It was the best of times….

Well, here we are  in 2013 and my second year of  college is rapidly approaching. 

I can’t complain about last year at all. Yep, I was sick a bunch and that was truly miserable, but I also have  much to be grateful for:  I acquired a sweet new grandson in February.  I finished my novella.  Achieved a 4.0 for my first ever semester in college (and my second) !  Got better at fishing. Made new friends.  Met some great teachers. After 18 months of unemployment, hubby found a great job.  My niece and nephew both had healthy, beautiful baby boys. My wonderful, funny aunt moved back to Arizona after being gone for over 20 years in another state. My sisters and brothers have stayed relatively healthy for our advanced ages. 🙂  My family back east survived Superstorm Sandy with relatively little damage.  The Mayans were wrong. The politicians have stopped advertising. I think the Mayans may have had something to do with that! 😉 In this last year,  my five grandkids have brought me more joy than I can describe here. My house is still standing, despite an occassional sighting of a termite or two. My friends are all fairly happy and content. My plate is more than half full: it’s  almost  overflowing!  Could I be richer, thinner, taller, smarter or blonder? Sure! But I’m in a good place and very aware of how blessed I am!

So in the coming year, I hope to keep my grades perfect, spend more time with my grandkids, accomplish most of the things on my To-Do list (that never-ending thing we ALL have!), fish whenever I can  and stop to smell the roses every chance I get (hopefully my own- if this cold doesn’t kill them)!

Happy New Year friends and family! God bless us one and all!

Me and Korben David

A Girl Named Sue

We first met 32 years ago, when  I moved in next door to Sue and her husband Dan. At the time, I had a little girl and she had a little boy, about 8 years apart.

We became fast friends,sharing recipes, child issues, and much more. It was rather odd, really, because our backgrounds were so extremely different. 

In time,  I added a daughter, she added a son. Then I added another daughter and she finally had HER daughter! So we went from one kid each to three kids each before you could say “child-bearing years!”  It was a hectic time as we both tried to balance jobs, kids, homes and hubbies. But she was always there for me when I needed her  and vice versa.

It was a sad day for me when they moved on up to a bigger house to accommodate their growing family. We kept in touch as much as possible with our very busy lives. We attended weddings on each side and other social events. But I really missed having her next door.

So here we are now: both grandmas!  We both have five, and I hear tell she’s getting ready to welcome number six!  We may not see each other very often, but it’s one of those friendships were one calls the other and we can chat forever, like no time at all has passed. I’m proud to call her my friend, still.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUE! May you enjoy many more years of being a grandma and a great friend!

Love

SHERRY

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s off to school I go!

Well, a few weeks ago, anyway! Been so busy getting back in the groove, I have neglected my blog and for that I expect boos galore (or not!).

I was quite anxious to get back to school, see what my teachers would be like and start learning again!  Both nervous and excited, I approached the first day as most students do: cautiously.

But I’m happy to report that both my teachers are AWESOME, I love my classes, and I expect to do pretty darn well. Mrs. Hay is a witty and fun teacher. Mr de’Shay is smart and extremely entertaining.  I lucked out for sure!

I still have that dreaded fear of  THE MAC, but fortunately, won’t have to use it in class very much. Thank you, God for small favors!!

So, stay tuned for updates on my grades, my whining about too much homework, and my constant griping about not enough hours in the day!

Cheers!
SHERRY

And now, for something totally different!

OK,  I slammed my hubby a little too hard on that last post, so in all fairness, I think I should set the record straight on  some of  the GOOD STUFF he’s done!

I’ll start right after we met, just about 13 years ago, because that’s when I  got my first  glimpse of his kind heart.

Two of my daughters were still in high school and living at home.  We had the bad luck to come down with the flu all at the same time. Hubby’s car was broken down and he lived on the west side of town, yet he took two buses to get to our house and take care of us for two days. Major point score!

On our first date, we went to lunch, then we went to some thrift stores–not terribly romantic, but something we both like to do. At one store, I saw a pair of vintage pearl and diamond earrings I just fell in love with. He bought them for me and they became favorites; still are.

Too many incidents to recall them all, but these  stand-out:

Shortly after 9/11, I began to have violent nightmares and dreaded going to bed. He was living here at the time and did his best to keep my spirits up. One night, after a particularly stressful day, I was weepy and restless, dreading sleep again. I got  up to go to the bathroom, and when I got back into bed, he hugged me and I thought I felt something weird.  I turned on the light and he was wearing my sexy, one piece black bathing suit! I laughed so hard, all the gloom went out the window!  He’ll probably cringe at the re-telling of this, but it’s a favorite “good” memory.

More recently:  Last year we had a birthday dinner for my BFF, Mary. We invited some mutual friends to join us. Shortly before dinner, we found out our other friend’s mother was going to join us and it was her birthday too. Without asking me, he took the sheet cake I had bought at Fry’s back to their bakery department and had the decorator add the other woman’s name to the cake. I was amazed that he would even THINK to do something like that.

Just a few months ago: Hubby was picking up some parts for work at a local auto parts store. There was a young couple in there with a little boy about the same age as our grandkids. The little one had found a package of Hot Wheels cars he really wanted. Hubby heard the mom tell him they couldn’t afford them until Dad got paid on Friday. Hubby took the Hot Wheels to the cashier and after paying for them, handed them to the mom.  She protested that he didn’t have to do that. He replied that  “I have a grandson about his age, it’s ok.”

Random acts of kindness make the world a better place.  On THIS,  he does his share!

Me-Tarzan, You-SLAVE!

Do you feel overwhelmed much of the time? Wish your day was 36 hours, not 24? I can relate! Do you feel underappreciated, stressed to the max, and  exhausted most  days? Yep, me too!

Lately,  I have been feeling tons of pressure to be Ms. Perfect, for reasons I’m still contemplating. Mostly at night, when I wonder if I’ve done enough for one day.

It wasn’t always this way: I used to have an “Oh Well, What Gets Done Is Good Enough” attitude. Not now though.  I think I may have gotten a bit spoiled in the three years hubby was off work due to 2 knee surgeries.  Once he was well enough, I just had to ask for help and I got it.

Now, he’s back to work and does very little to help out. I don’t blame him, I totally understand the feeling of working out in the Phoenix heat all day and the toll it takes. Used to do it myself, way back when.  But hello: offering a helping hand would be SUCH a nice gesture! Yes, I am home on summer break, preparing to go back to school in August, but that doesn’t mean I’m the MAID, for gosh sakes! (Besides, I’d look ridiculous in  one of those stupid French maid outfits!)

Is it asking too much to take his coffee cup back into the kitchen when he leaves for work? Or, putting his dirty (black) socks in the BLACK hamper, not the WHITE one?? Or, my personal pet peeve: if you are putting the dumpster on the curb, why not make SURE it’s full first? Especially if you KNOW there’s garbage in the house/garage/yard that needs to go out!  DUH!!!

I know I’m not alone; I have friends and relatives that tell me constantly that their guy doesn’t do enough around the house to help them. Working or not working, if you are a man and you live with a woman, married or not, it’s YOUR mess too!!  This I AM MAN, you are Slave is just plain WRONG!

Is this an ages-old complaint or a product of current societal trends? Sometimes I wonder! In any case, if anyone can figure out how to get me more hours in the day, please let me know….SOON!!!

I’m off to Party City to check out French Maid costumes! 🙂

 

Monica

MONICA

Tall, beautiful and imposing, she was hard to miss when she blew into the class, and blow is an accurate description as she never just walked anywhere.  If you could bottle energy and enthusiasm, it would be called Monica.

She sat across the table from me in class, hunkered down, head lowered, looking like a child who had just been reprimanded. I couldn’t quite tell if she was shy, afraid or half asleep. 

But on this particular day, she looked like a lost, confused child.  I whispered across the desk to her: “Are you okay? Do you need help?”

She whispered back: “I haven’t bought the textbook, yet. Don’t have the money.” 

I felt so bad for her.  I wondered what her situation was that she’d sign up for classes and not be able to buy the required textbooks. 

When the class met the next time, she was absent. I wondered if she was sick, embarrassed or what might have happened.  After class, I told our teacher that Monica had not bought the textbook yet and I thought that might be why she was not there. I added that I would buy it for her, if that was the case. 

The next class meeting, she was there, with textbook. I was relieved for her and asked her how things were going.  She smiled and said fine, I got my textbook.

It was the start of the oddest of friendships: the  60 yr old senior citizen returning to college after 40 years and the  22 yr old brainy new girl in town,  just transplanted from the Windy City (Chicago).

Maybe it was because I had no kids left at home to “mother” or maybe because Monica’s happy-go-lucky aura made her easy to befriend:  whatever it was, we became friends and I started giving her rides to and from school because she had no car. Since she was not much of a morning person, I was soon back in Mommy mode, calling her to make sure she was up, reprimanding her (gently) when she was late and being the “mother hen” to this impulsive, intelligent young lady. 

She amazed me with her memory, her ability to score A’s with no studying, and her love of history, of all things! How many kids her age cared one whit about history, much less knew and loved it?  I called her out on it one day when she went with me to pick up my new glasses.  I referred to my  new squared, black sunglasses as my “Jackie O” look and then commented that she probably didn’t know who that was, at her age.  

“Are you serious?” she exclaimed. “Jackie Kennedy, wife of the 35th president?! She was a legend and such a class act. The Queen of Camelot, everyone loved her.”

I was speechless and somewhat amused at my obvious faux pas. 

My husband didn’t understand it, but he rarely understands “girl things”.  He did support me though and even invited Monica on one of our  fishing trips. It was a fairly cold winter morning, but being from Chicago, she was dressed for it.  She was so enthusiastic about catching a fish and proudly bringing home dinner! Unfortunately, the fish were huddled deep beyond our reach and not biting, so we went home fishless.  It didn’t daunt her enthusiasm though. She was determined to try again. 

We kept inviting her to go with us, but she was always busy or not feeling well. That puzzled me because she seemed so interested. 

Then, the last catfish stocking of the season was done and I emailed her that it was our last chance to catch Mr. Whiskers. She said she had strep throat.  Okay, I thought, I can buy that. But a week later, she still had it.

I told my husband that I had a feeling that something was wrong. Strep normally clears up after a round of antibiotics.  I put my worries in the back of my mind for the time being.

 Then one afternoon a few days later,  while I was trying to nap, my cell phone rang.

“Sherry, it’s me, Monica.”  she said.

Groggily, I said, “Hey, what’s up?”

“I just got back from hospital.  Sherry, they think I have a brain tumor.”

Suddenly, I was wide-awake.

“No way! What the heck is going on?”

She apologized for lying to me. She didn’t want me to worry.  Me, worry? Some would say Worry is my middle name.

It seems she had been having slurred speech and vision problems. She went to the doctor who sent her for a CAT scan. The scan showed a condition called chiara malformation.  When the bottom portion of your brain (the cerebellum) protrudes beyond the base of your skull, it presses on your spinal cord.  Sometimes a birth defect, sometimes a condition that appears in early adulthood, it almost always requires surgery. 

We’ve spoken several times since then; she will be having surgery next week.

I can tell she is scared; I’m scared for her. No 22-year-old young person should have to face this, I thought. A week in the hospital and 6 weeks of bed-rest would be hard for even me to do.  

So as I await her surgery and recovery, I pray this young woman with so much to offer the world and such a bright future, makes it through this. I would lose a good  friend if she didn’t and the world would lose a great person with much to offer.

 

 

The World’s Worst Mom?? (Mothers Day Leftovers!)

I recently overheard a young mother exclaiming that she must be “the worst mother in the world” because of something dumb she had done that could have potentially hurt her child.  I tried not to snicker, because I know that we moms have all been there.  Every Mom makes mistakes, it’s part of the learning process!

For instance, when I was a young mom, I was slightly (?) distracted a few times. Once, my car broke down at a McDonald’s late at night with my 6 year old daughter in the back seat. Back then, I knew little about cars except that you put gas in them and drove them. So, not knowing who could rescue me, I accepted a ride home from a  Phoenix police officer who was there having coffee. Naturally, my daughter woke up while I was moving her to his car and wanted to know what  “Mommy did wrong that we have to go home in a police car” !  Thanks to my oldest daughter, Cammy, for reminding me of this incident.

Another time, my husband and I were shopping in Kmart, I had one cart with newborn Katie in it, he supposedly had the other cart with Jenny in it. Evidently, he took her out for reasons only he knew at the time, and thought I  had picked her up. We came across each other in an aisle, looked at each other and said WHERE IS JENNY?   Just a few minutes later, we heard the PA system announce: Will the parents of Jenny please come to the customer service counter?  To this day, we blame each other “for losing Jenny in Kmart”!

Once, when Katie was very small, she was sitting in the yard, intent on something we thought was a toy. Upon closer inspection, we found her EATING TINY ROCKS!  Panicking, I called the doctor who informed me that she would outgrow this habit (called pica) as she got older. Almost on cue, she began eating paper, dust bunnies, bits of toys: anything  BUT food! The doctor was indeed right: she did outgrow it, but the memory of my precious little youngest daughter sitting in the yard eating rocks stayed with me!

Motherhood has brought me to tears many times, close to madness at other times and  to the most exhilarating joy in the world: I would not have traded any of those Mom moments for anything.  Besides, if I hadn’t had the KIDS, I would not have the GRANDKIDS!!

(Bitter) Sweet Freedom!

Today was the official last day of school for me. Saying goodbye to everyone, even though I have only known them a short time, was hard. Going back to school WAS the right decision for me, but I hadn’t anticipated that I might actually MISS school. And I think I will: the routine, the challenge, the anticipation of getting a good grade and the exposure to new things on regular basis. Ah, well, back to the challenges of FISHING and bringing in a record catch! And spending time with the grandkids. And getting housework caught up-to-date. And catching up on SO much stuff!!!

When does the next semester start???  🙂

It’s Raining (BOY) Babies!

Today we welcomed the latest addition to our ever-growing family…my nephew Kris and beautiful wife Casey brought a little baby boy into this world (not yet named!).  He will have two cousins, my new grandson Korben and my niece Jessica’s baby boy, due in July, that are very close in age to him.  I’m enjoying watching all these little boys arrive, especially since I raised three daughters and have never experienced the frog-in-the-pocket, hot -wheels- under -the -pillow or Lego Mania of young boys.  HOWEVER, since I do have four grandsons now, I am getting familiar with little boy antics and I must say, they sure are different from those of little girls! Little girls emulate their mommies and you can keep them occupied for hours with girl things. Little boys: well, they’re just non-stop action and unbridled  enthusiasm. Recently, I spent about four and a half  hours with my two oldest grandsons ( age 7 and 5):  Matthew and Michael. By the time Mom and Dad picked them up, I felt like I had run a marathon! Though I enjoyed every moment of their visit, it took me a good day and a half to recover! Could it be they’re very active, inquisitive little boys or am I just getting too old to frolic like a 5-year-old?

Kris and Casey, the fun is just beginning for you two and I wish you all the best in your parenting “adventures”!

Thank You, Ms. Manners

Got a call the other day from Jenny, my mid kid. She was calling to thank me for teaching her and her sisters manners when they were youngsters. Jenny is currently living in the Baltimore, Md. area while her husband is stationed at a nearby military base. She gets out quite often with my little grandbaby, Avenleigh. Jen tells me she is amazed at the complete lack of manners she’s seen while shopping and dining out.

Mom, people here just don’t say Please and Thank you, she lamented.  I just can’t believe how rude they are!

Well honey I told her, perhaps they’ve just not been brought up that way.

But Mom, isn’t it common sense?

Well, no dear Jen, it is NOT common sense. 

There is rudeness everywhere, it’s not confined to the East Coast or anywhere else.  Please and thank you should be taught from the age a child learns to talk, but alas it isn’t always that way. I guess mine caught on, because I have very polite daughters who  are teaching their children manners as well. My grandsons all know the magic words. And if they forget, they get gentle reminders.

When I was a child, you had better mind your “p’s & q’s” – a phrase that has been interpreted many ways, but in OUR home, it meant you better behave and you better remember your manners.

It was great to hear from my own daughter that she did indeed learn the lesson!