Happy Halloween!

Today is Halloween, the day you dress up, hand out candy and just have fun. I have always loved Halloween, I love dressing up, love the haunted houses, love horror movies, just all of it. Dressing up for Halloween is come as you aren’t. For me that is someone who is beautiful, young and magical. Yes, I said it, magical. All of my life I have wanted to be Samantha from Bewitched, then it was Sabrina from the Archie comics, Witchy Poo from the Saturday morning programs, well you get the idea. It was another form of escapism for me, like reading was.
I loved watching the old black and white horror films, Dracula, The Wolfman, and Frankenstein’s Monster, all of them. I wanted to simultaneously be a witch and a vampire. I wonder if you can be both.
Then came Buffy, I wanted to be a slayer, and yes I know I was an adult at the time that came out, it didn’t matter, it spoke to the teenager in me. Plus the writing was amazing, the delivery of the lines perfect from every actor on that show.
I don’t know what it is about Halloween, but I still love it, I still love dressing up, if I had not been so busy with United Way and then other happenings I would have planned out a costume. It takes months of prep work for the right costume.
I hope everyone has a great day and celebrates accordingly!

United Way…..

Yesterday was the end of our fundraising for out one time gift to United Way. My team raised $9076.00, our goal was $9,000.00. When I set that goal every single person on that team looked at me like I was crazy. But like Sandi always said, if your goal does not give you butterflies it is not big enough. So, off we went working like crazy people. I never doubted we would make it. I worked with some of the most dedicated people I have ever worked with. We worked thirteen hour days, on our feet selling, or cooking or doing both at the same time.
We did it, and then some. Many thanks goes to Gladys’ husband Don, without his generosity offering us a portion of each football jersey sold we would never have made it. Thank you Don! We all heart you!
We had some amazing raffle items, Gina never taking no for an answer, getting us gift certificates from new and exciting restaurants in the area, both Steve and Gina coming in on their off days to help us when their management team pulled them from the team for a two week period, you guys simply rock. Brent and Jose, well, our third year together was the best yet.
Kimmy I appreciate so much your willingness to do whatever we asked you to do on the days you were able to participate. Much love to you.
Gladys, I saved you for last because you are the best! You stepped out and used all of your kitchen gadgets and even got some new ones! You worked tirelessly even when you didn’t feel your best, without you, I know we could not have pulled this off. Whatever crazy idea I had, you were right there making sure it went off without a hitch.
To all the people who bought whatever we were selling, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Parenting

Sunday I was expressing some frustration to Alex about something, he looked at me and said “Mom, not every parent is like you.” I asked what he meant by that, he said not every parent is willing to sacrifice what they want in order for their children to have what they need. He went on to tell me he had watched me through the years and realized that I went without nice things so he and his siblings could have the things that they needed.
It is moments like those that make you think, possibly, just possibly, you did something right as a parent. I see it a lot with Jeffrey and Elizabeth, but to see it with Alex, well that was what I believe the therapist call a break through moment.
I miss when my children were all with me, but I am proud of the adults they have become and or working on becoming, in some instances. I look at Jeffrey and all that he has accomplished in his short life and am extremely proud of him. He has a great family, he succeeds at his job and he is a good person with a huge heart.
I am so proud of Elizabeth, she is so amazing, not only is she beautiful, she is smart and funny and works harder than anyone I have ever known. Sandi always told me if she had ever had a daughter she would have wanted her to be just like Elizabeth.
I am proud of Alex on working on conquering things that are holding him back. He is smart and funny and has a ton of potential that I am positive he will grow into.
As a single mom you wonder if you did enough, if you had enough time to spend with each one, if you gave them the skills to succeed. There are a lot of if’s for dual parent households, in a single parent household with multiple children those if’s are multiplied to the power of ten.
Only time will tell for those of you in the middle of raising children, just know the sacrifices you make now are short term. Eventually you can go back to buying designer shoes and clothes, or whatever it is that you love.

Cookie Debacle

I am not going to write about yesterday, I can’t right now, I am afraid it will become maudlin and Sandi would have beaten me with a stick for that.
So, today I am writing about cookies, yes, cookies. I make these cookies that are Elizabeth Anne’s favorite, they are pure sugar and addictive. Here is the problem; they never turn out the same. EVER. I have been making these cookies since we lived in Atlanta, I first had them there. Same issue every time. I cannot get them to come out the same, sometimes they are perfection, sometimes they look like the “presents” Chewie leaves. It is not pretty. Most of the time they taste amazing, every once in a while they taste like, well, the “presents” Chewie leaves.
I seriously don’t know what to do about this, I follow the recipe exactly, but they never turn out the same. I think it must be me, after all these years, I am the common denominator in the whole recipe factor. I don’t know what to do about it, perhaps it is time to realize that I cannot do anything about it and just make three batches in a row to get the perfect one. Or maybe Elizabeth should take over and see if she can do better than her mom…. Hmmmm…. Interesting thought.
In case you are wondering, the cookies are the no bake oatmeal cookies. You cook them on the stove top then drop them onto wax paper, when they are cooled; the goal is to have a yummy, sugar-filled treat.

Mary Kay

so I had so many Mary Kay things happen today. My first thought was to call Sandi. Who do I call now?

Sandi

I can’t talk about Sandi without talking about Daniel. Daniel is the son she shared with us, as we shared Jeffrey with their family. One day Daniel was telling a story about his mom, I don’t remember the exact content of the story but it ended with her going to the school and him being embarrassed. I was laughing, hard, and Daniel said, you don’t understand, my mom is a tiny little woman and I’m scared of her, that is just not right. I told Daniel he should have a little fear of his mom and then confessed we were all a little scared of her. I used the wrong terminology; we were all in awe of Sandi.
Sandi was fierce, fiercely loyal, and fierce in her belief in the women she had chosen to surround herself with, a fierce mother, wife, daughter and friend. She was there for me during so many bad times, sad times and happy times. She introduced me to a way of life that made my family’s life a little easier financially. Yes I do mean Mary Kay. More than that, she saw potential in me when I didn’t really see it myself. I will never forget all that she gave to me, old fashioned support and belief in me.
She did that for everyone around her, instilled a sense of belief that we could all reach for the moon and land among the stars. She let us all know that we were stars to her, that we were somebody’s. More than that she shared her son with me, Daniel and Jeffrey became best friends in kindergarten. They are now 25 years old. I love Daniel like a son, he is amazing and I am so grateful she shared him with us. More than that, when my own mother passed away, Sandi shared her mother with me. Now I am sharing my mother with her. I know my mom will greet Sandi and thank her for being such an amazing friend to her daughter.
I will miss my friend terribly, while I know intellectually she is in a better place (and yes she really is) it does not ease my sense of loss; there will never be another Sandi.
You fought a brave battle my friend, and in the end, you really did win. I’ll see you again, tell my mom I said hi and I know she will give you a hug from me.

Sad

My heart is heavy. My friend passed away this afternoon. She was brave and beautiful and gracious. She held my hand through so much. I am going to miss her terribly.

Jess made me think

Well it has happened again folks; something that was said on Facebook has made me think. I know you were hoping this had stopped, but alas, I fear it is just the beginning.
My friend Jess said that he and his son saw entire St. Louis airport stood and honored a procession of WWII vets making their way through the airport. He went on to say that he tried to explain to him what it was and why it meant so much to us as Americans. And he was not sure he had done a good job.
It made me think, when and how had I explained this to my children. I think it was just an ongoing process, as their Great-Grandfather had fought in WWII and lost a leg and some fingers in the process. Their Great Grandpa Wells was an extraordinary man, not only did he fight for this great country and physically sacrifice for it, he continued to give to his community and the surviving Vets of other wars that came home and had a tough time. I don’t remember ever making it pretty for them, the children; we used the words war, fighting, loss of limbs, because that is what their Great Grandpa had experienced. They were never traumatized by it, Jeffrey was traumatized by the knowledge that dinosaurs had actually existed and were not cute and fluffy. He learned that in kindergarten and had excessive nightmares for months.
Perhaps it is because they grew up with my stories of my family fighting for this country, from birth I told them the stories that had been told to me. The bravery of the men and women who had come before us, to fight, so we would possibly not have to. I wonder if it is more difficult for families who do not have that immediate connection to the not so distant past to explain it. I don’t know, I don’t have any answers, I too, like Jess am at a loss, Tessa does not have that immediate connection, she will never get to know her Great Great Grandpa Wells the way her father knew him, so I wonder if her parents will have the same concerns explaining the sacrifices, the battles fought and won, for her to enjoy the life she has.
When is information too much, and when is it just enough? I don’t want the past to be watered down, the generations coming up need to know, we will not have the men and women around too much longer for firsthand accounts. When I was in junior high and high school we had a holocaust survivor come and speak to us on what he had experienced. I remember sitting in Mr. Wright’s history class sobbing during his story. That humans could be that cruel, an impossible thought, but I needed to know, we all need to know, so we never ever repeat history. But without the firsthand accounts will it be as effective? Just reading about it? I know I was much more affected hearing it from a survivor than just reading it in the books.
Jess has definitely made me think today.

The horrors of aging for this woman

I have a serious topic I would like to discuss today, actually discuss is a misleading word; I want to state my opinion. I know a lot of women might disagree with me and some will probably agree with me. I am finding in the media these days that strange things are being said regarding movie and television stars, even pop stars. This phenomenon of wanting women on the small and large screen to look like every day average women. Seriously??? No, this is not possible, when did this occur? I want my movie, television and pop stars to look better than me, I want them to be thin and youthful and beautiful. Who wants to look at themselves on the screen? I know I don’t. I want something to strive for, I want Jennifer Aniston arms, Brittney Spears abs and yes, Kim Kardashians behind. If I could afford it I would run to a plastic surgeon.
My biggest fear in life is having all of the wrinkles that my grandmother had, I remember looking at her, and I loved her beyond anyone, thinking I so do not want to have all of those wrinkles. I fight it every day. It is exhausting being me; I fight every wrinkle I work towards a skinniness that I cannot possibly attain. It makes me happy to do that. Let’s face it we have been trying to look like movie stars since the days of Clara Bow and Mary Pickford.
I think I looked my best at the age of 17, if I could look like that again I would in a heartbeat. I don’t understand how a loving God could have made the playing field so uneven in the sexes. When men get older they become distinguished, when women get older we are hags. I am fast approaching hag territory, I try and stave it off as much as I can, thank God for Mary Kay skin care products, I know I would not look half as good as I do without them. And I don’t think I look that good. I was at a bridal show with a friend and the plastic surgeon booth was all over her and ignored me. I figured it was due to me being beyond help. I still get depressed thinking about it. I am saving towards a major overhaul. I want to fight aging; I don’t want to go gracefully.

Ducktales

Life is like a hurricane here in Duckburg
Race cars, lasers, aeroplanes – it’s a duck blur
You might solve a mystery or rewrite history

Duck Tales, Oo-oo
Tales of derring-do, bad and good luck tales, oo-oo

D-d-d-danger, watch behind you – there’s a stranger out to find you
What to do? Just grab onto some Duck Tales, oo-oo!
Not pony tails or cotton tails but Duck Tales, oo-oo!

When it seems they’re headed for the final curtain
Bold deduction never fails, that’s for certain
The worst of messes become successes!

Duck Tales, Oo-oo
Tales of derring-do, bad and good luck tales, oo-oo
Not pony tails or cotton tails but Duck Tales, oo-oo!