Friday Addictions

Well, here we are, Friday, my old friend, you never disappoint, you always bring hope and Starbucks. I can never be mad at you, and after next week you and I will grow even closer as I will be alone with you every week.
Yes folks, after next week I will be working Monday through Thursday, having three days off in a row. It will take some getting used to, as I am loving having the day off in the middle of the week, but I am sure I shall soon acquit myself to the new schedule.
To celebrate Friday, Tammi proclaimed it Sassy Shoe Friday, I of course had to step up to the plate and indeed wear amazing shoes. Picture is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I am sure you will be able to see them in one of those places. I know you are not supposed to play favorites; however, these shoes are special. Blue suede Steve Madden pumps, and yes I know it is not winter or fall even, however I could not resist, they are the sassiest shoes by far that I own.
I have my Starbucks, Peppermint Mocha with soy milk, so amazingly good, ever since Michelle convinced me to try soy, I have not gone back. It just makes the drinks richer; I love it, so creamy and good, filled with caffeine and just loveliness. Who can resist the coffee? Not me, I don’t even try, why bother, I am an addict, I admit it. No twelve step program for me, I revel in my addictions, whether it be coffee, chocolate or shoes. I am not giving up any of them! I don’t think they have rehab for those things anyway, so everyone is out of luck.
So many addictions so little time, my Grandpa always told me that Testerman’s are easily addicted to things. He warned me to never start smoking or drinking, that it was incredibly easy for us to become addicted to those things. He never said a word about chocolate or coffee, although he used to tease my Grandma about her coffee addiction. Oh, yes, I am just like my Grandmother in so many ways. I am argumentative, I believe I am always right, I believe my children and grandchildren can do no wrong, I love my coffee. Oh and I am also addicted to Hollywood gossip and romance novels, another thing she passed onto me. So there you have it, confession Friday, I do believe I shall stop at the book store on my way home and get some reading material for the weekend!

Exciting News for Freddy

Well I did not get picked for jury duty, very disappointed, yet again, however the courthouse I went to this time was outstanding! Beautiful architecture and the inside was just fabulous, if I had to choose a waiting room, well this was exceptional. Till next time courthouse, then perhaps lady justice wil choose me to dispense her brand.
Yesterday was spent taking the Irishman to the doctor, he is still not even 30% better but he is on the mend. Then out to lunch, I was finally able to take him for his annual birthday steak. Then dropping him off, a little rest for me, then up and at ’em.
Costco, Target, the mall and finally, getting to see my son on his birthday, priceless. So happy I got to spend time with my amazing son on his day. Also got to see Alex and Freddy, always a treat, I found out that Freddy will be doing some writing for a hunting magazine. So excited for him, this is huge news, he is an avid hunter and even a hunting guide. Writing about his experiences is the natural progression for someone as passionate about the sport as he is. Can’t wait to read what he writes!
Well it is back to work for me, two days then I get to sleep in on Saturday and catch back up on laundry, I cannot remember if I have anything else to do, my mind is a blank right now.
I am working on Monday, from 7am to 4pm, not too bad, get to sleep in a little then get off an hour earlier than I normally do. Next week is my last week on my current schedule, then it is 4 straight work days of 6 am to 5pm, it will take some getting used to, however I am looking forward to 3 days off in a row.

Happy Birthday Jeffrey Andrew

Today is the day that Jeffrey Andrew was born, I remember the day like it was just yesterday, I remember his dad looked like the proverbial Japanese tourist. He had about 4 cameras, I nixed the video camera, no way was I going to have my C-Section on video.
Dear Jeffrey,
We were so happy to be having you son, happy and a little nervous. You were born a year after Michael and it was a little scary, back in those days they took babies two weeks earlier than the actual due date. You were born with water on your lungs and had to be put in the baby intensive care unit for 6 days while your lungs dried out.
During that time a doctor told me you would never be normal, never run, never play sports, have asthma and never breath like a normal child. God laughed at him, not only did you run, you played, soccer, baseball and one year of football.
You have grown up to be a man any mother would be proud of, you are funny, smart, handsome and loyal, I am so proud of the person you have become. You are such a good father to your child, patient, loving and handling situations with a sense of humor.
Happy Birthday son I love you so much,
Mom

Stressful Television

I hate drama, and I don’t very much care for the people that start it, I am so stressed out from watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey this season. Teresa is lying a lot, we saw last season where she told Caroline and Jacqueline both to not talk to Melissa and Kathy. Bravo plays a lot of those things to show Teresa couldn’t tell the truth if it bit her in the behind. Just an example is the cookie thing, Kathy never once said oh these are my mother’s recipe, Bravo replayed that scene, she said oh my mother used to make these. Teresa sees drama where there is none and then explodes it into something completely different than what it was.
I do believe it was the right thing to do when Joe got her out of there, the only nice thing he did all season. I do feel bad for her seeing what her husband said about her to what was obviously another woman. I hope they really have worked things out on that front, as I did feel bad for Teresa, no one deserves for their own husband to say those things about them. EVER.
I wish Teresa would go back to writing her own blog, it is obvious it is not her, it was way more colorful when she did it herself.
We now know what Jacqueline was going through at home, since the article in People magazine came out. I do not envy her at all going through that, it will be a lifelong battle, to secure the treatments her son needs and to figure out what works and what doesn’t. She was very brave making that public, perhaps helping others in their struggle with Autism.
I believe Dina Manzo needs to step up to the plate and tell Teresa my family means more to me than you do. She has many siblings and in-laws she has ditched simply to be friends with someone that if she disagreed with would dump her in a heartbeat. It has been shown time and time again, Teresa is only loyal as long as you agree with her. Tell her you are going to distance yourself while you work on your relationships with your family.
Another fun filled week at work, 2 days there, one day off, two days there, two days off, the next shift change starts September 9. I will be working Monday through Thursday this time around, it should be interesting. Having three days off in a row will be very restful, I hope!

Crazy Cat Lady in Training

Well here I sit on a Saturday morning, drinking my coffee trying to decide what kind of old person I want to be. I believe we should make these decisions early in life so it doesn’t sneak up on us. I know I want to be sassy, I would like to be likable, I want to be independent and still full of wonder regarding God’s miracles in life. Large and small. I would like to wear nothing but red and purple, when I die I want to be buried in a ball gown with designer shoes. Because if I am going to be wearing something for eternity I want it to be fabulous.
At one time I wanted to be known as the crazy cat lady as that is always a fun moniker, however the thought of dying surrounded by cats is a little scary. So I do believe that is out for me, I don’t want to be the mean, scary old woman, I have seen that in one of our neighborhoods, never a good thing.
I do believe I want to be a cross between my grandma and my mom, that is a good combination. If you all decide what kind of old person you want to be let me know I am very curious about these things.
Today is filled with Tessa, me taking her to Samantha’s birthday party, I know she will have so much fun. Then trying to get out of my son what he wants to do for his birthday, it’s Wednesday, the Irishman’s is Monday, crazy month of birthdays.
I don’t think this will be a long entry, I have seriously not had enough coffee, ah coffee, the main love of my life. Elixir of the gods, life giving force, this is the Ambrosia that is talked about in Greek Mythology, don’t believe me? With it you feel as if you can conquer any task, sound familiar? With it you will live forever. Ok, you may not live forever drinking coffee however, you will go out on a buzz!

My Life Story, sorta

Every family has a throw away child somewhere in it’s history, you know the one that I mean, the one where when the mother finds out she is pregnant no one is thrilled because they know without a doubt that the mother is not capable of taking care of that child. In my family that child was me, I don’t say this to garner sympathy, it is simply a fact, I have known it all my life. My mother, God rest her soul, was neither mentally or emotionally capable of being a real mother to any of her children, she gave all of us away. I spent years being angry with her, for what I perceived as her inadequacies, weaknesses really, what I thought of as weakness was really a strength, she knew her limitations and knew her children would be better off with people capable of raising them. Some of us fared better than others, I was a lucky one.
My grandparents were the ones that raised me from the time I was born until I was five years old, the time between then until I was 12 I ignore. It is my life and if I choose to ignore those years I get to, when I was 12 it was back to my grandparents. Now I will admit right here and now I was an unmitigated brat, I was spoiled beyond belief, after all I was being raised by grandparents and a great aunt that allowed me to say anything I wanted, do anything I wanted and gave me anything I wanted, all without consequence. So by the time I was 13 I was a mess, wild, undisciplined and a little out of control, I say this to explain what I am going to say next.
When my grandfather died I was completely devastated, the first hero of my short life was gone, my rock, my reality completely gone. My world imploded, I knew it was going to be changed, I didn’t know how much. I don’t remember the exact timeline of this next event; I do remember it was after the funeral, I was sitting outside on the back porch of my grandparent’s house. One of my Uncles, and I am not going to say which one, there is no need now to say names, came out, hunkered down and said we are all in there trying to decide what to do with you and no one wants to take you. I didn’t know what to say so I said nothing; I just sat there looking straight ahead. He got up and went back in, I just sat there with my cat, alone, thinking, I know my grandma wants me, she has to, she was the only real mother I had ever known.
The next thing that happened was my Aunt Odela came out, sat down next to me and began to swing her legs like a little kid, which made me smile. She was literally the nicest person in our family, she looked over at me and said “I’d really like it if you came to Owasso and spent the summer with me.” There was no mention of no one wanting me and she was stuck with me, it was a simple I want you to come visit with us and get to know our side of the family. Her husband, my Uncle Foy was my grandfather’s brother, and while I had seen them time after time through the years I really didn’t know them.
So after school was out they came and got me and took me to Owasso, to the country, where I met my best friend in the entire world, Tammi, where I explored the creek, the ponds and the railroad tracks. Where I learned discipline, humor and true kindness. At the end of the summer my Aunt said I would really like it if you came to live with us permanently, by that point I was in love with her, I said yes without a second thought. After that my Aunt and Uncle asked if they could adopt me.
They always made everything my choice, I didn’t know until much later, that my grandfather had contacted his brother before he passed and asked him to please take me. When I was born my aunt and uncle had actually asked my birth mother if they could take me and raise me, my grandmother said no. I also found out from my best friend Tammi, that before I even came to Owasso that my mom told her that she was getting another daughter. That I thought I was coming for the summer but she was not letting me go, I was going to be hers. The throwaway child was no longer thrown away, I had two people that actually wanted me and was happy I was there.
I say all this because I heard a couple of times this past week about how I just disappeared, I would like to take this moment to point out I never did. I was always in contact with my grandmother, we wrote letters, I called and I visited. I spent weekends with her and Aunt Effie at my Uncle J.H. and Aunt Laura Fay’s home, they always knew how I was and where I was. The other adults in my life, never once called my adopted parents and asked how I was doing, if I was adjusting, were there any issues. I always thought they were secretly relieved I was gone, the one that no one really wanted in the first place. I don’t mean my cousins, they probably never even knew where I was, I am talking about my aunts and uncles, my birth mothers siblings, with the exception of one. You never called, you never wrote, you knew where I was, you had a meeting to draw straws on who would have to take me. The loser was going to have to take me. I understand my Uncle Foy stood up at that point and quietly said, we want her. I want you all to know they didn’t consider it a losing venture, I had a great life, I was loved, wanted and taught a great many things.
I missed all of you, my cousins, second cousins and aunts and uncles, I am not angry about what happened, I am not bitter, my life is exactly the way it should be, I had great parents, I have amazing children and now I have my cousins again. I am so overwhelmed by the sense of belonging I feel now when I am with them. Getting to see Patrick yesterday was the most amazing thing, finding out Richard, Anne, Patty, Bill and James and their families live within 45 minutes of me, I cannot begin to explain how wonderful that is. Staying in my cousin Cindy’s home, feeling completely at home there, finding my touchstone again, it is nothing short of miraculous, so to my Uncle who told me about the meeting that was taking place, I say thank you, you words directed my life in a way that was nothing short of amazing. I had the best parents, I have my best friend and I have my children because of you. What you did for me, is help me, at the age of 13, take control of my life and direct it in such a way that I might not have done if I had not had those words said to me.
As I said, I am not angry, bitter or anything else negative, I am grateful, grateful I got to have such great parents, grateful my mother knew enough to give me up, grateful for my cousins, aunts and uncles, grateful to have everyone in my life.

Oklahoma

Once again I am in a position needing to get ready to go somewhere and I cannot resist the urge to document something. I don’t want to lose it, the thought, the epiphany. I am at my cousin Cindy’s house and she is not here, so I decide to let the dogs out of their kennels, play with them and let them out to relieve themselves as we will not be back here for a while after we leave.
I walk outside and am struck by the peace that I feel, the overwhelming sense of home that has washed over me. I look out at the trees and look down at the red dirt of Oklahoma, I feel the wind blowing and I know that this place, this state, is my home.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love Texas and will not be moving anytime soon, it’s just that this place, this state, the one that my great grandparents moved to in the 1890’s. It is where my soul finds peace, it is a balm, it soothes me like no other state in the union does.

Wednesday evening we went to the funeral home and met with my Aunt and cousins, I got to see my Uncle one last time. The American flag was draped on his casket, so fitting, I am so happy that the VA honored him in such a way. From what my cousin Cindy and my Aunt Laura Fay told me, the VA hospital in Oklahoma City treated my Uncle with the utmost respect and dignity. They were kind and helpful to my Aunt, I know you are thinking shouldn’t that always be the case, but we all know that does not always happen. I want to acknowledge the people who treated her with such kindness.

We went back to my Aunts home where a fairly good size crowd gathered, it was wonderful seeing everyone, sad it had to be in this circumstance. The service itself was nothing short of wonderful. Two Army soldiers in full dress blues were there to send him off in great patriotic fanfare. One played Taps on the bugle, they saluted my Uncle, they made great ceremony of the folding of the flag and presenting it my Aunt and saluting once she had it in her arms. It was a fine send off for a great man, he would be proud of the way his children are rallying around their mother, his wife of 63 years. I am proud to call these people my family.

I have so much more to say about the time spent in Oklahoma but it can wait, this could not, my heart is full, my head is full, I am ready for bed.

 

See you later not goodbye

I should be packing, showering and in general getting ready to leave, however, as I am never good at keeping my feelings to myself I feel the need to jot a few things down.
I have said it before and I will say it again, I am so glad I went to my family reunion, I am so happy to be in contact with the family that I spent my early years with. I really didn’t realize how much I missed them until I reconnected with them. They were the first influences in my life, my cousin Patrick for teaching me to jump and spin at the same time, Cindy and Paula tolerating me following them like a puppy dog.
My Grandparents babied me, my Great Aunt Effie taught me real humanity, to treat all God’s creatures with kindness, from the stray dog on the street to the stray human on the street. She had a smile for everyone along with a kind word. She taught me that even if you have a physical impairment (she was legally blind) it didn’t have to mean you were helpless. You could still contribute to your family and society as a whole.
So today I travel to be with my cousins and Aunt who have lost the biggest influence in their life, a father, husband, grandfather, uncle, soldier, friend, he had so many titles and wore them all with grace and humility. I can only pray that I will do and say the things that they need in their time of grief, I thank God for bringing them back into my life for so many reasons.
I don’t go to say goodbye, I go to say safe journey, say hello to grandma and grandpa, please be sure and give my mom and dad a hug from me and tell my son I still miss him and love him. You will be forever my favorite Uncle, the one who taught me to play poker, that it was ok to be imperfect and courage in the face of adversity.

Going Home

When I went to my family reunion this past summer I saw my Aunt Laura Fay and Uncle J.H., when I was little my Uncle JH was my favorite uncle. Many of you know that I am adopted, my Uncle J.H. is my birth mother’s brother, so he is my real uncle. Anyway, I used to follow him everywhere when I was a toddler, I fully remember when he had to go to the hospital, I don’t know how old I was, I just know I was really young. I remember standing my ground and demanding that my grandparents take me to see him, I remember going to the hospital and seeing him there in the bed, I remember my cousins being there. I don’t know if I remember it so vividly because I was told the story so often by my grandmother or if it is a real memory. But I know I always loved my uncle, I didn’t see him for a long time because once you are adopted and move to a different city, well, over time you have a new routine and it gets harder to maintain relationships.
When I went to the family reunion this summer it was a reunion of my birth mother’s side of the family, I believe I have said that before, but anyway, I saw my uncle there. He was 90 and looking frail, I cannot begin to express the level of emotion that gathered in me. I am so happy I went, I am so happy I got to see him. Today he went home, he went to be with his son Gary, his mother and father and his siblings that went before him. I know there is great rejoicing as a son is welcomed home, people will miss him here, but are happy that he is no longer suffering and in pain.
He was a World War II vet, he lived the American Dream, he went to work, he worked hard, he had a family that consisted of a wife and 5 children, countless grandchildren and great grands, and if I am not mistaken a couple of great greats thrown in there.
Even though I was not his child, when I was young he allowed me to tag along, follow him around like a puppy dog and never, ever made me feel like I was a bother. He taught me how to play poker (much to my grandmothers chagrin) he always made me laugh.
I am so happy I got to see you one more time Uncle J.H., to hug you, and hopefully let you know what an influence you were in my life.

American Pride

I have been thinking a lot lately regarding the sad state of what is actually taught in our schools, these children, American children, are not being taught about American history. Not in the school system and not at home. Even when my children were in school I noticed the degradation of American History being taught. Where was Thomas Paine? The Federalist Papers written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay. These two alone should be mandatory reading, the ones who founded our country, shaped our destiny.
Why are parents not teaching these things? I taught my children about American History and our part in it, they have a lot to be proud of, between their ancestors on my side who fought in the American Revolution, to their dad’s side that came through Ellis Island. Their forebearers were great people who had a hand in creating this great nation. Workers, men and women who were fearless, I believe the reason my children are fearless in carving out their lives is due to the stories of their ancestors that I told to them. I will be passing these stories on to Tessa as well, I will also be teaching her about her country, why it is worthy of her love and loyalty.
America is the land of opportunity, it is this worlds’ best hope for true freedom, I really believe that, I believe we need to instill in our children the love of this country. When did we stop doing that? Was it when they took the pledge of allegiance out of schools? The children of today don’t know what loyalty is, they are not taught it at home, they are not taught at school, they have no loyalty to family or country. We are truly headed for disaster if we do not correct this soon, we need to start instilling in our children a love of country, the love of this country, loyalty to their family as well. If they are not taught this early they will never learn it.