Monday, August 23, 2010

Time for Me to Fly

Lauren writes that today was the first FIRST day of school for her, having been homeschooled since birth.  So I thought it was fitting that when I went to check on the chrysalis from Letting Go, I found this:

Last night, it was black chrysalis with orange spots.  Today, it is a butterfly.  
Happy Flying, Lauren!

I am told my friends were gossiping about me.  Okay, maybe it was not gossip but concern.   A mutual friend asked a close friend how I was doing, as we'd not crossed paths lately, and my close friend relayed that I'd had foot surgery, not able to walk around, ride or do horses.  These friends said they could see how difficult that must be for not be able to get dirty.  I see I have a reputation of sorts.

Dh and I were in the barn.  Yes, I can do limited barn chores if I watch out for hooves.  I had preceded dh to the barn and groomed Etta.  When he came up to the barn, I told him I groomed Etta, 
Me:  My plan is to "do" one horse each day.
Dh:  Can I get on that schedule?

William and I accompanied friends to the Kentucky State Fair today.  $5 was well spent to teach William that french fries covered with chili and cheese sauce is gross and will make him feel sick.  Probably the only thing to beat that at the fair is the well advertised Krispy Kreme Donut hamburger.   Nasty.  I can't even imagine combining the sticky sweet glazed donut with a salty hamburger.  Not to mention that it costs $8 to reduce your lifespan by at least a few years, and in a state with a ballooning (literally) obesity rate.

We looked at Anna's and William's art entries.  In the 4H Divisions, Anna won blue ribbons in both senior painting and senior color drawing.  Her painting, Clouds Over July, went on to win class champion and Reserve Champion.  In the general entries arena, her painting of the Erie Canal in Rochester, New York won first place in the student division grades 10-12 (pictured below).  Her painting of Carrollton, Kentucky won an honorable mention in the adult division.  That one we hope will sell to add to her college fund.

William picked out his future car:

We reminisced about dh's family's former dairy farm:

and William climbed the walls:

So many fun and bizarre things to see at the state fair:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

No Punch Back

What I think I will miss the most are the times that drove me crazy.  Around dinner time or just after, the house filled with teenage (and 8 year old) hilarity that escalated until I sometimes escaped to my bedroom.  Sitting in front of the computer, they would distort their images on the screen, laughing at the result or watch You Tube videos.  "Look at this one!"

And now, what?  At the Columbus Center of Science and Industry (COSI), Anna and William suddenly ran at each other and tried to punch.  "BLACK ONE!" they laughed.  It's a game the kids play, allowed to make a light punch when seeing a Volkswagen and declaring its color.  The laughter is still here.  It will be okay.  We hope our sense of humor is being spread on a campus up north.

William getting his groove on with a favorite toy of my childhood in the 1960s section.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I'll Eat You Up, I Love You So

As Lauren accelerated to get on the highway, I told her to take it easy on old (van) Eugene.   "He has a lot of junk in his trunk."

"Oh, mom!"  the girls exclaimed, laughing.  "That's not what that means."

Sure, I explained, I've heard the expression used to explain someone with a large rear, or in this case, a very full one.  Okay, I admitted, it could have an alternate meaning.  We continued to laugh about poor Eugene's bumper riding low, pulling Lauren's belongings to college.  So enjoyable to have older children to laugh with, enjoying the ride of life.

After seeing her belongings safely into her room, meeting her lovely roommate and her family, I took Anna and William off to a zoo, giving Lauren some space to adjust to her new surroundings.

Not all of the animals behaved, some spitting at small children!

Some were nicer and allowed rides.

We returned to to the college for one last picnic, one last farewell...

...transplanting her in a beautiful place to grow.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My First Day at Work

Dh attended training at work about motivation in the workplace.  He learned about Generation X and the Millennials.    I was amused to hear the story of the mom who called for a new hire to negotiate her child's salary and of a parent that accompanied her child on his/her first day of work.

That reminded me of my first day at work post-college many years ago.  I had arrived at the factory bright and early, at the appointed time.  I parked by the main entrance and in front of, I was later to learn, the window of the man who would be my boss.  He was watching out this window as another man approached me outside and introduced himself as the plant manager.  As I remember it, the plant manager was friendly, but not overly so, and put his hand on my shoulder, guiding me to the front door and offering to show me where to go.  I felt welcomed to be so kindly treated by the top man at the place on my first day.

After introducing me, he left me at the office of my new boss who was chuckling as the top dog left.  He explained that when he saw me with Top Dog out the window, he assumed it was perhaps a tryst set up by Top Dog, not his new hire.  I should probably have gotten up and left right then, as it was a clue to the nature of the environment I was entering.  I was to spend the next five years in that male dominated, chauvinist and dirty factory.   I made good money, learned a lot, and met dh there - so it wasn't all bad.

The factory now sits empty, victim to the high cost of an ancient and unionized plant.  Toothpaste was sent to Mexico and liquids to Ohio.   My department, powders was outsourced as well.  The buildings, once a jail in the late 1800s, are for sale once again.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Going Soft

Dh (holding my hand):  "Your hands feels so soft!"  (Pause.)  "Oh, that is because you've not been doing any horse chores."

Note to self:  Do not put the dog food on "High" in the crockpot on the front porch at dinnertime and expect yourself to remember to turn it off before you go to bed.

Photo credit:  Lauren, 8/16/10

Monday, August 16, 2010

Letting Go

To fulfill its destiny, a caterpillar must let go of all it has been and all it has done.  It must make a leap of faith and cocoon itself in an environment that will allow this transformation.  With time and only then, can the butterfly emerge, bringing beauty to the world.

This week will bring great changes for us.  I have completed my mission with one child, and I am happy for her.  She has found the absolute best college and environment we could have found for her.  She is more mature and stable than most adults I know.  I am proud of all she is and does.  There is loss for those of us left behind but we remind ourselves that we have not lost, rather we're sharing the beauty she is inside and out with the world.

College selection is like many life events.  The selection is a lot like, from a parental point of view, finding a mate for your child.  None of them seem good enough or deserving of her.  Some are too distant, too small, too large, not good looking enough, not prestigious enough.  The choices narrow.  From the student's point of view it is a lot like buying a first home.  Do I like the neighborhood?  Do I feel at home?  Are the neighbors friendly?  Can I afford to live here?

As we moved on in the selection, it became apparent that one college alone filled all of our requirements.  Now, only days remain.  We have shopped, we have packed, we have sorted.  Truly, I don't remember, and neither does dh, packing and packing to move to college.  I remember bringing my clothes, my toiletries, a few notebooks and my bedding, right off my bed from home.   We have webcams and cameras and Facebook to keep in touch.  A computer and iPod keep us in tune.  We are trying to pack her written music but as she goes through it, she sits down at the piano and remembers a song she once played.  I think this may take awhile.

Some warn me of the dangers of college life, of student drinking and suicides, of immorality and peer pressure.  (I'm not sure why.  It reminds me of when I was pregnant and people would tell you delivery horror stories.)  You would have to be dead to not be aware of the possibilities.  Yet, I cannot keep her in the chrysalis.  The Bible is full of references to leaving, of going forth, leaving one's father and mother, going out to spread the Word.  Life is full of risk, if you are truly living.

Why must we experience such loss?  Why must we let go and feel such pain?  Once, after the loss of two much wanted pregnancies, a friend consoled me:  No one can really understand God or His ways, but perhaps through our loss, I can understand how very difficult it must have been for Him to allow the sacrifice of His only Son.  Perhaps, only through my loss can I be fully empathetic to others who have lost someone, how it must feel to let go.

Friends ask how I'll do.  I remind myself that it is just a few months - she'll be back for  Thanksgiving and we will be in contact with today's modern technology.  I hold my feelings in check, my happiness for her outweighs the loss of mine.

The best I can tell you how it feels is that it is a bit like the caterpillar.  I must die a little to fulfill my destiny as well.  I have put all I am and all I do into producing this offspring.  Now is the time for judgement, and if I've done well, she'll fly away.

Photo credit:  Lauren, 8/16/10, our front fence

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Here's to Us

Next month, dh and I will celebrate our 21st Anniversary.  I have put aside the $100 that I earned as my first true earnings as a writer.  Google Ads, after six years, finally counted enough clicks on ads to send me a check.  I knew that I needed to earmark it, or it will be lost in a sea of plumbing problems and car repairs.

"Have you thought about where you'd like to go for dinner?" I asked.  "Or, shall we not spend it all on one meal, but say spend $50 on the meal, and $50 doing something else?"

"OH NO," dh replied.  He wanted just a very memorable meal?   He laughed.  "On second thought, we could spend $14 on the meal, and then go bowling."  That would be a lot of bowling.   I'm hoping he jests.  He knows I would win.

Lauren found this dead hummingbird today.  Dh said, "You always find the coolest things."  She's very observant, my girl.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Random Thoughts

Why don't they make Febreeze for dogs?   Instead of washing the stinky beasts, we could just spray them down with Febreeze?  Maybe they do and I missed the memo?

One good point for Facebook:  You know when your teens are awake.  They seem to post there before emerging from their cocoons.  "Oh, she's awake - 16 mins ago."  No longer do you have to go to the room, put a mirror under their noses to see if they breathe still.  Kind of like the next step in remote control.

William:  Lauren, quit telling me what to do.
Lauren:  I'll quit telling you what to do if you quit farting.
William:  (long pause) Okay, I'll keep farting.

How can you cover the floor with pee pads for little rat dogs, and somehow, they still miss the mark?

I have a cold and sore throat.  Why do they call them "colds" when I'm hot?  I am not cold.  I am sick.

When both cars available to me die at the same time, it's a sign from God to stay home.  Eugene is now sporting shiny new brakes and brake cylinders and we are having mac and cheese for dinner.  Dh, well, stay out of his way today.  You know how projects go?  He needed to replace the battery.  Simple job, yes?  Not if the bracket that connects the cable breaks.    Motto:  Nothing is ever simple.

I went from 0 to 100 too fast yesterday and could not sleep for the pain in my foot.  But could not take my pain killer because I'd tried whiskey (to no avail) to try to fix my sore throat.  I tried cough drops, and finally found only ice works, on the throat and on the foot.  After I clean house, I'm going to go horizontal.

Friday, August 13, 2010

There's Your Sign

Based on the crashing sound I heard in the bathroom the other day, I have a message for the housekeeping challenged:  If you normally are not good at getting the soap scum off of the shower door, but use a new product that does, you might want to either leave the shower door open or put up some sort of sign or window clingy.  Otherwise, your husband might run into it like a bird into a window.

A very large flock of turkeys, a few adults and a lot of babies, just crossed our pasture in the morning hours.  They were headed back to our creek.  Who needs a science textbook when we have animals studies coming to us?

The bandages are off my foot.  Do you know what a foot looks like that's been bandaged for six weeks?  You don't want to know.  It looks better now after a good deal of scrubbing.  I suffered a bit of depressive spirit, however, when I realized how far I still have to go before the foot is fully functional.  I'm still going to be walking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


"Oops," I said, turning off the mustache trimmer I was using to trim around dh's ears.
"What did you do?" he asked anxiously.
"Well, it's only a tiny spot missing hair.  That's why I don't like cutting hair.  I wasn't trained to cut hair and I'm afraid of making a mistake, and ruining your hair and you getting mad...."
"But, You've never done THAT before," he countered.  Dh angled his head in the mirror, trying to see over the back of one ear.

"If you wear your sunglasses, no one will even see it," I offered.
"Gee, thanks.  That will look really cool inside at work."  
Really, it was a small spot.  

Not like the little baby that came in to the volunteer shop with a lawn mower patch across the front of his hairline.  Lacking a stitches or anything, obviously, his sibling had been at work.  

Well, we all have to make sacrifices as we pull in our belts and budget for having two children in college.  Home hair cuts will have to be the norm and I'll have to get better at it.

We  have been looking at older movies to find some that we can enjoy as a family.  Last night we watched Mr. Holland's Opus, chosen particularly because it was about relationships, music and a music teacher, right up Lauren's alley.  Everyone even stayed awake to the end.  What a great movie!  (Note:  It does have the word @sshole and GD in it once or twice, but frankly, he was one and deserved the swear word.  He improves later.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vote for Olivia

People who don't know my name sometimes know my "pen name" of Junosmom.  Juno was our beloved Great Dane, a fawn beauty that we miss to this day. I loved her so much, and not wanting to give out info on my human children, I incorporated her name into my screen name. 

Given Juno's great size, dog training sessions were in order, and there I met PITAwoman and Smokey, many moons ago.  Juno and Smokey hit it off wonderfully, likely thinking "finally, someone my size that can really play".  Though Juno and Smokey are now wrestling and playing in heaven, PITAwoman and I have kept in contact through email and blogs, and I get my Great Dane fix by following the lives of her three dogs.  

When Olivia was born, it became apparent that she was deaf and partially blind.  She would likely have been euthanized, as breeders cannot place such a puppy.  With a soft heart, PITA researched special needs puppies.  But this was such a LARGE special needs dog.  Could she do it?  How would she train her?  

Fast forward to today, Olivia is a certified pet therapy dog.  She regularly accompanies PITA at walks, including charity fundraisers.  She is a beautiful ambassador for those that succeed despite life's challenges.  She occasionally suffers from seizures and must wear goggles to protect her sensitive eyes in bright sunlight, but she loves her human and has a great quality of life.  

Olivia has been entered in a contest that would raise money for a charity.  Help her continue her fundraising efforts by voting for her on A Dog's Purpose.

I will have to change my pen name now that the movie, Juno, has come out.  One acquaintance mentioned that her family had a discussion about which of my two daughters might be "Juno".  Uh, no.  It was a dog.  

When Juno died, it was a very sad day for us.   She was so very big, we had her euthanized at home.  I covered her with a blanket, and later that night, Dh fired up the tractor and we loaded her onto the bucket and carried her to the back tree line where dh had prepared a grave.  He gently placed her there and began using the tractor to cover her as we both wiped tears away.  I stood holding 18 month old William.   Dh ran the tractor over the grave several times, patting it down.  William, for many years after, would recall the time that "Daddy ran over Juno".  

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fun at Work

"Is there anything else we can shred?" the boys asked.  Did you ever wonder if technology might sometimes take away tactile satisfaction?  With a small kitchen of limited counter space, I don't have nor want a big food processor.  Instead, I have an old fashioned hand-crank Mouli-Julienne grater.  I pulled it out yesterday to make zucchini bars, and although they shredded enough for my recipe, the boys kept shredding. 

Perhaps we are becoming an obese nation because we can in less than a minute shred a gallon of zucchini and return to the TV and couch.  Perhaps a bit of manual shredding is in order.  

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Hello, Ladies...

"I had a bad dream," dh said this morning.  "I dreamed you left me..."
I interrupted. "I would never leave you..."
"...for the Old Spice man," he finished.
"Oh, well, maybe for the Old Spice Man, but not for any other reason," I qualified.  "Unless, well, unless you decide to "do" some woman in a white mini-skirt in a restaurant booth and get all the sordid details published like soft porn in the papers.  I might leave you over that."

"It was immoral, it was unethical, but not illegal.  He's perfectly set up to run for Congress," dh countered.

I was surprised that several of the women at dinner last night had not seen the Old Spice commercials.  I post one of them here, in case some of you may have been deprived of the pleasure. As for me, my man is, as I write, "on a horse", so take that, Old Spice Man.

A friend asks how the hickory horned devil emerges as the walnut regal moth?  Not a change of diet, as these moths do not even have mouth parts.  The caterpillar doesn't eat just hickory leaves.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Another Overheard Conversation

Lauren on what is a hiccup:

"It's when your diaphragm gets tickled and then it jiggles!"

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Dh:   I wonder how they make this bag.  (He crumples it;  it is very noisy.)
Lauren:  It's compostable.
(Insert discussion about the fact that it can be industrially composted and what the bag is made of.)
Anna:  It's probably made of elephant poo but they won't want to tell you that on the bag.
Learn more about Sun Chip bags.

Me:  William, do you like your dinner?
Dh:  Does a vacuum like dust?

Playing Scrabble Slam, which is very good for William in that the purpose of the game is to change four letter words into new four letter words by changing one letter.  Downside is that without really meaning to go in that direction, you can very quickly cause a mother to lie and claim that "F" can't be used to change the word "duck" into a word that exists in the English language.  Okay, we saw the train wreck coming but it was there before we could prevent it.

Speaking of, the word reminds me of the time my mother, living amongst only adults for years in Texas, came to visit.  She had seen a darling  movie with a wonderful plot about a boy with the dream to become a ballet dancer in an environment that did not nurture it.  The movie was Billy Elliot.  My girls, in tender elementary school years, sat down with mom and me to watch. I began to realize that the Scottish pronunciation of the above word was sprinkled liberally throughout the movie, though not sounding at all like the American word, but with a short "O" sound.

"Mom,"  the girls asked, "what does that word mean?"  My mom, in her defense, was zoned into the story line and not used to being around children for years, had mentally dismissed that the movie had swear words.  I now research all movies myself online!

Ever the optimist, I tried to grill meat again last night.  Dh arrived home in the nick of time to save me from disaster.

It is beyond hot here.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hickory Horned Devil

Bless my soul, when Lauren called and excitedly asked when I'd be home...she had something to show me...I asked if it had come in the mail.  Money, it thought!  Another scholarship!  When I got home, I got a greater gift.  It was not money, it was this:

Nearly filling the length of a Ball Jar, Lauren held up at five inch caterpillar.  She had already researched it and found it to be a Hickory Horned Devil, destined to become a Regal Moth.  "Science project!" I said.  But no, it must bury itself in the ground to undergo metamorphosis.

Gift, you may ask?  This five inch worm is a confirmation of all that I've worked for in the past nineteen years. My daughter, working a horse, looked down and found something interesting and that she did not know about.  She took it as a sample, researched it, and let it go.  But before letting it go, she taught others.

It wasn't poisonous, not something to fear, but to learn about.

Learning and growing for the pure joy of learning and sharing with others.  Isn't that what education is all about?  So I've done my job:  she's learned the lesson.  She's now a high school graduate but will learn forever.

My friend, Christine, called on her cell phone in my driveway to come out and see the baby turtle she'd found.  The baby turned out to be a snapping turtle, and though tiny, already looked vicious.

What we didn't have for dinner last night.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Despicable You

"You know what I think about first every time I see you?" he asked.  "I think about that time we all were in San Francisco and you spilled your red wine on the brand new white carpet of the host."

Half way through the sentence I knew where he was headed and humiliation washed over me.  It wasn't one of my finer moments.  It was my first glass of wine, I swear.  The host's small yappy dog kept jumping on me, and in the way some people can be, the owners did nothing.  I'm not sure what happened next, except that it involved the dog and the hostess running for some special cleaning agent for the new carpet.

And it was so very kind of him to remind me of it, especially since we see this friend only once or twice a year.  But every time now, I'll know that what he is thinking.  Not how nice to see us, not how are our children, no, but how I embarrassed myself and my husband at a business cocktail party.  I'm sure I can't wait to get together again.

My revenge was knowing that he had arrived at his surprise birthday party after a movie and 18 holes of golf, sweaty and looking forward to a shower and nap.  Rather, he had to quickly change and entertain his full house, complete with out of town relatives.  This was the second large surprise birthday party I have attended for a man, both of whom made it clear that they would have preferred a quiet night at home.  I've already promised dh to refrain from such surprises. 

What about you?  Do you like surprises?

Speaking of surprises:
Whitney, a Japanese Chin dog, cannot make it through the night without watering our floor and leaving "presents", even if contained in a dog crate.  We put down potty pads, which she seems unable to hit.  (Perhaps I should draw a target on them?)

In desperation, we put baby gates at each entrance to the kitchen.  The next morning, she was out in the main room.  We put chairs next to the gates the next night.  She climbed over.  Dh rigged a shelf on one to deter her, she climbed the other.  I imagine this escalating to Wiley Coyote proportions before it is all over. 


Despicable Me
The adult skeptic in me finds it more likely that the villain-turned-lovable-daddy was more likely to be a pedophile than have an inner soft heart.  That sort of ruined it for me.  That and the lack of a plot.

I think it is a ploy to sell the little yellow people toys.

Monday, August 02, 2010


Two more weeks until I can drive again.   Don't get me wrong, I don't miss driving.  I miss the independence, the "get out of my way, I'll do it" ability I used to have.  It is amazing the number of times I have to pull back and realize I can't do something because I can't drive.  Yet the reliance on others has been a good thing, and I have been well taken care of.

Story from piano camp:
She smiled and said she had BOTH feet done ten days ago! "And I have had no pain!" she said, and pointing to her two surgical shoes.  She waltzed around like a ballet dancer.  Me, I'd been hobbling around for two weeks at that point.

The next day, she sailed in, smiling and wearing earth sandals, pulling them off to show me her incisions.  I could not but help wonder if I'd picked the wrong surgeon.  I was still surviving on hydrocodone, and I'm no wimp to pain, having used natural childbirth three times.  She handed me a card with the name of her doctor.

Later that week, William, my niece and I were caught in a sudden downpour while walking across the college campus.  Crooked sidewalks caused the water to puddle, completely drenching my bandages.  On the way home, I had to stop to get re-wrapped and the surgeon looked in.  'WHAT," he asked, "did you do to your foot?"  I explained it was nothing, but while he was there, could he explain why my recovery was six weeks and her's was one.  "If you knew what I've done to your foot," he said, "you'd understand."

Bunions since at least age ten, I guess all the tendons and muscles have grown to accommodate the deformity.  To save graphic detail, he basically took it all apart and put it back together again.  My goal is to be a feisty old lady someday, and I need to keep up my infrastructure.  Unfortunately, I'll have to do the other foot, but excuse me if I wait a year or two.

We've let the very back of our property near the creek go wild.   This is, in part, because we don't often go back there during the heat, but also to combat erosion from all the construction on land around us, causing a lot of run off water.  The wild life seems to like it.   Saturday, I sat with a friend on my back porch talking.  A large, but skinny fox ran right past us, through what should be the garden, and back to the woods, chased by Daisy the dog.  Daisy gave up the chase quickly.  Not minutes later, dh killed the lawn mower motor and sat pointing out a large buck and his doe standing back along the tree line.  Yesterday, a doe walked along our drive to the woods in the back.  You'd think living here, I'd be used to it, but each time, we are awed.

Dinner last night:  Chicken Salad Sandwiches


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