Thursday, August 30, 2012

Can you say M.V.P.?

Just got this email from the football coach:

I have to tell you: John is doing so well in football. Great attitude, great effort and great skill. The long run he had in the game...that is the first time in 1+ yrs we've had that play in our book that we've had someone run it correctly. I love having him on our team. 

After practice on Tuesday, he asked "can we do our thing where we all get together and say our team name?" I didn't know the boys liked that. Really pleased me to hear him ask for that. So we got together and John got to count us down. Awesome.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Week in Pictures

I'm halfway moved in to my new former-mall office.

I unload this everyday from my car.
I found Lightning McQueen living in Sam's toilet with one headlight out. 
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Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Glendaddy!

We won't say how young, exactly; however, we might hint that it's an odd number between 75 & 79. 

We all love you, but the boys idolize you.  After all, you have a tractor, a lawnmower, and guns.

I'm so happy you're my daddy.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Repaving the Road to Hell

Can I propose that we change an old adage? Do I have that authority? See, here’s the thing: I think a lot about the road to hell. Hear me out. I don’t think a lot about hell. I just think about the road that leads there, and I think that limiting it to being paved with “good intentions” is a little bit myopic or narrow-minded or hindsight’s-20-20 or something. There are a lot of things that lead to hell. Whether that’s hell on earth or The Other One.

Why do I spend so much time thinking about what it feels like to be miserable? Because I’m perky, fun, optimistic, all that. But in addition to those things, I’m also kinda stupid and self-centered, and so, I find misery in small things. Which people warn you about; they do. Don’t sweat it, they say. It’s SMALL. It’s not important. It’s not even about you.

But here’s what they don’t say: The small, unimportant things make up most of your life. They make up 90% of your day, your week, your month. The 10% of your life that is … let’s see … what can we name it … exciting, fun, happy, smooth … is the stuff that’s truly small. I mean, in terms of time spent actually doing it, it’s small.

Today I experienced – all day, not just once – numerous events wherein my assumptions caused me a lot of misery. And if you look up “miserable” in a thesaurus, it’ll probably list “in hell” as a synonym. Especially if you look in The Thesaurus of Terms Primarily Used by Melodramatic Middle Class Moms, which is my go-to guide.

So, back to my original rant … This whole thing about the road to hell being paved with good intentions is crap. The road to hell ain’t paved with any one thing. It’s paved with a lot of stuff. Perhaps good intentions are part of it, but I’m in my mid-30s now, and I doubt there are very many good intentions left in the world in general. But I don’t doubt the road to hell, so I’ve decided I need to repave it because the infamous good intentions have developed pot holes and cracks, and I want to give those blemishes – or at least one – a name.

Here I go …

One of the primary ingredients that make up the road to hell is ASSUMPTIONS. (Good assumptions & bad ones both count.)  

Why do humans still make assumptions? Shouldn’t this proclivity have been naturally selected out of us? I mean, think about it: About whom do you make the most assumptions in your life (stereotypes notwithstanding)? 

 We assume the most about the people we know (and love) best.

Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” –Henry Winkler

And this, my friends, is one of many things that creates misery for us. I’m here to bear witness to the fact that for me and almost every other person I talk to in depth, our personal everyday "hells" are very often caused by assumptions that something would or would not happen. Assuming that someone can read your mind, for instance. Or, assuming that people have brains in their heads. Small things, really. (See, we're back to small things again.)

I won’t bore you with a list of my stupid, horrific assumptions from today, but I challenge you to think about the last time you were angry, frustrated, or disappointed: I’d bet our one bathroom (not the whole house, mind you) that you were less-than-pleased because you assumed something about somebody or some situation that didn’t pan out.

But ...

As I sat down tonight to write, after ensuring that all boys were in bed snoring, it occurred to me that maybe the road to hell should not be repaved, but rather, renamed.  Maybe all of this misery, caused by assumptions, is not leading to hell at all.  And maybe that's why we haven't evolved out of the habit.  Perhaps I shouldn't even be writing about The Road to Hell.  Maybe it's just The Road We're On.  

I have learned throughout my life as a composer chiefly through my mistakes and pursuits of false assumptions, not by my exposure to founts of wisdom and knowledge. --Igor Stravinsky 

Now, I don't want to get all "it's-not-about-the-destination-it's-about-the-journey" on you, but it is something to think about as we move onward and upward in our non-unassuming lives:  Maybe incorrect assumptions are just life lessons.

Until we can understand the assumptions in which we are drenched we cannot know ourselves. –Adrienne Rich

Either way, I had a bad day chiefly because I assumed some stuff about some people, and I wanted y'all to know.  Because, you know, this blog is

That's all for now.  As you were.

Monday, August 13, 2012

This is my 1,000th Post.

Yes, really.  

And in honor of this, I went back and looked at the first few posts (from 2005), when a friend suggested that I get a blog.  She was probably sick of me emailing her long tirades about motherhood.  I wanted to google the word "blog," but first I had to wait for the dial-up internet to connect.

Despite the accomplishment, right now I'm feeling really sad because all of the pictures from the first few years of the blog were linked to Flickr, and I no longer keep my account active, so they're all GONE.  I've printed the first 3 years or so (3/4 paranoia and 1/4 boredom), but somehow this feels like part of my house has burned down.  The part with all the photo albums.

Luckily, I still have the electronic files.  Unluckily, I do not have time to go back and re-upload what has been lost.  Alas.

Here is a link to my first post, picture-less though it may be.

Happy 1,000th!  

Exhibits A & B

Following are the photos I would submit to prove that I am a good mother:
Prior to this, they were reading the Bible, but their mother (the photographer) was cooking a low-fat delicious dinner and missed it.
Who among you can say that YOUR kids look at each other like THIS in the car?

I rest my case.
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


Glendaddy expounds on rescue vehicles.
Just after she wrapped his wrist in pantyhose and packing tape.
Having his "treat" -- the satin edge of "night-night," his smelly blanket, which Brian recently chopped in half after dubbing it "chokable."
A kiss.
AND a hug.
They never fight ever.
The first full week of school for the boys.
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Monday, August 06, 2012

He started preschool today.

Well, the big day has come and gone and it seems that it mostly went well.

I was worried because, for the last few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion about whether or not he was going to get put in time out for saying "poo-poo head" at school.  John and I had voted vehemently yes, but this did not deter him from using the word almost constantly since Independence Day.  In fact, towards the countdown to preschool, I had been imploring him daily not to use this poor, hyphenated phrase.

So, when I picked him up, here was the conversation:

ME:  "What was your favorite thing?"

HIM: "Legos!"

ME:  "Did you say 'poo-poo head'?"

HIM: "No."

ME:  "Good!  I'm so proud of you for working hard at not saying it!"

HIM:  "I say 'poo-poo head' and teacher say, 'NO!!!!!!'"

ME: "So, you DID say it?"

HIM: "No!!!!!"

I'm still not sure what exactly happened with regard to this fun family phrase, but here's the report that came home in his lunchbox:

"Sam had a great first day.  He made new friends Andrew and Cooper, and they played in the block area during free time." (Note the correct comma usage in the compound sentence! -- a good sign indeed.)

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Uncalew's Babies

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Long Ride Home

Lewis & Joyce, 2010

One of the most easy-to-love people on Earth passed away last Wednesday:  My mom's sister's husband -- my Uncle Lewis, dubbed "Uncalew" by John-John.  He was just such a sweet, sweet spirit.  He loved his family most of all, but also his "babies" (large cows & bulls), cats, dogs, nature, friends ... LIFE. 

My sadness is big. In fact, I'm really glad I'm not working that much right now because in the last few days I've been prone to crying jags.  During those times, I'm thinking about his children (my cousins) and his wife (my aunt) a whole, whole lot.  And I think about him too, and how bittersweet it is when someone moves on and you know that it's better for them but worse for you and so many others. 

Somehow the lyrics to a Patty Griffin song come into my head everytime I think of him.  Except I want to qualify that (a) my aunt and uncle were married for more than 40 years, and (b) I'm about 99% sure that they rarely said things they wished they hadn't said.  I really think they just loved and liked each other, and had enough sense to keep their mouths shut in anger.  Married folks could learn a lot from Aunt Joyce & Uncle Lewis, I imagine.  So here's what's in my head ... Patty Griffin can almost always say everything that's already in my head:

"Long Ride Home"
by Patty Griffin

Long black limousine
Shiniest car I've ever seen
The back seat is nice and clean
She rides as quiet as a dream
Someone dug a hole six long feet in the ground
I said goodbye to you and I threw my roses down
Ain't nothing left at all in the end of being proud
With me riding in this car, and you flying through the clouds

I've had some time to think about you
And watch the sun set like a stone
I've had some time to think about you
On the long ride home

One day I took your tiny hand
Put your finger in the wedding band
Your daddy gave a piece of land
We laid ourselves the best of plans
Forty years go by with someone laying in your bed
Forty years of things you say you wish you'd never said
How hard would it have been to say some kinder words instead
I wonder as I stare up at the sky turning red

I've had some time to think about you
And watch the sun set like a stone
I've had some time to think about you
On the long ride home

Headlights staring at the driveway
The house is dark as it can be
I go inside and all is silent
It seems as empty as the inside of me

I've had some time to think about you
And watch the sun set like a stone
I've had some time to think about you
On the long, on the long
Oh the long, on the long
On the long ride home
If you want to hear her sing it, click here.

If you want to know more about Uncalew, his obituary is here.

If only my -- and others' -- memories could be so easily "linked" to this little blog ...

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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The Last Summer Hike of 2012

Today we went down to Grundy County to one of our favorite hiking spots: The Fiery Gizzard.  Most people just take Zantac if they feel a fiery gizzard, but we have learned to love it, copperheads and all.

Daddy, thank you for reading my blog, but please look away right now and skip down to the fun pictures of the boys playing in the water.

Brian and I have been hiking in Tennessee for almost ten years now, but there is a first time for everything.  And of course it comes when you have brought someone else's child and your own two on what seemed like a fun daytrip.

Not even one-tenth of a mile from the trailhead, John yells, "SNAKE!" 

(Daddy, this is your 2nd warning -- everything ended fine and so really you should just take this opportunity to scroll down a bit and look at the pretty pictures of the waterfall.)

John, literally, stopped, mid-stride, with one foot hovering above a 2-foot long copperhead


Dave (Brian's former student) had just (obliviously) stepped over it, but Eagle Eye John saw it, Brian identified it, and I photographed it while Sam said, "Ewwww."

It crossed the trail and got into leaves on the left side.  I tried to get a closer picture (me, who will run screaming terrified from a bee), but it rattled its tail in the leaves as a warning, so we all quickly walked away. 

After that, there wasn't much excitement until we reached the waterfall, which plummets on one side into a very deep pool.  The big boys enjoyed jumping (see video here), while Sam and I ate lunch, and relaxed on the far-from-copperheads rocks.

Sweet Dave
Important Discussions
Under the falls
Please don't bother to comment on my hairy, knuckle-dragger arms.  I'm already self conscious about it.  But look at that love I'm getting.  I had to document it despite the embarrassing limbs/appendages.
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Look at all the huge boys.
I took this picture because I don't want to be in denial about the fact that he may not ever sleep on one of our backs like this ever again.  
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