Friday, September 28, 2007
Edited Sunday - 9/30 -- Proof that there was indeed cake! (And Presents)
Today this sweet (at least sometimes) little girl turns three years old! She was unplanned but never unwanted. Rob's Grandmother was dying of cancer when we found out we were pregnant with Abby and the timing seemed very, very wrong. But turns out she was really a blessing. She has helped both of her Grandmothers through some very difficult times simply by "needing" them to care for her.
I will never forget the look on Rob's when the sonogram tech told us we were having a girl! He was convinced it would be another boy. He was in shock for a good two hours.... not disappointed, shocked. The whole dating thing terrified him even then. To say Abby has him wrapped around her little finger would be an understatement. He is the last one to scold her and the first one to defend her. That is a Daddy's job, after all.
This girl is the youngest grandchild (of 11 on my side) and really rules the cousin roost. She gets away with everything.... probably because the grandparents know she is the last one and gets anything she wants with a sad look and a sweet "puh leeeze". The lisp doesn't hurt when it comes to the cute factor.
Abby was a sweet baby.... she loved to eat... as you can tell by the smiling, chubby baby picture. But started sleeping all night at just a few months old. But those easy newborn days were NOT a sign of things to come. Our sweet baby turned into a tyrant at about 6 months old. She hit her brother for taking one of her toys and hasn't looked back since. She blames him if she runs into the table (J.T. hit me!) even if he isn't in the room. She also blames her PaPa for things she's done.... we don't know why. He was a mischievous child though, so perhaps she senses a kindred spirit.
She keeps us on our toes with her penchant for drawing on anything that isn't moving with anything that can possibly leave any type of mark (pencils, pens, markers, crayons, soap, chalk, fingernails, etc.). Her affinity for danger (climbing, jumping, leaping and exploring) we're hoping she will outgrow. She says "No" frequently but never seems to understand it when it is directed AT her. She is the first one to shout out the answers during circle time at preschool. We actually have to arrive a few minutes late so she can be the center of attention with both classmates and teachers. She is a diva. But she's our diva and we love her very much.
Happy Birthday Abigail. We will eat cake!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
This tank top is the one I use for cleaning on super-hot days. The type I would never ever wear in public because it exposes waaaaaaayyyyyyy too much flesh and I am a classy, modest person (shut up Aunty).
I put this top on after work last week and short-circuited Rob's brain. His eyes would not rise above the level of my chest as he followed me from room to room in a daze. And I thought.... Hmmmmmmm. Perhaps I can use this to my advantage. Kind of like my personal "force".
I shall wave my hand like Obi Kenobi and say: "You WANT to stay up with the children while I go to bed early." "You've watched enough sports on television.... You WANT me to watch a cooking show." "You WANT to take both kids to Wal-mart while I laze about and eat chocolate and drink diet coke." "You WANT to take me out to a nice restaurant and a movie" (okay he really does want to do that one, just seems like the babysitting always falls apart on us).
I have the power. The power of boobs. May the force be with you. (insert Darth Vader breathing here).
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Of course, ticked off snake bit him right on the tongue and his mouth swelled to the point of not breathing. His friends called for help and the man was given antivenom. He survived to tell his story and show gross pictures of his wounds on TV. (Thanks CNN! Nice to know your on top of the hard news stories).
Me: "Yes, there's anti-venom. But is there an antidote for stupid?"
He's right isn't he?
Sunday, September 23, 2007
J.T. ate two bags of cotton candy ($5 a piece!) and snarfled down a couple of drinks. We had sticker shock over the prices: $5 for a hot dog, $6 for a beer, $4.75 for a bottle of water and $4.25 for a coke, which really astounded me.... I can buy 3 two-liter bottles for that.... is the ice and the cup really that expensive?
Ashlee and I spent a lot of time people watching. She was upset that so many people brought tiny babies (bad for their ears). We observed many fashion offenses. Fifty year old women in spaghetti strap tank tops with wrinkly boobs hanging out the tops. Teenagers in teeny tiny shorts with things like cutie pie or diva printed across their butts. One woman with spiky short hair.... and rat tail side burns! Very odd looking. A few lycra offenders (why people, why? Even Lance Armstrong doesn't make that work). Belly button flashers.... and I'd say ninety percent of these people were NOT exactly buff. Ashlee even offered to buy me a pair of wrap around sunglasses (the kind they give out at the Optometrist after you've had your eyes dilated) after we spotted a pair on a blue-haired lady in front of us. But I told her I didn't want them if I couldn't have the brown lace-up shoes to go with.
Between innings they showed cool stuff on the jumbotron. My favorite was the kiss cam, where they show closeups of couples around the stadium and they kiss when they show them onscreen. Young, old, middle-aged.... it was cute. They flashed up a shot of a pair of teenagers sitting with one empty seat between them, leaning away from each other.... and the girl raised her eyebrows, and laughed.... no kissing! Then she mouths: "He's my brother!" Then they showed two guys sitting together.... but they wouldn't kiss for the camera.
It was fun. But J.T. got bored with the baseball. Here he is after the third inning and his 101st asking of: "Is it over yet?"
Friday, September 21, 2007
Whenever I get the bright idea that I will save time by going to K-mart (usually less crowded than Wal-mart) I end up paying dearly. This last experience has taught me a lesson. K-mart does not like me. I will never, ever go there again.
There is only one check-out line open when I go in. No matter how many people are in the store. After spending 15 minutes in line and finally making it to the counter, the cashier can't find a price in the system for whatever I'm purchasing. Or the person in front of me is paying with a check, a credit card AND cash.... and still can't round up enough money to pay for their item.
Last time, I got to spend five minutes in line with a family right out of Deliverance. Hadn't bathed in at least a year (just judging by the smell AND the coating of grime on their collective skins), had 5 teeth between them and were apparently allergic to laundry detergent, toothpaste and soap. Guess what they were buying.
Roach Gel. I know. I was surprised that any self-respecting roach would want to be caught in their house, dead OR alive. Ma redneck wasn't wearing a bra... I know this because she was wearing a large man's shirt with the sleeves cut out.
When the cashier runs the roach gel across the scanner it rings up$9 and change. Redneck family explodes!
Pa Redneck: "Nine Dollers! Thet sign sayud three dollers and fifty ceents! I seen it riyut there on da shelf."
Clerk: "Okay, sir. Let me call that department and see if I can get a price check."
Pa Redneck: "Nine Dollers! Thet's crazee!"
While the clerk is waiting on the price check, She ansers a call from someone inquiring about paints. She pages the hardware department to take the call.
Pa Redneck: "Roach gel Ain't in the hardwere deepartmunt!"
Clerk: "Yes sir. I had an outside call for someone in the hardware department."
Pa Redneck: "Hardwere Deepartmunt... thet's STOOOOPID. Roach gel in the Hardwere deepartmunt." Looks around at everyone else in the line and repeats himself. "Stoopid. Hardwere deepartmunt."
Clerk getting a little testy (me, too at this point). "Sir, I wasn't paging them about your request.... this was for another customer."
Pa Redneck: "Hardwere deepartmunt. Stooopid."
Clerk gets price check: "Sir, this item is $9, not $3.50."
Pa Redneck: "I ain't paying $9 for roach gel."
So do they just leave? No. They purchase as many candy bars, I think it was seven in total, as they can with their three bucks and change.
Hmmmm... won't candy bars lead to more roaches? Don't you think they'd have been better off saving up for the roach gel? Or splurging on soap and perhaps toothpaste?
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
My brother Sidney called me while we were on the interstate and he was crying. I knew then. My chest felt like it would explode. He was crying so hard he could barely tell me that John had died. Patty was in the backseat and I was trying very hard to keep myself together. I just couldn't bring myself to tell her.... just in case, please, please.... they had made a mistake. Rob let me squeeze the heck out of his hand for the rest of the trip. It was so very surreal.... and yet I remember what I was wearing and the exact shape and color of the moon as I stared at it outside my car window.... full and orange.... a harvest moon.
I will never forget the way my mother's eyes looked when we entered a room they had cordoned off for our family. I knew it was true then. She had been crying of course, but the pain that just radiated from her was so overwhelming.... I knew that what she felt had to be so much worse than what any of the rest of us were going through.
I wanted to see him. I felt a very strong need to know, to see with my own eyes that he was gone. And I am so glad that I insisted on that. He looked so peaceful. Like he was finally at rest and I'm glad I have that image. I called my sister and we didn't really speak... just cried together. I remember realizing that I had to go to the bathroom and thinking how strange that this event that should make the world stop spinning has not. That the everyday functions of life go on even though our lives are shattered.
I never knew that grief actually creates a physical pain. My chest hurt for days. When we got home that night I laid down with both of my babies. I needed them with me.... their sweet sleepy arms around me and their warm breath on my skin. That peace that children seem to give off when they are sleeping. Tears just kept sliding down my face.... I wasn't sobbing, but I could NOT stop crying. My mind was whirling in hundreds of directions: sorting through memories, summing John's life up, wondering about the future, reeling in shock and disbelief.
It has been two years since that awful day. It goes without saying that our family is different. Before this happened, I thought that tragedy was a big bump in the road of life or an awful time of pain that you just dealt with and then moved forward. It's not that way at all. Sometimes it feels like we were going down a certain path in our lives and someone suddenly threw up a roadblock and we will forever be going a different way. Almost like you have been thrown into another life with no warning. I'm learning that grief is unique to every griever and that it is not an episode of our lives, but a daily part of us, forever.
That doesn't mean that my parents spend all day every day in bed with the covers over their heads or that they will spend the rest of their lives just waiting to die.... that joy no longer exists for them. It does. They laugh and have fun and love us and their grandchildren. But each day, John's death is a reality for them. Each birthday, family get-together and holiday brings with it a bitter-sweet joy. What a wonderful family we have. How fortunate we are to have each other. How awful that John is not here with us.
Grief is a part of us.... it doesn't dominate my life, but it is there.... some days larger than others. Sometimes it just fills me from the tip of my head down to my toes. Sometimes appearing suddenly. I remember the first Thanksgiving after John's death. A friend of my aunt's asked my mother: "How many children do you have?" I saw her hesitate. It was the "have" that threw her. The present tense. She finally said: "Four. Three are with us and our son John passed away in September."
The infamous "they" of "they say" fame tell us not to have regrets. To be grateful for the wonderful memories that we can treasure. But I don't think that is human nature. My brother was a volatile person. He made some poor choices in life. He bounced around from one job to another and was a terrible money manager. He experimented with drugs while in the Army and really fought against the rules my parents had for our family.
I took a tough love approach with him as I got older.... and there are days when that is difficult for me to handle. Was I too judgmental? Would I have been so hardline if I had known he would not be here until an old age? I don't know. I know in my heart that I loved him very much... and that I wanted him to set the bar higher for himself so he could live a happier life. But I wish I had talked with him more. That I had reached out to him more often. That I had called just to say Hello and I love you. That, despite our age difference of almost 11 years, I had made a stronger effort to find a friendship with him. Yes, I know I cannot undo those years and that my intentions were good, but these things still whisper through my mind in the stillness of night. The whys and the what ifs.
I'm very proud of our family. We have supported each other in these awful days and remain strong. Christie, Sidney and I spent hours with our parents sorting through pictures, sharing memories and writing a beautiful eulogy for John. His funeral was truly lovely. We did not have any regrets about our send-off for him or the decisions we made. Our extended families and the many, many friends of our family have given us so much comfort.
I'm proud of my parents for their strength and courage.... even on the days when they need to let the sadness just wash over them. When they are weak with grief and longing. They truly amaze me. I find their ability to bear this pain, to share it with us and not pretend everything is okay, a beautiful gift.
I am a person of faith. And seeing John in the hospital, I was overwhelmed with peace in those moments of seeing him, being with him in the quiet. Like his restless soul was finally calm..... like he had reached a finish line and could relax. I'm grateful for those moments. For the many moments and the memories I have of our lives together. And I ache that I will not grow old with all three of my siblings.... That I will not be able to share pictures of my grandchildren with him, that he will not see his children get married and start their own families, that there are Thanksgivings, Christmases, Birthdays and LIFE without him. But I'm so very glad for the life WITH him. I would not trade those years for anything.... even if I did not have to know this pain.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Why is it that when Abby is very, very quiet she isn't doing anything good? Instead she is fingerpainting with babysoap on her brother's window. Or ripping paper out of a notepad. Or climbing on chairs to reach things she shouldn't have.
Why can't we find a single pair of matching shoes when we are running late?
Why do people only show up at your house unnannounced when things are in ultimate dishevelment? Yet they never come over when things are all neatly in place (okay that's only like a ten minute window, but still).
Why do I not realize I'm out of flour until I already have the eggs and butter mixed together for cookies?
Why do the phone and the doorbell ring at the same time at the office? Even when neither has sounded off in hours?
Why are all the traffic lights red when you are running behind?
Why do the children wait until I am settled down with a favorite tv show or book to start an argument?
Why does Slimfast not work if you use it to wash down a candybar?
Why can't I have my cake and eat it too? Or better yet have it with ice cream and chocolate sprinkles?
Why does one lose one's corkscrew the day one most needs it? (Don't worry, haven't misplaced the new $9 corkscrew yet.... this why is a few weeks old).
Why does our neighbor's mailbox look like a phallic symbol to me? Especially when they put fresh fall mums (lovely rounded things) in place on either side of the tall middle part with the roof on it.
Why will I have to photograph that to show it to you?
Saturday, September 15, 2007
The Math portion of this post is in regards to J.T. and his school work. I met with his teacher on Friday and she allayed many of my concerns about his progress. She just loves him (I mean, really, who wouldn't?) and said she could have listed page after page of his strengths.... kind, mannerly, makes friends easily, eager to learn.... and he is making progress in the areas she was concerned about: handwriting (my mother swears boys master this later than girls.... though I STILL haven't mastered it myself), reading (slow, steady improvement) and staying on task (had a very good day Friday). But the best news.... he scored an entire grade level (one academic year) ahead on his Math placement test! I think that probably explains his lower reading score. From my experiences in teaching, sometimes those who are very good at math developed reading skills more slowly. So yeah for J.T.!!!
Now for the rabbits! We are selling cases of 20 oz. coke products as a fund-raiser for J.T.'s school. Since we have purchased every stupid raffle ticket, roll of wrapping paper, candy bar, etc. from Rob's much younger cousin when she was in school, we decided it would only be fair if we hit his Aunt and Uncle up for a case of drinks. J.T. called her and politely asked if she would be interested in buying some cokes. Abby overheard him and immediately said: "I want Larry to buy me an animal rabbit!" ????? We have no idea where this came from, but she insisted on asking the question. So I handed her the phone and she said: "I want you to buy me an animal rabbit!" Only she wasn't talking to her Uncle Larry. In her best: Hey, I've been duped voice she says: "You're not Larry, you're Sherry...." and hangs up the phone! We call back and apologize.... and this time she gets Larry on the phone, puts in her request and hands it back. Rob says: "If you get her a rabbit I will break both of your knees." Rob's uncle says: "Don't you want a pair?"
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Things have obviously been hopping at the Cannady house, hm?
Abby deciding to give us a story-telling recital last night. To set the stage, she was standing in the middle of the den wearing nothing but panties (clothing of choice for the moment, IF she chooses to wear anything at all). Imagine the southern accent (she has a strong one and a lisp because she is gap-toothed). She tells us to "Listen. I'm going to tell a story. I was running to Grandma's, no MaMa's and I was hurrying and hurrying and hurrying, but I was goin toooooooooo fast. I had to slow down and then I got to MaMa's and there was my new cat! The End" (This is a semi-autobiographical work as there is NO new cat). We applauded and then received an encore performance. It was lovely. And if I do say so myself, brilliant!
J.T. and I were sitting in the chair together reading The Yellow Boat (fascinating book that) when he, um, let's one fly. I let the first one slide. but the second time... I looked at him and said: "We're going to have to call you Mr. Pooty Pants!" Which, of course, cracked him up. We had to set the book aside until he could keep it together....boys like a good crass joke, don't they? Rob told him not to say it at school. We have to say that ALOT at our house! "Okay, that stays here. Can't say it at school, right?" And Rob's mother says (usually after she has called Rob's father an ugly name): "MaMa shouldn't have said that. That wasn't very nice. I won't say it again," almost daily.... so the "I won't say it again" part is obviously a futile promise.
Rob also cracked his tooth yesterday and will have to have a root canal. Thank God we have dental insurance but we still have to pay $500 up front and the insurance will cover 80% of the $1800 total costs. AND they can't do it until MONDAY! So Rob is drinking through a straw and eating soft foods only. He also gets 5 days worth of serious pain medicine. If I were a less kind person, I would use this to my advantage. Sigh, alas I am sweet and too kind and shall just pamper him until Monday.
Rob's mother (our much loved resident hypochondriac) calls to check on him and says: "I have a cracked tooth, too! And we need to be careful that you don't get an infection that goes to your bloodstream and kills you" (I think I'm paraphrasing here). Which freaked Rob out and made me laugh (not the killing you part, the I have one too part) because if you have had an ailment, she has had it too and it was much worse than yours! We love her dearly, she keeps us laughing and is very, very kind, but sometimes our mothers make us groan!
Just think, I will be doing and saying things to my grown children one day that will make them roll their eyes and say: "Mother!" Payback is so very sweet.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
The little one will be turning three on September 28th! Because I am a plan-ahead kind of person (are you laughing out loud, Rob?), I have already purchased a few things for the big event.... mainly the paper products: plates, napkins and party favor bags. Our theme of course is Dora the Explorer. Rob bought a pinata yesterday. He is concerned that whacking one's favorite cartoon character with a stick might be traumatic later. Or that the rest of our stuffed animals will be recieving their fair share of whacks in the hopes that candy will burst forth from their innards.
Abby has discovered the plates and wants to use them NOW! They have a large picture of Dora right in the middle, so she is in love! I told her we have to save the plates for her party, which is many weeks away. She looked at me suspiciously. "What's this party?" she asks. Me: "There will be cake and ice cream and your friends will come play!" Abby: "What are these friends?" Me: "Your cousins, Emmaline (whom Abby calls Emily-Lion), Sidney, Jake, Hunter, Jordy...." She nodded and went to play.
Ten minutes later she tiptoes into the laundry room where I am ironing and says: "Is my party here yet?" with her eyes glowing and in a whisper voice... that I'm-so-excited voice. I told her we had a long while to wait for her party. She nods and disappears again. Five minutes later she pops her head into the kitchen where I am loading the dishwasher and says: "Is my party here yet?" We replayed this scenario half a dozen times before bed and it made me laugh. Cake, ice cream and friends are worth a little excitement, aren't they?
Monday, September 10, 2007
Somehow very appropriate for today.... six years on. I'm sure many people have expressed the sentiment that this day was the "Pearl Harbor" or JFK Assassination moment for our generation (at least in the U.S.)... and as cliche as that sounds.... it was. I remember what I was doing, wearing, etc. Most of all I remember the shock that this could happen here. I thought first world countries were immune to this level of catastrophe.... our sophisticated electronics somehow made us better prepared to handle disaster. This day removed me from my niave shell of safety.... but it didn't change me in a fundamental way I don't think.... I think the true answer to terrorism isn't war, I think we have to respond by saying.... we value FREEDOM. Freedom of expression and thought and pursuit of happiness and love and I am saddened that our response has been exactly what the terrorists wanted..... war. And a tightening of restrictions upon our freedoms. I don't think we can live in fear of another attack. There are so many dangers lurking in our lives.... if we focus solely on safety and security, we have lived our lives playing defense... and that truly isn't living. How can you stretch and reach your goals and potential if you live in fear? I know this is a little heavy for my usual tone on this blog, but it is what is in my heart and mind today.
I still think of the lives that were directly impacted by this and think of and pray for those people. This song is such a beautiful one and for me represents hope. I have never heard a more beautiful version than Eva sings here..... peace.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
But then..... I open my eyes. There are 150 index cards strewn across the carpet in the den. A wet towel lies forgotten in the hallway. Abby is naked as the day she was born and is refusing to keep both panties and clothing on. Her hair would make Medusa's look like something in Vogue. J.T. is doing gymnastics off the couch (whose cushions are NOT where they are supposed to be). I am not in my PJ's, things are not quiet as I am repeating the following over and over: Stop that! Leave him/her alone!! If I have to tell you one more time....., and please, please, please don't do that anymore! If ya'll don't quit that, I'm going to sell you on ebay. I'm NOT kidding!!! There are two small people who are a constant blur of motion.
Not a great time to misplace my corkscrew is it? My bottle of wine sits on the counter. Yellowtail Shiraz.... still tightly sealed with cork firmly in place.... mocking me. Sob!
Friday, September 7, 2007
Rob's Dad has a saying that describes a mediocre job: "Good enough for Government work." There is great disdain among my parents generation for beauracracy.
A classic Rob phrase: "Trailer Park trash people looked at her and said: Man, he married down." And also: "He/She is wasting air." He is NOT a people person.... so he says this one frequently.
My grandmother: "Pretty is as pretty does."
"The Good Lord willing and the Creek don't rise" -- I'll be there if nothing comes up. And Creek refers not to a body of water, but to the Native American tribe that lived in south Georgia when the colonist arrived almost 300 years ago.
A whole string of sayings that describe stupidity:
"Dumber than a bag of hammers."
"Not the brightest bulb on the string."
"One brick shy of a load."
"If brains were dynamite, you wouldn't have enough to blow your nose!"
"A few sandwiches shy of a picnic."
One heard among the Great Depression generation: "We didn't have a pot to pee in."
I guess so in southern: "I reckon."
Some sayings appear to appear in other cultures too: "That's about as useless as tits on a bull." (Thanks for that info Tracey).
To finish it off, a Georgia grammer rule: Ya'll is plural. It is actually a contraction of: You all. How are ya'll doing? means: How is everyone in your family. All of you. We can always tell if we are reading something written by a Yankee pretending to be a southerner if one character says to another: How ya'll doing? That is incorrect use of the term ya'll. No southerner would ask ONE person how "ya'll" doing. We'd say: You doing all right? See.... we're not as dumb as we sound. We have grammar rules. You probably can't tell that from reading MY blog... but they do exist.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Abby, however, could teach Scarlett O'Hara a thing or two about the Georgia accent. She adds syllables to her words. Turning: What a mess! into Wah-ut a meyass! Wah-ere ARE we goin?
And BELIEVE ME, she's got the diva thing down, too. Her favorite saying of the moment is: Do you understand me? I've already told you THREE times..., No one cares! and I'm cross! Like we couldn't tell she's cross. If Abby is cross, everyone is going to suffer.
Her brother is much more the southern gentleman in personality. He says Ma'am and Sir and doesn't want anyone to get their feelings hurt. He volunteers to help with bags and a: Let me get that for you. Such a doll. Now if he would just rub off on his sister.
And now I'll share with you my very favorite southern saying: Just because I talk slow, doesn't mean I am slow. Oh and my mother-in-law's favorite saying: He doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground. Ya'll come back, ya hear?
Monday, September 3, 2007
Scads of old videotapes filling up your cabinets? Don't want to add to the landfill by throwing them out? We have the perfect solution!
J.T., Abby and Pa Pa construct the unique, yet classic, videotape tower. Don't waste your money buying blocks and legos! Put those old videotapes to good use. If you don't have your own, relatives, friends and neighbors are sure to be willing to give to such a great cause. Or, I can ship you mine for only three easy payments of 19.99 plus shipping and handling.
Two small tower builders are including. Room and Board is your responsibility. Disassembly is quick and easy. Tapes stack on standard size shelves. No refunds or exchanges.