Wednesday, April 30, 2008


So after I blogged about my Poo Poo Pity Party yesterday I decided Mommy needed a little pick-me-up. So I got Grandma to babysit for a few hours, I went and got my haircut, got some color to highlight it (my sister in law is my stylist~I can get all kinds of goodies that way), came home and vacuumed the house and started in on my hair color adventure. My hair is short and black, but I have a fondness for cherry red chunks of highlights on occasion. I think it helps me hold on to the tiny little part of the punk rock chick that I used to be! LOL! I watched my peace and quiet...while I colored my hair and then went back to pick up the kids for a nap.

On my drive home there was a song that came on the radio that lifted me out of the fog. The song symbolizes everything I want for my boys, the reason I wanted to give birth to boys, the reason I chose to stay at home to raise my sons, and it epitomizes so much of my life. It was if God wrapped his arms around me and reminded me that this is right where I belong....

Simple Man
Mama told me when I was young
Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say.
And if you do this
It will help you some sunny day.

Take your time... Don't live too fast,
Troubles will come and they will pass.
Go find a woman and you'll find love,
And don't forget son, There is someone up above.

And be a simple kind of man.
Be something you love and understand.
Be a simple kind of man.
Won't you do this for me son, If you can?

Forget your lust for the rich man's gold
All that you need is in your soul,
And you can do this if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.


Boy, don't you worry... you'll find yourself.
Follow you heart and nothing else.
And you can do this if you try.
All I want for you my son, Is to be satisfied.

© Ronnie Van Zant and Garry Rossington

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Poo Poo Pity Party

Maybe it's the weather. Perhaps my marathon gardening that has come to a screeching halt amidst this cold snap has caused my icky case of the doll drums...but I am blue again...It seems I can rarely get 3 months in a row without getting a prod from the pitch fork of the depression devil. And this couldn't have come at a more inconvenient time. One of my best friends is coming for a visit this weekend and another best friend is home from Iraq right now.

Although I suppose part of my pity party is that I never get to leave the fuckin house! With all of this going on, I almost always have to have my friends come see me....or I have to pack up my kids and take them with me, and either way I spend most of our visit chasing kids, wiping boogers and butts, and busting up squabbles.

I love being a mother, I really do...but sometimes it's overwhelming. And I love my husband I do, but sometimes we are more like roommates and old friends than lovers. I am surrounded by people 24/7 (albeit mostly little people), I am never alone, but I am lonely. I don't want my kids to grow up too fast, but sometimes I long for just one day of the freedom I will be able to enjoy when they are grown. I feel like I have lost myself, I used to write and write, words were my life, but now I am tiny shell of who that writer used to be, and I fear she may never come back....Sometimes I look in the mirror and I think "Who is the woman?" I am a bloated, haggard looking version of the person I used to be. I don't even like to look in the mirror anymore. I used to be mildy attractive, average build etc...Now I have the official Mommy look...that 'got ran over by a truck' look! LOL! J/K Mommy's some of you do a great job at keeping yourselves looking great...but I am not one of them! I can't even remember the last time I bothered to file my fingernails, let alone paint them!

Sometimes I think none of it really has anything to do with current events. It is just my excuse for avoiding the past life experiences. As is the topic in this blog... maybe it's all of it. Maybe I am just fundamentally fucked up! But today I miss the person I know I can be. The happy loud crazy wild chick that isn't afraid of anything...I am not her today.

Oh well, I am gonna go suck down a pot of coffee and take my crazy pills and try to have a better day.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mommy Blogs!!! Joy!!

I have had the opportunity to sit here and get to 'know' some new blogs this afternoon, and it has occurred to me that there is this sweeping surge of SAHM blogs! Could it be that I am not the only isolated woman on the planet?? I am not the only one happily trudging through life with a toddler securely wrapped around each leg begging for something or crying for attention? I am not the only one who made the choice to willingly put myself in this happy little prison for the next five years or so for the benefit of my children?

Well Praise the Lord and Pass the Peanut Butter!!

Granted I find myself envious of some of these women who live in areas that are far more interesting and exciting than mine, and whose visit to the park doesn't require a 30 mile drive, but we all seem to have that one common characteristic. We are crazy about our kids! And our kids have made us a little on the crazy side! LOL!

Never in my life did I dream there would be a time when I would literally snap 300 photos in one day of two little boys, doing not much of anything, but looking absolutely adorable doing it. I never really imagined that at the age of 30 my life would literally revolve around trying to find a way to poop in private. Nor did I expect snotty noses, dirty diapers, potty training, ABC's and 123's to be my career of choice. But here I am, busting up a squabble as I write this, trying to figure out the best way to keep them entertained while I tidy up the house so we can spend the rest of the day outside. Life is sweet. And apparently I am not the only one who thinks so.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Driving Under the Influence.......

It has long been said the drunk drivers are the most dangerous drivers on the road. I will not argue this fact, but there is another dangerous driver on the road that you are meeting every single day. Every time you turn your wheels onto a public road you are meeting this driver and she is liable to be just as dangerous as the wino who stumbled out of the local watering hole.....her name is Mommy!

Mommy is often travelling with a minimum of two small children. Beside her is a bag....the bag is often the source of all distraction for this well meaning driver. The bag contains toys, books, sippy cups, snacks, diapers, wipes, wallet, chapstick, a thousand old receipts, used sucker sticks that were desperately tossed in to prevent littering, loose change, Kleenexes, hand lotion, extra clothes and training pants, and sometimes a cell phone.

Here is the true story of one such Mommy...

It was a warm spring day, just one week ago. Mommy took her kids to the 'big town' 40 miles from home. A visit to Menards was in on the agenda. After the shopping trip, Mommy promised her kids McDonalds. But as it was already nearly nap time, and so as not to risk them falling asleep 10 miles from home and then not taking a 'real' nap, so decided to go through the drive through. 2 Happy Meals, on Cheeseburger the other Chicken Nugget, and one Big and Tasty w/cheese meal for Mommy was the order, with two chocolate milks and one large sweet tea. She digs through the bag to find wallet and toddler #1 notices the bag of snacks

I want that!

No you have lunch coming, remember you wanted a cheeseburger

Oh, ok, but can I have that after I eat all my lunch?

We'll see...

Mommy finds wallet and pays the outrageous price for three sacks of junk food and pulls away with her bags tucked neatly beside her in the passenger seat. As she sits at the first stoplight she opens Happy Meal for toddler #2, chicken nuggets and removes the toy....stashes toy in the bag...proceeds to make right turn onto the highway and maintain speed limit of 45 mph...dumps fries into bag and breaks all chicken nuggets in half to reduce the temperature of food from 500 degrees F to a more reasonable 100 degrees F. She rolls down the sack to make it more easily accessible to two year old hands and sets it back down beside her. Next she opens Happy Meal for toddler #1, breaks cheeseburger in half and removes bun to cool it down. She holds the bag of fries for toddler #1 and the entire Happy Meal bag for toddler #2 near he rolled down window to try to cool off the food more rapidly amidst the cries of

I'm hungry! I want my french fries

Me hungy mama! Eat chicky nuggets!!

Makes a left turn onto another road that will turn her in a more easterly direction towards home. Finally food is at a consumable temperature. She reaches back and hands Happy Meal bag to toddler #2 and french fry bag to toddler #1, all the while trying to keep her eyes on the road and maintain a 55 mph speed. Next she reassembles cheeseburger, careful to remove the pickle that he will squawk about and that she forgot to have left off, reaches behind her to hand half of the burger to toddler #1. Next she carefully opens two empty sippy cups, all the while trying to keep her eyes on the road and fills each with chocolate milk. After successfully filling the first, she passes it back behind her. She spills a little of the second cup on her leg and uses the spare underwear in her bag to wipe it up since the dip shit at McDonalds gave her two napkins for her entire order. Upon filling up the second cup she hands it back and takes a long awaited swig of her sweet iced tea!!!

Mommy snags a few french fries from her own bag as she plugs in the DVD player so the toddlers can watch All About John Deere part 2 for the 500th time. Finally she gets to open her Big and Tasty box only to find they forgot the cheese. They always forget the cheese. Since the inception of the Big and Tasty she has always ordered cheese and every time she goes through the drive through they forget the cheese. She ponders the fact that she has probably paid for $3 worth of cheese in her lifetime that she never received. A small amount of money yes, but aggravating none the less.

Just as she attempts to take the first bite of her cheese-less sandwich toddler #1 drops his chocolate milk. Mommy closes up her Big and Tasty box and puts it back in the passenger seat. Blindly she reaches behind her fumbling for the missing cup. She tries to keep her eyes on the road (do you see a reoccurring theme here?) as she pats and stretches and reaches around. Finally she feels the cup and grasps at it with two fingers, successfully pulling from under the backside of her seat. Gives cup back to toddler and once again takes a swig of her tea. It occurs to her the she has to pee and they are still 25 miles from home with no gas station between here and there. Then it occurs to her that she has not made sure toddler #1, who is potty trained, went to the bathroom before they left town. Hmmm...she considers pulling off the highway and taking her chances in the broad daylight, but decides to press her luck and keep driving, all the while praying nobody pees their pants!

Finally back to her Big and Tasty which is now cold and is devoured in 5-6 huge bites, to ensure it actually gets eaten before her passengers make another demand of her. She enjoys 3-4 miles of actual lucid driving before cries for the potty begin. She is only 10 miles from home now and stopping in the middle of the country to pee would normally be no big deal, except for the fact that there are tractors and fertilizer sprayers everywhere. It is one of the few times the countryside is booming and there is no privacy to be found. Not that privacy would matter the toddler with the bursting bladder, but her own is now bursting as well. It occurs to her to stop at the bank, the lone business that is open out in the boonies that she calls home and they rush in to relieve themselves. All 3 get back in the car and buckled in with only 8 more miles to go...8 quiet and content she pulls in her driveway she realizes

They are both asleep. The efforts of drive thru dining and wreckless driving were fruitless....

So the next time you meet a swerving mine-van on the road...beware the Mommy Driver!

Do Not Try This at Home!!

Raising Toddlers and Big Babies....

Well my husband informed me that last night he was just being a "Big Baby" (his words...not mine!) and that I should continue with my weekend job for as long as I enjoy doing it. I was not surprised really, this happens a lot. I think the simple fact is this, Raising toddlers is rough, and we both occasionally just need the opportunity to bitch and moan about it. Our discussion last night opened us up to a more honest discussion about why I need some time away, and if I can make money in the process YAY! I suppose once he had a night to sleep on it he concluded that I was right.

If only men would just engrain that into their heads. My wife is always right....LOL! Just kidding fellas! But you gotta admit...we usually are!

I ended up having no daycare kids until after school today so I packed up the kids and went to town to do the Wal-Mart gig and visit the park. I was very proud of myself to have exited Wal-Mart without spending more than $100....$74 to be exact! That never seems to happen anymore. Not since we had kids at least. I was proud of myself.

The kids had a blast at the park, and I found and ingenious way to fit in a workout! (Not that Big Mama was looking for a workout...uggh) Take your toddlers to the 'skate park'. I didn't even know there was one, this must be a new addition, but it was right next to the playground so we ventured over there when we got bored with sliding, swinging and climbing monkey bars. Chasing my toddlers up and down the steps and helping them scale the ramps up and down was quite an aerobic feat!! I have a feeling my butt is gonna be talkin' to me tomorrow, and not in the Charmin kinda way....sorry that was completely uncalled for. What can I say, I am raising two boys, potty humor is par for the course!

I found myself reminded of a topic I felt compelled to write about as I was driving home from our adventure today, trying to pacify everyone in the car for the 20 minute ride home. Stay tuned for The Adventures of DUI...Mommy Style.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Show Me the MONEY!! Please! Somebody? Anybody? No really...even a Quarter? Nickel?

Hubby and I just finished having a frank and open discussion about the state of our union at this point in time. For once it was a calm discussion rather than everybody just crab assin' and not really saying what we really want to say.

Of course the root of every evil in our relationship is money. (As is probably 95% of families in the nation) We made the choice from the day we found out I was pregnant with baby #1 that I would be a SAHM. So since he was born, I have been here, doing the mommy gig, while daddy brings home the bacon. I still work Saturday mornings at my old job (banker), mostly just to get out of the house, but also to keep my foot in the door for when my kids are in school. I do plan to go back to work full time then. But for now my heart (and my head, my feet and my big fat butt) are right here where I feel it needs to be. BUT...there's never enough $$$. I run a home daycare, that admittedly is has only 1 full time and 2 after school kids at the moment, I need to run an ad in the paper. But to be honest it has been nice to not be stumbling over myself and dog ass tired at the end of the day because I have 6 kids here for 12's almost been a luxury vacation! I was making up for the loss in income by waitressing/cooking/bar tending at the local pub. My 'town' has a Catholic Church and a Tavern (side by side of course!)...that's it. The 'mill' I talked about before is actually in a different 'town' 2 miles away! LOL!!! So anyhoo, I waitress/bar tend a lot of Friday nights and work as a cook on Saturday nights. It's good money, it's all cash AND I get to see people...humans, the grown up kind, the kind that can drive real cars and tractors-not toy ones, the kind who don't need their drink in a sippy cup and the kind who usually don't need any help in the bathroom.

The dilemma is always this. Daddy keeps the boys these nights that I am working. My side of the story is this....I enjoy the job, I am a very social person, I love talking with everyone and getting out of the house and even having a few beers while I am on the job (where else can you do that!). I am here at home 24/7 Mon-Fri, I rarely ever go out with my friends, I barely am even able to talk to them on the phone because there is always the constant "Stop It!" "Hang On" "Quit Kicking" "No throwing" "No you can't watch Nemo again!" I really enjoy this weekend job! Many of my friends (the non-mommy versions) hang out there or at least come in for supper sometimes. It's nice. And it's good $$. It supplements our income quite nicely.

His side of the story is this. The kids are so attached to me, because they are with me all the time, that he has a hard time with them. Especially the 2 year old. Now the hardass bitch side of me want to tell him to "Suck it up! It's just two nights...I do it ALL THE F'N TIME!" But the mommy/wife side of me is very conflicted!

  • I feel guilty....I hate the thought of my kids crying for me.
  • I hate putting him in that position. Especially when I know it is a situation I am partly to blame for. They are always with me. Since I babysit, it's not as if I ever have much reason to get a sitter myself through the week, and if I have to close the daycare to go somewhere it's usually to take them to the Dr. or something of a similar nature.
  • Our sleeping arrangements have created this problem. 4 year old sleeps with Daddy in one room, 2 year old sleeps with me in another. Sooooo when Mommy is not here at bedtime...there is a BIG problem! He will go to bed on his own, but only sleeps about 2 hours and then cries for me-I go get him and we go back to sleep. This is BAD...nobody needs to tell me...that is a blog for another day.
  • I don't like my husband being stressed and angry on the only day we have together as a family (Sunday). He doesn't like me being tired and strung out from running my ass off waiting tables all night on the only day we have together.

So what to do....what to do....???? I love the job. He hates me being gone. I need him to realize it is the ONLY time I am gone, which is hard. I have no life. This job gives me a semblance of an adult life. Getting a full time job Mon-Fri really isn't an option unless I go to work in a factory (remember I am in a very small rural community). I only have an Associate Degree (Early Childhood Dev.), and a job that is going to pay for full time daycare for two little ones, plus gas to drive to town (minimum 40 mile round trip each day) is going to average out to me once again making NO money and my kids will be in the care of someone else all the time. I can't do that. I have very strong feelings about being a SAHM. My mom was a single mom and often worked 2 jobs! I had more babysitters than I can count, one of whom harmed me in ways I don't care to discuss....that is not going to happen to my children. Hubby's mom was a SAHM too and he feels very strongly about this issue as well. So emotionally it's not even an option unless we are pushing 'welfare' poor. So I am doing this to support the family...but if the family isn't happy WTF am I supposed to do??? I don't even get to got to the bathroom alone...a few hours on the weekend is my saving grace! My sanity!

We seem to have this argument about once a month or so...I feel like he doesn't see how hard I work and the fact that I am working 4 jobs total if you count my web business (primitive stitchery That does not include the job of taking care of our own children, doing all the household chores etc....sometimes I feel like he thinks his underwear washes itself.......It must be nice to just go to work, clock in, bust your ass for 9 hours and come home to a hot meal, clean clothes, a *mostly* clean house, and watch TV....God did that sounds really bitchy doesn't it? He really does work hard, he is a farm implement mechanic and he busts his butt...I need to give him credit there.

I keep telling him, and myself, that raising toddlers is the hardest and most stressful time in a marriage. We just have to grin and bear it a few more years. I don't know if I am certain of this or trying to convince myself of this.....But I love him, I love my kids, and I'll figure it out. I always do!!!

So now I am not only Mommy'd out...I'm Wifey'd out too...Sweet Dreams Ya'll!

Mommy'd Out!! Among other things....

Sometimes I just get Mommy'd Out. Translation: Affliction affecting parent of the female gender who can be described as emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted. Symptoms include stress, irritability, headache, backache, hunger (from being too busy to eat), over fullness (from stress overeating), and can increase desires for caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and tropical vacations.

Today is one of those days. My youngest is sicker today than he was yesterday...I am hoping the antibiotic does it's job before tomorrow or we will be back at the doctor. His cough is tight and wheezy and he is fussy fussy fussy!! Thankfully Ibuprofen has stepped in and given me a much needed break from the fussing..and "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy," ok you get the idea.

On top of that my Grandparents were here for an overnight visit. Which was actually surprisingly pleasant. Everyone has members of the family that you dread seeing because the experience can sometimes be unpleasant (traumatizing, agonizing, life-changing, see where I am going with this). Well in my life, that would be these two. Not because they don't love me, but because my Grandmother, Bless-Her-Heart (my other Grandma, long departed, always taught me if you say 'bless his/her heart' before you said something bad about someone~it didn't count! LOL!)...has this natural ability to strip you of your entire self-worth and confidence with one single sentence. There have been times over the years that I have been utterly emotionally destroyed by this woman. And it always happens when we are I avoid this event at all costs! Things have improved with age (hers and mine) and her deteriorating health seems to make her a little more appreciative of the human beings in her life who are willing to love her despite it all...and the fact that I have given birth to her two adorable great-grandsons. I think she is very mindful that in some ways they are my bargaining chip. A horrible thing to say I know, but if you'd walked the road I have walked with this woman you might feel the same way. I suppose for the sake of the few family members who know about this blog I should shut up about that....In her defense she now suffers from some dementia...which I sort of feel like gives her an excuse now. It's gone on as long as I can remember (so about 30 years!), but now that she has had this diagnosis, we all just chalk it up to dementia.

Anyhoo, she did manage to get one good knife in the back when we had 30 seconds alone, and boy was it a doozey! I just smiled and acted like I hadn't heard a thing...I survived, and all in all we had a lovely visit. The kids were overjoyed to have them here and I could tell that they loved seeing the boys again! That made me happy. Plus she and I share a common love of gardening (she's the Green Thumb Grandma) so we had lovely discussions about that. All in all it was great. And much better than I expected. Especially since my hubby completely deserted me and hid out in the bedroom all night because he was sick! Ok, he really was sick and I am a heartless bitch for being grouchy about it...sue me. So it wasn't too bad for a solo mission! They left this morning.

But add in a sick and fussy child today, and another one who is jealous and cranky by the noise and extra attention of the other.....I am wiped out! Uggghhhhh!! Somebody put a Margarita in my hand and put me on a plane to anywhere with a beach. Hell I'd go to Guantanamo Bay at this point.....

Thankfully at the moment my oldest is down the road at my in-laws. I am so lucky to have that resource just a mile away!!!!! So now it's just me and Mr. Fussy, who is happily munching on raisins (that he calls grapes...he's half right!) and watching Robin Hood. But my sickly husband will be walking in the door any minute and then you can add two fussy babies to my roster tonight!

God I am awful ain't I???!! I need a vacation!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sniff Sniff, Cough Cough, Achoo, Wheeze...Oh and Poop too...

*Sniff Sniff, Cough Cough, Achoo, Wheeeeze...Sniff Sniff, Cough Cough, Achoo, Wheeeeeze*....that it is the rhythm of the music running through my house these days. The allergies are creeping up on all of us. I actually had to take my boys to the doctor today because they were starting to get really sick and the youngest even has a fever. The doctor says what she always says...and every year I must block it out...I hate the thought...but I know it must be done. CLOSE THE WINDOWS! Uggghhh. So today we had to turn on the A/C, it was over 80 degrees here!! Dang that's hot ya'll... for April anyway.

So as we are driving the 40 miles it takes me to get to the town where my doctor's office is (and the nearest town where I will find more than one grocery store...) I am enjoying the smells of spring with my windows down......for about 3 miles. Then all I could smell was manure, fertilizer chemicals and dust. Farmers are going balls to the wall taking advantage of the break in April Rains to get their fields fertilized and cultivated....but the resulting smell is horrible. And I thought to myself "It's no wonder we are all dying of cancer..." I bet I passed two dozen Anhydrous Ammonia tanks on the way to town. Now doesn't that thought put a little spice in your tofu stir-fry tonight!

We take for granted all the chemicals that are used in the production of our food. It's scary really. And I am even a farm wife.....For our own home garden we use cow manure, and for many of the fields we use as much manure as we can, but frankly right now crops pay more than cattle and there's just not enough poop to go around! Ha! I feel funny saying poop. No farmer I have ever met calls it poop. They'll all tell ya, Shit is Shit....It's nothing to hear a little kid around hear holler "Oh dang it I just stepped in shit..." and not many adults even blink an eye. Shit is not a bad word on the farm. Although I will say, my upbringing tends to make me steer my children from saying it, but I am sure by the time they are teens they will be 'shootin' the shit' with the rest of us. (Personally I have a very foul mouth, so I don't know why I even try to prevent my kids from saying this one little word that nobody else seems to be bothered by...)

Anyhoo, the lovely smells of spring took on a curious turn this morning as toxic chemicals and the various 'flavors' of livestock manure filled the car....cow shit, horse shit, hog shit etc...but the absolute worst smell in the entire universe, is turkey shit! If you ever pass a field that has been fertilized with turkey'll know it! Ugggh!!!! If you are a city dweller, I would say if nothing else you can be grateful you don't have to smell turkey shit!!

Anyone hungry for a slice of Butterball! :0)~

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Maybe I am just an old hillbilly....and yes this is about the Polygamy case, if you are tired of reading about it, go read a good book!

My ancestors, my great grandparents, were mostly all from the hills of Kentucky. When you hear people talk about "hill billys' "hill folk" etc...these are the kind of people I come from. Granted long gone are the moonshine stills and the shanty shacks down in the hollar, but the banjo picking, whiskey sluggin, good timin', barefoot and pregnant mentality still runs deep and strong in our blood. Much like many other people whose roots are sewn deep into the Kentucky hills. It's nothing for you to find me on my front porch in my nightgown sneaking a cigarette before my kids wake up...I'd probably hollar 'mornin'! and invite you in for breakfast. It's just the kind of people we are.

My great great grandfather was rumored to have two wives living and one deceased. He had a total of 21 children in his lifetime. He was not Mormon, or in any way affiliated with organized religion. But the practice of plural family was apparently not unheard of in these parts.

Since the YFZ raid I have been educating myself more and more on the actual FACTS of this case rather than the drama that the media seems to be reporting as facts. Listening to people who know these families, reading their own words and their accounts of what happened the day their children were ripped away from them. (were tanks and machine guns really necessary?) And the ages of the few child brides they have found are being listed here there and everywhere.....

Now I understand that times have changed, now that we are more 'civilized'...(whatever) and as I have stated numerous times I am not condoning a forced marriage between a child and man old enough to be her grandpa. But my grandmother was wed at the age of 15, gave birth to 9 Children, Had 21+ Grandchildren and had about 15 great grandchildren and even got to hold a few great-great grandbabies. Her life was hard, their early years were spent as farm hands living in a shack, but she was a devout Baptist, God Fearin' woman and she was proud of her family. And what an honor to look back on this life you created!

My other grandmother, not of this Kentucky clan, but actually from an upper middle class family with roots in England, married weeks after she turned 16. She graduated high school as a Mrs. This was not shot gun wedding, babies didn't come along for a few more years, and she was certainly not the only "Mrs." to wear a cap and gown at Graduation. This family lived a more normal white bread type of existence, no whiskey still, or even a whiskey jug would ever be found on their property, but they married young.

Back to my point. When I tell people the story of my Kentucky kin, they tend to listen, wide eyed because it seems so shocking that my great grandpa had 2 wives and 21 kids. And that my grandma married so young seems 'tragic'. No, there was nothing tragic about it, that was the marryin' age back then. Grandma would tell you that. She didn't think twice about. Hell look at Loretta Lynn, she married Dolittle Lynn when she was 14. They were Kentucky hill folk too...

The men were hard workin', hard drinkin', hard lovin' God fearin' men. The women were devoted to their families and made a good life for their kids on next to nothing. Life was hard and people from the hills weren't looked on too kindly by the towns folk. They were different...backward...ignorant...

Are we not doing the same thing to these people? Maybe I am just making too much out of this, but these people are living how they choose to live. Based on their faith. And my grandmother willingly married a man older than her at the age of 15 and gave him 9 children. Willingly.....And they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary before Grandpa passed away. Grandma is gone now too and I miss her terribly. The funny thing is she was a fiercely devout Baptist and I know exactly what she'd say about all this....we would definitely have a heated debate. Sometimes I can hear her in my ear when I am posting my liberal views online. "You mean you are gonna actually say that!! Jada...shame on you, that just ain't right!" LOL!

Ok my point, my simple little point to this extremely long blog. Personally I feel like 14 and 15 is a little too young. But if a 16 year old girl, whose whole life is centered around her faith and her destiny to enter into a plural marriage, receives an offer of marriage, believed to be divined by God, what business is it of ours if she wants to do it. I know times are different....but for these people times are not different. They are suspended in time, a time more like my Grandma's era where you earned your supper by the sweat of your brow and bowed your head and thanked God every night for giving you the strength to do it. This whole 'Raid' issue is looking more and more like a hoax called into CPS to validate a religious witch hunt.

That's just my opinion on the matter...I don't expect the closed minded area I live in to agree with me, but I'll tell anyone who will listen, we have done a serious mis-justice to these people. They have been proven guilty before innocent, have had no chance to defend themselves against the mounting misinformation, and the public seems to be lapping it up like the latest celebrity scandal. Why do we like to watch people suffer for being different.......

FLDS Babies have a right to breastmilk!

This is an issue very close to my heart and I am passing this along to anyone who might be able to help. I wish there was some way I could help! If I lived closer I would love to get involved with this, but from here I suppose financial support is the only help I can lend.

Right to Breastmilk
I am saddened to say that many Texan breastfeeding mothers may be separated from their nursing infants immediately, if not already. (see, "FLDS consider options to keep their children"). While we may not agree or understand the circumstances, I think we need to fight for the right of the children to have the best care and nutrition, which includes breast milk. I am seeking collaboration from breastfeeding advocates, nursing mothers, the media, and anyone whom is able to help support this initiative or provide breastfeeding and breast pumping supplies that these mothers and babies may need. Please help us advocate and educate those involved in the FLDS case, that breast milk has no substitute and is the right of the children.
I have just created this site to help the support efforts, so bear with me as I gather content. Email with ideas, articles, links, and suggestions.Please spread the word and forward this site.Thank you• NICOLE D. HOFF, BACLC, CD(CBI), CCE DIP CBE(CBI)
•BA Maternal & Child Health StudiesSpecializing in LactationUIU'08 AlumniCertified Lactation CounselorBreast Pump Rentals & SalesCertified Doula Birth PartnerCertified Childbirth

And The Cows Came Home....

While daffodils, tulips and my precious hyacinth signal the start of Spring, the true confirmation is when the cows come home! Today they arrived by the trailer loads. They spend the winter on the main farm, cozy and snug in smaller pens and barns where they are fed hay that has been stored up all year. (with the exception of last year when the drought was so bad, there was no hay to mow...we actually bought hay that had been bailed in Texas!!) Anyhoo today they arrived, wild and rambunctious, and seemingly a bit pissed off by the 1 mile ride to our place. There was a lot of kicking and bawling (no I am not talking about my kids I promise!) and the bull was bucking up a storm. However once they were let out of the main pen into the pasture they seemed quite happy indeed. There is one adorable little calf I am going to try to get a picture of when they calm down. I named her Nelly, and she is all black except for a white half circle on her forehead and a half circle under her chin....I thought she was the cutest thing until I noticed her, uh, well let's just say the name has been changed to Willy.

My kids are very excited to have the cows back. I guess I am too. They place seems a little empty without them. I enjoy having them around until they wean the calves. They leave the Mama's here and the babies just go across the road. That makes for a few noisy nights around here....but it's all part of the circle of life. I remember my days of nursing babies...I cried a little when they gave me up too....

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Fruits of My Labor....

I've managed to dig myself out of the garden for the night and hose off....I thought I would share some of my handy work. There is much more to see, and much much more to do, but I hated to take a pic of every little thing I have planted while it's still little, I will show pics of the 'full effect' later this summer.

Here are few pics of the fruits of my labor last fall!!!

The tulips and hyacinth are one of my favorite sights in Spring! Orange tulips are a particular favorite for me, I don't really know why, they just seem to pop and add such a bright splash to the garden! Like biting into a tangy tomato (oooh I can't wait for that! They are growing in my kitchen windows right now! I want the FIRST tomato of the year! LOL!)

Below is the work currently going on around the 'poop tank' as my almost 4 year old refers to it! It doesn't look like much now, but this summer it will be thick with salvia, ornamental grass, foxglove, liriope, my purple leaf sand cherry shrub and whole bunch of other things I have no idea how to pronounce! LOL!

Hopefully in about 4 months I can post before and after pictures and you will see a beautiful display of color and foliage here! And as the years go by my tulips will multiply and make a wonderful spring show each year!

Here are the two shrubs that my mini-van drove me to the greenhouse and forced me to buy! I swear I must have blacked out, I apparently even thought ahead to keep the kids occupied and got them milkshakes at Dairy Queen...or so they tell me.... there were empty cups in the car when I got home so they must be telling truth.

A beautiful bleeding heart and then a plant I had never heard of before but it was called a Metallica something....any plant with the word Metallica in it has to rock right?!! Arf Arf!! Get it!! Lord I crack myself up!!
And the pic below would be the reason I was supposed to stop buying plants a LONG time ago!!! Here are my babies! Grown from seed, roughly 50 petunias, some lobelia, vinca, a few begonia seeds that survived after all (note to self: begonia's are a bitch!) , coleus plants, and more!!! I have five hanging baskets already on display full of sweet pea, nasturtium and lobelia, all started from seed. I did add some store bough pansies. I couldn't wait for some color it there!! I am terribly impatient!!

I know I am getting carried away with these pictures, but I just love my little happy spots! Here is one of my favorites. This old chair, jug and crock were in my own Grandma's garden. She can no longer labor over a garden so I acquired them! I have a Dahlia plant starting in the crock and my sedum is just filling out beautifully. Normally there is a pot full of flowers inside the seat of the chair to, but we have a small problem. We haven't put gutters on the new house yet. So when it rains that pot just fills up and over with water. I have been using it to save on water instead and dump it out on it's neighbors!

There is a shipment of 'junk' on it's way to me from eBay that will complete my garden. I am so excited! Just getting it all done will be work. I have plans to create a container garden out of two old washtubs to go with the old hand pump that used to sit on this homeplace, but I need a hacksaw (and preferably a MAN) to size it down for me.

Our 40 acres has been in our family for 40 years or more. It was used for pasture ground for the family cattle until my husband and I got married. An old house, The Lambert Place, it was always called, sat here that was probably 150 years old and we burned it down to put our first home (a trailer) up. I saved the hand pump in the kitchen to someday be able to create this little vision of my garden. I didn't bother much with landscaping and things until we built the new house. I think I was waiting to put all of that effort into our permanent dwelling. Now that it is here it is so exciting and makes me feel very accomplished to actually be doing it! We have lived up on this hill 10 years now and the old timer's are finally calling it the Stark Place instead of the Lambert Place....(we always used to be referred to as 'the kids who live on the Lambert place') I suppose they have seen us paying our dues, turning the ground, making it our own. It's time to pass the title on to it's rightful owners. :0)
I love bein' a country gal! And oh what the hell, here's a few more pics too...if you don't want to sit and look at flowers all night go check out some of my friend's blogs over to the right!

A sunset, all in one little tulip!

Aren't these great! I got this $25 Purple leaf sand cherry tree at Wal-Mart last fall for $1!!! It was the last thing they had left around November and I scooped them up! Five of them I think! If I could have fit more in my mini-van I would have. I considered leaving the kids behind for a split second but thenI gathered my senses and realized if left my kids, who would hold the water hose while I planted them! ;0)

This side of the house (the east side) will continue to be a work in progress for a while. There is still a lot of backfilling to be done, but some of it may have to wait until this summer. We revolve around farming season and that takes priority over everything else until a crop is in the ground, or harvest is finished. But this little old rocking chair had been tossed up in the hay loft of my Papa's barn and dragged it down and stained up a bit. The rusty fluted feed bowl is going to host some Hen and Chicks very soon...I am expecting them from e-bay as well. (yes gardening is not my only addicition~give me a break I could be smoking crack in the bathroom, walking around thin as a rail with a bee hive hairdo that hasn't seen a comb in 2 months...oh wait, that's not me, that's Amy Winehouse...wwheew! Yeah, it could definately be worse!;0)

~~Happy Spring~~

Hi, My Name is Jada and I am a Gardenaholic....

This is the part where you say "Hi Jada....."

Today is just absolutely gorgeous in Southern Illinois!! The kind of day you dream about all winter long. And the only reason I am even sitting at the computer is because one of the boys is still napping...wiped out from our big day in town! I am waiting for him to wake up so I can go out side and plant the new shrubs and flowers I bought....yes MORE of them! None of these include the plants I started from seeds that are still just babies and are not ready to leave the nest. (On a cute note, since I call them my baby plants, my 3 year old always has to give them a hug and a kiss....that's what you do with babies you know!)

So I ended up having no daycare kids until the school bus arrives today, and since I lost a screw out of my glasses (yes they found official proof that I have a screw loose) I had to run to town to get them fixed. I promised the boys a day at the park. We had such a goooooooood time! It's one of those days that makes you so glad to be alive and living in a free country where I can take my kids to a safe place to play and eat junk food and throw rocks in the river and run through wild flowers and just BE. I think we Americans take for granted how many billions of people in the world have never experienced even one second of that feeling, and never will.

So off to town we go and head to the park. The local park sits upon a hill that runs along side the Embarrass River. This is properly pronounced (Em-Braw)...but my husband affectionately calls it the Bare-Ass River just as any good redneck should when faced with such a silly name for a river! LOL! Anyhoo you can take a gravel road down from the park to a canoe launch area. This area is one of my favorite places in the whole world! If you can shut out the sounds of the nearby highway it is nearly perfect in every way. The river slowly meanders by, flanked by thousands of different trees and there is a grassy clearing that stretches for probably 1/4 mile that is just wide open and flat, full of wild flowers, flowering trees and various tree loving critters. If you sit quietly you can watch squirrels gathering goodies or birds nesting. If you run wildly through the grass and flowers you can scatter bees, birds, and butterflies. We did a little of both today. It was heavenly!!!

After we left there, I stopped in the local hardware store....just to see....perhaps they had cheap plants. Well they weren't impressively cheap....but they were impressively pretty! Thankfully I had some cash in my pocket from money I had made with my stitchery business. (I feel like this is my money and don't feel as guilty spending it on frivolous things. A girl needs an extra $30 here or there to spend willy nilly) So I spent about $20 there. And then it happened....I remembered there is a fabulous greenhouse in this town....absolutely fabulous...and it was as if I had lost my f'n mind! I swear I know what it feels like to be a gambling addict or something. My mini-van just drove itself right to that green house, my sandals just walked right up to two beautiful shrubs...and my hands just forked over my debit card (after they picked up just one more cute little planter....) and I plopped down another $30!!!! My husband will be so un-thrilled......

That's why I gotta hurry up and plant them before he gets home!! See Ya!!!

The Mortal Sin of Peculiar

So after tomorrow we should know who is going to get the Democratic Nomination....or not! Lord I am so tired of this. I am normally fiercely vocal about presidential elections but this slug fest between Cliton and O'bama has worn me out! I don't even give a crap anymore. Which is a horrible feeling to have during what very well could be the most historic election in the history of the United States. But at this point I fear John McCain is going to sweep up the shattered mess of the Democratic Party these two have created and toss it in the can!

Then there's the YFZ Ranch thing, that just bothers me more and more. I am a staunch believer in civil rights, religious freedom, and the basic live and let live philosophy! A modern day hippie I suppose. And you know, for as strange as this whole community seems to us normal people, they can't all be bad....And they ALL had their children ripped away from them. I got to thinking last night, I live in a very tight knit rural Catholic community. My closest neighbor is a half mile up the road, but for the span of about a 20 mile radius, there are hundreds of families in my church parish. For 100's of years this community has been a little bit closed off, mostly because of religious persecution several generations ago. Our community used to be very self sufficient, with it's own school, grocery store, post office, grain mill and tavern. People didn't stray from their community much, because we are surrounded by communities of staunch Baptist families and various other Protestant flavors (for lack of a better term) that loathe the Catholic faith. They fear it, they don't understand it, they feel it is evil, even to this day. My mother, was horrified when I converted to Catholicism and absolutely insisted that when I had children I would teach them the truth. The ironic fact about all this, is that we all believe the same truth...Christ is the Son of God who died for our Salvation. Is there really any reason to quarrel over the traditions and minor details? Isn't our one common belief the most important one?

Anyhoo I was thinking as I laid in bed last night, about my little community. My church family. The individual people in the individual households and all the dirty little secrets we all have. There are wife beaters, child molesters, alcoholics, adulterers, drug addicts, thieves and swindlers....just as in any community. And our particular religion has been under a massive spotlight from the Priest Sex Scandal....however I assure you that in any community, any religion, any church and any neighborhood, these same grievous sins are found. But that does not make our entire community guilty. That does not make every Catholic Priest a monster. The community should not suffer for the sins of a few.

So my point. If I know for a fact that one of my neighbors used to be on a sex offender list....I know for a fact that people I share a church pew with on occasion, have stolen thousands of dollars from their families, business partners, friends and even our church. I know that some of the people I sit next to have had an affair with someone sitting in the pew in front of us. I know that some of the men I sit with have raised their fists to their wives. I suspect these same men have probably done the same to their children or at the least their children live in fear of threatened violence........

Are these people bad people, or people who have done bad things? Yes.

Does my attending church with them, tending to the same Parish, supporting the same community and being neighborly make me guilty of their crimes. NO.

What if the government decided to march into our little community here, a family oriented community, that has been known to shun outsiders, simply from generations of living in fear for being judged for our lifestyle. (this practice has been significantly watered down through the generations...but the old timers still look twice at an unfamiliar vehicle driving by..) What if the government took the sins of a few and punished us all??

Do we know for a fact that ALL the families on this compound believed that child brides were acceptable? Do we know for a fact that ALL the husbands on this compound were abusive controlling monsters who kept their families in line with fear of violence? Do we know that?? They can't all be horrible. And as mother it just eats on me more and more that every child was stolen from their mother's arms for what could amount to the sins of a few. And the sin of being different.

I don't know, I am just starting to feel very strongly that this is a horrible mistake. Sorry my blog has not been very humorous lately. But there's not much funny about this whole situation and it what has been on my mind.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fried Chicken for the Pope.....

Well after I cleaned up the earthquake damage (ie, did the dishes, folded laundry... you know the usual) My mind got back to the whole polygamy custody trial going on down in Texas. You know, at the end of all this, nobody is going to win. To me it's a similar situation to what is happening in Iraq. Serious misjutices, if not violent crimes are being commited to a community of people, by their leaders. So we try to help the victims. But the victims don't know any other way to live. So when we try to teach them (force them) to live like "us" (whoever we are) we further victimize whole mantra on the Iraqi war has been that it took hundreds of years to develop a Democracy in the United States. Just because we've gotten pretty good at it doesn't mean we can just stomp our combat boots into someone else's land and demand they live the same matter how noble the cause. Good intentions often have horrible endings......and it often takes generations upon generations to filter out these strong rooted beliefs about how one should live. Especially when they are of a religious nature.

Think about it, if you are a spiritual person, or a religious person, or anyting other than agnostic, you try to live a life according to terms that would be pleasing to the higher power you believe in right? That's what these people are doing. I am not saying that it is right...especially the "Joy Book" and marrying of girls right out of puberty. But if we were to find that every single mother and wife on the compound was of legal age to marry and birth children....would this really end? Hell no it wouldn't end because now we (meaning society, media etc) have scarred these children for life. They are indoctrinated to believe one thing...yanked out of their homes, away from their families, all of them assuming this is religious persecution. Already to taught to mistrust all of the outside world....and now I am certain they don't trust a damn one of us! So whether they go back to their compound and continue to live as they have lived before....or whether they get put into foster care and groomed to be 'normal' citizens (this term kind of grates on my nerves...who are we to judge what is normal?) they will never feel comfortable in thier own skin. Their identity has been stripped from them! I fear this generation may someday make us the same way Waco sympathizers made us pay. Remember Oklahoma City? These children will forever be us, at their parents, at their religion, at God...who knows but their anger will manifest itself somehow, someday. I would almost put a dollar on that. If my blog still exists in 20 years we shall see...

And I blame their parents, I blame the generations before them, I blame the MOTHERS! And yet I pity the mothers, they are raised to be subservient to the will of men. So they raise their children in the manner in which they are expected. And in reality all women are subservient to some extent. Especially if we are wives and mothers. Let's not pretend we aren't. We carry more of the household burdens (ie earthquake know, dishes, laundry...the usual), parenting burdens, scheduling burdens etc....the only difference is I have the right to stand up and tell my husband to stick the dirty dishes up his arse and do them himself! LOL! And I'll be damned if some 50 year old man would be marrying my teenage daughter (if I had one)!! God had better just bring his holy butt right down here to Southern Illinois and tell me to my face that he thinks that is supposed to happen....cause I ain't believin' it any other way!!! No Warren Jeffs or whoever is in charge now, will decide the fate of my children will be raised to choose their own destiny!

It's funny to me how religious groups need a 'divine' leader. Even us Catholics. And I am convert to the faith...I was raised by a holy roller bible thumpin' mama and had the bible shoved down my throat for years. I left the church as soon as I was 18 and never looked back until I contemplated having a family....then my heart led me. But as a Catholic, there are PLENTY of things I don't fall in line with. My philosophy is there are "God's Laws" and "Church Laws" They are all noble and worth following. However, me personally, I'm only worrying about God's Laws. My salvation is between he and I. And the Pope is an inspiring man of the faith. But I don't believe he is any more divine than my husband is and if he showed up at my door I'd invite him in for some Fried Chicken and Mashed Taters....*Shock, Horror* *she wouldn't really do that would she?*

Damn straight I would, oh that reminds me I got to get to work on my lesson plans for VBS and the workers list for the church picnic! I am busy little non-conformin' Catholic! LOL! If I'm lyin' I'm dyin'! I love my church. I just don't believe every little detail....but I love it just the same!

Jerry Lee Lewis - Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On (1957)

This song seems to be the theme of the day!!! We have had several aftershocks, most of which were not felt, but one hit at 10:30 a.m. that was 4.6. It was kind of exciting at first, but if they keep getting stronger again, I might get nervous!!! They have reduced the first one from 5.4 to 5.2, so it is no longer the 'strongest' quake in Illinois history, that would be reserved for the 'Quake of '68'. We just came back from Great Grandpa's and listened to them recall their memories of that one. Grandma said she was waiting in her car while the kids were inside the church getting 'instructions' which I would assume back then that this was a more rigorous version of PSR classes today. (Visions of Nun with smacking rulers are running through my head....)

Anyhoo, this is the biggest thing to happen around here in a long time! Not since an entire family was murdered by a teenager back in 1997 have we made the news! I'd much rather make the news for something like this, that is for sure!! But it'd sure be nice if the Whole Lotta Shakin' would just shake right on outta here!!!

I simply can't resist....

Ok I can't figure out how to delete this....but this was supposed to be the title for the above post!

The Aftermath......

Well there are books on the floor, pictures hanging crooked on the wall, toys strewn about, and laundry that fell on the floor....all results of the earthquake. Oh wait, the house looked like the yesterday too if I recall....but I fully intend to let the earthquake take credit for ALL of it! Even the dirty dishes!!!

Wow we are all over the news!! And you heard it here first!!! Straight from a real life 'survivor' of the biggest earthquake in Illinois history. That is if you were up at 4:45 a.m. reading my blog! LMAO!!

This will be the talk of the 'town' in these here parts for a good 6 months. All the old timers will have all sorts of old wives tales to apply...from the crop prediction to the animal population to the size of the racks on the fall Bucks that all the men will be chasing in October. It will all go back to this one single day and how it's effects have rippled through nature. We might just have to go up to the store and sit on the Liar's Bench and hear it all this morning! My kids would enjoy that! I am sure I would get an earful!

If the House is a Rockin' Don't Bother Knockin.....

Well I am up at 4:45 a.m. bright eyed and busy tailed and I haven't even had a single drop of caffiene yet! We just had a freakin' EARTHQUAKE! Not unheard of in Illinois, but very rare!! Holy Cow! Of course there is nothing on the net about it yet, and local news stations are reporting that they are trying to report...they are getting tons of calls and we know that it was at least felt as far away as Terre Haute IN, because that is our news station.

Of course there has always been talk and fear of the BIG ONE! We are very near the New Madrid fault...said to be one of the deadliest and someday it's gonna wipe us all out if cancer, nuclear bombs, global warming, SARS, Bird Flu, and food poisoning doesn't get us first! When I was a child, some dip shit predicted that the New Madrid was gonna blow in 1990 or something like that. They had us doing earthquake drills every week for a month!! Talk about childhood trauma! LOL! Actually we were all super excited I think...teenagers don't fear much ya know! We are all bummed when the day came and nothing happened. If I remember right they were even contemplating keeping us out of school on the 'big day'

Ok while I have been blabbering to you, whoever you may be, they have reports that this was a 5.4 quake, centered in West Salem IL. HOLY COW! That's big for around here! And it's only 30 miles from here. In fact I went to kindergarten there and lived there for 4 years! I hope nobody was hurt. I have some friends there I will need to check on!

So...rural life isn't so predictable after all!!! I wonder if there will be any aftershocks?? I know my husband is worried about the foundation of our new house! YIKES! I don't even want to look. Funny....I worried about all the trees and flowers I planted, that really was my first thought. I think there is something seriously wrong with me!! Wouldn't you FIRST be concerned with the roof over your head and not the fabulous tulip magnoila tree you just planted by the pond? You'd think so right? But no....I worried about that little bitty twig sticking out of the ground that will someday be a glorious testament to my big fat green thumb!! Or a horrendous testament to it....who knows.

Anyhoo...I think it's finally time for coffee. The adrenaline has worn off and the Ambien is creeping back up! I feel like Superman near kyrptonite!

P.S. Father-in-law came through like a champ! Thanks for the prayers. He should be home today.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Where'd She Go?????

Well I have been happily buried in my flower garden all week! Aaaahhh there is nothing sweeter than spring planting!!! And since I am determined to have buds and blossoms all over the place around our new house, I have been very busy!! First I am hardening all the plants that I started from seed, and praying that they survive the process! LOL! And I have also been planting things I have picked up here and there. I promised myself I was not going to spend a fortune on plants this spring....and so far I haven't...but I'm pushing it!!! I bought some shrubs, gerbera daisy, salvia, forced tulips and several ground cover plants yesterday. I have this vision in my mind of how I want things to look, and I have tried to stick with the old fashioned plants that I can remember from my grandma's garden. Snow on the mountain, Baby's Breath, Creeping Phlox etc...none of these new fancy varieties. I want this to look like an old fashioned country garden. I have been tucking old broken antique chairs and do-dads here and there. I even found an old broken rocking chair in my Grandpa's barn that I set next the house with a flower pot in it. Perhaps once things start blooming I will post pics.
Today is also my baby boy's 2nd Birthday!!!! Yay!!! Although our celebrations of this day will be delayed due to a family illness. My father-in-law is having a stint put in the artery in his neck today. So if you are the praying sort, say a little prayer for him. If all goes well we plan to celebrate baby boy's B-day with cake and ice cream on Sunday, however Mommy is going to make him a cake today too!!! One can never have enough cake!! That is my motto!!

I have been meaning to post a picture of the wedding cake that I nearly had to duke it out with! It turned out lovely!!

This pic is small, but hopefully you get the idea. If I ever get around to uploading the pics from my own camera I will have a bigger one to post...but for now I will be buried in my flower garden! See you when it rains!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Cocky Cake Fight!!! ~ Fat Girl Wins in the Final Round!

Have you ever seen a grown woman and a 50 pound cake throw down before? Well you missed it! I just got into a hell of a fight with that damn thing! The last layer left, and the largest, but the first two were a breeze, so I was sure this was gonna be a piece of cake! (Arf Arf I crack myself up!)

So on goes the buttercream layer....ARRRRRGGGGHHH the damn stuff kept tearing up the cake. I nearly lost one entire corner!!! In the process I am trying to keep the kids out of the kitchen cause I know things are about to get ugly!!! That big fat bitch was testing me to the max! (Strong words for a cake, I know, but you didn't see the way she was lookin' at me!) I finally get a super runny batch of icing slopped on and figure the cornstarch under the fondant will *hopefully* make up for the moisture and the whole thing won't melt everywhere. Then comes the marshmallow fondant...the fifth batch I have made in two days and the only one that will not set up!!! I knead and knead, toss in more powdered sugar, keep slappin' on the Crisco and I just have this sticky blob!! Finally I get it right, roll it out and start to 'jelly roll' it back up to put on the cake.....and every baker's's sticking to the counter!!!!! With very very careful baby steps and a lot of cornstarch I finally roll it up. But when I go to unroll it on the cake, it shreds!!! HUGE holes all over it!! This thing looks like it just survived a missle blast!! So I try to take as much of it back off as I can and re-roll it. I managed to get it looking somewhat tolerable...but hopefully no one looks too close on the back side!! Thankfully flowers can hide a multitude of confectionary sins! And I have a beautiful spring boquet I am picking up tomorrow that is gonna turn that ugly fat bottom girl into a beautiful blossoming booty!!

Ha! And the Fat Girl Takes the Cake!! Ding Ding Ding Ding

Simple Joys and Silly Boys

So today is the big day, I am working on my cousin's wedding cake. It is nearly complete, only the bottom layer to finish (and the hardest). I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when hubby and I were able to apply the top layer (16" square) of that bottom cake without breaking it!! This is a very very tricky process and I am sure none of you care...but he and I felt very accomplished and I danced me a little yee haw jig around the kitchen!!! It's very easy to cover up when it breaks, which happens quite often and usually the guests will never notice, but for the cake creator it is a tiny failure.

So anyhooooo I have been blaring Sirius Hair Nation all morning while turning my kitchen in to a confection coated mess! The old 80's hair bands seem to be my music of choice when I have a serious task to undertake....I suppose it reminds me of my youth. I can remember when Guns N' Roses came out with, Appetite for Destruction. It literally changed my life. I suppose they were to my generation what Led Zeppelin might have been to our parents generation. (Not that there is really any artistic comparison, but you get the gist). That was our rock n' roll, and even today it feels pure and raw and energetic. I can accomplish a million things at once with It's So Easy blaring through the kitchen....I remember it being such a taboo song when it came out because it actually had the "F" word in it! LOL! Ok give me a break I was in 6th grade!! But that was the song you only played when you parents weren't home.

However I was brought back to present day responsibilities rather quickly when my boys caught me dancing and sing along and acting out the lyrics....

"I see you standin' there
You think you're so cool
Why don't you just
Fuck off!!"

OOOOOOPS!!! Thankfully they were busy dancing themselves and I am fairly confident they didn't pay much attention...I hope. Oh how the tables turn!!!!! Now I am the mother, shielding her children from the evil Rock N' Roll!! LOL!!!

Anyway, music is such a simple joy for me. 80's hair bands make me feel young and energized, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen make me feel inspired and intoxicated, Blue Grass is a comforting cacophony of sound....I could go on and on!!!

So today I enjoying a few of my favorite things. Baking, decorating, Hair Bands, and my boys running around squealing in their underwear because Mommy has pretty much let them get away with murder in order to get the cake done!! They ate marshmallows for breakfast....need I say more?

*Happy Sigh*

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Higher Purpose?

Ok so I was going to post about my garden, my new obession and all the quirky pieces of broken antique furniture I keep adding the landscape...but in the grand scheme of the thought that has been running through my head it just seems very trivial.
So instead I shall spill out, or spell out, as it may be, a thought that is haunting me terribly lately. What am I doing to create change?
I watched this documentary HBO special last night about the millions of women in the Congo of Africa who have been raped and mutilated amidst a bloody civil war. A war perpetrated by wealthy white men in order to distract from the fact that they are raping the land of oil, gold, silver, diamonds and coltan a metal used specifically for the production of cell phones and laptops, found almost exclusively in this area of the world.

And the victims of this war are not men, yes there are casualties, but the real victims are women, of all ages, from 2yrs to 94yrs. Being brutally gang raped, and mutilated with guns, knives, sticks and other foreign objects. Mutilated to the point that their bladders, uteruses and colons are destroyed. And since sexual violence is very taboo in this country, women are abandoned by their husbands and families after their attack. They are shunned from their communities and are left to survive in the brush until they can make it to one of the various ’rape centers’ in the Congo. Often times travelling for months to arrive. There are doctors who are trying to their best to repair these women physically, but there is little that can be done to repair them mentally. As I watched this I wanted to do something so bad. I felt called to help. And if I had no husband or children you can bet this very minute I would not be blogging on MySpace, I would be finding a place that I could volunteer my services and trying to find transportation to the war zone.

I feel like there is a higher purpose for me. I truly do. But my duty right now is to raise my children, I know this. Perhaps my higher purpose is to raise children who will be the peacekeepers and the volunteers. Perhaps once they are grown I will be able to join them in the global fight for civil rights. I just felt so helpless and useless watching that last night. And I get so disgusted when I hear some ignorant American say "we need to worry about our own..." why must we choose who we worry about? Why can’t their be a global effort to help ALL mankind.
I have the answer. Because we don’t want to sacrifice convenience. Our cell phones, our laptops, our gawdy diamond engagement rings, our gold tennis bracelets and our gas guzzling SUV’s. And yes I own an SUV....the irony of how many people must suffer, with their lives for the sake of our modern conveniences. It’s makes me feel like a monster. I want to leave a mark in this world that provided some kind of change for the better. If I could take even just one of these girls under my wing and into my home and show them the true value of being a woman, a giver of life...but the looks in their eyes were so lost and distant. These women will never be the same. And they will never be accepted in their own culture.

If you are interested here is an L.A. Times report on the show I watched last night.,1,7028798.story

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Digamy, Bigamy, Polygamy and various other igamies

So the buzz on the news is all about the Warren Jeff's FLDS sect being raided and all the women and children being isolated from the men. For the record this blog is not intended to criticize the judgement of law enforcement actions in this particular matter. Warren Jeffs is a dangerous pedophile who has sheltered and led some of his followers into a disgusting life...secluded from the outside world, leaving women without options or opinions.

However, the thing you don't hear on the news is about the regular everyday average people who happily practice polygamy and live a relatively normal life. And they are out there! Now it's certainly not a lifestyle for everyone, but there are some people who are very happy living this life. Sharing household burdens and, child rearing responsibilities and the everyday human struggle with a family unit that is larger than the average household.

The beef that most normal people seem to have about this boils down to monogamy. Sex. It's always about the sex. wouldn't care if two people of the same sex lived together, were the best of friends, shared a life together...but if they are having sex...oh my! Polygamy in my opinion faces similar criticism from mainstream society. And it always boils down to sex. If we could peer into the bedrooms of every married person in the world...we might be mighty surprised the not-so-normal practices we find. All of us have an inner freak (if we are having any fun at all...) And why is it any of our business???

Now I realize the right wing conservatives are going to throw the bible in my face about the homosexuality, and I have no energy to fight that battle with you, I believe what I believe....but polygamy has been practiced since the dawn of time. And it many 'uncivilized' societies it is still a very regular practice. And it is vital to the survival of the community.

Perhaps if people took the time to look at a plural marriage and see that, in general, (these FLDS extremist sects aside) these are monogamous relationships. Monogamous to them anyway. They are people, married to each other and a man sleeping with his own wife, last time I checked, was considered monogamy. And how many married women suffer adultery in silence for the sake of holding the family unit together? Yes women cheat too...I don't mean that they don't. But so often you hear about men having had a long term relationship with a woman other than their wives for many many years, sometimes lifetimes. Perhaps it is possible to love more than one person....??? I don't particularly want to find out...but you can't rule it out of the realm of possibility, humans are complex creatures.

Also if one would take a good long look in the Bible, they would see dozens of Holy Men who practiced polygamy. In fact destiny led King David to lust after and commit adultery with Bathsheba before she became another of his wives, and together their union bore the wisest man said to ever walk the Earth King Solomon. It's so easy for people to only practice and believe what they want to believe from the Bible.

Now back to modern day polygamists. As a stay at home wife, caring for her husband and two children, plus trying to juggle a few part-time jobs to make ends meet in order for me to be the stay at home wife, and aspiring to someday have time to write a best selling novel....I can see some logic in having an extra adult family member!! Just even having the option to say "Hey could you watch the kids for a few hours while I write..." would be a dream! And I guess I have discussed this before, more in jest, but that doesn't sound half bad. And as far as sex goes....who in the hell has time for sex when you are raising kids!! LOL! Hopefully that will get better....but with me in one bed with a toddler and Daddy in another bed with a toddler...well let's just say if I had an extra 'wife' around here there probably wouldn't be much to be jealous about!!!

My husband says the whole concept is 'weird'. And to us, of course it is, we were not raised this way. But I am sure there are plenty of people in this country who think that our lifestyle is a bit weird revolves around farming, which comes with a mixed bag of complexities. We rarely see each other during farming season, and it is a sacrifice we make year after year. We still grow big gardens and put up food for the winter...yes I could go to the grocery store and buy it, but there is something very satisfying and grounding about preserving food for your family (it tastes better too..) I am sure people in New York City must think that is an enormous waste of time and energy. But we were raised this way. I don't think twice about stepping in cow shit, I don't balk at the thought of butchering meat, and I could care less if you pull in my drive and catch me in my nightgown and gum boots throwing slop in the garden. It's just how we live.

So live and let live.....that's all I am saying.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Priestly Blogger...Halleluiah!

My hubby happened to be walking by while I was blogging the other day...a concept he just cannot understand...why would I write about my life online for people I don't even know. Anyhoo He happened to catch the title of my blog...the definition of "Pastoral" being completely lost on my redneck husband he says,

"What are you some kind of Priestly Blogger?" I think he took a little offense when I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. I gave him this definition from Encarta

pas·tor·al adj 1. rural: relating to the countryside or to rural life pastoral living 2. arts idealizing rural life: presenting an idealized image of rural life and nature pastoral poetry

However, I had to eat a little crow when this was the third option:
3. of clergy: relating to religious ministers or priests or their duties

Which, if you think of it in the first two terms, a priest or pastor does Shepard a flock, much like I Shepard and tend to my family....

I contemplated changing the name of my blog for a while....but my intention for this blog was to discuss my rural life, and to especially present my poetry, which is often pastoral in content.... I am still uncertain as to how often the name of my blog is misinterpreted by others, much like my husband did.

I Guess I Are a Redneck Afterall....

I just did something disgusting. In the interest of preserving some sacred quiet 'Mommy' time....I just filled my coffee up in a dirty coffee mug! See I only have two mugs that I use, mostly because they are equivalent to about 3 cups of coffee...(so if you ever hear me say I had two cups of coffee this morning, I really had 6!) These mugs can always be found either at my desk; dirty, or in the dishwasher. Well apparently I didn't wash them this weekend and this morning they were both sitting here dirty. The house is so is so peaceful....I fear that my typing alone is going to rouse everyone from their slumber.....

When I heard the coffee pot stop dripping and my mouth started to water for that first good taste (and my body started to ache for that first good rush) I had a dilemma. Running the water in the kitchen long enough to get hot water would most certainly wake my toddler, who is asleep in my bed and the lightest sleeper on the planet! I mean seriously, the process of sneaking out of bed without waking him takes about five minutes and requires an enormous amount of creativity, trying to situate pillows to feel like "mommy" all snuggled up with him...

So I thought screw it....what's a little dirty coffee ring in the bottom of my cup and a little creamer 'scum' on the rim gonna hurt! I filled 'er up and drank 'er down! I chuckled thinking of my Dad as I was doing this. He is the ultimate hillbilly....and he will insist that you never ever wash a tea pitcher or a coffee wash away all the good flavor! (good flavor that has accumulated for years mind you!~flavor and God knows what else!) If you looked in his tea pitcher in his fridge I guarantee you would see the muddiest looking color of stained plastic you have ever seen. And if he catches you trying to wash it, he will quickly tell you to 'git!' and grab it from you. The most you are allowed to do is rinse it!

I guess these hillbilly habits run in my veins as well because I am about to go get my second cup (or 6th, however you want to look at it) of dirty coffee!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Seven Sundays on the Liar's Bench

Well the old wives tale in this neck of the woods is that if it rains on Easter Sunday, it will rain for seven Sundays after...I had never heard that phrase until I made the transition from 'town' girl to country girl, but every year somehow it has proven to be true....This year it snowed on Easter Sunday. The big debate on the local Liar's Bench is how or if this will change this usually predictable prediction. Some of the old timers swear that the snow will keep the rain away, while others say it will bring the rain......perhaps I should explain the Liar's Bench.

There is a little country store/grain mill (in fact it is the only thing in our 'town') here that all the farmers mingle at everyday after breakfast and chores to 'loaf'. They share the local gossip, usually exaggerated extensively by the end of the session because John's wife heard that it was actually three million dollars that was stolen during the bank robbery of 1982 over in the next town, not 1 million, which was what Jim's wife had originally heard...and of course the bigger story sounds better, despite the fact that the sum of money was really only about $20,000. Often the local gossip is about the health of the elders in the community, or the state of marriages in the community, or the financial dealings (or presumed financial dealings) of locals. There was recently a land auction that had tongues wagging over the scandal of a wealthy farmer bidding a seemingly outrageous amount of money for farmable acreage. Land that had been share cropped for many years by another local farmer, who could not afford to bid the kind of price the wealthy farmer bid....these stories and more are swapped on something called the Liar's Bench. The store still has on old dirty wooden plank floor, and sitting along one wall is a very long old church pew, dingy and dirty from years of dusty farmers sitting and 'chewing the fat' each morning, this is the famous Liar's Bench. There is a soda machine beside it for refreshment, and candy to be purchased for children and grandchildren who might be along for the 'loafing' session. It is a special treat for all the local children to ride up to the store with Grandpa or Daddy and get a 'pop' and some candy.

This tiny little shop seems to be suspended in time. Something right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Any time I stop in, for the occasional piece of hardware, garden supply or in search of Grandpa, I am immediately taken back to the 1950's. The men are still in dirty overalls, there are smells of hogs, cow manure, grain, dust, chewing tobacco and aftershave lingering in the air. And the atmosphere is always welcoming. Someone will always inquire about your family, the health of your elderly family members and speak to your children as if they were their own, offering to buy them candy and asking them if they are ready for farming season to start.

If you were to call your neighbor, mid-morning chances are you will reach the wife, who like me is at home with children or at home tending to grandchildren....if you are looking for her husband she is likely to chuckle, because you should know where her husband the Mill. Unless of course it's farming season. Then the Liar's Bench is empty...lonely and cold waiting for bodies to fill it up once again after planting season or after the harvest. Although the occasional old timer may stop in and sit a spell...reminiscing about the days he was behind the tractor. Perhaps with a tear in his eye, feeling useless as he watches the next generation drive by on their way to the field.

Today the sun is shining, and it's still any body's guess as to weather there will be any rain today....only 5 more Sunday's to go. It rained last Sunday.....

UPDATE: It didn't rain!

Friday, April 4, 2008


This was inspired by a dear friend....a confession that flooded me with so many memories and thoughts of the first time. It's not my best work, more like something I would have written 15 years ago...but it's sincere and I felt like sharing.

Virginity Vanquished
The first time
The first touch
Crossing the line
Feeling so much

Fear of the unknown
Excited and scared


The first time

Someone new
Looking in the mirror
Who are you?
But it’s still you.
A new you?
A damaged you?
A better you?

Guilt and Shame

A taste
The flavor
Lust divine
The first sip of wine

Sweet again
The second taste
A different place
A heartbeat
A breath
The first time once again….
© J. Stark