Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Monday, November 29, 2010

Frustration and Thankfulness

Well, it has been an interesting couple of days. Let's start with today.

Mondays are my busy day. I left work about 3:30 and drove over to Caitlin's school to pick her up and get her home earlier than the bus would. I do this because she has dance from 5:20 until 7:00. This gives her time to get her homework finished before class. On this particular Monday, I had to run to the post office store to mail two shirts to Gary that he left hanging to dry in the bathroom. James was dilly dallying while getting out of the car giving a woman with 500 packages the opportunity to get in front of us. This is not hyperbole. Picture the biggest gift bags you have ever seen. Multiply that by three. Stuff these bags to the gills with individual boxes. That is how much she had to send to BOSNIA!!! This didn't bother me too much though because I had plenty of time to go get Caitlin from the house. Unfortunately, the unthinkable happened. My son begins doing the peepee dance. I tell him to hold it because the man doesn't have a public restroom. Neither does the cleaners or bookstore. The man is the only person working in a very secure store, so my son can't even pray for mercy from the man. I keep hoping that this will go quickly. Then it happened. He wet his pants. I had to leave the store with the shirts unsent and put James in the car so he can change clothes. After that, I gave up on sending the shirts.

It became time to leave for dance so I wrangle James into the car again. By this time, he is upset because I won't let him run back into the locked house to grab a game charger. I said, "If the game dies, it's time to stop playing." This doesn't sit well with him and he throws a fit - a full on fit. I immediately take the game system from him and try to start the car. That's when the even MORE unthinkable happened. The car wouldn't start. It would make the sound like it was starting and even vroom, then it would cut off. It took me a couple of times of trying to figure out what was happening when I finally lost my cool and kicked Caitlin and the screaming boy out of the car so I could hear what the car was doing. (That is how loud he was crying.) It was no use. I couldn't get the car started. I went in and called the mechanic, but the phone rang and rang. It was only 5:05. What time could they possibly close? The ad showed they were open until 6. I rang and rang and re-rang until I realized it was futile. I then called my mother to come get me so I could use her truck to get to a doctor's appointment tomorrow. On her way there she noticed the garage bays were still open and she called me. On our way back I stopped there and walked into the garage. The guys said that the owner closes at 5:00 in the winter. Fortunately, these were nice guys. They listened to my dilemma, called the tow truck and told the driver to bring the car there to be looked at first thing in the morning. Thank goodness for small favors.
The car being towed away on a flatbed

This takes me back to yesterday, a day that puts all of my trivial problems into perspective. It is hard to see the anything other than despair when you are smack dab in the middle of it all, but I want you to listen to what happened yesterday.

Yesterday morning I got a message from a stranger on Facebook. I read it anyway. It was titled "Eileen's Funeral Arrangements." Now I know more than one Eileen so my mind started reeling. As I read the date and time and then the location, I figured out it was my childhood friend who I learned to play flute with. She and I sat together for years "duking it out" with one other girl for first chair. We were in girl scouts together, her mother our troop mom. We had the most awesome Halloween party in her parents' garage. I can still remember the bowls of ick her mother had us put our hands in pretending they were brains and intestines and such. I remember it like it was yesterday. When she moved away, I got her new address and wrote her a few times, but you know how letter writing goes. One person forgets and the other delays writing until the day that one person no longer lives where they lived before. This was long before the internet. On occasion, I would find her mom and dad and ask for her email address. They would give it to me and we would write again and then drop off again. Then came Facebook. We could look in on each others lives, commenting from time to time without worrying about remembering email addresses or even remembering each others birthdays. My biggest fear, however, with long distance friends is that something would happen to them and I would not know. I am sure it is the last thing anyone is thinking about when making funeral arrangements for a loved one. "Hey, let me get into her address book and Facebook pages and her Linkdin pages and so on to let all her 'followers' know about her passing." I remember when my dad died, I tried to contact certain people who would send it through the grapevine. I am sure there are people who didn't know and still don't know two years later that he is gone.

So back to today. I could be sitting here feeling sorry for myself thinking about the broken car, my naughty boy, my embarrassment at the post office, the pee in the car seat, or a botched errand, but I am not. I am suddenly thankful for my son who has all his faculties and my talented daughter who graces the stage bringing joy to many. (Eileen's adopted son, Polo, will never walk or be able to take care of himself.) I am grateful for having a car at all. I feel blessed to have mom who will come and get me at the drop of a hat and lend me her truck whenever I need it. (Polo will never get to a visit from his mom again.) I appreciate the mechanics who helped me instead of just saying, "We're closed." I am relieved that I already have tomorrow off because of a previous appointment. Now I don't have to take a personal day to get the car fixed.

Most of all, I am thankful for my life, my crazy, mixed-up life because there are definitely worse situations to be in. Unfortunately, it took the passing of a dear friend to help me recognize it.

Dear Eileen, I miss you so much words cannot explain. I am thankful you were not alone at the time of your passing. I am thankful that another person named AnneMarie was at your side to hold your hand. Were it not for this mysterious AnneMarie that no one can figure out who she is, I would not have been notified of your passing. (Everyone thought I was the one with you...Oh, how I wish it were me.) I don't know what else to say except, we were supposed to be friends forever. Your were my favorite person to compete with for first chair in band. You weren't supposed to be the first to do this. I will miss your smile, your procrastination, your tech tips. The world is a better place because you were here but a sadder place because you are gone.

Love, Annemarie
NOTE: I have since found that AnneMarie was actually AnnaLouise. 12-1-2010

Girls skipping at an athletics carnival
I can't wait to jump rope with you again.

(Photo courtesy of Powerhouse Museum Collection)
public domain


Have you seen me??
Christmas 09-16

Or us??
December Daily 2

These little characters have decided to take a holiday from my living room. I have no clue where in the garage they are as my husband is in charge of putting them away each year and pulling them out. All I have so far is a my fully decorated Christmas tree.

So if you see these rascals wandering the highways and bi-ways, please tell them to come home. We miss them.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Some Yummy Food and Pie Review

Being the organized woman that I am, (I hear laughter out there) I had everything ready yesterday for today's Thanksgiving meal. I tried a precooked turkey from the local grocery store. They also provided the pie. We had the traditional green bean casserole, cornbread dressing AND the best sweet potatoes that ever have graced a Rodriguez-Victory table if I do say so myself. All of these were prepared yesterday, ready to go in the oven right after the turkey. Man, I was on top of it. It made for a lovely table and a great meal.

Yes, there is turkey at this meal, but it's waiting for a serving dish.

James is determined to eat this leg.

(Please note the clean windows and sills for my mom.)

The piece de resistance should have been dessert, but my shortcut fell short...according to my five year old who begged for pie before dinner even started. I think his teacher must have talked about what you have at Thanksgiving dinner. He even ate things that would have never crossed his lips just to have the right to have dessert. To put it lightly...he was disappointed. But don't take my word for it. Hear it straight from the horse's mouth.

At least there was ice cream. I am going to let him make some cookies this weekend to make it up to him.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to take a moment to be thankful before I start worrying about clean houses and such.

I am grateful...
...for two healthy kids
...for a roof over my head
...for a car to drive
...for a working kitchen
...for a job I love be living in the best state in the US. (We will see how I feel next Thanksgiving when I live in Missouri
...that my husband was able to come home for two weeks.
...that my class size is shrinking
...for a generous mother
...for a decent camera (Took this photo Wednesday morning)
Birds On a Wire - Red
...for friends who love to chat over wings and a drink
...for short lines at the grocery store two days before Thanksgiving
...a beautiful sunrise
Sunrise - sorta

I am sure I could go on, but this short list has already lifted my spirits and prepared me for the wonderful day that is ahead.

Hope you all have a great day, especially those celebrating Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Be Happy Anyway

THANK YOU EVERYONE who left kind words this week after my visit with my mother. She is a loving mother and would never intentionally say anything to hurt me. I think most of us are that way. Words come out and we don't realize the impact they have.

I have decided to take on the another challenge from Brave Girls Club. It's a simple one...I am going to BE HAPPY, regardless of the things life throws at me. If I continually tell myself to BE HAPPY I can't help to be so.

I am a good mother, a good teacher and a good friend. I keep my children and students first. (I know I should remember myself.) But their success is important to me. It is mark of what I do. I have had very successful students come back and tell me how important I was to them. It's something you don't necessarily see when you are getting on to them for using unkind words or for forgetting their homework, but everything I have done over the past 12 years has impacted someone in someway.

Scripture from The Message: James 1:2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Scripture from the NIV: James1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

It's because of this that I will have to remind myself to BE HAPPY ANYWAY.

Head on over to The Brave Girls Club (You can click on the photo above) and tell them how you go out and be amazing.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

21 Challenge - A Tidy House Continues

Well, the house is still clean. (In my opinion.) I was able to invite my mother over for Gary's birthday. I baked a cake the night before and left no dirty dishes in the sink. I came home from work and iced the cake. That didn't go so well, but that was just a problem overly soft cake (tasty) and overly soft icing (yummy) pushing the cake all over the place.

By the time my mom got to the house, I was feeling okay. But when we sat down, I could feel her prying eyes, noticing the finger marks on and around the light switches and the piece of wrapper my son had left on the floor. She even went on about a story of friend who had bought her son and daughter-in-law a VERY nice dining table only to have the inconsiderate DIL use it for a craft table and destroy it. She went on about how bad their carpet looked and so on. Now, I do not have the benefit having two "perfect" children as mother supposedly did. (Actually, we were just scared to do anything wrong, according to my brother.) Instead, I have a daughter who was ill as a child and threw up neon yellow medicine on my light beige carpet and a boy who loves to jump on the furniture like he is an action hero. I told her she was talking about me. She tried to make excuses that she wasn't talking about me, but knew exactly what she was trying to say.

Why do I feel I need her approval for something like this?? Is her never ending disapproval what causes me to just throw my hands up in the air and give up. As if to say, "I can never be what you want me to be, so why should I try anymore."

Today, I will say. I am good enough. I am happy with my house. I know there are things I would like to do differently. But for today??


Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Beautiful Fall Day

This morning Gary came home for two weeks. We went out to this place today:

Skip to page 9 through 12 to see what we were doing specifically.

It was fun to see the Scottish Gathering in person. I hadn't been since junior high school. The kids had a great time and Gary enjoyed himself as well.

I am just going to share the pictures and a simple caption. Following the pictures will be my progress on my 21 Challenge.
The day started off beautifully. This set of "clouds" followed us the whole way.
There were lots of dancers dressed like this girl.
This man's garb was unique compared to the rest of the Highland Visitors. (I especially love how he was color coordinated with his child's stroller.)

We ate some faire food.
And watched these men conduct the bagpipe players and drummers.
I think that man should move.
This little Scotsman stood outside the game area dreaming of the day he could toss the hammer or caber.
James found a hat he liked.
These pups had it made in the shade.
We ended the day with some ice cream at a new shoppe at home
21 Challenge:
I made breakfast - waffles and the kitchen still looks the same as when I cleaned it the other day. The living room is still clean and laundry is being folded right of the dryer. My bathroom counter is being wiped down after use. Now to work on a regular cleaning schedule to keep things from getting out of hand as before.

How do you keep up with the things that need to be done regularly around the house?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Insert Title Here :-)

I didn't know what I was going to call this so you can name it what you want.

Never have ever been more happy to see this screen:

I did something silly the other day. Every time James and I would walk into the grocery store there would be a girl dressed up like a cowgirl in front of a large display of Toy Story 3 DVDs. The store was promoting the video with a giveaway of almost $15 worth of coupons when you buy the DVD. I don't usually go for those type of things so every time I passed the girl, I just said, "Sorry. No thank you." (Why do I feel I have to apologize to people who are trying to sell me things?) Anyway, James consistently would beg for me to buy the video, but I stayed firm until about a week later when I realized that the coupons that came with the video were all for things I normally buy for James' lunch like granola bars and Gatorade along with some tissues. With it being cold season, I figured it was as good a time as any to get those too. So...I succumbed, but I hid the video from James while checking out.

Yesterday, Mom watched James for a couple of hours, so I sent the DVD with him to watch at her house as a surprise. Unfortunately, he fell asleep before watching it. Later he asked me when he could watch it. I suggested that we have a movie watching party with popcorn and hot chocolate. That satisfied him and made me happy.

Here's the silly part. Today while sitting at school thinking about how good popcorn and hot chocolate was going to be with my kiddos, I realized that I don't have a DVD player. Don't you think that is something that should have crossed my mind while buying the DVD in the first place?? Obviously not. Don't get me wrong. We have owned VCRs and DVD players but over time and through the torture of little fingers they have one by one died.

That is why after school I was standing in the electronics department of my least favorite supermegamart weighing the pros and cons of each DVD player. They had $30 ones $50 ones and then they had the one I bought for $70 that had both a VHS and DVD player in it. Now, I know that VHS is so last century but I have tons of tapes in my closet, many of which my son has not seen at all. Nothing like recycling to provide entertainment.

This is why I was glad to see that blue screen. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get the player hooked up to my television, but I did it!! Yay me!!

On to other things... How about the 21 Challenge?

Today's plan is to clean my bathroom. I have to clear off the counter. I have been using the right sink as a receptacle for all of my beauty supplies - brushes, dryers, makeup, cleansers, etc. I will have to go back to using my own sink for washing and brushing my teeth when Gary gets home tonight/tomorrow.

I am also looking to get my craft corner organized, but that may have to wait until tomorrow.

Finally.... Let's end this post with photos from the parade I took the kids to yesterday. It was much smaller than other parades we have, but nice nonetheless.

Just a closeup of my boy.

Waiting patiently for the fire truck to pass kicking off the parade.

A very patriotic truck.

No parade in our town would be complete without entries from the Bluebonnet Model A Ford Club.
Although the color guard appeared first in the parade, I thought it was fitting to end the post with them.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

21 Days to Make a Good Habit

...or to break an old one.

I have a lot of old habits. I love junk food. I hate to exercise. Well, I don't hate the exercise, I just find a lot of excuses not to do it. I am not a laundry folder, a dish doer or a housekeeper. Those three get me every time.

So when I saw that Rhonna Farrer was doing a 21 day challenge, I debated joining in for many reasons.
  1. I am a procrastinator.
  2. I found out about the challenge 7 days after it started.
  3. I have so many things to change, I didn't know which one to focus on.
  4. I am satisfied with the status quo.
  5. (That last one is a lie, but I tell myself that to make me feel better about doing nothing.)
  6. What if I miss my old way of doing things.
  7. Self fulling prophecies of failure. I have never finished anything (not entirely true) so I probably won't finish this, so I won't start it because then I won't have to say I failed at accomplishing something.
  8. I am sure there are more, but let's move on with this.
I think I am going to work on keeping a tidy house. Why this one when there are so many other options, options that seem more appealing - exercise, healthy eating, keeping an art journal? Well, I got a phone call two days ago from my husband telling me he would come home on the 19th for a long Thanksgiving break. Sounds great! I can get the house ready in a week and a half. Then he called me yesterday and said he spoke to his boss and is going to work from the office in our town for two weeks instead. Don't tell the kids he will be home THIS FRIDAY!!!! What??!!! Well, this is what motivated me to pick this goal.

I am going to clean up the current mess then set up a cleaning plan that will prevent this from happening in the future.

When I have the plan, I will share it with you. In the meantime, check out what I don't let anyone see. I figure as long as I am getting my house clean, I had better come clean.

.... off to take some snapshots to share with you....Can you tell I have a cold? This is only part of the mess....

Avoidance helps me through.

No flat surface is safe in my house.

Can you see the scrapbooking/craft storage creeping across the room?

My nest. Complete with Halloween candy. I read my mail here. Chat with my friends here. It was clean a week ago. It doesn't take long to revert to mayhem with me at the helm.

Today's agenda?? The kitchen and this pile:
Now, it is time to get off this computer and start my 21 days.

Update: 4:25 p.m. 11/11/10

Drum roll please!!!!!

Drum Roll Pictures, Images and Photos

Computer desk, vacuuming and craft corners are next...yes I said it. I have more than one corner filled with craft junk.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The End...

...of the birthday weekend.

This morning after Sunday School (we call them Connection Groups,) I ran (drove) home and changed for another day out with the kids.

Before I left, packed a lunch of little sandwiches, brownies and chips with nacho cheese. On the way out of town we stopped for drinks. (James drank his before we got to our destination.)

We headed to Pace Park in Salado. Sadly, massive flooding that occurred in September destroyed the beautiful park.

Fortunately, the stone picnic tables were high enough not to be effected, so we were still able to eat outside. I hope they get it fixed soon.

After lunch, we took some pictures and played at the playground.

Then we went shopping for my birthday present. We went to Matters of the Heart where I bought a Pandora bracelet and a purple enamel charm.
We followed the trip to Salado with a stop at the Sami Show in Belton. This weekend's show was supposed to be a big one, but I was a little disappointed by the turn out of vendors.This floor is usually packed. So not worth my time.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

And Now for the Real Birthday Festivities

Today was a super day. Polar opposite from yesterday.

I had to wake up early to get Caitlin to region band tryouts. She didn't want to go, but in the end, she made alternate which is better than nothing when you consider she didn't practice and didn't want to be there.

Then I came home and pancakes for breakfast. Simple but yummy.

Next we made brownies to be had later in the day. I threw in marshmallows and chocolate chips. Note to self, if you add marshmallows to the mix, they will dissolve into the brownies never to be seen again and will burn to the edge of the pan. Those brownies were the sweetest brownies I have ever had.
Photo taken by James.

Once the brownies cooled enough to be cut and placed on a plate, James and I hit the road for the World Hunger Relief Farm Day in Elm Mott - an hour and half drive. We were an hour behind my planned day, but it was okay.

We made it to Elm Mott by 11:15, but I missed my exit and it was one those exits that there wasn't another one for three miles. Fortunately, my phone easily gave me directions. I am not sure how much that cost me, but I made it there only 15 minutes later.

The farm was great. Each year it gets better and better. I remember when there was just a haystack building with bare walls, a barn, a milk house and sleeping quarters. It's wonderful what work can be done when people come together for a good cause. I wish I could tell you more about the farm, but it would take an entire post and then some. You can go to their site for their background. James had fun and saw lots of animals and did a fun art project.
A heart shaped rock from my son.

The art project used colors extracted from fruits and vegetables like beets, carrots and coffee.

There was also a storyteller reading a book called Tap Tap, an excellent story about a little girl working in the market in Haiti. The storyteller was wonderful. Here is a brief clip of her session. She is part of the Heart of Texas Storytelling Guild.

When we got home, we picked up Caitlin from school and then went to the German Sausage Festival at the Lutheran church in town. They have it every year on this weekend. I have NEVER gotten to go EVER! I was glad I went. It was great food. Even James ate a lot of it. The German potato salad did not go over well with them nor did the sauerkraut, but at least they tried it.
We ended our day with tasty dessert of brownie sundae, James' idea. He also told me that we were going to the farm, coming home, and playing Wii.

That's next on the agenda, so I am trying to quickly post this before 8:30 so I don't hear him say, "Hey mom, what about games??" (PS - I didn't make the deadline.)

I'd like to thank the innumerable people who sent birthday wishes today. It was fun to open my email and see all the greetings fill the inbox.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend. I am going to continue celebrating my birthday tomorrow with a trip to a craft and jewelry bazaar and a stop by a jewelry store to redeem a long standing credit for something special for my birthday. Will share tomorrow.
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