Monday, September 27, 2010

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese I love.

The cottage-cheese texture of my thighs?

Not so much.

So, in an effort to decrease the cottage cheesiness of my body, I am increasing my cottage cheese intake (as well as decreasing other intakes)

Other goals and pretensions now that I'm living with Mom again. . .


To sew
To quilt
To craft
To create
To write
To garden
To cook
To can
To churn
To bake
To learn
To run


To suck the marrow out of life and chew on its fatness
(metaphorically speaking, of course-- see cottage-cheese note above)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. . .

Lately, been feeling that way.

So, I’ve decided to self-medicate and have turned to

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Yep.

Mine. 

ALL MINE.

Okay, not really. 

Maybe Mom and I were taste-testing wine to figure out what to have at Meg’s reception.  That sounds better, doesn’t it?  DSCN0263

So, right now I’ve got a great deal of wine in the fridge with about two sips taken out of each bottle.  Actually, I ran out of milk so I’ve been putting white zin on my Cocoa Puffs.  That box is just about empty.

Kidding.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Missing Daddy

Yesterday was the two month anniversary of my father’s death. 

Two months.  I HATE that.  I hate that he’s not here.  I hate that I’ll never get to see him get older.  I hate that his life is over.   I hate that my time with him in this life is over.   If God had asked for my input, I would have said, “How about no deaths in my family? Period.  How about You just return?”  

I am so glad that he is with God.  I am so glad that we will have eternity together.  I am so glad that I serve a God who really does promise Happily Ever After for those who are in Him—not necessarily now in this world—but that we do say, “Death, where is thy sting?”.  I just HATE, HATE, HATE that my dad is gone from this world, from my life right now.   

I cried a little bit when I was on the phone with my mom yesterday.  We weren’t talking about Daddy-- we were talking about what kind of wines to have at Meg’s wedding.  Mom made some remark like, “I don’t know wine that well.  I mean, I know Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape is a great wine, but I don’t really anything more than that.”  Which made me remember that we bought a bottle of Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape for my Dad last year.  I remember that I was the one who picked it up from the store per Mom’s request—I can’t remember the exact occasion—birthday? Father’s Day? Just because?  Daddy was so excited when we gave him the wine.  He  was sitting in his chair and did this quiet,  kiddish, “Oh, Boy!” and then started making plans about a really special family dinner where we could open the bottle—lobster, steak. . .  As soon as Mom mentioned the wine, that memory was so vivid, so there, I started weeping.  I asked if he had ever opened the bottle, and she said that she didn’t think he had.      

There are so many things I miss, but one funny thing I’ve noticed that I’ve missed is sharing gastronomic delights with him.  If I tried a new dish, I couldn’t wait to share it with him.  If I went on vacation, I stored up so many memories about the food to share with him later.  I can’t tell you how many times Dad took me out for supper—for grades, to celebrate good news, or just because.  Or, if he wasn’t here, he would send me gift cards and tell me to take one of my friends out for supper.  The other evening, I was at a wine-tasting, and someone had made this concoction of walnuts and goat cheese drizzled with honey liqueur.  I was so sad that I couldn’t share it with him, that I couldn’t surprise him at home with the ingredients, whip it up, open a nice bottle of wine, and then spend some time talking and munching.    

I miss him so much.  He was so much fun to share news with--  he would get so excited for and with you.  If I made a great score on a test, he was usually the first I’d call.   You know how much of a let down it is to have FANTASTIC news and then everyone you share it with responds with a simple, understated, “Neat,” and you feel so let down?  That never happened with Dad.  I am so sad there is so much news I’ll never be able to share with my Dad in this life. . .    “Dad, I’m going back to school to get my masters.”  “Dad, I’ve met this boy!”  “Dad, I’m getting married!”  “Dad, I’m pregnant!”    

So, because I was in Fayetteville yesterday, I stopped by his grave.  His gravestone is up and gives his name, date of birth in death, that he was active in Vietnam and received a Bronze Star.  I didn’t share any news—I don’t want to get in the habit of thinking that his grave is where he is—I just said I missed him. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Proof that I don’t have my act together

As if you really needed proof for that.

“Umm, Virginia, we know you.  We don’t need any further proof.  All it took was watching you alternate through the same four outfits for the last six weeks because you hate shopping and were too lazy to unpack.”

Okay, OKAY.  Shut up already!

Well, for those of you who were in any doubt, here is the proof:

  • I am attempting to throw together a bridal shower for my little sister in five days and am actually expecting people to show up for it.  HA!  (I really, really hope people show up.  Please come if you love Meg.)
  • I have boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff that I haven’t unpacked.  I’ve hardly settled into my parent’s home.  I’m living out of suitcases and have been for the last two and a half months.
  • I haven’t read my Bible outside of church in at least four weeks.
  • I start school next week—teaching and taking classes—and I have NO IDEA what my schedule is, where my classes are, what my responsibilities are, what books I need, where I should park, how I should pay for it, what I should take with me. . . I am clueless.  It’s kind of like I don’t want to know what I don’t know because if I knew all that I didn’t know, I’d freak out.  Majorly.  Like people thought Meg was the anxious person in our family until they see what crazy I can pull out of the hat.  I’m talking kah-ray-zee.  Dropping-my-basket-and-then-stomping-on-it-kinda nuts. 
  • I’ve escaped into stalking people’s blogs.  The blogs are usually by women I call “friends from college”, but they aren’t.  I mean, I knew them in college, but I doubt if they remember me.  I stumbled onto their blogs while visiting their myspace/facebook pages.  It’s like they live in some kind of alternate reality--they are married and have kids and post stuff on their blogs like their “to-do” lists that read something like
    • Monogram towels for Sally’s pool party
    • Paint kitchen chairs black
    • Wrap lampshades in twine
    • Finish memorizing Ephesians for women’s Bible study.
    • Art project with kids—finish mural on fence.
    • Deep clean house (the first time this week just wasn’t enough!)
    • Run 13.5 miles—that marathon will be here before I know it!
    • Finish canning all the vegetables from 1/2 acre garden.
    • Order home school curriculum for next year.
    • Family fun night tonight! So that means homemade pizza!

and then they do it!  The next day their blog reads something like

Yeah.  So glad I was able to get everything on yesterday’s list.  I even had time to snuggle the kids on the couch while my sexy husband read aloud to us from the Bible and then the next chapter in Pilgrim’s Progress.   

How do they do it?  They are just made differently from me.

  • The basic fact that I am sitting here blogging, BLOGGING while I have mentioned all the above ways I don’t not have it together—that I am doing THIS instead of working on THOSE.  Seriously.  Sometimes I wonder if my purpose here on earth is to make other people feel better about themselves—not because I’m some kind of fabulous encourager (which I am)—or because I make people laugh (which I do)—but because compared to me, everyone is doing fine, just fine.  

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Unpacking is my kryptonite

Did I say that packing is my kryptonite?

Well, if packing is kryptonite, then unpacking is super-duper, weapons-grade, spasm-inducing kryptonite.

Especially in this heat. (Hello, heat and humidity.  Can’t say I missed you while I was in Michigan languishing by the Lake.)

Especially surrounded by spiders. (Yes, brown recluses took over while we were gone.  They just love hot, dark, empty houses.  There’s been lots of spider lovin’ so there are big ones and little ones and OHH  I WISH THEY WOULD ALL JUST DIE!! DIE!! DIE!!)

So, when I unpack a box, it’s now with the thrill of facing death in the face. 

(okay, maybe not death. . . how about severe discomfort?)

And I can’t find my camera. 

And school and job start next week

And I just wish I could get my crudola together here before I have to show up there.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Daddy

My Daddy died today, sometime after midnight on Saturday, June 19th.
I remember walking to church together on Sunday mornings in Alexandria, VA. Church was just down the road; it was a good day if I could make it there without falling and getting holes in my tights.
I remember Daddy warning us to be careful becuase they had just put pesticide in the air ducts/vents and had the vents removed. I forgot and stepped into one, cutting my legs. I remember being so scared, afraid I was going to die from poison. I remember Daddy rushing me to the shower and holding me as he rinsed me off, comforting me, so distressed that I was hurting. He was so distressed when anything caused us pain.
I remember how he would call us "sports fans".
I remember how we would cover up in the snuggleupagus Saturday mornings with Daddy and all us girls, pretending we were a monster crawling down the hall, surprising Mom in the kitchen.
I remember Daddy always had a special chair, in every house we lived in. It was Daddy's chair. He came in the room and we knew to vacate it. Sometimes, he would say, "Do you mind if I have my chair?" if we were in it. It wasn't a snotty question. He just said it in a sweet way.
I remember Daddy holding me up to the window at the nursery when Meg was born, telling me which baby was my sister, and I remember being so frustrated because I didn't see what he was talking about.
I remember Daddy so handsome in his uniform. It was a special treat to eat lunch with him at work. I remember we couldn't walk back to his office with him so we would go as far as security and then watch him the rest of the way.
Oh, please Lord, never let me forget his laugh. Please let there be a tape of it somewhere.
Oh, please Lord, please don't let me forget him.
I remember trips in the car, us closing our eyes while he flipped the car upside down. I remember him stocking the car with barf bags for me from all his plane trips and asking for some warning if I thought I was going to throw-up. (To say I had a problem with motion sickness would be an understatement.)
I remember Dad jumping at every sound in the car-- us lowering a window, opening a "hidey hole", Dad would jump and snap, "What was that?!" We got to where we would give plenty of warning before doing anything. "Daddy, I'm going to put down the window, okay?"
Oh, Lord, please help me. This is going to be so rough. Please help me get through the coming weeks as the mourning and grief drag out. How am I going to get through it? I am afraid it will hurt so much.
I'll never have another Daddy hug again. He would sit in his chair and I would lean over, kneeling, and it was just the best, most secure embrace. He would just hold me. If I needed to cry, he would let me. He was the perfect Daddy for girls because he was never afraid of us expressing emotion. He was an emotional man. My last great Daddy hug was the day I moved back in a few weeks ago. I was so tired, so scared, so not knowing where I was heading with my life. He just held me.
I remember walking around Radnor Lake with my dad.
I remember the way Dad would breath through his front teeth when he was upset.
I remember being at the ball game when Dad broke his back, I remember watching him lie there on the ground, wondering why he was just lying there.
I remember lying next to Dad on his hospital bed at home with him making me read a book with him. They were Mandie books-- he would read two pages, I would read one.
I remember he called me his heart, his Annie heart.
I'll never hear his voice again.
Please Lord, let me hear his voice again in heaven.
I'm so afraid if I don't write down everything right now that I remember that I will forget it.
Please, Lord, don't let me forget.
My Dad died.
My Dad died.
He died. He's dead.
Oh, it hurts.
I remember moving to Arkansas, and Dad hurting his back in Tennessee while he was finishing his contract and getting business wrapped up. When I heard the news, I thought, “No big deal. He’ll walk again. He always does.” He never walked again without the aid of forearm crutches. Our friends in Arkansas have never seen him amble about, unaided. He was such an avid outdoorsman, so very active. Hiking, canoeing, skiing, rapelling-- he did it all and loved it.
I remember how hard he worked to help people at Pea Ridge Schools with their computers. He found a niche. He could always find a niche, a place where he could do the most good for the most people.
Please, Lord, help me to remember even more over the coming days.
Please.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A day in Eureka

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Eureka Springs lies just about 30 miles from home, nestled in the Ozarks. It flourished as a spa getaway back in the day and has a lovely Victorian feel. When people come to visit me, I always take them there for a day trip. I usually follow the following itinerary which takes advantage of all the stuff to and from Eureka. I’ve shown the approximate times for each activity to prove I really can fit it all in! We will usually leave right after breakfast if we want to do it all. Late spring, early summer is best—lots of daylight and the heat and humidity aren’t enough to kill you yet. Fall is gorgeous as well. Okay, we’re walking, we’re walking. . .

  1. Stop for Sonic drinks on the way out of town. (5-10 min)
  2. Drive through the Pea Ridge Military Park. Hopefully spot a few deer. "Ooo" and "Ahh" over the scenery. (30-40 min)
  3. Stop at Martin Greer’s Candies for a free sample. (10 min)
  4. Eureka! Make sure to hit Vintage Cargo on the way in—my favorite store in Eureka, run by two of the nicest men in the world. Seriously. (20-30 min)
  5. Continue to historic downtown Eureka. Walk around and window shop. (2-3 hours)
  6. Drive the 62 Highway loop. Stop at the Crescent Hotel to walk the gardens and sit on the porch to admire the views. (30 min)
  7. Hmmm…let’s talk about FOOD! I hate for my guests to go hungry. (Who are we kidding, I also hate for myself to go hungry.) Some of my favorite restaurants in the world are in Eureka.
    • The Oasis—a hole-in-the-wall known for its organic “Ark-Mex” fare, this place makes me wake up craving it. It is so good, so so good. They have a regular menu, but I usually get a daily special—some combination of their incredible enchiladas. Past enchilada delights have included couscous and curried eggplant (out of this world) and feta, tomato, spinach, and olive (ummy, ummy, ummy—am I the only one drooling?) They are only open until two so if we are early enough for brunch or are ready for lunch, I’ll stop here. I LOVE THIS PLACE.
    • Ermilio's—best Italian in Arkansas. This is the only place in Arkansas that prepares gnocchi with gorgonzola reminiscent to what I gorged on in Rome. They open at five and don’t accept reservations. Since the restaurant is soo tiny and everyone loves Ermilio’s, you are guaranteed a wait unless you show up at 4:15 ish and wait in the bar area for them to open. Don’t worry though—the wait is half the fun. You always, always, always meet the most interesting people there and you can hear everyone’s conversations, so just join in on them. Talk to your fellow stomach-growlers. And know that when you finally do get a table, you will be hungry and will fully honor and appreciate the food.
    • Bavarian Inn—what can I say? I love a good German meal, and this place serves good, hearty German food. Sauerkraut soup, schnitzel, goulash, dumplings, potato pancakes—oh, my, goodness. And you can wash it all down with a good German beer—oh, oh, my goodness.
  8. Christ of the Ozarks—Drive to the Passion Play grounds to see the big Jesus statue and admire the views. (20-30 min)
  9. Beaver Dam—Stop here on the way back home so people can see the lake and the dam. If there’s time, walk a bit on a trail near the dam. Gives you a chance to work off your supper. (30 min-1 hour)
  10. Busstop—Ice cream in Garfield! If pants have been rebuttoned from the lunch/dinner extravaganza, stop and split a big ice cream. Totally undoes what you might have walked off at Beaver Lake. (20-30 min)
  11. Back home for the night--rest your tired puppies.

Without guests, my sister, Nell, and I will usually head to Eureka at least once every other month for food and fun! Here are some pictures from our last excursion to whet your Eureka appetite.

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