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I'm a single mom with two great kids living near Dallas, Texas. This is my life; day to day things that are probably only important to me. This is my record of my ups, my downs and the road that I've taken along the way. For whatever reason YOU'RE here, I hope you find something you can enjoy and/or relate to. God bless.

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Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Men, take notes...

When a woman asks you to 'watch her bag'...watch her bag.

Casey wanted new shoes this weekend. The last pair of new shoes he got, not so long ago, were Adidas, made with some kind of white fabric with a few green stripes on them. I asked him at the time to get something besides white fabric. What does Mom know? Well, apparently that you can't keep white fabric anywhere near clean when they're on the feet of a 16 year old boy. I mean, they'd be hard to keep clean on any guy...but at size 15, they're hard to put in the wash and would kill my dryer. And let's face it, he's not going to clean them by hand (I think he did for the first month maybe...) and I'm not going to do it after warning him about them. Okay, I did a few times too...but do you know how big a size 15 is?? It's about a 3 hour job to clean them...would be easier to run them through a car wash.
Back to this weekend. Mark didn't work Saturday (he usually goes into the office for a few hours three Saturdays a month) so all of us went shopping. The first thing that ticked me off was when we got out of the car, Mark and the boys are walking about three feet in front of me. Yeah, okay, so I'm a bit slow because I'm still favoring my right knee. However, even if I were crawling on one knee and an elbow, they should wait for me. Walk beside me. I stop and say "excuse me", and they wait for me. They tease me the entire time, but they waited.
The first store we visited was Nike. After walking around for awhile, Casey picks out a pair. The largest we could find was a size 13. He decides to try them on, just in case they run big. My baby, the dreamer. So he and I sit as he tries them on and Mark is standing watching. His big toe cries for help as he crams his foot in. Seriously, I can hear it. But I'm a woman and we know shoe pain. (* Side note: One word...Crocs. No more pain...ever)
Okay, back to the shoe not fitting. Casey sits there, Mark stands there...like the shoe is gonna grow??? So, I tell them to watch my bag and I'll see if they carry it in a larger size. I walk around the aisle, ask a store clerk and, no, size 13 is the largest. I walk back to where we were sitting and there are strangers sitting on each side of my bag. I kid you not, I wasn't gone 20 seconds, if that long. I'm looking around to see if they're at least in the same aisle where they could keep an eye on it, but no, they're nowhere near the aisle. I can't believe they just walked off and left my bag there. I excused myself, reaching between two women and pick up my bag. So, yeah, I'm mad. And what makes me even more angry is that they just don't get it. Casey said he forgot (in 20 seconds???) and Mark just shrugged and said he didn't notice.
Men, give me a break. Would you take out your wallet (containing all your cash, bank and credit cards, license), your car keys, a $300 pair of glasses, your cell phone and all the other essentials that you carry, put them in a pile in a crowd of total strangers and just walk off? So what makes a woman's bag less important? Just telling about it now makes me angry. C'mon, the bag itself cost over a hundred bucks, not alone everything in it and considering the hassle it would be to replace and cancel everything in it. Yeah, I should have carried it with me. What was I thinking that 2 full grown men would be able to guard one small bag between them?? Bottom line, we give men way too much credit sometimes.
The shoes? Neither the Nike or Adidas stores carried shoes large enough for Casey, at least not in shoes he wanted. Footlocker and the likes carry some but not all shoes in his size. We came home without shoes. He went onto Nikes web site and most of what he picked out didn't come in sizes larger than 13. He finally bought a pair on line, for around $120. Mark can't understand why Caseys shoes should cost so much, and yet he walked off with the equivalent of, at the very least, 10 times that much sitting on a bench in a crowd without a second thought. Men...

With that said, yes, I do love my guys. All of them. But that doesn't mean I'm not tempted to occasionally smother them in their sleep.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Before you know...they're grown.

Eleven years ago, Charlie (then 4 years old) and I walked Casey into the elementary school for his first day of kindergarten. I'd been looking forward to my boys starting school so I could actually have a few hours without a child anywhere near me, and with Casey starting kindergarten...I was half way there! Yeah, I know, mother of the year... Just try to focus here. So Charlie and I are walking Casey into the school to his first classroom. I'm telling him how proud I am of him, trying to make it easier for him, as he takes off running into the classroom leaving Charlie and I out in the hall. Not even a nod of acknowledgement in my direction. I peek into the class and he's talking to other kids, no problems at all. Charlie and I start walking back out of the building when the oddest thing happened. I started crying. Where in the hell did tears come from?? I'd been waiting for this day since Casey was two days old. I'm passing people in the hall, Charlie's holding my hand, and I'm trying with every ounce of my being to keep from breaking down and sobbing like an idiot. We get outside the school and I reach down, picking Charlie up and holding him as we walk to the car. I get him settled in, I get behind the wheel and I lose it. I start crying, some might call it sobbing, but I'll deny it. I feel Charlies sweet little hand rubbing my arm. I look over at him, wiping my eyes and he said "Don't worry Mom, we'll get him back". I'll never forget it as long as I live.

Yesterday, Casey and I scheduled the classes for his senior year of high school. He's got a 3.5 grade average and only needs 3 credits to graduate, but he's going to take some electives. And yet, he'll still have 3 off periods a day. I can't believe how he's grown into such a great young man. This 6'1", 170 lb., 16 year old young man sitting next to me, teasing me, poking me in the ribs trying to get me to not take it all so seriously...this is my son. I am so proud of him. I was already in the schools library waiting for him, so I was watching as he walked in. Tall, handsome, full of confidence and such a sweet smile on his face. He didn't see me. I watched girl, after girl stop him on his way back to where we were meeting. Each time he'd give them a hug. When he got to where I was sitting, 'hey Casey' came from every direction. It's one of the few times I've gotten to see him in 'his element', and it made me smile. This is my son. As we started planning his next year, we laughed and had fun. Occasionally, I'd get serious, thinking about it being his senior year, but then he'd get me laughing by telling me that he was thinking of taking Tallenettes (sorta like dancing cheerleaders) or an aerobics class. I love this kid.

This is a picture I took of the boys on one of their breaks last year when the three of us went to San Antonio for a week. We were having dinner on the Riverwalk. I told them to lean in and let me take a picture of them to send home to their Dad. This is what I got. This is nearly always what I get. That's why, my friends, I'm so happy with my life. Casey is 18 months older than Charlie. They are the best of friends and the worst of enemies. Eleven years ago I walked Casey into a kindergarten class, or at least I tried to, as he ran into that new adventure waiting for him in that class room. Yesterday, I'm helping him schedule his senior year, preparing him for college. Reflecting back on it now, as I write this, I'm wondering who is preparing whom. Regardless of all the wrongs I've done in my life, parenting is something that I got right.

Babies Grow
Babies grow
and before you know...
they're little boys and girls.
With baseball bats
and cowboy hats
or dolls with lots of curls.

At first they cry,
then learn to whine
till a tantrum they can throw.
But you know they're good,
they just misunderstood
what you meant when you said "NO".

They try to crawl
and then to stand,
next they're walking on their own.
You hold them tight,
you say good night
and before you know...they're grown.

by me, kfmb :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Bumper Sticker

A lot of years ago, when I first moved to Texas, I pretty much came empty handed. I'd rented an efficiency apartment in Dallas, sight unseen, while I was in Indianapolis from a leasing firm. As I've written about before, I came to Texas in a small Subaru with two cats, a large dog, a few clothes, a lamp, a pillow and an outdoor chaise lounge chair to sleep on. My car was packed with this. When I showed up at my apartment in Texas, I had $13.00 in my pocket...which promptly went for bug spray.
I came to Texas because God told me to. Hey, I tried to argue, reason, I even backed out once, but this Guy just doesn't give in. So, there I was flat smack in the of middle of Dallas knowing no one, with whatever change I had after buying bug spray. The first job I applied for was a couple of streets behind me at a popular restaurant/bar and I was hired. They trained me for bartending for about an hour and set me off on my own. I had about 6 years bartending experience. From the first day there, I was making great tips, so I never really had to worry about money. Which had been my main concern, though I'd been lead to 'fear not', I was still a 'baby' Christian. Anyone familiar with that term?
Just a bit of history for those who don't know me. I was raised with never having attended a church. I was agnostic on my most spiritual days, atheist the rest. I came to God on my own without being in a church and I'd never studied the Bible. So, after becoming a Christian, finding a church (though I never met anyone in it...always the shy bystander) and studying the Bible on my own (usually with a beer in hand)...I was lead to Dallas. How I was lead, let's make that another story.
So there I was in Dallas, working as many hours as I could, meeting a lot of people, partying nearly every hour I wasn't working. I remember feeling so torn on the inside. The working and party girl...that's who'd I'd been all my life. However, it wasn't who I was becoming before I moved to Dallas, and I could feel with certainty that it wasn't who I was called to Dallas to be.
I decided I needed to find a church. I didn't see many churches, and the church I'd been going to in Indianapolis was a spirit filled church. (If you don't know what that is, again...another story, another time) I looked in the yellow pages, I looked in the paper...how do you choose? The thing here is, I am a shy person. So, this was hard for me. I prayed and asked God to lead me to the church He wanted me to be in.
One day, driving to work, I was behind a car that had a bumper sticker with the call numbers of a radio station. It didn't say what kind of station it was, but I felt that feeling that was becoming familiar to me. I wrote the numbers down, found it on my radio and of course, it was a Christian radio station. Was there any doubt? I listened to it for a few days, it played the contemporary Christian rock music that I liked. I called the radio station and told them I was new to Dallas and asked if they could give me the name of any spirit filled churches in my area. The one they referred me to was in Farmers Branch, about 20 miles away, called Word of Faith.
I started taking Sunday lunches off at work and attending the church.
After a few months, I'd not met any people at church, hadn't made any friends there (so shy), but they announced the new semester of their bible college was beginning soon. That familiar feeling thumped around in my stomach. I didn't want to go to bible college. I'd have to take days off from work, it was an extra 40 miles of driving five days a week. I didn't want to. But God is pushy with me. So, I enrolled and began bible college. I have to admit it, I loved it. I met some people, loved the instructors and all my classes.
At work, many of my daytime regulars would ask me why I wasn't there. I caught a lot of flack from them about going to bible college and bartending. I didn't understand the problem. I began to do a word study on alcohol and drinking. Took me about three days with my nose in a concordance translating, but I decided it wasn't a good witness for me to be bartending at that time. Immediately, I felt a peace come over me and I knew that it was the right decision.
The next morning I went in to work and turned in my two week notice. This was sad, because I'd made some friends there, dated a lot of the waiters and other staff... That night I went to a Wednesday night service with some of my buddies from school. This is the night that I've written about before. While I was sitting with my friends, I turned around in my seat and asked the stranger sitting behind me if he'd like to join us for coffee after the service. My friends were surprised, yeah...me too. That stranger was Mark. Mark and I were married two weeks later. It turns out that he was also going to the bible college and had seen me on the first day. He told me later that the first day he saw me he knew he wanted to marry me.

There are so many paths that cross our way each and every day. We decide which one to take, sometimes we have no idea that one path might be more important than the other. I fought tooth and nail not to come to Texas, just the way I fought tooth and nail against God for 26 years. I've learned that my way isn't the only way. One hard lesson for someone as stubborn as I am. I've learned the louder my voice is, the less I can hear Gods voice. The stronger my will is the harder it is for me to bend to Gods will. I've learned to be quiet and to listen...and to trust what I know is true. Mark and I have been married now for 21 years. We have two great teenage boys. We have had our hard times and we've been blessed.
I'm grateful every day for following what I knew to be true, that feeling I've learned to pay attention to and to follow through with. Just as I'm glad about the path that one person in Dallas took over 20 years ago to put that Christian radio stations bumper sticker on the back of their car. Would I had found the Word of Faith Church, the bible college and Mark without it? I don't know. Do you?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Poetry Monday

Hmmmm, maybe not so much poetry. Here's a couple of 'poetic scripts'. :)

A Friend
A friend is someone who gives you the time you need even if it's time they do not have to give.
A friend is someone who wipes your tears while letting their own fall.
A friend is someone who gives you what you need most, even if they need it too.
A friend is someone you can call in the middle of the night if you need to.
A friend is someone you can tell something to that you don't want to admit to yourself.
A friend is someone who will look you in the eye and see what's in your heart.
Because a friend is a partner of trust, love and devotion.
You are forever my friend...as I am yours.

*I wrote this for my friend, Mac, for her birthday.

My Sister, My Friend
My words with you are not chosen, not carefully picked, not thoughtfully considered. They flow freely from my heart.
You allow me to share myself, my worst and my best, without fear of being judged.
You allow me the freedom to laugh at myself. You have the ability to unveil the humor that life's pain and frustrations blind me to.
You share my past and my future. You understand where my fears come from and share my hope for change.
You provide the honesty I need, while still letting me know how important I am to you.
You are my buffer to reality, my shoulder to cry on.
All I have, my problems and my joys...my failures and my accomplishments, you care for as if they were your own.
And though I am thankful for both, by birth we are sisters but by choice we are friends.

Yeah, I'm beginning to think I'm really just a Hallmark wannabe.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Couple of Lists

Got this from dzer:
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Having the time and ability to do what I want.
2. What is your current state of mind? A little tired, but happy.
3. What is your greatest fear? I don't believe in entertaining fear.
4. What is your favorite way of spending time? Reading and taking pictures
5. Which living person do you most admire? My husband.
6. Which historical figure do you most identify with? Sorry, can't think of one.
7. Who are your favorite fictional heroes? Santa Claus
8. Who are your heroes in real life? Anyone who puts others before themselves.
9. Who are your favorite writers? J. Evanovich, J. Patterson, J. Grisham, C. Coulter
10. Who are your favorite musicians? You're gonna have to check my profile, too many.
11. Who are your favorite filmmakers? Mel Gibson...
12. Who are your favorite actors? Denzel Washington, Heath Ledger, John Travolta, Morgan Freeman,
13. Who are your favorite actresses? Julia Roberts, Halle Berry, Dakota Fanning
14. What was the last book you read? Mary, Mary by J. Patterson
15. What book are you reading now? On The Run by Iris Johansen
16. What is your most treasured possession? Probably pictures
17. Who or what is the greatest love of your life? Mark
18. What are your most marked characteristics? Sarcasm
19. What are the traits you most deplore in yourself? None
20. What are the traits you most dislike in others? Fake friendliness
21. When and where were you happiest? The day Mark and I found out we were pregnant with Casey.
22. What are your drugs of choice? No drugs
23. What are your greatest extravagances? Proabably vacations
24. On what occasion do you lie? I won't
25. What is your greatest regret? That's private
26. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Casey, Charlie, I love you
27. What is your favorite swear word? Crap, Pooh (how sad am I?)
28. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My lack of domesticity
29. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? Can't think of anything.
30. What do you consider your greatest achievement so far? Raising great kids
31. What would you regard as the lowest depths of misery? Living in fear
32. Where would you like to live? Between Taos and Santa Fe New Mexico
33. What are the qualities you most admire in a man? Honesty, compassion, dependibility
34. What are the qualities you most admire in a woman? Honesty, compassion, dependibility
35. What is it you most dislike? People who use people
36. What living person do you most despise? NO ONE
37. What is your biggest everyday pet peeve? A ringing phone
38. What do you value most in your friends? Compassion
39. How would you like to die? With enough money to leave my kids in good financial shape.
40. If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? I don't want to come back.
41. Who have been the greatest influences on you? Mark and my kids
42. What is your motto? God holds me in the palm of His hand, always.
43. What talent would you most like to have? To sing.

And I got this from Stacy_Deanne:
1.What time did you get up this morning? 6 a.m.
2.Diamonds or pearls? pearls
3.What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Casanova
4. What is your favorite TV show? Boston Legal & The Shield
5. What did you have for breakfast? Artichoke and parmesan balls
6. What is your middle name? My middle inital is F...all ya need to know.
7. What is your favorite cuisine? MEXICAN
8. What foods do you dislike? Meat
9. Your favorite Potato chip? Zapp's Hotter 'n Hot Jalapeno
10. Your favorite CD at the moment? Kelly Clarkson
11. Characteristics do you despise? Big ego's and self centeredness
12 . Are you superstitious? Not at all
13. Favorite item of clothing? jeans
14. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Africa
15. What color is your bathroom? Southwest rustic colors
16. Favorite brand of clothing? You're kidding, right?
17. Where would you retire? Between Taos and Santa Fe New Mexico
18. Favorite sport to watch? Whatever my kids are doing.
19. What laundry detergent do you use? Cheer or All
20. Coke or Pepsi? Diet Pepsi, but I'd rather have water.
21. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Night owl
22. What would you like to be in the future? Happy
23. Favorite Candy? Take 5
24. Favorite childhood memory? My pets
25. Been in a car accident? 5 with my driving, one with someone else driving.
26. Favorite flower? purple iris
27. Favorite ice cream? Blue Bell Birthday Cake
28. Disney or Warner Brothers? Warner Bros. Don't care
29. Favorite fast food restaurant? Taco Bell
30. Do you believe in Karma? I believe we 'reap what we sow'
31. What are you listening to right now? Seven with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman
32. What is your favorite color? Black
33. How many tattoos do you have? None
34. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Chicken
35. Favorite Cocktail? Margarita
36. Red or White Wine? white
37. Republican or Democrat? Republican
38. Favorite Family Vacation? Cruise

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Friday Night

Last night was like 'frat night fever' at my house. All my guys were in a silly mood. We'd ordered 3 large pizzas and watched 'The Man' (a few laughs). Sometimes I'm one of the guys and sometimes I've got to remind them I'm not one of the guys. I wouldn't trade my life for anything.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Familiar Stranger

Their eyes met as they waited in line for the bus, hers full of pain, his full of compassion. He stepped back to allow her on first. She smiled and looked away quickly, he knew that her smile had taken a great deal of effort. "May I sit with you?" he asked and she nodded yes. "My name is Derrick" he said, extending his hand. "I'm Tina" she said, barely touching his hand before withdrawing it to her lap. She couldn't help but feel the warmth of his hand as it touched hers. "Have you had a good day, Tina?" he asked. "Not as bad as some", she said quietly. She questioned his sincerity. His dark hair below his shoulders, dressed simply in a white tee shirt and jeans, 'Better watch out for this one' she told herself.

Tina tried to appear as if she was honestly interested in what was outside her window. It worked for a minute or two before she heard Derrick speak her name again. "Tina" he said gently, almost personally. She looked at him and was instantly caught in his gaze. There was something comforting about him, she thought. "Are you on your way home from work?" he asked. "Yes" she replied. For some reason, totally out of character, she continued. "I work at the little cafe in front of the bus stop." "That must give you a chance to meet a lot of people" he said. "It could, I suppose" she replied. "I take that to mean you don't?" asked Derrick. "Well, I guess you could say that I don't attract a lot of attention" Tina said, shyly looking away. "I can't understand why you would say that, you attracted my attention" he said. Tina thought about that. It made her feel good, a new feeling for Tina. She wanted to tell him that it was a nice thing to say, but she didn't want to encourage any more conversation with him.

"Where did your wall come from?" Derrick asked quietly, almost in a whisper. "Wall? What wall?" she asked. "The wall you have built around you to keep everyone out. Do you not even know that it's there, Tina?" he asked softly. Tina was surprised at the lack of defense she felt towards Derrick. Instead of looking away from him, she leaned closer to him, wanting to allow him admittance through her wall. "What are you, some sort of psychologist?" she asked. "No, but you could say that I've been studying human nature for a very long time" he said, smiling brilliantly.

Suddenly Tina saw something she hadn't seen before. How could she have missed it? In Derricks lap was a small bible. That explained it. "Oh, I get it" Tina laughed, "you're one of those". "One of what?" asked Derrick. "You're one of those religious people out trying to SAVE the world". "I've never been interested in religion, Tina, and it really isn't my job to save you...or anyone else." The few moments of silence seemed almost awkward. Tina hadn't meant to offend him and she wasn't familiar with the word 'sorry'... even though she was. Suddenly she was aware of that warmth of his hand on hers again. "Tina" said Derrick without any sign of having been offended, "this is my wall". He was holding the small bible in his other hand. More than seeing the bible, she saw his sincerity. His compassion. "What do you mean?" Tina asked. Derrick answered with such gentleness in his voice, saying "This is the wall I keep around me. This is my defense. My protection. It allows me to let people in without letting people hurt me. Do you understand Tina?" Tina understood the part about people hurting her. She felt herself nodding in agreement without having meant to. "I thought you said you weren't going to try to save me" Tina said sarcastically, mostly out of habit. "I couldn't save you Tina, even if I were to try. Only One can save, and I am not He. It's just my job to share with you. Actually, it's my pleasure, my joy" Derrick said. Again, she had failed to offend him. "I remember what joy is" Tina teased, "you spell it j-o-y, right?" "If that is the way you spell it Tina, maybe that explains why you don't have much of it." "So how do you spell joy?" she asked. "J-E-S-U-S" he said simply.

"Your stop is coming up Tina, I've really enjoyed talking with you" said Derrick as he let go of her hand. She had forgotten he was holding it until she felt him let it go and the warmth of his hand left her. She looked out of her window, looked back at the reality she had been apart from for a little while. She saw that she was, in fact, coming to her stop and wondered how Derrick had known. Had she told him which stop she'd be getting off at? The bus began to slow down and the same familiar people began to stand. Tina stood as well, but she somehow didn't quite feel the same. As Derrick stood to let her pass by him, he said "Tina, this is yours". She reached back without thinking, and Derrick placed the bible he'd been holding in her hand. "No, I can't take this, it's your bible" Tina argued. Derrick just shook his head and smiled. "I was holding it for you" he said softly. The crowd getting off the bus had her in their midst and was heading for the door. She flipped through the small bible as if glancing through a magazine. On the inside of the cover was the inscription: 'Tina, Replacing old walls with new ones'. She stopped at the door of the bus, refusing to let the crowd push her any further. "When did you inscribe..." she began to ask, looking back at their seat. It was empty. she looked through the line waiting behind her to get off, but he wasn't there.

"C'mon lady" whined the young man behind her. Tina smiled, this time without any effort. "I'm sorry" she said as she stepped off the bus. Feeling the warmth of the small bible in her hand, she headed home.

* Although this story is completely fictional, I wrote it very loosely based on what I believe was an encounter with one of my angels.

From Comment To Post

Tom left this as a comment on my post from yesterday, Remembering Rags. It's so much better than mine. Just another reason to love Tom.

It was July of 1999. I was just out for some air because Tracy's family was driving me crazy. I was walking down the street minding my own beeswax and contemplating all the glorious ways I could torture her family when a simultaneous convergence of events occurred with me as the apex. I saw out of the corner of my eye something low to the ground dashing out into the street coming toward me. At the same time a car full of kids was coming down the street. They saw the thing, reved up and took aim. This was one of those times when everything happens too fast to process but somewhere in your brian there's this little secretary sorting everything out for you to see. My brain processed and informed me that the thing in the street was a kitten and it was just run over by the car full of cheering teenagers. My eyes go wide, my pressure spikes and now I've gone from mad to murderous. As the car continued down the street, I noticed the animal roll out from under it. Aparently they missed. They noticed this as well and threw it in reverse. Blind with rage, I began to run into the street but to my surprise, the cat bolted across the street, right up my leg and into my arms and let out a loud "MEE-YOU!" I turn and run back to Tracy's mother's house. After taking stock we discovered a flame point female siamese kitten. Now we already had two non-cat friendly cats. We just opened the chiro office so we adopted an office cat. Now what about a name? Remember the old cartoon Gay Puree? Off the cuff I named her Mewsette. Ths was the friendliest cat you could ever imagine. She always purred, cuddled and napped with me, Trace, any of the patients. She was a gem. We took her to the vet for a check up and a few tests. They said she was about six months old and we were thrilled that she was so young, we'd have her for along time. So we go to pick her up and they hit us with it - she has feline lukemia and has at best, six months. In January 2000 we were pretty slow in the office so we had time to take her to the vet for treatment. We were sitting in the main room of the office when I see Mewsie hobble out of a treatment room and collapse. We rushed over to her and she began howling in obvious discomfort. We rushed her to the vet who basically told us it was time. He said we could wait outside but we both wanted to be there. She was slipping away painfully. We held her as he gave her the shot. We were nose to nose and in two breaths she was gone. I had never seen that before, the light going out. I have her ashes on my nightstand. I kiss it goodnight every night.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Remembering Rags

In the early 80's, when I lived in Indianapolis, I was driving home around 3 a.m. after having closed the bar. I was bartending at night and working at the Fleenor's (an auto retail store, like Auto Zone) headquarters in the accounting department during the day. I was really looking forward to that 5 hours of sleep before I needed to get up as I crossed through a parking lot that I took as a shortcut home. The parking lot was dimly lit, but it was enough for me to see a brown paper sack in the middle of the lot.
This was during the time of the 'paper bag bomber' in Indianapolis. I think that was what the papers called him. He'd put some sort of small homemade bomb in sacks in parking lots. I can't remember how many people were killed or injured, but everyone was weary of any sacks they saw in parking lots. So, as I spotted this sack, I slowed down and was making sure I didn't come close to it as I saw it move. At first, I wasn't sure. I was tired and probably had a couple of drinks. I stopped at a distance and again, I saw it move. Just barely. Part of me told me to check it out (the brain dead part of me) and part of me told me to call the police. 3 a.m., had a couple of drinks in me and chances are at 99.9% that I had drugs in my system. I put the car in park and got out. The bag was definitely moving and then I heard a very slight 'meuuuwwww'.
I walked closer and saw that the bag was soaked in grease and had some, what appeared at a distance to be, burned spots on it. The closer I got, I was sure I heard the weak cries of a cat.
What the hell. I pulled out a knife (puhleeze, like y'all don't always carry a knife on you...I still have at least two in my bag. One on my key chain and another in it's back pocket...hey, I've got my reasons). The bag had been twisted shut and wrapped with a thin wire. I made a small slit...no explosion, so I kept going. Inside was a small, black kitten that appeared to be soaked with something. He fit in the palm of my hand and was shaking. I picked him up and rode home with him in my lap.
When I got home, I called one of my best friends that lived in the apt. complex. Yeah, it was near 4 a.m. and that's just the kind of friend I am. Anyway, my friend was a very tall, muscular hunk of a gay man. My calling him for help in the middle of the night wasn't anything abnormal, and he never failed to come running when I needed him. I had one cat, Tito, already and he kept trying to get close to this little thing crying and quivering. My friend held the kitten while I tried to wash off the greasy substance on him. After an hour of cleaning, we discovered this to be a white and orange tabby that had apparently been covered in oil and (the weak of stomach should put their hands over their eyes here) set on fire. One of his ears had been burned badly and his fur was burned off in places. We fell asleep holding that kitten in a towel that night, hoping it would still be with us in the morning.
The next day we got him to the vet, who got him on antibiotics, gave me some ointment for the burns and wormed him. Between myself and two of my neighbors, the kitten was rarely left alone.
We put a box on the front desk at work and everyone I worked with put in suggestions for a name for my new kitten. My favorite was 'rags to riches', so I named him Rags. Rags was a very 'people shy' kitten and even more so as he got older. By the time he was about a year old, he wouldn't even come near me. When I moved to Texas in 1984, I had to capture him in a pillow case to get him in my car. I moved to Texas with what I could fit into my Subaru, including my two cats, my large dog, Primo, and a litter box. Left little room for anything else...another story.
In Texas I had rented, sight unseen over the phone from Indiana, an efficiency apartment. So there was little place for Rags to hide from me, but he still kept his distance.
Fast forward six months to when I met Mark. On our first date, Mark came to my apartment. As we sat down, Rags jumped up to the arm of Marks chair and climbed into his lap. It was the first time he'd ever approached anyone, let alone allow someone to pet him. HUGE plus in Marks favor. And, of course, as most of you know, Mark and I were married less than two weeks later.
In the years after that, Rags became a very affectionate cat. For 10 years he slept cuddled with me every single night. He lived to be nearly 16 years old. I'm so glad I took a chance on that paper sack.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


I'm needing stronger pain pills.

Mark woke me up this morning, as usual, bringing me my coffee, love tapping my butt (last time I said slapped...got all kinds of feedback) and told me that Trouble was outside. This happens every morning. Sometimes I take my time getting something on and going outside to get Trouble, because chances are he isn't going anywhere. Sometimes, depending on my dream or depth of sleep, I panic, throw something on and go running for Trouble. This morning was one of those mornings.
I ran out the back door, twisted my left ankle on 1/2 a stone and went down on my bad right knee, scratching my right foot up on a branch that had fallen down. So...for those of you still with me that leaves me with a twisted and sore left ankle, a swollen and sore right knee and my right foot scratched up. Trouble, by the way, walked inside before I was able to get myself up off the ground.
But I'm a trooper with a high pain tolerance, got my hubbies snacks, breakfast and coffee to go ready for him. Saw him off to work, and went to get Charlie up for school. As I opened his door, I slid, but didn't fall, in something wet, thick and lumpy. Turning on the light, found 3 piles of vomit...which by opening the door had spread them all about. Apparently Charlie's dog, Rocky, is not feeling well.
Charlie was in a bit of trouble with me to begin with because he left an empty glass of milk in which he'd dunked oreos in and a nearly empty bowl of orange sherbert on the counter without rinsing either of them out before going to bed last night. This is one of the many things that Prozac helps keep me from smothering my children in their sleep for. When I went sliding into his room with the chunks between the toes of the foot all scratched up, I was already in a bad mood. I sent him into the kitchen to clean up his mess while I got cleaning supplies and started cleaning his carpet. Nasty smelling stuff, poor Rocky. Poor me. It hurt like hell getting down on my knees to clean it up and I was tempted to just stay down when I was finished cleaning it up, cause it hurt like hell getting up. Again, poor me.
My day's consisted of keeping my ankle and knee up, keeping them iced and catching up on the shows saved on my dvrs. Which, actually, sounds kind of nice to me if it weren't for the throbbing pain in both my legs.
By the way, the only pain pills I've got are ibuprofen...and they suck. After I pick Charlie up from school, I'll take something stronger. Like tequila.

And...Mark, honey, if you're reading this. Babe, it would be so much easier if you just didn't let Trouble go outside every morning.

*For those who don't know who Trouble is, he's my cat that refuses to accept the fact that he isn't a dog. I've never seen him attempt to climb our 6 ft. fence, but he has climbed the trees a couple of times and there are pit bulls on each side of us. That is what scares me, that he might fall into the wrong yard. If I knew he'd just stay in our fenced in back yard, I'd not have a problem at all. Darn cat.

On another note...I do have a huge crush on the 'Vic Mackey' character (Michael_Chiklis) on The Shield.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Poetry Monday

Little One

It's 5 a.m., too early to hear my two year old clumsily opening his door. There is just enough light to let me see his little silhouette feeling his way into our room. Something about his walk tells me he's eager to begin his day, and mine as well.

There is something about that last hour or two of sleep in the morning that is hard to give up. So, I put my youngest between my husband and myself, hoping he will close his eyes and slip back into a deep slumber.

Two, maybe three minutes pass and I'm just about to breathe a sigh of relief as I feel little fingers prying my eyes open to the sweetest grin ever to grace the face of a child.

Good morning little one,
how have you been
since I last kissed you
and tucked you in?
Did your pillow caress you,
your teddy hold you tight?
Did sweet dreams surround you
till this mornings light?
Was your first thought to find me
and give me a kiss?
Did your heart long to hear
how much you'd been missed?
Good morning little one,
I thank God above
for one more day to shower
my little one with love.

by me, kfmb :)


Monday, January 16, 2006

A Wonderful Find

I stole this...well, borrowed it. This post is amazing, the writer is so very talented. Please visit her blog: A_Marine_Spouse.

A Military Wife
I am a military wife -- a member of that sisterhood of women who have had the courage to watch their men go into battle, and the strength to survive until their return.
Our sorority knows no rank, for we earn our membership with a marriage license, traveling over miles, or over nations to begin a new life with our military husbands.
Within days, we turn a barren, echoing building into a home, and though our quarters are inevitably white-walled and unprepared, we decorate with the treasures of our travels, for we shop the markets of the globe.
Using hammer and nail, we tack our pictures to the wall, and our roots to the floor as firmly as if we had lived there for a lifetime.
We hold a family together by the bootstraps, and raise the best of "brats," instilling in them the motto, "Home is togetherness," whether in TLF (temporary lodging facility) , or motel, apartment or duplex.
As military wives we soon realize that the only good in "Good-bye" is the "Hello again." And hope that one day we see our friends again.
For as salesmen for freedom, our husbands are often on the road, at sea, or in the sky, leaving us behind for a week, a month, an assignment.
During separations we guard the home front, existing until the homecoming. Unlike our civilian counterparts, we measure time, not by years, but by tours -- married at Texas, a baby born at Japan, a special anniversary over the phone or through email, a promotion in California.
We plant trees, and never see them grow tall, work on projects completed long after our departure, and enhance our community for the betterment of those who come after us.
We leave a part of ourselves at every stop.
Through experience, we have learned to pack a suitcase, a car or hold baggage, and live indefinitely from the contents within: and though our fingers are sore from the patches we have sewn, and the silver we have shined, our hands are always ready to help those around us.
Women of peace, we pray for a world in harmony, for the flag that leads our men into battle, will also blanket them in death.
Yet we are an optimistic group, thinking of the good, and forgetting the bad, cherishing yesterday, while anticipating tomorrow.
Never rich by monetary standards, our hearts are overflowing with a wealth of experiences common only to those united by the special tradition of military life.
We pass on this legacy to every military bride, welcoming her with outstretched arms, with love and friendship, from one sister to another, sharing in the bounty of our unique, fulfilling military way of life.
Who am I? I am a Marines Wife!

Sounds about right...

You Are a Powdered Devil's Food Donut
A total sweetheart on the outside, you love to fool people with your innocent image.On the inside you're a little darker, richer, and more complex.You're a hedonist who demands more than one pleasure at a time.Decadent and daring, you test the limits of human indulgence.
What Donut Are You?

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

I thank God each and every day for men like
Martin Luther King Jr. Regardless of their human shortcomings, they fought the good fight and encouraged a multitude to do the same. That multitude grows generation by generation, as long we remember and continue to give thanks for such men.

(Please take a moment to click twice on this image and read the excerpt from 'I See the Promised Land', the last sermon delivered by Dr. King on the eve of his assassination.)

Friday, January 13, 2006


I was tagged by hizzle_thizzle, thanks sweetie.
"The first player of this game starts with the topic five weird habits of yourself and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals."

Me...weird habits? Okay, I'll try.
1. I sleep with a stuffed animal, a Ty pup I call Spud.

When I woke up from my hysterectomy, about 5 years ago, my husband was standing there with this stuffed animal for me. It was the softest thing I'd ever felt and I remember petting and squeezing it when I'd hurt in the hospital. I've not slept a night without it since. I even pack it when we go on trips. Yeah...go ahead and laugh. I sleep with him cuddled against my chest and under my chin. Lucky pup, huh?

2. I can't stand dirty dishes on the counter...or anywhere really. I don't even want a piece of silverware in the sink when I go to bed. They either have to be in the dishwasher or washed and drying.

3. I'm unable to put a book down after I've started it. Sometimes I'll stay up till 3 a.m. reading and get up at 5 a.m. and start reading again. I've been like this about reading since I was around 10 years old.

4. I always have a fan on in my bedroom. It's like 'white noise' to me, it comforts me to hear and feel it. I also keep a small wind chime hanging next to my bed, and it helps me relax hearing it chime when the fan blows in it's direction.

5. I never let my gas tank get below 1/2 full. If it goes the slightest bit under 1/2 full, I fill it up. Drives my husband crazy when we're on a trip because he'll let it go into the red zone next to empty if he's driving...which drives me crazy.

Now, I'm suppose to tag 5 people. I'm not good at this part. So...if you've not done it and it wouldn't be a huge pain in the butt to do, please give it a try for me. Except for nikki...I insist you do it. :)

It's All A Matter Of Taste

I'm sorry for the lack of posting. I've been around, though. I've just been content to sit and read some of my favorites (ever so slightly nudging you to the left side of my blog). Sometimes I'll visit one of their favorites...and so it goes. It simply amazes me how much talent there is out there. I know blogging is a rather new concept to many (I'm about 1/2 a year into it, I'm guessing), but what a revelation it is to our world. Many are incredible at creating fictional stories with powerful messages. Others tell their own stories with such eloquence and passion that I feel like they've entrusted their secrets especially to me. And yet others are pure entertainment and information. I wonder if Barnes and Noble has suffered any drop in revenue since we can now read all this great material on-line for free.

People blog for as many reasons as there are blogs out there. You can tell the bloggers who just have to write because they write with such passion. Whether it's sentimental, angry or humorous. They've just got to write. I do it because it's like therapy for me. It's like keeping a journal and making friends at the same time. I've made some wonderful friends. There are also some who blog craving recognition or praise, or both. Every one has their own reasons. Just as everyone has their own reason for whom they read and who they don't. I've got my favorites that I've linked myself emotionally to (even if it is in my own mind) and I'm honestly interested and care what's going on with them. When they don't post for awhile, I'll be concerned and though it's absolutely none of my business, I'll contact them and ask if they're okay. There are others that I read because they inspire me and yet I know nothing about them personally and that's okay with me, I'm just grateful for the slice of inspirational fiction they've shared with me because it's touched me.

I don't always comment, though 90% of the time I do. Sometimes I just have to tell them how talented they are. Sometimes I just want them to know I've stopped by. Sometimes I tell them, in love (I hope) that my opinion differs, but I respect theirs and thanks for sharing. There are times when I stop by my favorites and they're posting on a subject that I don't feel comfortable with reading, and that's totally cool too. It's their blog. It's also my time and I'll spend it where I want to. I'll just stop back by the next day.

There are bloggers that I just can't connect with. Just as there are circles of friends you have. There are those people that occasionally might ask you to go out with their group, but they're going to the strip club and you're more of the neighborhood bar kind of person. I'm a neighborhood bar kinda gal. If any of you have read me for very long, you know there isn't much I haven't done. Other than ever putting a needle in my arm (or any part of my sweet body), I can't think of much I've not tried or experimented with. But that's pretty much behind me. So blogs that are sexually centered or all about the party life...really don't appeal to me all that much. But, that's me. Twenty years ago, if blogging had been around, I'd been a triple X rated blog. But that's not who I am now.

Another type of blogger I can't seem to connect with are those that are so impressed with themselves. Sorry, even if 50% of it is in jest, it's a total turn off for me. I might think you're the most talented, gifted writer in the blog world...but if you think so too, and it shows in your blog, well, I'll just pass. This is probably my least favorite type of blogger. I've known people like this in life, and I disconnect myself from them too. Big egos. One of the biggest wastes of all time. Let others tell you you've done something amazing. Let others brag about your talents. I've honestly had people email me and ask me why I haven't linked them in my blog favorites. I had one blogger ask me "Haven't you ever read my blog? You've got to link me, I'm one of the best blogs out there". I'd never heard of this blogger, and after visiting them I emailed them back and told them, though I appreciated the invitation, they weren't something I'd be interested in visiting again. When you have to tell people how great you are, regardless of your talent, it's going to turn people off. Please hear this. I honestly believe there is a lot of talent out there that isn't being expressed because they're letting their own egos get in the way.

This was intended to be a paragraph or so. I was going to blog about something that I suppose I'll now save for another time.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Just a word of thanks.

I just wanted to thank y'all for the comments on the poem I posted Monday, but mostly for all of the emails I received. I can't tell you how much your kind words meant to me. Thank you.

Asked and Answered

*my friend, Katy, sent this to me*


A Marine was attending a college course between missions in Iraq and
Afghanistan. The professor, an avowed atheist, shocked the class one day when he walked in, looked toward the ceiling, and said loudly, "God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15 minutes."

The lecture room fell silent and the professor began his lecture. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, "Here I am God - still waiting."

It got down to the last minute when the Marine stood up, walked toward the professor and threw his best punch knocking him off the platform and out cold.

The Marine went back to his seat and sat down.

The other students were shocked and stunned and sat there looking on in silence. The professor came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, "What is the matter with you? Why did you do that?"

The Marine calmly replied, "God is busy today protecting America's soldiers who are protecting your right to behave like an idiot, so He sent me."


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sign In, Sign Out....Shhhhhh

Today I played librarian...okay, I got payed for it. But...truth is, I did absolutely nothing. I started and finished Mary, Mary by James Patterson. Honest, that's what I did all day. My eyes were so painful, my butt hurt and I got such leg cramps that I spent 1/4 of the day standing or doing leg exercises while reading. On the upside, it was a decent book. They'd asked me not long ago if I'd consider being a permanent sub for the library...and I'd said I didn't want to work permanent anything. After today, I'd rather hook than be a librarian. When I was signing out at the end of the day, they asked me in the office if I'd been bored out of my mind. I told them I'd read a book that I'd been wanting to read since before Christmas break...but I missed yelling at kids. I may not have enjoyed today much, but I do love my job.

I came home and fell right into bed, slept for 3 hours. Why is that? I did nothing all day but read.

For those of you sadistic sorts that enjoy my rant and raving about Photoshop...get over it, I'm learning! But if you have any neat tricks or advice, please feel free to email me.

I'm also wanting to give thanks for the dvr. What a cool invention. We use it quite a bit, but when 3 of my 5 favorite shows are on, on the same night at the same time...I do love the dvr. My three tonight; House, Boston Legal and The Shield. I haven't watched any of them yet, and since I'm not working tomorrow and no immediate book that's waiting to be read, I'll catch up.

Oh, by the way...if y'all have never checked out the site SteelCowboy, please do so sometime. The guy can really write some great stories.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Poetry Monday

(cause y'all really don't wanna hear about my learning all the innies and outties of Photoshop)

Turn Your Eyes Toward Heaven

When emptiness surrounds you
and you wonder what life is for...
When you hear a constant knocking
but there's no one at your door...
When all life's simple pleasures
only leave you wanting more...
Turn your eyes toward heaven
feel your spirit start to soar.

When heartache seems to follow
down every hopeful road...
When every minor task
turns into a heavy load...
When your days of hopes and promises
now resemble days of Job...
Turn your eyes toward heaven,
Someone's paid the debts you owed.

For there's Someone who is waiting
day and night to draw you near.
He calls your name continuously ,
if you'd but only hear.
He shines His light on darkness,
gives you joy and peace for fear.
If you'll turn your eyes toward heaven
you'll find Gods only Son is here.

He takes away the hopelessness
you've harbored for so long.
He turns your cries of loneliness
into a joyful song.
He forgives you of your weaknesses
and remembers not your wrongs.
Turn your eyes toward heaven,
you're headed home, where you belong.

by me, kfmb :)


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Thanks Tom

* Done in pastels

Tom did this from a picture on my photo blog, I believe it's with chalk? Correct me if I'm wrong, Tom...lol, I'm sure you would. (He did, and it's done with pastels) Thanks, what a compliment.

I Hate Photoshop

I'm in no mood to blog. I got my Photoshop the other day in the mail and have been in nothing but a pissy mood since. Unlike Hizzle, I suck at this. The first day I got it, I transferred all my pictures from my files to Photoshop, and they disappeared. I had to find them individually on my hard drive and transfer them to Photoshop, by looking for 'pictures' which brought me up 14,832 pictures (everything that had ever crossed my computer) to sift through. Right now, even the simplest thing is giving me problems. Hell, it's 1:32 a.m. and I'm still trying. Anyway, if you don't see me for a couple weeks, that's why. Suicide by way of Photoshop.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

It's All Good

Too many times, as I'd lay sleeping, my mom would wake me up begging me to come with her. She always wanted to leave my dad, but she wouldn't leave without me. My sister would always say she would go...but I'd refuse with every ounce of my little body.

We lived on a 'non-working' farm and we always had lot's of animals. There weren't many neighbors, we grew up mostly by ourselves. But, I felt more comfortable around animals than I did people anyway. They never cried, they never yelled at me and they never beat me.

My dad basically lived at the airport he managed and ran. We'd get off the school bus when it would stop near there and walk to see him sometimes. Not often. It was a small town airport and the gang of my dads friends that hung out there didn't really want or need a couple of little kids hanging around them. My dad did take us on breakfast flights sometimes. Those are good memories for me. He and his friends would each take their own plane and we'd all fly to somewhere in Indiana for breakfast on Sundays. Those were special times when he'd take my sister and I. My dad was an instructor, so one of his planes had the dual steering in it and sometimes he'd let me think I was flying the plane.

Once in a hangar we found some baby rabbits that had been abandoned (chances are good that their mother had been killed by dogs) and they were covered in sores and full of maggots. My dad put them in a box and we took them home. I remember my dad showing me how to use tweezers to pull the maggots out and clean the wounds, and I did. One actually survived

Somehow we ended up with 2 or 3 raccoons, each at different times, for pets. We named each one of them Jake. They were like little people, eating with their hands and wanting affection. Sometimes we'd keep them locked in the bathroom so they couldn't roam the house....they'd tear that room up!

We were a lot like the old Ma & Pa Kettle movies. Open doors with animals running in and out. Since we lived out in the country where people would bring their animals and drop them off...they'd always find their way to our home and we'd take them in. The ones dropped off, the ones no one else wanted or had time to care for anymore, we'd take. Our doors were open, and we'd love them. Dogs, cats, birds, raccoons, rabbits, chickens (my mom worked at a hatchery once, and couldn't stand to throw out the eggs with chicks in them, so she'd bring them home...and yup...pets. We had a chicken house and pen...it was a 'farm').

We had a horse named Duke that only wanted to take me as far as the nearest creek and throw me in. No matter how many times we tried to train that horse, the trainer would quit and I'd end up in the creek. I loved that horse. Dad ended up selling it.

These are all good memories.

So, when my mom would wake me up in the middle of the night, begging me to say I'd leave with her and my sister to live in a house or an apartment in town, I'd always say no. My family (my pets) were there. My memories, which as a kid were my life, were there.

I know it wasn't right for her to put me in that position, but my mom wasn't well. I'm guessing that the reason she'd usually do this to me at night was because that was when she was most lonely, out in the country all by herself and two little girls. No friends, no family...no one but two little girls who didn't understand her pain, her suffering, her inflictions or her addictions.
My mom told me all my life that her pain was my fault because I wouldn't leave my dad and she wouldn't leave me. It wasn't my dad I wouldn't leave, it was my home, and the animals that were my only example of unconditional love.

Often I wonder what would have happened if I'd said "yes, I'll go with you Mom". I don't think she'd actually have left. I think I was her scapegoat. But I still wake up sometimes hearing her ask me if I'll go with her. Maybe someday I'll say yes.

Monday, January 02, 2006

A few of my favorite things

I've read some great blogs the last couple days. The new 2006 postings. Some great stuff. All kinds of soulful, intellectual, emotional, religious and political stuff. I want to write something, but I've gotta be honest here...I've got nothing. Especially compared to my blog friends that I've read recently. I've got to get lesser quality friends.

Nah, I'm just joshing with y'all. I love my friends, and I wouldn't trade them for anyone or anything. Well, I might trade tom for a million dollars and a kitten, but that's only because he has such poor taste in music.

Sooo, I've been thinking about what I liked about 2005 and what I'd like for 2006. Because of my memory impairment, I can't remember most of 2005. But here's what I can remember and what I'm grateful for:

The Kavanagh's ~ I'm starting with them because we'd just met them in November of 2004 on a cruise and Casey started dating Kayliegh Kavanagh. We fell in love with Kayliegh, and her mother, Kathleen, became a good friend of mine. I usually hate talking on the phone, and I'm not fond of people in general, but Kathleen always made me forget all that. I'm thankful for the Kavanaghs.

My friends; Katy, Mac and Terri ~ Best of friends, know all my secrets, have kept all my secrets and love me in spite of my secrets.

Casey got his drivers license ~ All my life (more like all my kids lives) I'd thought I'd be a nervous wreck when it came to my boys driving. I use to joke about stressing the benefits of riding a bike or mass transportation. But, by the grace of God, when it came time for Casey to start taking drivers ed classes, I had such peace. And except for the first day he drove to school (the first day of his junior year when I just drove by the school to make sure he'd made it okay), I've never had that first fear of his driving.

My job ~ Of all the years of being a substitute teacher, I've nearly always worked at the high school (grades 10 ~ 12). This year, Charlie's first year in high school (9th grade), I've had nearly every job at the Lowery freshman center. This is a big deal because Charlie has had a few problems in school, mostly for holding up for other kids (smaller kids, Hispanic kids...whatever). It's always made it hard for us to discipline Charlie, even though the school would hold him accountable for a no tolerance policy. In 2005 (when Charlie was in the 8th grade) he held up for a kid that was being pushed around...which ended up with himself getting pushed around. After he was hit, he hit back and a fight ensued and Charlie kicked this kids' butt. The no tolerance policy made it a police affair. Charlie is an honest kid, admitted to what he had done when asked, because it was in a football locker room and there were no teachers or coaches around. When he was asked what happened....he told the truth. We were given the choice of paying a fine and his taking anger management courses or going to court. The parents of the other boy, who had started it, chose paying the fine and going to classes so as not to have a record. We went to court. No one, not a teacher, coach or student, would come to court to testify against Charlie and the entire thing was dismissed. It taught Charlie a valuable lesson. Make sure what you stand up for is worth paying the consequences for. I don't think he'd changed a thing, and neither would we. We've always been proud of his moral compass. Working at his school this past year, his freshman year, has let me get to know his teachers and the office staff better. Somehow, their knowing me has helped them to understand Charlie a little bit better too. We share the same personality and sense of humor.

Mark's health ~ Although he started treatment in 2005 for Hepatitis C, we also got the best of news towards his results in 2005. For those who don't go that far back in my blog, Mark has had Hepatitis C since birth (we think), and joined an experimental study in 2005. After a 6 month check up, his viral count had gone down from 600,000 to under TEN. Not 10,000...I mean 10. They can't account for it, but we're blessed by it! At the second check up a month ago, it was still under 10. Thank you, Jesus.

Pat ~ Though I lost my mother in 1991, God brought Pat into my life via my father. Pat became a loving friend, filled a part of the hole my mother left in my heart and filled her spot as my kids grandmother. I'm thankful for her every single day.

Charlie's activities ~ For the first time ever, Charlie has found things that really interested him, wrestling and playing the guitar. He'd never done either before and picked up both quickly. He has amazed us with his guitar ability and his wrestling ability, too.

My blogging buddies ~ Though I've met a few that I enjoyed at the beginning and came to realize that their egos were just too big to fit into my schedule, there are many that I have came to honestly love and care for. I don't doubt that they know who they are because I'm honest with my feelings. I do want to acknowledge deb, who I consider a friend with every fiber of my being.

Our finances ~ By the grace of God, and Marks diligence, they are better than ever. Though we are far from rich (by the world's standards) we are better off than ever before. In our 21 years together, we've known financial despair, bankruptcy, foreclosure and having a baby (Charlie) without any insurance (sadly, these were all related to one another). So, we know what hard times are. I'm thankful that those hard times are a memory, and I'm grateful that it makes me aware of how blessed we are.

My Mom-in-law ~ We call her MamaCita. I use to be scared of her, then I felt inadequate around her. Then I let her into my life and I got to know and love her. She's one of my best friends, and the sweetest person I know.

And...for 2006? I'd like to know God better, to serve and share Him more. I'd like to be a better wife, mother and friend. I'd like to listen more and speak less. I'd like to make better use of my talents and less use of my laziness.
I'd like for Shawn to find his heart's desire (and to trust me more); for Wes to find White Devil; for Thomas, dzer and Mike to find real love with someone who would appreciate them for the great men they are; for Jerry to always have joy in all areas of his life; for Jan to have the life she wants with Bob; for kellie to have the life she's planning with J.; for sweet_hizzle to never change; for leesa to always have the courage to be her wonderful self; for deb to always follow her heart; for Nikki to get what she wants *wink*; for sable to find a forum to have his voice heard around the world; for stacy~d to always be a success; for tom to become a household name that people are more than willing to part with their money to see; for my cyber twin, tracie, to have a house she can run around naked in and a life where she smiles and laughs every single day; for wenchy to be surrounded by love and joy; for shannon to get out of that chair and chase greg around for awhile; for clay's success to continue and grow; for georgia_peach to never, ever, lose her voice; and for grace to find more self assurance (this is a joke, she's a secure and strong young woman!) and keep her mind focused on her goals.
For me, I'm thankful and blessed to have had all of you in my 2005 and hopeful to know you more in 2006.
I love you all.