Monday, August 30, 2010

Family Grown

One of my favorite parts about going to my in-laws is stopping by the family farm store. As we pulled onto the street I saw it. This sign must have been done just for me.Tomatoes? No stinking way.

Squash? Yes please.

Cucumbers? They were for pickling, so no. Pickles are just a sad sad way to get a nice cucumber drunk.

Eggplant? Never again.

Peaches? Those we get somewhere else.

Purple Hull Peas? Yes, yes, yes!!!I waited until I was checking out to decide if I would be getting a watermelon. Sadly because I found family made and labeled Barbecue Sauce and Picante Sauce I was out of money.

Even more sadly, Shawn threw away the cute Picante Sauce jar I wanted to save and display on a shelf in the kitchen. Guess I'll have to drive 4 hours to get another one.I did however buy one of the medium size Athena cantaloupes. I also sent a picture of the sign with the name to my friend Athena and asked if she knew she had a cantaloupe named after her. She replied something about her 'melons' that I won't share on here:) These lovelies found their way into my cart. They were used for an Enchilada Soup from the Mitchell's Angels cookbook that I'm selling again. How's that for advertising??And hello there. I bought three pounds. It wasn't enough. We all fought over who would get the last bite.

And I fry it in oil after coating it with half flour, half cornmeal. Any other way is just wrong. Just plain wrong.Purple Hull Peas. I never knew if I'd like these or not until I just broke down and tried them. The girls love to hull them so I buy some unhulled for us and some hulled for my grandmother. I found a recipe that involves bacon grease so now of course we love them.

Bacon grease makes everything better.I love this place. I wish we had one close to us.It was started by Uncle Chester. He was my father-in-laws uncle. One of the originals of the family. I knew him for many years before he died and there just wasn't a nicer guy.He was the world record holder for largest watermelon in the Guinness World Records Book one year. This fake watermelon just reminds us of our families one year of fame:) We got more than 15 seconds.So I left with raw sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, the squash, okra, cantaloupe, peas, some new potatoes, and barbecue and picante sauce. Most of it family grown. We feasted like kings for several nights.

I can't wait until our next trip!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

11 miles

Saturday morning my alarm went of at 4:53.

I hate regular times.

I was actually excited to head out for 11 miles because the week before the 6 I did had been rough. I've been having some shoe problems (I will never again leave the original running store) and I finally had the right ones. Plus the weather here has finally started to cool down. After having a migraine at mile 8 of a 9.5 miler a few weeks before, I needed redemption. I decided (since I'm a doctor) that the reason for the migraine was my electrolytes were low. That much sweat without proper hydration really wasn't smart. I'm not a Gatorade drinker but this Friday night I had one right before bed, some for breakfast, and the rest after the run. I should get paid for my medical services because I might be on to something.

We were running around a local lake and as we got up on the dam the sun was just rising.

It was bee-you-tea-full. We went out 5.5 miles and turned around and went back. That gorgeous sun? Well, it was in my face for the last part.

Good thing it was pretty to start with or I might have been mad.

Friday, August 27, 2010

It's A Campout!

Just walking up to this building at our church you might think people were just hanging around the building talking....until you see the tents in the background.Also the list of considerations on the door is a bit confusing. And then you see it. The list of hopeful parents with their children's names and grade they'll be entering next year. Yep, it's open transfer day!! Well, actually open transfer day is Wednesday, September 1st.

Since our school district is less than a square mile we should be a small school. We were when I was a student. Now because it's 'the' school to be in, we are almost 70% transfer. We are a big school, but you still get a small town feel. Teachers don't come to start off at a small school and go bigger, they come and stay. McKinley has one that's been there 24 years. I had three that taught over 30 years there.

The only way to get in as a transfer student is to come to open transfer day, fill out the paperwork, and hope the grade your child will be in next year has an opening. So it makes sense to try and be the first person to get your name on the list for that grade. The doors open on the 1st at 7:30 a.m. About 7 years ago parents would get in line at 6 in the morning. But each year they get earlier and earlier. This year, 6 days early. The tents were new about 3 years ago. The school has no guidelines about it, and no control over what happens until they open the doors that morning, so the list of considerations, some camper wrote and posted.

The lady in this picture looked a little older to me...when someone asked her how old her children were she said her older 3 were grown and gone, but the two boys they'd just adopted from Haiti were in elementary. How precious is that? Although the school has no guidelines, they are nice enough to provide port-a-potties. I hope this lady is on the right side of those! I wonder if our local stores are out of tents....I do like the colors:DI am so thankful for my address at this point! We are a few of the coveted in district owners. Who needs a tent?? This dad just pulled out his sleeping bag at night and climbed into the back of his truck on his cot. Hope there's no rain in the forecast.As I walked away I was so proud of our school. This is what people are doing to get in. I'll be back every day to take more pictures. I'm loving this!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What I Did Tonight

Usually when the girls are at piano lessons I go back home to clean up from dinner or spend time with Shawn. But tonight Shawn was at a soccer game and dinner had been quick and was already cleaned up. So I grabbed my freshly checked out library book and headed a few blocks from the piano teachers house to the lake. I parked where I could see the sunset and started reading.

But something else kept grabbing my attention. I ended up getting out about every 10 minutes to take pictures. I'm so glad I stepped out of my routine and spent the evening at the lake.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Running Almost On E

It's that time of year.

School has started.

Schedules are filling up.

Chores are getting forgotten.

The pool is emptying itself.

And routine is hard to find.

And I feel like this.Almost running on e.

Anybody else feel this way??

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


My aunt passed away on the 25th of April. She was the oldest of my mom's two sisters. My mom was in the middle. Aunt Nonie (short for Vernona) was short. I doubt if she made 5 feet. She was quirky and generous and all about family. She had one child, my cousin Stacy who is 8 years older than me. I thought Stacy was the best thing in the whole world. Since we were the only two grandchildren we were always together for the holidays and all the birthday parties. She took me cruising, taught me how to blow a bubble, and let me beat her at Space Invaders. When she was in college her parents moved to St. Louis. She sent all the members of the family letters saying she was starting her life over and didn't want contact with any of them. I didn't get a letter though. We wrote back and forth for many years. She always wrote on Hello Kitty paper and sent stickers. As I got older and busier our letter writing tapered off. We never saw each other anymore because it was too far to travel for holidays. When Shawn and I got engaged though I knew I wanted to have her as my maid-of-honor. We talked a lot back and forth in the planning time and she was wonderful and helpful and I was so glad she stood next to me.

When she was married 3 months later I was her matron-of-honor. Things were different though. I was in her hometown and I was more in the way. By the wedding morning she'd hardly spoken to me and we didn't talk much after. I was there for everything that she needed, but it wasn't much. After that we really had no relationship. I don't think that anything bad ever happened, we just had nothing in common.

When our grandfather was in poor enough health to be placed in a nursing home Stacy didn't like that the one that our grandmother (actually our step-grandmother) chose because it was an hour away from home. I'm sure she felt that way because her mother was furious. Even though Nonie lived 8 hours from him, she was mad he was farther. She and Stacy quit speaking to Grandma and the family was split. When Grandpa passed away they did come to the funeral but Nonie wasn't herself. Stacy used her young children as a reason she couldn't come to the meals, be in any pictures, sit down front with the family, or stay very long. I hardly saw her. I hated that my girls didn't get to spend any time with their cousins.

Over the years I've called a few times only to have a short conversation that ended when her children needed something. None of my e-mails were ever responded to. When she popped up on Facebook I was thrilled! That's the easiest way I've found to keep up with family members. But she's only on there to play games. She also asked me never to put pictures of her children on because of safety issues. Since I've never been given a picture of her children I knew that wouldn't be a problem. Our relationship didn't get any better.

When I heard that Nonie had died I didn't want to bother her with a phone call. I also didn't feel like an e-mail was appropriate. So I wrote on her wall. It was removed a few hours later. I then sent an inbox message. I was upset.

I sent her this.

I guess since you won't let me leave a message of condolence on your wall, I'll do it here. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. I know what you're going through. And when I lost my mom you sent me a card. Consider this your card.

I know it sounds mean. But I was reaching out. When my mom had died almost 14 years earlier I got nothing. No call, no e-mail, no visit. She went to Minnesota for a gaming convention and I got a card after the funeral. She has never spoken of my mother.

This is what I got back.

Stephanie, I appreciate your sentiment and it is welcome. I'm in a difficult position (with your post) since many people had not yet been told.

At some point, perhaps now, you and I must embrace our differences. I am certainly more private than you.

Our mothers shared many wonderful and loving times together. When I come to visit, I will make sure to bring some of Nonie's things to you and your girls, because I know this is what she would do if still here with us.

I never replied. I don't think courtesy and privacy are the same thing. Or courtesy and family. I didn't know what to do so I decided to wait until she was here for the memorial service.

The other side of our family (not the local) had several people come into town so Friday night about 20 of us met for dinner. I don't know that Stacy had ever met them. As she and her husband, children, and in-laws walked in, everyone stood to hug them. I waited until last and greeted her and put my arms out for a hug. She backed up and told me, "No hug for you. You have germs." I did have strep. But when I mentioned I'd been on antibiotics for three days and we should be safe she just shook her head and walked off. I decided to try again when we all went to my house for dessert.

To prepare for having the family over I'd decorated the dining room table with pictures of Nonie and our families. I'd also put pictures out of Stacy and me. I loved looking back at our times when we were inseparable. Such sweet memories.

But as the family started coming over I noticed Stacy and her family weren't here. I pulled my cousin Andrea aside and asked her if she knew anything. Stacy had told her they had to get her in-laws back to their hotel and they'd stay there so that after everyone was done at my house they could come visit there. Funny thing? She was staying with our Aunt Janis about two miles from my house.

The day of the service was a flurry of family, friends, and food. I sat right behind her at the service and after Kennedy finished her solo Stacy reached back and patted my knee. We took some pictures together at the funeral dinner but before I knew it they had left the restaurant.

So now I don't know where we stand. I guess we're right back where we've always been.

A Facebook message away.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

8 years

Well, actually 8 1/2 years.

Since what?

Since I had a job.

I drove a school bus for a local school system for 7 years (3 different times) before I 'retired'. When Reagan came along Shawn and I decided it was time for me to quit. McKinley was in half day Kindergarten and a friend took her to school in the morning and I picked her up at 10:30. When she started first grade I wouldn't have been able to take her or pick her up. I was basically a stay-at-home mom that worked about 2 hours a was just the 2 wrong hours.

So now my babies are entering 9th, 6th, and 3rd.

It's time I re-enter the work force.

Speaking of Kindergarten...the girls all had the same teacher. I heart her. As she would say, I get her humor. Basically she's hilarious and I laugh at everything she says. Because of a little favor she asked of me, I am now her assistant at her new job. Somehow I knew my hatred of rolling and love of cutting in while painting would help me out in life.

So what do you think I do?

*We move stuff a lot
*We give suggestions
*We make a lot of presentations
*We're on stage a lot
*We beautify
*We de-clutter
*We teach
*We shop

Sounds like a great job, doesn't it?

We worked together yesterday and my car looked like this. Any guesses??

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Weddding!

I had the absolute pleasure of being the matron of honor at the wedding of two high school friends recently. Jennifer and Monty. I've told you about Jennifer before. I was so excited when I found out that after Jennifer got on Facebook (because of me), got reconnected with Monty on Facebook (because of me), and got engaged to Monty (sort of because of me). I thought it was only fitting that I got to be in their wedding:c)

The girls and I hit the road for the 3 hour tour. I mean trip. These cute piggies were the silver lining of one of the worst gas station bathrooms we've ever used. You know when you feel the need to hand sanitize your entire body?? Yep, that bad.

Soon enough we were in Arkansas and seeing Jen and Monty's new house. We were included in the family and got to join them for dinner the night before. It reminded me of the meals I ate with Jen at her house. Or what we snuck out of the kitchen after everyone else was in bed!

Jen had told me to just pick a black dress to wear for the wedding. That was hard for me! There was one other bridesmaid and I didn't know what she was going to be wearing. Also, the bride and the bridesmaid are tiny!! Angela has had three children, one a few months ago, and she looks wonderful! My baby is eight and....moving on.

Jen told me what she was wearing but until I saw it, I couldn't even imagine it.

Sequined leopard. Yep, she was not a conventional bride.But certainly a beautiful one:D She was replying to a text from Monty saying he'd need help with his tie when he got there. So cute. Because of all the comments that The Pioneer Woman says about Spanx, I knew this was the point in my life when I'd need a pair. Also because of McKinley. When she came into the dressing room to zip me up she saw my tushie she said, "Oh, huh-uh." I promised her that I would be purchasing a 'supportive device' of some sort. I have my mothers behind, it's genetic. McKinley however didn't get it. Lucky duck.So can you tell that I'm wearing anything at all to hold in round parts? No! My stomach is still protruding! And I'm going to let you in on a little secret, I'm wearing two different 'supportive devices'. Luckily I'd not only packed my Spanx, but a much cheaper version that I've had for years. Promise you won't tell anyone. Ree has confessed to wearing four pairs at once! I love that dress though. It's just not very forgiving. And I'm beginning to wonder about the mirrors at JC Penney because I looked a lot better than what you're seeing here!!

Moving on.

Enough discussing my jiggly parts. Besides, with a bride in a sequined leopard dress, who would be looking at me??(Pardon the poor quality, this was taken with my cell phone so my Facebook friends could see our beauty.)

In spending a few minutes exploring the bed and breakfast where the wedding was held, I found the Presidential Room! I of course had the girls stand in front of the door.Jen was waiting patiently for me when I got back. Okay, I'm lying. She was waiting for Monty. They saw each other before the wedding and exchanged personal vows just for each other to hear.The girls and I headed downstairs to wait for the wedding to start. Kennedy had the camera. Here's one of the pictures I got. I do love those shoes. Sadly I may never wear them again because they hurt so stinking much! And since we've discussed my large tushie and stomach, should we discuss my large calves?

Okay, maybe later.As we waited the cake arrived. Now for an unconventional bride wearing a sequined leopard print dress, what type of cake should we expect?

Leopard of course.

It was papaya/mango filled. Hello another pair of Spanx. It was delish.Monty has three children and a nephew that he helps to raise. Because they were coming together with Jennifer he made a family puzzle for them. Each piece has the word family on it in a different font. Just as everyone in the family is a little different. The pieces came apart and each was a necklace. He explained this to the children as he handed out their necklaces.Sadly his oldest son Logan was killed in a four wheeler accident last summer. His picture was placed where the best man would have stood during the ceremony. It was moved inside for the reception and Logan got his own necklace.The typical feeding happened with no smashing. I hate it when they smash. The bride is looking her loveliest only to have cake smooshed into her face. Monty did a great job letting Jen continue to look stunning.
She was nice as well. The drinks though...the foot height difference made it quite funny. And the guest book? Hello gorgeous wood carving. Lasering? Chiseling? It was amazing.As we moved outside for the goodbye, I feel in love with the front porch of the bed and breakfast. How had I missed that before? Guess the Spanx were beginning to disturb my blood flow. Awww....I'm so happy for them. If it hadn't been for Facebook...if it hadn't been for me...:)Okay okay, I kid. If it hadn't been for Facebook God would have found a way.

He knew they needed each other:c)

Oh, and you know all those jokes about Arkansas weddings?? As I was pulling away from their house after saying goodbye I realized I hadn't signed the marriage license. I rolled down the window and said, "Hey, I didn't sign anything. Are you sure you all are married?" To which Jen replied, "It's Arkansas, you don't have to have witnesses."

Insert any joke here that you want.

I have a few if you can't come up with one!