Sir Joshua

Nineteen years ago I wrote a poem to my, then, only child.

It started like this:

Oh noble little man of mine whose years add just three,
Sweet Knight in somewhat shining armor come to rescue me.

And rescue me he did. Back then he rescued a very young mom with many hugs, lots of smiles and plenty of laughter in what were dark and troublesome times.

There has always been something authentically noble about Joshua. In my heart he has ever been a gentleman and an honorable young man.

Maybe some would disagree.

But a mother has different eyes. She sees her child for what he or she strives to be and what they would be, rather than what they might foolishly fill their lives with at the moment.

He is still my noble Knight coming to the rescue. One of the many heroes serving our country. Stationed here for now, but I know that soon he will be in Iraq.

It is the highest form of service, of sacrifice, laying down your life for the sake of your brother.

That is Sir Joshua.

And today Joshua turns 22 years old.

Happy Birthday son! You make your mother very, very proud!!

And on the 7th Day....

God created naps. And God saw that it was good.

So did Dana.

I don't think I've napped 5 days in a row since Kindergarten. And I ask myself, "Foolish child! Why not?"

A good story, some milk and cookies and a nap.

I recommend it highly. To everyone.

It will be hard going back to work where they expect me to stay awake.

All day.

*Yawn*...makes me sleepy just thinking about it....zzzzzzz...zzzzzzz....

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"

Merry Christmas everyone!
May the blessings of the LORD be with you and yours.

The Phone Rang...

For those of you who may read this blog who are related to eMiLy by blood, you could perhaps take issue with this post or others I've written. To you I say, live with her for 3 years and get back to me. Wait, and give up your master bedroom for 2 of those years. Then, we can sit down and talk. Until then...

It rang again. Don't touch it! It rang a third time.

It was her. She was coming over. Right now.

This may sound like gibberish to you, but I think I'm in a tragedy.

My reaction was of course a very calm one. I said to my beloved in a rather mild tone of voice...

Oh right, you know me better. I yelled.

Not now!

She couldn't...I mean we were just laying around, in our pajamas, eating and watching movies. We were enjoying ourselves! And there were dishes in the sink for goodness sake!

Undeterred by my whining he didn't call her back.

In spite of my tantrum she was on her way.

And, regardless of all my hard work in therapy, I began to clean.

I am ashamed to admit it, I even made the bed.

My husband then proceeded to walk out on the very thin ice of my emotional stability and without regard for his own safety began to jump up and down.

All the while mentioning something about calming down and it's no big deal. Oh and this one - she won't even notice.


Were we back to square one after all those many months?

Did he so quickly forget that my relationship with her hung on the very precipice of civility with enmity laid beneath like so many jagged rocks awaiting our unavoidable fall upon their inexorable unforgiving nature?

After a quick shower I walked into the living room towards the voices, applying a lovely smile to my face as I went in.

So Harold began to engage in small talk.
You have very straight teeth.
*Very* small talk.

We stood around uncomfortable in our conversation. It was, as the cliche states, like an itchy wool sweater - nice to see, but in reality very annoying to be in.

I decided to offer her a peace pipe, after all it is Christmas and I am supposed to be a grown woman.

The pipe was filled with tamales and fresh coffee.

We ate our tamales, drank our coffee and scratched our itchy egos.

Then, she stood up smiled and proceeded to throw the peace pipe into the fire. She began by putting away my clean dishes, thereby going through the cabinets and drawers, whereby she made comments about the contents of my cabinets and drawers.

Oh, you moved it around again. I never could find anything.

She looked in the refrigerator.

Dana always has so many leftovers.

She washed dishes.

I hear you make the kids wash the dishes now.

And she noticed I have a new (new to me) dishwasher.

Hmm. That's pretty. It even matches.

She looked at the dog food bowls and the floor and the counters and the bathroom and my room. And commented about it all.

Little did he know that this simple seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death.

These were all seemingly innocuous remarks. To everyone that is, except me.

To me they were the essence, the very bones of my past crucible. Dug up in disrespect for its passing, its eternal rest disturbed yet again. Disrespected and tossed aside like so much dirt and left there for all to see that the bones had been picked clean.

Left there to prove I had nothing left to give.

She left. I cried. My husband acknowledged the impropriety of her conduct. I forgave. I moved on. Kind of...

Well, that sounds like a comedy. Try to develop that.

*Quotes are from the movie Stranger Than Fiction. If you have not seen this movie, order it or borrow it or run out right now and rent no, buy it and watch it, repeatedly.

And thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies.

Thank God for Bavarian Sugar Cookies...

"As Harold took a bite of Bavarian sugar cookie, he finally felt as if everything was going to be ok. Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And, fortunately, when there aren't any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives. I know the idea seems strange, but I also know that it just so happens to be true. And, so it was, a wristwatch saved Harold Crick."

Kay Eiffel - Stranger Than Fiction

Full Disclosure

Some weeks back I mentioned in a particular post the fact that I was enjoying a level of deception that I'd not ventured before. I was both pretending & pre-tending and could not reveal the details of my doings and goings on.

Well, now I can. And as I promised, I can do it with pictures!

This, my lovelies, is my beloved. I know, he is handsome. And he is my knight in shining armor.

My beloved, Sir Jesse, turns 50 today. 50!?!? Yes, 50. Shut up, 50!

I've known he was going to turn 50 for sometime. Cause I is smart like that.

In fact I've given him quite a bit of teasing since he was about 40 or so. I would always tell him, "DUDE, you are like, almost 50." Or I would say, "Hey babe, bust out that AARP card and get us some sweet discounts." Or, "Hey hon, put down your cane and let's dance!" He took it well. He is a good sport.

As he should be. After all, he is married to me.

(That isn't a picture of me. Duh. But it is some lovely artwork done by my daughter when she was quite young. She called it "Love in Seattle With People Screaming at a Band JUGGLE MONKEY'S WITH YOUR FACE CRAZY PEOPLE." I'm not kidding. Appropriate title for the picture as well as this post, don't you think?)

Okay, so where was I? Oh yes, husband, 50, deception. Got it. So, since I know that you only turn 50 once in your life, I knew this party had to be big. BIG. Like the title of my daughter's drawing. Well thought out and planned beyond planning.

I had to start with getting my house in order. You see we bought our lovely bit of earth 2 years ago. Our home is 50 years old, just like my beloved. And unlike Sir Jesse, showing some aging. I had to whip it into shape.

First some painting. This is my new bedroom. (new to me because someone named eMiLy lived with us before and she had the bedroom and then she moved out and we got the bedroom and a new bed...) Some of the furniture is about to be sanded and stained to match the new bed. No, it won't be on the pages of Southern Living or House Beautiful. But they and Martha can just go decorate a block of cheese for all I care. I love it.

The last picture is another one of my daughter's paintings. I don't know the title - but it is my favorite painting. Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas, Monet & Moya. They all belong in the Louvre.

Then there were some minor repairs. I don't have pictures. Sorry.

Then I had to invite folks. If you know my husband he is Mr. Social. He likes almost everyone and they all love him. He also comes from a very large family.

Large as in number, not girth.

So the list was long.

And if you know me, I am NOT Mrs. Social. I come from a very small family. I was practically an only child. And I don't like people. Okay, I'm kidding about that. Mostly. But I don't like people in my home. I just don't. If I know you are coming over I get very nervous and become, as my daughter calls me, the Cleaning Nazi.

She is sooooo dramatical.

No that is not a word. But I once heard the very articulate Mr. Flava Flav say it and dang. It stuck with me. Not to mention a certain person who said it during a birthday party at a bowling alley. Corrected me no less.

Then I needed to decorate for Christmas. Cause that happens to be right around the big soiree de compleanos. I is also multi-lingual.

Our itty bitty tree.

That is the Houston rendition of snow.

No one plays it or the piano. We just like having it cause it looks real artsy like.

Oooh. Pretty lights.

I think our angel tree topper is bigger than our tree.

Another Houston snowflake. This one was from the blizzard of 1900.

I think this one is very cool. Black and white and artsy. I like artsy.

These little glass hearts were giving to me by my eMiLy. I love them.

I you'll look closely you will see that this picture is not framed. This was one of the many projects on the todo list. It is still on the todo list.

That's not all the decorations but I have to get on with the story.

I ordered the food. Cleaned. Lied.

Bought more food. Ordered the caked. Ordered the gift. Cleaned. Lied some more.

I rearranged the decorations. Cleaned. Lied some more.

Checked my lists about a million times. Checked the Evite a million times. Lied just a little bit more. Oh yeah, and I cleaned.

Again, my house is not that dirty. Truly. I just become a liiiiiiittttle bit nervous about people in my house. Okay? You know you got some issues too.

Here are some pictures of some of the horsey-durbs.

Mmmm, pita chips.

Mmmmm, hummus.

MMMMMMM!M!M!M!M!M!M! Diet coke!!!!

Sorry, I love my Diet Coke. And speaking of love. I had some accomplices. People I love and people who love me. I think they kind of heart Jesse too...

Accomplice #1. This is my BFF for 30 years (she hates when I say that so I say it as often as possible.) Candie. She is on my bed. She is once again posing all sexy. WHAT is that about?
She was responsible for gathering information, running surveillance, mapping, and interrogation. She was also the mole. (I think she enjoyed the interrogation the most. Sick.)

Accomplices #2 & 3. My beautiful BFF Sharona and my VBD (very beautiful daughter) Elena. Sharon was responsible for the same objectives as Candie as well as gathering optical evidence. Also known as photographer. She did a lovely job don't you think? Give her a round of applause ladies and gentlemen. Elena's mission was to be my slave. Poor girl, she was run ragged. And she did it with such a good spy attitude.

They are three amazing ladies and I could not have done it without them!

I also employed several other accomplices. Jesse's boss had to have J work the day of the party.

And my boss was to have Jesse price parts for his car to keep him away after work.

All our co-workers kept the secret.

And all our friends helped keep this operation covert.

The day went as planned and he called home just before meeting my boss for the "parts pricing". He asked about dinner and I said I would throw something together. Then I asked to him to get some pizzas since he was right by the pizza place.

The planning, the spying, the lying, the hard work and yes the cleaning, all payed off. He was very much surprised. He had no clue. Even when the caterer showed up with the adult food at the same time as he did with pizzas for the little ones.

Here are some more pictures from that night:

Here we are singing Happy Birthday. That is not a look of pain on his face, he is enjoying it.

People. In my house....

More people. In my house....

This is eMiLy, Jesse and 2 of his 9 sisters. Yes, I said nine.

He can't pick up that cake because he is now 501 years old. WAIT. 50. He is 50 years old. Thank you bakery girl for NOT following directions. That is supposed to be 50 ! Even a drawing didn't help. Oh well, it still tasted delicious!

Speaking of delicious, this was our salad. Oh, you thought I was going to mention Candie again? Silly. There was also chicken tetrazzini with penne pasta, stuffed mannicotti with 3 cheeses, and foccacia bread. Thank you Collina's for an excellent meal. And for saving me from having to cook for 40 people.

This was after the party, after the clean up and after the crowd went home. We were tired. And these lovely ladies are two of my beautiful (and favorite) nieces. Say hi Renee & Sam!

Oh wait. How did that get in here? *blushing* Silly me. That would be bragging to put that in here. It would also be bragging to say she is awarded one of these every semester.
Yeah, I wouldn't dare do that. :)

We are tired. It's time to go pass out. That was the party of the year. He loved it. I had a blast. I hurt for days afterwards and I didn't care. He was worth it. I love you Jesse!

Geesh. That was like the longest post ever. I am tired. I mean, it only took 2 hours, 3 diet cokes, about 10 reeses bell's (okay maybe 12) and 2 naproxen. Bye ya'll!

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations Courtney!

and thank you everyone else who entered!

Teacher Says "Every time a bell rings... angel gets its wings!"

So tell me friends, just what sound is made when they lose them?

These lovely celestial appendages were on the floor in a co-worker's office. Just laying there. As if an angel had had enough and was going the mortal route from here on out.

Now I'll just bet you don't see that everyday where you work.

Down the hall was a manger.

Empty mind you.

So I guess Mary and Joseph were out for a walk with baby Jesus.

My loves, this is Christmastime in a church office.

I love it.

Holiday Christmas Give Away Part II

Yes loves, if you weren't the winner over at Kelly's Holiday Give Away you have one more chance to win.

I am one of those sad saps who hates to leave people out, even if it is on Kelly's blog. I couldn't bear the fact that, so many who had entered to win the cookbook give away would not.

If you have no clue what I am talking about then, let me tell you. Kelly, aka Girl On A Mission, had a Holiday Give Away for the pretty awesome cookbook titled Deceptively Delicious. I own this book, love this book, have used the concept in many a recipe. I picked a winner today and GoaM announced that blessed being here. I know not everyone can win, sadness. But I, in my tender heart, decided I would allow those of you who didn't win to get another chance. So, it's my turn to give it away!

That said, you know the drill. Comment on this post and on Wednesday, December 19th (my husband's birthday!) I will pull a name and post the winner.

God's Blessings!

And She Is Still Alive Folks...

Not me. Well, yes me. I am still alive. But that is not who I am referring to in the title.

Of course you may have wondered if I was still alive because it has been a while. But I warned you didn't I? I have been busy with deceit and I will tell you all about it soon enough. With pictures!

So, on to the subject at hand...

Last night we were watching movies, as we sometimes do. The Wedding Singer was on and of course we watched it. Hey, Adam Sandler and 80's music! What's not to like? So, at the end of the movie where Robbie Hart is on the plane rescuing the love of his life from becoming Mrs. Julia Gulia, he sings a song he wrote for her about growing old together...

I wanna make you smile whenever youre sad
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad
All I wanna do is grow old with you
I'll get your medicine when your tummy aches
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks
Oh it could be so nice, growing old with you
I'll miss you
I'll kiss you
Give you my coat when you are cold
I'll need you
I'll feed you
Even let ya hold the remote control
So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink
Put you to bed if you've had too much to drink
I could be the man who grows old with you
I wanna grow old with you

And Elena turns to me and says "Aww! Do you want to grow old with dad?"

And I say "Of course!"

And she says "Oh wait, he's already old."

The Return Trip Home

I made it back home from my lovely trip to Hobby Lobby. Actually not so lovely because dude, there were like a thousand woman there all with I'm-in-their-way attitudes and killer shopping-cart instincts. I barely escaped with my salvation in tact and my purchases. Oh yeah, and my kids.

When I got home Jesse had the phone in his hand and a look on his face that made me think the store had called him and told him how much I spent. But no, it was something much worse.

No matter how much you prepare for the inevitable. No matter how much you say you trust the Lord for all that is about to be. It does not make your reaction to, or your feelings about, the actualization of said event be anything less than if it were your first time hearing the news.

Erienne had called, she is leaving today for Kuwait. I have known about this day for years. I have prepared both my mind and my heart since my oldest son was a Junior ROTC for the fact that war and deployment were words that would one day visit me personally. I know the call from Josh is not too far off on the horizon. Yet the knowledge of what is to come and the actuality of its arrival are entirely different entities.

She called back and I told her I love her, she said she loves me too. When we hung up I ran to my room and cried like any parent, friend, sister or brother would. I prayed for her and the many others over seas fighting a seemingly never ending war. I prayed she would trust in the Lord for all that is about to be and I prayed for her to have a safe return trip home.


Sorry I've been away, but folks but I've been just a wee bit busy. I have actually written quite a bit but my modus operandi is to write not only what I feel, but to write as I feel. That said, I have not felt that what I've written is ready. Soon though, very soon.

In the mean time and in between time I have been flying around like a Macy's Parade float with no one holding me down. There has been chaos and confusion in my path and destruction left behind.

And there has been much (I'm not sure if I am proud or shocked by this next word) deception. Much deception. To a level I wasn't aware I could achieve. These past few weeks I have lied, manipulated, connived and hidden evidence of my duplicitous deeds.

And oh my word, it has been fun!

Ah, no worries mates, it's all for the greater good. All I have done, was done so in the name of love.

I'm sorry I cannot divulge more at this moment. I am purposely being vague because a certain someone reads my blog and I do not want that certain someone to know what is going on just yet, just in case that certain someone does read my blog in the next few days. Of course if that certain someone does read this post they will wonder, true, but that certain someone still will not know for certain if they are that someone or the certain particulars.

And besides the all the fabu pretending I have been pre-tending as well. Tending to the things that need to be taken care of beforehand in these types of ordeals.

Things like painting, decorating and fixing, ordering, cleaning. Lots and lots of cleaning. Not that my home is that dirty mind you, and not that it's that clean...remember I have kids and a full time job. It's just that anytime my home is involved I become quite the nervous person. Insecurities stink.

And then this being the month of Christmas, there is the added pressure to get all that entails up and running. Sorry Ali and Pluto, I just couldn't wait. There is a deadline to consider. I assure you I am never this early with the lights and such, so don't expect the same efficiency next year.
I must say though, all things considered I have never had this much fun working so hard. I will update you soon with plenty of details and hopefully lots of pictures. I've asked my bff Sharona to be my personal photographer.

Well, I have to go. My husband just told me I have to go to Hobby Lobby. Sigh. I love him! I normally hate to shop. I hate it. It is one of those stereotypical women things that I have not one bit of in me. But for some reason you say Target or Hobby Lobby and my heart does a little dance.

I'm off!

Holiday Blog Give Away!

Wait, she isn't giving away her blog. So maybe I should re-word that.

Blog Holiday Give Away!

Holiday Give...

Oh, forget it.

Hey adoring fans! And not so adoring ones:

Head on over to Girl On A Mission and enter yourself for a delicious give away. That is if you love to cook, love free things, have kids and/or husband and can't get them to eat vegetables. Otherwise, stay away.

Remember this post about this book? Kelly is having a drawing to give one copy away on December 13th. All you have to do is head on over to her blog, comment on the post titled "Blog Give Away" and you are entered! How easy is that?

Besides, she has such a stinking cute blog! And while you are there, read her other posts will be blessed by the Lord.


Talk to you soon....

Water Water Everywhere

Nor any drop to wash a dish.
The Rime of the Ancient Dishwasher

Thursday was a great day of food and family.

And then it happened...Let me splain.

Thursday evening, after the day and the family were spent. I stood in my kitchen and stared up at all the dishes stacked precariously on the counter. And in the sink. And some on the stove. And I'm pretty sure there were more in the living rooms.

Of course you ask, why Dana? Why so many?

Well, I shall tell you my inquisitive ones. There were the ones from Thanksgiving Morn Breakfast, a grand tradition in the Moya household.

And then there were the ones from cooking the wonderful 15 course meal required on this day of thanks. Plus snacks. Plus the fine china we supped upon. Okay not really, we used paper plates but the silverware was for reals y'all.

Plus the 20 thousand cups used but one time each by 2 children who, it seems, cannot have their precious delicate lips touch the rim of a cup more than once for fear of death causing germs. The very same children who try to refuse a shower for days on end despite the fact that they smell like the end of a barnyard animal who has wallowed in his own muck because "they are not dirty."

Oh, then there was the 10 or 50 or so containers emptied of their long forgotten leftovers (I know, shame on us) because someone (cough! Dana! cough!) thought it a brilliant plan to clean the refrigerator NOW since the trash men cometh on Friday and there was need of room for the new leftovers of our feast.

I normally wash dishes as I cook but this day we were painting and sanding. It was Eddie's turn to wash on the chore chart but I figured I would take down Mount Dinnerware for him. He is not the skilled climber I am. What a mom. My children rise and call me blessed.

Blessed mother I have nothing to wear!
As they stand in front of a closet full of clothes.
Blessed mother I cannot find the ____!
As they sit not two feet from missing object.
Blessed mother there is nothing to eat!
As they stand in front of the refrigerator looking at 10 or 50 or so tubs of leftovers.

And why not just throw them to the dishwasher? That dear sweet beloved appliance died some time ago. Probably from many a climb up the Dinnerware Mountain. May it rest in peace. We will one day replace it. Sniff. It's a sensitive subject. Let's move on shall we?

Where were we? Oh yes...The mountain stared back at me, taunting me, daring me to bring it on. I grabbed my gear (dish-mountain climbing gear, chisel, saw and sandblaster) and walked towards my foe.

Then from somewhere deep, deep, deep in the bowels of the earth came a groan. And then the sink gave a visible shudder. I cried out in a triumphant voice "Ha, I've got you now you vile are trembling with fear....your doom draws near!"

Then the cursed thing threw up on me. Merely anxious about the coming flood of dishes, I figured. No matter, I would not be deterred from my duty. I approached yet again and looked into the soul of the sink, laying in its own vomit, visibly shuddering in the the throes of death.

Alas, no matter what I did, or how I tried, the blasted sink would not be revived. So, I did what anyone else would do in this situation, I called in reinforcements.

Honey?!?!? Can you come here?

"I'll show you!"
I whispered to the sink.

2 hours later the underbelly of the beast was gutted, its shredded entrails laid in an indeterminate pattern over the kitchen floor. I thought I could see the outline of the Pope in one of the blood stains, but I'm not too sure about it now.

The Mountain? Completely unmoved. And I think growing....*shudder*

The sink? Oh friends, it is an ugly tale of woe.

It seems the pipe that goes into the wall - way, way, way down into the wall, where cutting of sheet rock and wood and the digging up of yard and quite probably foul curses must take place - had cracked. This somehow caused the pipes under the sink to back-up into the house and regurgitate all over Dana.

Call a plumber? Bite your tongue. And while your at it, bite your lip and nails and...I am glad to have a husband who is able to repair most anything we own. But lo, 36 hours and many a trip to the Home Depot later we still have no sink to wash a dish in. Of course things of so-called import (like sleep) have intervened on his behalf. Whatever. Yes but dears, we have saved quite a pretty penny.

A pretty penny I could use to take my dishes down to the local Dish-O-Mat with. Throw these crusty boys into the industrial super-colossal Dishwasher of the immortals with the rest of the non-dishwasher-owning people of the world, and sit and watch it spin. And be done with them in one foul blow.

Or I could just chuck the dity ones into the trash with the leftovers and run out to Target and purchase.....

If only.

No fear my loves, the dishes were washed, um, eventually. I will spare you the details. Suffice it to say, Mount Dinnerware is no more.

Although I'm sure it will be back soon. In smaller, less daunting hills. I will leave those to my children to climb. It is good exercise.

And one day, one glorious and fine day, I will have my very own lave-vasaille. That's French for dishwasher.

I had to look it up. But for one second you were impressed with my muy bueno linguistic skills weren't you?

Until that day....

We never know the worth of water until the well is dry.
Thomas Fuller

Everything I'm Not

Made Me Everything I Am*

I ran my hand over the wood tracing the scars from many years of use. There are nicks and scratches caused by moving it from home to home and room to room. There are various stains and areas of fading, all marks of well loved furniture. Each scar and stain an allegory marking a moment in its antiquity.

In my other hand the sander worked at removing these signs of the past life from the piece. I sanded off layer after layer, my daughter by my side. We worked together for hours. My mind retracing indiscriminate memories as I go, just as my hand had traced over their embodiment.

I have always been fond of this particular piece of furniture, built in the 50's by my father, a master wood worker. That fact does not lend value to its sentiment, it is simply a fact. I have several pieces of his work, each handsome and unique. Each of them a manifestation of the mastery of his gift, his personal style and his eye for art.

I think of my father standing over this piece some 50 years ago doing the very same thing. I stopped and laughed at the reality that he never, not once, poured an ounce of this same care and love into me. And yet here I am with my daughter, forging another work of art. Bringing it to life once again. A new chance, another journey to begin.

And while it bewilders me, that he could not love me like he did the work of his hands, it matters not. I am grateful for who I am without him. I am thankful for the fact that he was not in my life.

If he were...
Would I still wrestle with the rule of God?
Would I learn to accept the love of a Father?
Would I still have the need to please everyone?

These are winds not worth chasing.

I turn off the sander and go inside. The smell of ham and green beans, fresh rolls and pecan pie, the sound of laughter and football. My daughter and I working side by side in the kitchen and outside. My family together, creating memories - scars & stains - marks of a well loved and well lived life.

Today, a day of thanks, I give thanks for the I Am. And to I Am, I give thanks for the I am not.

*Read this on my oldest daughter's myspace page. The quote comes from a song by Kanye West, of whom (who/whom? I always stumble) I'm not a fan. But I like the quote for some reason and ever since I saw it on her page it has stuck with me. Besides, I happen to be a big fan of her!

A Wise Child Once Asked...

Last night while watching a kitchen remodel on the DIY Network the woman kept describing the tile and the grout and the cabinets and everything else they remodeled in her kitchen as looking like chocolate.

My daughter said "She must really be craving chocolate!"

I said, "She must be pms-ing"

She asks "What's that?" (Yes folks, we have had "the talk". We have had several "the talks".)

I said "You know how sometimes I'm nice and happy and easy to get along with? And then others I have lasers shooting out of my eyes and I growl because I'm mean and grumpy?"

She hesitates.

Then she answers with just a little fear creeping into her voice...

"Is this a trick question?"


So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same

It took one long week to get here. Seven very drawn out and arduous days to get to this point. Both out there and here. Out there - the world outside my blog - because I am on vacation this coming week and I know time stood still on at least 3 occasions. And here - in my little blog-world I've created - because I've made several attempts at writing, had a few good starts but no connections, no finishes. I tried, I really, really tried. Nothing.

My writing self needs a little more fiber in her diet.

And it's not like I've not had things to write about I have.

Take for instance an email I received on Monday in regards to my son's progress at school. The young lady writing me is a counseling intern and has followed Eddie for the last few weeks.

In the email she introduces herself and proceeds to tell me about how she feels Eddie is depressed, and lethargic (I think to myself What the...? Eddie? Depressed? No way, I've seen him depressed and he is far from it. Lethargic? He's just sleepy. Who is this again?)

But despite my parental experiences or my motherly instinct I feel my heart twinge and my mind question...

She proceeds to say that perhaps he isn't taking his medicine again and that sometimes kids lie. (Yes this is true Missy however, I think we've seen what not taking his medicine does to him and I am more than certain he is taking it. I think.)

Again, doubts swim around in my mind and I begin to be very upset. Perhaps he is just hiding it well at home...

She then tells me she is quite concerned about some things he has written and leaves it at that.

Alarms go off.

Red flags wave like mad.

Oh. No.

Wait, he's writing?!? That's weird.

And just what is he writing? Fear, doubt, resentment all wrap around my heart, I am a snake bed of emotions at this point.

I return her email. Thanking her for her concern, her time spent and letting her know what we do and do not see at home. Blah, blah, blah....Then I ask her what exactly is it that Eddie is writing that concerns her. Is it dark and morbid? Is it threatening? Is it suicidal? I wonder how could I not see this at home?

The email reply was sent early Monday morning. I wait.

A few hours later the Vice Principal calls, Eddie is in his office because he was unable to control himself in class. He is concerned, wants to have another special education review. We have more discussion, then finish up and when I hang up I begin to cry.

His phone call compounded the panicky feeling I was already fighting.

Late afternoon I receive the reply from Missy Intern. I open the email, bracing myself for what I might read. I scan the letter, wading through the blather and jargon. And I get to this:

One of the teachers forwarded an assignment to me in which he was supposed to be writing answers to a couple of passages he had read. His response for one of the questions was "You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose." Another response appeared to be lyrics to a song about running over and squishing the Taco Bell Dog.

More tears. Only this time because I am laughing, laughing so hard I begin to wheeze.

What a relief! That is just boredom and nonsense...

Intern Lady if that concerns you with all you know about my son and the world, then you have quite a way to go in your learning.

I couldn't form a reply. I feared I would be rather snarky and then she will be concerned about me. Besides, I chalked it all up to her inexperience. At least in telling parents about her observations if nothing else.

Just gonna have to be a different woman
And then there is the fact that my bff Sharona has accepted the offer to get a lot more pay and better benefits What's that about? at another job. Ok, so hurrah for her but what about her friends?

I'm just kidding, because seriously, I couldn't be more happier for her. She has worked at the church in every role but the Pastor's with all of her heart put into it everyday for 10 long years and no one, and I mean no one, is more deserving of this opportunity. Even if it's not with us. Sniff.

Oh, look out you rock 'n rollers

I know we will always stay the best of friends, nothing can change that. I love you Sharona! But it still changes everything. And that is life right?

Time may change me, but I can't trace time.

Whatever that means...

So I am going to end it here. With the hopes that this David Bowie song will finally leave my head.

Strange fascination, fascinating me...

Seriously. Love the song, but it has been the ear worm from hell for the whole week...

(no really, what does that mean David?)


I talk to my mom on the phone at least once a day. Mostly she calls me at night right after her dinner. She is in a nursing home and stays busy until after dinner, then she doesn't have much to do. My mom suffered from a stroke 14 years ago this January and is paralyzed on one side. She cannot do a thing for herself except eat and read. She loves to read.

My sister lives in North Carolina and my brother in Virginia. After 25 years of a life together my mom's husband left her to go live with his daughter in California and that was the last we heard of him. His daughter called some time back to say he died, it had happened a month earlier and could we sign some papers?

So I am the person she calls daily. I like to think it's because I am the favorite, what child doesn't?

Mostly when she calls she just goes on and on about whatever she has been thinking about that day and you cannot get a word in because she has it in her mind what she wants to say and she is going to say it. Besides her roommate watches her tv so loud she wouldn't hear you anyway unless you yelled.

Sometimes when she calls she is confused, she doesn't remember that she is in Houston. She doesn't remember that her husband died, she doesn't realize that I am her daughter Dana. She doesn't realize her dreams aren't real. Those phone calls leave me tired and sad.

Sometimes when she calls she talks about things that make no sense. Sometimes she calls just to tell a joke - some new, some she has told me a hundred times before but always funny, she has a great sense of humor. I laugh and let her tell again. We talk and talk and then she hangs up abruptly every time.

She called the other night and before she hung up with me, she said something that I've never heard from her before.

She said "Dana, you are so beautiful. You really are. I was looking at this picture of you here, and I think you are just the most beautiful woman."

And I waited for the if or the but...

Because when I was growing up that kind of statement was always connected with an if or a but.

You would be so pretty if...
You really are a lovely girl but...
You could have any man if...

if...but... would just lose weight.
or could stand to lose a few pounds.
or man wants a fat girl.

This time neither the if, nor the but were said. She left it at that, said 'I love you, I really do' and hung up. I cried. No, I curled up in a ball and I sobbed.

All my adult life I was stuck with the if and the but of self-perception. There was never a day without the thought that I just need to lose a few more pounds and then I, and everyone else, would be happy with me. A lifetime of wishing I were a certain size so that I could be good enough to be loved. And a lifetime of crying because I was not. All those years of battling an eating disorder that hospitalized me more than once and almost killed me.

These past 10 years I have spent learning to love Dana no matter what the scale said. A lesson I have to learn each and everyday and even more so now that I am very much overweight. And I still hear the if and the but of every statement in my mind. A constant voice playing in my head like an endless tape recorded message. But, as a friend of mine taught me, you have to change the tape.

Since I have come to know Jesus, the wounds have slowly begun to heal but the ugly scar remains. A reminder of perhaps if...

The impact her words of acceptance had on my heart made that scar just a little less visible. And perhaps the next time I hear if or but after my husband or my mom tells me I'm pretty, the voice will be a lot less audible, drowned out by the words no matter what.

I sat down with my daughter the next day and we talked about the conversation I had with my mom and why it had affected me so. Then I told her how absolutely beautiful she is to me and that nothing she could ever do would make me love her more or love her less. I told her that her smile makes me happy and I love how smart she is. I told her that she makes me laugh and that I love the sparkle in her eyes when she laughs. I told her this is how her father feels about her and this is how her Father in heaven feels about her.

I hugged her and kissed her and I prayed that this would be the voice that she would hear into her adult years. That she is loved. No if, no but.

Let's Meme, Shall We?

I was tagged quite some time ago by two dear friends and I've dragged my feet in responding. Sorry!

The first meme is from miss Sharon. She is a fellow blogger, a co-worker (not for long) and one of the best dang friends I will ever have. Sniff.

1. Hardcover or paperback, and why?
Yes! Because, I love them all!

2. If I were to own a book shop I would call it…
Think. Ink. Drink. (You have to have coffee!)

3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is…
This is a most unfair question. I mean, how to pick one? There are so many good books. I am not answering. Well, I answered, but not really.

4. The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be...
Alive. I couldn't have lunch with a dead person sitting there! Ew.
Okay, seriously Stephen King – the man is scary genius. Or Maya Angelou. I love her poetry. I would like to have lunch with Sharon Ziegler as well. She is a new author that I think everyone should read.

5. If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except from the SAS survival guide, it would be…
what the heck is the SAS survival guide?
Okay, the complete works of William Shakespeare? Or maybe The whole set of The Chronicles of Narnia? Oh, well, does this include my bible? Because I have to have that as well.

6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…?
If I could tell you I would try to invent it.

7. The smell of an old book reminds me of…
My childhood. I had lots of old books and I read them over and over again. Books were the friends in a lonely girls life...

8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be…
I don't want to be anyone else. When I read or see characters I admire, I think 'those are admirable traits' I would like to be more like that. However I don't want to be them. Also, I don't really want to be the lead character, one of the side kicks I most admire is Samwsie Gamgee. What a loyal and steadfast friend.

9. The most overestimated book of all time is…
This one is way too easy for me. “Your Best Life Now” ugh.

10. I hate it when a book…
Is predictable. Yawn. Or when someone uses 200 words where 20 would have sufficed. I mean they go on and on and on, and you are like - dude I get the point already and then you flip through the pages trying to get past...

This next meme is from Jessica. She is a fellow blogger, a friend and co-worker and one of the sweetest and prettiest girls I know!

1. Who is your man?
He is the father of my children, he is strong, he is love, he is my strength, he is confidence and he is humility. He smells like autumn and when he hugs me I feel safe and at home.

2. How long have you been together?
15 ½ years.

3. How long did you date?
2 years. Well, seriously we dated about 4 months and then we moved in together (before we knew Jesus people).

4. How old is your man?
50 (shut up! right?)

5. Who eats more?
Just think about that one. Actually it is him. It is so unfair.

6. Who said "I love you" first?
Don’t remember. Sad huh? But we both say it several times a day now. Even when we are mad, we say IAN. Which is our little code for I Always love you No matter what. (The other letters didn't fit...)

7. Who is taller?
He is by like 1/8th of an inch. But don't say anything, pretend not to notice because he is pretty sensitive about that... :)

8. Who sings better?
Me, but not by much.

9. Who is smarter?

10. Whose temper is worse?
What is that supposed to mean?? Mine.

11. Who does the laundry?
Both of us. Actually, all four of us.

12. Who takes out the garbage?
The kids. But he did when they were little...

13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?
He does. Always has. What does that say about us?

14. Who pays the bills?
We both do.

15. Who is better with the computer?

16. Who mows the lawn?
Him! And the kids. I plant stuff.

17. Who cooks dinner?
Both. He mostly grills. But he does make one heck of a bowl of cereal!

18. Who drives when you are together?
Do you NOT read my blog?

19. Who pays when you go out?
Does that matter? He is the one who pulls out the card or cash, but it is OUR money.

20. Who is most stubborn?
Actually, we both are stubborn, so I wouldn’t know…we are both still working on the whole compromise thing.

21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong?

22. Whose parents do you see the most?
It was his mom when she lived with us, now it’s about the same.

23. Who kissed who first?
He kissed me. It was crazy...

24. Who asked who out?
Gosh… I offered to buy him a beer, does that count? But we were already friends because we knew each other through his sister Candie who has been my friend forever. So we were already hanging out together.

25. Who proposed?
No one. We were living together (before we knew Jesus people!) and we both thought it was the next step to take.

26. Who is more sensitive?
Oh yeah, him. He cries at the movies and he...Okay, not really. It's me.

27. Who has more friends?
Him, hands down.

28. Who has more siblings?
Again, Jesse by a long shot! 13 to 2.

29. Who wears the pants in the family?
That's a weird question these days. I mean if you are being literal, we both do...But if you are asking who is the man in the family, which is what that used to mean, of course he is. And of course I love it. I hate that people think Christian men are misogynistic and macho if they are the head of the house. I am in no way a welcome mat or a meek little wife who just does what I am told. I have a voice, an opinion and he asks and loves to hear both.

We cannot end on an odd number...Why would you end here? I will make one up..

30. What do you love about your man?
I love that he can make me laugh, even when I am mad. I love that he loves me even when I am mad. I love that he is honest, faithful and steady. I love that he worries about providing. I love that he is not perfect. But he wants to be the best husband and father. I love that he is passionate about life, his kids, his home, his family and of course Jesus.

Thank you for reading. I am tagging no one.

Monday ¿Mande?

A 2-fer! I guess by now you know what ¿mande? means. If you don't, then read here and here. And now on with the show...

I didn't mention that on Saturday at the Bowl-a-Rama birthday party from Scary Ville, US of A my daughter's Spanish teacher was in attendance. She is a character straight from Saturday Night Live and it was quite um, inspirational? to listen to her talk because, I'm telling you, she knows everyone who is anyone. And she was not afraid to hold their names out for all to see and let them hit the floor with all the impact of a well, since we were there, a bowling ball.

But this isn't about her. We were just talking to her. I mentioned to her that Elena wanted to be in the drama class this year but was unable to because the class was full. The lady that was talking with us mentioned her daughter would be great for theater because "she is so dramatical!"


But I bit my tongue and didn't correct her because, really, who am I? I know that my grammar and sentence structure leave a lot to be desired. I've been the butt of my evil brain's jokes and seriously, I thought she was joking. So I said "Girls at this age are very dramatic."

And she said... "Dramatical. Dra - mat - ti - cal. The word is dramatical."

Mmm, thank you Mrs. Scripps for sounding that out for me.


This evening while waiting in line at the pharmacy I get to overhear this little huh? of a conversation coming from an elderly man on his cell phone...(all one sided mind you.)

"Hello, how are you?"

"Yeah, me too"

"Me? Oh nothing. I just hung out at the pool all day with our priest."

Tee hee... ¿Mande?!

Do priests swim? Gosh how silly of me, I'm sure they do. What about nuns? What do they wear? Does that make it holy water? I'm just wondering..... because I really never thought about that before.

So tell me, in your most dramatical prose, (that's an oxymoron...ox - ee - mor - on) have you ever heard of a priest or nun at the pool before?

Beaches & Bikers & Bowling, Oh My!

EDIT: I have NO clue what is going on with the font or the pictures. Sorry...

So began my weekend of culture. Don't be hatin'!

Friday was a national holiday. Did you not know? Oh, I am so sorry for you! Of course it is a relatively new holiday and known only to my close circle of friends, but still a holiday nonetheless. Friday was Take Your White (read: deathly pale) Friends to the Beach Day, yes it was. And it was fabulous darling!

Those outside the circle might ask, why call it Take Your White Friends to the Beach? The story behind it isn't as interesting as the title. Um, that is if you think the title is interesting. It's just a bit of silliness and no offense is meant to the few who find offense in everything.

The first major hurdle was convincing my boss that TYWFttBD was indeed an actual holiday and one that must be observed with the utmost reverence. For some reason I don't think he was convinced...geesh, he's hard core peeps.

Mmm, okay, that was the only hurdle. Everyone else was pretty much on board for this one.

This year's TYWFttBD coincided with Dia de los Muertos - Day of the Dead. Coincidence? I think not...

It also coincided with the Lone Star Biker Rally...shut up. No, I cannot. It is true...Thousands, upon thousands of Harley Davidson's EVERY.FREAKING.WHERE!!

Like these...

and these...

These were some of the purtiest bikes.

Just look at the tires....whitewall.

And the rims, flames...



And bikers...

And more bikers...Are they allowed to wear pink?

Loved this vest:

TYWFttBD was scheduled without us knowing about the rally. So, plans to have a quiet lunch followed by shopping on the Strand were off...because of scenes like this...

This isn't the Strand. But you get the idea.

And we did get to have lunch, but it was in no way quiet. The sounds of Harley engines cruising up and down Sea Wall Boulevard were at deafening decibels. Our lunch conversation was a little restrained, I mean how can you compare notes and discuss characters with all that noise? I didn't want to get killed because I was overheard discussing Kitten's lovely leather bustier, that's for sure.

After our lunch and attempts to find the Strand behind all the leather, the three of us went to the beach. The actual beach. You know, the sandy thing with questionable water washing over it. Water that is brown and scary to be near. With signs everywhere that say swim at your own risk of infectious disease and polluted lungs.

This is a love
ly shade of sludge don't you think? Makes you want to dive right in huh?

Just in case you can't tell, this is Candie. She is posing all sexy and mysterious.

We have been friends for 30 years.

She hates when I say that. Not the part about being friends - she
lerves me - it's the part about 30 years she hates. However, we met when we were -11. That makes us 19.

Believe it!

This sweet little message was in the sand...awww!!!
(It says "Caramel hearts Manly")

I was informed that if I was to post this picture I must include the following legal-photo-disclaimer:

"We, (the afformentioned participants of TYWFttBD), have absolutely no clue who Caramel or Manly are or if 'they' even exist. This was merely 'found' and 'we' are merely 'sharing'. If 'we' did know who 'they' were, 'we' would in no way divulge this information to 'those' who would take this little joke and run willy-nilly with it. A lot more than we did. That is all, thank you."

If most of the pictures look familiar to you, it is because I had to use all of
Sharon's pics. She is a muy bueno photographer with a muy 'spensive camera. Me, I have a stupid camera that betrays my mad lens skills. Yeah, I got's some skills.

Dear friends-who-were-not-in-attendance, I seriously think, I have never laughed so much in my life. I cried my mascara off, my head hurt, I was dizzy, and my stomach hurt terribly from all the laughing. Sounds more like the flu symptoms. Ah, this was a much needed & much enjoyed TYWFttBD! I hated to see it end. I also hated that not everyone of our circle could join. Perhaps next time.

But in the meantime I was given some messages to relay:

- Skull and Spike are sure sad that you couldn't come. They were so hoping to see their long-time friend and said they are just going to have mail those Butterfingers to you. They know you love them so! They also said next time you better go because they know you will be the Queen of the Leather & Lace Ball.

- Your freeway flame contacted me. He said he has the "money-shot" whatever that means, and will burn the negatives if you go on a date with him. I have his info if you should feel so inclined. He said he would be willing to shave his head for you. What is he talking about???

- Manly hearts you too. He truly does. And once you two are finally free of your so-called commitments you can stop this torment that comes with in-your-dreams love and then the two of you can truly be together. In the meantime continue going to your Not A Couple meetings. They are helpful.

Butch, Skull, Spike & Kitten - we had a great time. I will always cherish this day...sigh. But remember, what happens at Galveston, stays at Galveston. A much used term now I know, but still a good reminder to all. Kiss little Skull Jr. for me?

Everyone else
- join us next year?

I have gone on so long about the bikers and the beach (hey that sounds like a musical gone wrong - The Bikers and the Beach: A Broadway Musical of Hot Leather & Steamy Sand...) that I've not much time for the Bowling...I know, sad. Sniff.

My daughter's friend had a birthday party. Each one of you know that I sooo love a party (sarcasm) and I couldn't wait to go be social with people I've never met (more sarcasm)...especially since we were having this opulent to-do at the local bowling alley. Mmm, cigarettes, beer, bad music and the gene pool the size of Barbie's tea cup.

Stepping into the place I felt as though someone had transported me to the Wal-Mart in Livingston, Texas. Well, minus the cigarettes 'cause you cain't smoke n ther.

I kept hearing Hobson's voice from Arthur saying:
"Normally, someone would have to frequent a bowling alley to meet someone of your stature."

All joking aside, everyone was very nice. The mother of the birthday girl and I talked almost the entire time. I found out that she has an autistic son as well and that common bond became the instant ice breaker.

Whenever she was busy with the party I was able to people watch,
which I tuly love. I would share all the lovely details, however I have gone on rather long. And once again I have no pictures. Stupid camera. Oh well, it's probably best. No use subjecting you to the images that are seared into my brain.

And now for a few unrelated items.

Miss Jessica and Miss Sharona have both tagged me for a meme. I have not forgotten. I promise I will rise to the occasion soon.

I've added a few new blog friends to the left (sing it Beyonce'). I do hope you visit them for some insightful reading and some good laughs. If you are not added, and would like to be let me know! I didn't leave anyone off out of dislike or shame. Just unsure of their willingness to have so much traffic once I link them '
cos I iz pop-u-ler. I am also so very delusional.