Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 vs 2009

I'm blank.

I have these grandiose ideas about what I would write about this past (emphasis on "past," thank you JESUS) year. I want to be able to put the events and experiences and emotions from this not-at-all-my-favorite year into some touchy-feely, profound, sentimental, "it's all ok now" box.

And leave it there.

Washed away, as far as the East is from the West, forever, much like our sins. Right?

Except, there will be effects of the events of 2008 that will linger for months and years to come.

To be honest, I must admit that there have been "bright spots" and not-so-unpleasant results from closing the business.

The Mighty Hunter's bankruptcy will not be final until mid-March, at the earliest. But when it is done, we can begin rebuilding his credit. (Thankfully, my credit is still intact. So we can muddle through.)

Bobbie is in school and will become an RN and will be the best nurse that has ever nursed. (That might not be the right use of that word, but whatev. It makes me smile.)

Misty has a good job, although she is swamped on a daily basis. And in her, I've found my sister from another mister. (that cracks me up) It's crazy and creepy how much we're alike - insomnia, OCD, ADD and all! I now know that even when no one else gets me, she will! And, even better, she won't think I'm nuts.

The other staff are managing, maybe not as well as they did while working with us, but managing all the same.

We are longer associated in any way with Napoleon. We are now able to be honest about how we feel about him and no longer have to see or speak to him. I don't think it would be a smart idea for me to see him. I might just bitchslap him.

We can still pay our bills and still have a little padding to put away from things like Wiis and a trip to WDW. (YAY Spring Break 2009!!)

Sissy has shown such grace and faith this year. She has taught me how to truly trust God and allow Him to handle the big, scary things that would normally sentence me to the bathroom with cramps and gas and indigestion.

Beverly has taught me to be content in whatever situation. Her strength and faith astound me, as they always have. She never waivers. She rocks.

We've had a shift in our financial priorities. Previously, we (meaning The Mighty Hunter) was an AGGRESSIVE saver. I readily admit now that I resented this. It kept us from building the house of which we've dreamed. But it has kept us going through this hard time. Not that we have much put back. But having a little bit has been a very reassuring pillow to lay my head upon at night. We no longer feel the UNBELIEVABLE PRESSURE to save every darn penny. We've lost so much of it this year. We now feel less guilty when we splurge on trips and webcam-equipped netbooks and Wiis.

Our families have been a source of love and support that is indescribable and unfathomable. It brings me to tears as I type this how much I know their hearts have broken over what happened to our business this year. To know my dad fell to the floor, grief-stricken, crying out to God. It moves me in ways nothing else can. To know that FIL and Fiance were ready to loan us a HUGE amount of money for operating expenses. It humbles me to the point of embarrassment. To know that my brother and his wife have prayed. To know that BIL and his wife - and their congregation - have prayed. To know that BIL wept during a sermon that used our story. All of this makes me cry the Ugly Cry.

My Jesus hasn't left me. This year, during its hardest, most unsure times, He has been right here. Guiding every step and every decision and every choice. He placed in our lives the friends that have not abandoned us. The lawyer that has guided and represented us. The church family and others that have been sensitive and discreet and caring. And He has shown us that He is not the only one who loves us unconditionally. I confess that I have not read or prayed or lived the way I should (ever, but especially so this year.) Yet He has been here the whole time anyway. But isn't that the whole point of unconditional love?

Now for a different direction... I can't let this year end without describing the level of disappointment and betrayal I feel. My whole life, I've been able to depend on you. You gave me my dad, my FIL and many other blessings. You brought beautiful times into my life - and the lives of everyone else. Yet this year and last, you brought deep pain and fear and trauma. You are no longer welcome in my heart or my home. Beginning today, your name will disappear from my records - to the extent that I can, I will delete you from my life and existence. August - the month that holds wonderful birthdays, hot summer days, last-chance trips to the beach, back-to-school shopping - will forever be remembered for the pain it brought. I will divide its days among its more trustworthy neighbors, July and September. I will mark its name out on my calendars. It will be the month whose name is not spoken.

For 2009, I hope for many things.

Relief from bankruptcy ghosts
Forgiveness from those who were hurt by the business failure
Security and prosperity for those who lost their jobs
Joy and hope and love for all of us
Distance from the things and people who do not have our best interests at heart
Protection from our sinful nature
Blessings from our Lord
Gratitude for the little things in life
Forgiveness for those who have hurt us
Healthy bodies and minds for all of us
Gooey, underbaked chocolate chip cookies and tall glasses of cold milk
Snuggles and giggles with the kiddos
More time with The Mighty Hunter
The safe return of those deployed and serving our country and risking their lives

I could do a recap of last year's resolutions. But it would be sad and pointless. So let's just end it here.

God bless your 2009 beyond your imagination.

(I guess I wasn't blank after all.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

That sound you hear..

is the sound of wind whistling through my ears, as I try to write a post about this past year and the upcoming, gotta-be-better, please-Lord-make-it-better year.

I promise, Triste, I will write something soon.

Here's a resolution. Change Triste's name to something that does NOT mean "sad" in any language.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Santa came a couple days late

But he brought this for The Mighty Hunter...

This afternoon, I went to get pizza. While I was gone, FIL and Fiance' and The Mighty Hunter were with the kids. When I returned, The Mighty Hunter had just disappeared on everyone. We all knew that he had just "slipped up to the edge of the woods" to see if there were any deer about, especially in the green field he had planted for them.

He came back and claimed he had shot an 8-point. None of us had heard his shot. So no one believed him.

After he inhaled a piece of pizza, he took FIL and Sissy out to get it.

He had heard other hunters tell stories like what happened tonight but had never believed them. They just seemed silly. He always blamed it on the other hunter's bad aim or whatever.

After he had shot the deer, he walked over and picked up its head and confirmed that it was dead. There was no response or movement from the deer.

When he returned with Sissy and FIL in the truck, the lights from the truck shined on the deer's head. The deer lifted his head, got up off the ground and started to run away.

He took one more shot.

Merry Christmas to The Mighty Hunter.

You sexy thang, you.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

For medicinal purposes only...

I have discovered the following all-natural sleep aid.

One pack of spiced cider mix.

One mug of apple juice or cider.

Warmed in microwave for 1 minute.

1 shot of Crown Royal.

You're very welcome.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008 memories - BETTER

I remembered the music and increased the resolution.

This makes me smile like nothing else.

"Sing, Mary, Sing" Jennifer Knapp

Christmas 2008 memories

I got a new lens - Canon 50mm, 1.4.

A Gorillapod Focus

A great new coat

Cool, little speakers for my iPod

A new blue tooth ear piece.

Sissy got everything she asked Santa to get her.

She thought she had gotten a cell phone, but I had repurposed an old box for some earrings for her.

Lucky got a bunch of Blue's Clues stuff - which is terribly hard to find.

He prefers the $2 doodle pad.

The Mighty Hunter got an Indiana Jones Hat.

A spotlight to look in the yard to see why the stupid dogs are barking!

And his own Wii game.

And he guessed every surprise.

We ate too much.

We slept late this morning.

We had to wake Sissy up Christmas morning. We've had to wake her every year.

The Mighty Hunter washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen yesterday, without my asking. He also filled the deviled eggs.

He got a special present last night. He had earned it.

It was a good Christmas.

So far. Father-in-law and Fiance' arrive today, starting Round 2 of too many toys and land-fill loads of wrapping paper.

I hope yours was as wonderful as mine.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A favorite Christmas memory - part 3

I love music. I sing all the time; sometimes good, most times not-so-good.

Christmas music is one of the few things I collect. Each year, I try to add to my collection by at least one song. This year, I indulged in this and this. So, I made up for my Christmas Music Collection Fasting of 2007.

There are songs that are like the starting bell of a boxing match for Christmas time. (how's that for a crazy analogy!)

Bing Crosby's crooning of "White Christmas" and "It's beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"

Harry Connick Jr.'s "Sleigh Ride" and "O Holy Night"

The Carol of the Bells

The Chipmunks album

Growing up, mom would take my brother and me shopping with her. It was always a big deal. We would pile in the big ol' Cougar and drive the 45 minutes to Chattanooga to the Eastgate Mall and sometimes Northgate Mall. This is where we usually saw Santa and had our pictures made with him.

As we would go home, we would drive I-75 and come down East Ridge. The city's lights would stretch out before us. Those lights were magically transformed and became part of our Christmas tradition. They weren't just street lights and billboards. They were Christmas lights.

To this day, I still look for the Chattanooga Choo-Choo sign, trying to be the first in the car to see it.

And to this day, my Christmas season hasn't officially begun until I've driven down East Ridge and seen those "Christmas Lights."

Most times, with my mom and brother, we would listen to our favorite Christmas 8-track. (Yes, we're old.) We'd sing along with Elvis, at the top of our lungs, breaking into parts and singing "oooh, ooo-ooo-OOO-oooh" with the bluesiest feelings we could muster.

Krispie Kreme donuts were almost always in the car with us, and we'd fight over who got the last glazed one.

I was able to go shopping ALL BY MYSELF! yesterday. No kids. No rushy-hurrying husband. Good baby-sitters on duty. No schedule to keep. I was able to find the last of my gifts PLUS some jeans and tops for myself.

And, as I left the "new shopping area" of Chattanooga, I was glad to see the sun was almost in bed. I was glad that I would get to see Chattanooga's Christmas Lights and sing to whatever carol was playing on the radio - at the TOP OF MY LUNGS.

A few weeks ago, Sissy, Lucky and I were able to go see my brother's kids in their school play. As we drove to Huntsville, the city's lights spread out in front of us. I said, "Look, Sissy. It's Christmas Lights!"

Yeah. It looks like someone knocked over a huge Christmas tree!

(That's my kid.)

I've developed some new favorite Christmas songs; ones that speak to my life and experiences.

"I'll be Home for Christmas" makes me think of the year we lived in California and how much I longed to be in my Alabama for this favorite season. (We flew home for a few days, thankfully.)

"Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" brings to mind the image of The Mighty Hunter's crazy aunt singing along with the song and dancing, holding a stuffed, dancing reindeer. (She's the mother to young adults and a teenager. She isn't mentally disabled. She's just nuts.)

"O Holy Night" holds hte memory of The Mighty Hunter's mother singing at church. She had a great voice but over-used a over-done vibrato with her very high soprano that made me want to jab a pencil in my ears.

"Beautiful Star of Bethlehem" is one of the old Southern Gospel church songs that just fits nicely with Christmas. It reminds me of how, when she tried to not be the big shot star with the over-done vibrato, The Mighty Hunter's mom could harmonize beautifully with her friend and really move you with the message of a song.

"All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth" reminds me of how my first grade teacher insisted that I, along with another boy who was also missing front teeth at Christmas, stood up in front of all the parents and teachers and the WORLD and sing it. WITH a lisp, which I didn't have, but was forced to fake.

"The 12 Days of Christmas" is still a favorite. One year we had trouble remembering all the lines and decided to improvise our own version. The only rule is that the first day brings "a new clicker for the tv." We take turns making up what our True Loves bring us on each day. By the 8th day, no one can remember what they said on the 7th day or 6th day. It always brings a lot of laughs and some very interesting and just plain strange gifts from our True Loves.

I don't think I can pick just ONE favorite Christmas song. But these hold special and fun memories.

I hope your Christmas this year produces memories that burn into your memory with the Love of family and friends, the Joy of gifts given in love and the HOPE that our Savior brings.

I hope that you take with you, into the New Year, the best of this year and leave behind the pain, sadness and disappointments of 2008.

God bless you all.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mammogram and ultrasound both clear. Nothing abnormal.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas

It's the week of Christmas.

And since I will probably :poof: disappear :poof: for the rest of the week - except for some "I've got to blog this!" moments, I thought I'd share a funny story on The Mighty Hunter (Triste, it's our secret!) and also my plans for celebrating the week...

Yesterday, we had Christmas with my dad's mom and brother's family. It was very nice. This was with my Grandma that had the heartattack the day after Thanksgiving. She is doing GREAT. We ate well and opened some gifts with the kids. There is a newborn and another one coming next month on my uncle's side, so Lucky wasn't the youngest, but demanded the lion's share of the attention.

Last night, Sissy debuted as a playwright. She wrote a story that she developed into a play for the kids to perform at church last night. It was really cute. They did a great job. I was proud.

The church's Christmas program was mostly the kids singing carols and Sissy's play. The kids her age played the handbells. During one song, the dingaling thingy in her bell flew across the room. The look on her face was priceless!

Today we will clean house and cook a little junk food. Tonight is the party for our "adopted family." Our adopted family consists of the girls - and their families - from the business that have shown their sincere friendship and love since we closed down in August. This will be a fun and probably loud night. Funny pictures and video will probably result. Tonight will mean as much to me as Christmas with my parents/brother and The Mighty Hunter's dad/brother. I love these girls; they're my sisters.

Some genius scheduled a mammogram tomorrow morning, which will prevent us from staying out late and sleeping late. After getting my good news, The Mighty Hunter will drive his purdy little truck back home to do what he does (hunt), and I will take my Pimped Out Mamamobile to the malls and stores and finish the remaining shopping.

Wednesday will be the final cleaning and wrapping and cooking. We will listen to my Christmas playlist and sing till we're hoarse. We will get the kids in bed after Santa makes his fly-by and jingles his bells and Rudolph's shadow and shiny nose appear in the yard. Then the mad rush to get the last gifts finished and ourselves in bed so that we can maximize our sleep and pray that Sissy sleeps all night.

Thursday will be a big breakfast and lots of gifts. Then lunch with The Mighty Hunter's uncles and aunts. Finally dinner with my parents and brother and his family.

Friday will be some recovery time from all the food and gifts. There will certainly be a lot of playing with the new toys and all.

Saturday, we will have Christmas with The Mighty Hunter's dad and brother and Carl, Bev and Maternal Grandmother, etc.

Then, life will begin to return to normal.

Hopefully, we will soon be able to wear something besides sweatpants.

(note to self: add sweatpants to my shopping list for Tuesday!)

Now, for the funny story on The Mighty Hunter - I almost forgot!

Yesterday, I was getting out of the shower, which is in its own little room with the toilet. The sink and vanity are just outside, and this is where The Mighty Hunter was.

I hear him coughing. Hard, dry, hacking cough. Almost gagging, irritated sounding.

are you ok?

Yeah. ::cough cough hack hack::

are you sure you're ok?

Yeah. ::cough hack::

what's wrong?

Nothing. I'm just cleaning out my ears.

and? are you OK?

YES. I'm proof that all three really are connected.

three? connected? What are you talking about?

My ears, my nose and my throat! When I clean my ears, then it makes my nose run and my throat itch!

(I must remember to blog this!) Do you think maybe you're sticking the q-tip in too far? (don't laugh yet)

I don't know. Do you think so?

(is he really that dumb?? no.) Well, if you DO stick it in too far, then you'll know by the blood and the blinding pain and the sudden loss of balance. So, I think you're good for now. (can't hold back the laughing now.)

shut up.

Now that is just one of my Christmas gifts to you.

The song link in the middle of this page is the other. Don't read the story. Just turn up your speakers, sit back and soak up the Christmas joy that is "O Holy Night"

And, finally. I wish all 3 of you that read this the merriest, most joyful of Christmases of your lives. I pray that you see God's Gifts of Love in the eyes of a child. I hope that your hearts and lives and your new years are blessed with the Grace and Peace that our Lord and Savior, Jesus, brought to us with his birth. I want you all to remember that, without Easter, Christmas would just be someone's birthday.

God bless us everyone.

I'll post my mammogram results and occasional pictures, or links to pictures, as I get the opportunity.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Random Randomness - Christmas edition

Why is it that today, the first day of Winter, the 21st of December, I am looking out the window at the grass in the yard that JUST WON'T DIE ALREADY????

Who is Christy Lane and has she had a photo made of her since 1982?

I have some great friends. I don't have photos of all of them, but yesterday, I got to take some shots of two of my favorites (Sissy and Lucky think they're the stuff too!) Then I got to do their Christmas cards.

Why is the heck does Wal-Mart have to close their registers at midnight? ANd why is it that I don't have my stuff ready until 11:58?

Why the heck did I set my alarm for 7am this morning? Why the heck can't I manage to get a SINGLE gift wrapped?

Who actually goes to movies on Christmas Day?

What does "Triste" stand for?

How much can I reduce Lucky's dose of albuterol to help him sleep and still see the benefits of it?

I have to cook two casseroles this morning and put together a sauce for meatballs. But first I have to WRAP GIFTS for today!

The Mighty Hunter had his bankruptcy hearing Thursday morning. It went ok. It will be 90 days before a judgment/order/decree/official-piece-of-paper-that-puts-this-behind-us.

I have only a FEW gifts left to find. I've never waited this late to finish my shopping.

You should know that my love for Breakstone's Breakfast Blend coffee roast with hazelnut non-dairy creamer is very inappropriate.

If Target (and UPS) doesn't come through and deliver that last special gift from a special "stranger" on time for a special kid, I may come UN-FRIGGIN-GLUED on their butts. I placed my order in plenty of time (according to their site) and the shipping and delivery estimates were safe. But the shipment of THIS ONE ITEM was delayed 3 times. It finally left NY yesterday. Lemmetellya, I'll be a little bit LIVID if it doesn't make it on time. (Yes, I take this stuff too seriously. I realize it. I'll seek help for it when it no longer is beneficial to the Auburn Family Always. thankyouverymuch)

I just let my biscuits get crusty. I hate crusty biscuits. dangit. Do you think I should click "Publish" and get busy?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

cheap frugal gift idea

We always try to give a gift to each of the women at our church that is somehow involved in Sissy's classes and programs. This year, I counted 8.

Like me, they're probably not worried about exactly what they get from the kids. They may not remember any gift at all from a previous year.

I always try to keep it simple. One year, I found cute little, very nice ornaments at Michael's for $3 each. I bought a few extra for those "oops! I forgot to get them something!" moments.

I don't remember what Sissy gave last year. No clue.

This year, I had an idea in the throes of desperation that might turn out to be one of my best yet.

I grabbed small cosmetic bags for $1.47 or $1.97 each.

I grabbed a nice glass nail file $1.06 each.

Next, I grabbed a small bottle of Germ-X $.50 each and Jergen's hand lotion $1.00 each.

2 four-packs of lip balm $2.26 per pack ($.56 per tube.)

$4.89 per gift.

I may even raid my stash of purse-sized packs of tissue to add a little stuffing to it.

And, to think, all those hotel-sized lotions would be handy right now!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Surely, I'm not alone in this kind of thing happening to me

You should properly prepare yourself for this one. Get a kleenex. Don't take a drink, you might spit it out or choke on it. Make sure the kids won't be startled as you laugh OUT LOUD at my stupidity.

A few days ago, I was wandering around in the kitchen. Barefooted, like I like it. I don't know why I needed to take a step backwards, but I did. And as I did, the rough, calloused bottom of my right foot caught the corner of the nail on my left big toe and bent it backwards. It didn't completely break off, but I was forced to cut the Ugly Toenail Notch to prevent it from becoming in-grown.

This got me to thinking about the time that I was brushing my teeth and somehow my hand slipped and my toothbrush hit me in the eye. Did you know that you should rinse your eye with running water for 3 days after getting toothpaste in it? I don't know if lemon juice would have burned as badly.

Then there was the time that I bought some cheap deodorant to put on my feet to keep them from being so sweaty and sticking to my shoes in the midst of the Alabama summer hell HEAT. But I forgot and left said deodorant in my car's cupholder during the middle of the day. Did you know that solid deodorant/anitperspirant actually completely melts into a nasty little impossible-to-wash-off powdery liquid? And when you spill it on your linen pants and inside the cupholder that it looks like baby milk-puke.

SO. At the moment, these are the only things I can think of that are too embarassing to, you know, speak without snorting and peeing in my pants.

What stupid things have you done?

Someone should stop me before I click "Publish Post".

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

no squishing yet

Yesterday's appointment didn't yield any booby-squishing.

We are all as confident as we can be without a mammogram, that my problems are all fibrocystic disease.

Yet, we will make certain.

I have an appointment with a breast cancer center for a digital diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound (if necessary) on Tuesday, the 23rd. I will get the results of those test that same day.

If necessary for anything more "detailed," like an MRI, my insurance requires I see a surgeon to schedule the MRI.

I'll tell you what I know when I know it. 'Cause that's what bloggers do.


The snots have moved in and taken over our house.

Lucky is sneezing and coughing and is stuffy-headed.

And I'm afraid I don't have enough Puffs Plus.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

A favorite Christmas memory - part 2

Hang with me, the Christmas memory is coming. I promise.

We married in September 1992. 10 days-ish after Hurricane Andrew hit Florida and Louisiana. FIL's job allowed him the chance to help those whose homes were damaged by Andrew. Thankfully, he was able to fly in to be our best man.

As conditions improved in the damaged area, MIL was able to go visit FIL. She returned home with the tackiest beach towels for us. I choose to believe she was joking. All the same, the towels were ugly and were resigned to the rag stash, perfect for drying the car or the dog or burying a dead animal in.

Little did we know that she was doing her Christmas shopping while there.

So, Christmas rolls around. Our first Christmas as a married couple.

So romantic it will make you puke.

We were in our senior year at AU (the loveliest village on the plains.) We were full-time students, without jobs. We were broke as sticks. So our gifts were limited to homemade cookies or something like that.

The Mighty Hunter used some old barnwood and made me a box for our kitchen to put potatoes and onions in. It was beautiful. I still treasure it. But it holds garden gloves and hand trowels now. (REPURPOSED.)

The Mighty Hunter always opened gifts with him parents and brother on Christmas morning, which I had been part of since we began dating. This year, was no different.

BIL handed out the gifts to everyone. Mine was last. It was clearly an old shoe box that had been REPURPOSED and wrapped in paper just like the rest. (I've REPURPOSED many a boxes of all types for gifts over the years. Genius!)

(There's a theme here, have you noticed?)

I enjoyed watching everyone else open their gifts. The Mighty Hunter elbowed me, asking me to open my gift. Thankfully, he was distracted by some of BIL's antics and didn't notice the contents of my gift.

Inside the REPURPOSED shoe box was goodness-knows how many hotel soaps and lotions and shampoos and conditioners and shower caps and sewing kits and shoe polish cloths and everydarnthing else you can smuggle out of a hotel room.

She had REPURPOSED all those pieces of crap toiletries into a gift for her new daughter-in-law.

And there was a $20 bill taped to the lid of the REPURPOSED shoe box.

I wanted to laugh out loud. I wanted to point out to her that she was OFF THE FRIGGIN' CHARTS OCD (and I would know.) I wanted to ask her if she had really forgotten to get me a gift. I wanted to know if she really believed the BS she said about how much she loved the little sizes and that they would be so handy for me, driving back and forth to AU. (We came home no more than once a month and brought our full-sized bottles of stuff with us.)

I wanted to blog about it.

Except there was no such critter as blogging yet.

Instead, I thanked her and hugged her and LOVED telling my brother about it later that day. HE got to laugh and ask all those incredulous questions. I just laughed and shook my head.

It was just this year that I was laughing about it around The Mighty Hunter. He didn't remember it at all. He was upset over it and embarassed (MIL has been dead 8 years now.) I laughed and told him to file it away with his mom's other nuttiness, like the 12 LARGE tubs of petroleum jelly she had squirreled away.

And all the STILL unused hotel soaps and shampoos and lotions and sewing kits.

It was our first Christmas together, married. And she made it one to remember in a very unique way.

Thank you, Kay. We miss you.

Christmas for the Kiddos

I'm sure that most of you who keep coming back to read about the insanity in the Auburn Family Always have kids. And I'll bet that our kids are alike in many ways. I'm hoping that we can do something for each other's kids for Christmas.

Sissy loves getting mail. "Loves" might be understating it a little. Substitute ecstatic and you'll get close. I love to see her so happy and excited over the little things in life. Sure, the big stuff is cool and all, but we should all find a way to foster a love for simplicity in our children as a matter of principle.

I suspect that she is not the only kid who thinks she is in heaven when a piece of mail has her name on it.

I am proposing that we send Christmas cards to each other's kids.

If you would like to exchange Christmas cards with my kids, email me with you kids names and snail mail address. I'll reply with the same information. I pinky-swear to not share your kids names OR your address with anyone. I further pinky-swear to mail them a wonderful card that Sissy chooses to your angels.

You must also pinky-swear to keep my kids identities and addresses private.

It's only fair.

So, email me at auburn gal always (at) gmail (dot) com. Remove the spaces and the (). And let's make our kids feel special this Christmas!

Potpourri of a Post

~This is my 451st post. Good grief! Would I please shut the crap up??? Can anyone please plan an intervention? I think I need it.

~Dear GlaxoSmithKline, when you package migraine medicine, please consider that an individual suffering a migraine has some highs and lows...
Lows: patience, mental acuity, visual sharpness, fine motor skills, thought process
Highs: homocidal tendencies, ability to cry, inordinate desire to write letters to drug manufactuers over excessive migraine medication packaging, uncontrollable urge to publish said desire on their blawg
Sincerely, Keri (aka Migraine Sufferer)

~The Mighty Hunter, Sissy and I had a rough night last night. In an attempt to share some of Lucky's cute antics involving a Build-a-Bear box on his head, I uploaded some videos to YouTube. The unfortunate effect was to transform a very manly man into a puddle of tears. Which, in turn, did the same for Sissy and me. It wasn't pretty. It was plain-out miserable.

~I have most of my shopping done, but still have a few gifts to snag. Naturally, these are the hardest gifts. I also don't know when I'll accomplish this final shopping trip.

~Monday (tomorrow): hair rescue and booby squishing
~Tuesday: ideal shopping day, but not possible for a multitude of reasons
~Wednesday: 2nd grader dance party and class Christmas party for Sissy, also someone is coming home after being away longer than normal, which means that I will be forced to drag out a new razor and some extra moisturizing shave cream for the gams
~Thursday: bankruptcy hearing for The Mighty Hunter, possible shopping day but will choose to be available for that very important event
~Friday: most probable shopping day
~Saturday: probable Panicked Shopping Day in Ungodly Crowds (feel another migraine starting just thinking about it)
~Sunday: beginning of family Christmas gatherings at lunch and then premiere of Sissy's Debut as a Playwright. (play doesn't yet have a name, but feel certain that video and/or pictures will be posted asap.)

~Don't know why I felt compelled to post my week's schedule just now.

~I'm enjoying the tilde. ~~~~~~ preeeeetteeeeeee

~Sissy wants to make a pizza today. Accomplishing this will require me to go to Wal-Mart for more than milk.

~Have no idea when I'll get my Christmas cards mailed. sheesh!

~Introducing: Box Baby

If potpourri is supposed to smell nice, then why does this post stink?! (get it? haha. I crack me up!)

~~~~ :D

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Not so warm and fuzzy

You know how I always tell stories here in a very round-about, I'll get there eventually, here's something interesting about that, ADD, yet adorable way? Well, that's the case most of the time.

But this is not one of those times...

I called my ob/gyn's office Friday and made an appointment for Monday afternoon. I have a squishy, tender lump in my left breast.

I told The Mighty Hunter, who is in Houston until Wednesday. I explained that I have had fibrocystic lumps for, like, ever. And that they occasionally get tender. But this one has stayed tender for longer than I would like. That it is probably because I have a 35+ lb. 23 month-old lineman who thinks that I am his jungle-gym and pillow and punching bag. I told him not to worry and that I almost didn't tell him, but I knew he would KILL me if I hadn't told him.

I told my mom, who will be going with me to the appointment.

I told Beboo, who will be keeping the kiddos during the appointment.

I told Misty, who said "get your a$$ to the doctor" or something like that. (Hey, Sistah!)

And, now, I'm telling you. Because I'm a blogger and that's what bloggers do.

So, after I spend the morning getting my blonde on and the scraggly, frizzy dead-ends cut off the mop that is my hair, I'll be getting my boobies squished.

And for some strange reason, the two things seem to fit nicely together, don't they?

Prayers and happy, healthy, gentle-squishing thoughts will be appreciated.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A favorite Christmas memory - part 1

When I was small, we lived in a tiny little town called Rosalie.

I vividly remember moving to that house. It's one of my first memories, as I was only 3. I remember the adults using the sliding glass doors into the "dining room" for carrying furniture and boxes from the truck to inside. I still couldn't tell you how many boxes or what furniture. There were just "boxes" and "furniture." And I know this because it was told to me. I have memory of seeing either of these things that were transported through the Sliding Glass Doors.

Yet, my memory is clear that after running wildly from room to room touring the house, I proclaimed that this room, the "dining room" was to be My Room. It was the biggest. I was the youngest. It was linked to my parents' room by a doorway. The reasons were obvious and endless why I should have this particular room.

So, naturally, it was My Room. It was large enough for my full-size bed and several other pieces of furniture. It had two nice-sized closets - a big deal for the 1970's. At times, my bed was moved to my brother's room and his bunk beds were separated and put in My Room so that we could both sleep in My Room. We never slept in the same bed, that I remember, as this would have certainly led to an inevitable attempt on someone's life and subsequent whining, crying and tattling.

The living room was at the other end of this small house. In it were the fireplace, tv, couch and Stereo System (a mammoth solid wood cabinet that housed the AM/FM radio, 8-track player and record player.) It was incredibly heavy, with sharp corners that left many a bruise on my arms and shins and it cost a small fortune. The wood cabinet was a perfect match to the wood cabinet that housed our Color TV, also costing a fortune.

(Our TV was separate from the Stereo Cabinet, but the Stereo Cabinet was at least this large.)

And, at Christmas, the tree was in the living room. I don't remember exactly where Mom put it, but I'm sure it was somewhere of importance and still out of the way of the tv-viewing. After all, there was Dallas to watch. And don't forget my dad's favorite, Hee-Haw.

I realize that Santa respects each family's traditions. So at our house, he wrapped our presents. This was his attempt to fool my brother and me. One year, my brother found part of Santa's stash in the trunk of my mom's 1977 4-door white Mercury Cougar with burgundy cloth interior and white leather detail on the roof. Santa had to find other places to hide his local stash after that year.

There were always gifts under the tree. As soon as Mom could get them wrapped, we would prowl through them, counting to see that one of us didn't have more than the other. Santa would even occasionally leave an early surprise under the tree. Wrapped in the same paper as the other gifts to and from each other, these gifts from Santa would be labeled in my mom's mixture of script and print. It never caused us any confusion. We realized that Mom was just putting Santa's name there as a way of surprising someone without taking the credit for herself.

'Cause in her house, like mine, the mom does all the shopping. Except in my house, The Mighty Hunter buys my gift from him. But this only began after years of buying my own gifts and wrapping them and putting them under the tree. Disgusted with this unbelievable level of laziness on his part, one year I handed him a catalog marked with post-its and notes about sizes and colors and told him to buy my gift himself. Yes, I had chosen what I wanted. His gift to me was THE EFFORT.

I think I was probably the Most Magical Age of Four. Brother (have you ever noticed how similar the words bother and brother are? I'm just sayin'.) was sleeping in his bunk-bed in his own room. I had gone to bed and sleep early, upon request, without argument or delay.

It was Christmas Eve, after all.

Sometime during the ngiht, I was awakened suddenly. A sound had startled me.

The sounds of hoofs running across our roof.

I jumped out of bed and ran to the living room. There, glowing magically from the lights on the Christmas Tree, were piles of presents. Presents that had not been there when we went to bed. Presents of all shapes and sizes. Presents wrapped in beautiful wrapping paper - different from that Mom had used. And a name was written on each package.

I couldn't tell you whose hand-writing had labeled these gifts. I have no memory of that.

I couldn't tell you what a single one of those gifts were.

But I will tell you until the day I die that I heard reindeer running across our roof that night.

And they were taking off, not landing. 'Cause I didn't even get a glimpse of Santa in the living room!

What about you? What is a favorite Christmas memory of yours? Post it on your blog and come back here and leave a comment. I'd love to read it.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Proud Aunt

Let me introduce you to my beautiful, talented and kind neice, S.
Lucky thinks she's the stuff. (disregard the fact that his AU pappy is upside down. PURE ACCIDENT. It was corrected immediately.)
She and I both enjoy taking pictures. I could definitely learn a lot from her.

Enjoy more of her work....

We need to talk about her photographing evidence of my attention-starved roots.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

On Thanksgiving Thursday, we had a late lunch at my dad's mom's. She is my only living grandparent. My brother's kids and Sissy and Lucky had a great time playing in the leaves. She had managed to rake or mow them in her front yard, but the back yard is full of lots of hard-wood trees. And, well, she's 87, so the back yard was left undone till another day.
Which was just fine and dandy with the kiddos.
The gate and the barn door are permanent fixtures in my memories. My brother and I spent many summer days here with our grandparents. Grandpa could build or weld anything. A natural engineer, he was the area expert for all things automotive and agricultural. The blades and gears on the barn wall were put there by him before he died - in 1993.
It was a great day with the family.
Then at 3am, the phone rang. My dad was at Grandma's house and had called 911. She was having another heart attack. I met him at the local ER, prepared to play the patient advocate/level-headed-thinker/pit bull role I seem to be pretty good at.
Her pain level was obvious, as her hand and body shook uncontrollably. I asked them to give her something for the pain, pointing out that she does not normally have tremors or Parkinson's.
After a quick consultation with the on-call cardiologist (yes, we have one. I was surprised.), we all agreed that transferring her to Trinity in Birmingham for the stints, etc. If the weather had been better, she would have gone by helicopter. My dad and his brother - who arrived as soon as he could - drove to Birmingham behind the ambulance. I returned home and went back to bed for a couple of hours, knowing that I may be needed to take care of bringing clothes or something to her there.
2 stints, 2 hours flat on her back till the catheter could be removed, 6 more hours on her back after that and the weekend in CCU.
Except she moved to a regular room on Sunday afternoon and came home Tuesday.
I stopped by to visit with her and return her purse Tuesday afternoon. She met me at her front door and held it open for me and Lucky.
She is better and improving more each day.
March 18, she will be 88. And this Sunday, my brother, his kids, Sissy, Lucky and I will take care of the rest of the leaves. I can't promise that there will be no jumping in the piles.
But I do promise to be more thankful for Grandma.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

7 Random Things

Super Mom tagged me (months ago, I admit it, but I blame Google Reader. Something happened to my subscription. honest!) for a meme. A 7 Random Things Meme! How perfect! Since I can't seem to accomplish getting the clean clothes from the washer to the dryer and the dryer to the closet!

Random? Can do!

Intentional? Not so much.

SO, brace yourself. Click away now. Get a stiff drink or a big, gooey, under-baked chocolate chip cookie and have a seat. Here comes stuff about me you never knew and (hopefully) would never guess...

1. My OCD manifests through number repititions and songs repeating in my head All. The. Dang. Time. While in high school and college bands, it was quite helpful to be able to hear a tune in my head from beginning to end without effort AND! to be able to count the beats and measures too! I was a decent drum major and managed to bluff my way onto the football field at half-time the 1990 season at Auburn University. (clarinet, thankyouverymuch)

2. I MUST insert two (2) spaces after each period. The only exceptions are in #1 above, "All. The. Dang. Time." I also don't generally place a comma after the last item in a list just before the "and". (It's a style thing. Trust me, I'm a better writer because of it.) (Shut up. It makes me feel good about myself.)

3. I REFUSE to put my purse on the floor of a public bathroom. When I explained this to my friend, Bobbie, she was surprised. It had never occurred to her how many poop and pee germs there are on bathroom floors, and that they actually GET ON YOUR PURSE when you put it down there.

4. I can't stand to have sock fuzz between my toes.

5. I am seriously considering getting something done to the premature (yes, PREMATURE!!!) wrinkles around my eyes. I am that vain.

6. I am allergic to mushrooms. Allergy is probably not the accurate term. I've never been tested for it. But if I eat something with mushrooms in it, I get unbearably nauseous and must go to bed.

7. I am more concerned than I want to be and more competitive than I should be when it comes to Sissy and her activities and grades. It's not enough (though it should be) that she do her best. I want her to actually be the best too. I actually bite my tongue to keep from asking her teacher if she is making the best grades in the class, is she reading at the highest level in her class, why isn't she getting such-and-such award. But I am currently dealing with this since her school tests all 2nd graders for the "gifted program." Of course, I think she is gifted. I was in the gifted program, so she ought to be too, right?. I am preparing myself now for the possibility that, although she is very bright and a great student, she may not test high enough and how will that make ME feel. And why am I making it all about ME anyway?

I'm supposed to tag someone now. I'm not good at this. Most of the blogs I read have already done this meme, so I'll go the lazy route. If you've read this and want to do your own meme, leave a comment with the link to your post!

But, I'd LOVE to read this meme over at Karen's, Elizabeth's and Rachel's. (did you see that? only one comma!)

Santa's got a new ride

Allow me to bore you with the details of my Wednesday.

Jesus, Himself, woke me up at 7:05. It must have been him because I had turned off my alarm in my sleep-deprived sleep. In order to get Sissy to school on time and not have to WALK HER INSIDE MYSELF AND ACT REPENTANT AND ALL AND CHECK HER IN LATE, I must leave the house no later than 7:25. 7:20 or earlier is my goal, in order to not get stuck in the traffic jams that occasionally occur here in metro NE Alabama.

Sissy rushed to get ready, as did I. At the last minute, I quick-changed Lucky's diaper and returned his yummy toes to his pjs before dashing to the garage and off to school.

We were out of the garage by 7:21. sweet

I had planned to take her to school and immediately drive to the mall in Chattanooga, TN, to do some serious Christmas shopping. But since I merely pulled on clothes and ran to the garage, I had to back-track some. So, we returned home to eat breakfast, scold my hair into parting somewhere besides dead-center on my forehead and rubbing makeup onto my prematurely-aging face, we loaded up and made the 45-minute trek to the north and to make a big ol' dent in my list.

I recruited my mom to fetch Sissy from school, so I wouldn't have to return so darned early and allowing me to not be such a panicky rush.

Toys 'R Us and too much money later, I had most of the toys from my list bagged and loaded up.

note to Toys for Tots and USMC: When you choose a Marine to stand at the toy stores to accept donations, keep in mind that they need to be at least as handsome as the one that was in Chattanooga's Toys 'R Us yesterday. (rawrrrrr)

The mall and food court filled our bellies. GameStop disappointed us. JC Penney supplied new shoes for Sissy and Lucky, jeans and khaki pants for Sissy and a clean bathroom to change Lucky out of the diaper that leaked entirely too early, soaking his pants.

Never fear! I was prepared! I had stashed a pair of pants in my diaper bag - not that this happens often or anything.

Club Libby Lu is going out of business, which breaks the hearts of all 5-9 year-old girls nationwide, but thrills the bank accounts of moms and dads like me. I scored some great surprises there.

A dress coat for my dad from Belk's.

A sweater, a knit hat with cool tassels and a great sweatshirt from The Children's Place.

Something from somewhere else.

Linens 'N Things is going out of business, and I scored a Simmons BeautyRest 1" gussetted king size mattress pad for $99. Merry Christmas to my back!

Best Buy had a game and Wii accessory to help Santa out a little.

Target provided the rest of the toy needs plus 2 iPod broadcast-to-your-fm-radio-adapter thingies for gifts, as well as some "cop corn" and "djoooooooooce" for Lucky.

Meanwhile, my mom had taken Sissy to our local McD's for an afterschool snack and to play - for 3 HOURS!!!

So, we made it home to do homework and bathe and collapse in bed and wonder if we will be able to go to WDW in March again.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Hypothetical Reality

So that I might win the uber-fabulous HP Magic prize package (valued at $6k+, no joke,) I'm writing this for you, Casey. Read and be touched by my amazing big-hearted, selflessness and generosity.

(um, yeah. You may also need a barf bag.)

I may not qualify for this prize. I mean, just last week, I won some reusable shopping bags from Simple Mom. It's clear that the Blogging Giveaway Luck Fairy is sitting on my right shoulder and will sway the contest in my direction.

And since my ultimate victory is just a matter of time, I should share with you exactly what I'd do with my HP Magic Prize. (I'd hate to p-off the Blogging Giveaway Luck Fairy by not sharing my amazing good fortune with others.)

**First on my list of whom would receive a share of my HP Prize is my dear friend, Bobbie who has raised her two boys to be brave and honorable men who volunteered for our Army. Lucas is now in Iraq, serving as MP patrol protecting a commander in a very dangerous area of the world. And since Chris graduates this Thursday from his job training and will deploy, probably to Afghanistan, in January, she will be able to spend Christmas with Chris, her youngest. I grew close to Bobbie after she lost her job with our company in August; helping her with her Spanish class, we learned each other's deep secrets that only sisters share. After devoting her life to her handsome boys, she is in school for the first time since high school, preparing to enter the nursing program. Unable to afford rent, she gave up her apartment and moved in with her ailing mother and cares for her.

Because she inspires me with her untiring dedication to her mom and her tear-soaked prayers for her soldiers and go-get-'em courage to enter college at 44, I would give Bobbie her choice of the notebooks and the printer.

**Next on my list will be the school attended by my brother's children. When my sister-in-law began homeschooling the first of their four, I admired her. As the workload of homeschooling outgrew her capabilities, they enrolled in a school that successfully combines the parent-based education system of homeschooling, solid Biblical teachings of a Christian school and the secure and controlled environment of private schools. Tuition barely covers the school's expenses. Parents contribute as teachers, adminitrators, janitors, cooks, security, etc., etc. A local church shares their building in exchange for maintenance and repairs.

Because the school depends on the parents to donate or raise the funds for so much of the equipment and tools, I'd donate the HP TouchSmart IQ816 PC and HP MediaSmart Connect to Providence Classical School in Huntsville, Alabama.

**My BFF from high school will graduate in May with her Special Education degree. She is 38. While raising her two sons alone and working full-time, she has put herself through school. Her intelligence has always amazed me, but her devotion to her older son, as she has learned about psychological and emotional disorders firsthand, touches my heart.

To Tammy, I'd give a notebook and the Kung Fu Panda movie for her boys.

**Since we closed our business, we have felt pangs of regret and guilt, knowing that many of the staff are dealing with unemployment, mortgages and supporting their families, I would choose one of them to help. I'd put their names in a hat and let Sissy don her silky eye mask and choose one to receive the remaining computer.

To that lucky person, I would give an upgrade to their current pc equipment and help them make some cash, selling their old system.

As for The Mighty Hunter, Sissy, Lucky and myself, we have computer equipment that meets our needs. We would certainly have a fun time with such great toys as in this HP Magic Prize pack, but we don't need them. And since none of the people I named above (except maybe Bobbie) read my blog, they would all receive their share of the prize wondering who the crap Casey is and why Moosh is in Indy, never knowing that the Auburn Gal Always is the real winner.

I won when they became part of my life in one way or another.

We got da dance skillz!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Saturday, November 29, 2008


War Eagle!


This blog and the rest of my life is currently on hold until this is over.

win or lose

War Eagle!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Choosing of the Winners - The High-tech Redneck Way

Our lovely assistant
The Paint Can o'Numbers#7
My low-tech way of randomizing the drawing
(and the remains of my glass of oj and an empty oven bag box)

Congratulations to Super B's Mom and Will Blog for Shoes!

For all of you who entered the drawing, if you mention "HIGHTECHREDNECK" in your notes to seller, you can receive 25% off your order for a custom card design from my etsy shop.

Thank you all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I couldn't have imagined writing this 3 months ago

Earlier today, The Mighty Hunter talked to the bankruptcy attorney. A deputy had tried to find him to serve him papers on a lawsuit (or 2 or 6, we don't know exactly how many yet.) He wanted to know how stupid it might be to meet the deputy somewhere away from our home and accept the papers willingly. It wasn't a horrible idea, interestingly, so he will take care of it Friday.

It was strange to handle it so calmly and without the stomach cramps, belching and irritable bowel symptoms.

We discussed the business and his work now. He admitted that he is happier now that the business is closed. He agreed that even if we had not closed August 15, we would not have survived the current economic problems that everyone is facing. He is ok with it all.

I asked a favor of him. Will you please let up on yourself about it all? You should not be "punished" for it.

He promised to try to let go of the guilt. Not that he actually, you know, SAID those words. But that was the point that I made and he heard it. So, good enough, right?

Then I kissed him and told him I love him and squeezed him and jumped up and wrapped my legs around him and was an obnoxious pest while he said, "quit. I don't feel like getting loved right now!!" Luckily for me, Lucky and Sissy came and pitched in on the forced love.

When he is gone those 10 days straight for work, he stays alone in a hotel room. He eats dinner alone, unless a friend from the Insurance Company is in the same area. We talk on the phone several times each day. He misses us, and we miss him.

I am guaranteed kisses from the babies at any time of the day. He has to try to remember them.

I may not get a back rub, but I can rub the back of our babies anytime I want.

I may not get those yummy, sexy kisses that only The Mighty Hunter gives, but I can get sloppy, baby ones or sweet, little girl ones several times a day.

I may not get to find his foot under the covers in my sleep, but Lucky's feet find my face, my belly, my back.

I may not have a minute to myself, but he has more alone time than even he wants.

He may get to eat at most any restaurant he chooses, but I get the (mostly) home-cooked meals he prefers.

I may have laundry baskets of underwear and towels and socks that needed to folded and put away, but he only has to make sure the cleaners use extra starch in his shirts and not his shorts.

Accepting these trade-offs is not easy. But we're making it work. And, eventhough, we don't like some things about his new job, we're thankful for it.

We realize that we are still in God's hands, and we're still thankful for it. It's an amazing feeling to know that, though the world around us spins out of control, we will be fine, because God has his hand on our lives.

Liberating. That's how it feels.

The following is copied from an email I sent to The Mighty Hunter's mentor in the business...

If we hadn’t closed Aug 15, it would have happened in September or October or another day very soon. And had we not closed Aug 15, we would have borrowed Father-in-Law’s money and lost it. And had we not closed Aug 15, Bobbie wouldn’t be in college right now and doing very well at it.

And if those things aren’t reason enough to thank God for intervening, then I need to reevaluate my perspective and faith.

We are learning every day exactly who our REAL friends are – and who isn’t. We are living in dependence on the Lord in a way that we had forgotten. We are not enjoying being away from The Mighty Hunter, but we are SO very thankful that he was able to find good work as quickly as he did. We are praying for everyone associated with C&J, including those who are clearly not our real friends. Because God sent them to C&J, He will provide for them and bless them after C&J. We value the FAMILY that we gained there too - you, Bobbie, Misty – these are relationships that are priceless and we’ll never forget.

So, this Thanksgiving week, we are thankful.

Thankful we are no longer small business owners.

Thankful we are no longer partnered with Napoleon.

Thankful we are dependent on a Major Insurance Company for payroll and benefits and expenses.

Thankful we know we love each other.

Thankful we don't have to worry about what the other is doing 10 days out of 14.

Thankful we know the Lord and are swimming in his blessings.

Thankful we have received good advice and representation during these (legally) trying times.

Thankful we have the support of our family and friends.

Thankful that they tell us everyday.

Thankful that, today, Bobbie spoke to her son serving in Iraq.

Thankful that we can pay our bills and have a little left over.

Thankful that we can help others with what we have left over.

Thankful that we can see the big picture enough to be thankful.

Personally, I'm thankful for this and this. And warm blankets while napping on the couch. And little boy hands that like to touch your neck while he snuggles. And Christmas music. And casseroles with extra cheesse and Ritz crackers.

I'm also thankful for each of you who have stayed with me and my blog and its growth and evolution. I began this as a journal of things about Sissy that I was afraid I'd forget. Now it's entirely too random and self-centered to fit that description. Yet, here I am. 439 posts and counting.

(If you were to subtract the posts that were stupid and a total waste of my time and yours, you'd be left with a whopping total of approximately 1.)

I hope anyone who takes time out of their Thanksgiving day and/or week to read this has the best Thanksgiving EVER. You deserve it simply because you were not completely repulsed by me and my silly words.

Thank you. God bless. Go eat too much. Watch too much football. And nap too long.

Do Thanksgiving Right.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Funeral arrangements, light on the grieving, heavy on the sadness

The Mighty Hunter's maternal grandfather died last night at 1am. Technically, that makes it so that he died this morning, but whatever. In my world, 1am is night-time. And my world includes this blog. So, there.

I am struggling with writing this post with any attitude that would normally be appropriate for mentioning the death of a family member. So, instead of telling you of the wonderful blessing this man was, I'll tell you the truth.

His nickname was Slick, and he preferred it. He was not a very likeable man. The times I was ever in the same room or building sum less than 20. The times I heard him speak to me directly without asking me to do some menial task that he was too dang lazy to do himself are less than 5. The single time he asked about anyone in my family in any manner amazed me to no end. The times friends and family discussed his salvation are endless. The time he came anywhere close to professing said salvation was said in a way that you say things like "I can drive a stick shift just as well as anyone."

Recently, The Mighty Hunter and I were discussing Slick and his life. And, as I so often do, I revealed an Incredible Truth that the entire world had missed seeing, because I have such superior insight into Life and Love and Truth and Chocolate.

"He is, and always has been, his own god."

He is his own god. That may be the saddest thing one can say about another.

A little more than a year ago, an series of events, henceforth called the Hay Dispute, occurred. As a result of the Hay Dispute, The Mighty Hunter and I chose to never see, or speak to, Slick again. He never again saw our children. The "disowning" was not our action or our choice. Slick was responsible for forcing us to take such severe actions. It was not a decision we took lightly and was one that was unfortunate.

He was an abusive man. He neglected his daughters - one of which was The Mighty Hunter's mom, whose funeral he didn't attend. The other was his youngest child, who is mentally disabled. His wife was his slave, taking the abuse that he dished out with a dignity that amazed and bewildered all of us. He killed her spirit and vitality with his words and probably his fists.

He gave our children a box of apples one year. Before the Hay Dispute, he held Lucky and, for just a moment, was almost a loving great-grandfather.

Yet I never heard him say an affectionate word to anyone.

He raised his 5 children and possibly fathered others, but we don't know with any certainty. We do know he supported another woman financially and made no secret about it. But I can't tell you that his 5 children knew he loved them.

If each of us truly have love languages, and if his language of expressing his love was with financial gifts, then maybe he did love them with his meager financial resources. But his love was not equal, as he gave his entire estate to his eldest son and nothing to any other children. His youngest daughter, who will never support herself financially or live alone or find a mate, was not even a passing consideration for him.

We are sad but not for the normal funeral time reasons. We are sad that we do not know where he is now and forever. We are sad that the relationships we had with him were what they were. We are sad that he was not the man he could have been, should have been. We are sad that Carl and his sisters didn't have the father they deserved and needed. We are sad that there is no love lost in our lives today. We are sad that we are not missing a loved one.

And that is very sad indeed.

It is not sad, however, that Grandmother and Carl's sister will not have to serve that mean old creature another day and will never be abused like that again.


And, on a completely different topic, don't forget to enter my giveaway!

And, tell your friends!

For each referral type comment that your friends leave, I'll give you another entry! How's that for sweetening the deal?

Deadline is this Wednesday at Midnight!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

it finally happened

Sissy is 7. Her 8th birthday is in January 2009. I thought we had made it past the time where we were at risk for this kind of thing.

If I believed in karma, I'd say that's what it was.

I was smug.

I have been returned to my proper place of humility and am happy there.

Friday evening, Sissy was sent upstairs to get ready for bed. "Vitamins, brush your teeth, pajamas, potty."

And like many other times, she lingered. And, like those other times, I didn't worry.


She returns to the kitchen, where I'm warming milk for Lucky. She looks me straight in the eye. She is not afraid, embarassed, worried, concerned, upset, sad, mad. She's simply filing a report with me that, somehow, for some reason, she had used my little eyebrow brush and some off her eyebrows had come out.

Of both eyebrows.

In spots.

Pictures, later. I promise.

(She now has new, very strict rules about mommy's makeup, cosmetic tools, etc. "NEVER EVER TOUCH THEM!!!")


Since YOUR kids didn't gap their eyebrows, why not snap a picture of them and let me pop it into a custom Christmas card?

Or better yet. Why not leave a comment here and maybe WIN one of two free designs?!?!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

'Cause I'm certain you'll be able to help

This was my solution to keeping Lucky away from the Christmas tree from last year.

This year, though, he could easily pick up any of those chairs and toss them out of his way as he stalks the pretty lights and very attractive and breakable. (no, they are not child-proof. sue me.)

He will also have no problem in grabbing a strand of lights and yanking them, and the entire tree, over on top of himself. Which will naturally cause those breakable non-child-proof ornaments to shatter and slice open his carotid artery and, more importantly, scratch his pretty face.

So, what do I do?

How do I keep the cutest little Christmas boy out of the Christmas tree, now that he can go anywhere and do anything and climb and pull and yank and tug and grab and shriek and ooh! and aah! and wow! and woooo-hoooo! and get into Much Big Trouble and Danger?

Help me, oh wise and experienced internet expert blogger friends, heroes and Yoda.

p.s. I did not use my wonderful new toy to draw on the photo of the tree fort. I was in the recliner, covered with a fuzzy blanket and my new BFF was waaaaay across the room, feeling completely ignored and useless. Sometimes a girl has to have her priorities. Warm feet are it tonight.

p.p.s. Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What's worse?

You pick. Which is the worse thing that I did tonight?

A. I told a very sweet, but sassy, 7 year-old that she had a pissy attitude.

B. I explained to said 7 year-old what piss is and how one's attitude could be pissy.

I'll leave you with just those two choices. Anymore and you'll call the Lock Mommy Up/Give Mommy A Break Police.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I shall return

Santa's gonna get some serious treats at our house this year.

He's already delivered this.

And I've got to put it away and stop playing and get to bed.

HEY! GO COMMENT SO YOU CAN WIN ONE OF TWO! FREE! CARD! DESIGNS! (comments close midnight November 26.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Getting My Merry On

Y'all. I'm totally in the mood. (And The Mighty Hunter has nothing to do with it! Poor guy!)

Harry Connick, Jr. and Elvis are playing in my iTunes.

Sissy is begging to go ahead and put up the tree, but I will not be influenced to put it up a minute! before the week of Thanksgiving!

I've got my Early List made and am looking for just the right gifts, so I can check-mark everyone's name off.

Hot chocolate has been sipped.

Gooey, underbaked chocolate chip cookies have been made and eaten, and cold milk has accompanied. (No. That's nothing exclusive to Christmas in our house, but I thought I'd reassure you that we are still neck-deep in that yummy addiction.)

I've begun telling Santa what that I'd love to see this under my tree.

I downloaded this today.

This is my ringtone.

After consulting with my favorite bossaholic, I've decided to add this to my camera bag. But I won't object if Santa upgrades me to this one, instead.

The other night, Sissy and I read this, to get in the mood.

But, WHAT WILL I BE SENDING AS OUR CHRISTMAS CARD?!?! Well, when I have my design complete, I'll be sure to share it here first.

To prevent you from being so pre-occupied with what I'm sending, I'll grant a Christmas wish to two of you, my loverly, faithful readers (and anyone who stops by here from a link)...

I will give away one custom card design to TWO readers who leave a comment before midnight, Wednesday, November 26.

Go here to browse my "work".

(One entry per person. Winner will be chosen by some random drawing type method.)

No, get back to your lives and get your merry on!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wordless Wednesday (Christmas card edition)

Order by 11-30-08 and receive 25% off your order (not to be combined with other discounts.)
Mention this post in your Notes to Seller.

other WW participants here.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

cathartic epiphany

Note the lower case-ness of the title. And could I find two more melodramatic words to title a post?

Yesterday, we finished the greatest portion of the bankruptcy paperwork. The attorney was doing his best to get it filed before the end of the day.

It was not an easy day for me. The attorney people were calling every 20 seconds minutues - it seemed, anyway. "Can you clarify this? Can you find this particular page of this report and fax it to me again? Yes, I realize you already provided that to us, but it would be so much easier if you'd just send it again and save me the paper cuts and actual EFFORT of doing it myself. Why, yes, our offices DO seem organized don't they? Was that a joke?"*

And I was sneezing my chocolate-loving head off. And I had taken my claritinD. And it didn't seem to be helping. And all I wanted to do was cry and sleep.

So, after fetching Sissy from school, I instructed her to keep an eye on Lucky, who was taking a late afternoon nap, so that I could shower. And it was so nice to not have to rush through my shower.

And in the shower, it all came out. I wept like a little girl, like someone had died. There was a sob stuck in my throat that I was honestly afraid to let out. Afraid, primarily, that Sissy would think I was dying or a moose was trapped in the bathroom with me. And with that trapped sob was an ache that I've don't remember ever feeling.

To relieve the ache and quiet the sob, I did the only thing I knew to do. I prayed for God to take it. But it wasn't that easy. The aching sob was not something He could just take away. It was something I had to give to Him.

I had to repent. I had to ask Him to forgive my pride and arrogance and independence and just-plain-walking-away-from-Him.

And, there in my shower, I realized that The Mighty Hunter and I had failed. We (particularly I) had begun to take the credit for the business's success. We (particularly I) had stopped acknowledging His provision through it. We (particularly I) had failed to keep Him first in our lives.

And I promised to do better.

And the aching sob left me.

And the hole in my heart was filled, once again, with His love and joy and hope.

And I'm able to go on again.**

*Not an exact quote. Some of it may have been imagined, but nonetheless true.

**Well, I'd be able to go on again if it weren't for the truckload of snot in my head and the raw throat that is sucking the life out of me.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Warm-Fuzzy

It's not a great day in my sad, little world.

I thought it would be different. I thought that the filing of The Mighty Hunter's bankruptcy would bring a catharsis. "New start." "Blank slate." "Fresh beginnings."

Well, it would, I suppose, if it weren't for the rainy-day, dear-Lord-why-is-this-happening?, I-just-want-to-sleep-and-cry-and-eat-macaroni-and-cheese, also-chocolate-chip-cookies, deep depression that is lingering in my heart.

And, were it not for the wonderful kids that follow me around all day, begging for scraps of food and my attention reminding me there are things to do and to get my head out of the sand, I'd probably still be in bed, sleeping and/or crying.

But, instead, I was sitting on the couch crying. Bemoaning the whole situation to my very patient, saintly friend, Beverly. Admitting the depth of my depression and despondency over the bankruptcy and loss made my cry even more. But Beverly was able to point out the incredible blessings I have that no bankruptcy can take away.

And that's when Lucky, the stingiest kisser in the world, climbed up on top of me and gave me 6 big, sloppy, wet kisses.

And a few hugs too.

And jabbered some nonsense profound knowledge to me.

And then he kissed the couch.