants to stay with E if she prefers
not to go. Of course, it's always easy to point at someone else and say,
proudly, "I never do that!" So looking forward to seeing Peter Pan. I can hardly
wait. I am going to take E as A is very sensitive to some fantasy. If after
viewing it, I think that she can handle it, then will take her. R and I watched
Freaky Friday with A tonight. She loves to have us all to herself occasionally.
I like being with only her sometimes. Too tired from too many late nights.

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December 25, 2003

Glee and absolute giddiness propelled

Glee and
absolute giddiness propelled the girls from the deepest of sleeps this a.m. They
did their best to be quiet, but stiffled giggles and squeals slipped out from
the corners of their mouths. I can never go back to sleep once I am awakened by
their sounds on Christmas morning. I love to listen to them discovering the
treasures in their stockings. Voices filled with excited exclamation of "How did
mom know I wanted this?" keep my heart wide awake while my eye-lids still lie
closed. I curl up under the comforter, warm from R's body heat, and hope, just
for once, that this time never ends.

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December 24, 2003

Music's magic ability to transfer

Music's magic ability to transfer us to
places that we haven't been to in years is incredible. I love it that while I am
driving along, the Doobie Brothers can put me at the intersection of some tiny
bungalow lined street and Pennsylvania Avenue in the humidity of an Oklahoma
summer. I am no longer the 33 year old mother of four daughters, I am 8 years
old, looking out of the windows of my mother's Honda at the faces of the people
in the other cars, at the trees, the yellow sticks of grass. Pachabel's Cannon
reminds me of giving birth to E. Once while visiting my mother, we drove into
the city to Penn Square Mall (still called that?). A string quartet was set up
near the entrance by Pepperoni Grill. I noticed them as I walked by and smiled.
But when they began to play, I sent my mother and brother on ahead and stood
outside some department store privately recalling my firstborn's arrival. Steely
Dan's "Hey 19" pulls me into 1989. I had R on a line, reeling him in only to
throw him back again. I was frightened of how much I loved him. Where it was
going and how fast we were traveling there- to this unknown place. He had
convinced me to stay with him, I had allowed him to do so. I wanted to be with
him. He surprised me for my birthday and took me to the Katy Station restaurant.
We had the dinner for two and he presented me with a small neatly wrapped box. I
couldn't believe what he was giving me. I was completely surprised. I tore open
the paper and removed the lid to find a shiny, big....whistle. It was a whistle.
He pointed out the engraving on the side and asked me to tell him what it said.
I couldn't make it out. I was still trying to understand why he gave me a
whistle. The engraving was cryptic, I finally asked for him to help me out. It
had I=I, L=Love, Y= You, then my initials and his below. It was the first time
he said he loved me. What a way to tell me, huh? He had driven to Jeff City to a
Highway Patrol auction and won it, just for me. Later, at his house, he put on
the song and told me Happy Birthday. It was my 19th. A perfect song for us as he
was 6 years older and had so much life experience than I. We still like to pop
in that CD and reminisce. Anything by Howard Jones reminds me of hanging out in
my college dorm room with one of my best friend's and college roommate. We used
to stay up all night and sleep all morning, getting up only in time to grab the
last place in line for the cafeteria's Saturday morning brunch. With Chopin I am
always transported to a tragic time of my life. It spans a mere 15 years but
holds a monumental fold of events. I don't think that I have some place, a
metaphorical room, that I hid all of these things. I think I have a hallway: a
place that I must go through to get anywhere else in my house of thoughts. Not
that I see or notice all the items collected and placed there. The way simply
provides passage to other places and the things give connection and reminder of
where I have been, tokens of journeys I hope never to make again. The girls are
listening to Cirque Du Soleil's Journey of Man. It was generously sent to us by
a lovely British woman who worked for KRPS. We called one day to request
Vivaldi's Guitar Fugue in D minor. She was impressed that my girls knew such
specifics of a particular piece and asked how they knew it. I explained that we
have been listening to classical music their whole lives and I always tell them
the name of a piece that we are listening to, as well as the composer who wrote
it. She asked for our address and I told it to her. Two days later we received a
package in the mail with four CD's for the girls. The Journey of Man was one of
them. Peter Schickele's Bestiary was another. They fell in love with them. I
love to see them acting out the music. Their interpretations are creative,
moving, and seemingly accurate for the piece. Music is important in our lives.
It gives expression to that which we cannot use or find words to tell of. I love
the music of this season. All of the songs remind me of the purpose of Christ's
life, the warmth of family and tradition, and the wonder of an event occuring so
long ago that can cause so many people to stop and be kind and thoughtful and
generous all at once.

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December 23, 2003

We are going to bake

We are going to bake cookies today. The plan is to have dinner,
clean up, then head out into the night to carol our neighbors and friends,
leaving a little treat behind. Then we come back and have hot chocolates and
popcorn and watch a Christmas movie together. We love to cuddle and snuggle and
watch together. The children love to do this. They help choose the songs, the
way we stand, the order of houses that we visit. I love to see their creative
processes outside their heads and their working together. I would love to be one
of those bloggers who swears off the computer for a few days, but I have far too
many thoughts swirling around in my head to not allow some outlet for them
without going a little loca. So, I shall be here, thinking and typing and
blogging away.

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December 22, 2003

I remember when E was

I remember when E was in ballet back East. She is so graceful. She is very
slender and long-legged. Someone once said of her, "That girl doesn't walk
anywhere. She floats." She had her recital costume on with her hair up and a
beautiful peach rose pinned behind her left ear. Her tutu was long, almost to
her ankles. I was ticked to have to pay $200 at the end of December for her
costumes (Christmas, several birthday's, property tax helped the frustration
along). But, seeing her performance in June was simply exhilarating. She was
perfect! One raining March Midwest evening (how I miss those!), E ran out to the
car after lessons carrying a tape of her music. She was to practice to it
several times a week. I popped it into the tape deck in the van. I was surprised
to hear Counting Crows Colorblind. I mean, I was expecting Schumann, Chopin, or
something classical. She enjoyed dancing and that was all that mattered, even if
I was less than thrilled about the choice of music. This week C accidentally
broke the CD player that we keep in the kitchen. This is truly a tragedy for me.
I cannot do anything in my kitchen without music. What I am listening to
influences what I cook and what I am cooking chooses what I listen to. I have
been forced to dig out the basket of tapes. At A's request, I was making
homemade Sloppy Joes. I decided that Patsy Cline would be a good choice, but
alas couldn't find the tape. Rifling around a bit longer, I found some generic
tape that said our last name on it. Curious, I placed it in the deck and pushed
play. It took about 15 seconds for the tape to find the beginning and then it
began to play the longing beginning to Colorblind. I stopped for a moment and
listened. I love the song. I love the music, but it is so sad. It made me miss
home. It made me miss things that I know and that know me. It made me recall E
dancing so beautifully that June evening.

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December 21, 2003

I took (can't help but

I took (can't help but think of Hobbits when
I say that word) E, A, and C to Christmas shop a bit last night. We were
listening to Celtic music on NPR on the way. It was chilly outside and warm
inside with legends and stories of big men fighting small wars. I love to see
the children choosing Christmas presents for one another, digging into their
fattened wallets, untouched by governments and debtors. They cautiously count
out the ones and pennies for the cashier. Most people behind the counter seem
rather pleased to see someone happy to give up their savings. I worked retail in
college and know that there are more Scrooge's forced out during Christmas than
we want to believe: those who complain about their backs, their feet, the cost,
the lack of proper service, not enough bathrooms, anything that can be negated.
It was so pleasant to have someone smile while paying and wish me a Merry
Christmas. Smile and say Merry Christmas and make someone's day.

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December 20, 2003

I prefer peace. I like

I prefer peace. I
like sanity. I am attracted to kindness and consideration. I can't stand strife.
I am repelled by vengeance and punishment. I hate it when I have disappointed R
in some way. I want to always be the princess- lovely, good, and delightful; the
admirable queen of his heart. I think that my experiences in my childhood
enabled me to compartmentalize everything in my life. I can hold both the yolk
and the white separately in one hand. I have read all the books so I know that I
subconsciously chose this method for dealing with those who prey on children. A
burden was placed on my heart that I was too small, too undeveloped to carry or
sustain. So, I did the best that I could to survive. And most days I wanted to
survive. Once, I had decided that I wanted to die. I don't know that I wanted to
get away from my haunted house, but that I wanted someone to feel sad that I
left. I wanted for someone to experience remorse for causing my absence. I found
a bottle of pills, Vitamin C, in a tennis bag. I swallowed the whole bottle. I
was 10 years old. I remember bathing, so that I would be clean when I was found.
I brushed my hair and put on clean clothes, my best, in fact. Then I went to
bed. I remember hearing my parents listening to some jazz artist on the record
player. They were dancing together. Their quiet laughter rose above the music
occasionally. I was happy for them. If a person had just stepped in, they
would've thought, "This is a happy house, one with reciprocated love and
affection." I knew differently, but was happy for my mother. She sounded
satisfied. I stayed awake half the night with anticipation of something
happening. Not a loud something, but a quiet something that I thought I would
somehow be conscious of. When I awoke in the morning, I was surprised to find
myself curled up in my own bed. I don't think that I thought beyond death, just
that someone would feel badly that I had died, and that maybe I wouldn't be so
sad in my heart anymore. I was relieved a bit, though. I loved my mother
desperately and while lying there in my rumpled day clothes, I realized that she
may have felt responsible for my death and that would make her sad, like me and
I didn't want anyone to feel as broken as I did. Not anyone that I loved, that
is. I wanted all those that had hugged me a little to long; that had offered
perversion in a pretty bottle; that had shown me things that I didn't want to
see to pay for it all by feeling some sense of remorse. I didn't know that the
last thought they had of me was when they were with me, while they were
relishing the booty they were pillaging. I think that when R is disappointed in
me in some way, I am fearful that he will never think me again the queen of his
heart. That he will think me unredeemable. I have endured hurt by those that I
trusted. I have been scalded by those who I thought would only nourish me. So, I
understand disappointment by those you never expected it from. I don't want him
to expect it from me. I don't want to be to him as terrible as those people were
to me. I don't want him to despise me as I have them. "Forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us." What a monumental task that is. I
can expect to be forgiven to the degree that I forgive. Have I forgiven? Will I
be forgiven? Am I worthy to receive of what I will not give? Do both the victim
and perpetrator drink from the same chalice? Does the wine taste as sweet to
each tongue?

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December 18, 2003

As we were driving home

As we were driving home from our lovely date with the King, and E asked
why Frodo went on the elfin ship with Bilbo. I told her that I thought that he
had born such a burden, that he couldn't live the same anymore. I do wish that
Merry, Pippin, and Sam could've understood that it was Frodo's reward for his
sacrifice. I had to remind myself of the culture of Hobbits when Frodo
intimately held Sam's head and placed a kiss on his dearest friend's head. It
was a bit homoerotic for me. Not the kiss, so much as the way Frodo held Sam's
face while he did so. While I loved the movie, the battle scenes seemed lacking;
too decided and swift. I also wanted to see Eowyn and Faramir's romance. I do
think that not putting in Sarumon's scenes did take away a bit from the sense of
evil in the movie! Alas, I will have to wait until the extended DVD comes out to
see it in whole. Had a lovely dinner with R last night. I received a generous
gift certificate for helping to plan the Company Christmas Party (I got to
choose the menu- vicarious fun since I used to work in catering) to one of the
best restaurants in town. We had a beautiful time driving up the mountains to
get there. I was tired and poised to be a malcontent, but when R made me laugh
and when I looked at his face, I could see his blue eyes sparkling and he was
really looking into my eyes and at my smile, so I couldn't stay irritable. We
had a delicious dinner and a nice time together. I came home and tubbed while
reading more of Mr. Cahill's book. The warmth of the water and tiredness of my
head forced me out of the bath and into the bed. I don't even remember falling
asleep. I have done nothing today and only got dressed to go retrieve doughnuts
for the children and bagel and coffee for myself. We are enjoying a day of
nothing. After all the shopping, and baking, and running hither and thither, it
is sooooooo nice. The girls watched "Swiss Family Robinson" while I IM'ed with
my best girl-friend about nothing and everything. A-nothing-too-particular-blog
day and I feel fine!

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December 17, 2003

Ohhhh, Peter Jackson! Once again,

Ohhhh, Peter Jackson! Once again, expertly executed and faithfuly
delievered! Am now dizzy and faint with exhaustion. Will tell more when have had
long date with mattress, sheets, down comforter, and have returned from the Land
of Nod.

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December 16, 2003

I was blogging but was

was blogging but was interrupted by a knock at the door. Two clean shaven,
recently shorn, suit-clad young men politely greeted me. Missionaries. Mormon
missionaries. They first showed up a week before Thanksgiving. We chatted at the
door for about 20 minutes. Both of them being from the Midwest (as am I) we had
much to reminisce about. Rules of engagement don't allow for them to step inside
without a man present, so we finished up our conversation and I told them to
come back after 6:30 some evening. I told them not to expect a conversion when
they returned. I would never convert to Mormonism, but I would love to have some
of my questions answered and enjoy a good discussion about beliefs. Well, as I
was beginning to blog about my excitement of attending my city's premiere
viewing of "The Return of the King", guess who knocked on the door? This time,
one of the original two had been reassigned and so I was introduced to another
kid, light-eyed and excessively polite. They wished to attempt to schedule a
time to "visit" with us. I told them Saturday was perfect. I really do welcome
discussing their faith with them. I plan on making some delicious treat,
drinking my coffee and cream with it, and R and I going head to head with this.
When pressed, they admitted that they had "heard" that there was a person with
my name that lived on my street. Since the local wards print neighborhood maps
of those who are members, it would be quite easy to locate us as we are the only
ones for two blocks who aren't members. So, there is a big blank on the two
centimeter square designated for our house number. R isn't so comfortable having
them around our children. I think that I agree. When they are older and more
solid in the faith that we are imparting to them, then I would encourage
personal investigation of other faiths. So, it looks like Saturday morning,
instead of my usual virtual cruise, I will be traveling the waters of The
Articles of Faith, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price with
several captains of a misguided ship. Notice from this blog that I am not a
post-modern relativist. I think each person should whole heartedly believe that
theirs is the only truth. I mean, what's the point of my believing it as real
and true if something else could also be real and true? While I believe that
surpressed truth in relationships is sometimes like an onion (layered and a bit
uncomfortable to deal with), I don't believe that universal truth is relative
and shaped by the thoughts and hands of man (notice I said truth, not history,
real history, that is). Now, something considered by many to be far more
trivial: The Return of the King! I can't wait to be qued up, holding my
delicious cup of coffee in the cold night, waiting to acquire the perfect seats
to take in one of my favorite movies of all time! E is ecstatic! She feels most
cool to be taking in a midnight premiere with her mum! We will sneak in our
favorite treats, but will submit to the hosing for popcorn and drinks (would
they object to my covertly inserting limes to my diet Vanilla Coke?). Wonderful
evening planned- enthusiasm, delight, and wonderment are on the menu. How could
it be better?

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December 15, 2003

We have a television, but

We have a television, but no channels. That is to say, we use our t.v. for
videos/dvd's only. We're not objectors, just too cheap to pay out the nose for
direct t.v. or cable. In our small town back east, we paid only $15 a month for
cable, not including HBO or any of the movie channels. When we moved here, it
was astounding how much money was required to get even the most local news
station (225 miles away, mind you, and heavily influenced by {as in owned} a
religion). So, if we are desperate enough, we will plug in the rabbit ears and
fiddle around to get something. That happened last night. No news here about
Saddam until I hop onto the web to check e-mails, etc, and see that he's been
captured. I was elated at first, but am unsure now how it really affects the
United States mission. This has me thinking. All day yesterday between cooking
(a fab meal, btw) and reading books to children and listening to Annie Lennox
and Chopin and talking with R and my mother-in-law and E, I kept returning to my
wondering just what this means and how it will change anything?

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December 13, 2003

I love Saturday mornings! I

I love Saturday mornings! I
slept until 9:30 and then had a delicious cup of coffee loaded with cream. The
house is clean, the children are content, and I am cruising all over the world
with my cup in hand.

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December 12, 2003

My husband has this "thing"

My husband has this "thing" about my hair. Let me start at the
beginning. We met (me: 18, tan, long-down-my back hair, innocent, unassuming
college freshman; him: 23, transfer student, Marine, buff, worldly wise and
looking for a girl) at Mizzou in the late summer of 1988. I had gone off to
college from a small town (all though truly a city girl at heart). I knew there
to be "older, mature" good-looking guys on a college campus. In short, it was to
be a smorgasboard of males. So, when I met R in Spanish 1 the first day of
class, I may have made mental note of him, but I wasn't committing to anything!
He was a little strange, you know, older. I chose to sit next to a young politic
lover who was sold on Dukakis. I ,of course, was excited to be participating in
my country's democratic process. I was choosing Bush (daddy) that November. I
had been reared in a household that revered Reagan. To be something other than a
staunch Republican was a sin. All of this thought created by my mother alone.
What a strong woman, huh? Anyway, while I was trying to reform the sin-laddened
Dem, R was quietly taking note. He sat himself next to a Stephanie Callis,
fun-loving and talkative girl. I thought they had a little thing going on, so I
didn't interfere. One day before class, as I was testing the buffet (talking to
a prospective guy) and I could just feel someone looking at me. I looked around
and saw R, standing in front of a floor to ceiling window on the fourth floor of
our Spanish building. He did a little wave when he saw me. After class that day,
he hung around waiting for my last ditch efforts at converting the Democrat to
finish and he walked me downstairs. He was funny. He was polite. He didn't talk
about himself as if he was the only person that existed (like so many of the
other 18 year olds males on campus), you know, bragging about high school sports
stats and other such conquests. We talked about Spanish, the teacher (a strange
woman), what a nice day it was. So began our daily walks and talks until finally
he convinced me to go to a park with him. When he first asked me, it truly
struck fear in my heart. I had been warned about maniacs that took young women
to the park with intentions of harming them. By the fifth or sixth request, I
felt that R was not a maniac but one of those nature loving kinda guys (right on
the money). So he took me to Rock Bridge State Park. I had never seen anything
like it. He loved how much I enjoyed it. So, the next day he took me down to the
Missouri River and showed me a cave. I was feeling brave and decided to go in.
It was dark and I couldn't see a thing. I asked him if I could hold onto his
arm. I can see him now, smiling and pleased with himself that his plan had
worked. "Of course." The arm was instead a hand, warm and strong and a firm
hold. We walked through the "cave" until I could see some light that grew to be
quite large. It was an old quarry. The entrance was large enough for a semi to
drive through. I stopped and looked at R. You see, he had convinced me that the
small circular opening through which I squeezed myself had been the only
entrance. I feigned annoyance, but was secretly pleased that he wanted so badly
to hold my hand that he had been creatively divisive in getting to do so. So,
our informal dating began. He took me Three Creeks, Rock Quarry Park, and
several others. Then he finally asked me out a on real date. At first I refused
him. There was this chemistry between us and it scared me to death. He was
naturally upset at my initial rejection, but he was persistent. So, we ended up
going on our first date to Glen's Cafe, a Cajun restaurant , with my roommate in
tow. The Christmas Break started the next day and I started my job working as a
cashier in the university bookstore. It was all coming together for R and I too
fast and I was frightened by it all, so I asked for some space. He hated it. He
was upset. He convinced me that I was wrong and that things could slow down.
Fast forward a few months, things are going wonderfully well. I have an
appointment to have my hair done. I decide to get it cut. Short. I have 12
inches cut off. I love it. It's fun, it's cute. R comes to pick me up and is in
shock. He can hardly drive and I hear more French than Spanish from him that
day. It's the hair. He hates it. Thinks it's masculine. Too much of a change is
too much for him. So, I grew it out. I have pretty much kept my hair at or below
shoulder length since that time and all but once in our 13 years of marriage. He
freaked out that time, too. I think that I actually look better with longer hair
anyway. Now, I am growing my hair to donate to Locks of Love. It's about four
inches from my rear and in order to have the minimum 10 inches I think it will
be ready by March. I want to have some hair left when I donate it and I don't
want any freaking out occurring. I have learned that not only is length
important to R, but color is, too. I had a wonderful appointment with Marcy the
other night. We had so much fun, talking, drinking our Diet Vanilla Cokes with
Limes (try one!). She did a weave and decided to go a little blonder than the
highlights from last time. When she styled it she straightened it, too. It
looked stunning! Guess who flipped? The next morning, my Coke-drunk love affair
waned also. It was too much for me. So, I called faithful Marcy and she weaved a
darker color into the blonde and presto- perfection. So, for now, the freaking
out about my hair has been eliminated and all is well in the household until my
next visit to Marcy.

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December 11, 2003

Isn't it fun to get

Isn't it fun to get dressed up and go out together? I absolutely
love it. I love being alone with R. No interruptions, just us together! I love
putting on a skirt or dress that I am to-die-for in, with heels, painted toe
nails, fab make-up and the perfect accessories. I love it when R is all clean
and smells so delicious that I could eat him up! I appreciate him both in and
out of just about anything, but especially enjoy seeing him in clothes that
require ironing. Of course, I also love his specific smell. When he was going to
come home from the Gulf War (1), he shipped some of his things ahead. When I
opened the box, it exploded with his wonderful calming, exhilarating scent. I
wrapped my head with the pants. I put on the blouse. I slept with the t-shirt
against my face. I couldn't get enough of him. The smell was intoxicating and
medicating. Momentarily, he was there, in the room, in the bed, with me. It
relieved me from my fear of never seeing him or touching him or hearing him or
smelling him again. When he did arrive home, I saw him first. Then his eyes
found mine. In our embrace, we breathed deeply of one another. We spoke rushed
and quiet words into each other's ears. Our senses simply reveled in the
tangible presence of being.

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December 10, 2003

My mother-in-law is coming to

My mother-in-law is coming to see us this weekend. She
is flying in on Friday and staying until Monday. R's dad had a stroke 18 months
ago. It has been a struggle for her. When I married R the vows did say "in
sickness and health." I was thinking flu, maybe cancer, but certainly not
long-term impairment such as stroke or alzheimer's. I have seen their
relationship change drastically. While I have had my own struggles in seeing my
father-in-law change, mine are certainly nothing to N's. I have been encouraging
her to go to a psychologist. She needs to be able to tell someone just how
pissed off she is about all of this. Her children and her husband aren't people
she feels like she can say this to. Nor, do I think they are the ones who want
to hear this. I think that we need to be listened to and truly heard, so going
around the corner, hiding behind the closet door, gritting our teeth and saying
"I hate you!" out loud may temporarily make us feel better, but in the long run
we get heart disease and tmj, not resolution. I am concerned for her. Last night
while talking on the phone, I made her promise to ask her doc for a list of
several possibilities. She will be seeing him in January and that's far enough
away to not intimidate her into feeling like a decision has to be made now. I
saw my mother become a widow at 30 years old. I saw this happen to someone who
never thought it would. I began discussing with him early in our marriage about
what I would do if he died and what he should/would do should I before he. He
found it morbid and disturbing to speak about it. I found it relieving and
cathartic. Only when this happened to his dad did we start to discuss long-term
disability, DNR's, living wills, money to pay for it all. A few days after my
mother-in-law brought B home, she mentioned to me that the inheritance that we
were to have might not be much after all this (meaning the care-taking of B). I
knew she was being sardonic, if not a bit truthful, but I was appalled. I could
care less about money. I wanted for them to be able to afford good care for B;
for N to be able to live well after his death. To be well while living well.
Should something happen to N, I wanted B to be in the best of places that made
him comfortable and content. I reassured her of all this. I think she both
needed to say it to me and needed to hear what I said. He had his stroke during
the second service at church on a Father's Day. While they were getting seated,
B started rubbing his right arm. N noticed and asked if he was feeling well. He
replied no and then leaned over onto the arm of the pew. She immediately called
911 on the cell phone. Several parishoners whose professions were in medicine
came over and, thinking he was having a heart attack, tried to offer an aspirin.
By then the EMS workers had arrived and wouldn't allow the aspirin to be
administered. Their insistence saved his life. An aspirin given to someone
having a hemorrhagic stroke will kill them. I think that God reached down, not
in a church, but in the confidence of the EMS worker whose job it was that day
to save my father-in-law's life.

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December 08, 2003

Isn't it amazing to look

Isn't it amazing to look at a quiet little woman in the
store? I mean to see her. Her cart may have a half gallon of milk, one of those
mini-sized cans of biscuits, a package of vanilla lady fingers, a few cans of
cat food, and the meat department packed pork chops. Sometimes, I watch her
slowly write her check. She smiles and thanks the young man for carrying out her
two paper sacked groceries. She has her keys ready and has him place the sacks
in the floor of the back seat of her American-made sedan. Sometimes I find
myself driving behind her. Annoyed at her carefully determined turns and the
signal for 300 feet, she forces me to drive the speed limit and to pay attention
to her every move. She pulls slowly into the carport of a bungalow in the older
section of town where most houses have been turned into rentals. Her
well-manicured lawn shows that someone still comes to mow and trim, while the
flowers are proof that she gets her regular Saturday morning exercise. The
groceries are carried into a small kitchen and put into their proper places. The
cat that followed her in from outside is fed. A dinner is eaten quietly alone.
She retires to her sitting room with a book on her lap and the cat under hand,
purring in the silence of the house. Gleaming on her hand is a ring that is
comfortable in its place. She goes to bed early and dreams of the man who placed
it there. It was yesterday that she was with him in the backyard. He was
photographing her. A mimosa bloom placed behind her ear tickled her cheek. The
tree was a gift for her when they bought the house. They were everywhere in
Japan. The pink had reminded him of her lips. Thin and wrinkled now, they had
once been full and soft as the flower that distracted her from the camera. How
she enjoys the sound of his voice, the touch of his hand on her shoulder and the
small of her back. She watches intently as his hands manipulate the camera. Here
is the only place she can see them, clearly see them and hear him speak. She
awakens, glad to have seen him again. She lies for a moment in the dark. She has
known the sounds of this house for 52 years. The lack of his is the one that
wakes her. She goes down the short hallway to the bathroom for a small drink of
water, the nightlight casting soft shadows on the pink-tiled walls. The cat
investigates the disturbance of her feet on the hardwood. Lying down again, she
closes her eyes hoping to return to the mimosa tree. When I am old, what will
people see?

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December 07, 2003

Am baking the most

Am baking the most delicious cake this afternoon. I can't wait to feel it in my
mouth and lick it from my lips and sip a demi-cup of creamed coffee between my
trips to heaven. We watched Welcome to Collinwood last night. I can't decide if
I like it or not. Luis Guzman may be funny to some people, but I personally do
not find him very talented. He sounded like he was from Brooklyn in The Count of
Monte Cristo. I liked him, but didn't appreciate his lack of complete character
in his accent. BTW, that was one of Richard Harris' last films. He was so superb
in anything he attempted. Another one I must complain a bit about George
Clooney. When I see him in a movie, I see...George Clooney. The one exception is
O Brother Where Art Thou?. He affected a convincing accent and only lost it
occasionally, but other than that one, I haven't seen any depth to him. But!
William H. Macy, Sam Rockwell, Michael Jeter, Isaiah Washington, Jennifer
Esposito, Patricia Clarkson, and Gabrielle Union were fabulous in this movie.
And, the soundtrack includes Paolo Conte. I first heard Paolo Conte in French
Kiss (another one of my catalogued favorites). I fell immediately in complete
infatuation with his music. I decided to buy "The Best of" for my mother for
Christmas, along with her usual giftcard to Dillard's. She saves it until the
end of the summer sale and then buys $500 worth of clothes, shoes, and
accessories for $100. She is the consummate shopper. She can smell "deal on
beautiful clothing" from a suburb away. The girls are going to play at church
tonight. They have all chosen their own music: O Tannenbaum, We Three Kings of
Orient Are, O Little Town of Bethlehem for piano. E is playing Cello in a
stringed trio. She only started two months ago and is progressing very well. All
of our girls exhibit a love for music and a desire to express themselves
musically. Fortunately, with that desire comes an obvious gift for it as well.
That makes mastery a little easier. I must go frost the cake. I will place it on
a red antique cake pedestal. I think that food should be dressed fashionably as
well as taste fabulous. Our eyes are drawn to attractive things in all
situations and the first to communicate desire to our brain, heart, and well,
stomach, too.

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December 05, 2003

It is night and everyone

It is night and everyone is asleep. No one is asking me about, for, to do,
ANYTHING! I love night! I love when little eyelids are closed and breathing is
slow and sweet. Hands are still, lips are silent, bodies are twisted and curled
and tucked. I also like it when R is snoozing and drooling away! I try once a
week to stay awake just to do little nothings that I want to do: paint my
toenails, cruise all over the web, read until my eyes feel like two burnt holes
in a sheet. I crave completion of tasks without interruption. Companionship with
myself is becoming more and more important and understood the older I get. I
used to secretly judge all the older women who celebrated their husband's
business trips with dinners out, movies in, and a few extra glasses of
Chardonnay as dried-up old hags who had lost love and found resentment and
disappointment their kindred spirits instead. I get the Cool Mom of the Year
award for scoring tickets to The Return of the King opening show at 12:01 A.M.
Wednesday, December 17th. We are planning on a Tolkien Fest. After viewing the
first two at home, we will bundle up and head out to sip hot chocolate while
waiting in line to get the best seats! I require E to read all the books before
being allowed to watch the films. I am a purist and have little room for
artistic allowances, but I think that Jackson has done a stand up job with this.
We can hardly wait. Speaking of waiting, what is up with people putting
Christmas decorations on their homes the third week in November? Let us eat some
turkey first for pete's sake! I always wait until the first week of December to
even dig out Frank, much less lights, greenery, and Nativity sets. Good grief!
We are going up the mountains to cut our tree down this year. We have always had
a real tree. I love the smell and as long as it is watered frequently enough,
the needles are never a problem. We decorate, listen to Nat and Frank, and sip
hot chocolate and/or egg nog. Then we lay on the floor and stare at the lights.
I let the kids decorate the tree as they wish. I figure the time is coming when
I can compete with Martha (from a comfy cell), so we hang colored lights and
stringed popcorn and candy canes and paper ornaments fashioned with sticky hands
in Sunday School. I dropped by my local bookstore today. They have a coffee shop
that also sells little sweets baked by the owner's wife. I love to bake, but
even my best recipe pales to this woman's cookies. If I am anywhere near the
area, I have to stop in and pay a fortune for one of them. Maybe they aren't as
tasty as I think. Perhaps it is the thought of eating one all by myself that I
savor more than the sugar and chocolate. I cannot decide which it is that
actually draws me... Anyway, while there, I was introduced to a book by Thomas
Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization by the bookstore owner. Side bar: One
of the reasons that I absolutely love "You've Got Mail" is because of the scene
in which Meg Ryan's character goes to Tom Hank's book superstore and finds a
woman looking for a children's book with some ignorant sales person poorly
attempting to help her find it. Meg overhears and is able to tell the woman
exactly what she needs, who wrote it, and why the story is so endearing in the
first place. Now, I go into Barnes and Noble when I see one, but what addict can
resist a seller on the street? A quick stop is made for a small purchase, but
it's the regular supplier that gets the big business. Thus, I was in the
bookstore nibbling my gigantic cookie (without having to share) and listening to
a discussion between one customer, two employees, and the most completely
anti-social social studies major that has made the lives of the owners miserable
by his inhabitation of their store. In the discussion, someone mentioned a new
book (Sailing the Wine Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter) by said author. My
interest was immediately piqued. Apparently, the man is writing a series of
books, The Hinges of History, and this is the fourth. I wanted to know about the
other three. Here was I brought to my above mentioned purchase. It is a great
read! I love hearing things from differing perspectives. I am only into the
first chapter but am already amazed at my complete ignorance. Either I was
absent more times from history class than I realized or they have got to stop
having the coaches teach. That is a whole different blog. Alas, their supplier
is removing The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, and The New Yorker from their rack!
I can't find those magazines anywhere in this annoying little town. They were
told that they weren't selling enough of them. Doesn't that say something about
this place? No good restaurants, no good shopping, and only one bookstore (Thank
God!) and only recently acquired at that! Where am I to purchase my serious
periodicals? On a more superficial note, have you checked out the latest In
Style Magazine? I have never thought Julia Roberts an actress with great depth,
I mean most of her movies are " and they all lived happily ever after." I have;
however, always thought her luminous. Everytime I read an article about her I am
surprised at how articulate she is. She has a varied vocabulary and seems to be
well-read (leave me alone, I don't know why it surprises me, o.k.?) I do plan on
seeing her newest film Mona Lisa Smile, a more positive and less bizarre take on
an old Maggie Smith (another of my A-List actresses) movie, The Prime of Miss
Jean Brodie. I think I like watching her films because sometimes I need a good,
predictable ending. So, for that Julia, I am thankful, and maybe your smile,
it's nice, too.

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December 02, 2003

I really think that I

I really think that I have ADD. I am just really fortunate that they
didn't have such drugs for hyped up kids when I was little or they would have
been shoving pills down my tiny little second grade throat. I really do think
that I can't pay attention for very long. I have perfected the "I am just
fascinated" look so well that it automatically comes on when my mind really
starts thinking, "Get to the freakin' point!" I am a terrible listener. I
realize that it is not the most desirable personality trait and am desperately
trying to rid myself of this. My mother was wonderful at this. I would be half
way through my speech for 9th Grade Class President and she would say, "Do you
think that I should paper the bathroom or paint it?" She does it to this day. I
can hear the magazine/catalog pages turning while I am telling her my thoughts
on Global Warming over a Sunday afternoon telephone call. That's when I find
some silly, non-existent excuse to "let her go" and she politely, if not a
little too quickly concedes the death of the conversation. I am not offended by
it now, it's just who she is, but when I find myself doing the same thing to my
daughters, I remember how it made me feel so unimportant as a child to not even
garner the attention of my mother when I was sharing my life with her. So, I
have to make a conscious effort to stop what I am doing and look into their eyes
and/or anything they are showing me. That isn't to say that I let them dictate
my every action. I try to teach them respect for others (telephone, current
conversations, etc.). It's just a little "Be Here Now" philosophy that I have
added to my amalgamated child-rearing techniques. R is actually very good at it.
He incorporated it years ago. Of course, he is much more willing to "Be Here
Now" in the evenings after "being away all day." So, another challenge in my
life of needing space, time, tubbing, reading, and being the most wonderful, but
real mother my children could ever have.

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UUUgggggghhhh! I stayed up late

UUUgggggghhhh! I stayed up late last night
watching Shaft with R. I was pleasantly surprised when he suggested we watch it
at 9:30p. This is a departure from his German-bred "Early to bed blah, blah,
blah" business, so I thought I had better grab the chance while it presented
itself. It was such a fun movie to watch. I have always loved Isaac Hayes'
score. It reminds me of being really young and riding through the early morning,
still dark city with my mother on my way to pre-school and on her way to work. I
loved the confidence with which Richard Roundtree played John Shaft. He is
walking testosterone! He doesn't pander to the white cops to help him out or to
back him up. It's "You scratch my back, Then I'll scratch yours." There is a
scene in which a white woman steps into the shower with Shaft. R commented that
was probably a big deal in 1971. It still is a big deal in 2003 (remember all
the attention Halle Berry got in Monster's Ball with Billy Bob?) It was fun to
watch and it was nice to just sit close to R and say nothing. This morning,
however, I am suffering! Not enough sleep!

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