Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Heart Growing Fonder

Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.
Khalil Gibran

Summer is officially here. For me summer begins when the kids get out of school.

It also means that my oldest has been gone almost a month. He is doing his basic training in Ft. Benning, Georgia. He will not be home until the middle of August and then he will go right back to college.

I miss him with ever fiber of my being. The summer is just beginning and I already miss him terribly. I'm weepy at weird times. I think its because we were once physically linked. When he was in my womb. For me, as his mother, that link has never actually been severed. Sure, the umbilical cord was cut but he was still connected to me. I feel the same way about my other two. When my children hurt, I hurt with them. Maybe more.

I miss talking to him. He has always been able to make me laugh. Because of cell phones we spoke every other day even after he moved out and was in college. I miss being able to just hear his voice.

He has written to me and the rest of our family almost every day. I am proud that he writes a really good letter. He describes what he is doing and how hard it is. They had to go into a gas chamber just the other day and take off the mask, breathe in the gas and then recite a creed, their name and social security number. He said the gas burns like nothing he had ever felt before. All of them were coughing, choking, vomiting. They knew better then to try and get out. You see, the plattoon who went in ahead of them had a guy run out screaming. He was drug back in and made to do the exercise TWICE.

They did a ropes course the other day. The highest bridge was 50 ft. They were told that when they fell they needed to make an L with their body. One guy didn't and broke his ankle.

They get 3 minutes to eat their meals and 20 seconds in the shower. It's been eye-opening for my younger children. They now realize that their big brother is NOT at a summer camp.

The rest of my family is eager to hear C's letter's when they arrive. I have already written him back many times. The other two boys have now written and my husband too. This will be our writing summer. I will keep C's letters forever. I plan to tie them with ribbon and put them in the cedar chest my dad made for me.

We will all go in August to see him graduate. His letters have really pulled us in and we will understand what he had to go through to receive his blue cord. It will mean a lot to us too. I am proud of how well C is doing. He has done physical training all year long with an Army Ranger training unit at his college and he has been in ROTC the past year.

C won't be going with us on the family vacations this summer. It will feel like we all left an arm behind or something. I just miss him so much. August is a long way away.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Weird Food

Do you remember when you were maybe 9 or 10 or maybe junior high and went to a friend's house and got something out of their refrigerator or pantry?? Or maybe you were having dinner there?

Did you ever notice that other people had weird food compared to your own at home?

I always found it very interesting in my purely voyeuristic way to peek into people's pantries. No, I am not a bathroom medicine cabinet lurker just kitchen.

I had a friend that got their milk from REAL cows. Like the milk came in big glass jars. They would pour off the cream (tons of it!) and threw away a lot of it because they couldn't use it all. I love cream and can drink it straight (not recommended if you are on a diet!) and her family thought it was the funniest thing to watch me drink the cream.

They also ate cornbread broken up into buttermilk. They also made their tea as a thick syrup with sugar. Then you would add as much as you wanted to your glass of ice water.

Another friend's mom would cook dinner and I would eat biscuits and red eye gravy. (I lived in Oklahoma people - what do you think I would be eating??). My parents were both from Colorado so my mom didn't cook like this. I thought it was awesome! To this day, there ain't nothing you can't slather some gravy on and make it better. Or add bacon.

I can remember my friend Mona, who's family got one of the first microwaves (I was in maybe 6th grade??) and we ate a ton of cherry pastries just because when you warmed them up in the microwave it made them soft and heavenly.

It was always interesting to see how other people lived. Your idea of a meal was different than their's. Even how they approached meal time. I remember one friend who's brother would wear headphones (and I am talking the old timey headphones that could hardly fit through a doorway) to the table because he didn't like hearing other people chew. Her family would all act like this was totally normal and nothing was amiss. Or the other friend who's dad would sit by himself at his recliner in front of the t.v. while the rest of the family sat at the table. You couldn't talk very loud because he was WATCHING THE NEWS.

Looking back, I realize I didn't know anyone ethnic growing up. Boy, did I live in a white bread world. But wouldn't that have been great to have had an Asian friend?? Or Italian? or Thai???

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Toast

Today is my anniversary. I married my Prince Charming but did have the requisite frogs first. We have made it through many moves from state to state, three boys who are turning out mighty fine and the usual stresses about money. Through it all, we have never lost our ability to laugh at ourselves, enjoy each other's company, keep the romance kindling and remain best friends.

Here's to 15 years with a man that I love, like, lust and just all around enjoy!

Marriage is a lottery, but you can't tear up your ticket if you lose.
-- F. M. Knowles

Can you hear me shout? I got a winning ticket!!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Top Chef, I am not.

It's not fair. I am the queen of the house. I am the one who keeps the house (or arranges it to be done!), plans and cooks most meals, waits in doctor's and dentist's offices and so on. My husband likes to cook, but he usually gets home too late to get dinner started.

But, as queen, I would expect to be the best chef in my house. Mind you, I live vicariously, through the Food Network t.v. channel. I LOVE to cook. I love Rachel Ray. I love Paula Dean. I love Southern Living magazine and am always clipping recipes.

Most nights (unless its a frozen pizza night) my kid's pick away at their poached salmon in white wine sauce, or chicken medallions sauteed with garlic and olive oil served atop angel hair pasta, or maybe it's home made shrimp alfredo with get my drift. "How many more bites do I have to eat!" That is like a knife through my heart.

I don't like to cook if its just mac & cheese or chicken nuggets. I want to try new things and new recipes. I am all about the presentation too! Fresh basil for garnish and maybe a dish of gingered steamed carrots for color!

For the umpeenth time, my husband made dinner last night. And, for the umpteenth time the kids acted like kittens with catnip. What did he make? SLOPPY JOES.

Several years back, I used to make my marinara sauce from scratch. One day, while in a hurry, I grabbed a jar of Prego and used it. My children swooned that night at the dinner table. "Mom! This is the best spaghetti you've ever made!" Boy, did I feel like an idiot for spending all that time and effort in the kitchen.

I am either a bad cook (oh, please, like I think that's really a possibility!) or my children have bad taste. I would love to say you be the judge, but that is one thing we haven't figured out with blogging or email. Otherwise, I would send my steak au poivre as an attachment.


This is to test run a post and see if my Blog shows up again! I hate you Blogger!!

Thursday, May 18, 2006


You may not get daily doses of the Enron trial like we do here in Houston. If you don't then you are missing out on the "Most Romantic Couple of the Year."

Yes, I am nominating Ken Lay and his wife, Linda for the title. You see every day when they arrive at Ken's trial, they hold hands for all to see. EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Ken puts on his face that says, "Look how supportive and loving my wife is! She holds my hand all the time!"

Linda's face attempts (but usually fails) to say "Gawd! I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but this trial! Who needs shopping or the mansion in Colorado when I get to sit through a trial, HOLDING MY HUSBAND's HAND all day long???"

Personally, I think they took the attorney's recommendation a bit to far. No one holds hands like that. My hubby and I are as romantic as they come. We hold hands every now and then but not everywhere we go. Look at the other guy in the picture. He must be one of their attorney's and he wants to make sure everyone sees how much they love each other.

I am starting to wonder if the Lay's just got to messing around with the Super Glue or something. Maybe Kenny was working around the house trying to catch up on his list of Honey-Do's and so the hand holding is really a medical condition, not a romantic one.

Note to self: When husband is on trial for milking millions of dollars out of investors show solidarity to press by using more variety: holding hands, linking arms and skipping, wrap arms around waists and do the monkey walk, leap frog, have hubby bring me in piggy-back one day.....

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Things About Me that You Could Care Less About

Mignon over at Thought Concoction is obviously obsessed with me so pegged me to do another MeMe. We all know how I feel about these, right?? Hate the Stinkin' MeMe!! But since I didn't have anything else for you today I will do the first half.

1. First name? Debra Jean. Doesn't get more Beverly Hill Billy than that.
2. Were you named after anyone? Debbie Reynolds. My dad chose it and to this day usually spells my name wrong. One b instead of two.
3. Do you wish on stars? Yes.
4. When did you last cry? Sunday night when I wished my 8 year old Happy Birthday Eve and realized it was the last night EVER for me to know him as 8 years old. My husband thinks I'm morbid because I get like this on the eve of the kid's birthdays.
5. Do you like your handwriting? Why? Who cares? This is a dumb question. Let's just say I don't dislike my handwriting.
6. What is your favorite lunch meat? Subway Turkey Deluxe. The deluxe means bacon. Really, there isn't anything you can't add bacon too and not make it better.
7. When is your birthday? The same day as Walt Disney's and Frank Sinatra's. Dec. 5th.
8. What is your most embarrassing CD? Milli Vanilli and Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation.
9. If you were another person would you be friends with you? That's a toughie. I think I can be hard to get to know and I come across as very confident which can intimidate other people. Otherwise, I am terribly fun and funny!!!
10. Do you have a journal? You are reading it. Don't divulge all of my deep dark secrets, please.
12. Would you bungee jump? Petrified of heights. So, no never. What happened to #11??
13. What is your favorite cereal? Peanut Butter Crunch - absolutely!! Oh, I needs me a little Captain right now!
14. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Of course!
15. Do you think that you are strong? Yes. Except when it comes to seeing my own children's blood. Then I am a big, freaking puddle on the floor.
16. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Baskin Robbins World's Finest Chocolate
17. Shoe Size? 7
18. Red or pink? Depends on my mood. My husband would answer red, but sometimes I am a pink girl.
19. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? Over analyzing things. Sometimes I wish my brain would just shut the hell up.
20. Who do you miss the most? My family. We used to live so close by and my kids got to see them all the time. Now its two or three times a year. I also miss my mother-in-law. She died 6 years ago. She was a hoot.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Chain, Chain, Chain

"Would you like 36 pairs of flip-flops?" asked a friend's of mine's little 8 year old girl last night.
"Not especially." I answered.
My friend instantly told her daughter, "We are NOT doing that chain letter!"
I hate, despise and abhor chain letters. Do not send me a chain letter because the chain WILL be broken. I think they are a big joke anyway. Who on earth would want 36 pairs of flip-flops? And, would they even be the right size (just put your name at the bottom of the list with your size and mail this out to 6 of your friend's within 5 days!).
I have received chain letters requesting children's books, oven mitts, paperback books, recipes, socks, money, and even panties!!
Do you think these are a joke? And, who starts them? Why don't we make it something we could REALLY use? Maybe I'll start a chain letter for tampons. Receive 36 tampons in the mail!! Super! Regular! Scented! Unscented!
Has anyone out there really done one AND gotten anything in the mail for it? Please let me know.

On a serious note: Let me be a cautionary tale for the rest of you. You know that whole "backing up" your computer?? Well, do it. Do it now. We had a thunderstorm roll through the other evening and it fried my computer. My computer with all of my photos, newsletters for clients, manuscripts and more is at the "doctor" but I have been told that it is not looking good. He cannot get to the hard drive to even retrieve the data yet. One, two, three.....Waaaahhhhh!!!!!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Here's the Scoop...

I know I promised the full story on the BSD (biological sperm donor) and here it is. First of all, I refer to him in that sense because he is not a father to my son. Yes, I was married to him and he was for three years but then he VOLUNTARILY terminated his rights and my husband now adopted C immediately. Of course, then we added two more boys to our family and I had a matching set.

What lead up to this? How about almost four years of cheating? Hot checks? Lying about where he was employed AND how much he made? Oh yeah, let's not forget the fact that he then lied to the girlfriends and told them he was already divorced when he hadn't even told me there was a problem. How do I know this for sure? I found the fake divorce papers he'd made up for one of the girlfriends. Does this sound like someone you would want around your child?

Now to his credit (look how nice I am being!) he was always nice to me. I guess that was the problem - he was so passive-aggressive that rather than fight he would just lie. He lied about things that he didn't even need to lie about.

I made the decision that I did not want C disappointed time and time again with this person as his "father." I was afraid that he would eventually blame himself. You know, that maybe this person was late all the time or fell through on promise after promise because there was something wrong with him.

Again, to the ex's credit, when I said "if you really love him, then do what is best for him and get out of his life. Let him have brothers who are not halves and a cohesive, solid family unit," and he did. Of course, it was the path of least resistance and one he was well acquainted with. What? The path of least resistance and he were on a first name basis. Okay, I was being a little sneaky but you know what at this point it was called survival. My house was foreclosed on, I was trying to finish college and I had a two year old.

Not only did I survive, but I thrived. I finished college by taking 16 to 18 credit hours a semester AND working part time. ROAR (yeah, that was me, being a woman!) I was very lucky to meet a wonderful man who couldn't tell a lie to save his own life and is truly a knight in shining armor. When I first met him, I seriously thought I was delusional or dreaming and made him up but told my girlfriends NOT to pinch me. This dream has been going on now for 16 years and on May 24th we will have been married for 15 of those.

Well, when C turned 18, I told him the whole sordid story. I tried to do it factually, but I told him the truth. He had never known the whole tale. He would ask occasionally and I always just said "we were too young and he wanted what was best for you. He knew your dad would be the best dad to you." Now that he was 18, I knew he could be contacted around me. Well, it took him a year, but yes, he did find my son on MySpace. I did it myself and found it surprisingly easy. I found him too. The ex sent my son an email and opened up the dialogue.

C says he has questions. He has assured me that this is not real high on his priority list. I am appeased right now because he is getting his butt kicked at Ft. Benning in basic training right now with no computer, cell phone or anything. He is safe from contact. But he did talk to him before he left.

So, add this bit of news to the weekend that was C's last to be with us for the whole summer and it was quite the emotional cocktail for me. We did have a wonderful weekend though and I know he will make the right choice as far as what kind of relationship he will have with this person. I know in the "big picture" it is better for him to feel that this person cares for him than not. But, I just don't feel that this person has any right to him at all and doesn't deserve to know him.

Who lived through the trying teen years? Who suffered through a broken heart with him two summers ago? Who paid for braces and drove him to every appointment for almost three years? Who cleaned up barf? Who put up with a sassy teenager?? We did. We earned the right to be his parents and this person did not. I just don't want him strolling in and thinking "hey, what a great kid, and I get to be a part of his life."

Yeah, I guess I still harbor a little resentment. But you earn the right to call yourself a parent and that's not being a parent.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

They Leave the Nest Eventually...

You think the day will never come when they are toddling around, drooling on stuff and clearing off coffee tables. You envision a day when no one will mess up your house, a baby swing will not take prominence over art in the family room and baby bottles will not fill the top rack of the dishwasher.

When the teen years hit, you wonder about a life spent devoted to this person who no longer thinks you are cool. Who likes his friends better and finds them smarter....and funnier.

You know I usually stick to the funny but the first weekend in May had me looking hard to find anything funny at all.

Backstory: the oldest, who has just completed first year in college (he lived away but came home weekends - less and less as the year went on) signed himself on to the army after graduation. The good side? The army will be paying for college from now on. The bad? My baby may get himself killed somewhere, someday. I guess we all run that risk though on a daily basis.

C decided his junior year in high school that this was going to be the life for him. He wanted to enlist. His dad and I talked him into going to college first. "Go in as an officer so you can boss people around!" You know, I am all about the bossing people around so that was my advice. We told him not to sign up for anything the first year, that we would gladly pay for college. He waited and now as a sophomore he is no longer mine. He literally belongs to the U.S. Army. Part of what he now wanted to do was attend basic training. He could have gone to Officer Basic but NO, he wanted to do what the men underneath him had to do. So, the army was picking him up on Monday to go to Ft. Benning, Georgia and attend infantry basic. He could not take his cell phone, laptop, ipod or anything. I will not see him ALL summer long. His brothers will not get to have him give them purple nurples all summer long. I won't get to see his long body draped over the sofa, punching a remote all summer long.

We spent our last weekend alone. Just the two of us. Everyone else in the family had something that weekend (church retreat, cub scout camp out) so C and I spent two days together. We went to the movies and we went out to eat and most of all, we talked. We also hugged each other a lot. My hugs were a desperate attempt to imprint him on me again. Just like when he was a baby and I held him all the time. I cried a lot.

You would think that when he left for college I would have felt more of this. But he still felt like he was my boy then. He no longer feels like my boy. He doesn't even look like a little boy anymore. He went to college, began doing army p.t. (physical training) every day and lost 20 pounds. He is definately a man, and a man in charge of his own destiny.

This is a pic of us on the day he left. Doesn't my hair look amazing?? Low humidity that day.

C and I kind of grew up together. I had him when I was just barely 22. I didn't even like kids all that much until he came along. I thought he was the most awesome and amazing thing in the whole world! He was always funny and smart. Never threw temper tantrums or anything stupid like that. He was a cool little kid and he grew up to be a cool adult.

C is a son to be proud of and we are. He is such a good person and so patriotic. I don't know where he gets that. We don't even own a flag.

Oh, wait there's more! Tune in when I tell you how his biological sperm donor (BSD) made contact the Friday before C left. How did he find him and make an end run around me? Myspace. I hate Myspace. It is the devil. Add that to an already emotional weekend. More on that later.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Latest

I just got back last night from a Writer's Conference in another state. Sorry to all my regular reads since I am way behind on my blog reading and commenting!!

The conference was very fun. A bunch of people from my regular group came too so we all hung out and got to know each other as you only can at a another state. You know, what happens at conference, stays at the conference??? Kidding. The worst thing I did was drink two glasses of wine. Okay, the real worst thing I did was eat the banquet chicken. Blech!

But, I did get 10 minutes with an editor and he really liked my book idea and wants to see more. Of course, I am a million miles from anything really happening but it made me feel better. And, he told the woman right after me that her idea had been done too many times already. So, its not like he said the same thing to everyone as I originally suspicioned.

The conference was very motivating though and makes me want to come home and write. Which I needed.

Signs seen along the Interstate on the way to conference:
"All Nude, BYOB" (bring what bottle??? that makes me shudder)
Handpainted on a trailer parked out front of...another trailer "Perfect Match, She's blind, I'm deaf"
I also fear that the armadillo is extinct because there were sooooo many dead on the side of the road (okay, thats the only way you ever see an armadillo - really! Ask around, how many people have ever seen a live armadillo?).

Other news: I interviewed for a job last week and I am seriously considering it. I would be in sales but more relationship building. Visiting customers and then taking them out to lunch. Hey! That's my life now but no one pays me for it!!! I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Field Trip

Nothing like a day spent with a whole class of second graders. On a field trip.

A field trip can trigger the same symptoms in a child as eating an entire bag of sugar. Yes, its true. Running around in mad circles, yelling at the top of one's lungs, swinging and jerking of the arms excessively and temporary hearing loss.

Second graders are a different breed of animal. I watched a kid use the inside front of his shirt to blow his nose. I watched another eat a carton of yogurt that made me realize he must digest food through the skin of his face since that's where most of it got smeared.

And, one of my own "truisms" was proven once again. You know how people will say "There are no dumb questions", well I take arguement with that. I believe there ARE dumb questions. When the pioneer man gives a demo about blacksmithing and then kids ask things like:

"What happens if the pot of beans spills?"
"I'm hot." (not even a question.)
"My grandma cooks beans." (again, not a question)

We went to a park yesterday that has a pioneer village. People dress in period costume and then explain to the kids how they used to do things such as, wash clothes, cook food, blacksmith, load and shoot a rifle, fetch water and more. More than you ever wanted to know.

Here is a bit of trivia you can use next time you want to impress your friends. I would save this for a fancy dinner party. Did you know that the early settlers used a corn cob to wipe their hineys with? AND, then washed them and used them again???? After that bit of info, I think I passed out. Call me snobby, call me hoity-toity but in my pioneer household we would have only used the corn cobs ONCE!

Oh well, the trip was a success. We made it back with as many kids as we came with and they were all worn out.