Wednesday, April 26, 2006

It's blackberry winter here.

No that has nothing to do with the super-phone thing that was almost shut down in a lawsuit last month.

In the South, summer starts sometime mid-April. I hate the heat. I love the South. Don't get me wrong. But I hate the heat. It was 95 last week. But today the high was 73. Now, that is by no means "winter." But it much more comfortable than what it was last week and will be over the next 5 months.

This cooler weather is always called blackberry winter.


The blackberry brambles always start to bloom about this time, and it seems to coincide with a "cold snap." (for those of you unfamiliar with the term "cold snap": a period of a few days where the temperature is cooler than normal. This term is used most often at the beginning of cold weather in late fall or early winter.)

Now, about picking blackberries. Not "harvesting". You don't harvest them. Harvesting implies gathering a large quantity of fruit with little effort. No sirree. Blackberries must be picked a small handful at a time. The vines are full of thorns. The leaves are prickly too. You should wear long sleeve shirts, or you'll itch for hours. Long jeans and boots are also ideal choices. Jeans to protect your legs from the thorns. Boots to help you tromp through the vines and give you a sense of protection from the snakes.

Yes, snakes. This is the time of year when snakes in the South begin to explore again. The winters here are not cold enough down here for the snakes to truly hibernate. (Much like my laptop, they prefer to simply snooze or stand-by teehee.) I've always heard that rattlesnakes like blackberry brambles a lot. I have no proof that they are more commonly found there than any other kind of snake.

A tangent about snakes. And if you like snakes, you should skip this paragraph. The only non-poisonous snakes are the ones that have their heads removed by a long-handled hoe. (For you city-folk, that is a garden tool that has a long handle, traditionally wooden, with a short, straight blade designed for cutting the soil and snake-heads.) Another common snake weapon is the shotgun or pistol. Having never killed a snake myself, I imagine that killing one with a hoe would be easier than trying to shoot at it. Regardless of how good your aim is at the target range, I suspect that when faced with a killer snake that your hand might tremble just a LITTLE, again they're ALL POISONOUS while their head is attached.

The long pants should be tucked into the boots. This, plus the long sleeve shirt, helps prevent the chigger bites. Chiggers. Yes, chiggers. This is not an insult against any person of any race in any way. Chiggers are tiny, little red bugs that crawl on your body until they find a nice, tender, sweaty spot. Once their valhalla is discovered, they begin their burrowing and chewing and IgE-triggering behaviors. My experiences with chiggers have seemed to always been with them biting me in a very tender (backs of knees) or embarassing spot (upper thigh, or the behind.)

There are many home remedies for chiggers. DH's favorite story is of when he was a kid at his Granny's and had played in the grass all day. At bath time, Granny rubbed him down with bleach to kill the chiggers. Well, this works very well, but some of his bites had already made him scratch, slightly breaking the skin. ( The bleach has a stinging affect when it comes into contact with sensitive skin or open cuts.) He ran through Granny's house, buck-naked, screaming.

One more thing about chiggers... In LA (refer to previous post "Tea."), chiggers are called redbugs. I prefer the name chiggers. It has "attitude" that I think suits the little pest.

Yet another contribution to the education of all the non-Southerners that are lacking in the proper know-how and walking-around necessary to plow a straight row. You're very welcome.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Poo-poo and stupid.

One of my favorite memories of DD from last year.

Poo-poo and stupid.

In the car one afternoon, DD says to me, "Mommy, I can hear myself talking inside my head."

My thoughts: Cool! She has become aware of her own thoughts and her "self-talk". That's a big developmental step.

My response: "Really?!? That's neat. What do you think about?"

DD: "Moooooommmmmyyyyy. I'm not thinking about anything. I can just hear my own voice inside my head without saying anything with my mouth."

Response: "Oh, sorry. Then what do you say 'inside your head'?"

DD, quietly: "I don't want to tell you. You might get me in trouble."

Thoughts: I love the way she uses that phrase where I get her in trouble.

Response: "Baby, you can tell me anything. You won't be in trouble. I promise."

Thoughts: I can't wait to hear this!

DD: "Well, I hear ugly words."

Thoughts: I can't wait ot hear this!

Response: "Ugly words? Like what?"

Thoughts: Oh, this is gonna be good! What in the world could she be saying to herself that she'd call "ugly words"?

DD: "Poo-poo and stupid."

Thoughts: Lord, I LOVE this little girl! Thank you for her and help me to not laugh out loud!

Response: "That's ok, sweetie."

Then I went on and ruined the fun for her by explaining that God hears her thoughts, etc.

Don't you love the innocence of little kids?

Go hug yours now. I will.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

She wants to vacuum.

That’s not quite it.


Now, I’m sure there are some folks out there that find some form of enjoyment in this necessary task. I appreciate the results it gives, but don’t get any specific enjoyment from the process.

The end justifies the means. That’s it for me.

But DD WANTS to VACUUM. Whenever I am taking on this drudgery, she is right on my heels. “Can I do it now, Mommy? Can I please? Can I? Can I? Can I? Pleeeeeeeeeease!”

I am now on the very well-trodden path of all the other mothers in time. Do I hurry through my cleaning and get it done as quickly as possible so that I can move on to the rest of my day’s work and deny her (gasp!) the joy (??) of using Mommy’s vaccum cleaner? Or do I hand it over and help her maneuver the behemoth around and not beat the furniture to kindling?

Well, I would love to say that I stop what I’m doing and allow her to do the job. Sometimes I do. I’m not a complete jerk. But I do love to help her do things she wants to do. And with Mommy’s help, she does a pretty good job, considering the vacuum is as tall as she is and weighs more than she.

I think what really puzzles me more than the desire to vacuum is that she wants to do what I do. She wants more than most anything else to be like me. Me. Not Kim Possible. Not Raven. Not Cinderella or Mulan. Me. For someone who has struggled to like who she is, it is beyond comprehension that anyone, even my own daughter, would want to be like me.

But in the midst of helping my 5 year-old try to vacuum my house, I’m beginning to see that if SHE can want to be like me, then maybe there’s something about me I can like too. Just maybe.

It seems that when we teach others, we can learn something too.

But here’s a little secret of mine… I want to be just like her.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

I hate this time of year.

I've already told you that in a previous post. It's sooooo busy. T-ball two nights per week. Church twice on Sunday and again on Wednesday evenings. Now, those are not at all what I hate about this time of year. It's the EXTRA stuff that really stinks.

The regular routines of life are not reduced just because it gets busier now. We still get up and go to work and pre-school each day. We still cook, eat, clean, wash, bathe, pay bills, buy groceries, etc.

But now we start adding things to it.

T-ball is the first and most important addition. As DH started his business last year, DD sacrificed her time just as much as DD and I. T-ball is our first opportunity to dedicate DD-specific fun-time as repayment on her sacrifices.

Then there's taxes. Is there anyone that enjoys tax time? Well besides those CPAs who really need to get a life!!!

Then there's the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. DH's mother died of chronic lymphocytic leukemia almost 6 years ago. (I'm sure I misspelled that.) For the last 4 years we've participated to varying degrees in the annual fundraiser (Relay for Life) in her memory. It's a really wonderful event. Some emotional moments, of course, but still lots of fun too. All in the name of cancer research. The Relay in our area is on April 7. My involvement this year is merely donating and attending. I've not had the free time to seek out any donations other than from us as a family.

Then there's Vacation Bible School (VBS). It's in June, but we're already starting to prepare and study and pray. It, too, is a lot of fun. But it's also a lot of hard work. More than the Relay for Life, it's an incredibly worthwhile effort and event. Our little country church goes all out for the kids.

Then there's the grass. Or wild onions, anyway. We have almost an equal mix of grass and onions right now. The grass/onions is tall enough to need mowing in just spots. The lawnmower is still at the implement place, getting serviced, so we couldn't have mowed it today if we had had the time!

Then there's doctor's visits. Both my parents had colonoscopies over the past 2 weeks! (Sorry, I just can't bring myself to put a link at "colonoscopies.") They both were given positive results and don't need to go back again for 3 years. This is particularly good for my mom. She has had to have a colonoscopy every single year for at least the last 10 years. And for a period of 18 months, she went every 6 months. She has a history of polyps, which have been pre-cancerous but always removed completely.

Then, for most of us in the US, there's Daylight Savings Time. It never bothers me too much, but I suspect this year that it will. You see, it's 3:04am and I've been up finishing up the tax prep crap, er, work. But I need to run all the clocks up an hour, so it's really 4:05am. And I'm supposed to get up and go to church at 10:45am. We haven't been going regularly lately, and I miss it. I miss the "fellowship" with my church family. I miss the worship too.

So, now I've gotten the tax crap, er, stuff, together. I'm sleepy. I'm shutting down Trixie and going to bed.