The Hard Way

I have been literally glued home this week because the car that I use is in the shop. It was broken down for a few days and then we got it in the shop yesterday. They are still working on it. That scares me.

Anyone that talks to me about this wonders if I am ok with not having a car. My dear neighbor even has offered her extra car for me to borrow in case I need it or want to go out for awhile without the kids while she watches them! Is this the American mindset? If you can't "get out" then you must feel horribly stranded and frustrated. I feel completely fine. In fact, I feel so fine that it has forced me to get the house in order, fold the laundry, read the Bible more, spend time with the kids. Maybe cars are really America's hidden evil. Now, I have had seven plus years to lament not having a car of my own to drive whenever I pleased. ---With three kids, two broken arms (my son's), two horrible pregnancies, and various other ridiculous things I endured without a vehicle. I had issues with it, believe me, but then it was also something that comforted me because I could always say no, and I did not have to go to this or that if I did not want to because you know, I didn't have a car. It was my excuse. I felt very safe in my excuse. Pretty soon friends would not bother with me because they knew that I did not have a car. True friends eventually got in my face, came over, and said, "We're going somewhere! I have a HUGE van! I can take you with me and two other families if I wanted! You're toast!"
I did receive a lot of help and am totally grateful for it.

I guess that helps me appreciate the times I do not have a car. I have no choice. I just accept the circumstances. I would rather walk to the pool anyway, or walk to the store if one was close enough (which one isn't). I literally wish at times I could churn my own butter. I have always been known to do things the hard way. I have noticed this about myself. I remember Dear Sir had put a huge hedge into our front yard at our old house. For years he kept it up but eventually he got so run down at work he got to the hedge once every two weeks. I remember getting a letter from the HOA, and from one of their random drives through the subdivision they saw our hedge slightly over-grown. "Cut the Hedge," it said. More like, (and I still remember this because it made me mad) "Cut the heage." I figured if the guy could tell me to cut the hedge he could spell it correctly too.

I resolved that I had time, I had no car, I had the resources, so I could cut the thing. Dear Sir was reluctant at first but he let me. He only let me cut the hedge if I cut it with the manual trimmers instead of the electric. He was convinced that I would cut my hand off or something considering how clumsy I am. And I was a little fearful too. We had a huge yard and the hedge covered a ton of space. It would take me forever, but I went out there faithfully every week and cut that thing down. I got sunburn, allergic reactions, rashes, and bugs in my face, but I cut the thing and actually enjoyed it. I figured that I burned calories doing this since I wanted to lose my baby fat anyway. I remember never running on a day I cut the hedge. I would never make it.

I remember distinctly one day a man stopped his car and got out with a hedge trimmer. "Umm, I live down the street and I saw you MANUALLY cutting your hedge, and I wondered if you wanted to borrow this? It would make it much easier!"

I just smiled at him. I felt really stupid. I just said, "Well, I actually have one of those in the garage, but I like doing it this way."

He looked at me bug-eyed. "Are you sure?"


"Well, I thought I would just offer..."

"Oh, well thank you so much, that is so nice."

"You must like doing things the hard way..." And he walked off.

Frankly, I'm probably just an idiot.


After Gig

The gig went really well. I was a little less nervous with my hefty glass of red wine and a bottle of water in case my mouth went dry. It always helps to sing a mellow Van Morrison song (Crazy Love) to get you warmed up. I think about the next set I was a little more nervous---I think because I messed up a bit on Blackbird but my dear guitarist buffered it up and smoothed it out, so that is what it means to have a real team up there.

We were essentially background noise. I liked it, really. I felt like a true lounge singer. The cool thing about it is that we did not stand out too much, we did not ask much of anyone, we just did our thing and people actually thought we knew what we were doing and did not look at us like we were crazy to think that we could pass as a band. I thought the atmosphere and the music itself that was chosen made the people very comfortable. I think we did a good job for the purpose.

It always makes you feel good when you sing the Australian anthem and the New Zealand anthem (probably not THEE anthems, but for some reason the two songs are very dear to these people)---it makes them cry, or evokes a sweet memory from them. An older Australian gentleman told me that I sang very well and he told me where he was from. I told him I had never been to Australia. He said, "Well you sing Waltzing Matilda like you have!"

I think that was the best compliment I have received in a long time. The people were very gracious, very generous with compliments, and I think they want us back next year.

Pretty cool, huh?

Ken, the guitarist, is already talking about doing another Jammin' Java concert. What to benefit this time?

Anyone know anyone who will listen to some of my songs on cd and give me a contract? I could use one.


Tonight's Gig

Doing the New Zealand Embassy gig tonight. I have to leave soon because we have to be there early and I live an hour away. I am a little nervous. I think I have nearly thirty songs to sing. Thankfully most of them are unchallenging so I won't wear my voice out much. I was fortunate to talk my band into playing a lot of Oasis songs. I am *supposed* to play guitar on one song (will try to get out of it if I can) just for kicks so if you read this before tonight pray for me! I like to put my full voice into a song and multi-tasking is not my thing. But I will get used to it eventually.

I will let you know if the Kiwi's liked it.


On Crack Library Woman

Before I met the "widow" yesterday, I took the kids to the library for the first time by myself. The one time Dear Sir went with us every single woman that worked there was so kind, I just had such a down home feeling. (We live in a fairly small town) So we get to the library and Eraser-Eater is eager because he has a book on hold he has been waiting a whole week for. I tell the kids to pick out a few books and the lady will give us the hold when we check out.

Finally, we get to check out. This lady who is in her forties stands there and I am trying to get my library card. I am telling her that I think the "hold" is on Eraser-Eater's card, so I have to fish to find it. She, in the meantime, silently but impatiently tries to grasp a card that is not presented to her yet, like a five year old. She reaches out for the card like three or four times, wringing her hands. Finally, she drops her hands in a huff when I don't produce in time, and at this moment I finally have the card in my hands (mind, this whole process took about fifteen seconds!) and hand it to her while she swipes it as fast as she can. I thought, "Maybe she has to pee." It gets worse.

She scans the card, gets the hold, scans it, and says, "You can just check out the other materials on this card, yes." She did not wait for me to even answer. I sort of said, "uh, ok."

The kids were all holding their own books to check out, and she raises her voice, saying, "Other materials, please! Other materials, please! Other materials, please!" as we are all scrambling around to stack the books and present them to her in time. While stacking one of the last books (and this was all in a matter of a few seconds and there were only about eight books to check out!), I look up at the woman, wondering if she is for real. She has her hands on her hips, clenched fists, set jaw, clenched teeth, and the nastiest look on her face. I could not believe it. She looks like she will explode with impatience. I hand the books to her. She takes them, slams them down, and starts her scanning frenzy.

"I'm sorry!" I say.

She completely ignores me.

She gives me my receipt and says, "There you go."

I would almost understand a fraction of this behavior in a person if say, the line was heavy and there were some tough patrons checking out books. There was not a soul there in line, I had to wait for HER to come to the desk, and there was probably one person on the computer. Just a bunch of nothing and NOBODY.

I definitely did not experience a "down home" feeling at that point.

I talked to Dear Sir about it and he said that she was probably on drugs.

I think I will call the library today to tell them that I am unhappy with the way I was treated yesterday.

I guess when I picked up how she was trying to grasp the card, I should have pretended like I was going to hand it to her and then pulled it back to frustrate her. That would have been funny. She probably would have slapped me.

LESSON: Don't act impatient. It is really noticeable.



So I took the kids to the "beach" today (we have lake access in our subdivision). There was a lady there with two girls playing in the lake. I got to talking to her and she told me that she lives with her parents in their new home on a certain street. She was telling me that she couldn't get to the pool yet because her license address is different from the one she is living in. So for the time being they spent their time at the beach. She then proceeded to tell me that her husband died two years ago and she has five kids. She told me how they met, how he died (in a car crash---she was particularly glad that he did not have to suffer) and how her life has been living with her parents. I felt so terrible for her. She stated all these things so matter-of-factly that I thought she had gotten over the grief well and became so strong.

As my kids and her kids were swimming in the lake, she got in with her girls and they started talking to her about their Daddy. The youngest said, "I remember Dadddy. I remember he had brown skin and one time he shaved his eyebrows!" Hearing this, I felt so horrible for her and her kids, so terrible that a woman and her five children had to endure this kind of struggle.

I went home with the kids because it was so hot and I gave my boys a shower together. I had to help them get the sand out of their hair. "Did you know that those girls' dad is in jail, Mom? In jail for dealing drugs!" my youngest boy shouted out.

I almost said, "but he is dead," but then my oldest son said, "And they told us that they get to see him this Christmas when he gets out, they are so excited. They said that it would be the best Christmas present ever."

I understand that her husband being in jail is humiliating. Why lie about it? Why even tell me about her life anyway if she does not wish to tell me the truth? It is not like I pressed her to tell me anything.

No wonder she took the death so well!


It Never Fails

I am not sure why but usually when things are still in the car and no one is speaking either the Eraser-Eater or my Oldest says,

"When I was looking at the trees over there, I thought for a second that I wasn't alive."

I remember the Eraser-Eater walking through the hall, giggling, and saying to his older brother, "Hey T, when I was walking through the hall for a second and I turned around that corner, I felt for a second that I wasn't alive!"

My oldest will say, "Wow! Cool! I love that!"

This happens all the time. Almost every day. It has been happening for months. What the heck does it mean?


Mole Murder

The kids were voicing to me about how "bored" they are. Seeing as how we just got back from the pool, this made me ill. So what did I do? I got out a bucket, Murphy's oil soap, and a rag and said, "mop the floor." I made them get on their hands and knees and everything. I must say my floor is nicely clean now. They actually enjoyed themselves too.

I didn't know that living out in the country was such a crazy thing. The first day we got here the kids were playing outside and found a mole. They wanted me to look at it because they were not sure what it was but I was certain that some killing had to be done. I went outside and sure enough there was a mole, just up from the surface, playing dead but twitching a little. I told the kids to wait for a minute and I went inside. I asked Dear Sir, "So, aren't moles harmful to the yard and the irrigation? Should I kill it?"

"Yes, kill it," he said.

I went to the shed and got a shovel with a point on it and went to where the mole was and where the kids were standing all around it. "It dug its way back inside the ground!" the eraser-eater yelped.

"I'll find him," I said. I dug my way a little and sure enough found him just below the surface of the soft earth. I had him on the shovel. He continued to play dead. I set him down on the ground and hacked at his middle. Blood went all over the shovel and gushed out of his mouth. More like shot out. The kids jumped back in disgust. The eraser-eater (my middle boy) whimpered a little and wailed how he thought I was being mean by killing the poor mole.

"Bad for the yard," I said, "I just bought this house too."

"Who cares about the house!"

I dug the mole a little shallow grave and put the earth back on him.

"That poor mole!" The two youngest ones exclaimed.

I felt bad but knew that it was right and meet to kill the mole. Amen.

I went inside. "Did you kill it?" Dear Sir asked.


"Good, don't tell me about it," he said.

The next day I caught the kids outside. They were all huddled around the old grave of the mole. The eraser-eater was placing what it looked like a number of rocks on the ground.

"What are you doing?" I asked, a little mad.

"We dug the mole back up and re-buried him," the boy whined.


"Yes, and we put these stones here to mark his grave so that we know where he rests," he said.

"He needed a proper burial," my oldest blurted out.

"Did you touch it?" I could barely contain my anger.

"She did--" they pointed to my girl, "but we didn't really."

I marched them all inside and told them how horrible it was to dig up some dirty animal and touch it. I made them all wash their hands thoroughly.

Then the two youngest (Eraser Eater and the girl) proceeded to take the rest of the evening to play "mole." They closed their eyes and crawled on the ground saying, "We're moles! We can't see!"

And Mommy hacks at us with shovels.


Lyrics I Will Not Sing (or I will if you twist my arm)

For my next "gig" my band and I are playing (among many other songs) a Martina McBride song. I am not a country fan, but I would like to believe that I am capable of singing a few country tunes if I have to. The song is called "I Love You" and I am sure any of you may be familiar with it. It is poppy, hip, bouncy, and hardly country. Maybe if it were more country I would like it more. I don't know. All I do know is that the past few times of singing it I can hardly get it out right. I am almost certain that Simon Cowell would say, "This song is just not the song for you. You stink. Get better taste." One would think that with my voice (not that it is some spectacular one or anything) could carry this song. I just don't think it can. The band members say it sounds fine. I think the band members sound fine. I don't.

I think I feel like I can't catch up. Yeah, it is something like that. I like sultry mellow songs---oh well.

Here are the lyrics that I can not stand: "I've known you just a week or two but baby I'm so into you I can hardly breathe..."

Look at this: a woman would KNOW how long she has known a man she can "hardly breathe" about. I determined that a man wrote that section.

Here is another lyric that I can not stand (and this is just BAD lyrics): "I never knew I could feel like this, can't hardly wait till our next kiss, you're so cool."

Oh please!!!! I thought for a little while without thinking that "cool" must have to rhyme with something because it is such a horrid line. But no, there is no real reason to put "you're so cool" in the lyric. None whatsoever. I think four people wrote this song (two men and two women) and they all had to agree that that stupid line sounded good. Come on! Wake up!

To help things out a little, the band sounds great playing this song. I think that is the only reason I am willing to continue. I have been tempted to just say gibberish instead of "you're so cool" but I realized that no one is going to notice my saying it anyway so who cares.

I think I must have a problem with particular words. Singing them and saying them. We are going to play "Moon River," which I love, but I hate how the lyric at the end says, "Huckleberry Friend." It is so cheesy and corny. I can't stand it. Morrissey (who made a recording of the song) knew well and just repeated the "just around the bend" line instead. He knew it was corny but maybe that is just because he is a depressing sort of fellow and I am probably a depressing sort of gal.

My guitarist, Ken, laughed and laughed when he heard I would not sing "Huckleberry Friend." He said my logic made no sense. I would easily sing "vegamite sandwich" in "Land Down Under" but would not sing that. My logic is correct I think. One is corny and hokey and one is funny. "You're so cool" is just stupid.


Good Riddance

So we are in the car this evening picking up a pizza from a local joint. We drive back into the Battlefield where we live and I start talking about it with the kids.

"Lots of people have died in this battlefield where we live," I say to the kids.

"Like how many?" the one who eats erasers asks.

"Oh, probably thousands, hundreds, probably," I say, not really knowing how many.

"Are there skeletons in the battlefield?" the one who eats erasers asks again.

"Oh, maybe if you dig," I say.

"Wow! I love Virginia!" he says.

"Why?" I ask.

"Because I have never seen a skeleton and I so want to see one," he shouts out, "Have you ever seen a real skeleton, Mom?"

"Actually, I have," I say.

"Wow! Where did you see it?"

"In school. Some people, when they die, donate their bones to schools and stuff so people can learn from them."

"When I die, I want you to throw my bones in the forest," he says. "Actually, I want you to bury me."

"I don't want to bury you," I say, "I want you to bury me."

"Why, Mom?"

"Because I want you to live much longer than me," I say.

"Will I probably have to bury you?" he asks.

"Oh yeah, but not in a long time," I reassure him.

"Mom, I can't stand to think of you dying ever. I swear that if you ever die, I will cry so hard I will fill the whole house with tears! You can't die! I will be so sad! I will NEVER get over it!" he wails.

"I'll probably get over it," my oldest son, who has been quiet all this time, says.


Friends and Nick Nolte

My daughter found a friend next door. She is called "Kiwi" by her family. She is a sweet, calm little girl. She is over right now because her mom is so sick with a sinus infection that she is fatigued enough to allow the Code Yellow Lady to watch over her daughter. Some people just have no idea! Ha ha.

I just never realized that my daughter was so ridiculously bossy. I have never seen her play any role except the role of the "follower" but I am amazed at this new bossy nature. She is not mean, she just has this independence and makes the decisions if she sees that they are not going to get made. I guess she gets tired of the fact that her mom has decision phobia.

Apparently Kiwi thinks that my daughter is the cat's meow though. When she knew that my daughter had begged at the door for her, her mother noted that Kiwi got dressed faster than she has ever seen her get dressed. The sad thing is that Kiwi has had no friends for a long time (all four of her years?) and she would just play with imaginary friends outside. That sounds like my daughter.

Now they have found each other.

I ran on my new treadmill last night. It about killed me. I was somewhat dehydrated, fatigued already, and I hadn't ran in over a week. I pushed myself to run a number of miles and then I couldn't keep up anymore.

Have you ever seen the pictures of Nick Nolte when he got arrested for drug possession or something of that nature? Whenever Dear Sir and I see someone with hair sticking straight out like a maniac (like one of our kids) we say, "Hey, you look like Nick Nolte!"

Dear Sir did it. He called me Nick Nolte.


Moved II

Ok. I have been feeling really guilty lately. I realized last night that I feel bad for having such a nice house! I mean, it is not a mansion, but it is totally what I would have wanted in a house. If any of you know me at all, you must know that I do not like big houses; I am a pretty simple person. I have always said that my dream house would be a small, low-ceiling English cottage with a stone floor. This house is not that, but very satisfactory, I must say. God has truly blessed us. I have a reminder to thank Him every day that I have been showered with such blessing (not that I did not before---but it is always good to have reminders because of our tendency to forget---at least my tendency!).

I feel bad for my kids a little too. I have been on the phone with utilities, constantly in need of their quiet, and busy, busy, busy. I realized yesterday when I was gone from home that I had not hugged one of them all day! I had hoped and hoped on my way home that I would not crash and die and they would have no memory of me loving them. I know, I am morbid.

I don't think my youngest son has had a bath in about over a week. He still smells ok though. I guess I need to get that done today. I am going to take them to the pool today.

The guy came over yesterday to hook up the broadband, so we are back in email mode again. The pc was down with no internet before, so that is why I have not written in a little bit. The guy that hooked us up acted like a doctor. You know how they act---they will not commit to any definite thing, they sort of say, "yeah, yeah," and flutter on the surface of a conversation rather than directly in it. I know I must sound insane. For a split second I was going to tell him to look into the medical field and then I realized that he would think I was nuts. He looked like an overweight Paul McCartney, it was weird. He would say he wanted a cable hook up and I would say, "Uh, I think on is over here."
"Yes, there sure is!"

"Well, I can pull this bookshelf out so you can get to it."

"Sure, while you are busy doing that I will go ahead and get things going outside," he sort of mumbled this like he was about to look at an X-ray or something.

He came inside to tell me everything was "as it should be" and then he started sentences off with, "What typically happens," and said "yes, yes" and "sure" in between stuff. He gave the kind of answers that did not really help. He is sort of with you and sort of not. Like a doctor. When he left you wondered what he really wanted you to do and left you a bit puzzled. You also felt like you paid him for nothing---like he didn't tell you anything you didn't already know.

I did what the guy told me to do---called the cable place to get offcially hooked up. The cable place said to me, "You mean he didn't get you going enough to get on the internet?!"

It reminded me of when the doctor would give me a prescription but no refills.



I have not written in a bit because I just moved. The people that we bought the house from left a fish for us (a fat gold one) and we named him Hemingway ("Scooby" is a detestable name). My daughter keeps calling him "Swimmingway" on accident.

I have a slew of boxes and a birthday to celebrate (my daughter's).

It is all a Hello Kitty and Barbie explosion.

I love my house.