Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christ Puts Himself Back in Christmas

The Stoic household is buzzing these days with wedding prep and Christmas decorating. Sprout will be here soon and the wedding count down has begun.

I decided that I should take pictures of the Christmas tree before the festivities began and I go and forget all about it. So the other night, I took this picture.

Now, look closely at the cross on the wall to the right of the tree. Guess what...there ain't a cross of the wall in that room. I had to do a double take because I know that room like the back of my hand. I hung every picture in that room and I KNOW there is not a cross on the wall. On closer inspection, I realized that the cross is actually a reflection on the glass of the hallway that is behind me as I took the picture. Freaky, huh? I guess I better not forget who in in charge of Christmas.

Now, back to the wedding preparations.

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Tis The Season To Think As A Child

The grandkids were over today and helped me pick out a Christmas tree to fight with. But before we did that, we had to answer the traditional holiday protocol in this family and first bring out the creche and set up the Holy Family, who did after all start all this crazy merriment we now call Christmas. I explained to the Little General that I usually stash baby Jesus away in a drawer until Christmas day because he isn't born until then. She didn't like this idea, apparently thinking me guilty of some sort of child abuse and indicated that she preferred to have baby Jesus adopted out by Barbie.

Well, some folks might think that it would be sacrilegious of me to allow a child to play with a baby Jesus figurine as a play thing, but knowing my God the way I do, I happen to have it on good authority that he suffers the little children not to come unto him and I am sure that he considers it an honor that the Little General feels inclined to rescue baby Jesus from a deep, dark drawer.

And isn't it just like a child to teach us the meaning of things? After the kids left this evening, I went around the house picking up toys and putting things back in their place. I passed by the nativity set and smiled at the way all the wise men and shepherds were haphazardly arranged. It wasn't until I begin moving them around that I noticed how the Little General had arranged the manger, swaddling my plastic baby Jesus in a blue plaid blanket to keep him warm. I stand here now, humbled.
I have decided not to change a thing.

Thanks, Little General for reminding me.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Giving Thanks and Walmart Shopping

We just got back late this afternoon from a week long Thanksgiving visit with Sprout in fly-over country. Stoicdad has a horrible fear of flying so we drove...two days up and two days back. Under normal circumstances, this would have been enough "bonding" time to end a twenty-seven year marriage, but we took Bridey and cousin Pedro with us so we had to be on our best behavior. Sprout was glad to see us, VERY glad to see Bridey. She is staying on an extra week so that they can go hunting for an apartment and do other such getting-hitched type stuff.

On the way up and back, we spent the night at the home of my mother's sister. It's been eight years since I have seen my aunt. She moved away about ten years ago, around the time my mom died. I did not realize just how much I missed her and her family. We stayed up talking and reminiscing and laughing and she looks so much like Mama and sounds just like her and moves just like her and laughs like her and thinks like her. It was nice to have someone else remind ME that it was Mama's birthday for a change. Mama would have turned seventy-one last week had she lived. She and my aunt were so close and so funny together. Sigh! How I miss those days.

But the most exciting thing about our little trip is that our hotel stood just across the parking lot from a Walmart. Now, normally I don't do the Black Friday shopping thing BUT when Walmart is so close you can spit on it, well, if that ain't a sign from God, I don't know what is. I woke up at 4:30 A.M., looked out the window and saw a stream of headlights heading into the Walmart parking lot and decided to brush my teeth, throw on some clothes and grab my purse. I left Stoicdad a note that said "Gone to Walmart" just in case I never made it back. I got there and just happened to be at the exact door where the portable DVD players were and managed to get a couple without a fight and made it back to the hotel by 5:30 and Stoicdad was none the wiser.

The poor man could wake up completely broke one day and not have a clue.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Another Funny From the General

As I've said here before, my grandkids remind me often that I sometimes cuss. I didn't realize that I cuss so much, but hey, I'm raised in the south. It's in "mah bluud". Anyway, I now own a coin bank that the grandkids remind me to fill each time I say a bad word. The other day they were over and we were putting those shiny State quarters into their little collection books. They enjoy this and they earn and learn in the process. I have promised them that as soon as they get them all, they can go buy something and start collecting all over again.

Anyway, we had one quarter left over that they didn't need and the Little General asks me what to do with the quarter. I point to the cussin' jar and tell her to put it in. She holds the quarter to the slot on the jar and looks at me with that sly little grin and says "say a cuss word, Grandma".

Well hey! No need to waste a perfectly good quarter.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! All Tuxedos, Fitted and Paid For

We have all been trying to encourage Sgt. York to be the ring-bearer in Sprout's wedding(or ring-barrier, as the child at my niece's wedding called himself). He balks. Two years ago Sgt. York was in his cousin's wedding (he was four years old then, a mere child) and as he speed-walked down the aisle, he dangled the ring-pillow from the pretty satin ribbon that was meant to hold the rings (wisely, no rings were attached) and swung it back and forth all the way to the altar. The audience giggled. We did not know until now how that laughter affected Sgt. York. He does not want to be laughed at again. So, we have tried every means of persuasion. Bribery, threats, empathy (do it for a soldier)...nothing was working. But hey, they don't call me GRANDma for nothing.

I decided that if we couldn't get him on a childish level, maybe we could get him on a manly level. As we rode home together the other day, I started talking about the wedding...AGAIN...and I just happened to mention how the men in the wedding party usually sneak out during the reception to decorate the get-away car. I watched in the rear-view mirror as Sgt. York's ears perked up. Now, he was listening. I mentioned all the ideas I had seen on wedding cars. The painting, the tin cans, the condoms (uh-umm, I didn't mention the condoms, but a picture of the car in Steel Magnolias was running through my mind). Well, I had found a way to Sgt. York's heart. THIS he could be a part of. THIS he was willing to endure a little embarrassment for. He wants to be a part of a group of men who vandalize cars for the shear fun of it.

All the other men in the wedding party have been fitted for tuxes and now I felt sure it was time to snare Sgt. York. I was on a mission. I knew that walking into the tux store and seeing all the suits and trying on a coat in front of big mirrors would be all it would take to push the Sgt. over the edge. It was just a matter of luring him into the car and getting him there. This was my mission and it must not fail. Like the great generals of yore, I only had to wait for the perfect moment to strike.

Suddenly yesterday, the time had come. His dad, Sir Duke, called to ask if I would babysit for a few hours after work and I knew that would be the time to act. I knew that the tux store stayed open until 7:00pm. I figured that if I offered to take the kids to a movie, I would have just enough time after I got off work to run by and pick them up, drive through Friday night traffic out to the tuxedo store, and from there we could move up the road a ways to the movie house. A perfect plan. And it was even enhanced by the time-change because it was good and dark when we drove into the parking lot of the tux store and I could see Sgt. York's eyes light up as he surveyed all the suits in the store window. As we walked up, we saw the store was empty and the Little General tried the door but it appeared to be locked. She couldn't budge it. OH NO!!! I might not get this chance again. I read the schedule on the door and it said they were open for two more hours. I started to panic, but in situations like these cool heads must prevail, and I stopped and put the mission back into focus. After pressing my face against the window once or twice and looking back and forth up the walkway for some sign of hope that my mission was not doomed to be a miserable failure, I decided to try the door myself. The Little General was, after all, the weakest one in our party and an unknowing accomplice...she may have been wrong about the door. Stealthily I grasped the door handle and with all my might (okay...a little bit of my might)I opened the door. Within seconds, we were in. Like taking candy from a baby...Sgt. York did not even realize that he had been snared. And as I suspected, he was in awe of his surroundings. He loved being the center of attention while the nice lady measured his arms and neck and legs. Trying on the coat turned my shy little grandson into Russell Crow on the red carpet. My misson was accomplished. It could not have worked better. We now have complete tuxedo fittage and the over-all plan is still on target. W-day is getting closer and clearer every minute.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sleepin' At The Foot O' The Bed

It's due to get good and cold tonight...FINALLY. Down into the thirties, so they promise. In honor of warm quilts and snugglin', here's a fun winter poem of old.

Sleepin’ At The Foot O’ The Bed
By Luther Patrick

Did ye ever sleep at the foot o’ the bed
When the weather wuz whizzin’ cold,
When the wind wuz a-whistlin’ aroun’ the house
An’ the moon wuz yeller ez gold,
An give your good warm feathers up
To Aunt Lizzie and Uncle Fred-
Too many kinfolks on a bad, raw night
And you went to the foot o’ the bed-
Fer some dern reason the coldest night o’ the season
An’ you wuz sent to the foot o’ the bed.

I could allus wait till the old folks et
An’ then eat the leavin’s with grace,
The teacher could keep me after school
An’ I’d still hold a smile on my face,
I could wear the big boys’ wore-out clothes
Er let sister have my sled,
But it allus did git my nanny goat
To have to sleep at the foot o’ the bed;
They’s not a location topside o’ creation
That I hate like the foot o’ the bed.

‘Twuz fine enough when the kinfolks come-
The kids brought brand-new games,
You could see how fat all the old folks wuz,
An’ learn all the babies’ names,
Had biscuits an’ custard and chicken pie,
An’ allus got Sunday fed,
But you knowed dern well when night come on
You wuz headed fer the foot o’ the bed;
You couldn’t git by it, they wuz no use to try it,
You wuz headed fer the foot o’ the bed.

They tell me that some folks don’t know whut it is
To have company all over the place,
To rassel fer cover thru a long winter night
With a big foot settin’ in your face,
Er with cold toenails a-scratchin’ your back
An’ a footboard a-scrubbin’ your head;
I’ll tell the wide world you ain’t lost a thing
Never sleepin’ at the foot o’ the bed;
You can live jest as gladly an’ die jest as sadly
‘N’ never sleep at the foot o’ the bed.

I’ve done it, an’ I’ve done it a many uv a time
In this land o’ brave an’ the free,
An’ in this all-fired battle uv life
It’s done left its mark upon me,
Fer I’m allus a-strugglin’ around at the foot
Instead of forgin’ ahead,
An’ I don’t think it’s caused by a doggone thing
But sleepin’ at the foot o’ the bed;
I’ve lost all my claim on fortune an’ fame,
A-sleepin’ at the foot o’ the bed.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

John Kerry - Stu-oo-pid!

Here is our military's response to Democrat Senator John Kerry who said "You know, education -- if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well.
If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

I pilfered this picture from the Drudge Report. It was just too tempting.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Move Over Betty Grable, There's a New Poster Girl in Town

Boy, the Dixie Chicks could sure learn a thing or two from this fine Australian girl. Thanks to Blackfive for turning me on to her. This song is exactly what I need to hear right now. It is singer Beccy Cole's response, upon returning home from entertaining the Australian troops in the Middle East last Christmas, to a letter from a fan who opposes her support of the war and the Aussie soldiers, the Diggers. I took the liberty of copying down the lyrics as best I could below just in case anyone wants to sing along. Thanks Beccy!

***UPDATE: Anonymous corrected me on some of the lyrics I had posted. Below are the corrections (and they happen to be what I actually thought the words were when I first heard the song. I guess I was second guessing myself. I'm mostly deaf so I question most of what I hear anyway). Enjoy!

Poster Girl


By Beccy Cole

You don’t listen to my songs anymore.
You ripped my poster off the wall.
‘Cause I’m a singer that went to the war,
You see no good in me at all.

Pardon me if I believe
I haven’t got it wrong.
And before you turn your back on me
I’ll sing you one more song.

‘Cause I shook hands with a Digger
On the wrong side of the world
With a wife at home who holds her breath
And brand new baby girl.

And the Digger fights for freedom
In a job that must be done
And I let go of his hand
So proud to be Australian.

And if unlike me you feel no pride at all
Then go ahead and take me off your wall.
‘Cause I prefer to be a poster girl
On the wrong side of the world.

Now I’m just the girl who sings the crazy songs.
Not qualified to sit and judge.
I’ve been right and I know I’ve been wrong.
But I’m for peace and I’m for love.

And I admire the burning fire
That causes you to fight.
I only wish the wrong side of the world
Had the same right.

‘Cause I listened to the wisdom
Of an Aussie Brigadier.
He spoke of widows and of orphans
And the need to dry their tears.

And he needs to fight for freedom
In a job that must be done
And I’ve never been more proud
To say that I’m Australian.

And if unlike me you feel no pride at all
Then go ahead and take me off your wall.
‘Cause I prefer to be a poster girl
On the wrong side of the world.

Maybe I’m na├»ve to think
We all could get along.
But sir, I read your words
And all I ask is ‘hear my song’.

‘Cause I shook hands with a Digger
On the wrong side of the world
With a wife at home who holds her breath
And brand new baby girl.

And the Digger fights for freedom
In a job that must be done
And I’ve never been more proud
To say that I’m Australian.

And if unlike me you feel no pride at all
Then go ahead and take me off your wall.
‘Cause I prefer to be a poster girl
On the wrong side of the world.
I’m so proud to be a poster girl
On the wrong side of the world.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder?

I've heard that families of soldiers can suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as well as the soldier but is there such a thing as PRE-Traumatic Stress Disorder? A co-worker recently sent me this article of an email home from a Marine which I had already seen a while back, at Blackfive's blog I think, but I never finished reading the entire thing until now. Whoa! Now I'm traumatically stressed thinking about Sprout's likely upcoming deployment. This line especially hangs heavy on my heart:

"Most Memorable Scene — In the middle of the night, on a dusty airfield, watching the better part of a battalion of Marines packed up and ready to go home after over six months in al-Anbar, the relief etched in their young faces even in the moonlight. Then watching these same Marines exchange glances with a similar number of grunts loaded down with gear file past — their replacements. Nothing was said. Nothing needed to be said"

and then this one really made me sad:

"Most Common Thought — Home. Always thinking of home, of my great wife and the kids. Wondering how everyone else is getting along. Regretting that I don't write more. Yep, always thinking of home."

As a mother of a soldier about to deploy, that thought stays constantly on my mind. I have so many other things to think about right now...the holidays, the wedding...and yet thoughts of war keep creeping in and out of all my plans. Trying to prepare myself for the feelings, the fears, the tense months of waiting for it all to be over. Knowing that I must now take a backseat to his new wife and trying to keep my place but also wanting to know every word he says, how he sounds, what he is going through while he is there. Learning what time it is in yetanother time zone, waking up before dawn hoping to be IM'd. If it's already this hard for me, how hard must the thought of going to war be for him?

I will have to place my trust in God. I don't guess it will hurt to start praying in advance.

Monday, October 16, 2006

More Funnies in My Emailbox


Take 2 and the rest of the world can go to hell for up to 8 full hours.

EMPTYNESTROGEN (I need this one, NOW)
Suppository that eliminates melancholy and loneliness by reminding you of how awful they were as teenagers and how you couldn't wait till they moved out.

Plant extract that treats mom's depression by rendering preschoolers unconscious for up to two days.

Liquid silicone drink for single women. Two full cups swallowed before an evening out increases breast size, decreases intelligence, and prevents conception.

When taken with Peptobimbo, can cause dangerously low IQ, resulting in enjoyment of country music and pickup trucks.

Increases life expectancy of commuters by controlling road rage and the urge to flip off other drivers.

Potent anti-boy-otic for older women. Increases resistance to such lethal lines as, "You make me want to be a better person. "

BUYAGRA (This is my favorite)
Injectible stimulant taken prior to shopping Increases potency, duration, and credit limit of spending spree.

Relieves headache caused by a man who can't remember your birthday, anniversary, phone number, or to lift the toilet seat.

A spray carried in a purse or wallet to be used on anyone too eager to share their life stories with total strangers in elevators.

When administered to a boyfriend or husband, provides the same irritation level as nagging him.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Volvo commercial

I just love this commercial. It reminds me of someone I know (see previous post below).

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Another Quote From the Little General

I know I post a lot about my granddaughter but she is just so darn cute. The other night, Sprout's future Bride came by to visit and the Little General was here. The Little General was talking about her upcoming huge Christmas show at school and the Bride asked the Little General "can I come see your show?" The Little General's eyes lit up and she said "Yeah! You can wear your wedding dress." Well, it sounds logical to me. I mean, why only wear it once? I might even wear mine. NOT!!!

Here's the Little General, beautiful as always.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Shine On, Harvest Moon

The Stoics went to dinner tonight as is our Friday ritual now that we are empty nesters. On the way home, we were guided by this most beautiful harvest moon. Everytime I see one, I am in awe of our God and all his glory. Anyway, if this picture makes you feel like you just have to sing the song, here's ya a backup band.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Faces of Courage: Paul Ray Smith

Atta boy, MSNBC. They will be airing this and other tributes to the fine soldiers that make this country great. Who'da thunk we'd see this on MSNBC. Will wonders never cease?

*UPDATE: Well, this is weird. I tried to post this video from waaaaaay last week but it didn't seem to work so I gave up. Today I log on and BOOM! There it is. What gives? Oh well. Better late than never.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Dit Dit Dah Dit Dit...Duh

Don't ask me why but for some crazy reason, I have decided to learn Morse Code. dot dot dash dash dash dot dot dot, only in "Code" country we call it dit dit dit dah dah dah dit dit dit. I don't know why. Anyway, I downloaded a free program that lets you learn a couple of letters at a time and you have to listen to the code and type it as you hear it. My first five minute test looked a lot like "mkkm mm kmk kkk kmmmmkm kmmkkkmmm mk kk kkkm mkmkm"...I have learned M and K pretty good. Now, if anyone sends me a secret message with words that only use the letters M and K, I'm all set. Tonight I may add R. Rrrreow! It's fun learning this, but my brain can only stand about a minute and a half of the beeping until I have to stop the sound. After a while I was able to go the full five minutes, but it feels like my brain has little BB holes in it. I hope this don't make me crazy (but hey, who would know?). How I got this idea, I don't know. Sometimes I do that. I get possessed with some crazy idea and can't stop till I've mastered it. So, coming soon...a secret's a hint: it will only contain words spelled with M's and K's.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Wedding Preparations - Full Speed Ahead

Well, it hasn't taken any time for Sprout's wedding preparations to fall into full swing. Everything is falling into place nicely and us girls (me, Bridey and MOTB-Mother of the Bride) are having a really good time with all the plans.

Yesterday, we took the Little General to pick out a flowergirl dress. The other flowergirl doesn't know it yet, but the Little General has appointed herself "Head-Flowergirl-In-Charge". One thing I gotta say about the Little General...she is a girl, through and through. She loves all things feminine and if it were possible, I'm sure she would have moved all of her belongings to the bridal store and just lived there for the rest of her life. She was definately in her element. We had to laugh at her as she modeled her pretty dress while all the other future brides milled around in theirs...I think she thinks she's getting married. There's only one problem with that - boys are mean and she's never getting married. But she can still have the dress and the shoes and the gloves and the tiara crown...can't she?
Here she is looking so darn cute that you would never guess that she will one day be either the leader of the free world or the leader of the Crips and the Bloods. That's my Little General!

Friday, September 22, 2006

antiboredom campaign

An oldie but goody. It'll leave you laughing.

Monday, September 18, 2006

All You Young Mothers...Thank Your Lucky Stars

Okay, all you young mothers out there. Here is some poetry my sister dug up while doing some family history research. She has found that we are descended from a wealthy guy with a castle in Holland (which is still in use today) from around the 16th century. We are sprung from his illegitimate family (some things never change) who he allowed to settle on land below his castle...our family name means "flatlanders".

Anyway, one of my long lost relatives from about a hundred years ago or so, named Fannebelle, must have lost a child at some time because she apparently wrote these three beautiful poems while grieving. Sis did a quick Google search and couldn't find them anywhere so we're pretty sure she wrote them. They really make you thankful that we are alive today and not back in the day when medicine left so much to be desired. We really do have it good. Now, get ready to cry.

My Sick Baby --

This one, Dear God, of all you gave
Allow me still to keep;
The fevered hand I clutch, grows weaker,
For his pain has been too much.
If you will spare him, henceforth will I vow
To pledge my services as your own
-But now, It must be his,
I am the only crutch he has, to serve his needs.
And he is such a little thing!
Oh, hearken me some how.
The other children are so gay and strong
Can he not have his chance to be the same?
His innocence has done no breath of wrong.
Nor has he learned to play a single game.
Lord, who can hear the slightest sparrows song,
Have pity on my baby, In your name.

Gone Away To Heaven

Just thinking, in a quiet house.
No tiny feet upon the stair
No sudden rush along the hall
No call of "Mama, are you there.

Just thinking. Not a thing to do.
No baby voice is heard today
No dirty little hands to wash
No broken toys to put away.

Just thinking. Everything in place
The little white crib is empty quite
And angel came and took
Our Billy away last night

Just thinking. It is twilight time
I hear the clock upon the stairs
Chime slowly till I've counted eight
Wonder - Did God hear my prayers?

My Baby's First Day In Heaven

Dear God, this is the first strange day for him
Among your shining cherubims
So please, Lord seek him out, and smile
And hold him on your knee awhile,
he is so small and maybe shy
Of stately angels in the sky
And when the little haloed boys and girls
play games with shrill bright noise
Oh, please make sure that they invite
My little Bill to play.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

So...What Did You Do Fun Today?

Today I watched the most amazing thing. A helicopter placed a spire on top of a new thirty-four story building that is being built just up the street from my office. I had to go take pictures. It was just amazing watching these guys work. How cool a job is doing this?

and this


They make it look so darn easy.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A New "Next of Kin"

Well, it's now official and I can talk about it. Sprout is taking a wife. They are planning a wedding when he comes home for Christmas leave. This will be fun, especially since last Christmas was such a bummer for me since he was about a million miles from home. I must say, Sprout has chosen well. The two of them have dated since high school and I have secretly hoped that he would marry this one. Since he joined the Army, their relationship has been sort of on-again off-again. But I think surviving the last year apart from each other was a good lesson. While Sprout went to Korea, she went to Switzerland to be an au pair for a set of twins. Both of them suffered a lot of homesickness but I think they both did a whole lot of growing up. When Sprout was home this summer, the girlfriend was glued super-glued to his side. I should have seen it coming.

What all of this means is that I will no longer be his "next of kin". The only person I'll be the next of kin to is a man I don't share one iota of blood with. Well, we share everything else so I guess that counts the same as blood. It also means that I won't be the one receiving any "dreaded phone calls" (since we now know that Sprout's deployment over there is probably sooner than we care to think about and which I suspect has something to do with these sudden wedding plans). It also means that while he is over there, I probably won't hear his voice for about a year because his few phone calls home will go to Mrs. Sprout, as so they should. Thank God, she is good at taking notes and repeating things...not that she gossips, mind you. She always only deals in facts (it ain't gossip if it's true, is it?) And it means that FINALLY this family will have an equal number of males and females. For too many years I was the only rose among thorns. Now, with D-I-L #1 and D-I-L #2 and the Little General and me, we can take the guys on in a game of basketball or sumptin'. And it means that I will have a close female ally who, astoundingly, loves my son as much as I do. Someone that I can commiserate with and cry with while my child lives in a war zone straight out of the eighth century. I hope she is strong enough...I think she is.

So this upcoming holiday season will be one for the record books around here. We are planning a trip to see Sprout for Thanksgiving and then a Christmas-themed wedding...maybe Santa will be don't get no better than this. For now, we will celebrate. Next year I will spend the year looking for Sprout an appropriate deployment tree to store away until Christmas (thanks for that idea, SoldierMom). Phew! Life around here just got a little bit crazy.

Congratulations young ones...I know you'll both be happy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mercery Responds

I got this nice little note in email after posting my 9/11 tribute. This young lady sounds like such a sweet child and I just love her name.

"Thank you for everything Stoicmom (name has been changed to protect the guilty) i saw the blog its wonderful. You don't know how happy I was when i saw your blog.Again thank you for everything!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Another Funny Email

I found this funny in my email today.


NEW YORK - A public school teacher was arrested today at
John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to
board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor,
a set square, a slide rule, and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney General Alberto
Gonzalez said he believes the man is a member of
the notorious Al-gebra movement. He did not identify
the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying
weapons of math instruction.

"Al-gebra is a problem for us," Gonzalez said. "They
desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes
go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They
use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to
themselves as 'unknowns,' but we have determined they
belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval
with coordinates in every country. As the Greek
philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'There are 3 sides to
every triangle.'

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said,
"If God had wanted us to have better Weapons of Math
Instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes."
White House aides told reporters they could not recall a
more profound statement ever made by the president.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Happy Birthday to Us

One year ago today, I posted this while we prepared for Hurricane Katrina AND I made a looooooooong distance call to Korea to tell Sprout "Happy Birthday". He told me the same...because...he was my 27th birthday present. One of my sisters sent me a birthday card that year that said "boy, you sure take birthdays literally".

So happy birthday, Sprout. You keep me young.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

My Inebriated Modem

I think my modem drinks. The last few days she has had some real trouble waking up in the mornings. I normally wake her up around 5:00 a.m. to log on and read the morning headlines while I have my toast and Diet Coke. The past couple of mornings I've had to resort to playing Solitaire because some little hussy stayed out all night. Today, she wasn't even awake when I came home at lunch. I am on the verge of trading her in for a sober model, but she works great in the evenings. It's like HELLO! Do you want to play? Come on...log on...log on...log on! I don't know. Maybe it's my cable connection but me thinks me modem drinks.

In other news, Sprout is still in the Army. I still can't post about his upcoming news, but soon, very soon. I'm trying not to post about him at all for fear of spilling beans but, seeing as how this blog is mainly about him I reckon I gotta mention him now and then. So there, he is mentioned.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Times, They Are A-Changing

Since I'm on a nostalgia kick, here are a couple of "Yester-Year" articles that appeared in our local newspaper on this date, a long time ago.

Fri., Aug. 21, 1931

"Frank Gordy, a reporter for 'The Press,' was slapped in the face at city hall yesterday by James H. Webb, well-known attorney and counsel for the Mobile county seawall commission, as the culmination of references recently made to Mr. Webb in 'The Press.' ...Webb told Gordy that an article printed in 'The Press' was untrue and that Gordy was told it was untrue before it was given publication. The attorney then slapped the reporter in the face. Gordy did not retaliate and later Mr. Webb apologized to the reporter."

Boy, wouldn't you love to see that happen today? Whatever happened to good old fisticuffs?

Tues., Aug. 21, 1956

"A six-cent cut in the price of regular gasoline resulted Monday from a price war among five independent filling stations on the Mobile Bay Causeway. The price war started two weeks ago with the opening of a new service station on the causeway east of Mobile. It trimmed the price two cents a gallon and later reduced it four more cents. ... The five independents were selling regular gasoline for 23.9 cents a gallon, compared with 29.9 previously. ... Regular gasoline was cut to as low as 21.9 cents a gallon during a general price war on the causeway and in neighboring Baldwin County in September and October 1954."

What's really scary about this last article is that I can remember those gas prices.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


I was digging through some old stuff today and came across a picture from my senior prom in the bottom of a box with a bunch of other mementos. It's still in the frame behind glass because the picture long ago got damp and is stuck to the glass. I pulled it out and sat it on the dining room table, planning later to try to work on prying it loose from the glass without too much damage. Stoicdad saw it and laughed and said "Who is that guy, Andre the Giant?" Yep, he was kind of tall but hey, I'm 5'0" so everybody is tall to me. We only went out a few times but he was a lot of fun. We danced really well together but the truth is, I only loved him for his tux.

Dig those groovy clothes.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Little General's First Day of School

Well, she did it. The Little General went to school. From all reports, she did well. The teacher said she was just a little "chatty". Hmmmmm...wait til tomorrow, lady. I have a feeling this is going to be an interesting year. Her parents were asked to write anything about the child that they thought the teacher should know. Sir Duke wrote "She's the boss. Good Luck". Boy oh boy, I hope this teacher has a LOT of experience.

Here she is with Sgt. York. They have really grown this year. Time sure flies when you have grandkids.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

El Cemetery of Suburbia

I went to a funeral last week for a great-aunt of mine. She was buried in a neat little family cemetery that now sits in the center of suburbia. I've seen this little cemetery many times on my way out to the "west" part of town (for the past thirty years or so, our city has grown westerly and what was not so long ago farmland or forest is now Walgreens and Sonics).

I knew that some of my relatives were buried here. One of my great-aunts is related by marriage to the family that owns the cemetery. It's a well kept cemetery, though there is nothing ornate about it. It's surrounded by a chainlink fence with a sign that fronts a now heavily traveled four-lane thoroughfare. Until recently the sign bore the family's name...maybe Hurricane Katrina changed it...the sign now reads "EL CEMETERY"...only the last two letters of the family name still stand. What is unique about this cemetery, besides that fact that I recognize so many of the names on the tombstones, is that it sits so squarely in the middle of progress. We had to park our cars in a Rite Aid parking lot next door, if that tells you anything. The sound of traffic zooming by drowned out the words being spoken of the dearly departed.

The cemetery is no bigger than an acre or two and is only half filled. My ninety-year-old great-aunt who was there to bury the little sister she had raised from childhood, walked with me to her husbands grave (she's been a widow for forty years) naming off all the ones she knew on the way. "Everybody here is related, except for a grave back there by the fence for an old man who had no where else to go". "There's Liggie and there's Bully, and that spot is for me" she said, pointing at the empty space next to her husband.

The family once owned all this land so far outside of town and they were plain old country folk, farmers and carpenters. Most of them still are plain old country folk, though not many farmers in the crowd. Mostly shrimpers, mechanics, heavy equipment operators...good old boys. They are a family of men without much book smarts but with a whole lot of physical strength and grit. The kind of men that build the suburbia surrounding this graveyard. The kind of men you want to fight your wars. Rednecks I suppose, though around here that title does not mean someone ignorant and stupid. It means someone hardworking and honorable...who happens to enjoy life on the weekends.

Until about fifteen years ago, an old church that the family had built stood next to the cemetery but it was torn down to make way for progress. Today I would guess at least 10,000 cars pass by this place every day going to and from work, many of them wondering why there is a cemetery sitting smack-dab in between a pharmacy and a fast food restaurant. I doubt many of those people know that the people buried in this simple little graveyard are the very souls who cultivated the land and built the roads they now live and work on.

I hate funerals but I did enjoy visiting this cemetery I have so often passed by but only once before, as a child, had visited. Knowing that some things stay the same even as the world changes around them is nice. I'm guessing that El Cemetery will be around for a long, long time.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The 2996 Project

Fellow bloggers. Here's your chance to remind the world of why we are at war. The 2996 Project is trying to sign up 2996 bloggers to agree to post an article on their blog about one victim of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in our country and to do this on the fifth anniversary of the attacks, this coming September 11, 2006. It's a neat way to remind ourselves why our young soldiers are fighting to keep us free in foreign lands so far away.

When you sign up, you receive an email with a randomly selected name of one of the victims of the attacks. You get a short bio of the victim and links to search engines for more information. It's easy and it should be interesting. I have already searched for info on my assigned name and have even had an email interview with his young daughter. This seems like a worthwhile least it will be on my blog.

Check out the links on my sidebar if you think you might want to sign up. Who knows? We might all learn something.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Yard Work and the English Language

Sprout is still liking his new post. Hey, it's in America. He has some big changes coming up, some I'm not allowed to talk about just yet, but soon, very soon. He is doing well and I am happy for him. He did get smoked (military discipline i.e. pushups, crawls, etc.) for two hours last week for a minor infraction that could be deadly in the right situation. Thanks to the Army, he won't make that mistake again. Other than that, he and Uncle Sam are getting along pretty well.

I got up this Sunday morning and went out and edged the yard that Stoicdad had so beautifully cut yesterday in this fine tropical heat heaven we live in. The humidity here is so thick you can ship it. I swear I have to take a spoon to dig my way out to the car some mornings, it's that thick.

Anyway, I used the weedeater to do my edging. I never let Stoicdad edge...he is not precise enough. I've seen him edge. His edging more resembles a moat then an outline. Our gas edger gave out two summers ago and I have learned to edge with a Black and Decker Grasshog weedeater and I love it. But I have run into a slight dilemma when discussing yard-work with others. Maybe someone out there knows the answer to this - what is the past tense of the word "weedeat"? Is it "weedate"? "Wedate"? "Weedeated"? Somebody must know. If you do know, please tell me. I don't want to have to go back to the gas-edger on an english language technicality. Anybody?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

It's ALIVE!!!

Well, I got my new computer, another Dell. My last computer actually started out as an IBM but transmogrified into a Dell by the third or fourth year. It still had an IBM head and legs and arms, but it's brain was a Dell.

So now all things old are new again, or so I thought. Plugged in my trusty old Olympus digital camera last night and guess what? Windows XP does not recognize my old camera. JIMANINNI! So I guess the news for all the world is this...If you upgrade one thing, be prepared to upgrade EVERYTHING. I have this weird feeling that the new computer that leads to a new camera will cause my new camera to lead to a new...I don't know...Grandkids to take pictures of, maybe...Who will lead to a new car (because the new grandkids are much more snootier than the old ones) and the new car will lead to a new house because who wants to park a fine new car next to an old worn-out house that didn't cost as much as the car did anyway? And of course, the new house will lead to ALL NEW FURNITURE because we all know you can't put the old stuff in a new house, it's just not compatible. And the new furniture will lead to new clothes because...Ha!... Do you really think I'm gonna sit on the arm of that fancy new Clayton Marcus sofa next to that Pulaski wall-sized entertainment center with the Sony Bravia flat-panel 46 inch high-definition television set and have my picture taken with my fancy new Olympus Evolt E-330 digital camera while wearing a $9.99 Cherokee brand blouse from TARGET? No way, Jose! And it goes without saying that I will have to buy all new make-up because, hey, only Bobbie Brown mascara is gonna go with those new Talbot's outfits I'll be wearing. BUT, that could only lead to one other thing...A FACELIFT...Because even God knows you cannot put Bobbie Brown mascara on droopy eyes with crows-feet. It just does not compute!

(sobbing softly) It's never going to end.

Trust me on this people...DON"T UPGRADE!!! You can't afford it.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I'm Not Dead - Just Discombobulated

Sorry I haven't posted in so long. There has been a death in the family. My Dell is dead. I kilt him. I didn't mean to...I was just trying to fix him. My elder son, Sir Duke, says "Mama, give it up. You've had that computer since Pearl Harbor was bombed." Seeing as how I was still running Windows 98,I guess he is right. I refuse to believe Dell is dead. I am in denial because if my computer is really dead, then I have lost about 2 or 3 hundred digital pictures of the grandkids. How will this world survive?

Anyhoo, I am in the process of looking for a computer, trying to decide between laptop or desktop. I'm leaning toward desktop with a sleek new paper-thin monitor. Ochee Mama! I'm posting this from my Amish sister's laptop. She just last month entered the world of cell phones and computers. She's not really Amish, we just call her that because she took so long to join the rest of us. She has gone off to Maine today to become a grandmother and left me with the keys to her house and her laptop password. Hubby won't be seeing me for a while.

Sprout was home, had a good visit, bought a car, left for his new post, met up with his best battle buddy who is in the same company and life is good. I ask about him being deployed to Iraq, but he says he's sure it will probably be at least a year, if he goes. I guess I will be doing lots of savoring of moments this year. No use worrying in advance...yeah, easier said then done.

As soon as I decide on another computer, I will get back to writing.

Until then, I am Amish.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bama Gators and Crocs

Summer is definately here in this tropical paradise. Both my boys are nearby (for the moment) and life is good. Sprout is a little upset though that he will be leaving before he has a chance to get his Gator License. What youngun' doesn't want a chance to get his rifle and go hunting alligator, at least once in his lifetime. A few years back we ate dinner at a restaurant on the causeway near here and there was a huge gator sunning himself in the marsh just outside the window. It kind of made the walk through the parking lot after dinner a little more interesting.

And speaking of alligators, what is the big attraction of those ugly shoes they call Crocs? They are cute on kids and pretty little teenage girls, but if I see another grown women wearing them at Walmart, I am calling the "What Not To Wear" people. Those shoes are hideous. Call me old fashion, but give me a trusty old rubber flip-flop any day. But I digress.

Sprout hasn't gone gator hunting (no license, doncha know?) but he did take the girlfriend and Pedro soft-shell crabbing one night. He had to buy a new flounder light and a gig, which they all fought over. I hear tell his girlfriend at first was like "Oh no, don't kill him...he's just a little crab" but by the end of the night, she was like "give me that gig...take THAT you little varmint." Wish I had a video of that trip.

At's all.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Thanks to All the Lt. Col. William Travis's

February 24, 1836

To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World.

I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. I have sustained a continual bombardment and cannonade for twenty-four hours and have not lost a man. The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion; otherwise the garrison are to be put to the sword if the fort is taken. I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender nor retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism, and of everything dear to the American character, to come too our aid with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country.


William Barret Travis
Lieutenant Colonel, Commandant
The Alamo

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Sprout Has Landed

My son is home for the first time in a year. I am amazed at his connection with six-year-old Sgt. York (who absolutely adores his only uncle). Since arriving, they have been battle buddies every time they are together. Sprout even brought Sgt. York a real army gas mask. Ever see a child play basketball in a gas mask? It's quite interesting.

Anyway, last night I slept eight hours straight, the longest I have slept at one stretch this whole year. It's good to have him home even if he only lights for a few minutes at a time. He has lots of catching up to do and fun to have and things to buy and people to see while he is here. At the moment, I will just keep my place, which is fast becoming obsolete to him. He has grown up and can handle things on his own. Dad and I will have to adjust. It will be easier for me than for Dad. Sprout has already had to stop him once or twice for trying to take over the care and feeding of Sprout. It may be a hard pill to swallow but a good cure, nonetheless.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sprout's Coming Home

Sprout will soon be on his way home and back to my lovin' arms. I've been cleaning the house all weekend, as if he doesn't know what this house normally looks like. As I wait, here's an interesting little tidbit from the Little General's mouth this weekend:

LITTLE GENERAL (as she follows Pedro down the street): Where we goin'?

PEDRO (always annoyed by the General): We're going crazy.

LITTLE GENERAL: Wait! I don't have my shoes on.

(The child ain't right.)


Friday, May 19, 2006

In My Email

This is a funny little list I got in my email today. Anybody who works in an office will understand. I must be a Mouse Potato.

BLAMESTORMING - Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.

SEAGULL MANAGER - A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, cr*ps on everything, and then leaves.

ASSMOSIS - The process by which people seem to absorb success and advancement by sucking up to the boss rather than working hard.

SALMON DAY - The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die.

CUBE FARM - An office filled with cubicles.

PRAIRIE DOGGING - When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people's heads pop up over the walls to see that's going on. (This also applies to applause from a promotion because there may be cake.)

MOUSE POTATO - The on-line, wired generation's answer to the couch potato.

SITCOMs - Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids or start a "home business".

STRESS PUPPY - A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiny.

PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE - The fine art of whacking the cr*p out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

ADMINISPHERE - The rarefied organisational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the "adminisphere" are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve. This is often affiliated with the dreaded "administrivia" needless paperwork and processes.

404 - Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested document could not be located.

OHNOSECOND - That minuscule fraction of time in which you realise that you've just made a BIG mistake (e.g. you've hit 'reply all')

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Mighty Little Letter

Since Christmas, I have been sending care packages to soldiers listed on This is just the greatest website. Yesterday I was going through the names to find a soldier to send a box to and I ran across this guys post. Click on the link and scroll down the list on the left-hand side of the screen to May 2 and click on the name Johnson, Msgt Rick. He scanned a copy of a letter he received from a 10-year-old. If this doesn't make you cry, you have no heart. I have a feeling a bunch of strong burly airmen in Iraq have passed this letter around and all shed a tear or two. Read it and weep.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Take Two Aspirin and One King Kong and Call Me in the Morning.

Grandkids are a hoot.

Sgt. York celebrated his first springbreak this week which meant Mom and Dad had to make arrangements for his care. He spent most of the week going to work with Dad where he spent his time on the phone calling me - looking for more exciting arrangements. He would have called all his suckerable great aunts if he knew their numbers, but since mine is the only number he knows, I became his secretary. If I couldn't entertain him, I was ordered to make arrangements for someone else to entertain him. This was a daunting task since we all work or otherwise have lives that don't involve babysitting six-year olds.

I was due to have minor out-patient surgery on Thursday so I really didn't want to miss any other days of work. Luckily, my surgery went fast as expected, I was put to sleep for about ten minutes and we were on our way home a little after 10:00. I felt fine, though groggy, and Stoicdad was going to be home with me for the rest of the day so we decided to call our son's office to see if Sgt. York had yet been sprung. He had not so we agreed to stop by and pick him up and take him home with us. When we got to the office, Sgt. York was outside climbing a tree and his dad looked rather glad that we had come. I don't think he was getting much work done. As Sgt. York jumped in the car, he handed me a DVD of the new King Kong movie. His plan was for us to watch it with him. My plan was to sleep for the rest of the day.

When we got home, we popped the DVD in and Sgt. York climbed into bed beside me and begin to tell me how scary the movie was. He had already seen it and he made me fast-forward through the boring beginning and go straight to the scenes of dinosaurs and King Kong. As he watched, I drifted off to sleep only to have him occasionally wake me up yelling "Don't look Grandma, don't look." Oh, this was gonna be lots of fun. By the time the movie was over, he was stomping across the bed, beating on his chest. Then he made me get up and take him out front where we have two Crepe Myrtle trees that are great for climbing. I took the paper and sat and read while Sgt. York played King Kong for most of the afternoon. He climbed and beat his chest and jumped and did it all. I'm sure if there had been a Barbie doll anywhere around, he would have dropped his "never play with dolls" rule and swung her from here to Kingdom Come just like Kong did in the movie.

Sgt. York tends to get sucked into movies. For a while he was the Incredible Hulk, passing out quite often wherever he happened to be ( store) and waking up angry... very angry. He really thought that he turned green. He would proceed to pretend to destroy everything in his path. Heck, I thought he was the Incredible Hulk. Now he is King Kong. If there is a nice hanging vine anywhere, he will be swinging from it. His sister's Barbies will all be missing heads and other limbs by the time he takes on a new persona.

Let's only hope they don't do a remake of The Swamp Thing. I can't afford the water bill.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Cat For A Fallen Marine

I never knew Bradley Faircloth. We both lived in the same town, he graduated from my high school and he was the same age as Sprout, but I never met him. He was a Marine who died on Thanksgiving day, 2004 while defending our freedom in the battle of Fallujah.

The year he graduated from school, his senior class attempted to raise enough money to have a statue of a panther, the school's mascot, erected on the campus. My senior class left the school a sundial sitting on a pedestal next to the flagpole...a far more obtainable goal. The last time I looked, the pedestal was still there, minus the sundial. Though the class of 2002 fell way short of raising enough money to buy a panther statue, Bradley didn't give up hope and before he left for Iraq, he told his mother that if he didn't make it back, he wished that she would see to it that the school got it's panther.

Yesterday the school got it's panther. (That's my sister introducing herself)

I wanted so bad to go to the unveiling of this statue, just to be a part of a sort of memorial for a fallen soldier, but the best excuse I could come up with for leaving work was that as a military mom, I sympathized and that just wasn't good enough. We all sympathized. After work yesterday afternoon, Sis and I went over and took pictures and declared it a worthy statue. The money that poured in after Bradley Faircloth's death was enough for a statue, a huge rock pedestal, a well laid brick flooring, landscaping, two engraved marble slabs and lights all around.

Bradley's mom did not want the statue to be a memorial to her son, she just wanted his wishes fulfilled. And that is as it should be. If this statue held an American flag or bore the name of a fallen soldier, it would always be sacred, untouchable...not the idea the soldier or his class had in mind I think. No, this panther should always be decorated on Homecoming Day with gaudy paper flowers and blue and gold streamers, and used as the back drop for yearbook pictures for years to come, and as a place for happy school memories to be made. It should not even be a sin if students from the school's arch-rival (Sprout's alma mater) should decide to sneak over after the "big game" and paint the score on the side of that panther in bright orange paint in years when they win, giving the City's cannon a much needed rest after 75 years of drive-by paintings. I think this young hero and football player would want it that way.

But they did find one small way to make this statue a monument to Bradley. A line from the school song engraved in marble says enough.

An honored soldier, a worthy monument. Thank you Bradley Faircloth.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Gotta See This

I just watched the trailer for United 93. This movie will be in theaters on April 28th. This one may be hard for New Yorkers to watch, but the rest of us need to see it, if only to remind ourselves why we are at war.

United 93

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Counting Down

Sprout is in a funk. I have begun to notice a pattern here. I'll call it the AOF (Almost Over Funk). He seems to get this way each time he gets official orders with specific dates and times. From different blogs I've read, it's a common phenomenon in the military. Guys in Iraq spend the last month on edge, testy, irked at any little thing and hating each other. The same is going on with Sprout. I guess when they know they are going home soon, to the place of comfort and ease, when they can almost taste that home-cooking, the sight of anything or anybody military becomes close to unbearable. And then of course, there is the knowing that coming home means leaving again. Military means always having to say "goodbye". But, I know he will come out of this funk once his feet touch American soil once again. He may even appreciate some of our crazy ways a little more.

It will be interesting to see the changes in him. I wonder what changes he will see in me. Older? Fatter? Grayer? Wiser? Nah! I imagine the biggest change he will see are his niece and nephew. They seem to have tripled in size this past year. And our town has changed a lot. New construction, old buildings now gone, lots of little things he will see that we don't. I think the saddest part of growing up is the realization that the rest of the world doesn't stop and take notice. Finding out that things still go on without you is rough. But Sprout is rougher and this, too, shall pass.

In the meantime, a little eye candy for my blog. The Little General and I played hooky the other day and spent our time playing "dress-up". All I can say is that I am glad I was the only one with a camera. Granddaughters are so much fun.

Friday, March 31, 2006

I Stand Corrected, Dammit! (That'll Be $.25 Please)

Sgt. York is in kindergarten, which makes him an authority on the English language and it's use thereof. For the past few weeks, he has been doing something that annoys me a little and some days, down-right pisses me off. First of all, he corrects me every time I say "that-a-way". I wouldn't mind it so much except for the fact that any time we are together, he corrects me about 20 times (which suspiciously just happens to be the exact amount of times that I say "that-a-way" in his presence). "Grandmaaaaaaa...Stop saying 'that-A-way'." It really irks him. I tell him to stop going "that-A-way" and I won't have to say "that-A-way" anymore. Blpfffff!

Another thing he does is to inform me each time I say a cuss word. Dayum! I didn't know I cussed so much. He tells me I have to put a quarter in a piggy bank for each cuss word I say. Well, I don't yet have a piggy bank but I have promised to pay my dues as soon as I get one. At the rate I'm going, I'll have to go by the credit union and see if I can take out a small business loan to catch up. I told him, when he first starting pointing out my indiscretion, that I would use the money to take us all to Disney World. Either I gotta clean up my act or we will be making a world tour real soon. Geesh! Leave it up to the little ones to show you your shortcomings.

In other news, Sprout is ready to come home. He has had enough of life overseas and is sooooo looking forward to American soil again. Hopefully he can hang on for just a little while longer without going berserk. In the meantime, he is enjoying reading about the little leprechauns. Seems this is all over the Internet. Downright amazing.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I Gotta Stop Surfing

I just did a google search with the words "son in Iraq" just looking for blogs. I came across this story. Wow! I'm not sure if I would thank my kid or want to kill him if he called me from a war zone with gunfire and shouting going on in the background to tell me that he might not make it out alive and he loves me. I want to say "that poor, poor woman" but I guess knowing that your child's last thoughts when he is faced with impending death are of his loved ones is a gift...a hard gift...but a gift nonetheless. Luckily, this mother also heard the roar as air support arrived and her son and his friends were saved. Patton (or whoever said it) was right...war IS hell.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


My alarm cat went off at 4:00 a.m. this dark Sunday morning (by dark, I don't mean dreary...I mean pre-sunrise). I find that my alarm cat is most often more accurate than my alarm clock, the only problem is that I can't program the alarm cat NOT to go off on the weekends. But, the good thing about the alarm cat is that it has an actual working brain, and it knows when I need get up, even if I don't know myself. Take this morning for instance...I really planned to get up early to call Korea this morning, but had my alarm cat not gone off, I would have slept through the opportunity, probably getting up at my usual 7:00 or 8:00 am, which is 10:00 or 11:00 pm in Korea and really too late to call and bother a resting soldier who hears reveille bright and early every morning. So, after throwing the alarm cat off the bed about three times, I wake up just enough to get out of bed, walk through the dark house with a large dark fur-ball following me, traipse through the kitchen into the laundry room to the back door and stand there with the door wide open to God and everybody while the alarm cat tries to decide if she really wants to go outside. After about five seconds, I make the decision for her and drop-kick her butt out the back door.

By the time I get back to bed, I look at the time on the actual alarm clock and, as always, my brain does a quick calculation to determine the time half way around the world, the current home of one of my heart-strings. It must be that once you become a mother, your brain is somehow tied to your children so tightly that you almost automatically know the exact time, date, barometric pressure, wind speed, and weather conditions surrounding your children at all times. Maybe that is why we instinctively know when one of our children are cold, whether they know it or not.

By the time I have made the trip to throw the alarm cat out the back door, I am wide awake. I log onto the computer and check to see if my soldier is online. This is our routine lately. I check for him online before making a call, just to see if he is available. No need to run up unnecessary international charges if he is in the middle of a poker game or working late on some special project or chatting online with his real friends (me whining "Don't worry about me, I'll be fine."). He answers right back that, yes, he is available and, yes, I can call him. He says he tried to call us but the Vonage phone he was using is out and his cell phone has been long dead and to please call on his roommates number. I dial that long stream of numbers and in seconds I hear his voice once again. Talking with him only once weekly, our conversations are long and sweet, the usual boring dribble of our mundane lives. He wants to know the boring things, the normal things that are happening back home while he is so far away. "How is so-and-so?" " Have you been to such-and-such a place lately?" " Did you-know-who get over the flu yet?" He mentions his fears that his friends won't be the same when he returns home again, and he is right. He will have changed and they will have stayed the same. And the truth is, he won't be calling here home for much longer. The longer he is away, the further away he drifts. This is not a bad thing, it is a normal thing that happens when children become adults. They tend to make some other place their home. It is what each parent ultimately strives for but at the same time absolutely dreads.

Sprout is doing good and is now counting down the days until his return to the states. I guess his military life will be a constant "counting of days" as he will always be somewhere else looking back, at least for a while. There will come a day when he will be home whereever he decides home is for him, and then our job as parents will be completely finished.

A sad but good day that will be.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tired of the News

If Greta Van Sustern is the queen of the All-Natalie-All-The-Time news, then Brian Williams is the king of the All-New Orleans-All-The-Time news. Now, I can somewhat understand Greta's situation. She is on a cable news network that is trying to fill 24 hours each day. That's fair enough even if it is over-kill. What, pray tell, is NBC's problem? Why story after story about New Orleans? It ain't news no more, for Pete's sake. They have 30 minutes a night (minus 15 minutes of commercials) and spend 5 of those minutes telling me that New Orleans is still a disaster area and that George Bush knew the day before the hurricane hit that the levees might not hold up and he could have ordered them rebuilt if he was any kind of a decent president.

This is why I don't watch television news anymore. News was meant to be read, not heard. Why? Because you read it, absorb it, and let it go. Repetition has it's place in the first grade classroom while reciting the ABC's and on the gym floor while trying to get in shape...nowhere else. Repetition on the nightly news is a form of brainwashing and is also boring.

Luckily, the media's right to Freedom of Speech is exactly equal to my right to Freedom of the Mute Button.

Monday, February 27, 2006

One Sweet Email

Scrolling through my emails tonight, I came across this little email from my soldier that made this Mama smile and tugged at me little heart strings.

hey you should gimme a call sometime today cuz id rather hear yalls voice then see your fonts.
anyway love ya,
Sprout (name has been changed to protect the guilty)

He'd rather hear my voice than see my font. If that ain't love, what is?

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

Well, Fat Tuesday is upon us. Our city has always celebrated Mardi Gras in a big way, so much so that Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras days are both official City holidays here. Well, no one could get downtown to work anyway, so the City and County long ago figured if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Ours is not as big or as bold or as raunchy as New Orleans', although this year we are hoping to steal away a few of their customers. But ours is just as beautiful and has secret societies and all the fun just like the Big Easy, only ours is better because we know just were to stand to get the best views and catch the best throws.

In celebration, here's my favorite picture so far from this season of Mardi Gras. It's Sgt. York and The Little General waiting for one of the first parades.

Let the good times roll.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

#1 Song The Day You Were Born

Now here's a cool website. What was the #1 song the day you were born? Mine was "Tammy" by Debbie Reynolds. Ouch! Now I'm really showing my age. I wish mine was the one for my nephew, his was "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel. My granddaughter's song is "Lady Marmalade." I don't know the song, but the title is appropriate. And her dad's song is "Sir Duke". I've been looking for a blog name for him...I dub him Sir Duke, father of Sgt. York and the Little General.

Dang! Now I have to go around singing "Tammy" all day as my theme song.

****UPDATE: After some checking, I now remember "Lady Marmalade" and the 'gitchy gitchy ya ya na na'. I'm gonna have to find a better theme song for the Little General.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Oh To Be Pleasantly Surprised

The other night, while playing a game of Cranium with my sister and her husband and her daughter, I found out that not only can I not sing (which I've known for quite some time) but I can't even hum on key. The sad thing is that I love to sing. My personal favorite songs are old time southern gospel and Hank Williams tunes, but I can crucify the Beatles, Leann Rimes, or Snoop Doggy Dog just as easily. People have been known to beg me to stop singing, that's how bad it is.

But this game the other night got me to thinking about some of the pleasant surprises I've had in my life. There have been two that come to mind and both involve singing. The first involved the very sister I was playing Cranium with. I was a young teenager at the time and sis was probably 19 or so. We had gone to a local community theater one Sunday for auditions for their next musical play. I wasn't auditioning, I was just along for moral support. We were regulars around the theater and as the auditions dragged on as auditions do, I sat with my back to the stage while a I flirted quietly with one of the cute actors I knew. I had pretty much ignored most of the singing and dancing going on behind me but when I heard a woman's voice singing "I Wants To Be A Actor Lady" operatic style and in perfect pitch, I had to interrupt my flirting to turn around and see who this person was who suddenly had everyone in the place listening. The singer was my sister, who had pretty much never sang before. Oh sure she had done bit parts in the chorus in shows, but she had never hardly opened her mouth before. She had walked in the shadows of our oldest sister who had long ago established herself as the one true star of our family. But now this sister #2 was singing like it was nobody's business. Everybody in the place was shocked and I was pleasantly surprised. Sis had the voice of an angel and I think she even surprised herself. Today she sings with some of the most demanding choirs in town.

The second time I was pleasantly surprised was at mass one Sunday after Christmas. As communion began and we all started toward the front of the church in single file, a man from up in the choir loft at the back of the church started singing "I Wonder as I Wander", again, without accompaniment. He had the most beautiful voice that was made even better by the great acoustics in our 75-year-old church. It was immediately obvious he was not one of the usual members of our mediocre choir. Not wanting to turn around while standing in line for communion, I made a mental note to check out the choir loft on my return trip and see who this voice belonged to. I wasn't the only one. Everyone seemed to look up as they made the turn from the altar. To our surprise (though we shouldn't have been surprised) it was our youngest priest, Father What-A-Waste, a cute young priest in his late twenties, who was the cause of many of the women in the congregation taking a sudden interest in going to confession. He got his nickname because it was a waste for such a handsome man to be a priest. We all knew he could sing, though until now we had only heard him sing the sung parts of the mass, the alleluias and the Kyrie Eleisons (he was the only priest who still sang them in Latin) but never an entire song. Here he was, singing his heart out, his Christmas gift to us, his sheep.

It was a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Well...It Ain't Sri Lanka

Sprout has gotten his new assignment, and it's closer than Sri Lanka. He's happy to report that he will soon be state-side. It's not as close as I would like him to be, but at least we will be in the same time zone again. Although I'm happy he will be back in the good ole U. S. of A., I have an eerie feeling that this new assignment is just a portal to another more dangerous world. Sort of a time warp, or one of those vortex things that cartoon characters always walk into and end up in some weird place. So, while one waiting period comes to an end, another begins. A quick googling finds that a group at Sprout's future base just returned from Iraq last week so that makes me a little nervous, just a little. The thought of his deploying sits in the very back of my mind, pushing forward about...oh...fifty times a day. But I also fear the "what ifs". What if we are attacked again? What if the President decides to take out the new guy in Iran? What if crazy Kim Jong Il gets hold of the keys to the Nuke Room and starts pushing buttons just for fun? What if Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia had fallen in love and gotten married and found out that they were really brother and sister after having kids? Now that would have made an interesting movie...but I where was I? Oh yes...worrying.

But worry is a waste. So I will get back to binding my almost finished quilt and start planning my trips to Sprout's soon to be new home. Worry is such a bore.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Aching for Iraq

Well, I finally heard from Sprout after weeks of silence. We're having to use his roommate's phone number for calls. Sprout says it's okay though...roommate uses Sprout's computer...Sprout uses roommate's phone. They seem to get along well.

Some of Sprout's friends have been notified of where they are going next. We are all getting a little anxious, hoping he makes it somewhere a little closer to home. But hey, Sri Lanka would be closer to home than where he is now. Sprout would like to go to Iraq. This bothers me more than a little. My sister's brother-in-law is going to Afghanistan this summer and just can't wait to leave. What is it with these men? Are they crazy? Do they have a death wish? My nephew (who's been to Iraq already) explained it this way: In the military, you spend all your time training. Without going to a war zone, you never get to put that training to use. It's like rehearsing for a show that nevers opens...Well, I guess that makes sense? But of course, I am wishing for orders stateside. I'm sure a letter to the commander from Mom wouldn't hurt, would it? Sprout is asking for his baseball glove so I guess that means his life is normal so I reckon I should stop whining now. Nah!

On a funny note, the Lost Nomad has this list of the Top 12 Hard to Find Children's Gifts, just in time to be missed for Christmas. I personally like the Easy Bake Meth Lab and the Shiite Pet.

Carpe Diem!

NOTE: In reference to the previous post, if you guessed the guy in the green glasses, you're wrong. He is my older son, the dad of the Little General and Sgt. York. He is a musician and prefers to make music, not war. But he does support his brother and often dedicates songs to him at his gigs. I have been blessed with two good, good So, if you guessed right, take yourself around the world or to the Milblogging Convention or whereever, with my blessing (but not with my money).

Friday, January 27, 2006

Missing His Voice

Kind of boring around here lately. Hey, here's something fun:

Guess which one of my sons is in the Army and which one is just pretending? The winner gets an all expense paid trip for two to anywhere in the in world (so long as it don't cost me any money).

Is it him?

Or him?

The correct answer will be in my next post. Good Luck.

I haven't heard Sprout's voice in about three weeks. He has moved to a new camp and his cell phone just won't pick up there. It's a really small camp so he doesn't have many options to get another phone or phone card or whatever. I guess he'll have to wait until the next time he gets out and about but in the meantime, I miss his voice. He sends emails but they are short and sweet...he's not a great I am left just sending care packages and wishing he could call. We even tried using his roommate's phone number and that didn't work either. I guess he's just in a bad spot, cell-wise. That is one of the worst things about his being so far away. The cell phone reception is spotty all the time. I don't know how many times I have had to call him back during the course of a phone call. He just loses the signal for no good reason. And then I have to talk to the Kookoonini lady who's speaking to me in a foriegn language and Lord-only-knows what she's saying? She's either telling me that I "must first dial a 1 before dialing the number" or, she's telling me that "the person you have dialed is ugly and his mama dresses him funny", I don't know. It will be so nice when he comes home to just sit and talk, uninterrupted. My boss was talking today about a list he had to send up the chain-of-command of items our department might need in the case of another hurricane. He said he had put six satellite phones to his list. He promised I could send one to Sprout. I think he was just trying to pacify me.

Anyway, Sprout had planned to come to the states but decided against it when he found out it would cost more than he wanted to spend. He's saving up for a car when he gets home, so I guess that's okay. And hopefully, unless Uncle Sam has other ideas, he will be home in early summer.

I reckon I'll have to pull out a home video in order to hear his voice. Somehow, it just ain't the same.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Happy King Luther Day

Whenever my grandchildren come over, I turn off the TV and read to them. For my granddaughter, any old book will do. She just likes to sit in your lap and listen, it doesn't matter what the story is about. Now my six-year-old grandson, Sgt. York, is much more discerning. If the book is boring, you lose him. Lately, we have been reading King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, which he approves of, highly. Last week, Sgt. York's teacher told the class about another King and this got Sgt. York thinking, and somewhat confused. So the next morning on the way to school, he had the following discussion with his wise old dad:

Sgt York: Daddy, why did King Arthur get killed up on a balcony?

Dad: I don't think King Arthur died on a balcony, but maybe he did.

Sgt York: (after a pause) Was King Arthur black?

Dad: No, King Arthur wasn't black.

Sgt York: Maybe it was King Luther.

I think he got some of his kings confused. From now on, in this house, we will celebrate King Luther Day at this time of year, right after Festivus.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Separating the Men From the Boys

My secretly adopted (he don't know it yet) cyber son over at Pass the Brass has just recently arrived in Iraq and has this poignant post about one of his first missions. This soldier writes so well it sends chills down your spine. Here's a piece of his post, click on over for the rest. If you don't read anything else today, read this. Stay safe, Sure Fire.

"The trip back to base is a rush in itself. Like a runner getting their second wind, you find a small cache of energy that easily finds its way out on the return trip. A different objective on your mind, your mind is almost on a higher alert than it was in the initiation of that mission. The adrenaline is flowing…hearts racing…sweating…praying, “Just let me get home, Lord.” But these prayers are not like those ones where you know that you’re gonna get it… it’s a deterrent from the unknown…in a place where the impossible is possible…where anything and everything could be a danger to you and your team"

Monday, January 09, 2006

I Am With Quilt

I won't be able to post much in the next few weeks (as if I post daily, HA!) because my best friend's daughter is expecting soon and I am with quilt. I must sew fast. The child is due next month.

Also, the email fairy brought me some unexpectedly good news this morning...Sprout says he is due to visit the States next week on a surprise special project. He won't be able to come home, but he will be allowed to breath in American air. I will probably fly out to see him. Right now, plans are sketchy but woohoo! I'm gonna be in the same country as my soldier. I guess all of that whining finally paid off. Somebody up there loves me.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Sprout News

Somehow, I made it through the holidays. Having the Little General say grace at Christmas dinner made me realize just how blessed I am. I shall now quit my pouting over my runaway son and be thankful. Speaking of which, Sprout has moved again at the request of the Army. This is his third move since he arrived in Korea. I guess that's why the Army calls it a "tour". At this rate, he will get a sample of every camp in the country. He is doing well and preparing for some hard work and lots of it. He says it's colder at his new spot in the mountains so I am planning to send more sweaters and long underwear and scarfs and junk.'s a Mom thing. We cannot stand thinking that somebody might be cold, even if they aren't cold. If I am cold, EVERYBODY wears a jacket. Period. My grandkids hate that. I used to hate it when my grandmother would make me put on a jacket when SHE was cold. Funny how some things never change, huh?
This is Sprout after he gets my next box..."I can't put my arms down"

2005 was really a good year for my family. We gained 6 1/2 new members (4 are BRAND new and the 1/2 is on-the-way) and only lost 2 members. Though those 2 will be greatly missed, whenever weddings and births out number funerals, it's a good year. I guess this makes me officially one of the "older generation". That, and the fact that I have to keep telling my 16 year old nephew to "pull up those drawers, boy". But, how boring for the young folk would life be without the older generation.