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!