Monday, June 30, 2008
No really. I want to post something cheerful, and I have a million pictures to share, but wouldn't you rather hear from the real me? (That's your cue to turn back now).
I woke up to this email :
"bad things are happening.
i need to call you as soon as i can, so be ready.."
From Son #1.
The child who may or may not turn 20 this summer. It was sent at 4:35am my time, and I responded by 7am.
And then I waited.
And then I sent this:
"In the future:
could you please at least summarize what you'll be calling about, because as you let me sit, I am imagining every bad scenario there is. Remember recently when you sent me information on what stress does to your body? Well I suffer with stress too. I have stresses you don't even know about, so if there are bad things happening, spit it out so that I can start processing it instead of sitting here worrying while you are probably asleep."
And then I waited.
I didn't go shopping. I didn't leave our house.
Maybe I should clarify why I would sit around at a young man's beck-n-call.
I have hinted at this in the past, only hinted because I didn't feel like it was appropriate to sling mud on my blog. I'm slinging now. Forget slinging, I'm wrestling in it-- me and all my size 14 glory.
J1 is involved with a girl whose parents may be a few fries short of a Happy Meal. The Dad is the one that frightens me the most. By 3 pm today when he still hadn't called, I was pretty sure the Dad had killed him. Even though it was only about 8am his time.
I took a break from email watch to fetch the other boys from school and when I returned, I had email!
Only, it wasn't from him. It was a NASTY gram from someone I consider a pretty decent friend.
I have to explain more... (read my mind will you, my hand is cramping).
When Son #1 no longer had a job and was forced to look back into college, he just packed up and went. No job, no home. Truthfully, he drove over to check out the school, talked to a few people and then decided he would do it. Within a couple of weeks. This friend of mine offered him a place to stay. I assumed it was until he got everything lined up and got an apartment.
I encouraged him to hurry, not take advantage of their generosity, and then I talked to the Hubby about maybe slipping her and her husband cash to cover any additional expenses he would cause.
I didn't ask her to do this.
Maybe she somehow felt she "owed" it to me, since we flew her over here to England.
Yes, that's right... I emailed her (when Hubby was playing Army) and told her I was about to have a nervous breakdown and she replied, "I'll come over, I have time off for a family reunion, but I'll come help you instead". I was so thrilled she would do this for me. The Hubby emailed, "I'll pay her way if she can come help you".
When I suggested that to her, she said, "I'll pay half".
Isn't that great?
And then she asked us to book it since she couldn't. And then she bought a business. And then she was broke (could no longer pay half), regretted telling me she would come (she really wanted to be there to gear up for the business she'd be taking over), spent the entire time wanting to be in contact with her husband (to discuss the new business) and wanted me to drive her to charity shops (to get the scoop on them-- yes, she bought a charity shop).
She informed me she wasn't interested in seeing sights, "Been there, done that," and so my children, who were without their father and pretty near without their mother spent the beginning of their summer break sitting in the back seat of a car while I drove her to shops.
But I'm not bitter. Because she was my friend and even though she didn't come over to give me a break and help with the kids, she did think about it and it's the thought that counts.
So the email I got today?
She informed me that the girlfriend's bipolar mom has been calling her house and "J1 has done this and J1 has done that"-- a smear campaign like you have never heard.
Whether or not my son is a childmolestingpornstarpyschoticabuser or not (and he's not-- I just picked those words), would you email a friend like that?
Can I go back a little further? Like how my entire family lost our safe-haven, our comfort zone, our refuge from the world because we gathered behind her son when he went head to head with our Bishop? How we stood next to that family as they took on the Stake Presidency and later the Mission Presidency? Never in a hundred years would I have said, "Friend, you need to slap that rebellious kid up-side of the head and tell him as long as he's living in your house, he needs to abide by your rules and your rules are: 'Take the stinking face piercings out, put on a white shirt and go to church' ".
Nope, didn't say that at all.
But today she informs me that my son is the vilest human being ever (because Psycho Mom said so) and they need him to move out now. Via email.
I am 5000 miles away. I am in a different time zone.
He, on the other hand, is right down the hallway. She couldn't tell him that?! When she was the one who gave him the place to stay?!
So. I spent the day angry, sad, hurt, angry, frustrated, and worried. I snapped at children that had no idea what was going on. I cried at my husband. I left one nasty message each for thoughtless friend and bipolar Mom. I relocated my son to another state. Yes, an entirely separate state.
All from my quiet little village in England. This pretty much could be the season cliff hanger...
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Scrolling Saturday, a lovely way to reintroduce our posts that came in under the radar. Created by Such Simple Pleasures and Manners & Moxie. Click on the button to go to their links.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
This morning, determined NOT to be addicted to blogging, I decided I would only pull in my email and then shut this Mac-baby down for the day. Things never quite work out how we plan, do they? (Yikes, I just did the British "question thing!" how funny).
Any who, I had an email from Heidi, of Muddy H2O.
I discovered MH2O through one of my favorite blog sites, Getinthecar! Jen was having a give-away for a Chocolate face mask and well, if there's anything with chocolate involved, you can count me in! I immediately went searching for a place to order.
Living overseas can really be a great experience. However, when you're longing for a taste of home or in need of something that you can't find here, things can get a bit frustrating. Few places will ship to an APO address. What APO means is, you post the item to me. It travels to NY where the military takes over and sees it to it's final destination. You don't pay any more than if you were shipping to your Grandma, but you do have to fill out a customs slip-- which is mostly a check-the-box-and-sign type of form. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out, but it does take extra effort. Many Ebay sellers won't ship to APO, Target has never shipped anything to APO, Amazon can't send electronics or gourmet items (so much for belonging to the "Hot Sauce of the Month" club) and I once spent an entire day uploading 600 pictures to Walmart only to be told at check-out that they wouldn't ship photos to an APO. You try to figure why.
So, when I contacted the MH2O company directly and asked how I could get my hands on a chocolate Muddy, Heidi told me she would ship it to me personally-- in support of my husband serving in the military.
Regardless how you feel about the war or anything else with the military, you need to know that on a regular basis, we are bombarded by negativity from total strangers. Once on an Amazon chat, I noticed some idiot taking a verbal punch at a Veteran and even though I normally don't get involved with chats, I felt like I needed to this time. Needless to say, he then attacked me with comments about how joining the military was our choice or rather maybe we didn't have a choice (inferring I had a lack of education). Whatever, Einstein.
We did choose the military for reasons I won't go into here, and it's not always easy. The 15 months we have lived here in England, my husband has been away in one place or another for more than half of it. He has missed several birthdays, 4th of July celebrations, Thanksgiving, "Firsts" (like first day of school for two kids, baby milestones for two babies, teenage 'firsts' etc...). He has been gone when the house needed repairs, the tires have gone flat, vehicular accidents and most recently, for the High School Graduation and overseas move of our teenager.
I am proud of him. He works hard, loves his family and loves his country. So I really like people like Heidi that recognize him and the sacrifice he makes in serving our country.
Today's email from Heidi went something like this:
"I mailed your box this afternoon. I ran into a little wrinkle when I attempted to ship the package. I naively believed that if I sent your package via an APO address and you were an American citizen then the package would not be considered "export merchandise". Hooooo Weeeeee..... " "I got from the clerk a big, fat "You can't send this, Lady!"
'So, instead. I sent your package as a gift. Your Visa number has been shredded and will never see the light of day again. Please accept this gift from Muddy H2O as our show of appreciation for your husband serving in our military and your hard work at being "Mom" and "Wife". You deserve a little chocolate pampering.' "
Wow. I almost cried. I immediately thought, "What can I do to repay this lady who has never met me or my husband?"
And then it came to me.
All six of you reading this blog, no pressure, but what I am hoping you will do is 1.) If you've EVER done a facial in your entire life, would you please support this company and try one of theirs? They even have single packets, so you don't have to break the bank with this. and 2.) Could you send the link to every warm-blooded being you know so that THEY will support this company? They have retailers all through the West (that will ship to the East, not sure about Canada though, Tara).
If you're not sold on this product, click here to read Jen's account. Her HUSBAND noticed.....
Friday, June 27, 2008
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek
February 2005. I am sitting in our "Formal" living room in Alamogordo, NM. Alone.
With HUGE news that I couldn't share with anyone. So I captured the moment, to share later.
Maybe the next photo will shed a little more light....
We had orders to move to England and were in the giddiness period of planning all the things we'd do and see -- with our four children, the last now house broken and more independent.
The Hubby decides that it is absolutely the time to visit the snip doctor, "I can just see us getting over there, you getting pregnant and then not getting to see England".
His timing never has been stellar.
I had this crazy dream. I woke up, shook it off and went back to sleep. I had it again. This time when I woke up, I knew I was pregnant. And knew she was a girl.
The Hubby also said, a few times in the past, that I "always tell (him) about the babies too early" (and as long as I live, I will never understand that comment-- it's your child, you want me to tell you when I'm screaming in the delivery room?), so I didn't tell him.
I took two tests. I went to the base clinic for a third, a blood test. And then I sat. and waited. He's lucky I was about to burst and gave him the news on Feb. 14th.
My next choice was April Fool's Day.
After a few minutes of hysterics (he thought I was telling him the funniest joke I had ever played), he asked me "Are you ok with this?".
I was. I was giddy. A new baby to add to our lives.
And today, as this little blessing has ripped apart two books; dumped out an entire box of packing peanuts; stepped in and then sat in dog poo just before we had to leave to see A2 get an award at school; destroyed the morning breakfast table that I am STILL trying to get cleaned up and is currently wrestling me for the keyboard,
I am trying to remember that joy.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
This image really struck me as being representative of what I sometimes do with my life. Especially after a long winter with very little sun.
I get stuck in the mud, waiting either for the high tide or a storm to push me back to where I need to be.
Have you ever noticed how some of your defining moments can be traced to forces beyond your control? Some of the choices we made in life, weren't really choices at all.
The Hubby and I talked about these stranded boats, wondering if people have to get up really early to catch the tide before it goes out-- but then realizing that they don't have a way back into the bay until the tide returns....
So I guess the question is,
Wrap your mind around helping today and check out The Color of Home
Monday, June 23, 2008
A little wave chasing,
some sight seeing,and a lot of picture-taking (surprised?).
You don't really think this is ALL of the pictures I took at Wells Next the Sea?
and no, I am not sun-drunk, leaving out "the".
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I used to teach Gospel Doctrine (Sunday School). I taught it in Missouri, the Azores and New Mexico. I love teaching.
I would prepare by:
Reading the scriptures. Reading the lesson. Pondering the lesson. Re-reading the scriptures that applied to the lesson. I'd print out selected readings that I would have individual class members read, and prepare questions to ask. And pray. a lot. My class is more of a directed discussion than a teacher/student scenario.
When we moved here, we sat in our new Sunday School class and watched the teacher weave in and out of the scriptures, pulling in threads of world history and adding relevant linguistic touches. We'd leave her classroom blanketed in the understanding of something previously elusive to us.
When this teacher presents the New Testament, she comes laden with engaging details to set the stage for whatever scriptural account we're studying. She brings pictures, drawings, charts-- whatever it takes to break into our child-like minds.
Ours isn't a quiet church, but you won't see us standing and applauding or rolling on the floor-- that's usually reserved for the 4 and under crowd. However, a few of her lessons have made me want to jump up and shout, "Amen! "and "Encore!" She's brilliant.
And best of all,
So imagine my reaction when I was approached by the Sunday School Pres. and asked to substitute for her class for two weeks. And my day was going so well....
And while we're on the subject of pronunciation, Americans should NEVER say "cheers" while in Great Britain. It just sounds stupid.
The cows were quite out of it for a while.
They nearly slept 24 hours straight.
Just like when Son #1 came home for Christmas and couldn't pull himself together for three days (resulting in Miss Ky's terrible accident
when I was forced to entertain her, record one
kid in a mini-play and another playing in the band while A2 was trying to join his class in the ceremony-- Son #1 could've watched her nap while I did all that).
But today, my guests were up for the school fete.
It was fun seeing them discover this little event and reminded me of my first experience with it.
The Hubby was deployed, and there were signs everywhere, in each village, advertising that village's Fete.
I had no idea what that meant, so I went to my local Post and asked a lady about it. She told me that it's a little gathering of sorts were there's cakes and a Tombola (tom- BOWL-ah) to earn money for the village. And she taught me how to say it. Which was nice. Nothing like looking like a foreigner 24/7.
I missed several different village fetes (I lived in the country, so no specific village was "mine"), but I did attend the one at the school.
Yeah. So basically, it's a chance to donate stuff you don't want for the kids to sell back to you; an opportunity to bake cookies and cupcakes to buy back and a chance to buy nice things for them to offer up for the Tombola prize. They also have a raffle, and yes, you can donate things for that as well.
Fred and Bessie checked out the coffee set-up first.
Not that they wanted coffee, they just wanted to buy the cups that had cream in them.
Next, a little sugar.
Silly cows. Milk with sugar in it-- have you ever heard of such a thing?
I feel bad for all the good eating they had with Mental P, because here, they've thrown all caution to the wind.
have you not taught them that video tapes are so
yesterday (not to mention they won't play on our player)?
Luckily they haven't converted their money yet, so I did talk them out of the tapes (they wanted to buy Kung Pow-- worse cow movie ever).
They enjoyed the band. J2 plays the trumpet. Fred and Bessie wanted to try it, but funny little things, they were blowing into the wrong place!Look at them sneaking into Ang's coffee. If I wasn't so funny, I might be a little embarrassed by their naughtiness.And for tea, we had a British classic. Well, two really. Just for them. We had Bangers and Mash (sausages with mashed potatoes) and Toad in the Hole (sausages in a yorkshire pudding--remember my experience with pudding?-- and brown gravy).My arteries are screaming just looking at the pictures.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
How fun is that?
I get to take photos and then bore you with my knack for verbose storytelling.
wait, where are you going?
Driving down one of my narrow little country roads, I decided to capture forever something I see regularly. Sometimes these birds are so numerous and so loud, you have to look over your shoulder and see if Alfred's lurking close by.Ever see The Birds with Tippi Hedron?
Well I did, several times along with Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte, Night Gallery and the Twilight Zone. What WAS my mother thinking?
Every afternoon, I'd lay on the sofa next to her for a nap and drift off to sleep by the gentle soothing sound of... Dark Shadows.
Wow, no wonder I'm weird.
Seeing all of these birds makes me think of that movie no small child should watch,
but it also takes me to a time when it was just me and my mom.
Afternoons were ours and she didn't waste them away cleaning toilets or
making sure faucets shined.
I could learn a thing or two from her.
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek
Friday, June 20, 2008
Remember the last time this author kidnapped me?
She's done it again. I've neglected my blog (sad). my family (sinful). my laundry (and this is bad because...?).
I'm almost finished.
Grab yourself a good book and a yummy drink and let's catch up soon.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
How do we determine the people we let into our lives and the people we shut out?
There's a couple at church. They're in their early 60s and I may have never given them anything more than polite greetings on Sunday and generic salutations at Christmas (by signing the entire family's names on a card). But one Sunday, the man stood by me and my newborn baby and commented how he was dying for a hold.
I guess I should mention here that I am slightly germaphobic. Yes, I am the mother that smiles as the boys' friends run in and out of the bathroom, but secretly steps in behind them to do a quick Clorox wipe of the faucets and door handles.
Don't lie, you do it to.
Oh, you don't?
Anyway, babies 2-4 were wrapped in a plastic bubble before anyone was allowed to touch them. We had hand sanitizer on every flat surface and required people to use it before touching our baby. ABSOLUTELY drove me NUTS when total strangers would "pet" my babies-- by grabbing their little tiny hands-- you know, the precious little hands that would instantly go to the baby's mouth. I even had a man put his finger in my baby's mouth once like he was offering a paci!
Deep breath and pull yourself together, J.
So, to this silver haired charmer, I offered up my precious bundle. But he refused, saying he always lets his wife have the "firsts".
She drives the new car first, she operates the new appliance first, she comes first in his life. Intrigued, I stood there and talked to him and found out quite a bit in a little time.
Eventually, they both had their holds, and Miss Ky wrapped that poor man around her finger.
He didn't stand a chance.
These people have become important figures in our lives. People that we're genuinely happy to see when they stop by without ringing. They're the first people we think of when planning anything fun.
There's another couple. Younger, closer to our ages. They are thoughtful and ask when we're absent from church. They invite us to dinner. They want to get close to us. And for some reason I dread doing anything with them. I then feel guilty for feeling that way, which makes me NOT want to be with them that much more.
One night as we were driving over to their house, my husband nailed it when he said, "I'm just not drawn to them". It's nothing they've done.
So, why is that?
The first couple knows more about us than some of our family members. The second knows nothing. And many other "friends" have been kept at that same arm's length.
I've mentioned once that there was an Oprah show on friendships and she mentioned that YOU have to take it to a deeper level by opening up. I tried it once with a couple we instantly clicked with. I couldn't wait to get a phone call from J.E.. We did several family things together-- our husbands chatted and our kids played together while we laughed hysterically.
Then she went on vacation. And left me alone. And when she finally came back, she didn't call.
I heard that her van had broken down, so I called and asked if I could take her to get groceries. I got a polite, "No, really, we're good and the car will be finished today". She stopped calling. This was a woman who would call in the morning and talk for two hours and call in the evening after the kids went down. And yes, I called too.
I started seeing her out with a new friend. One that had moved in, just two doors down from her. They began spending every waking moment together.
I was crushed. I had been replaced and had no idea why. The dumbest part was that I had friends. Several GOOD friends, that I had neglected during this "friendship fling".
That's why I'm hard to get to know now. She struck a nerve in my self esteem that to this day has never been completely repaired. I reached out and allowed a friendship to really develop, only to be dumped like a flavour of the month. I had rejected others in the process.
Ironic, isn't it?
How I've just opened up and shared with you. People in countries (ok, states) I've never visited, and faces I may never see. (but some I hope to)
How about you?
Do you keep some people at a distance but then inexplicably let others in?
Are you more real out here than to the people you interact with daily?
If so, Why?
What are you afraid of?
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
We stopped into the Mickey D's to grab a CHICKEN lunch and they were immediately drawn to this sign... I didn't have the heart to tell them what it said. They thought it was a travel poster.
On the way home, they really wanted to see everything, so I hope Flea forgives me, but they didn't wear their seat belts for a little while...
They're really excited about this Dinosaur Park and want to go...
After we got home, they went off to sleep. And missed tea. and breakfast. They're really tired!
If I have this much fun with visiting cows, imagine the fun you and I could have if you'd JUST BITE THE BULLET and fly over for a cuppa! (and cream tea AFF)
Monday, June 16, 2008
Fred and Bessie from Formica Fields (and Flea's World [for background info on these guys, check out her side bar titled "Bessie and Fred"], Dyln and Mental P Mama at Mental Pause).
They weren't shy at all like I had expected after reading of their travels around the U.S.-- could be because they've traveled for 5 days and are extremely tired.
The Hubby decided they should have some tourist photos snapped right away, and Miss Ky had to give them a proper welcome with lots of kisses (poor cows would've been frightened if they weren't exhaustion on eight legs).
Dang, she blinked!
He doesn't get jet lag. He's still young and fit. He manages well on little or no sleep.
It was time to let them rest--
much to Miss Ky's dismay, she wasn't finished kissing.I'm going to notify Flea that they're here and safe, and will post more after they've had a good kip. I hope they're awake for tea!
Friday, June 13, 2008
Our friend Kathryn has made the cut several times for her great posts as well as my newer friend, Woman in a Window.
David even allows you to nominate a post. And I did.
But he's probably going to ignore me and not list it.
So I'm going over his head.
I'M doing a PoSt of ThE dAy.
And, you can find it here. now go. read.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
You can reach me on an airplane, you can reach me with your mind
You can reach me by caravan, cross the desert like an Arab man
I don't care how you get here, just- get here if you can" --Brenda Russell
I wonder why she left out "red double-decker bus" maybe it's hard to rhyme...
Watch your step, you don't want to imitate "While You Were Sleeping"
taking photos of tube adverts.
This is how the Hubby and I travel. I'm like a third-world inferior wife keeping a certain distance from her Husband.
His legs are longer, and I'm dealing with an impairment that keeps me from walking quickly (you know, camerahand)
Well that's it (not really, but that's all I'm subjecting you to). It's time to return to my sharp, distinct writing style... fine, it's time to begin rambling again. Cut a girl some slack....
yes, you guessed it-- The Telectroscope!!
Oh, you didn't guess it? nevermind.
I was just attracted to the Zoltar-looking thing and wanted to feed it pound coins so that I could take pictures of it, but it actually gave us a ticket to look through the telectroscope. How cool (read: silly) is that?!
As we were approaching it,
THIS is what he was trying to tell me:
"LONDON, England (CNN) (click to see the whole article)-- As the first splinters of sunlight spread their warmth on the south bank of the River Thames on Thursday, it became clear that after more than a century, the vision of Victorian engineer Alexander Stanhope St. George had finally been realized.
The Telectroscope lets Londoners and New Yorkers see each other in real time.
Since I had tuned out of most of what he said, I approached it a little confused. I actually thought he said it was a video RECORDING, not a live video feed, so I was getting a big kick out of the people waving and making silly faces into the wrong end of a giant telescope.
I finally caught on when the man in NYC was mimicking what we were doing on our side.
You know what really gets me?
We paid £1 each to stand in front of a big Telescope lens and make fools of ourselves,
but in America, they were just walking right up to it.
That's just wrong.
Oh wait, I am one.
Somebody left this stuff just laying around, so we straightened London up a bit before we left.
Remember the news story about the person who bought the Starbucks coffee for the car behind them and how it went on throughout the day?
We thought it'd be fun to start an ice cream "Pay it Forward", buying the a cone with some syrup and flake for the next customer. This guy didn't know what to think. He said something like, "I am meeting the most interesting people here today!" and was a little flustered by our gesture.
We told him to just tell the person that some Americans had already paid for the ice cream-- he said, "They'll want to know your name, do you have a blog?"
do I have a blog? Hah! I whipped out my camera and said, "Yes! Can I take your photo for it?!"
Hah! It is a sickness, this camerahand....