They were really lucky people. About 1/2 mile from here I was walking and I hear a car coming up behind me. I reel Lisi in and then turn around and there is an elderly man driving a hearse in the adjacent subdivision. He pulls into the driveway directly across from the woods where I was intending to walk into. So I stop and peek around the tree and watch (for real!). The distinguished man gets out of the hearse. He's in a full suit looking all business. I know the people that live there. They're our age-group. I'm really wondering what happened. He walks around the back. Must have been knocking awhile. Then he comes around the front and then knocks on the door and then peers in the window. No answer.
Lucky them. The grim reaper came and they weren't home!!!
He then drove away slowly.
Strange... very strange.
This is a completely real story by the way... no Halloween joke this time.
It's just plain wet out there. Not raining really. Just wet in the air. And I like that! Really. It just feels good to me. Felt like I was walking today on the set of "Brigadoon".
Trevor's eyes are slowly getting better! His "lazy eye" isn't as lazy as it used to be. In fact, Dr. Specialist Lady today said he may be weaned off of glasses in the next couple years! Hooray!
I gave a huge lecture on proper toilet paper etiquette recently. Now instead of leaving the roll completely empty, the other residents at this location leave one square so they aren't blamed for it being empty. Luckily, the extra is usually within reach.
I'm using the crock pot like everything these days. I have some after-school conflicts where we walk in the door at mealtime. It's been nice! Any great recipes you love? Please?
Last night Mira walks into the living room and says, 'why did Grandma leave her shoes here?'. Um... Mira, those are mine. Really? They look like Grandma's. (Maybe they just naturally go with gray hair.)
Trick or treating is coming! I love the holiday. It was a great time when I was a kid. And I enjoy it now with our kids. And I enjoy raiding the stash the next school day too! Partial to Twix bars if you must know.
Duane and Trevor played paint ball last Saturday with a bunch of our friends. I got out there before it was done to enjoy the potluck with them all. And I got to wondering... I think I would like paint ball. So I bring it up and the Chairman seemed nervous about it. 'What if you get hurt? What if you twist an ankle? What if...'. So?! I'm limber. Agile. Can run like the dickens when I want. So... I still think I'd enjoy it. Except... can you talk while you're running through the woods?
Today I limited my computer time (thanks to some other bloggers promises). And I got a load done today. It felt good.
And finally paint. The former residents of our pad left all their paint behind that was used in this house. Sounds nice doesn't it. And it was. But we repainted nearly everything within and without. And so I've been staring at at least 16 gallons of unused paint. I can't throw it. The county says to add kitty litter and let it dry and then it'll go that way. So I've been busy in the basement making kitty litter pudding in some lovely colors. Yuck.
The kids are off two days this week. It'll be great. Sorta. Kinda. No really. It will be good.
Lets all face it. I'm cute. And please don't think for a moment it is the big lady that yells that's writing this. She's way too modest to write some self-promoting jargon like that. But I'm not! It's me. Lisi. I'm just adorable. Even (cough) show dog quality! Pinch me on the cheeks and give me some lovin' cute. And it usually works to get me out of awkward situations. Trouble if you will. In fact, the littlest one at this house says sometimes that she just can't help herself and gets off her chair and comes over to me and says, 'mom, she's such a cootie'. Ahh the life of a beauty.
But it wasn't enough. Not today let me tell you. You see the big lady that yells but loves me anyway was gone for a bit this morning. She brought home an orange round thing and put it on the front porch. And then she poked these little people by the sidewalk. They smelled interesting. Different. And chewable. I resisted. In fact, I appeared aloof. Fooled that big yelling lady I did. And so she glanced my way and muttered something (I have no clue what she said since my language capabilities are poor to fair at best). And the door closed! And I was alone... with them! My new friends! They were a billowing in the breeze and so I did what any curious pooch would do. I tasted the first one! Then well lets see I let my nature take hold of me and I had a party! A real party! With my new friends. It didn't last long and then they didn't look like they wanted to play anymore. And so the party was done. And my friends were all done-in too. So I headed off the garage. I had a weird feeling in my belly. Hmmm. Something just went down that wasn't good. But I hope my good looks carry me through.
The back door opens after a bit and there stands the big lady that yells but loves me anyway. She's saying 'you're SUCH a Lisi!' And... 'Mama's girl!'... and 'ready to go Sweetie?'. We're off for our walk in the rain! And she latches me up to my leash and heads out of the garage and then there comes this audible 'Oh no! LISI! What did you do?' I look up at her. Wag my tail slowly side to side. And then I felt tension. Like she was about to yell. And she did just a bit. Oh dear. I need to up the ante. Turn on the charm. And I did it. The brown eyes looked so sad. Deep sorrow. Remorse. (for what I have no clue... I just know the party was over with my new little friends.) And then she just lightly swatted me on the head and marched off to clean up the remains of my little friends. And that was that. The cuteness paid off. Again. I'm thinking next time she gets new little friends she won't leave me alone with them. But for now I'm glad I'm cute. Adorable. I think it'll take me a long ways in life.
It really is. Lucky. At one point, it really didn't feel like it. Like so much that our hearts were breaking. And a little part of our hearts died 13 years ago. But we've learned to live with that little hole. We've built up scar tissue around it. But it is still a hole. And at times it sometimes aches. It overcomes us with grief to the point that tears just fall. But we're lucky.
On October 22, 1996 we suddenly became parents. It was approximately 3 months before we planned on it. Baby Amara came. We couldn't stop the birth even with the most valiant of efforts. And she struggled for life. For three days we watched her try to live. And then there wasn't much hope. Her brain was bleeding and a choice had to be made. She died in our arms. And she's lucky. She struggled only three days. She went back to her Creator without sin. And her soul is safe. She's lucky.
The Chairman and I suffered deeply. But more importantly, we suffered together. We were cautioned to be careful in allowing this to affect our marriage. And it did. The sadness drew us to hold, cherish, respect, and love each other. And because of that, we're lucky.
We went through other losses. Four to be exact. And then as most of you know, we were on a plane to China. Our second daughter was waiting there. She was the balm to an aching, gaping hole in our hearts. She needed us. But we needed her so much more. She is lucky. But we are more lucky. Lucky for healing. Lucky for the chance to be parents. Lucky to feel the love responded to. Another two months. Another gift through adoption. A perfectly healthy baby boy. A strong fellow. An independent one. A smart one. And he needed us. But we needed him. We needed a son. A brother. And he is lucky. But we are much more lucky. Then the gift of carrying a baby to term. She never would be a replacement. She couldn't be. But she had every right to work her way into our hearts. To allow us to experience yet another way of bringing a baby into the family. Healthy. Spunky. And a gift. She's lucky she hung on until she could live outside of the womb. And she's lucky for siblings.
And today, 13 years later, we count our blessings. Not in a general sense. One by one. Day by day. We always remember this day and always will. The thought of Amara makes us thankful. And sad. Very sad at times. And lucky. We wish we could have known her. Who she would have been. What she would have loved to do. Where she would have lived. Who she would have loved. But she's ahead of us. Waiting. And safe. And lucky. And so are we.
I should hate this weather. And the season. But somehow it isn't affecting me this year. I don't know why. But I've not been a fall season-type-person at all in my life. It was the foretaste of something nasty ahead. It might be because I'm scarred from living through a bunch of SD winters in my childhood. Those my friend aren't for sissies. I remember days on end blizzards followed by extreme below-zero temps. I'm not sure if it is still that way out there. Maybe they should be thankful for global warming (if there was such a thing). But anyway, I just returned from my usual walk. My (much older) sister sent me a website for an exercise place nearby here. I think she was trying to make a point. I didn't get the point. Other than those places scare me. She goes to 'class' a few times a week to stay in shape. I walk. Daily. Don't get me wrong. I'm a bit loose here and there. It comes from pregnancy and age. But I enjoy my walks. Today it was a rain/sleet mixture. In the low 40's. The dog is running free and happy. I'm alone with my thoughts and loving it. People look at me like I'm strange out in this weather. But if you're dressed for it, it's all good. Which leads me to fleece. What a great invention! I live in it. It is light. Warm. And mostly water repellent. I love it. And then there's those leaves. This is like a run-on paragraph, but I just can't bullet point again. My blog faithfuls would think it would be monotonous. The leaves. We watch them each year fall. But have you ever, ever seen the exact leaf you're looking at that very moment drop from a tree? I never have. I keep trying year after year after year to watch and watch and hope that at 'the moment' it releases from the tree and falls to the ground that I'll witness it. But I haven't. I think I'll go to my grave without the experience. But hey! It makes me look forward to fall. I put some fake gold/red leaves in the window boxes now. It looks festive and fall-like. But they're fake and that troubles me a bit. You see my Grandma Anderson hated fake flowers with a perfect hatred. I feel that way too. But it'll work this time. The house is all cozy and clean and smells nice. We've got guests coming. A gy-normous nephew dog. Remember last weekend? Yep. Lisi and Mavrick will be at it again. But this time in the confines of our backyard and not at a campsite. I wish you could tell dogs ahead of time what's about to happen. But really, they don't need to know do they. So back to work I go. Looking forward to family and friends coming this weekend. It's good. It's all good.
my sweet niece and 'nephew' The Chairman and I... The fine MN couple Discussing turkey tracks The kids lined up Don't jump Lisi! friends... A couple old ladies... Pumpkin farm!
That's a silly quote from a PJFunnybunny book. And I quoted it to the kids quite often the past weekend. We had a lovely time with some nice people. And it was mind-numbing, freeze your toes off cold quite chilly.
Lets see. I'm an engineer wanna-be, so bullet points just make more sense to me (hi Mel!). Anyway, here goes...
* Why in the dickens do people camp anyway? I love it. But really. We leave the comforts of home - bed, shower, full-sized kitchen, wall thermostat, and a comfy chair to go out into the elements. And that's fun? Yep. Don't ask me why.
* Actually I do know why. It is usually because of those you're with. It could be only immediate family. Or it could be with friends or relatives. But the chats around a campfire is bar-none like anything else. The art of conversation is spectacular when it has the backdrop of sparks, smoke that chases you around the circle, and warmth.
* I could tell you how cold it was, but most of you wouldn't care. Only those who experienced it. Shortly before I married the Chairman, I had this secret wish to go winter camping in Minnesota. I'm not sure why. But it sounded daring. Fun. And something great to share with others on how stupid brave you were to be out facing the elements. Well after this weekend, I think I did it. When it is in the low 20's at night, that's cold. I managed to stay warm with loads of bedding, a warm Chairman, and my winter coat tented above my head to sleep. It made it more adventurous. And we realized that camping really wasn't for sissies!
* We were with another family from another state. I only knew them by name. They had a couple of kids that fit in with our age-group perfectly and let me tell you. They were nice. Like really nice. Like never irritating nice. And brave. And strong. And funny. And nice. Real nice. I'm happy we shared the weekend with them and their very nice parents. And some other special people that I actually know a bit better.
* And you can see Lisi. She loves camping. Especially the deep grass at the edge of the campsite. It is ripe with little tidbits that people throw out with the dishwater. Yum. Old bacon grease to lick off the leaves. She behaved herself quite properly and has no story to share this time. But her 'cousin dog' came and let me tell you. They wrestled themselves into a stupor.
* We drove about 6 minutes to get to the shower this morning. You see they turned off most all the water because of freezing pipes. And so you go into this little room. You can see your breath very well. And then you are telling your body parts to take off all of your clothes in this frigid temperature and walk across the FREEZING tile floor and push the little silver button to have some luke-warm water come out and that'll make you feel all squeaky-go-to-meetin'-clean. My brain was screaming that this wasn't right and it took all my energy to muster courage to disrobe and face the dripping faucet. But I did and the meeting room didn't smell. And I want to just add on a side note that in the shower I was thinking of countless ones that are workers in other lands that face this experience on a daily basis... and it made me feel small for thinking it was a big deal today.
* And on a baser level... the outhouse had this eerie wind down below that cooled off the bottom side like nobody's business (even if you were trying to do some business). It was very inhibiting to say the least.
* And as we started to unload some of the basics tonight Rayna came up to me and said 'mom? I love camping. There really isn't anything better. Oh wait. Yes there is. Eating pickles is better. But then camping is next.
* I'm frugal. Most of my friends would attest to that. But maybe not the Chairman this month as he thinks the money is flying out the window. Usually it isn't. Anyhoo. I was at the store recently and purchased some 'shampoo for men' that was a bargain. I brought it home and set it on the shelf in our shower. He used it maybe once or twice. Then I could tell he wasn't. I asked. He said, 'it just feels cheap' and then added something about my nice shampoo that I get for myself. And so while showering I look at it. Goodness. It is probably just fine so I use it today. I smell nice and manly. Musky. I hope I don't attract any ladies in the grocery store aisle today.
* The wedding that keeps on giving. We attended a very special wedding on Saturday for a super-nice couple. The groom would be even nicer if he wasn't taking his bride far away from the midwest. But they're happy and that's what is important. But the wedding keeps on giving. I came across not one or two but 7 bottles of little bubbles that you are to blow at the bride and groom. I have a daughter that loves free things. And I might add that she comes by it honestly. Refer to the first two words of this post. Then... as I'm doing laundry this morning a party erupts as I'm throwing clothes into the washing machine. HEARTS! JUST MARRIED! PINK! Confetti... and lots of it is now all over my laundry room floor.
* I could also mention about the ride to the wedding. Duane has some 'miles to use up' on the car before turning it in on the 20th of this month. And so we are piling into the car and going to where we need to go. But we have three kids that in very close quarters tend to get obnoxious a bit crazy. They started out in pretty good spirits the first 5 seconds little while. And then it got louder and sillier. At one point I said, 'you girls better not be getting your hair all messy'. And then it got louder. The Chairman said to knock it off. Then a few minutes later I went on a bit of a tirade. And then it was silly as all get out and then... silence. Utter silence for about 3 seconds and immediately I know something is amiss. I turn around. Trevor is holding his glasses in two pieces. Rayna's hair is a disaster. And... I'm one irritated mom. Thank goodness for an extra 20 minutes built into our trip, a convenient Target store, and superglue. Some mentioned how cute the kids looked and how sweet our family was. If they only knew...
* Did I say how much I love our wood stove? We had some issues reckoned with last winter and now it heats up the house like nobody's business. I love when the kids get off the bus and smell the smoky smell outside they run right past me and sit in front of the stove. There's something about the cozy, penetrating warmth.
* Yesterday we had a special gathering and it made me so thankful that what my confidence in is really True. It has made me especially thankful today.
Yep. This is me again. The smart dog. Did I ever tell you about all the awards I've won? Lots of doggy classes. I'm considered a Canine Good Citizen. I also passed the test to be a therapy dog (but the big lady that yells but loves me anyway hasn't done anything about it). Can't for the life of me figure out why we spent all that time in boot camp working and working for the test and then sha-LA just like that. I'm just a regular alley mutt again. But the story isn't about me.
Yesterday, the big lady and me headed out on our walk. I'm loving fall. I heard her tell someone that she doesn't like fall, yet she smiles on our walk. Can't be all that bad. So we're walking along and getting closer to home when she says the magic word that puts me at full attention. She said under her breath...'get the kitty'. Now nothing makes me more excited and wild than hearing that. Whoooo-eeeee a cat to chase! And right across the yard was the feline waiting for something. It looked like it was trying to get a mouse and it had no idea that one of its lives were at stake. And so the chase began. I expected the cat to run around the house. Or better yet into a corner where I could (you know I have no idea what I'd do if I actually 'caught' the cat) get it! But no! In true sneaky cat fashion it ran up the stairs of its own deck. I was going so fast up the stairs after the cat that I fell. I lost sight of the rotten fur-bag getting back to my feet and then got up to the deck. I looked this way. I looked that way. WHERE IN THE BLAZES IS THAT ROTTEN BLACK CAT? I couldn't find him. I looked back at the big lady that yells but loves me anyway and she was whistling me back to her. I kept looking at her wondering if she knew where the cat went. She just kept calling me and that was that. The blasted thing disappeared on me! (Actually Lisi didn't know the cat just hopped up on the railing and was looking down at her the whole time.) And so I came downstairs and back to the big lady and she was muttering something about me not being so bright. Well listen here big bossy know-it-all lady that yells and sometimes loves, if it weren't for me you wouldn't have all those bragging rights or special awards stuck in the file cabinet.
So there you have it. I haven't been terribly naughty lately and so the stories aren't so interesting. But I thought you might want to know this anyway.
* Today I saw a humongous hawk on one of the trees right out the front door. Uber-cool!
* And! A brilliant azure-blue bluebird went right in front of me on the walking path. Isn't that a sign of happiness?
* Nothing like some soft piano music (finally dug out my CD's and a cup of strong Tazo to boost the afternoon)
* Wedding bells will ring again tomorrow! I've known the bride since she was called 'Buzz'. She's blossomed into a radiant lovely person. We'll miss her.
* Speaking of weddings. Rayna said tonight, 'mom, when I get married, could you be the caterer for me?'. I was feeling all puffy and pleased that she likes my cooking and Mira says, 'Rayna, mom wouldn't be able to because by then she'll be too old'.
* Mira started piano. So far I like the teacher. And I like the super-expensive grand pianos sitting in the area where we wait for the kids.
* And Rayna is in a school basketball program. Every night for an hour+. She was totally exhausted last night and just needed to be held awhile. And... this mom really loved it. My babies are growing up, but they still love to be held.
* Thinking of painting a bathroom! One of the last rooms that hasn't had a transformation since we've come here. Hmmm. What to do... what to do...
* My mom got another good report today (she's fought cancer twice). I think the blessing in sickness is that when you are well, you are thankful. If you've never faced anything, you take it all for granted. I think there's a lesson here...