Thursday, December 22, 2016

Holiday Expectations

Yup, we all have those Holiday Expectations!  Notice that it is capitalized. Holiday Expectations are premeditated disappointments.  Yup.....premeditated!

Sit for a moment with your dream that you have right this very moment about how the Holiday is going to be.  Ruminate....NOW....throw it out the window.   Go with the flow of  what really happens this holiday season.  If you haven't made that favorite dish or if that tradition you always do is just not working....then LET IT GO!  Make something new but don't stress.  Remember it is all premeditated anyway.

I have had some great dreams about how I want my 2018 Christmas celebration to be. I must say before any of my readers jump all over me, I do concentrate on Jesus birth and Advent is a big deal for me.  I am human and like the rest of you, I have Holiday Expectations that revolve around presents with kids, cookies, candy, games, laughing and fun.  My Expectations are beautiful, in the dream everyone is frolicking at the cabin, no one is crying, love is oozing everywhere.  What if that doesn't happen?  What if it doesn't go as I plan?  Should it go as I planned?  Holiday Expectations, can swing two ways, far to gleefulness or far to the doom and gloom. GEEZE...give me a break! Premeditated disappointment go away.

How do we get rid of these Holiday Expectations?  We need to plan events, right?  If we have events, we need to plan food and fun, right?  That part is a given.  What we can't do is premeditate how EVERYONE is going to feel, react, not react, say or not say.  We can only control our own reactions to a situation.  Guess what, you can't have a reaction until the event is actually in motion.  So stop that premeditated disappointment now!

I want to challenge you to get rid of your Holiday Expectations by going with the flow! And let me know how it worked for you!

Happy Holiday....or not.   You are in charge of your own feelings.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What's with Initials?

When did our written and verbal communication break down?  When did we start using initials and numbers to communicate?  What happened to using the full word?

The first time I recall hearing initials for words was when I was in grade school.   My brother was the king of our 3 channel Television, therefore we only watched "boy" shows.  Man from U.N.C.L.E, PT109, M*A*S*H*,and F Troop.  I don't know if they were on CBS, NBC or ABC.  We didn't have PBS,CNN or FOX.  That came closer to the 21st century.  I just wanted to watch my "girl" shows, BeWitched, Green Acres and My Three Sons.  Ya, I know, My Three Sons sound like a "boy" show but those three sons were incredibly cute.  That was all that mattered to someone going through pre-puberty! The point is, my shows had real words in them!

I remember hearing the numbers of  war casualties  on TV news.  Our soldiers became a number every night. The announcers would say, " One hundred killed today."  The screen would light up of the number dead so far that year in comparison to the "enemy".  We always had less and I guess that was suppose to make us feel good.  It didn't.  It affects me now more than then.  Now I see those numbers as brothers of friends.  Brothers who were too young to die.

Initials and numbers continue to creep into my life.  Now I have yearly IEP's to discuss Hope's progress. She can get PMADE, NI,MET-R, LMTPM, MNBA, NOPM and OTHER. With the SSA  we discuss DB,FILL OUT SSA-827, use her SSN for somethings and my SSN for others.

Are you still with me?  Numbers and initials.  I can hardly keep them straight.

When I was in college, I went to the health clinic for a sore throat. MONO was running rampant on campus. I sat in the waiting room and eavesdropped on a conversation.
"What did you get?"
" I got an IUD."
"Do you like it?"
"I love it."
When I saw the Doctor, I asked to be treated with an IUD.

Initials can really get you in trouble.  Take for example that poor little old Santa Claus in Alabama, that had to get rid of his vanity license plate because it said HO HO.

Or when I surprised Tom with his vanity plates after he got his PHD.  It said DVMPHD.  People called him Dump Head. He refused to drive that car, so our daughters became the ridiculed girls at LHS.

Initials and numbers, they are going to be the death of me.
RIP  8/30/1954------xx/xx/20xx

Monday, December 19, 2016

Hope Loves Santa

"A Snow globe." She whispered in his ear.
"A Snow globe." He said out loud.

Hope loves Santa Claus, Christmas, presents, bags, wrapping paper, candy canes, lights and snow globes. She celebrates Christmas 365 days a year. There isn't a Hallmark Christmas show that she hasn't seen.  She has the plot down...There is a non believer, there is a divorcee or single person, there is a lot of  fake snow, a Santa disguised as a "real" person and a snow globe.

The first year she asked for a snow globe, I thought, " How cute is that?" After that year, she has added, a baby doll and a candy cane to her list from Santa.  Every year, she wants the same thing.  She makes Christmas shopping easy. Once she has opened her gifts, she always says, " Is that it?"  Typical teenager!!!! Then she gathers them all together, takes them to her room and is gone for the rest of the night!

Santa always brought a beautiful glass musical snow globe. Santa got wise after the third year of Hope breaking them.  I would go to her room and find shards of broken glass, glitter and water soaking her books and magazines.  The glass is extremely thin, amazingly, she never cut herself.  Now I buy plastic snow globes.  It's fun looking for them!  This year it was a huge plastic musical rotating scene with air blown foam balls. 

When Hope was 2, we gave her rolls of Christmas paper to unroll and krinkle up.  She got the same thing on her birthday. Now, she will buy it at the dollar store, along with gift bags just to keep the season of giving going.

Hope has her own way of organizing holidays and they are all based around Christmas and Santa.  Her birthday is in January and that is when all holidays begin.
"First my birthday, then Valentines, then St Patrick's Day, then.( we take 5 minutes to list them all)...........and then Christmas and Santa, YAY!"

At the cabin, we have a new friend who looks like Santa.  He stopped in to say Hi on a weekend that Harper and Hope were hanging out on the porch.  I introduced him to the girls as "Santa".  Their eyes popped out of their heads. I told them,  "Yes, Santa lives right here in our neighborhood and he is gathering wood to make toy trucks and wooden soldiers!  You better be good!"

Our cabin is also located 30 miles from Santa Claus, In.  There are MANY MANY Santa's here and MANY MANY Santa helpers who will dress up like Santa.  Having a Santa in our neighborhood is very believable.   We continued to chat with "Santa" about the work he was doing at the cabin below us when the girls started to fight over some "lame" thing.  I excused myself from "Santa", grabbed both girls by the arm, pointed them toward Santa and said, " You just fought in front of Santa, YOU are on the naughty list now!" The scrambled to apologize to him.....this was in August!

Santa is thought to be magical, mystical, and mythical.  He brings hope and love to everyone. Santa is the best thing to happen to this world..  Hope will always love and believe in him and you should too.

When you have Santa, you also have hope.
When you meet Hope, you will also meet Santa.
Hope,Santa and hope are real.
And never give up hope.
Hope Loves Santa.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Dear Friends and Family,

I love Christmas newsletters.   I won't judge your life.  I won't compare your life to mine.  I enjoy hearing from family and friends and I don't care if it is a mass mailing.  I have a mailbox on my property and I want mail...the good kind...a letter from you!  You heard me!

A few years back, we had a discussion about replacing our plastic Home Depot mailbox with one of those really fancy brick and masonry kind that adorn beautiful flowers and have the chiseled house numbers on both sides.  All the neighbors have them, they are attractive and make all the homes look stately!  Then I priced them.  Call me cheap or call me practical.  We still have our Home Depot Mailbox that I installed, in the ground with no help from anyone.

When we weighed the pro's and con's of the style of mailbox, I pointed out the fact that mail is mail.  What exactly does that mean???  I pay all our bills online and receive no  paper bills.  Tom loves to receive seed catalogs, Lands End catalogs, and  Fruit Cake catalogs.  I get credit card applications from when I purchased a computer 20 years ago with my business name. Over the years, my name has been slaughtered to the point that Chinese Credit card companies send me applications at  Sue Cinda. I can't read Chinese!  This is the extent of our mail!  I think that a plastic Home Depot mailbox is the only thing worthy to sit on our property to collect such mail!

However, at Christmas time, I feel that any card coming from friends or family deserves a proper home to sit in for 5 minutes.  After all, that mail has been in bags, boxes, planes, semi's and/or lost and torn waiting for the waxy envelop with the USPS apology letter attached.  A stately brick mailbox with fake poinsettia's on each side would be appropriate.

If I received wonderful mail, I would prance or even dance to the mailbox.  There are nights when Tom asks, "What did we get for mail?"  And I have to admit, that I didn't even look at the mailbox!  That is sad.

I want to send you a Christmas card.  All I need is your address.  When you get the card, you will have my address. send me a Christmas newsletter or card!  Maybe if I get enough, I will call a Brick layer and beg him to build a Brick Mail Box. PRONTO! After all, your letter will be that important! And I think the neighbors would be amused to see me prance and dance! Or maybe they would call 911.  

How to send your address to me
1.   Via message on my facebook page Cinda Sue Originals
2.    Email

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Holiday Vacation

Growing up, my family always took our holiday vacations to visit family in other states.  I thought everyone did that.  When I became a parent, we continued that tradition until we moved to Indiana.  Everyone in this town went to Florida.  What a concept.  Going on vacation with your family but not to see your family.

My memories of visiting my dad's dad in Hot Springs, SD were not real fond memories. Grandpa Nelson lived in what we called "The Old Soldiers Home"  Now days, it would be considered a Veterans Hospital.  I wish that my dad were alive to tell me why Grandpa Louie lived there in the winter months and would move back to Wakonda, SD in the summer.  In my child's mind, it was like what Snow Birds and Winter Texan's would be in this day and age.  But, there was something about that "Old Soldiers Home" that haunted me.

We would pick him up at "the home" and drive into town where he and my dad would sit  in a bar while my mom, brother and I sat in the car or perhaps shopped a bit. Western South Dakota was cold and snowy in December. I don't know how many years we did this, only that it was always the same.  Bar, car, cold.  We would read comic books over and over again.  I hated it. 

After we left Hot Springs we would vacation onward to a friends home that had kids.  I recall their Dad hooking a rope to several toboggans and attaching them to the station wagon's back bumper. He pulled us up the snowy Black Hills roads.  MY GOD....what was HE thinking!???  We could have died.!!! IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!  We would beg him to drive down the road with us behind.  He wouldn't!  MY GOD...what were WE thinking????? Can you imagine the kind of prison this man would be sentence to in this day and age? I'm glad it was the '60's.  That was a very fond memory! I loved it!

As I reflect on these memories, I am moved by how they were sad and happy at the same time. I was fortunate to have a wonderful childhood full of GREAT memories.  And if the weren't great, I can pretend they were.  Funny thing about memories, they either get blown to epic proportion to the good or to the bad.

We took many  winter vacations out West.  Today, I can recall the enhanced smell of pine trees swirled in the fresh fallen snow and the bite of frost on my cheeks and the drops of snot on my freezing nose. Memories.  I also wonder if there is a bar in heaven where a son and his father are swapping stories.  I would love to know now what I didn't know then.  Memories, the good and the bad....they belong to YOU!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Always. Nontraditional. Thanksgivings.

Our Thanksgivings are anything but traditional.  I guess you could say our tradition is to be nontraditional.

As children, we both had the traditional meal, except when my great aunt decided to serve Swedish Meatballs.

"Swedish Meatballs on Thanksgiving?" my mom said with shock, " whoever hear of that?" Now that she is 86 and detests the taste of turkey, she would gladly eat Swedish Meatballs.

In the 80's we lived on a Minnesota  farm where we tried our hand at raising turkeys and ducks and chickens.  Melida was in kindergarten and the teacher inquired of all the children what they would be doing on Thanksgiving.  Melida, in her animated style explained, " We will open up our freezer,all the turkey's will jump out and dance a jig! Their names are Duke, Earl and Ourfolks."  That year, we ate our pets.

That next summer we had a Thanksgiving celebration for a German Exchange Student in the community.  It was so hot in the non-air conditioned house cooking a turkey the old fashion way, in a roaster. We had all the trimmings of a traditional meal in July. In my younger life, I never gave it a thought that someone in other parts of the world would not have tasted turkey, cranberries or pumpkin pie. I think they enjoyed it!

When we moved to Iowa, we started hosting the Thanksgiving meals for students who couldn't get home.  I felt bad that I couldn't fulfill their meal expectation.  Their tradition.  It was then that I realized that no matter how alike us American's are, we are all very different is so many ways.

We shared a meal with a couple from the south.  She brought Chicken Dumplings.  Who ever heard of such a thing?  Why on earth would you serve something with Chicken when you are having turkey?  I have found out, since living in southern Indiana for the last 20 years,that Thanksgiving is NOT Thanksgiving without Chicken Dumplin's  I have not made them, nor will I.
Dumpling preparation will forever be left to the pros,  The pro's are the guys and gals who make them every year for the Church Summer socials.  When these folks die there is a special kitchen in heaven made up of rolling pins, flour, boiled chicken and stock.

In the 90's turkey became "the meat" of choice on our shopping trips.  It wasn't so much for the health benefit, which would seem like the logical reasoning.  We consumed it because it was cheap.  Beef prices had skyrocketed and turkey was now available "ground" making way for turkey chili, turkey spaghetti, turkey meatloaf, turkey burgers, turkey this, turkey that, and turkey what!.  When Thanksgiving rolled around, I proclaimed it a NON-turkey day.  Sure enough, I had no thanks for the old bird, I wanted to be thankful for beef.  That year, we splurged and cooked Prime Rib.  That year, we all got sick because we weren't use to the richness of beef and ate too much.  It was like we started the " Thanksgiving Day Over Eaters club" for the first time. And it was worth it! 

This year we plan to celebrate Thanksgiving at the cabin on Saturday.  Tom wanted to smoke a turkey, which we have done in the past.  I just wanted a plain old fashion meal.  The kind that includes sage dressing and pumpkin pie spices. I finally have a gas range and  I can't wait to roast the bird.  We no longer eat turkey I am good with having turkey.  We raised our own pumpkins this year and I am not sick of eating them yet.  I always buy the biggest bag of cranberries and sometimes end up throwing half away.  If I don't throw them away, I freeze them for next year and then I throw them away.  My favorite dressing is Corn bread with sage sausage.  Another acquired taste since moving to the south.  When in northern Illinois, the dressing faze was "White Castle Sliders Thanksgiving Dressing". I just couldn't bring myself to make it.  But I will.  I have promised for the last 20 Thanksgivings.  I even looked up the recipe.  I am getting there. I'm thinking about it. Maybe next year.

 I love being nontraditional.  I love to shake it up.   So, I guess I will go to White Castle and get 12 sliders (without the pickle) and make this the best Thanksgiving ever for someone who has been waiting 20 years.  I don't want to disappoint.
Hope helping prepare pumpkins.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Man Cave/She Palace

Every room in my house is feminine.  There is not one ounce of "man caveique" here.  There may be a drawer or two filled with manly things like toenail clippers and screwdrivers.  That screwdriver drawer never has the right size either.  You need a phillip screwdriver...forget it, you need to buy a new one!

The feminine room decor is about to change.  Yes, the cabin will be the masculine home.  We have already decorated the great room with everything Green Bay Packer. Since the kitchen is connected, I will soon be the proud owner of a Packer crock pot.  I believe it was put on MY Christmas list.  Now don't get me wrong....I love the colors Green and Gold. Tom loves the Packers whether they win or lose. ( Like this weekend, no one is talking about it!)  But I really don't want to eat off a plate, drink out of a cup and wipe my face with The big G.  Give me the solid colors and I can work the motif in, thank you very much.

Right this very moment, construction of a detached garage is happening in the forest! Tom will have his own man cave away from the cabin. And I will have the attached garage to "feminize" and possibly turn into a craft, dining, and fun area for overflow company.  I already put curtains up.  I cannot believe that I am excited about decorating a garage.  But here's the has drywall walls and ceiling and it is nicer than some basements!  My friend, Susie, named it the She Palace.  I like that!

 I am not a writer nor am I a poet so here is a poem anyway....sorry it doesn't rhyme. It speaks volumes on the true meaning of Man Cave/She Palace.  When you read it, go left to right and change your voice to masculine and back to feminine.  Then read it to your friends out loud.

Man Cave.              She Palace.
Yard Stuff.               Fun Stuff.
Farts.                        Flowers.
Beer.                        Wine.
Sports Radio.           Cooking Channel.
Grunting.                  Laughing.
Hollering.                 Singing.
Mine.                        I don't want it, it smells like farts.
Man Cave and She Palace are the places for the perfect married couple in the cabin, by the woods, and always ending up together on the porch that just happens to be decorated with the Green Bay Packer Theme.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Candy, Costumes and the ER

I'm a senior citizen now and Halloween still has that magic hold on me.  I never go to costume parties.  I never dress up.  I don't send out cards.  And I quit answering the front door.  But I DO buy Treats....LOTS AND LOTS OF TREATS.

I used to just buy my favorite....DUH....Snickers.   Then I realized that Tom's favorite was Heath Candy Bars and Butterfingers. My girls would eat just about any kind...except maybe Black Licorice...and who would actually hand that out at Halloween.

 When the girls were small we lived in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. These Halloweens were nothing like what we saw on the Halloween Peanuts Special.  That Peanut gang would hop, skip, run and walk to each candy laden home and squeal...TRICK OR TREAT.  Those kids had cool costumes and everyone seemed happy.  My girls had plastic costume that no one saw.  The weather just didn't cooperate in the mid-west. They wore costumes with their snowsuits over them.  Ice, snow and sleet couldn't keep them from this yearly tradition. Freezing cold, they would walk like Zombies before Zombies were cool. Wearing little red snowsuits and plastic Care Bear masks, they trudged up to front doors, rang door bells with mittens and shivered the words...TWICK O TWEEEET.

By the time we moved to Southern Indiana my older girls were beyond the years of Trick or Treating, but Bissy and Hope got to enjoy the "movie-like" atmosphere of the Halloween Season.  It was like the scenes in ET  or Halloweentown.  Our subdivision was full of families going door to door.  I was shocked...literally!  And I wasn't prepared!  Twenty years later....I am fully prepared with at least 400 items to hand out!  Yes...FOUR HUNDRED!!

Even before Hope was born, Bissy talked about what "that" baby would be for Halloween. The standard answer was "A Packers Cheerleader", of course. When Harper was born, Bissy's daughter, it was inevitable that she would also be "A Packers Cheerleader".  Harper and Vinnie were the Packer Duo when they were 2.  And the weather was Movie Scene perfect!
Vinnie and Harper, The Packer Duo!

For the past 10 years I set up my Halloween station in the garage.  Eleven years ago, I did my "Candy Handing" via my front door.  That was a lot of  doorbell ringing, door knocking and door opening for 400 kids!  Eleven years ago, I stepped out onto my front porch to "oooo and ahhhh" about the neighbors new baby.  That night, I heard a snap, fell forward and landed next to the cutie pies stroller.  If I had a costume on, it would have been the LADY on the LIFE LINE commercial reciting her only line, "I have fallen and I can't get up!"  That little baby is now 11. He no longer lives in the neighborhood but I sometimes see him with his Grandparents.  I don't have the heart to tell him how his cute little face ruined my night! That could just ruin his life!  or not!

Have you ever had to go to the ER?  Pretty scary right?  Try going on Halloween night!  Ax Heads!  Pumpkin Flame burn victims!  Scary Clown syndrome treatment! Zombie scab pickers!  Vampire Blood Bank seekers! Candy Corn Comas!  Then there was me with no costume and a very lame excuse of "Baby oooooo and ahhhhher".

Sure enough! A broken leg!  Halloween is a reason for an Anniversary.  Best Anniversary ever!  I get to buy my favorite candy, hang out in the garage, sit on my Packer Chair, feed Little Green Bay Packer Duos sugar, and NEVER hear a doorbell.  Did I mention the Wine???

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I Miss My Dad

Ten years ago, my dad (age 79) passed away from pancreatic cancer.  Sure didn't see that cancer coming!

In the 1960's, my dad had a diagnosis of cancer.  He had his fair share of hernias and ulcers.  I am sure that being in his 30's, he didn't think that cancer would be part of his medical records.  In fact, cancer wasn't a real known ailment back then.  When my mom told my brother and I that dad was in the hospital and that it was cancer, The Encyclopedia was the only source of information available.
 ( last centuries Google)

 The set of encyclopedias sat on top of my brothers dresser.  He was so lucky because he could lay in bed at night with a flash light under his covers and read any volume he wanted.  He was also the one who looked up cancer and only found one paragraph.

I was in grade school.  I thought my dad was going to die.

 My grandkids are in grade school and my children are in their 30's. I can't imagine it!

The surgeons cut him open from his sternum down to his pelvic region. Back then everything was exploratory.  He had many scars that I am sure a 2nd grader shouldn't and didn't see. He had radiation that burned his skin.  He stayed home from work.  Everyone was sad.

I remember that he had bandages on his cheek.  They had removed melanoma.  Back then, they just called it cancer.

As my brother and I got older and moved onto college then onto marriage, Dad would always report to us after his yearly checkups.  He always would say, "I'm having my yearly cancer check" and then a week later he would say."I'm good for another year!".  Those were the great years!

Then he got prostate cancer.

My dad was the most positive man in the world. He had a great sense of humor. He used his Scandinavian accent when joking about Lena and Ole, a Norwegian couple who always seemed to be in disharmony.  He couldn't tell a joke without forgetting the punch line.  We would laugh so hard!  No one cared about the punch line when he told the joke!

 He was a proud veteran. He left me the china that he bought in Japan after the war.  Ten years ago, prior to his passing, he spoke more about  his time in the service than he ever did when we were growing up.  We would pass a restaurant call Nagasaki, and he would tell me about that town in Japan.  I would just listen.

When he retired from his career with the Iowa Department of Transportation, he and my mom became what they call "Winter Texans".  Every Halloween they left Iowa and every Mother's Day they left Texas.  My mom still goes to Texas, same schedule.  She turned 86 this year.

He loved my mom.  I remember he would cop a feel right there in front of my brother and me.  Ya Mom, we saw it!  He loved her enough to go to a rehabilitation center for a month to learn about his alcoholism.  When he died 10 years ago, he had celebrated 25 years of sobriety and was a proud member of AA.

Then he got pancreatic cancer.
Then he got bladder cancer.
Then he got liver cancer.

In September of 2006 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.With each specialist we saw, the other cancer diagnosis showed up.  We stopped taking him to specialists.  He had cancer.

He was in hospice in my home and on the last week of his life we moved him to a facility called the Charlier Hospice Center.  It was the most beautiful experience. We hung artwork and pictures on the walls. We had a tape player with his favorite hymns. We had comfortable chairs to sit in and talk with him while his eyes were closed. He was covered with a colorful knitted prayer shawl that had arrived earlier from a Texas friend. My brother came from Arizona.  My dad had us together and that was a good thing.  When he passed away, we were not present but we were present in his heart.

I miss my dad.  Cancer didn't define him.  He wouldn't let it.  He lived a great life and I bet he remembers the punch line to his jokes in Heaven.....or not!
Jerry and Cinda with Wilmar Nelson

Monday, October 17, 2016

How Important is it?

I have been doing a lot of thinking when it come to the saying "How important is it?"

The usual answer for me would be, " Pretty Darn Important!"  "Everything is Important!". But, is it?

I usually go straight to my reactionary freaking my freak mode!  You know, get all excited about something that is totally out of my control.

Last weekend, at the cabin, Tom was doing his regular thang just putzing around the garden.  He has lost quite a bit of weight this year and his ring is very loose.  While putzing, it was wobbling and he pushed it up to his knuckles and went about his putzing.  It was 5 minutes later that he realized his ring was gone.   This ring belonged to his father who passed away several years ago.  This ring means the world to him.

Tom and rings.  His first wedding ring was gold and engraved with "I love you".  It was lost in a laundry mat when he decided that doing laundry while I was in the hospital recovering from the birth of our first child would be a nice gesture.  Not only did he lose his ring, he lost one of mine! We posted REWARD signs and never got them back. There was some lucky college student living in Pammel Court in Ames, Iowa who probably hit the mother load when he or she found them.

His next wedding ring was purchased at a jewelry store that was going out of business. It was 80% off. This ring cost me $27.  By the time I purchased this ring, we were entering the "not so much lovey dovey" part of our marriage.  No engraving, just wear it already!

During the time that he wore this cheap ring, he was a large animal veterinarian in Minnesota.  His specialty was dairy cattle.  Since I am not a veterinarian and couldn't even play one on TV, I can't tell you the REAL medical terms of what he did for pregnant cows. Here is my version. He stuck his  bare arm up the butt of a female cow to check stuff. ( I really do know the medical terminology but like my version better) He lost his ring inside her butt.  At least he didn't call me to come find it, and we don't talk about this loss. It was never returned but I bet somewhere in that field is a shiney object waiting to be found.

His third wedding ring was purchased from a secondhand store. A $28 purchase. I was never going to spend anymore than that! No love notes. It was not wrapped as a present.  Just put it on and don't lose it, mister!   He wore that ring for over 20 years and never lost it. On our 30th anniversary, we go new rings. Our old rings were cashed in and I got myself a John Hardy silver chain and pendent!  I have lost and found that a few time too!

He has had 4 wedding rings.  When his dad gave him his ring, I told him to wear that instead of his new one that we got on our 30th anniversary. His dad's ring has a 3/4 K diamond.  And it matches my new wedding ring. 

How important is it? A ring?  Well it is the symbol of marriage.  But do we really need a ring?
How important is it? Losing something that is a symbol?
How important is it? Losing anything?

When he lost his dad's ring I felt sad but not freaked out like I usually feel.   I had a peace about me because I had been pondering all week the phrase " How important is it?"

I belong to a group that meets weekly and we share experiences.  "How important is it?" was the topic on the very week Tom lost that ring.  My friend had shared an experience of losing her mom's ring and then finding it. In her discovery, she said, "No one was hurt, no one died, it was just a ring." It was so ironic that I would be experiencing the same lose 2 days later.

We purchased a metal detector this weekend and put it to use as soon as it was assembled.  We retraced Tom's moves through the garden and found a lot of IRON.  When we got to the summer squash, the beeping changed and there underneath the leaves laid his ring.

How important is it?
If you don't get wild and crazy, blaming and accusing, ranting and raving, bitching and moaning about something that is totally out of your control, you can feel so much peace when things work out. And all things work out, just not always like you want them too!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Carnival Fish and Hope

Hope with her Carnival Fish "Rover"

The Fall Festival in our town is going on right now.  Ever since Hope started school, the Special Ed kids get to have the carnival area to themselves on Tuesday. The West Side Nut Club sponsors this awesome event and this year the paper reported that 500 kids attended. This year, Hope went with her class and I didn't have to go!

Hope loves to wander. She isn't lost, everyone else is.  If she wandered this year, they didn't tell me. I had a great day off!!

Hope loves the games because of the prizes and everything is free that day.  In the past, she has come home with huge plastic bags full of stuffies, blow up toys, necklaces, and various trinkets.  Just another reason she hoards!  She loves her stuff.  This year, by the time she got home to our house, all she had in her possession was a gold fish. A real gold fish.  Her teacher tried to convince her to take the stuffed animal fish, but Hope insisted on the REAL gold fish.  This fish was still alive in its plastic bag  at 5:30.  I laid the bag in the fish tank so the temp would be the same.  I have no clue who taught me that and when Tom saw it, he questioned my intent!  He released the fish in the tank and that little devil ate his weight in gold.  He was so hungry.

This fish was named Rover. Only because someone wrote Rover on the bag.

When Hope names things, she usually thinks for a while and then names it Cindy.  Every time she goes to Build A Bear she picks out a cute animal, dresses it in Disney Character clothes and heads to the birth certificate computer. You would think that if she dressed the bear like Elsa, she would name it Elsa.  This is not the case in Hope's  world. I cross my figures that the bear will have a cool name like Coco Moco but when I ask, "what is the name?"  She always says Cindy!

The first time Hope won a fish at the Fall Festival, Tom wasn't home to take care of it. I did.  And guess what?  It lived!  For some reason this fish got the name Charlotte.

Charlotte is the reason that we now have a 20 gallon Fish Tank.  It's funny how a free feeder fish from a carnival turns a home into an aquarium totting house equipped with gravel, castles and fake seaweed, lights and a motorized filter. In our case, the fish had a honey comb and a Green Bay Packer Helmet to hide in.

Oh, and the mourning that goes on when a fish dies!  What ever happened to flushing a dead fish down the toilet?  It just doesn't happen in our house.

Our Carnival fish always have friends that join them.  They come from the neighborhood pet store.  Charlotte ended up with 4 friends.  They were beautiful fantail fish, Casey, Bissy, Harper and Graham. Not original names since they belong to family members.  Charlotte was replaced several time do to early demise. Poor Charlotte.
Charlotte is the little one.  The Big Black one once lived in a drawer!

Alas, all of those fish have entered the great ocean in the sky.  And they all had autopsies.  Liver disease.  So sad.

The 20 Gallon tank now has two Carnival Fish that my Grandson won 2 years ago, Two creepy oversized head fish from the store, and now Rover.

I asked Hope this morning what her new fish's name was, fully expecting her to say Cindy and she said..."It is Charlotte!"
Good answer.  Move over Rover!
Charlotte the original Carnival Fish

Monday, October 3, 2016

Of Bird and Hope

When you live in the forest on the weekends you just sort of get accustomed to dead animals, dead bugs and dead snakes on the property.

The first dead animal we encountered was the year our cabin was built.  The birds weren't used to a building in the way of their flight path. We would find beautiful dead cardinals, nutshatch and finches on our porch upon arrival.

The first dead bird turned out to be Hope's first pet.  Have you ever read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck?  That book is one of the creepiest books out there.  I should write a book Of Bird and Hope, it could be equally as disturbing.

That Saturday, we were inspecting the building process of the cabin.  We were thrilled that our porch was complete and the cabin had windows and a door.  We didn't pay much attention to the fact that Hope had claimed a dead bird.

Hope has always had a fear of animals.  She had no fear of this dead bird.  She picked it up, carried it to the car, dumped out an old Tupperware container, lined it with a pink washcloth, and put the bird inside.  She talked to it, giggled about it, caressed it, and kissed it.  I strongly suggested that it wasn't a good idea to kiss it but Hope's answer was, " MOM!!!!"  I tried  to convince her to leave it on the ground because....well....duh....Germs! I lost!

When it was time to leave, she had the bird resting comfortably next to her in it's makeshift coffin.  I was in disbelief that she was still hanging onto the concept of it being a pet! Did she name it?  I don't thinks so.  So, let's just call it DEAD BIRD.

Our weekend commute to the cabin takes 72 minutes, by the time we got home, I totally forgot about her fascination about DEAD BIRD.

It dawned on me halfway through the night when I woke up with a jolt....DEAD BIRD...where is the dead bird?

Just like the Night Before Christmas, I bolted down the stairs, unlatched the garage door, threw open the hatch of the see an empty Tupperware coffin.

OH MY What's the matter?

This was not Hope's first rodeo with a small animal.  One time, when Tom was cleaning the fish tank, Hope somehow hauled the "large black fish" up to her room. When Tom realized the fish was gone and nowhere on the floor near the tank, he knew that Hope had to have taken it or the cat ate it.  He asked her and she denied it but with much diligence, he finally found it alive in one of her drawers!   Could this be the case this time?  Did she carry DEAD BIRD to her room? Why didn't she carry it in it's "casket"? I turned on her lights and dug through her drawers! No DEAD BIRD.

We have always had a "thing" about saving dead animals.  We had parakeets.  Remember the show XFiles with Mulder and Scully back in the 90's? That was one disturbing show! More than once, I would jump out of my skin and scream for the actors to MOVE!  One Friday night, I scared the parakeet with my excitement and it fell off its perch and died!  Being the Veterinary Pathologist that he was, Tom put it in a plastic bag, stuck it in the freezer so he could do an autopsy later.  That poor bird became the talk of the High School and was visited often by my daughters classmates until Tom finally figured out the death.  It died of some big scientific explanation. Bottom line, I was not the responsible party to it's passing!

Back to DEAD BIRD.  Where was DEAD BIRD?  I figured in the freezer. Nope!  We have 3 freezers and I checked them all.  I woke Tom up from a dead sleep to see if he had anything to do with DEAD BIRD. Nope!  He was too tired to talk about it and how dare me accuse him of freezing DEAD BIRD!  See above paragraph on why I would accuse him!

DEAD BIRD was not in the freezer, it was midnight, and I was freaking my freak.  I went back to the car. I looked under the seats, in the glove compartment, between the seats and under the car mats.   When I was in the back seat checking under the mats, I noticed that the "pocket" on the back of the front seat was bulging some.  I stuck my hand in the pocket and pulled out DEAD BIRD.

Hope, keeper of all thing, hoarder of most saved DEAD BIRD in the safest place of all.  And I got to touch it.  Of Bird and Hope, coming soon to a bookstore near you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

That Phone call....

You would think that I would be used to receiving phone calls from the school.  In fact, I should be an expert at recognizing the number on caller Id.

On most calls, they are concerns about Hope's health or her behavior.  She has a booger nose. She is farting too much.  Or she knocked over the table and chairs and wiped out the bookshelf.  Simple calls.

I remember once I got a call from the nurse with concerns that she had scabies.  When I picked her up, I was handed the health form that explained how she could possibly get them and how to treat her for it.  I can tell you, right now, the school nurse was not my friend.  I felt like she was condescending and needed to give me "the education".

Well, she did not have scabies on her scalp.  The night before she had poured an entire bottle of hair conditioner on her head and I sent her to school without it completely washed out.  Yes, it did look wasn't scabies!! Give me a break!

On a different call, I was told that she had pinworms because she was itching her butt. Think about it, don't you sometimes just HAVE to itch your butt?? That confrontation led to a printout on how to detect pinworms. This phenomenon involved purchasing a flashlight.  I never have one when I need one or I am out of batteries.  You see, this piece of medical equipment is for finding the pesky little worms in the middle of the night by shining the beacon up a butthole.  It is a fact that the little devils are active at night and come out of the butt. EWWWW. I don't know about you, but if someone came into my bedroom at night, spread my butt checks and shined a flashlight up my.......YOU GOT THE pinworms....just another printout to put in our file of possible things to be called about by the school!  Same nurse!

Hope coughs and hacks and then sometimes throws up....It is daily, I wipe it up and get on with my day.  I got a call from the school nurse last year that insisted I take her home because she threw up.  She said that the flu was going around and Hope had it.  I argued....yes I did....and I lost!   I sent my daughter Bissy to pick her up....she argued also.  Bissy knows Hope....she knows her routine....she lost the battle of the barf  too.  Hope got home and was fine. She had to stay home for 2 days because of the "vomit rule"
 Vomit Rule
If you throw up in school, you must remain home for 24 hours.

Stupid rule.  With that rule, she would never go to school.  I got out her IEP ( because I knew for a fact that it was listed somewhere under CONCERNS that she vomits with a side notesaying don't send her home.)  I couldn't find those words anywhere but as I reread the IEP, I did find that she could wear crowns and bring dolls to school. Guess what she did that next day? YES,she wore a crown and a wig! And I bet anything....she threw up too!

Oh, the phone calls from school!  I never know if I should stop the car, turn it around and then answer.  Or if I should let it go to voicemail and let them call the home phone or just let them give Tom a call at work. Sometimes I just don't want to know what is happening in school!

Yesterday, I got the call.  I love having a smart car that all I have to do is push the little button on the steering wheel and answer my phone.....This time I didn't recognize the number.
On the other end was her teacher.   I gasped....because I am very good at gasping.
He said, " Hope is OK!"
I sighed....that is my calm.
He said, "But,".....
When he said "But" ,my immediate thought was "Someone else is NOT OK"
He said, "But, she brought some things in her backpack that probably shouldn't be here!"

My thoughts swirled. What could be the most embarrassing thing in the whole world sitting on the desk, at school, in front of teachers and helpers. My Bra? Tom's underwear?

I can't put anything past her. She steals my stuff all the time! And she would steal your stuff too!

On this phone call, I had to pull over. I had to fan myself with both hands!

Her teacher went on to explain, " She has an envelop that has all the car tag stickers dated 2017 that belong on your vehicles, I thought maybe you needed them.  And......."

He said, "AND...". I leaned over and cranked up the air conditioning, my imagination was going wild...where did she get the stickers, does that mean she has all the birth certificates and my wedding license too?

"And," he said, "She has an envelope from St Vincent Hospital, and some other important looking forms from Toyota."

All I could say in response was, " Whew!" and in my thoughts....Thank goodness it wasn't my underwear!

She brought 2 purses to school that day plum full of treasures that I knew nothing about.  Just her typical "pile".  That day she dumped everything out on the table to show and tell all.   And what she was most proud of was in her wallet....She had a twenty dollar bill!
This time, she wasn't sent home and there was no printout on how to remedy this dilemma. After she got home, I did get the tags on the vehicles but still haven't recovered my $20. That will be another day!

Phone Calls, sometimes you just gotta answer!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bus Ride to Work

Have you ever taken a bus?  Not a school bus, but a city bus!  A city bus in a big city?

When I was growing up, I often times would ride the bus downtown.  It cost 10 cents.  The walk to the bus was 1 mile, uphill both ways! ( I don't know how that was possible, but whenever old folks tell a tale that is how far they walk)

Our city wasn't considered a large city, but to me, it was the biggest city I knew and it was my city.  I can tell you right now....I would never ever EVEN ever....let my grandchildren walk 1 mile uphill both ways to ride a bus downtown all alone...never ever EVEN ever!!!  Times have really changed!

Last century, when my children were in grade school and high school, I had no problem with them riding a bus, their bikes, walking, running, hopping or skipping anywhere in town...up a hill or down a hill.  That was then, this is now.

My bus ride,in the 70's, to downtown Sioux City included sitting behind the grumpy driver.  I remember once, he yelled at me because it was the weekend and I wasn't suppose to use my student pass on the weekend.  Yes, I cried!  I had a job at the Younkers Department Store in the men's department and the bus driver, after he yelled at me said, " Just this once!"  Believe me, I had my dime the next time I took the bus on the weekend.

Working in the Men's Department was a great way to get dates.....NOT!  Classmates mom's would shop in this department. These woman were buying unmentionables for my male friends.  I got paid $2.10/hour to be embarrassed! In the 70's the speedo changed the underwear business.  Tighty Whities were out...color and silk were in!  Don't even ask me what size I think you should buy!  Boxers?  I don't think they were invented yet! That job lasted through the Christmas season. Next year is a 45th class reunion....I wonder if I should tell the guys what I know about them!!!

The bus ride home was treacherous in the winter.  Iowa had snow, they also used salt on the road, this would create a slush.  The slush usually ended up on the curb and, of course, the curb was the bus stop.  FYI...Salt slush leaves rings on leather boots!  And then there was the walk home in the snow!

You can get a great education on a bus ride. Back then there were no cell phones or ear buds for music.  Back then, eavesdropping on a conversation or listening to your benchmate was a source of entertainment.  There was a girl next to me that was talking about how she knew The Beatles.....HA, ya right!  But I listened...she needed to lie to someone!

AH.....the good ole days...when a bus ride cost ten cents, the entertainment was free education, and getting yelled at by a grumpy man in a uniform was the norm.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Faint of Heart

Having Down syndrome is not for the faint of heart.  Hope does just fine with her diagnosis.  She is carefree and does her own thing.  She says hello to anyone in her line of vision.  She puts out her hand and say, " Hi, I'm Hope!  What's your name?"  After they answer or not...she will say, "Nice to meet you."

When I say not for the faint of heart, this is directed to those who don't live daily with the quirks, the smiles, the tantrums, the fashion statements, the exerted dependence and/or independence, and the health issues. A person who is faint of heart does not accept differences.  This person sees black or gray area.

I always thought that I was faint at heart when it came to persons that were not like me.  But I have learned through a great teacher, Hope, that even the most intolerant person can be changed. That person is me.

 When I was growing up, a little girl down the street was deaf.  I wasn't very nice to her.  A few blocks on the other side of the street lived a little boy who probably had Autism.  I wasn't nice to him either! And then there was the kid up the hill who had seizures.  He just plain scared me!

I remember when I was a freshman in college many of my friends were entering a major that was called"special ed".  These people had the nerve to tell me that I should consider it too.  Seriously???
I took a personality test and an aptitude test that determined that I should be a dental hygienist, a hair stylist or a Home Economics teacher.  I eventually chose Home EC. Definitely not Special Ed.

Fast forward to this century.....I have a child who is in "special ed".  God has a sense of humor, and he knew that I did too!

I was in total denial that she had Down syndrome.  She looked like a baby to me with chubby cheeks and hands.  I already raised 3 daughters, she wasn't anything different.

Oh I had her enrolled in the First Steps program and she received all the therapies weekly, but I knew that she really didn't have a syndrome.

When she was 7 months old, our family took a trip to DC. While at the Smithsonian, strangers would comment on how cute she was.  One lady told me that her child was at home and that he was 12 years old and doing well.  I had no clue why she would tell me this, until she mentioned that he had Down syndrome.  My baby didn't look like she had Down could this lady possibly know.

Well, duh, Hope looked like she possessed the extra 21 chromosome.  I was so much in love with this baby that I didn't see her differently.

Now that Hope is 17, enrolled in a Special Ed classroom that she loves, I can say out loud that she has the characteristics of a person with Down syndrome. She is who she is! Heck, she is one of the funniest kids I know!

Many of her friends have cardiac problems. When she was 2 months old she saw a cardiologist and he said, " You may fire me, she has a great heart!"  Hope is not faint of heart!

I am so glad that God plopped her in my life. Because of that, I am no longer faint of heart.  Gray is the new black and white for me!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


A few life lessons learned......

Lesson 1

I celebrated my 62nd birthday last week.  Ya, I know, I look so much younger.  I swear my youthful appearance comes from the knowledge of a class I took at the YWCA in 1970. Or perhaps my Norwegian genes! In the last century I took  a course on etiquette!  The gymnasium was crammed with teenage girls who arrived from throughout the city. Big ones, small ones, fashionistas, not so fashionistas and those who were forced by their parents to attend.  Etiquette....what a funny word to use in the same sentence as Midwestern teenage girls!

We learned how to sit, stand, walk, BE a MODEL!! The most lasting lesson I learned came from the Bonnie Bell cosmetic lady from the Younker Department Store.  What she impressed upon my young, teen mind was ....

 You. Must.Wear.Moisturizer.On.Your. Face.Every.Day.

She was absolutely right! That was 50 years ago...That would be a half century ago. My habit became a lifestyle.

Lesson 2

I celebrated my 62nd birthday last week applying for Social Security benefits for Hope.  In July, when I applied for mine online, I received a phone call, shortly after it was processed, to inform me that Hope could draw benefits because she has an OLD mom!  The SS office didn't say that, they are very nice people to work with....but face it...Hope's mom is going to receive benefits and she can too.  WINNING!!!

We.Will. Have. Dollar Store.Money.

Lesson 3

I celebrated my 62nd birthday last week and had to be educated on what exactly is the definition of Senior Discount.  Did you know that there really isn't a set age for a senior discount.  Some places consider 55 years old to be a senior!  Seriously, 55....that is soooooo very young!

Tom, Hope and I spent the weekend at the cabin.  On Sunday, we ventured out to the neighboring Hoosier National Forest campgrounds.  Our discussion on our way there we buy a daily pass or should be get a year pass and do they take a credit card.   We pulled up to the tiny cabin that housed the park ranger person.( I really need to figure out what that money takers position is called so when I apply to do this job i don't sound stupid!) We stared at the pricing menu. We thought a year pass would be great. That thought was smashed when  we found out that they didn't take credit cards. I handed Tom my one and only $10 bill.  A daily pass is $5 a car or $2.50 for seniors.  The  Park Ranger person handed us the change of $5.  We smiled and thanked him.

Senior.Discount.Lost.  Moisturizer.Adds.Youth.

Lesson 4

I celebrated my 62nd birthday last week.  If you want a senior discount, make sure you show them your ID to prove your age. And don't forget to thank the Bonnie Bell Cosmetic lady while you are at it!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lightning, Thunder and the Tooth Fairy

There is nothing like an Indiana thunderstorm in the forest, at the cabin on the porch with 4 screaming maniacs and grandparents!

This weekend we were counting up to Fifteen one hundred before we would hear the crack of thunder.  When we only made it to five one hundred, everyone squealed with delight!
In unison, with high pitched voices  “ That was really close!”

Graham was leaning up against the porch post when we saw the flash of light that required no counting.  We didn’t have a chance to get to one one hundred when the ground shook, rumbled and threw him into my arms.  His eyes were as large as saucers! His sister was right behind him, on top of me! And we screamed, and screamed and screamed again! Boy was that fun!  We were ready for another.  And none came that close again!

Harper, age 4, said, “That scared the heck out of me!”  I told her that I saw her heck lying next to the bird feeder!

Graham, who likes to tell stories and requires us to listen without interrupting because he stammers a wee bit,  allowed that bolt of lightning and crash of thunder to  scare the “stutter” out of him!  He was so scared, excited and craving for more that he socked his own mouth and knocked out a baby tooth!  Losing a baby tooth in the National Forest was even more exciting.  So exciting that he pulled out the one next to it! The one that was really, really loose to begin with!

So there we were, in the midst of thunderstorm talking about the tooth fairy.  The poor tooth fairy probably wouldn’t be able to find his tooth.  The poor tooth fairy had to endure a storm without a GPS.  The poor tooth fairy may just possibly get eaten by a mountain lion on her quest to find his tooth.

You know the story….you know a kid who has had a loose tooth….you have to make stories up about the fairy.  There are no rules when it comes to the tooth fairy!  When we realize that no one in the cabin had cash, stories became very creative! There were 3 grown daughters who have bigger imaginations that the state of Texas!

Tooth fairies bring money.  Just ask Cousin Garret, age 7, the expert on losing teeth! One time he got 2 crumbled dirty dollars!

So what does a tooth go for these days?  Well, I’m sure the tooth fairy who comes to the cabin is pretty darn cheap.  There aren’t ATM’s to near on a Saturday night. Who is ever prepared for the tooth fairy? Thank goodness, grandpa had some cash.  The tooth fairy--God love her--if she would make it to the forest, would leave $2 a tooth!

Graham decided that he would leave one tooth for the forest fairy and take the other one home for the city fairy just in case there would be more money involved.  Smart plan!

Lightning, Thunder, Tooth fairies……life is good at the Cabin in the woods!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

School and Hope

When Hope has a positive day in school,she gets a coke!!
School started last  Wednesday.  Are kids suppose to be excited to go?  Or are they suppose to feel like summer shouldn't be over?

Who cares, RIGHT?  I'm  glad it is started.  It gives me a chance to breathe... for a second!
Don't get me wrong, I love a great summer vacation...alone somewhere... which will never happen.

School for Hope has been very stressful for me.  In the past if I planned something on her school day, I most likely would be called by the teacher or principal to come get her.  She likes to be home, in her room, or with me.

Last Wednesday was different.  She went. She came home. She was happy!

There was a time when that did not happen.  I can't go into details because this is a small town, and I could possibly be tarred and feathered for speaking out poorly about our school system.

I was so disgusted in how she was treated that....I quit sending her.  Yes, didn't call in and didn't send her.  I just didn't think that putting handcuffs on a child  was an appropriate response to a melt down.  They begged to differ.  So, we agreed to disagree.   That year sucked the big one!!!!

Now that I have you all riled up.....  Thank you!

It is hard raising a child with special needs. There are good days and there are not so good days. Stubborn days and happy days.  Most days, however, are unpredictable.  Going into HS for the first year was that.....unpredictable.  I am happy to say,this is starting her third year and things don't suck!

She is now considered a junior. She has a teacher who gets her and I have met her new paraprofessional.  Life is good, I will take it!

Will she make homecoming court?  She doesn't care!  I don't care!  I am just happy she attends school.  Will she hold an after school job?  Not at this time.  I'm just glad she likes to shop at the Dollar Tree with me.  Will she leave home at 18, like the " typical" teen? Probably not, I'm just glad she sits next to me in the car when we run errands.  Willl she fall in love and get married? She has asked her dad to be her husband.

School and Hope?  No!!! We are schooled by Hope! Everyday is a new learning curve. 
She makes us better people!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The day I almost died by the cabin in the woods

I know you have been waiting for the post about the day I almost died by the cabin in the woods.

It was early spring and Tom rented a Bush hog to cut through the thicket of the woods. We are making this land a tree farm. And he figured that this would be a great way to clear the land. This bush hog was very heavy, very powerful and very noisy as it cut through small trees grinding and throwing the debry. He was very successful on the higher ground where it was nice and flat but the sound was deafening. I would listen for the sound from the cabin to make sure that he was o k.

The sound stopped. I looked out. I didn't see him. I scanned the horizon and saw him down in the forest where the bush hog was stuck.  It broke down at an angle on a cliff.

Ok....this is something we rented....we couldn't just leave it there like the neighbors leave their cars in the forest...we had to get it out.

Ok....again....I am not outdoorsy, I am not a workout queen, I am not a senior citizen who likes to get her hands dirty.  It was outdoors, it was muddy and I had on fashion tennis shoes!  AND....Hope was down there with us!

I had two jobs.
 1. To push the Bush Hog
 2. To push the Bush Hog so Tom could pull the handles.

When that job failed, I had two more jobs.
1. To pull the Bush Hog
2. To pull the Bush Hog so Tom could push it up the hill.

You know the story about the Little Engine that Could?
That was me. Instead of..."I think I can"...I said..."I can't do this. I can't do this."  I thought that I had died!  I am the person in the family who has a weekly appointment with a chiropractor for arm and hand pain.  I am the person who had carpal tunnel surgery.  I am the person who wears a splint on her wrist at night!! I knew that I was a life passed before my eyes! That bush hog slipped towards Tom and knocked him down.  Something happened and "wala" it was up on high ground!

We got it out of the woods without ONE cuss word. WE did it.

We weren't done. We still had to get it into the trailer. Tom laid his head on the handles and prayed! Hope stood there in awe.  I was huffing and puffing and didn't realize that we moved it off of the cliff.

In the end, we got it on the trailer. Once again, I had two jobs. (See the above descriptions)  We came to realize, that working in the woods is not an easy job for two seniors and a teen. We also realized that we need a back up plan for when we do have an emergency.

Here is what I have found out since this adventure.  Our area is covered by the 911 plan.  We actually have a address that can be found on gps and the $35 that I paid to the Volunteer Fire Department is my insurance that help could be on the way.  We also have located the nearest hospitals and exchanged phone numbers with our neighbors.

Remember when I told you about Hope driving the car....That could become a reality during one of these adventures!

On the day that I almost dies by the cabin in the woods, I found an arrow head.  It was laying right in front of me as I was huffing and puffing not realizing that we moved the bush hog.  I don't know if that is a "sign" or just good luck.  But finding an arrow head is pretty  darn cool.