Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When God Made Cats

When God Made Cats
When God made the world, He chose to put animals in it, and decided to give each whatever it wanted. All the animals formed a long line before His throne, and the cat quietly went to the end of the line. To the elephant and the bear He gave strength, to the rabbit and the deer, swiftness; to the owl, the ability to see at night, to the birds and the butterflies, great beauty; to the fox, cunning; to the monkey, intelligence; to the dog, loyalty; to the lion, courage; to the otter, playfulness. And all these were things the animals begged of God. At last he came to the end of the line, and there sat the little cat, waiting patiently. "What will YOU have?" God asked the cat.
The cat shrugged modestly. "Oh, whatever scraps you have left over. I don't mind."
"But I'm God. I have everything left over."
"Then I'll have a little of everything, please."
And God gave a great shout of laughter at the cleverness of this small animal, and gave the cat everything she asked for, adding grace and elegance and, only for her, a gentle purr that would always attract humans and assure her a warm and comfortable home.
But he took away her false modesty.
Lenore Fleischer

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Indiana Experience

Wow. Where to even start? What a long, strange trip it's been.
After living in a quiet li'l trailer park in Kentucky for 11 years, we moved to a doublewide on a couple acres in a quiet Amish community in May of 2009. It cost a bit more and necessitated a change in schools for the kids, but hubby was managing a store and making better money. We planned to stay there until, well until whenever! Loved it, beautiful location, we were mere minutes away from friends and family. We settled in, even got a dog for Christian. Life was good.
In August of 2009, life was great. Hubby had gotten his store into the shape he wanted. He was making bonuses. He was doing so well that he was offered a promotion. We decided he should take it. Even though it meant moving to Indiana. Two moves in one year was going to be hard for the kids. Plus we all had to give up animals. Of the 6 cats & the dog, only 2 cats got to come along. (Yes, it ended up being 3 when we found Moe at our old place in March!)
In November of 2009 life got hectic. My dad had health problems. My li'l bro had mental problems. We had a month to find a house in Indiana and get moved. Of course we managed to do it :) We're tough and smart. Christmas wasn't right with my dad being in and out of the hospital, then loopy on pain meds when he was home. The move was interesting. Transitoning to a new state, new schools, new job.... it was difficult.
By March of 2010, life was settling into a comfortable routine. The kids made friends and were both doing well in school. Their dad had begun sending child support regularly. We were able to zip back to Kentucky pretty often. We were looking for a better blace to live, a house with a dog~safe yard. Mainly a house that didn't cost $800 a month to HEAT! The plan was to send the kids to their dad's for the month of July and we'd move to the new place well before school started back in August. I even got a JOB!
Now on to June 1st. Six months into the new job and hubby's promotion was rescinded. "Thanks for uprooting your life to take this position. You did a great job. You're being replaced. As of today." Wow. And can I add that he drove 2 hours to the meeting where he lost his job? Gee, thanks for letting hubby waste all that gas. Four hours of his life he'll never get back. Grrr. Life is upside down!
The latest plan is to send the kids to their dad for June, sell all the furniture we can, purge until the Goodwill bins are overflowing, and then hubby & I stay with my parents for a few weeks. Hubby has a job waiting, we just have to find a place to live! I'll be calling the landlord I had from September 1998 to December 2009. Wonder if I can get him to toss out the people in that doublewide in the Amish neighborhood? LOL!
It'll all be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The best & the worst

The 1st and 3rd Friday of every month are when the kids go see their dad (MDM) for a visit. MDM cancelled the visit on Apr 2nd. This past Friday, the 16th, 12 minutes before we take off to meet MDM in Kentucky.....he texts me that he is cancelling yet again. Grrrr. He's cancelled half of his visits since we moved to Indiana. At least I've started getting child support again. But I am getting very annoyed with him. Every time he has a new kid, he gets flakier with the 1st two!
I went to Kentucky anyway :) Drove for 3 hours to spend a couple hours with my best friend, then drove back home in the dark in the pouring down rain. I needed the time to cool off. I really wanted to drive to MDM's house and punch him in the face. You know what I say, I'm only a couple Zoloft away from full~on crazy at any time! But I resisted the urge, MDM remains unpunched, and I made it home to the family safely before midnight!
Saturday we hung out as a family, then took POE to a sleepover. Shopping with hubby was great, as always. We each got 2 pairs of shorts for 35 cents....I am hooked on Salvation Army's Saturday sale! We got there 10 minutes before they closed, that's why we left with only 4 items :)
Today hubby hung out with POE while I took C out to practice driving. C did better than I expected. And he was more nervous than I expected, too. He takes direction well and he didn't hit anything! Not bad for a 1st time! I made the family favorite chicken casserole for dinner and we had a great relaxing evening.
Time to get to bed. 5 AM comes early. Come on, Monday. Bring it. I'm ready!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Top to bottom: 1 The shallow edge of lake, the crane flew off as I framed the shot! 2 Back of the house from across the lake 3 Duck at extreme left edge. The other one waddled out of frame faster 4 Back of the house again 5 Turtle to the left of center at shoreline. The big one dove in before I could shoot!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The trip

My memory is horrible, and I should have gotten all this down sooner. I'm sure my mother's account would be more complete, but alas, you are stuck with MINE! When I found out that Annie picked February 15th as the date to meet her biological parents, I started planning for a trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My mother was in the delivery room with me when Annie came into the world, it was only natural to ask her to go with me to meet Annie.
I started out Sunday the 14th by saying good-bye to hubby & kids and drove 2 1/2 hours to Mom's. From there we took her car (also a Ford Escort like mine, but only 7 yrs old, not 16!!) and headed off on our adventure.
At this point I should provide a little background. I smoke. Like a freight train. 2 packs a day, easy. My mom does not smoke and there was never any chance she'd allow her vehicle to be smoked in. We had non-smoking hotel rooms. It was FREEZING on our whole trip & I do not like to be cold. I decided eons ago that I'd rather be cranky than cold :) From 2:30 Sun afternoon until 5:30 Mon night I had smoked a total of FIVE cigarettes.
About 2 hours into our trip my dad sends his first text. "WhereYaAt?" I text back that we're however far away from Memphis. His reply "Memphis!!? Wrong way!" I double check Mom's mapquest instructions and let him know that yes, we are headed to Memphis. "Right" he texts back. and then "You don't go thru Mem to go to LA" I text back the highway we're on and the one we'll take down into Baton Rouge. "I don't think so Tim" is his response & then of course he CALLS me to 'splain that we're going the wrong way. The whole time we'd been texting, Mom & I were talking about how she'd looked up and printed out the directions. Dad did not even mention a route or ask her if she needed directions before we left. And guess what? When we got to Memphis and headed south, we ended up in Louisiana!
Mom paid for hotels, I bought gas & food. Mainly she wouldn't have wanted to stay anyplace I can afford! LOL! Sunday night we had dinner at Cracker Barrel and I was reminded again just how nice it is to hang out with my mom now that I'm an adult. Especially without the kids around :) After dinner it started snowing and we stopped for the night near Memphis at a very nice hotel! As I was getting my laptop set up I noticed a little hall at the end of my bed.....turned out to be a KITCHEN! I may be easily impressed, but that was a nice room and the best bed I ever slept in!
Monday morning we decide we're about 6 hours away from Baton Rouge. After breakfast at McD's - Mom and I have that in common, our fave breakfast spot - we headed south into Mississipi. Mom is in the pic above by the sign, at the neatest welcome center either of us has ever seen. It was like a museum/rest stop. There was a fireplace and rocking chairs and historical pictures and items from the underground railroad. We could've spent an hour there, it was neat. When we crossed into Louisiana we got that pic, too. Their welcome center had brass alligators for door handles, but other than that was not interesting at all LOL!
Once we crossed into Louisiana and got off the highway, Mom's directions took us on a long desolate drive thru swamps and forests. We eventually found the "main" road we needed, but not until we got sidetracked and wandered around in circles for a bit. If Mom spoke Creole or that gas station attendant spoke English we'd have been in Baton Rouge much, much sooner. But we found it and found the restaurant where we were meeting Annie with about 2 hours to spare. We found a Wal-Mart and spent about an hour wandering around talking about the grandkids (my two, POE and C, and li'l bro's baby Addison) and walking off my nerves.
At 5:30 we pulled into the parking lot at Las Palmas, where I'd be meeting my daughter at 6:00. I pulled on my gloves, zipped up my jacket and chain-smoked about 5 cigarettes until I couldn't take the cold any longer. I sat twisted in my seat, neck craned, watching for my Annie. An SUV pulled in with a dark-haired beauty in the passenger seat. As she got out, I ran to her, barely able to keep from tackling her. As I held her in my arms for only the 2nd time in her 18 years, I couldn't help but cry. Annie hugged me back and soothed me. What a poised and confident young lady this was. But still, in my heart, that tiny baby with the wild thick hair that I held so briefly so very long ago. I believe I held onto her hand until we had been seated at our table. Where, of course, I sat next to her, basically penning her in, getting as much time next to her as I could possibly get.
There were eight of us at dinner. Me, Mom, Annie, her boyfriend Cody, Annie's dad Frank & his girlfriend Christine, Annie's birth father Kevin & his fiancee Dawn. I hadn't seen Frank or Kevin since before Annie was born. When Frank & Christine got there and Frank enveloped me in a bear hug, I instantly felt the same way about him that I had when we first met and he & Ellie were about to adopt Annie. I saw how much he loved Annie and how much the proud papa he truly is during dinner. If I ever had any shred of doubt about whether or not I chose the right family for her, they disappeared in that hug. Christine is a photographer and took a lot of the hundreds of photos that Annie & Christine brought to the dinner. All the photos show a happy little princess who is the apple of her parents' eyes.
When Kevin & Dawn got there my first thought was "Hot damn, that's one sexy woman!" My second thought was that I felt no animosity or sadness at seeing Kevin again. It was just seeing an old friend from high school, catching up on the last 2 decades.....with a "by the way, here's the kid you didn't know about for 16 yrs" thrown in for good measure.
The whole dinner was great and comfortable. Mom and Cody were at the end of the table and got to spend a lot of time chatting while the rest of us were circled around Annie looking at pictures LOL! I agree with Mom that Cody is a fabulous young man who, if he ends up married to Annie, will never get much of a chance to talk LOL! Very quiet, but once he got to talking a little bit we got to learn a lot about him. The rest of the group made plans to go to New Orleans the next morning for Mardi Gras. I can't deal with crowds and noise, the OCD kicks into high gear and I'd have had a panic attack for sure. Mom had no interest in going either, so she and I headed north and homeward about 10:00.
When we stopped for the night a few hours later I was way too keyed up to sleep. My laptop and the hotel's wi-fi were not agreeable and it was way too damn cold to go outside and smoke, so I lay there tossing and turning and missing the mattress from the 1st hotel. Tuesday morning we found a McD's for breakfast. It was decorated with trains and had a train on a track around the ceiling of the store. As we headed north the temperature kept dropping and snow flurries became more frequent. By the time we got off the interstate by my last Kentucky homestead the roads were covered in snow. I called Dad to let him know we were 20 minutes away....and to ask him to start my car. I didn't plan to GO anywhere on snow-covered roads, I assured him. I just wanted to be warm AND smoke at the same time!! It was bedtime when we got to Mom's and after a few warm cigarettes and a "honey, I'm home safe" call to my hubby I did the previous blog post and went to sleep. Wednesday morning I made an appointment with my doctor to refill my crazy meds. Made it home just in time to miss dinner Wednesday night.
Hubby had it easy the 3 days I was gone. Kids had Monday off for President's day and it snowed all day. School had been cancelled for Tuesday by Monday afternoon. POE spent the night at a friend's house Mon night. Wednesday school was on a 2 hour delay. Hubby didn't have to wake up a snarling POE! Why can't I ever be that lucky? So anyway, there's the trip. It was great and I'd do another road trip with Mom anytime.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The momentous occasion

When I graduated from Gloucester High school in June of 1991 I was 17 and pregnant. I wasn't interested in marrying the father and I wanted my baby to have a stable life, which didn't include being raised by teenagers. I spent the summer and fall talking to adoption agencies and meeting couples who were interested in adoptions. No one seemed to feel right to me and I got down and discouraged. When my due date was right around the corner and I had no clue about what to do and where to turn, Frank & Ellie came into my life. Frank & Ellie lived in Louisiana, and Ellie was friends with the lady for whom I was a live-in nanny. Ellie had been trying to have a baby and things weren't going well. Call it fate, divine intervention, whatever..... When Ellie called my employer to talk and vent, my employer said jokingly "I have a pregnant babysitter" and the ball rolled from there. Within days of talking to them I knew Frank & Ellie were meant to love and raise my baby.
I had decided I didn't want to see the baby, thinking giving her up for adoption would be easier if I didn't see her at all. When she was born (after 12 hours of blissful morphine-aided labor) the doctors immediately whisked her out of the delivery room and into Ellie's arms. I didn't see either of them (at my request) and was discharged from the hospital within 24 hours.
Because Frank & Ellie and I had met and arranged the adoption without an agency involved, the hospital wouldn't allow Ellie to take the baby out of the hospital, I had to do it. Carry this little person who lived inside me for 10 months out into the world. And hand her to someone else. And so 2 days later I found myself walking into a little room off the nursery and being left alone with this baby. A beautiful baby girl, caramel colored skin, thatch of jet black hair, the cutest little rosebud-puckered lips. I picked her up and held her to my face, trying to imprint her scent in my brain. I whispered to her all the things I wanted her to know......that I loved her, that she was always wanted, that I hoped she'd be happy and healthy. Then I laid her down and stripped her naked so I could count her fingers and toes, and kiss her belly, and touch her face. Then I carefully re-dressed her and carried her out. I didn't take my eyes off of her for the elevator ride, wanting to memorize every detail, every moment. Then I stepped outside and there was Ellie, waiting. The hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life was to hand my baby over to Ellie. My baby had both her mothers touching her for a brief moment, mere seconds. And then Ellie put her daughter in the carseat and left with her. I walked away with empty arms and a broken heart.
That was our first meeting, Annie and me. Annamaria Elizabeth, big name for a little girl. Not one single day passed in my life that I didn't think about her, wonder how she was, what she looked like, what she enjoyed. In January of this year Annie turned 18. And this week I got the chance to hold Annie in my arms again......and I didn't strip her naked and count her toes!! (She assured my she still has all 10 of them!!)
My mom and I took a road trip to Louisiana to meet Annie. We got to the restaraunt before she did. When I saw her across the parking lot I felt like the piece of my heart that had broken off 18 yrs ago when i let go of her was suddenly back in it's place. I admit I cried as soon as I had my arms around her, I couldn't even talk. And self-assured young lady that she is, Annie patted my back and soothed me :)
We spent about 3 and a half hours together getting to know each other. I got to see 18 yrs worth of pictures of a happy, confident, strong-willed little girl. And i got to enjoy just being near my baby. When I am less emotional I'll share the road-trip and dinner tales :) For today all that matters is that I got to hold my Annie again after a lifetime of waiting.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Help spread the word to end the word!

I love this movement and I've wanted it to happen for years now. Check it out and pass it on.
But first, how do I make a clickable link? I tried but I can't get it to work. H'mmm. http://www.r-word.org

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Stop the R-word!

I discovered a web site today that I want to share with as many people as possible. Please check it out. www.r-word.org. Spread the word to STOP the word.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oh happy day!

Finally we have internet!! I'd just like to state for the record that AT&T can bite my big white ass :) I swear if I ever hear "Thank you for choosing AT&T" again I may suffer a psychotic break!
The house is looking and feeling more like home now. We switched bedrooms around a few times and I think we're all happy. Not that I care if the kids are happy..... I'M happy, and that's all that really matters, right? I can't get used to having a carpeted kitchen, but I'll adjust. Yesterday I hung up photos and shelves and unpacked a million moose and cat knick-knacks. Other than hubby's office stuff we've gotten everything unpacked and put away.
When we moved, we only brought my cat JoJo and hubby's cat Angel with us. Charquil (Christian's dog) and Frisky (Sharayah's kitten) both went to the animal shelter. Our 3 remaining outdoor cats Moe, THC, and DeeDee were going to go live on our landlord's farm. Mom & Dad ending up taking DeeDee to live on their property and the 2 boys were dropped off at the farm. That was Dec 28th, mind you. This past Saturday we went to KY so the kids could spend a few hours with their daddy and we could pick up a few items we'd left in the yard of the old place. Moe was on the porch! Apparently he decided NOT to live on the landlord's farm! He was scrawny and very vocal. So, sucker that I am, I stuck Moe in the car and he now lives in IN with us. He hasn't let me out of his sight since we got back to IN. Makes it hard to maneuver up & down stairs when an elderly cat is insistent upon being underfoot!
The kids are adjusting well to their new schools. Christian's high school has block scheduling, he has only 4 classes a day. They are divided into Green and White days. Green days he has 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th periods and white days he has 2nd, 4th, 6th and 8th. Totally confusing but he doesn't care.....because every student gets a Netbook. That's his new favorite thing in the world. He'll be thrilled when he gets hoome today and finds out we FINALLY have 'net! Sharayah has been ultra-moody the past couple weeks but I chalk that up to puberty more than a new school. She & I had the fun of finding a hospital last week. I had to take her to the ER with abdominal pain. After a cat-scan (which looks like a donut, not a CAT) they determined she has a cyst on one of her ovaries. Poor thing!
I am now going to concentrate on finding a job. In fact, if I can drag myself away from the internet, I'll go work on that today! HUGS and LUV!