Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Dentist

Took both the kids to the dentist today which, for me, is really quite a treat. They call them back, and I get to sit in the waiting room by myself for twenty minutes. I will take peace and quiet away from my children anytime, anywhere, in any form possible. Even if it is at the dentist. But one HUGE beef with our dentist office. At the end of the appointment, when the teeth are clean and flossed in between, they give them this little bag with the tooth brush and let them pick out a certain number of toys from a basket. I use the term toys quite loosely, as these toys more closely resemble things that fall from pre-filled pinatas or things you would find at the dollar store marked "20 for $1". You catch my drift. Utter and complete crap. That's all this stuff is. Useless crap with 500 pieces and all made in China. Now, I have nothing against the Chinese personally. But I don't know if anyone has watched the news in, say, oh, the past year or so, but wasn't it the Chinese who painted all our children's toys with lead paint? Would an educated dentist who knows first hand that most kids put stupid crap in their mouth feel the need to pass out bags to kids that have been filled with crap manufactured in China? Why, yes, I guess they do.

I just wish that instead of passing out meaningless useless crap to my kids, who have way too much crap at home anyway, they would take that dollar they would save and donate tooth brushes to the homeless. Or apply it to some one's bill that can't afford the dental work they had to have done on their kid. Because all I do with the bag of crap is throw it in the trash. Seriously, it is all already in the trash with the exception of the new tooth brush and the stickers. I just feel like society has become so wasteful and indulgent. Why do kids have to get little trinkets and toys everywhere they go these days? I don't remember getting crap when I went to the dentist. We got a new toothbrush, and that was awesome. If we were cavity free, we got to enter our name into a drawing to win something - a watch or a radio. But no toys. No crap. Just went to the dentist and got my teeth cleaned and a fresh tooth brush to boot.

Okay. I feel better. Little soap box hopping today. Had to get it out of my system.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Really just eighty-nine

Okay. How's this for anti-climatic? I was wrong about my grandmother's age. She only turned eighty-nine. It is my grandfather who will turn ninety next month. When my mom straightened me out on the details, I was really glad I didn't buy the card that had the big 90 on the front of it. I am really losing it. Whatever. All the same - she's still really old and really wonderful. And I am the one losing my mind and screwing things up.

We had a wonderful visit yesterday. One of my cousins, whom I rarely see, was there with his wife and three kids. His daughter is almost five, and I have never seen her, so that gives some perspective as to how often we get to visit. He also has two boys, ages ten and almost seven, and it was so neat to see David and the boys playing in the same back yard that me and my cousin played in. They just bonded immediately.Of course, two seven year old boys pretty much always bond immediately. At one point, they were communicating simply by making bomb noises. I mean, what's not to like about that?!? They threw the football in the back yard, and David said they taught him a few things. When it was time for them to leave and head back to Texas (they had been in Pensacola visiting my uncle for the past week), David asked if they could come to our house. Or, we could go to Texas. How do you explain the distance to a seven year old, especially when the longest distance they have traveled is to the beach? Anyway... a good time was had by all. Especially my grandmother. That was really all she wanted for her eighty-ninth birthday.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Tomorrow, my grandmother turns ninety years old. Ninety years of life. Amazing. Truly amazing. I wonder if she, at my age, ever dreamed she would live that long. I wonder what she thought her life would be like. I wonder what her dreams were as a child. She grew up in such a different world. At the young age of six, she lost her mother to pneumonia. Her father remarried, and she and her sister were sent off to live with their grandmother and aunt. Quite a different world from today where I could not imagine many fathers choosing to send their children away after the death of a wife. My grandmother married my grandfather when she was only fourteen, and she will tell anyone who will listen that she didn't really like my grandfather all that much. She had a crush on his brother. But he asked her to marry him, and that's just what you did back then. If a man asked you to marry, you married. Whether you loved him or not. I know she claims to not have loved him at the time, but I have no doubt that she does now. They celebrated 76 years together (I think) their last anniversary. And though they are not the dreamy, soul-mate kind of couple you see in the movies, as they bicker and squabble with each other incessantly, they take care of each other and enjoy the same things out of life.

As a child, I can remember staying at my grandmother's house quite a bit. When my father made the decision to become a preacher when I was five, my mother went back to work full time. And I was not an adaptive child. I did not like daycare; it sent my spirit into a frenzy. My grandmother had a job as a seamstress at a local boutique, and promptly moved her sewing to her home instead of working from the store. What memories I have of the women coming in to my grandmother's house with their fancy new clothes to have them altered. I would hold the pin cushion for my grandmother as she pinned a hem or marked a place to be taken in. And the women would gossip and laugh. I remember the scent of the new clothes. I can see the wooden apparatus she used to pin a straight line for the hem. The wooden box they would stand on.

My grandmother could make anything. She made a lot of my clothes. All my dresses, of that I am sure. Beautiful dresses. When I became old enough, we would go to Hancock's, my grandmother, my mother, and me, and I would look through the books and pick out what I liked. She would take me to the file drawers full of patterns and I would find what I had selected from the book. Sometimes, I would cut patterns for her. I can see her pulling out that crisp yellow pattern and unfolding and straightening every bit. The fabric. The pins. The thread. What an amazing woman. When I was around ten, I think, she helped me make my doll a dress out of left over fabric from a dress she made for me. I still have it tucked away in a box with my old dolls. And I can still repair a hem and sew a button.

I remember her thread box. Every color in the world wrapped around a spool. And when I was there, I would clean it out for her, reorganizing and throwing away empty spools. And to this day, one of two things will happen when you visit my grandmother's house. You will either step on a pin, or you will leave with a thread on your clothes. Perhaps both.

My grandmother has lived through a lot of pain. Bearing four children. Losing one to a tragic car accident over nearly thirty years ago. Losing all her brothers and sister to death. Watching her husband battle heart disease and strokes. Battling her own lung disease. But all with grace and dignity. Because that is just her - grace an dignity.

I can see her now, sitting in her chair, painting her nails. Her nails were always painted. And she had Juicy Fruit gum in her purse at all times. It was like a limitless supply. And cook - dear me, she loved to cook. When I was very young, we would have lunch sometimes on Sunday after church. Fried chicken, vegetables, corn bread. She made the best vegetable soup. And cornbread dressing. And homemade barbecue sauce. Pound cake. And, of course, sweet tea. Now the sweet tea is sweetened with Equal. And those lunches are few and far between. Age has set in. Ninety years of age.

My grandmother. There is so much more I could say, but it wouldn't make anyone understand any more what a pivotal part of my life she has been. She made my mom who she is today. And my mom, in return, was able to be the wonderful mother to me that she has been. And then like wise, me to my children. And we cannot forget that my little baby girl was named for my grandmother. My middle name is Lynn, and my mother's middle name was Lynn. I wanted to find a way to incorporate it into my daughter's name. My grandmother's name is Mattie Olivia. So what better way than to merge the names together: Madalyn Olivia. And I only hope that my daughter realizes what an honor it is to be named after such a strong, loving and graceful woman.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sick Summer

This has been an unusually sick summer around here. Not just my family, but everyone I know has been really sick with weird random illnesses. There has been some funky fever virus going around, which both the kids had two weeks ago. Two days after David's fever broke, he vomited for six hours straight and then was fine. Madalyn now has something else that has given her fever every afternoon of around 99 to 100 degrees. She has also had this green gunk (for lack of a better term) around her eyes every morning. I finally broke down and carried her to the doctor today and she has a double ear infection. Crazy. And I have something - I don't know what it is, but my tonsils literally itch and I just feel generally crappy.

What is the deal? Shouldn't the kids be sick like this when they are in school and around huge groups of children. Not when it is summer and they are only around an isolated few. Just strange. I haven't really had much to write about lately. We finished up with baseball, and now we are on to the next sport - our first season of football. I'm sure I will have lots to post about that. Football is the one sport I swore I would never let him play. But don't you always end up eating those words? Might as well let him try it at this age when they don't weigh as much and they are less likely to be hurt. Pray for David. He is so scrawny - only 47 pounds. He is average height and weight for his age, but yesterday at their first little practice, he looked so small. We'll see how it goes. I have an open mind and feel certain that if he wants to, he can do most anything.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lost in Translation

Scott and I finally broke down and bought a new camcorder. The one we had literally looks like a dinosaur next to the new one, and we had not recorded a single minute of our children's' lives in years because it would only record for a few minutes. We sprung for the new hybrid technology that Sony has to offer; not only will it record in high def, but it will also record in standard imaging and comes with a software package that will enable you to convert the high def images to a standard DVD.


I am in technological hell trying to figure out how to get my freaking footage onto a DVD as my kind husband has promised the entire baseball team a copy of our games in Florida. I have the video on my computer, which took quite some time and two spontaneous computer shut downs. Now I am doing my darnedest to get it onto a DVD that I could share with someone else. I have accomplished absolutely nothing today. Someone help me please.