Hot sauce with jalapeños and Cayenne peppers from the garden is in the fridge for two weeks then we can use it. Try making it yourself. It’s easy.
Yogurt with granola is underrated.
There are so many last names in the world.
Stuff is getting expensive!
If I could meet the person who invented the undo button, I would buy her a Coke.
There are good people in the world, but we focus too much on the bad.
Pizza or tacos? You can only choose one forever.
My dad used to talk to me about a rocket that had unlimited gas and time. It can go go go forever. He would say, “Does it end? If it does, what’s on the other side?” There’s an other side to everything. Whoa.
If you think about it, who amongst us doesn’t experience a little sadness on days like Fathers Day? Whether we’re missing someone who’s passed, mixed up in an estranged relationship, or maybe some of us have never had a father.
The boys and I moved to a bigger house in 2009, but I couldn’t imagine selling the home that Roger and I bought together, the one where we raised our little family for seven years. It was the last place I saw him, and Max and Baylee’s first house.
As Steve Rogers says, “I can do this all day.” I love love love writing property descriptions, especially ones as charming as this. This is one of the five I’ve written in the past twenty-four. Thanks, God.
Fleecy flannel feeties,
Warm, lightweight, cheap,
Primary red, blue, yellow.
washed in Dreft and Downy.
Hanging by the wooden pins,
by the white plastic toes,
swaying in the North Carolina wind.
Zip up zip down,
Lesson learned once.
You, too tall but not too wide,
so I cut the feet off for you,
then they fit again.
Big brother then small,
Same ones shared at different times,
until one day.
No more feetie pajamas
swaying in the wind,
or tumbling in the washer,
or sticking out of the top drawer,
or in the cart at the non-existent Kmart.
One day, gone.
No warning or thought.
in the dump on Ramsey Road in Jacksonville,
or the white trash bag for the Good Will,
or the box in the attic that the rats got to.
RIP feetie pajamas.
These zucchini balls can be eaten with your favorite homemade or jarred sauce and served with crispy, buttery garlic bread, and a spring green salad. That is, of course, if you can wait. They have the same texture as a meatball, but are filled with healthy, flavorful ingredients, like whole-milk mozzarella and fresh herbs. Enjoy!
Working full-time after staying home for so many decades changes my ways and forces me to condense my time. I do use the minutes more wisely now, and I also have a harder time wasting them. I stay up later and really appreciate all my seconds.
Sometimes I was jealous of Roger, well envious maybe. He’s traveled the world and has been to places like Turkey, England, Italy, Malta, and I could go on. He had friends in the Marine Corps, experienced adventures like sky-diving and visits to Las Vegas, and was able to nap. A lot.
I sat up in bed and looked at Roger who was standing in the hallway outside our bedroom on Shamrock Drive. The only light was shining a dim yellow from a small fixture above and behind his head, so I could only see his shape, and not his face. He was about to pull down the stairs to the attic because we just heard a mouse trap snap.
There are some shows and movies I watch simply because the kids do, and they recommend it. I begin because I like talking about stories, and since they’re not big readers (cry), I appreciate the next-best thing.
We discuss and debate the storyline, intention, character development, theories, etc. We don’t simply look at the surface of what’s on the screen, but all of the intricacies. After a couple years, they convinced me last summer to watch Stranger Things.
I’m not particularly fond of gore, and science fiction is a new interest of mine. I thought it would be a show about a bunch of kids, kind of Gooniesesque, with young, shallow love storylines or monsters who jump out and say “boo.” I didn’t realize the amount of layers and conversation starters the series would have.
Well, it does, and yesterday we watched the first few episodes of Season Four, the newest release from the franchise. It was awesome!
What’s new to me, besides my interest in science fiction, is my ability to withstand the gory scenes. Maybe it’s the way the team presents it or maybe it’s me being desensitized, but I am able to move past it and look deeper into the story.
I am babbling, I know, but I don’t want to spoil any of it for anyone, so I suppose I should end it here and continue later when people have had enough time to watch.
Try it! If you lived during the 80’s, that alone will be enough to have you gape-mouthed watching the TV for the different styles and brands, oh the brands. You’ll see old soda cans, different store brands like Benetton, and sneakers that I imagine were hard to find or had to be custom-made.
I just love it, all of it. Broaden your scope and break away from the same old. Trust me.
“I’m sorry, ma’am. I have to do it this way,” he said with a kind, firm tone. He was responding to my babble, my unanswerable questions, my erratic spin.
There was another man in uniform next to him, Sgt. Perez. I knew him, yet it didn’t register. There was also a police officer who I went to high school with. The night was dark and quiet. All of this was going on while the boys were asleep inside.
American tradition with its glory and Colors dictated how I would find out. My husband, Roger, of thirteen years had been killed in Iraq. He was driving a Humvee and ran over an Improvised Explosive Device. He was killed instantly, and I know it was fast because they said, “He didn’t know it even happened” like a billion fucking times. My first reaction was to reason with this young man and ask for proof. I thoroughly believed I could argue it away, mechanical and irrational.
I didn’t cry or fall like they do in the movies. There was no yelling because I didn’t want the kids to find out. I stood there in my parents’ front yard on a warm summer night in Southampton, Massachusetts. I’m sure the crickets were making noise, and maybe the bats were circling above, wanting to nuzzle their faces into my tangled hair. I felt like I needed to put on a bra and brush my teeth.
The boys and I had only been in the state for a few short hours. I stood there without my legs, with nobody to hold me. It felt like everything inside me was unattached and floating around. It was all gone. I was floating on very hot nothing, melted hell, and all I could concentrate on was the young private’s face.
“I’m sorry you had to do this,” I said to the poor kid. He just stood there after telling me the words. He looked perplexed, not knowing what to say next, pale. When I recall that night, I still feel for that boy, and the job he had to do, his vital composure.
The stranger and I stared at each other for some time, then for some nonsensical reason, I looked in the window of my parents’ house. There stood Sammy, ten-years old, pillow hair and full lips like his daddy, looking at me through the glass door, wondering who I was talking to in the middle of the night.
A book I read, with a bright orange, non-glossy cover and deckled edges, Where the Crawdads Sing, is about a girl/woman who raised herself in the marshes of the South amongst the tidal swells and swinging, gray air grass. She had no friends for most of her life and her family was not around for the most part. The novel has lingered in my mind, popping up randomly for years, for no reason. I imagine it would be lonely out there amongst nature only, rough nature, but I also imagine there is peace as well. And if you've never known company, would you know, recognize, and understand loneliness? She has nobody to answer to, no bills to pay, no comments to respond to on Facebook, and she will suffer no great loss. She also is not privy to the heartache we all read about on a daily basis, the happenings in the world that are potential for harm and sadness. I became lost in that novel by Delia Owens, and still fantasize about what life like that would be. It takes me back to camping, which I desperately want to do, and nature in general, the woods, ocean. The peace that God has offered to us all. It's what I appreciate the most, what grounds me. It's what offers me stillness and hope. It's fuel and vitamins and life. Real life with death that is cyclical and necessary, not to be feared or mourned, but to be comprehended and respected. There's no make-up or processed diamonds or five-hundred dollar handbags made out of nature. It's authentic.
Memorial Day weekend has always been one for us to reflect and remember. The more years that pass, the more privately we want to do that. Our time is spent together and not on our screens, so I did not write anything new.
Today I share a post that Tyler wrote over two years ago to his three younger brothers:
Black bears, lost count. Dense fur, giant square, thick-padded paws on hinges. She sees my face. Her sweet browns, relaxed brows. She saunters away, silent, fur moving in waves, like thick, black gravy. In the Wolcott Woods.
Turkeys for days and then for none. Moms, dads, babies, friends. Polygamy. Intelligent; (except for the time that tom was fighting his reflection in the truck chrome) They fly to the tops of the trees and stay together, walking through the woods and fields like friendly Skeksis, modern velociraptors. In the Wolcott Woods.
Possums, one in the coop. Screaming smiling foxes. A knocked-kneed, young moose! Hundreds of deer who, with their skittish babies, raid my apple trees. Rabbits with nests of holes. Bushy coyotes during the day, call for each other at night, or when a firetruck whirs by. In the Wolcott Woods.
Gurgling ravens float in the sky, chased by four spiteful crows. Red-tailed hawks perch, on the top of the chicken run, smiling down. Owls, barred, barn, and great-horned, ask for them and dive for mice. In the Wolcott Woods.
Bobcats in arm's reach, slight smile, While they lick lick lick, from atop the spilled willow tree. Wetlands with the cat tails, and juicy ticks, a sentry for me from him, or him from me. In the Wolcott Woods.
They don't believe: I looked up at the road and saw a bobcat crossing over I said, "hey!" and it turned to take a peek then I saw, tail dragging, touching the road. Crossing through to find a mate, local myth. In the Wolcott Woods
Shut-down world, need some air. Freshly brittled leaves and babbling brook. Prints in the white crystals, or viscous watery dirt. Slick mountain boulders covered in crystal-tipped moss. Walking with my girl, my girls. In the Wolcott woods.
The whirring of the green and yellow lawnmower becomes loud, then fades, and repeats over and over again while Baylee attempts to created the best lines, the ones that will look better than Max’s, or so he hopes. Curving so gracefully and in cadence with the shape of the front yard. Long slim letter S after long slim letter S.
Nana was in the big-enough, poorly-lit kitchen, wiping down the counter with a brand new yellow sponge minutes after she parked her car after a three-hour drive. We all loaded up our skinny arms with supplies for the week and brought them from the car to the house, flip-flops flipping and flopping along the way.
I wiped the tin lids, put round, brown paper stickers on the jam I made last week, and wrote the words “Strawberry, May, 2022” on them. I also put some eggs, blue, tan, brown, and white, in the brown six-pack egg cartons, wrapped them in twine so they stay closed, and placed a sticker on each one that says, “Fresh eggs from happy chickens.” (I’m an 80’s kid. Stickers are everything.)
Missed Connections is a type of ad that is taken out by a person to find a stranger from a chance meeting they had. It is still being used in this modern day even though social media would most likely be more feasible. I think it’s sweet.
With a possible recession in our near future, it’s hard not to think of a dollar. We have been told to not spend too freely, save if we can, and watch out for the creepy scammers. I understand the domino-effect of recession, but not inflation. I do not know why it exists, but that it truly does, and here’s why:
I’ve talked about Kim quite a bit in my posts, my friend I’ve know since we were kindergarten-age, the one I used to sneak out of the house with. (I told you that, right?) Her sweet niece, Alyssa, is about to have a baby boy, and she asked me recently to send along any advice about having sons her way. Here are a few things I thought I should mention:
Let him pick out his own clothes as much as possible. It’ll amuse you and grant him a sense of confidence and self.
Injuries will happen. Just keep your composure until you pass him over to the nurse or doctor. (Once I had to unscrew a screw from the bottom of Max’s foot.)
Try not to fear how much you love him.
Share music, all types, not that baby stuff, but real music from every genre, and if it has bad words, teach him not to say them. If you censor, it’ll fascinate him.
Trust him. Always trust him. (Or at least pretend to.)
Don’t wait to tell him bad news. He will be more secure if he doesn’t think something’s coming.
Don’t allow others to compare the progress of your son as a baby, in school, in sports, or ever, to their son. Nobody is the same.
Whomever your boy decides to love, be nice to them. Some of my favorite people in the world are ones my boys chose. They know what they’re doing.
Teach him how to swim.
Teach him how to cook, clean, use a drill, and read a paper map.
Show him Sesame Street!
Don’t be afraid to get dirty, sticky, poopy, pukey. Also, don’t feel compelled to always keep him clean.
No matter how many times you put your hand up as a guard, you will get peed on, so keep your mouth closed when you change his diaper.
It all goes by so fast.
Encourage him to play an instrument, juggle, do card tricks, do crafts.
Let him wear pink or flowers or anything else that is socially normal for girls.
Frame his art.
Teach him how to build a fire.
Let him wait on you if he likes. You deserve it and he’ll love to help.
Weirdness is simply fine.
The more I list, the more I realize any of these would work for a girl or a boy. I wonder if that’s my advice to you, just treat him like a human, and although you may not agree with some of it, or you choose to do things differently, just love him as you will and let him be whom he is.
Oh how your life will change, and the three of you will figure it all out, especially with your auntie only a phone call away. You are going to be such a good mom. My love to you all.
“So I can be home in case you choke.” I was getting ready to leave for work, and he would be alone all day.
I suppose that seems funny or over-the-top for some, but it’s our way of life. It’s not a chosen way of life, and maybe not even situational, but it’s tangible and constant.
When I say situational, I mean some would think we are worriers because of what happened to us, but it’s also genetic. I come from a long line of worriers, so our situation, so-to-speak, simply and complicatedly magnified and continues to magnify our worry.
If a dog limps, we go to the worst case scenario, and Heaven forbid they cough. That’s another story. We continuously suffer the consequences of our genes and happenings by living a life full of what-ifs. We have to put significant effort into enjoying life, celebrating, but we can and we do.
We party and swim and go to the beach. (Although I do stare at my man-children in case they need me to save them from drowning.) We have to put a little more effort into living and having fun, but we do.
Usually when a child turns into an adult, the parent stops telling them things like “Don’t cut yourself” or “chew slower” but I never hit that wall. I never stopped. I don’t think I will actually. Maybe I’m that mom who does get into the pilot’s seat and helicopters over their heads. If that’s what it takes to keep them safe, then so be it.
Just call me, Chopper Mom. (Very superheroesque. I need a cape.)
In about a month I will be at the halfway point of this writing excursion I began, the one to honor Roger. 543 days of writing, reposting, sharing, revising, and typing a simple message is still going, maybe not as strong, but still.
My light colored denim overalls barely fit around my enormous, swollen belly, and my feet already felt tight, Old Navy flip-flop straps digging into my swollen flesh, pinky toes happily standing at attention.