Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

I spent most of today being very depressed. Knowing that you are going to be forty-seven years old tomorrow will do that to you. I've really got to make some changes in my life, and I just don't know how to do it. I'm just no fun anymore. What happened to the girl who was funny and lively and had lots of friends? I feel as though I've retreated further into myself these past couple of years.

Then at 6:30, the phone rang. My wonderful husband, who has been in China for the past three weeks, called to wish me a happy birthday. Well, it's 7:30 tomorrow morning there, so he's right on time. He said he had a present for me. I assumed he meant he bought something in China and I'd get it when he comes home on Saturday.

Then he said to go to his nightstand and open the bottom door. There was a package in there, all wrapped up, with a card. The man bought my present and wrapped it before he left three weeks ago! And, he got me an IPod!!! I have been wanting one for so long, but I just couldn't justify spending the money on it. My son has one, and I borrow it all the time. I love it..... and dammit, he bought me one for my birthday. The IPod is amazing, but just the fact that he thought ahead and had it ready for me on my birthday is just soo... well, he's awesome.

I love that man. For 29 years, he has always put so much thought and care into every gift he gets me. He picks out the most beautiful cards.

Forty-seven doesn't seem so bad anymore. It's going to be an awesome year. It has certainly had a great beginning.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Another Saturday Night

... and I have no life, dammit!!

I've been working on photo archives for the past two weeks. Okay, I'm trying to get my family history files up to date. I went out and bought some acid-free photo boxes for some of these old photos. A few of them are in very fragile state. I've scanned them and will probably send them to Walgreen's to get copies made.

I found a really great picture of my grandfather and my father, from 1934. My pop was about two years old. Very cool.

Someone please remind me to backup my photos!! The blank CDs are all upstairs in Chris' room and I keep forgetting to bring some downstairs so I can backup my geneology stuff. I would hate to have to put in all these hours again!

Why am I doing this? Does it really matter? Are my kids going to ever care about all this history? I also want to make copies for my brothers.

The amazing thing about doing this is that you never finish! I want a complete record for my kids, which means doing my husband's family also. I haven't even started that! Although his aunt has done quite a bit of research on his grandmother's family already. They've been in this country since it was a colony of England. Very old Philadelphia family. Friends with Ben Franklin even. This great-granddaughter of lowly Polish, Slovak, and English coalminers who crossed the Atlantic in the early 1900s feels very unworthy.....

Ah well, I come from very sturdy stock!

Monday, June 19, 2006

In the garden

Friday and Saturday night were stormy. Those nightstorms that roll in after midnight and wake you from a sound sleep with crashing thunder. By Sunday afternoon, it was sunny again.

I was just weeding the garden and tidying up from the mess that Mother Nature had wrought. My fountain had lots of mulch and leaves in it. I decided to drain the basin, rinse it, and fill it with fresh water.

When I lifted the lid off the base, there it was. A snake. Okay, so it was only about six inches long. So it was a garter snake. But it was still a snake! I called my oldest son to come out and catch it and relocate it away from our yard. He tried to grab it, but it headed under the basin and out of reach. Arggggh!!!

I know snakes are good for a garden. Well, at least the non-poisonous variety. And, after all, I had provided water, rocks for sunning, and plenty of cool safe places to hide, hadn't I? I practically invited him to move in! But, there is just one thing. I.DON'T.LIKE.SNAKES!!!!

I love the lizards. They are cute and they eat pests. And they are fun to watch. But a snake? Can I learn to love a snake? Well, snakes eat pests too. So they aren't so cute. Can I go out on the back porch without looking for him? Wondering where he is? I hope so.

Today I found myself trying to find it. Well, not that I would do anything about it, but just so I knew where he was. I'm paranoid. I keep expecting him to be everywhere that I'm walking or doing anything. I'll get over it. I'll forget I ever saw it. But it's going to be awhile before that flower bed around the fountain gets weeded!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Lot and Bessie

Who were Lot and Bessie? They were the parents of my paternal grandfather. I am looking at a copy of their marriage certificate. It is 100 years old. It is in terrible shape and I hope to find a way to preserve what is left of it. (click to see larger copy)

At some point, my grandfather must have pasted it to a brown grocery bag because it was starting to fall apart. That has held it together for now, but I'm sure the glue has contributed to the sorry shape that it is in. He also took the time to transcribe the certificate on a piece of notebook paper. Smart man, my grandfather. He had very old-fashioned, elegant and beautiful handwriting. The transcription:

This certifies that Lot Millard of Mt. Carmel, State of Pennsylvania, and Bessie V. Frederick of Mt. Carmel were by me united in marriage according to the ordinance of God and the laws of the State of Pennsylvania at Mt. Carmel on the Eleventh day of April in the year of our Lord 1906.

Miss Orpha Brown
Mr. Richard P. Morgans

By Rev. R. Smith Stull

Because of the size of my scanner, I wasn't able to get a scan of the whole document, but I got most of it. A trip to Kinkos for a proper copy is in order. I want to preserve the original somehow, but I also want a good copy.

Lot was born on June 28, 1884. I found that out from the caretaker of the cemetary where he is buried. That kind old man actually walked to the family plot and sent me transcriptions of the headstones. It was a surprise when I got his letter. Even more of a surprise that my great-grandfather and I share a birthday!

I have a copy of the Bessie's social security application. She has listed her birthdate as January 10, 1892. If that is correct, then she was 14 when she married Lot.

My grandfather was born April 22, 1909. Lot was killed in the coal mines on August 13, 1909. My grandfather only four months old. Bessie only 17. Lot was 25.

Bessie remarried. That's what women did in those days. I don't have the exact date or place, yet.

Obviously, this certificate meant a lot to my grandfather. He never knew his dad. And yet he lovingly tried to preserve this all those years.

There is so much more that I have to go through in these boxes. I have had a quick glance at some pictures and things. I have to get organized and find a way to safely store and copy all of the family history.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ten after Midnight

Just waiting for the boys to get home from 24HR Fitness. It must be nice to be a teenager and have the energy to work out this late at night. I can almost remember.

So I sit here, surfing the net, with HGTV on in the background, the dogs snoring at my feet.... and I wait for them to come home. If I went to bed, I wouldn't fall asleep anyway.

I wonder at what age you stop worrying about them? When Greg goes off to college in August, I'm not going to have any clue what he's doing or where he is at any point in time. I'm not looking forward to the inevitable tug of war when he comes home and has to go back to the rules of the house.

There are so many adjustments that I'm going to have to make in the next year. For him, there are so many new experiences to be had. I do envy him. He is at the beginning of the rest of his life.

Ah...... they are home.

Good night.......

Saturday, June 10, 2006


For some reason, I have been looking at things differently today. Just reflecting on where I've been and how I ended up here in central Texas.

Thanks to Jim's job, we've lived in New York, South Florida and Central Texas. Sometimes I think back on the first years of our marriage living in upstate New York. That was a beautiful place to live. It was very rural, for the most part. Traffic was non-existent. The winters were harsh. The mountains were gorgeous in the autumn. The sweet corn was incredible! The pizza at the Hurley Mountain Inn was the best.

Skiing at Highmount and Belleayre in the winters. Summers on the boat out on the Hudson River. We were there for 13 years. I remember the last time I crossed the Hudson River, over the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge to catch the plane to West Palm Beach. It was Good Friday, 1994. I was actually happy to leave. It had been a rough winter. There was still snow on the ground at that late date. The palm trees and beaches of Florida were looking awfully good to me at that time. And they didn't disappoint. I call that my 'two year vacation'. Boca Raton. Beautiful. We spent that Easter Sunday on the beach with the kids. It was surreal. I loved it there. It was good for my soul.

Then we moved to Texas in 1996. Hotter summers and colder winters. I hated it. I mean I HATED IT.

But Texas is home now. I actually like it here. Well, except for the summer and the traffic. Oh, and I miss sweet corn. Real sweet corn. The corn here is....... disappointing. Dumb, isn't it?

But I looked around my home today. Worked in my garden. Sat on my back porch. This is my home. My boys have basically grown up here. Ten years. The second longest that I have ever lived in one place. And I will probably finish my life here. And it won't be so bad. Well, except for the summers. And the traffic.... But our home has always been our family. Where will my boys end up after they finish school? Will life lead them to other places like it led us? I hope they are never too far away. But I will understand, and I will be happy as long as they are happy. And I hope their adventures will be as wonderful as mine have been!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Graduation, home, assorted rants and breakdowns

School is over. Greg has graduated. Summer vacation has begun. It's only been two weeks and chaos reigns.

First I must rant about my mom. Yes, again. She is so obsessive about 'picking up'. She goes into the boys' rooms and she has to pick things up and put them away. Never mind that Chris has cables for his guitar amps, USB cables for all of his electronic gadgets, hookups for the PS2 and the DVD players, cell phone and MP3 chargers, etc. She insists that it must all go into a basket or something. Which always leads to us searching for something..... Is it too much trouble for her to just stay out of their rooms? They are 18 and 16 years old. They aren't slobs, it's just that there is so much gadgetry..... and I just wish she would leave them wherever the hell they are! grrrrrrrrr... I really need to just tell her. But she is the queen of passive-aggressiveness. "Well, I just won't do anything at all around here... " grrrrrrrrr again.

But she's going away for four weeks in July and August. I can't fucking wait! Am I a terrible daughter? She is going to visit my brothers. I am so looking forward to the break. Now that the boys are older, she just insists on always getting into their business. They are good kids. I give them their space and their privacy (okay, so I do keep a discreet eye on them, but they don't need to know that.). She has always been a control freak, and I am the complete opposite. They've given me no reason to distrust them, and I don't need to micromanage their lives. Back off Grandmom!

Greg's graduation gift was a new computer. I set it up this week. He's been using a six-year old dinosaur. The new one is great..... I kept the packing materials because we'll have to pack it up in August for him to go to school.

Chris went to volunteer orientation at the hospital today. He's really looking forward to working there this summer. I hope he likes it. I think it will be good for him. I remember volunteering at a hospital when I was in high school. I loved it. And my favorite job when I got out of high school was also working in a hospital. I should have gone to school and become a nurse or a lab tech or something.

It's already damn hot. Definitely felt like summer today. I couldn't make it through the afternoon without taking a nap. I hate this. The heat just sucks the life right out of me. The doc said that it is pretty much a given that MS patients don't handle the summer's well. I think I should move to Alaska or something till summer is over.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


My oldest son has graduated from high school. 29 years after I graduated from high school, I found myself trying to remember the ceremony. I can't remember a single thing! Seriously, not one detail about the whole graduation. I remember high school, and I still remember some teachers. But the ceremony itself? Complete blank. I must have slept through it.

So here we are, celebrating the Class of 2006. And we are at the graduation ceremony. The band plays "Pomp and Circumstance", the speeches, they each cross the stage to get the 'token scroll' and then it is over. Balloons descend from the ceiling. The speakers come alive with the opening riffs of the class song, chosen by a majority vote of this class of 409 students. Imagine my surprise when I recognized the opening of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "FreeBird". Yes, the class of 2006 chose a song that is over 30 years old. Freebird was huge when I was in high school. And today, it is the class song of my son's graduating class.

I wonder where are the current rock anthems? I think it's cool. In my heart, I will always remember the 70s and the great soundtrack of my teenage years. And it seems that my kids are appreciating my music, also.