Wednesday, December 31, 2008
We spent Christmas with him and his wife's family. My daughter-in-law went above and beyond the call of duty, cooking meals for several days for 10 people, even cooking Christmas breakfast AND dinner. AND making stockings full of homemade candy for all of us. I don't know how she did it but it sure was nice. Meanwhile, Christmas here at home was hit and miss. We put up the tree and hung the wreath but that was about it. I missed being at home for Christmas. This was my first time ever being away from home on Christmas day it felt strange but we had a great time.
Sprout has become a hunter since leaving Iraq and killed his first deer the week he got home. He was so excited. For Christmas he got guns and knives and camping gear. I guess living with a loaded weapon at your side for fifteen months makes you feel kind of naked without one. Well, he shouldn't feel naked now. The man is armed and then some.
Holding up the St. Louis Arch
We took Sgt. York and the Little General with us across the country and Santa followed right behind us. They traveled very well and we only had to get on to them once or twice. They got to see snow for the first time and that was way cool. But it is hard for children to be away from their parents at Christmas. By Christmas day they were ready to come home. So was I. I like to travel but I love to come home again. One touching moment happened on Christmas eve as we were driving around looking at the Christmas lights while killing time until supper was ready. Their dad called on the cell phone and I put it on speaker so that they could both talk to him. He asked how they were and if they were ready for Santa to come and he reminded them that Santa was still watching. Then he asked them if they wanted him to read "The Night Before Christmas". They did and after reminding the Little General not to talk while he read, he read the story to them while they both sat quietly, not saying a word. I wish I had a recording of that, he read it perfectly and I had to turn toward the window and blink my eyes a little to keep from crying. He was missing them as much as they were missing him. Anyway, we are home now and everybody is happy.
Here are a few pictures of our tree and our trip. Life is good and 2009 is already looking to be better than 2008, at least for me.
Looky what Santa Claus bought me. I'm a clock freak.
Since I wasn't home to put baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas day, I left the job up to our older son who was cat-sitting. I forgot to tell him where to find Jesus, so he made do the best he could.
Sgt York and the Little General enjoy the snow
More snow pictures
Thursday, November 27, 2008
And the hunter home from the wood."
Sprout is home from Iraq after 15 long and hot months. He arrived just in time to eat the Thanksgiving turkey his wife has debated thawing for several days, not knowing for sure if he would make it in time for Thanksgiving. He made it.
We are giving thanks.
Monday, November 24, 2008
You do have to pay for shipping, but it is well worth it. I love this company.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
The war in Iraq is over. WE WON! And my boy helped. Let the parade begin. We are a nation of good people and we choose our battles wisely and our soldiers are taught to finish the job right.
Now there is yet ANOTHER country that owes the United States a debt of gratitude. Thanks to those mighty warriors that go to battle for us and never complain, there are mothers in Iraq whose children sleep as safely in Iraq as our children sleep in this country.
God Bless the USA.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
And Mama would be so, so proud of Sprout. She always liked him and his tossled red hair. Heck, when he was ten, she gave him a pony. A LIVE pony! And I will never forget her helping him to learn the poem "When The Frost Is On The Punkin" for a school assignment. She loved that poem and when she died, among her few cherished things was a copy of that poem written in Sprout's boyish handwriting. I will never be as good a grandmother as she was. And she was a better mother than she was a grandmother. I have some huge shoes to fill.
Mama gave birth to 10 children, all but one of us lived to adulthood. We had the usual growing pains that most young folks go through, but over all, we turned out all right. That's not to say that Mama's life was always easy, it wasn't. And things were not always hunky-dory but she made the best of whatever she had. The hardest thing she ever endured was the death of a child, and that one incident put all other problems in her life in their proper prospective. I imagine Sprout's experience in the war will have about the same effect. Huge, hard dealings have a way of doing that. It's tough, but it makes us a better, stronger person in the end.
Falling leaves and chilly mornings will always remind me of Mama and as long as I am able, no matter if there are just 1, or 101 people around my table at Thanksgiving, I will cook a whole turkey, just for the smell. The smell reminds me of Mama. Thanks to her I love this time of year and I will always celebrate the holidays like she did, with all the smells and sounds and sights that make them special. Good mothers teach their children well.
Happy birthday Mama, this one is for you.
When The Frost Is On The Punkin
by James Whitcomb Riley
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here--
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock--
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries--kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below--the clover over-head!--
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!
Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin' 's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! ...
I don't know how to tell it--but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me--
I'd want to 'commodate 'em--all the whole-indurin' flock--
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!
Monday, November 17, 2008
With my son's redeployment fast approaching, I have been afraid of blogging about it for fear of jinxing his homecoming. I have a great fear of breaching some OPSEC (operational security) rule that I don't know about and unintentionally causing some harm to come to any of our dear soldiers. I am almost certain that I probably am not privy to any information that might be used by our enemies to hurt our warriors, but I don't know that for sure. As a lowly "soldier mom", I just don't know what is safe and what is not. So, until my young-un's boots are safe on American soil, I will remain fairly silent, for safety's sake.
Having said that, I have found something that I CAN blog about. A blogger named Zombie is spear-heading a drive to pronounce "Victory in Iraq" day on November 22, 2008. He's doing this because, well frankly, no one else will. He explains it all on his website. Basically, since the media do not want President Bush to appear to have a success under his wings, they will not promote Victory in Iraq Day...heck, they won't even admit that the war is won. And the new administration certainly won't admit victory, since Obama has already stated that the surge was a failure. Hmmm? Mighty funny-looking failure to me. My son is part of that surge and it seems to me that the US mission has basically switched from a mission of defense to a peace-keeping mission. Coincidental that it occurred while MY son was there? I think not.
Anyway, this coming Saturday, November 22, 2008, please join in a virtual ticker-tape parade for our soldiers by having a "VI Day" post on your blog. Be sure to link to Zombie's web page so that he can add you to his list of participants. It's up to us, the American public who KNOW that this war is won to honor the people who did it so well. Start cutting and pasting the virtual confetti and grab up the cyber serpentine. There's going to be one hellacious parade this weekend. Yee Haw!!!
Friday, October 31, 2008
For the time being, I am sort of holding my breath, keeping my fingers crossed, and squenching my eyes shut tight so that nothing happens to interfere with Sprouts homecoming. Soon we can relax, but for now it's just hold on tight.
Counting down the days.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
I just thought there might be other folks out there looking for best ways to provide their soldiers with phone calls. This is the easiest way I have found.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
In other news, I have been reading Atlas Shrugged since the middle of May when I begin reading it while Stoicdad was having this done...
I'm beginning to wonder if I am the only person who has read this book just for fun and not as a college requirement. Man, it is a long book. But it's really good. I only get to read it on my lunch hour and sometimes at night, but I am only about 150 pages from the end and I am determined to finish. I feel like I have been serving a prison sentence being tied to this book for so long. But I can't stop reading it. It is that good. It's a novel about the world collapsing under socialism and it is kind of scary. It really makes you think about our world today. Anyway, I am 3 pages into a speech that I've been told goes on for 75 pages. I guess I should be reading and not writing right now.
Oh, the heck with it. Who is John Galt?
Thursday, August 07, 2008
What's weird is that it is so dated. I could probably narrow down the exact day the picture was taken if I really tried. I know that it was most likely on a Tuesday because the trash cans are out and Tuesday is trash day although sometimes they come on Wednesday. And it was in December because my door is decorated for Christmas and I know it was this PAST December in 2007 because there is a yellow ribbon on the door and a sign in my yard that I put up for Sprout that says "Support Our Troops"
Here's a nighttime picture of the same sign.
Wow, I don't know how often Google can afford to update the street-view pictures...I doubt it will be very often, so Sprout's time in Iraq is sort of immortalized on Google. How cool is that?
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
So I went out and did something really crazy. I got us a kitten.
Meet Ping. Her middle name is Pong. She is a hoot. It's been a while since I've had a kitten and I forget how wild they are. This one may take some getting used to. I hated that we lost Sprout's cat while he was gone but I have sent him pictures of this monster and I hope he approves. He will...he's a pushover for a small, furry animal. My Mama always said that the reason God made baby creatures so cute was so that you wouldn't kill them when they got really annoying. It's a good thing Ping is cute because she is really annoying. I have so many wounds on my arms from her "love-bites" that I'm beginning to look like a war vet.
Anyway, Sprout is still "over there". He's on the downhill side but still has a ways to go and a long hot summer before it's over. How will we ever be able to show him how grateful we are? How do you thank someone for a gift so immense? How do you say "I love you" to someone who has DONE "I love you" on such a massive scale?
How can it be that I am so blessed?
Thursday, June 26, 2008
She wrote this one after sitting outside enjoying the summer breeze and a cigarette to calm her nerves while on a break from her usual 12-hour shift as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher. She had just been standing by on the phone with a man who was having a heart attack and listening in as the paramedics worked on the man who was more concerned about leaving his dog alone than he was about his failing heart.
MY OLD JOB
On a day like to today, I wish I had my old job back.
The job I had when I was seven years old.
My office was at Hannon Park.
My morning commute consisted of heading down Semmes Avenue, crossing Dauphin Street, then cutting through the synagogue parking lot and the only road hazards or detours were my bare-feet dodging the blacktop for the cool grass on the shoulder of the road.
I wish my wardrobe consisted of nothing but a bathing suit
with a towel draped around my shoulders and uncombed hair.
I wish my biggest health concern today were watching out
for stickers in the grass as I walk across the park to the wading pool.
I wish my power-lunch for today was a Fudgesicle bought
from the ice cream truck and water sipped from a concrete water fountain.
I wish my biggest disappointment today was that Mrs. Brooks
(the park lady) had already handed the “Candy-Land” game
out to some other kid.
I wish my goal for today was to be able to hold my breath
under water longer than the other kids.
The only committee I wish to be on today is the one whose project
is to make a giant whirlpool by swimming around and around
and around and around the pool with a bunch of other kids.
The only dare I really want to take is how high I can go on the swings
or if I can open my eyes under water.
The only workout I want to do is pushing the seesaw
off the ground on my end and having my best friend return the favor.
The only worldly possession I would care to have today is my own pair of goggles.
The only fortune I’d care to amass would be the coins we tossed
on the bottom of the pool and found over and over again.
I wish my commute home today consisted of walking home with sunburned shoulders and cheeks and the feel of a wet towel draped around my neck.
On a day like today I wish I were heading home,
hungry and exhausted with a hot meal waiting
and a free pass on the bath tonight.
I wish I could fall asleep to the hum of an attic fan
and dream of doing it all over again tomorrow.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
And sadly, Sproutette once again kissed him good-bye, hugged him like she couldn't let go and put him on a plane that would take him half a world away. I don't know how military spouses do it. And if the parting at the airport is not enough, there is always that long drive home from the airport, alone. And unlocking the front door to another empty house. But at least it's all downhill from here and as Sprout put it, poking fun at the fly boys, "I'm just an Air Force deployment away from being done". (For those who don't know, the Air Force deploys to Iraq for six months at a time, the Army for fifteen). Anyway, I guess Shakespeare knew what he was talking about when he wrote:
"Good-night, good-night. Parting is such sweet sorrow, ere I say good-night till it be morrow".
Waking up in Uncle Sprout's shirt.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— John McCrae
Meanwhile, back on the Stoic Ranch, all is quiet and well. Soldiers are home for a time. Nobody is deathly ill, homeless or in jail so all is good...but, of course, tomorrow is another day.
Gosh, I wax poetic.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
She is absolutely giddy and it does my heart good to know that my son has someone standing there anxiously waiting for him and only him. There will be no doubt in his mind when he arrives that he has been sorely missed. I just hope she doesn't knock him down while trying to get to him. And hopefully she won't run through any metal detectors either. I would hate for Sprout's first order of business after arriving to be having to bail his wife out of jail.
As for us, the second fiddles, we will sit patiently and wait for them to get reacquainted. I don't mind. I do believe Sproutette loves Sprout as much as I do and that's all that I want for him, to have someone who loves him dearly.
Soon I will breath a little easier for a little while.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Anyway, a box of stuff to beat the heat will soon be on the way. I wonder how much it would cost to ship an in-ground swimming pool?
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
But, aside from his sounding tired, he also sounds adjusted. He sounds normal, not mad or angry or depressed, just normal. The war has become his normal. He has lots of plans for when he gets home, lots of plans for after the army. I suppose that is how they keep themselves sane, by thinking about the future. While we sit by and welcome spring and pretty flowers and Easter bunnies, they keep pushing on, on our behalf.
God bless them all.
Friday, March 21, 2008
I need some help here. This is a picture of my great-great-grandfather's store back in the late 1800's. Can anybody tell me what that undressed-teepee looking thing is in the middle of the picture? Is it a water well maybe? Anybody got a clue?
As for other news, the war drags on. Sprout is doing as well as someone in a war zone should be doing, I guess. Maybe better than most but who knows? I am tired of the waiting and worrying. Just tired...and he's not even to the half-way mark yet. I am so ready for this year to be over.
I want my boy home.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
In the mean time, my sister sent me a list of some great insults from witty people who didn't need four-letter words to get their points across. Some of these are really good. Oh, that I were so witty.
"I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top." ~English professor, Ohio University
"You couldn't get a clue during the clue mating season in a field full of horny clues if you smeared your body with clue musk and did the clue mating dance." ~Edward Flaherty
"Her face was her chaperone." ~Rupert Hughes
Nancy Astor: "If you were my husband, Winston, I should flavour your coffee with poison."
Winston Churchill: "If I were your husband, madam, I should drink it."
"Just the omission of Jane Austen's books alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it." ~Mark Twain
"Beauty is a curse. You don't know how lucky you are" ~Anonymous
"He hasn't an enemy in the world - but all his friends hate him."
"I could never learn to like her, except on a raft at sea with no other provisions in sight."
"The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech."
~George Bernard Shaw
"He's so snobbish he has an unlisted zip-code."
"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."
"He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others."
"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up."
"I see her as one great stampede of lips directed at the nearest derriere."
"It's like cuddling with a Butterball turkey."
"She was so ugly she could make a mule back away from an oat bin."
"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?"
"Why don't you get a haircut? You look like a chrysanthemum."
~P. G. Wodehouse
"Women are like elephants to me: nice to look at, but I wouldn't want to own one."
~W. C. Fields
"Doesn't know much, but leads the league in nostril hair."
"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know."
~Abraham Lincoln (I doubt Lincoln really said this)
"He knows so little and knows it so fluently."
"Useless as a pulled tooth."
~Mary Roberts Rinehart
"In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism. They have formed their own 4-H Club - the 'hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history."
~Spiro T. Agnew (about the press, 1970)
"This is not a book that should be tossed lightly aside. It should be hurled with great force."
Monday, February 11, 2008
I sure hope he was able to sleep when he finally wanted to sleep. I know these guys fear falling asleep on the job more than anything because it can not only endanger them, but even worse, it can endanger their buddies. Not to mention the fact that they can get into really big trouble if the brass catches them snoozing. On top of everything else a soldier must worry about while fighting a war, sleep or the lack thereof, should be the least of their troubles.
ArmyWifeToddlerMom has a post about her daughter waking up in the mornings bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with the "birdies" and it reminded me of a song my Mom used to sing to me and my brothers and sisters in the mornings when we were growing up. I sang it to both my boys when they were growing up. Hopefully, Sprout will sleep so well that he will need me to sing this song to him one more time:
The birds are up.
The bees are up.
The flowers are up.
The trees are up.
Why aren't you up?
Here's to a good night's sleep and a gentle rising...at war.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
I said a couple of posts back that this year might be a red-letter year for someone. Well, it already is a red-letter year for my aunt, my mother's youngest sister. All this week she has a front-porch view of Ty Pennington and his crew as they perform an "Extreme Make-over, Home Edition". They are in town to rebuild a home that was damaged during hurricane Katrina for a family with eight kids. It's a family of really nice people who do a lot of charity work and have just run upon some hard times since the hurricane. Anyway, the house is two-doors down from my aunt and she is having a ball watching all the excitement. She plans to sell tickets. They started working this past Saturday, tore down the old house on Sunday, and will have the new house finished by this Friday. My aunt is not in good health and gets out of breath real easy so the crew has been especially attentive to her. She offered up her driveway for them to park a couple of trailors and she has allowed trucks to back into her yard when they needed more space. The crew has provided her with a security guard stationed in front of her house for the duration.
I saw my aunt in the grocery store yesterday and asked if she had already had Ty Pennington over for coffee. She said no, but she promised to call me if he decides to drop by. With all of this going on in town, I find it surprising that none of the menfolk seem to have ever heard of Ty Pennington. Hmmmmm, they could all take a few lessons from him on "how to look good with a hammer".
Anyway, that's what is keeping my mind off of the war today...that and Mardi Gras and Super Tuesday. Yep, that should just about do it.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
God really does have a sense of humor.
I told his bride I take this as a blessing, a sign that everything will be alright and that with God, all things are possible.
Snow? In Iraq? Strange. Just strange.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Anyway, since I am the Christmas Goddess around here, no one has dared touch any of the decorations or attempted to put them away. So, on January 7, in the year whose name we will not mention I am just now getting all the decorations taken down and put away. All, that is, except for the artificial tree that I so proudly posted about earlier.
I got some news for everybody...you know how with a real Christmas tree, the hard part is getting is up straight in the stand and getting all the lights and ornaments on it and the easy part was taking it down? Well, nobody told me that the artificial trees are just the opposite. Getting the thing up was great. Getting it down is another thing...I can't, in my weakened condition, get the middle section to separate from the bottom section. I want to put this tree away so that I can use it again someday...they are reusable, aren't they? At the rate I'm going, I may have to take a chainsaw to this thing. Or I could leave it up all year without the top and just hope that nobody notices it. Hmmmm? What to do, what to do? Well, at least it's keeping my mind off of Sprout and his current adventures.
Can you oil a Christmas tree?
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
My resolutions for 2008:
1. Get my boy out of Iraq by years-end, safe and unharmed and none the worse for wear.
2. Lose weight (yeah...that's gonna happen)
3. Read more books.
4. Win the Lottery (oh, stop snickering).
5. Make a quilt (now this one I may actually accomplish - quilting calms me).
6. Remember to be happy for what I have.
7. Take the grandkids on a trip somewhere.
8. Save some money (scratch #7).
9. Get screen on the front door fixed.
10. Don't worry. Be happy.