Like a good neighbor, stay over there. – Grumpy Cat
Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea. ―
“Make apple jelly,” she said. “It’ll be easy,” she said.
Only my Mom forgot one key component – me!
I love the apple tree in our yard. In the Spring, it blesses me with pink blossoms that remind me of sweet, marshmallow-y confections. Its perfume scenting the evening breeze. But, like my Christmas cactus that blooms at Easter, come mid-July until well into September, my tree’s harvest is early. It makes my back yard not enjoyable. Instead it’s littered with the rotting corpses of apples, which attracts wasps and pooping raccoons.
I don’t now if the heat got to me this year, but I decided I was going to make something with some these apples before they hit the ground! I grabbed my metal bucket and donned a pair of sneakers, even though I was wearing a sundress. I tiptoed carefully to pluck a few apples from low-lying branches, and yes, even the ground. I felt like a pioneer gleaning from the bounty of her labour, although I’ve never laboured with this tree and Hubby only whacks the branches that make mowing a near-death experience.Initially I just peeled and cored and sliced apples, rolling them in lemon juice and popping them in the freezer for apple pie when it’s not insanely hot & sticky outside. But it’s tedious work, what with all the bruises, wonky spots, and worm bore holes. This is not a job for the squeamish!
For jelly, I only had to wash them, chop them up and throw them in a pot with water – core, skin, seeds, worms and all! I engaged in practical cooking by straining the pulp through a pair of pantyhose (legs removed and tied at the crotch) over a juice pitcher. Then I enjoyed long face steams while I sterilized my jars, and then did a hot water bath to seal the goods inside them.
After an eternity and a few near misses removing said jars with rubber tongs, I made apple…syrup.
So the next night, I decided to persevere and fix my
syrup jelly. After a lengthy struggle to remove the lids (obviously I did the bath part right), wherein I nearly cried and Little Guy came to help, I re-sterilized my jars. I re-boiled my syrup with pectin. By bedtime, I had ragged nails and an extra jar of apple…liquid!
Sorry, Mom! This pioneer woman failed.
If Plan A fails, remember….there are 25 letters left.
My apple pies better be smashing, or I may do a bit of apple tree smashing with birthday throwing axe!
Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you. – Langston Hughes
We finally received some much needed rain, but it just made it more humid outside. As if that was possible. I got caught in it, twice. But I wasn’t the only one…Someone was singing in the rain and taking a shower…
He sounded like a cardinal, but he looked like a wet rooster.
Some people feel the rain. Some people just get wet. – Bob Marley
It’s all about perception!
They say blondes have more fun, and I’m going to have to take them at their word because I’m happy being blue.
People in whose circle I don’t usually run, make the same statement: “still blue, huh?”
It’s been just over 2 months since I decided to rebel and I have no regrets. I also have no intention of changing any time soon. Get used to it!
But just in case you’re considering rebelling too, there are a few things you might want to know first.
Invest in your hair. It is the crown you never take off.
It will never look as good as the moment you step from the salon feeling like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon.
And it doesn’t matter. Whatever the style. Whatever the length. Whatever the colour.
It’s that time again! Vacation Bible Camp! And we are travelling in space…
Four years ago, Little Guy became a Junior Leader in Training, and we put together a list of things he learned when about serving others through volunteering:
This year, we added another one more.
5. Find something you love to do and then do it with all your heart. This year, Little Guy is Mr. Techy in the soundbooth. In addition to running the soundboard, music and videos, he also spent hours preparing additional humorous slides to keep the kids on their toes during the “Kid Vid” sessions. It matches his personality and skills beautifully. I, on the other hand, am blessed to be in the morning skits again , and I asked if I could reprise my role as a lisping spastic nerd, Ima Victor.
* * *
We teach our kids to wait their turn, to make friends, to “play nice” in the sandbox. And even though the sandbox gets larger every year and they meet people who kick sand in their faces, we still expect them to be considerate to others. We tell them they can make a difference in their world by showing mercy and living heart to heart…
Teaching our kids to be leaders is like running a relay race. As adults, we need to strive to pass the baton to our young runners. We can’t just teach them with our words; we have to train them up by actively participating and modelling a servant heart. One day, in the not-so-distant future, Little Guy and the generations after him, will be in key leadership positions; how we ran the race and passed the baton will be just as important then, as it is right now.
The most powerful way to change the world is to live our lives in front of our children the way we would like the world to be. -Graham R. White
…Not altogether pleased. No more than anyone would be, jolted out of a sound sleep by unexpected elephants. ―
I personally have never heard the thunder of a herd of elephants, but I imagine it sounds just like the little girl next door? Nugget is cute, with fluffy brown hair and big blue eyes, but for the past 9 months or so, I have been waking to the sounds of a 300 lb baby elephant next door.
I’ve slept with a fan on, even in the glacial depths of winter, to try to drown out the morning rampage. It worked, at first. But she just keeps getting louder.
Hubby mentioned to her Mom that we could hear Nugget…a lot… Nugget’s Mom just laughed through an apology, and then explained that Nugget’s favourite game was “Halloween”; she liked to pretend she was running away from monsters.
My first thought? “Well if she keeps waking me up, she’s gonna find out that monsters are real”.
I’m not a morning person. There is not enough caffeine in the world to make me like mornings. I am not the type of person to rip your head off and spit down your throat, but giving me a wide berth for the first half hour or so, would be in your best interest. Also, don’t talk to me. Don’t ask me any questions. And for the love of all that makes the world keep ticking, don’t make any loud noises or any sudden movements. You’ve been warned.
Not only has the hullabaloo continued, it’s gotten earlier. As in 6 a.m.
Friday morning, I couldn’t take it anymore. It was 6:20 and I had been listening to the continuous stampede for 20 minutes straight. Bleary-eyed, I threw my robe on and stumbled from my room. I hurled my body over the porch railing between our front doors like a gazelle. I could hear Nugget from outside the house. So I pulled up my big girl panties, and knocked with assertiveness.
Daddy came to the door looking confused. I would be too if my neighbour was knocking on my door at 6:20 a.m. in her bathrobe. He was in his boxer shorts, and bleary-eyed too, but I felt no pity.
First, I resisted my urge to throat-punch him.
Second, I resisted the urge to rip off his head and trumpet down his throat. Instead I chose to speak calmly, quietly, and directly. I listened to his apology, all chuckles and eye-rolling, and “oh nugget…blah blah blah.”.
Third, I resisted the urge to throat punch him. I looked him straight in his bonny brown eyes and said “no, you’re the parent. You need to teach her to be a mouse in the morning”.
I think I scared him. His smile faded, he averted his eyes, and he nodded his head once. I wished him “good morning”, and gracelessly clamoured over the railing, back to my own house.
Then I woke Hubby up to toot my own horn. It isn’t every day that I politely dress down the neighbours in my dressing gown. It’s more like once every 2-3 years…
I only heard her once the rest of Friday morning. I heard her Saturday morning, but since it was after 9, I was forgiving. And this morning, sweet silence.
“Silence is golden. Unless you have kids. Then silence is suspicious.”
But Nugget isn’t my kid! 🙂
A friend posted yesterday, that her kid wouldn’t allow her to post any grad photos. I admire her respect for her kid’s wishes.
I, on the other, never asked. I assumed that since I paid for the clothes and the dinner tickets, I could post a photo. Then there’s also the taxi services, field trips, late nights, last minute assignments, and scrambles to find missing stuff. I’ve tried to decipher teacher instructions, handle messes, deal with bullies, cope with tears and fears, all with grace. I will never forget that one time Little Guy didn’t come home and I called the cops after madly driving/running everywhere trying to find him. Then I was full-on crazy but it’s understandable.
It all comes with the title – Mom!
But he has a title too – Son!
He’s mine. I’m proud of him. I waited a long time for him. Gushing ridiculously would be embarrassing, but a photo? There are worse things I could do to him, and he knows it.
Still…not asking might be considered an infraction by some, so I decided to even up the score by posting my Grade 8 grad photo. And I picked the worst one!
This is what happens when I’m concentrating on not poking my eye out with an eyelash wand and someone yells, “Hey Jenn? Jenn!” and snaps your picture as soon as you look at them.
It was 1980-something. Peach was the “in” colour. Big bows and poofy perms were also all the rage. My Mom made my dress, but ran out of time to add the ruffle to the hem. I wore low, white heels, which my Dad took me to K-Mart to buy. I was allowed to wear eye shadow, mascara and lip gloss only!
My room was wall-papered with Garfield (I still love fat cats!) clawing his way down the wall, with pastel stripes. Those medals are from winters spent figure skating. There’s also a 3rd place ribbon from Track & Field. It was the only one I ever won. Had I figured out I was better at long-distance running than sprints before Grade 8, I might have earned more.
My Mom and Grandmother came to the ceremony. My Dad was a firefighter and had to work. We had a dance too, but it ended at 9, not 10. None of the boys would dance with me or my friends because we were “square” so we took turns dancing with my “boyfriend”. He and I had been friends since Kindergarten, and I think we were “dating” because we felt pressured to have someone. It seemed so important at the time.
Looking back, it wasn’t a magical night, but it was a lot of fun! We felt like we had accomplished so much and we were ready to go out and change the world. Maybe some of us did!
So to Little Guy, and my friend’s baby…and all the other graduates out there. Congratulations! And happy Friday!
I’ve decided I like shopping a whole lot more when there isn’t a special occasion coming up. When there’s the pressure of a deadline, suddenly there’s nothing that I like, in my size.
Little Guy was going to graduate from Gr. 8, and we both needed something to wear.
When Big Guy graduated many moons ago, the expectations were a shirt, dress pants and a tie. I’m not sure that’s enough any more. I have heard other Moms of recent grads mentioning tux rentals, limo rentals and the need for the right pair of ridiculously expensive shoes. It seems the significance of the milestone is overshadowed by the name brands and photo ops.
Little Guy is a no-fuss kind of guy, which is good because as much as I love him and wish to shower him with good things, I’m not spending my life savings. These clothes will be worn for an hour in a hot banquet hall, followed by dinner (which he’ll probably end up wearing), and a dance, (where the girls dance in a cluster while the guys try hard to ignore them).
Even though I “pre-shopped” to eliminate dragging him from store to store, there was still a great deal of gnashing of teeth on the way to the Mall. Little Guy was super unimpressed that I was cutting into his time to “relax”. Like I had nothing better to do with my time?
We went to the Bay. I don’t like the Bay. The prices are high, the choices are slim, and the racks a mess! The suit jackets and pants were not together, and most didn’t match. The hanger size-tag didn’t match the tag on the item. Our options were Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren. Gasp.
He snarked. He sighed. He rolled his eyes. He dragged his feet as he trailed me to the change room, with an aura of disgust about him dark enough to blot out the sun. Then he locked himself in the change room, and I sunk into an orange plastic chair that was splattered with something brown and sticky.
Hubby called to see how it was going. I think he sensed the despair even before I said “hello”. He was kind enough to look up some addresses for me for men’s stores, so we bought a white shirt and black pants, and headed out.
So if you should ever doubt
Wonder what love was all about
Just think back and remember dear
Those words whispered in your ear
I said, True love.
The silence in the car was palpable, broken only by a snarled “I just want to go home”. “I know,” I huffed, “and at least you’ve had something to eat”. Then I took a different track. “I love you and I just want you to feel good. This is an important moment in your life, one you’re going to remember”. Meanwhile I was wondering if all he’d remember was being forced to shop against his will.
Dear Teen – it’s not always fun being your parent either. I secretly roll my eyes behind your back too. Love Mom
I glared at him through the driver car window. No way was I going in this men’s store alone. He shuffled slowly behind me, shoulders hanging low in defeat. Within 5 minutes, he was skipping back to the car with a big, goofy grin. I’m not sure if he was happier that we found a vest or the fact that we were done and heading home!
Last night, we celebrated! And he looked good!
Just in case I don’t make it through this thing they call parenting, can I get my straight jacket in pink?
Light it up, light it up, now I’m burning
Feel the rush, feel the rush of adrenaline
We are young, we are strong, we will rise
‘Cause I’m back, back, back from the dead tonight – Skillet
"Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing." —Laurie Buchanan
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