meandering simply

Friday, February 29, 2008

heated cat

Click on the picture for the full effect.

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My Stephie Pooh



I "found" this picture of Stephanie today. Isn't she a pretty baby? I miss her so much. I've been thinking of so many things to write, I just have to sit down and write them. Coming soon: things I've been thinking about.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

research

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Canadians.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Canadians.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Canadians.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Canadians.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Canadians.

CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Mark Twain said...

I just finished a book about Mark Twain. Here are some Twain quotes that I liked.

Sometimes my feelings are so hot that I have to take the pen and put them out on paper to keep them from setting me afire inside.

Plain clarity is better than ornate obscurity.

The eye has a good memory.

Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.

He [a publisher] has been dead a quarter of a century now. My bitterness against him has faded away and disappeared. I feel only compassion for him and if I could send him a fan I would.

I like criticism, but I like it my way.

Laughter without a tinge of philosophy is but a sneeze of humor. Genuine humor is replete with wisdom.

A crowd like that can make a great deal of silence when they combine.

I was sorry to have my name mentioned as one of the great authors, because they have a sad habit of dying off. Chaucer is dead. Spenser is dead, so is Milton, so is Shakespeare, and I'm not feeling very well myself.

Mark Twain hated Jane Austen's work. "It seems a great pity to me that they allowed her to die a natural death."

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

need a doctor?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HvpRvvfc04 Thanks Mindi. This is so cute.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

shameless bragging

To: Gordon

From: ***Manager

Subject: 2007 Exemplary Performance Bonus
In 2007 you stood out as someone who made a significant and positive contribution to your department and the City of Edm. Congratulations on your exemplary performance!
Blah, blah, blah.....
In recognition of your achievement, you will receive a lump sum bonus of 5% of your salary.........
My husband is amazing. Can you believe this? This was 100%, t-totally big time surprise. I am so proud of him.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy B'day to Christopher



















A Senior Picture
Stephanie and Christopher

















Christopher and me and Steph's wedding
















Uncle Chris and Roman



















With Lucy



Today is my son Christopher's 19th birthday. My heart is elated with the man Christopher has grown to be. He is every thing a parent could want. He's kind, considerate, gentle, hard-working, responsible, and affectionate. He smiles easily and readily makes me laugh. When I think of all these traits in him, I'm delighted from the soles of my feet to the top of my head. Someday he is going to make a lucky woman a fine husband. I'm glad I can see that in his future.

I was only blessed with one son, but I'm so grateful he is who he is. He blesses me so much. Adversely I feel heaviness of heart (a gross understatement) when I consider all my mistakes. No one was more impacted by my misdirected choices than my precious Christopher. He was an innocent forced to bear the sins of his parents. I cannot express the feelings I have when I think about this. Gut-wrenching is the only word that comes to mind.

Yesterday I read an article about a woman caught in fraudulent financial transactions within the multi-billion dollar public industry company she CEO'ed. After her very public disgrace, she turned to God. It's been several years since her "fall." She says she wanted to run from her past, much like I want to run from the truth of how I hurt my Christopher. What this woman concluded was that she couldn't run from it, so she had to find a way to incorporate it into her life. She seems to be doing that. I'm trying.

I read another article yesterday too. It was a man's synopsis of his greatest regrets in and lessons from his life. He hesitated to use the word "regret" because he is totally at peace with where he is. His article stressed how he is presently the sum total of his poor and his wise choices and decisions in life. I don't yet share his hesitancy in using the word "regret" (that's because I have so many) but I understand what his point is.

With all my heart I know that God knew before he created me or Christopher what our lives would consist of. Some how, some way, even the pain and hurt are part of His making Christopher and me into the people he designed us to be. He doesn't abandon us before His work in us is complete. How does He accomplish something good out of my messes? Hell if I know. But He promises to. I believe Him and am so thankful to know He's in control of my life and Christopher's.

Christopher is one of the greatest blessings in my life. I love him more than life itself. Even now I'm thinking of some of the reasons he gives me to smile. He's openly affectionate. I love him for that. He tells a funny story. He makes me laugh. He is kind to underdogs. He puts sunshine in my life.

Before he was born God gave me a verse for him. He has so lived up to his verse. "He who has a wise son delights in him. Make his mother and father be glad, may she who gave him birth rejoice." He has given me delight beyond measure, indescribable gladness, and I know I'll forever rejoice in who Christopher is.

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family tree

Recently I sent a couple family tree diagrams to an aunt. Not having shared that information a great deal, I was puzzled that I felt uneasy. It wasn't long till I remembered an incident from my youth that explains the discomfort.

I had a second or third cousin that was into genealogy. She was from California and I met her one time. I was a child. She, a young adult, had traced our family history back a billion or so years. I was fascinated and wanted to hear her stories, which she seemed eager to share. Even as a child I was intrigued to know I had a bloodline that went way further back than just the people in Memaw and Padad's living room. I could have listened to her stories at length, whether or not I understood them.

After this cousin left my grandmother's house, I asked why no one cared about all that incredible stuff she knew. In unison all the adults in the room let out breaths of incredulous scoff. I didn't "get it" and pressed. My mom finally spoke, seeimingly representing all the adults. "Well mercy. She's traced us back to Jesus Christ."

Now I know she hadn't really traced us back to Jesus - that was Mom-ese talk for she's traced us way far back and I don't believe much of it at all. At the time, I couldn't understand why Mama wasn't excited to be a relative of Jesus.

So I guess my unease regarding sharing my genealogy research basically boils down to fear of someone saying scornfully, "she's traced us back to Jesus Christ." But for the record, I haven't. As far as I know we aren't related in that sort of way.

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job

As you may remember, I just started a new job. This is week 3. I really like it. I feel sure it was custom made for me by the Maker of the Universe. I couldn't have found a job more suited to me had I created it myself. I am very thankful.

I haven't got fully in the swing of running a house and working. More specifically, our meals from scratch are fewer. That's not good. I hope to conquer this soon, as my family members are meat and potato kind of people.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

roast beast

I just wrote something about roast beef. When I wrote it I thought I'd better capture this memory for posterity. Rachael, Hannah, and Deborah didn't know for years and years that roast beef was called roast beef. We called it roast beast like the Grinch.

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roast beef

Today I remembered this and chuckled:

You'll have to use your imagination on why I chuckled. Stephanie's afraid (and maybe wisely so) that the party I wrote about might stumble upon this blog. (No doubt when they're googling "really hot middle aged women"). So with that explanation, I'm deleting the funny story.

Sorry. (Stephanie, thanks for the head's up. I wouldn't want you to be hated. :-))

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Roman 7 months


As you may have noticed, I'm a little behind in posting. You remember I got a job don't you? I've got several stories to tell, but haven't found the time to sit down and write them. However, this new picture of Romie Boy I had the time to post. Oh isn't he a cutie? Notice that popped open shirt in the middle of his gut. Well whoever said he looks nothing like me got it all wrong. The proof is right there in the gaping shirt. I miss the little guy more than I can express. There's this country song that says (to a lover, not a baby) "I want to wake up to your sweet face every day." When I hear that song, I remember getting out of bed and walking down their hall every morning and finding Stephanie and Romie Boy on the sofa. He was always so happy and I soooo want to "wake up to his sweet face every day."

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

heaven's ducks

Three women die and go to heaven. When they get there, St. Peter says, "We only have one rule here in heaven: don't step on the ducks!"

So they enter heaven, and sure enough, there are ducks all over the place. It is almost impossible not to step on a duck, and although they try their best to avoid them, the first woman accidentally steps on one. Along comes St. Peter with the ugliest man she ever saw. St. Peter chains them together and says, "Your punishment for stepping on a duck is to spend eternity cha ined to this ugly man!"

The next day, the second woman accidentally steps on a duck and along comes St. Peter, who doesn't miss a thing. With him is another extremely ugly man. He chains them together with the same admonishment as for the first woman.

The third woman has observed all this and, not wanting to be chained for all eternity to an ugly man, is very, VERY careful where she steps. She manages to go months without stepping on any ducks, but one day St. Peter comes up to her with the most handsome man she has ever laid eyes on ... very tall, long eyelashes, muscular, and thin. St. Peter chains them together without saying a word.

The happy woman says, "I wonder what I did to deserve being chained to you for all of eternity?"

The guy says, "I don't know about you, but I stepped on a duck!"

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

this one is joan's story

My friend Joan posted this today. I laughed out loud and hope you will too.

The next time someone asks you a dumb question wouldn't you like to respond like this?.....

Yesterday I was buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for Maggie, my wonder dog at Wal-Mart and was in the check out line. A woman behind me asked if I had a dog. What did she think I had, an elephant?

So since I'm sarcastic, with little to do, on impulse, I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, and that I was starting the Purina Diet again. I probably shouldn't, I continued, because I'd ended up in the hospital last time. I awoke in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms. However, I did lose 40 pounds on the diet, so I was giving it another go.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is you load your pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete and I needed to lose a few more pounds. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in the line was, by now, enthralled with my story.) Horrified, this woman asked if I ended up in intensive care because I'd been poisoned by the dog food. I told her no, it happened because I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter's ass and a car hit both of us. I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard!

WAL-MART won't let me shop there anymore.

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pickle boy


Romie Boy loves pickles.

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fundamentalist's dating

As some of you know, my Arkansas family recently had a shin-dig for my sister-in-law's birthday. Mindi put together a lovely (so I hear) book of letters and memories for her mom. I know it must have been a wonderful evening.

Now I wasn't there for the festivities so everything I know is second-hand, so I may not have this story exactly right. You'll get the point though.

For my brother's contribution to Lawana's book, Mindi made a list of questions for him to answer regarding his and Lawana's courtship, marriage, etc... One question was about what their dates were like.

Michael responded with something akin to this: "Well I had to be home by 10:00 so that didn't leave a lot of time. And since we didn't believe in movies or dances, that didn't leave a whole lot of options. So we went parking." Knowing my hilarious brother, it was much more colorful.

(Mindi if my quote is severely inadequate, I'll rewrite this as soon as I'm corrected.)

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Tender Moments



Isn't this a beautiful picture? I love it. Meme and Pabob.

I should have given credit as soon as I posted. Mindi, my talented niece, took this picture. We're lucky to have a photographer in the family, eh?

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Lawana


Dearest Lawana,

Happy 50th Birthday. Truthfully I can’t believe you’re 50. It simply doesn’t seem possible, therefore I’ll begin by saying you are beautiful. You’re one of those lucky people that gets prettier with age.

Do you know I can hardly remember a time when you weren’t part of my life? I’ve been thinking about that for a few weeks. I remember in forth grade telling my classmates that the black girl with the big hair in high school was my sister Diane’s friend. I felt some how that I was of the exotic persuasion since I was personally familiar with a black girl. A few years later when you were Michael’s girlfriend I happily rebuked my classmates with, “She’s not black, she’s Mexican.” I was the one with the low-down on your ethnicity and took a lot of pride in that. Someone asked if I was sure your weren’t black and I again proudly declared, “of course I’m sure. She’s my brother’s girlfriend.”

Years went by… You got a job at US Motors and you often came to our house after work. About the time you should be arriving, I’d stand at the window between the stove and the TV watching for you. I loved the nights you stayed over. Life was so much more interesting with you around to break the monotony of an otherwise boring evening. We played Rummy, watched Sydney Moncrief and the Arkansas Razorbacks, and ate Mama's cheesecake. Yeah, we even ate better when you were around. I know now that us always present little girls were probably the bane of your visits, but I never knew it. Thank you for that. You were kind, gentle and accepting and although I never could have articulated it, I loved you for that. You were a “safe place” for me and there weren’t a lot of those in my young life.

Did you know that the first theatre movie I ever saw was one that you and Michael took me to? I have a feeling that wasn’t Michael’s idea of a good time. Thank you for the way you included me.

You finally married my brother and honored me by asking me to be a candle-lighter at the wedding. I was scared nearly to death but felt very honored. Thank you.

Our time together increased after you and Michael married. You were around lots and I loved that. Your presence made my life so much better. Everyone seemed happier and put their best self forward when you were around. You made our home happier.

As a maturing adolescent, you became a teacher of the grown-up things I would never have asked another soul. Again, you were my safe place. I remember you, Stacie and me sunbathing on the carport roof. Do you remember that? It was there I learned that oral sex wasn’t about talking dirty. I screamed two or three times, horrified. You laughed.

It was probably around the same time that Weatherby’s (our country “corner” store) started carrying pornography. Playgirl is the one that grabbed my attention. I’m sure you recall me sneaking around and opening one. Just as soon as I opened it, I let out a yell of horror and threw it. You laughed so hard your shoulders shook and your eyes watered. Again you were my safe place.

Years past and I finally got my first hand experience with sex. When I got pregnant with Stephanie I was so sick. I threw up constantly, or so it seemed. I remember you coming into my bedroom. I don’t know if you already knew I was pregnant or not, but I told you. You laid down beside me and tears were in your eyes. You put your arms around me. I don’t know if you cried because of the horrible predicament I was in or because I was so sick or both, but your empathy meant so much to me. You handled the situation so rightly. I look back now and marvel at your young wisdom. Thank you, Safe Place.

When I went into labor, who did I call to find out if the things happening were normal? It was you. We didn’t talk a whole lot about those kinds of things so I was uncomfortable. But again, you were safe to approach. Thank you.

Finally we were peers and I was old enough to be an equal. I loved all those times when the four of us would hang out. I never knew what I had until I didn’t have those relationships so close by. Oh if you knew how much I miss you. I’d love to have that kind of casual time again. When I imagine moving back there, one of my favorite imaginings is “double dating” with you and Michael. I want to call you up and say “you wanna go see a movie?” I daydream about things like that.

Lawana, you’ve brought so much to our family and my life. You have always been a safe place for me. You still are. Even in recent years when I’d lose my mind with grief, you always shed tears with me. Thank you.

I love you and thank God for you. You are a wonderful sister. Maybe soon we can go see a movie, just the four of us. I look forward to that.

Happy Birthday.

Love,

Valerie

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

what will I be when I grow up?



























































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smile....


it's not your keyboard.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

a compliment

I had the most amazing day. My day was amazing because it began with an amazing compliment, quite possibly the most amazing compliment I've ever received. It was so amazing mostly because of whose mouth it came from.

On the way to school my sweet Rachael (who by the way is now my favorite child until the next child matches her compliment) out of the blue said "Man, I want to be a mom just like you. I want to make my kids laugh as hard as you make us laugh."

Isn't that very very special?

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Monday, February 4, 2008

human studies

This may make you smile. It's a lesson in human behaviour. My niece Mindi posted this today. I think it is so cool and I'd love to see something like this in real life. Actually I'd like to participate in something like this, but I know I couldn't keep from smiling.

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birth control

My girlfriend Emmy (who is the same age as me) is having tests run for spots on her liver. Somehow they suspect these spots are linked to long-time usage of birth control pills. While on a walk, Emmy and I were talking about this. Rachael was with us, quietly listening in but saying nothing. Emmy talked openly about how long she'd been on the pill. To Rachael this was nearly classified as talking dirty.

Rachael came home and quickly informed Hannah that Emmy takes birth control. Hannah was close to horrified. She came to me with her most confidential expression so I'd know my answer to her question was safe with her. "Don't you think that's kind of gross that Mrs. Emmy is on birth control pills?"

Looking as non-chalant as I know how, I asked her why it was gross. She responded, "They are soooo too old for that."

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