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Archive for January, 2009

Today, my heart is full, as are my eyes every time I see the sea of people that are gathered in D.C. to witness this historic event.  I am especially undone when they talk to African Americans who remember a time where a black man couldn’t sit down at the same lunch counter as whites, much less be the President of the United States. 

Yes, at those moments I just really lose it.

The color of a person’s skin has never really been an issue for me.  My dad was in the military when I was small and we lived in military housing, so, of course, I had friends of all colors.  When he was based in Japan, my best friend was a precious (I don’t REALLY remember him, but I have pictures) little boy named “Tiny.”  I guess because he was, come to think of it, Tiny.  He was also black.  Not that I cared.

To me, he was just my friend.

I was 6 when we landed in Glen Rose, so I don’t remember exactly what I was thinking, but I have to wonder if my little mind was wondering why there weren’t any kids who looked like Tiny there.  It would be years before a black family tried to live in Glen Rose; specifically, it was 1977, the year I was in 7th grade.  A nice black kid came to school one day and as far as I remember, it seemed to go well, but he didn’t come back the next day. 

When we moved to Cleburne, I was encouraged that my children would attend school in a much more racially diverse environment and have friends of all colors.  I tried very hard to raise them as color blind as I had been and I think I succeeded.  I know that I was even more fervent in my efforts in order to counter their dad’s rather different views about race.  I remember with glee one coversation we had when the girls were little bitty, one of those where you wax theoretical about how things will be when they are 16 and dating, and I said something along the lines of that I would rather they bring home a good black man than a bad white one.

Oh, the look I got.  It still makes me giggle.

So, I said all that to say this.  When I first became smitten with Barack Obama and his message, the fact that he was a man of color was of no consequence to me.  I did not look at him and see a black man.  I looked at him and saw a man who gave me hope, who inspired me, and who made me want to be better…do better…and it wasn’t just me…

It was the whole country. 

I am so proud of us today.  I am proud of us.

We picked the right man for the job and in a very few minutes, he will be sworn into office.

What a wonderful day.

God bless American and God Bless President Barack Obama.

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Mothers

We all have one, yet no two are alike and without them, well, we wouldn’t be here. 

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to know a lot of mothers.  My very own mother babysat for half the mothers in Glen Rose back in the day, so yeah…I’ve known some mothers.  Some of them were really very good mothers and some really sucked, to be honest.  The ones who sucked were the ones who would bring little Bubba over on a Friday evening so she and ol’ Daddy could go out to the Club for some dancin’ and drinkin’ and then not show back up until Sunday evening without so much as a phone call.  The ones who didn’t suck were the ones who also dropped little Sissy off on Friday evening and then not show up until Sunday evening…only it was because they were working nights at the plant and a second weekend job at Larry’s to get by. 

When I was young, I remember being a little bit embarassed by my mom.  She was older than the other mothers and wasn’t “cool” like Loretta’s mother.  She didn’t buy me beer or let my boyfriends sleep over so my friends and I would think she was “cool.”  She ran a tight ship and expected a lot out of me.  If I went to a sleepover and stayed up all night giggling, I knew that when I went home the next morning, I was still going to have to do chores.  She was little and whiteheaded and unassuming.  She didn’t wear makeup or get her hair done or wear fashionable clothes.  She smoked like a chimney and could cuss like a sailor and was completely devoted to me and me alone.  She had very little life outside me, really…yet, knew that I was going to grow up and have my own life, and I’m sure she wondered what in the world she would do with herself then.

I remember this one time, when I was probably about 13, when she bought this makeup at Bill’s Dollar Store…you know the kind of giftpack sort of makeup that comes in a plastic box with a red bow with 25 different colors if eyeshadow and a teeny little mascara and teeny little sponge applicators.  I, being 13 and a self-absorbed snot, assumed she’d bought it for me, and when she told me she’d bought it for herself, I laughed.

I laughed at her.

What a hateful little bitch I was.

 

Anyway, I only had my mother for 30 years and she’s been gone for 15 years now and guess what?

My eyes still burn with tears like it was yesterday when I type that I laughed at her for trying to be pretty.  I laughed at the woman who devoted her life to me for spending 3 dollars on herself to try to pretty up.  To this very day I don’t know how she kept from picking up the nearest ashtray and cracking me up side the head with it for being such an ungrateful, snotty  little bitch.

But she didn’t.  Why?

Because she loved me enough not to. 

Now, not to toot my own horn or anything, but to be truthful, I didn’t do a whole lot to disappoint my mother.  See, mother’s big deal was shame.  It was always very clear that whatever, WHATEVER THE HELL you do, for GODSAKE do NOT shame me.  So, on my short list of things not to do:

  • Do NOT get ‘PG.’  See, mother never said the word ‘pregnant,’ it was always ‘PG’ and said in a hushed tone, like if you said it quiet enough, it wouldn’t happen to your kid. 
  • Do NOT get arrested.  To be sure, had I EVER gotten arrested, she would have let my sorry ass sit in jail, make no mistake about it, and she was very sure to make sure that I KNEW IT.
  • Do NOT slack at work.
  • Do NOT slack at school. 
  • Do NOT blame others for your mistakes.

and last but not least, in fact probably first really was

  • Do NOT be a blanky blank whiner.  Yeah, she didn’t have a lot of patience for people who cried and carried on about how horrible they had it, what with the whole coming to America at 17 with nothing and working in a mess hall and marrying her first husband who liked to bat her around a bit and then the second one who was sort of a homosexual and then moving to Texas, again with nothing but a child in tow, and washing dishes in a cafe and then babysitting snotty kids for years til she was too old and too sick to do it anymore…yeah, she really didn’t want to hear your shit about how bad you had it.

So, what’s my point…did I have one?

Ah, yes.  I said all that to say this.  For those of you who still have your mothers, I wonder if you appreciate them enough?  I know that when my mother was alive, I didn’t.  I mean,  I just don’t think I ever was appreciative ENOUGH for all that she did her whole life for me. 

With mother there was always this absolute. 

I always knew that woman would die for me.

And so would (most of) yours.

So, yeah.  Love your mothers.  Tell them that you do.  Tell them thank you when they babysit.  Do something nice for them. 

Because when she dies and you don’t have a mother anymore, you are going to remember every good and kind thing that she ever did for you…you will remember that she was there for you every time you needed her  and expected nothing in return…

and you will remember every hateful thing you ever did or said to her just like it was yesterday.

I promise you will.

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AWOL

Absent Without Leave.

That’s what I have been.  The last time I sat down to write was January 2, almost 2 weeks ago.  Weird.

If I’m going to tell the truth here, and what’s the point if you don’t, I don’t know that I am ready yet. 

You know how when you are driving along and you miss the stop sign and you almost get smeared?

You weren’t.  You are fine. 

But in the back of your head you can’t really get past the what if.

It is becoming more and more apparent to me that the changes I have made have made of late are making a much bigger difference in my life than even I realized they would…in ways that make me speechless.

I find I am in that place where I think I want to write, yet so many of the things I would write about have to do with the changes, but I don’t want everything to be all about the not drinkingness…

but it’s still a pretty big part of where my brain is right now. 

And I’m worried that all my funny ha ha was just because of the beer…and I wonder if the snark will return…

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A Survey

Borrowed from Linda 

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

Became the mother of a full-fledged grownup Teacher, thereby allowing myself to say my work here is done 🙂

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t make any…I knew better.   I have, however, made a couple for next year:

1.  Walk.  Walk every day…and not just to the kitchen for food.

2.  Get rid of the clutter in this house.  I started this one already 🙂

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No, all of my friends have grown out of that sort of thing.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No.

5. What countries did you visit?
None, though a friend of mine packed up and done moved to France.  Does that count?

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
I didn’t lack much in 2008…though the last months were sort of iffy when it came to work…so I’m going to say steady work.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 4…without a doubt.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I paid off all my credit card bills.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I wasted a lot of time that could have been better spent with my kids.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Illness seems rather understated when referring to the GREAT RESPIRATORY INFECTION FROM HELL that drug on for a month and a half.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Easy one.  Belle, the best yellow Labrador, nay…the BEST DOG ever, aka the best Craig’s List purchase EVER.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Barack Obama.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The Republican party.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills.  Good news?  See #8.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Barack Obama.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
All Summer Long ~ Kid Rock

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier.
b) thinner or fatter? Probably fatter, but hoping to fix that.
c) richer or poorer? Richer.  In a lot of ways.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I’d spent more time with my kids.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Shed living.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Quietly, since the girls were all with the other parents.  Next year will be rowdy and loud, which is how I love it.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

Already in love.  I did realize in 2008 that it is more important to love than to be “in love.”

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Every television show that ABC has now cancelled:  Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone and Dirty Sexy Money.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I try really hard not to hate anyone, period.

24. What was the best book you read?

Reading is something I hope to do more of this year, so as I don’t look like an illiterate hayseed when I answer these surveys.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I didn’t really make any “discoveries” last year in terms of music.

26. What did you want and get?

The Teacher fulfilled the ‘I have lived on my own before I got married’ requirement’ on my list of things my girls have to do that I did not when she moved to her big girl place.

27. What did you want and not get?

Not a single thing.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Hmm.  On thinking back to the Summer of Family Movies, I’ve got to go with Wall-E.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I worked and turned 44.   I don’t really even remember anything remarkable about last year’s birthday.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Living life as I know it, only in a brand new house.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Lose the hoodies and buy grownup clothes.

32. What kept you sane?

This blog, my friends.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Anthony Bourdain. 

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

The terrifying combination of ignorance and aggression directed at Barack Obama.

35. Who did you miss?

The Longhorn.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

MS. KRISTIN WASHINGTON, who is an amazing person and a BFF forever!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

I can do anything I set my mind to.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
It’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

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