Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Earning a set of angels wings...

My religious beliefs are as varied as the day is long.  Wow, that sentence makes me sound old, but it's pretty much the truth.  I try to keep those thoughts and beliefs to myself 99.9% of the time with the exception of letting you know that I may not believe what you do and you should therefore, respect that fact and not try to push your beliefs on me. 

This is not a post about religion.  I swear it's not. 

I am going to let you in on a little known fact about me and religion though.  I believe that when a person dies they go to heaven.  They sit amongst the clouds with their perfect sparkling bodies and converse with each other in endless conversations (only I would think that heaven is talking all. the. time!).  The are no longer in pain nor are they sad.  It's a constant state of contentment, happiness and joy in a place surrounded by loved ones from their earthbound lives as well as new loved ones. 

I believe in this because I have to believe in this. 

Especially now. 

Especially when a 3 -year old boy is taken from a community that loved and cherished every ounce of his little body.  When a small child who spent every day of his life on Earth fighting to live and breathe is called up to that place in the sky to receive his angel wings and his glittery dusting of sparkles. 

I have to believe that this little boy has a magical place to settle into because his parents are grieving.  This town is grieving.  A child is gone, too soon.  Way too soon. 

And we are once again in mourning. 

Please take the time to say a prayer or make a donation to your favorite charity today in the name of children everywhere who are dying long before their time.  And in the name of the parents who must stay on this Earth and mourn the loss of a child. 

My Girl Scout troop will continue their collection of aluminum pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House Charities in the name of this amazing 3-year old and his family in the hopes that other families in similar situations can benefit from their kindness. 

May you Rest in Peace, little man. 

And please feel free to converse with Geri.  She has great stories to tell. 

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…until you drown.

My blog has been my safe place.  A semi-anonymous place for me to dump my thoughts and feelings and such so that I can get through the day to day of life.  The place where I can document the lives of me and my husband and children so that someday, when I die, I will have left a legacy of who I am.  A place where I am me, totally, unapologetically me, even if a bit guarded.  A place where I feel accepted by the people that read my words.  Because no one has had a problem with what I’ve written…or at least they haven’t brought it into real life conversations and that is okay with me.

I use a website to track visitor ISP addresses so that I know where you are from.  I pay attention to who follows and reads me so that I am sure to return the favor and try out your blog as well.  I spend a lot of time on my blog even if I don’t write every day.  I have drafts saved on my dashboard and in Windows Live Writer.  I have ideas in Word documents on both my work computer and my home computer. 

The point?  I love my blog. 

Or at least I did.  Now, I am scared of what I put out here.  I am scared to write my words and feelings and let you all in.  I am scared to allow you to look into my life, to see my kids, to be privy to thoughts that I wouldn’t say to your face.

Because now I feel like my blog has been violated. 

I have a reader that doesn’t deserve the pass to be here.  Someone that I have never wanted to have the chance to meet my amazing family, let alone see pictures of my kids and know my inner most thoughts and feelings.  Someone who causes so much turmoil inside of me that it’s hard to hold a single conversation without anger or tears.

Someone who makes me want to close my blog, my MySpace, and my FaceBook.  Someone who makes me want to never touch technology again.  Someone who after 18 years, read my words and interpreted them in a way that suited him and not in the way they were meant. 

But your blog is PUBLIC!  Didn’t you ever think this would happen?

Yes, I did.  More and more of my family has found or been told about my blog.  Word has spread and I understood that.  I knew that.  I knew this could happen. 

But knowing and dealing are two different things.  Very different.  Knowing that somebody might be reading my blog is different that knowing they do in fact read it.  And that they are therefore privy to things that they otherwise would not be. 

I know, I know.  I am rambling.  But here’s the gist of this post.  I don’t know how to deal with this person being privy to my thoughts.  My immediate response what to shut down the blog all together.  After careful consideration and more tears than you can imagine, my decision is…

…I don’t know.  There is no decision. 

And this is where I leave you hanging in wonder until I come to terms with my situation and the people who read my extremely PUBLIC blog. 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

MIA means Meditating in Aqua.

Wanna know why I haven't posted a blog in a few days? Yeah? This is why...

It is fricking amazing here! See all that blue sky? 10 am and over 70 degrees outside...Spring has finally found the state of South Dakota (my letter to Mother Nature must have garnered some attention) and I am in full Spring Fever mode. Take me to the doctor...in fact, make me walk on my own because it is just too nice to be crammed inside today (and yesterday, too!).

And, as if you couldn't tell, I am adoring this blue sky beautifulness...

I just wish my skylight were clean!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Caring waters flowing deep...

I am sure there are many different types of mothers. 

I fall into the category of the emotional mother.  The mother whose love shows outwardly in the tears she sheds during the moments that others could hold themselves together.  The mother who feels every one of her child's pains (mental and physical) as if they were her own.  The mother who knows instinctively the topic on the minds of her children without really knowing the details.  I am the mother in the parking lot that gets out of the minivan and is sure to give kisses and "good day" wishes to each kid every single morning without fail.

I am that mother.

I am also the fiercely protective mother who will come to the aid of my children when they are wronged, make sure they are getting the protection and education that they need.  The mother that is in close contact with the school teachers and counselors to make sure that my kids aren't slipping through the cracks.  The mother that expects to get my money's worth.  The mother whose children are protected without being sheltered.  Who knows about the bad things in the world from first hand experience and refuses to allow her own children that pain and suffering. 

Yes, I am that mother too. 

My love for my children shines brightly when the tears start to flow or the claws come out.  I have accepted that to be the way I operate.  Even when I am walking through the school building with tears running down my face or yelling into the phone as I stalk the grocery store aisles, I have accepted that to be my way to deal.  Embarrassing?  A little.  Do I care?  Not so much.  Because my kids are my life, my heart and my soul and that is just my love shining through all of the gloom and doom of a rainy Friday morning. 

Cryptic post?  Yeah, sorry about that.  Let's just say that treading new parenting ground isn't always easy.  In fact, it is rarely easy.  But we all make it through those unknowns because that is what we as parents do.  We keep walking ahead with our heads held high and hope that whatever we did, whatever we taught our kids, whatever example we set along the way was the best that we could do.  It may not have always been right, but we tried. 

And that is what matters.  On this one, I tried and then I cried.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Eggs only a son could love…

It’s Monday!  I don’t know if that sentence deserves an exclamation mark as I spent most of my time at work trying to put together a game table for a charity auction…and it’s still not done!  Ugh!

I opened up the fridge when I walked in the door today to find myself a little snack and the same thing happened today that did yesterday and the day before and the day before.  Eggs came rolling out around my feet in a torrential down pour of protein goodness.  Or badness, rather, because I am sick of eggs.  Read that again.  Sick. Of. Eggs.  Surely you can relate. 

For this year’s Easter Feast, I was charged with bringing (of all possible things) deviled eggs.  Easy enough since I hosted the egg dyeing extravaganza at my house, right?  I would surely have enough eggs.

One catch. 

I have never before made deviled eggs.  It’s just one of those things that my mom does so well that if I were ever to want such a thing, I would just call her up and ask her to make it (like potato salad, banana bread and overnight rolls).  But surely, I have watched enough times to be able to figure it out.  How hard could it be?

More difficult than you think.  *sigh*

To start with, did you know that sometimes eggs can be a bugger to peel smoothly?  No.  Well, they can.  A hint from my momma…buy the eggs a week in advance of the time you are going to boil them.  Older eggs peel easier than fresh ones.  See?  Here are my freshly peeled eggs.

Eggs only a mother could love

Yes.  They are dreadful. 

I gave it two trial runs before attempting the real thing.  The verdicts were not so good, although I liked them all (I must have been craving eggs which is quite unusual for me seeing as how I almost never eat eggs-ask friends that I have camped with, I am a difficult one to feed).  Teensy didn’t like the first ones, Hubby thought the second ones had too much mustard and Bubba adored the third ones immensely!

Tasting my deviled eggs

All in all, I made it.  I made the deviled eggs, a relish tray filled with cauliflower, carrots, olives, pickles and ranch dip and my signature pinwheels that everyone loves so very much.  I fulfilled my end of the feast bargain and lived to tell about it another year…and no one died of food poisoning so I would call that a win.  Coming from my kitchen, that is a win. 

Even after I deviled 27 eggs for dinner, we ended up with ones from the hunt.  Eggs have been spilling out of my fridge for days and I am ready for them to stop.  But how do I get rid of hard-boiled eggs?  I had to do some research to figure that out and came up with some super simple ideas to share with you.

So without further ado, to Make this Monday Manageable (as well as, that Easter egg stash in your fridge) here are some ideas for you.

Tired of chocolate?  Try out these cookies for the kids lunches this week.  They’ll use up some of those hard-boiled eggs!

Hard Cooked Egg Cookies

Zest of 1 lemon + 1/2 tsp lemon extract
10 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter
4 hard cooked/boiled eggs, peeled
1 egg
3 cups flour
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cream together lemon zest, lemon extract, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor. Add in hard boiled eggs and process until fully incorporated. Mix in egg. Add flour and pulse until dough just comes together.

At this point you can chill the dough for a bit if your kitchen is very hot, otherwise roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/4 inch thick and cut into rounds with a 2 inch cookie or biscuit cutter. Dip the cut cookies into the egg white then dredge in the sugar. Arrange on baking sheet - cookies will not spread - and bake until just beginning to brown at the edges, about 12 minutes.

Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 4 dozen.

How about some potato salad to go with those steaks that you are dying to throw on the grill (since it is Spring and nice enough to finally cook outdoors)?  Try this.

Picnic Potato Salad

  • 3 pounds potatoes, cooked until just tender, cubed, cooled
  • 5 or 6 hard cooked eggs, cooled, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped celery, optional
  • thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumber, for garnish, optional
  • .
  • Dressing:
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (a little more or less, as desired)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine potatoes, egg, onions, and celery. Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. (Stir the mayonnaise and mustard in a little at a time, until you have the flavor and consistency you like.)
Top with thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumber, if desired.
Serves 6 to 8.

I can hear you now.  “But what about the egg shells?”  I have just the answers for you.  Try one of these ideas…

    • You can use them to clean things like vases which are hard to clean inside. Crush them up, add them to the vase with hot soapy water and swish it around.
    • Clean and rinse saved eggshells and let them dry.  Crush up shells into little pieces. You can do this by putting them into a plastic baggie and gently pound them - the kids love doing this! Have the children put glue onto the poster board anywhere they want to. Give them the eggshells to sprinkle over the glue. Have them make patterns or designs. After the glue is dry, you can also have the children paint over the eggshells.
    • Crush up the eggshells and place them in outdoor potted plants or the garden to add calcium and keep away snails and slugs.

All in all, I guess there are a lot of ways you can get rid of those eggs (throwing them at unsuspecting husbands is another good way).  Have fun using up all of your Easter remnants on this Monday.  I will sure be using my tips to make it more manageable for me today!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hopping ‘long the bunny trail…

Happy Easter!

Hands in

 Hidden Egg

Family Portrait

From my family to yours.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Rotten eggs for Easter…

Today's Cartoon

Dear Easter Bunny,
Please leave me a basket on my front porch in the god-awful early hours of the morning, just like you have for the past several years.  Oh, you cant?  Your helper is no longer around?  Oh.  Well, then…could we just skip this holiday?  No.  Oh.  Umm, I guess I will just have to make the best of it then.  Thanks.
Not sure I believe any longer, J…


Tonight we did something new.  We dyed Easter eggs.  How is that new?  Well, it wasn’t just Hubby and the kids and I this year.  Hubby’s entire family came over.  Okay, not all of them.  A sister and her daughter, a nephew and his wife and two boys, another sister and her daughter, dad and his girlfriend

You should probably know that we don’t usually have family get togethers at our house.  The kids birthdays are usually here.  I had hosted a Christmas for my whole family once.  I threw a large party for some friends one time, too.  But other than that, we don’t have many people over.  Our house is just not set up for it.  Plus, it always puts me a bit on edge to be considered the hostess of the event.  I don’t like to be responsible for everyone’s comfort and happiness.  I would rather just be a guest.

Things have been different lately, though.  Since the house is no longer available for us to have our holiday get togethers in (Dad sold it to one of his sons when he moved in with his girlfriend and it is being remodeled), we have had to find other places to enjoy the traditional gatherings.  This year Easter will be held in a mobile home.  The guest list will consist of approx. 30 people.  Yep.  Fun times.  Instead of making the sister clean her house twice and because I didn’t feel like going out of my own house, I decided to do the egg dyeing here. 

The two sisters brought pizzas for dinner.  Hubby came home with some pop and ice for the iced tea.  Then Dad walked through the door with “the replacement” (*sigh*).  Next came the neighbor kid.  Then the nephew with his family.  Next thing I know, I have 7 kids and 8 adults hanging out in my kitchen.  It was a little overwhelming to say the least. 

The saving grace of the evening was Little Aid.  He’s probably 3 and has never dyed eggs before.  I am not a big fan of the egg dying process but watching that little boy light up with glee every time the white eggs turned colors made my heart leap with joy.  It’s a good thing that pictures got taken of the process because I was so entranced in the innocence of this one little child that I forgot to help everyone else.  His smile helped me survive an evening that may have otherwise trampled me down. 

The point of this post?  There isn’t one.  I’m just rambling and realizing in the process that the little things (like a child’s smile) can help to erase the badness of one’s day and the overwhelming feelings that come along with “the replacement” setting foot in my house unannounced to take part in our family time. 

I wasn’t ready to take part in holidays without our Matriarch and I am sure as hell not ready for someone to step into her shoes at said holiday gatherings. 

I lived through tonight.  Easter is still a mystery.  I’ll let you know how it goes. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

For think where it should come from…

I know. 
You are sitting there with bated breath.
Did the class turn me into
a writing genius?
My answer is a resounding…

Just kidding.  It did help.  It opened up my eyes to a world of new possibilities…and two new books that have been added to my Borders shopping list!  I loved it.  I really did.  (Beware, dear hubby, for I may feel as though a 3 class community education course isn’t quite enough, and thusly research other forms of writing education.  I’ll keep it cheap.  I promise.  Well, I hope.) 

I came full circle last night, starting out in a fit of panicky shaking and ending the night with the fear of the unknown places this new writing class could take me.  But, ya know, I am ready.  Willing.  Able to see this thing through and let out the writer that I am sure hides within the confines of my human form. 

We were given an assignment last night to start a piece of writing (in any form) with these words…”For think if you should lose her”. 

Everyone became quiet as we settled in to let the beautiful muses take hold of our hands.  Pens flew across the varied papers, some fast, some slow, but all flying gracefully none-the-less.  The words seemed to be absorbed from the universe in a sort of wonky osmosis kind of way and transform themselves into food on the paper itself.  It was an eerie process, this energy that flowed from the air through my body and out of my fingers.  I can only wonder if everyone felt the same sensations that I did.

It didn’t take long for we were all told when to begin and the ending just…well, it just came.  No one said “stop”, no one called time.  The words flowed out and when they were done, they were done, and there was suddenly, as if by magic, words where there previously were none.  Sentences, periods, commas…it was all there in blue ink, on white paper.  It really just…happened.  I cannot explain it further. 

When I laid down my pen, when the words stopped their flow, I read what I had wrote and just didn’t understand.  It didn’t make sense.  When I was told the starting words, I sat a moment to let them sink in and then thought about my daughter.  I thought that I was writing about my daughter.  But when I read those words, they just didn’t coincide with my thoughts.  They weren’t about my daughter at all.  But then, what could they be. 

I settled with not knowing.  For that is what the energies told me to write and who am I to go against the cosmic declarations?

It was only later that a truth was laid upon my desk.  Brought to me by a classmate and wrapped in a bundle of understanding and camaraderie. 

“I listened to your piece.  I thought it was about you…as a writer.”

The light dawned, the heavens opened and the truth was revealed.  The writing that had been formed through my fingers was as simple and as complex a piece as I have ever written…and in true narcissistic form, it was about me.  Well, about me the writer.  As soon as she said it, I felt it.  As soon as it left her lips, it was written in the stars and a title was born.  I give you…

The Writer in Me

For think if you should lose her
that lovely little child.
For think if you should lose her
out in the world, running wild.
Will you chase or let her be?
Will you allow her to just be free?
Are you really losing that
lovely little girl?
Or is she just growing up
in this scary, scary world.
Because if you should lose her
think, is she really lost?
For she’ll always be your little one
no matter what the cost. 

an original piece of writing, by J…

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Stepping forward with a tremble in my foot...

One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.

One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.

One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room.
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.

One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.

One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what's true.
One life can make the difference,
You see, IT'S UP TO YOU!


Tonight I will drive 30 miles to the south.  The music will be loud, the gas pedal will be pressed and I...I will be scared. 

I will keep glancing at the small yellow post-it note stuck to the front of my faux brown leather journal on the passenger seat (the only thing I am required to bring with me other than a pen) even though in my mind I know exactly where to turn. 

I will find a parking space while my heart thumps against the walls of my chest in an effort to escape. 

I will search for room #230 in that large brick building and hope that getting lost is not a part of my itinerary for the evening. 

My hands will shake.  *note to self:  bring something to drink and remember to pee first*  I will force myself to walk through the classroom door and find a seat somewhere in the middle. 

I will search for friendly faces in the crowd around me.  Someone will finally speak to me.  Then and only then will the shaking subside and the heart calm itself. 

I will realize that I can survive the unknown...again (a lesson that I must re-learn on a constant basis). 

I will walk out of that classroom three hours later with a sense of pride only I can give myself, for the first step will have been taken.  The first real step to realizing my passion.  Or the second, I suppose, if you count this blog.

One way or another, it's up to me to let these voices out of my head.  To allow these stories to flow from my fingers.  To put it all down on paper after paper, journal after journal.  That is my dream...to let it all out, so it's not clouding my judgement, my plans and my life any longer.  The real and the imaginary, all together, on paper, in stories, trapped in the written word instead of the wrinkles in my brain. 

Are you ready for the chaos that could cause? 


But I am walking forward with my head held high, my eyes looking straight at you and my fingers itching to explode with images on paper. 

I will do this.

But I am terrified of the outcome.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Do you know what is making this Monday morning a manageable one for me? Technology. Yeah. This computer is acting as my friend today by allowing me to decompress while still allowing me to focus on the tasks at hand. Right now I have six tabs and two screens open and everyone of them is keeping me in tune with myself and allowing me to make it step by step through a Monday. Again.

Currently I am listening to a playlist on Project Playlist that I call "Songs to Sing To". I have filled it with songs that are easy to sing along with in an empty office while I am doing mundane things like vacumming and dusting. I have several other playlists that i put on depending on the mood I need to set...or fix.

I am also logged into my blog here which is allowing me to take the thoughts swirling in my head and place them squarely here on this page thusly creating much needed space for the rest of my thoughts to bounce around in.

I have both my work and my personal e-mail accounts open so that I can stay on top of any incoming correspondence (giving me a distraction form the mundane duties of office life).

Facebook. Yeah, that is open, too. The occasional peek to see what everyone is up to and what new quizzes I can do to learn more about who I am (this mornings newest being "What Swear Word Are You?" and for the record I am "Shit").

Of course, I also have an excel spreadsheet open with all of the tasks to be completed today on it. I cross them out when I complete them which gives me a tangible accountng of how much I have actually accomplished since I got here at 8:30 this morning.

And lastly, another person's blog is up. I do a task and reward myself with the words of a fellow blogger in my long list of favorites. It allows me to get my work done and still be caught up on what is going on in the blogosphere.

Technology is my friend on a day like today. A day when I am otherwise inclined to sit in the corner and finish my "Twilight" book and wish it were yet another weekend day so that I could be with my family. I felt cheated out of the weekend. Partly because I didn't take advantage of the time I did have with my kids and partly because circumstances cheated me out of a much needed date night (one that won't be recovered for several weeks). Today, I am tired. And sore. And needing technology to get me through.

What kind of technology do you use to get you through Monday's? I can always add to my arsenal. :)

**Side note: This is my 200th blog post. That makes me kind of happy.**

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A letter...

Dear Mother Nature,

I have been patient with you even as I rubbed the sore muscles in my neck and back, chased after the dogs that wandered over, yes OVER, the fence, and attempted to make an edible meal out of the few ingredients we had left in our pantry.

I have tolerated your antics even when they have caused harm to the properties of my loved ones, shut down the schools causing the children to have to attend until June, and had me held prisoner in my own home.

I have defended you against those threatening to string you up on the nearest tree because not unlike a telemarketer, it is just your job.

I have allowed you to sow your wrath upon my town, my home, without so much as a slap on the wrist but this? This is intolerable and beyond what I can deal with. It. Must. Stop. Now.

They are telling me that you are dropping another blizzard on us in a few days. But not only that, you are going to shoot the sun right in our direction first so that we warm up to the 50-60 degree weather before dropping feet of snow on our doorsteps. Really? Must you be so much of a bitch? Is it really that necessary?

You have had all winter to lay the snow on our landscape. A constant few feet would have been appreciated. But did you take that opportunity? Nooooooo. You did not. Instead, you decided to laze around for a few days and allow the sun to do your work for you and then BOOM! slam us with 3, 4, 5 and sometimes in excess of 6 feet of snow at once. Why? Why do you hate us so?

We have always been on decent terms. Even when you are killing our crops with your droughts, we have stuck by you and defended your honor until we were allowed a few drops of moisture. But this? This is un.ac.ceptable. Seriously. You have laid over 20 inches of moisture on these already water soaked landscapes and now you want to add more?

We have not yet been completely plowed out from the FIRST blizzard. The SECOND blizzard piled more snow on top of the mountains we already had. Our plow crews are working as hard and as fast as a city crew can work and yet we are still barely able to make it to school and to work.

If you drop more snow on us this weekend, thusly making this a weekly occurence, we will not be able to dig ourselves out before fall.

I don't know if it is just your time of the month (they now make pills to deal with that, ya know) or if someone here just pissed you the hell off, but what I do know is that I am done dealing with your shit. Drop one more snowflake on this area of mine and I swear to you we will go on strike. You will not see a single face, a bared arm, a living body out in your "beautiful horizons" for a long, long time. I swear to you. We will stay indoors and death be to you, Mother Nature. Death be to you.

Pissed off in Snowville...