Thursday, February 22, 2007


I found out since my last post that old Dorthy died last winter. I was angry with her when we last parted. Needless to say, I am saddened by this news. Not really surprised, but saddened...and maybe a little bit guilt ridden that we didn't stay in touch.

I can't help but wonder about the time and distance that separate people when they part and never see each other again. It can be such a simple thing, yet so profound. We never know in this life, what impact that moment in time when our lives touch, makes.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sneezin' and snottin' and doin' round.

Imagine, if you can, a little old lady. She has skin that looks like the sun has nearly baked it clean off her face. Her short, curly hair, often not brushed, is mashed up on one side where she was sleeping on it. She honestly looks older than mud. Not to be disrespectful, I really had a soft spot for old Dortha. My kids called her Dorthy cause that's just how they heard it the first time she told us her name.

She had a raspy, old, smoker's voice with a southern drawl that went on forever. She called me "Jo" and she could never remember my husband's name either. She was drunk half the time and always had a cigarette hanging from her mouth. She would bring food over that even tasted like cigarette smoke cause she smoked so much in her house.

This was the one of our neighbors we have had over the years. I make her out to sound horrible, and in reality, she was, but we made nice most of the time and when she was sober, I really enjoyed her company. When she was drunk, she would lie and steal from her own kin. She certainly did from us. One time, she hollered across the street to my son who was probably only about 7 at the time "I wayer the same kiiiind of uhhhnderwayer as yooooooo! Loouuuk!" and proceeded to undo and lower her pants to reveal men's underwear!

It wasn't that we weren't grateful that she shared her food with us. She was always cooking up something and since it was just her, would have all kinds of leftovers. She wasn't dirty or anything, I trusted her food and she was a good cook, I even used some of her recipes, but if it had been in her house, it tasted like cigarettes. We just couldn't eat it.

She could be very sweet and I spent many hours sitting on her front porch with her, talking and watching all the neighborhood kids running up and down the street. I even took her out for her 80th birthday to a Mexican restaurant and had them put the big sombrero on her and sing to her. Oh she loved that. And boy did she flirt with the little Mexican boys who waited on us!

It was she who coined the phrase I used as the title for this post. Whenever she was sick with even the slightest sniffle, I would ask how she was and she would say, "oh aaahhhm just sneaaaazin' an snaahhtin' an doin' round." My kids would get so tickled at her use of the word "snot".

Well, Old Dorthy is the source of this Russell story. She called me over one day and regaled me with some heretofore unknown tales of the Russell. This is what she recounted to me.

Russell as we have established had a mischievous streak. Well, this tendency had begun to show itself in the form of torturing my cats. Now keep in mind, that Russell at the time of these stories was no more than five years old and a) those cats when stretched out, were longer than he was tall and b) cats are well able to defend themselves if they REALLY feel threatened.

Dorthy said that on several occasions she had seen Russell grab one cat or the other under the front arms and drag them, hind feet literally dragging between his legs as he tried to walk, to the street, wait for a car, and try to throw the squirming cat in front of the car. No alarm there. Due to the aforementions size difference and the resulting squirm, cats didn't go very far. But the thought of this little boy with his infamous, felonious grin, attempting to unsuccessfully throw a squirmy cat, left me finding it very hard to be serious about a potentially serious offense. I had to cover my mouth to keep him from seeing the smirk I was trying desperately to control.

Then Dorthy told me that Russell had also taken the cat next door where there was a 5 gallon bucket of water. He then proceeded to feed the cat into the bucket and hold it in the water. How he did it without getting clawed to shreds is beyond me, but again, there was little opportunity for harm considering there was more cat to put in the bucket than there was Russell to put it there. She said he then got tired of fighting the thing and used his foot to reach into the bucket and attempt to hold the cat. It was then that the cat escaped leaving Russell covered in water and giggling hysterically. My smirk was now a snicker.

Dorthy continued her story with her wonderment at how this cute, little, red-headed cherub could be so mean. She said in her down-to-earth, southern way that one day we had just come home from one of our family outings. We often went on excursions to Land Between the Lakes and took picnics. She said my husband was emptying the van and pulled out the cooler. It was full of ice water. He went to dump the water in the grass beside the driveway when he saw the cat lazing in the sun on the front porch. Dorthy said that same felonious grin crossed my husband's face and the entire cooler full of ice water was ceremoniously dumped on my nice, warm, sleeping cat. Dorthy said, "I knooo then where the boyyyy got it." My smirk? My snicker? I knew all too well of what my husband was capable of. He hates my cats. I laughed till I cried.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

He came a courtin'

It is exciting when your child reaches new milestones, but it can be frightening and even a bit sad as well. It was with this mixture of emotions as I watched the young man, who is smitten by my daughter, come bearing gifts this afternoon. He wanted to surprise her by having them here before she came home from school.

My youngest daughter and this boy's younger brother also have a "thing" going, but it's different in that the two of them shyly exchanged Valentine's candy through each other's siblings. It's cute, but for them it's just a crush. THIS to me, this was a bold declaration of this boys feelings for my daughter. He was not afraid to approach me about it. It's far different. More serious. Yet still respectful in that he could have avoided her father and I altogether and just given it to her.

We have known how they have felt about each other for some time, and of course, teased them mercilessly. But this was the first outward, open indication of those feelings.Our family does not encourage dating, but we do not lay down a hard fast rule not to either. We have a pretty convincing argument for NOT dating and so far they have all made the choice not to for themselves. We have always felt that if they chose to date, it would be by our rules and certainly not before they are 16. So far, they all have agreed with us that it is foolish to allow your heart to break needlessly and have chosen to keep it friendly, or like a courtship-family always present. This young man's family feels the same, so we are very happy with the maturity with which these two are handling their feelings. His parents helped him pick out his gifts and brought him over to deliver them. We are all very involved. It's sweet to actually get to be a part of it all when most parents are left to wonder what their kids are doing when they are out.

Still, it would be quite interesting if these two and the younger two managed to still like each other when the time comes to be thinking about spouses...! I could think of worse prospects!

Oh yeah, here's her reaction....
From Valentine's

Friday, February 2, 2007

Better than diamonds!

It even looks a bit like a diamond doesn't it?

To put this into perspective, I have to tell you that we are a one income family of 7. There is not any real breathing room in our budget. I have been doing outdoor photography and selling stock photos for about 6 months to try to get my business rolling. My hope was to add equipment as my business grew. But the downside of doing outdoor photography is that when winter sets in, the biz dries up. I dreamed of having my own studio someday, but you know how you tend to temper dreams when the reality doesn't seem to be fleshing those dreams out.

Well, my husband worked an entire weekend during the holidays for a "bonus". We never were even for sure that this "bonus" would materialize or how much it would be. The powers-that-be in the company he works for, tend to "forget" about things like that. Hubby had been dreaming about a new computer that he, as a programmer, is really in desperate need for. The one he has is terribly outdated and slow for his needs. He estimated that he needed around $1500 to build his own system and was really hoping to put his "bonus" toward that. Again, we had no idea how much...or how little...the bonus would be.

I tried to talk him into waiting a little while longer and using whatever money it would be to help pay down debts. But I couldn't argue that he is pretty desperate to upgrade. So I agreed that he should use it for that.

Well, the bonus came today. It was about what we expected, but after taxes, it was going to be tight.

Hubby came home for lunch, kissed me, handed me a box and said "Happy Anniversary". Our anniversary was 2 weeks ago and we had agreed not to get each other anything because of the money situation. Inside the box was the first of a set of studio lights! He bought the whole set-up for me! Two lights, stands, and umbrellas! My daughter told me he had been planning this for weeks, but telling me he was going to get the computer.

I couldn't believe it! I couldn't say anything. I just started to cry. My husband sacrificed the computer he needs for MY dream! He believes in me more than I do myself. And I don't think he could have told me he loves me better if he had bought me diamonds!

Once again, My Love, you have so well illustrated the love of Christ to me. Thank you so much for believing in me and my dreams. I love you, honey!
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A day late is better than never

But the sun is out now and it's already melting at 10 am so it will probably not last the day. Got to go take more pictures!
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Thursday, February 1, 2007

So much for snow!

After all the hype, all the news stories on how prepared TN is for snow, after all the "rush to the stores to buy milk and bread, everyone, this time's for real!", after the schools conveniently closed down for two days due to illness-just in time for the coming "snow", I woke up to a dusting at best! It was gone by 9 am!

I feel so cheated.:-P