Friday, February 27, 2009

Memory Post

As I was driving to my destination on Wednesday, I heard a song on the radio that triggered a memory that I have since shared with Jessica and Lewis and thought would be a great memory post for the blog. For me, music brings memories. The song that I heard was "All of my Love" by Led Zeppelin. Not only did I hear it on my way, but I also heard the song again on my way home. A 1980's song twice in one day, on two different radio stations. I usually don't believe in signs, but this was just meant to be.
Senior Banquet May 1980

The song brings back memories of the winter of 1979-80, specifically the twin snowstorms that hit Tidewater and brought our region a record 41.9 inches of snow that winter. The first storm was February 6th and brought about 18 inches of snow in Chesapeake. The second was March 1-2 and brought 22 inches. This was simply unheard of for Hampton Roads. We are lucky to get an inch every couple of years. In fact, the weather is calling for snow this weekend for us. Ironically, it is supposed to start on March 1. Could history repeat itself? I for one, secretly hope so!!!
Christmas 1983

On to the memories though. The memory that this song really triggered was of my best friend Janet and I. Janet has been my BFF (as they would say now) since I was in fourth and she was in fifth grade. She walked up to me when my family moved to our neighborhood in Deep Creek and wanted to know if I played Barbie's. She was taller than me (at that time, but not for long) and was pretty demanding that I meet her in her backyard later that day. We met and fast forward 36 years later and I still consider her my best friend. We may not see each other like we used to, but we still talk at least every couple of weeks and if we needed each other, everything would be dropped at a moments notice. Janet was my maid of honor at my wedding, she was in the delivery room when Jessica was born, and in fact when I was in labor, she and her husband announced that they were expecting, and their son was born almost exactly nine months to the day later.
January 1990

Janet and I were both seniors that winter (I had skipped a grade and was graduating a year early) and we were both dating midshipmen at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. We had taken numerous trips up to Annapolis to go to the various dances. In fact, the song mentioned above was popular the weekend that we went to the Valentines Dance at the Academy. We would usually drive up on a Friday afternoon and come back on a Sunday evening. Looking back, I can hardly believe that our parents would let us do that, especially considering that we were only 16 and 17 years old . I would drive my moms Pontiac Sunbird, and off we would go. Once there, we would stay at a chaperones house and then go to different activities all weekend. Usually in the winter, there was ice skating, sledding, and of course going to the formal dances. The sunday that we came back from the Valentines dance, I got pulled over by a state trooper right outside of Gloucester and luckily was let go with just a warning for speeding. That was a secret that we kept to ourselves for a VERY long time. Hey, we wanted to use that car to go back and my mom would have had our butts if I had gotten a ticket.

Two weeks later though, she almost did have our butts for the little stunt that we pulled after the second snowstorm. On that Tuesday, March 3, I think everyone was feeling a little stir crazy from being cooped up in the house and Janet and I decided to take a walk. Our neighborhood was about a half a mile from the old Deep Creek High School. We had attended the old school until our senior year when the "new" high school was opened. Part of the old school was a three story gymnasium. On the way on our little walk, we stopped by the small nursing home where my mom worked. She had pretty much been stuck there as the next shift could not get in due to the roads being impassable. My mom was working and going to nursing school at the same time. Looking back, I don't know how she did it. She worked the 11PM-7AM shift and then would go to school during the day. She would catch a few hours of sleep and then go to work and study at night while the residents slept. Anyways, we stopped in, chatted for a few minutes and told her we would be going back home once we finished our walk.

We had just gotten out the door and out of sight when we heard a car coming. It was a couple of guys that Janet and I knew from band class. Al, Buddy and Danny were in Danny's Volkswagon Bug and I don't even know how they were driving as the roads were so bad, but they stopped and told us to get in. They were going to the old high school so that they could do donuts in the parking lot with the car. Sounded good to us, even though my father would have shot me knowing that we were in the car with three guys. That was just a big no-no to my dad. Once there, we came up with the bright idea of going out back to where the gymnasium was and I don't remember who decided to start climbing up the gym but that's just what we did . Getting up the side was the easy part as there was a ladder attached to the side wall. Standing on the roof, I remember Danny saying something about wouldn't it be cool to jump into the snow drifts that were up against the side of the building. There were drifts about 6-8 feet deep but being the stupid teenagers that we were it never occured to us that there could have been anything in them. We just all took that leap of faith and off the roof we went straight into those drifts. I remember being literally stuck up to my neck in the snow.

Looking back, what in the world were we ever thinking? Telling my mom about it later, she about went through the roof. What if we had been hurt? What would we have done? Why would we even consider doing something like that? I don't know even to this day. Janet and I were just talking about this when we chatted two weeks ago. Of course, we still giggled and no, we still can't tell you what possessed us but one thing is sure, we will never forget the second snowstorm of 1980.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I feel like a professional!

My good friend Jerri that I work with will be getting married in November and do you know what she asked me? She asked me to shoot her wedding!!! Yes you heard it right, my first paying photography job. Of course it's months away but that's even better because I'll have time to save up for the camera that I need. Right now I take all of my pictures with just a regular Polaroid digital camera but what I really want is a Nikon D60. I need this camera if I'm going to further myself in photography. I'm sooooo excited but soooooo nervous at the same time. I mean, Jerri is my friend and this is her special day and I definitely don't want to screw up. I want her to have beautiful pictures to look at for many many years. Hopefully I'll be able to get the camera soon so I can get used to it before the wedding. Plus I can't wait to use it for Photo of the Week!


Photo of the Week

This photo was taken at City Park last spring. This was when I first started getting serious about photography. Don't get me wrong I've always loved it but this is one of the first pictures I've taken that I really was proud of.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Not Me Monday!!!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

This has been a slow week for Not Me's but here goes.

My family did not go through a pack of 72 slices of Kraft Cheese in two weeks, plus I had purchased an additional 24 pack on Saturday that is almost depleted as well. I guess we all really, really like cheese.

I do not still have the canolli in the fridge at work that I bought two weeks ago. Obviously my eyes are bigger than my tummy. I think it needs to hit the garbage, what do you all think? Should I chance it when I get really hard up for something sweet?

I did not take two naps on Sunday after not getting out of bed until 9:15AM. I was back asleep by 12:30PM and didn't get up until forced at 3:00PM. Then was back asleep at 8:00PM. Nope, not me.

Jessica and Lewis did not go to WalMart to get a 42" flat screen TV, which was NOT at the first WalMart and then had to go to another and then return said TV to WalMart as the power cord and remote was missing from the box. Just our luck!!!

Jessica did not get up on Sunday morning and frantically yell at Lewis about being late for work!! Hey, it's Sunday, no work for her!

I am not already dreaming of tax returns and continually wake up through the night to remember what I need to change the next day on said tax return. I am plagued throughout the tax season with this. Please let me have a full nights sleep!!

and finally Jessica did not just find a piece of plastic in her spaghetti from said Kraft Cheese slices that she always adds to it.

UPDATE: Lewis did not just spill an entire glass of lemonade on the bed while laying there playing with Jessica's two hour old new laptap, just missing the laptop. He then proceeded to get it up by laying a towel down and stepping on the towel while wearing a teeshirt and a pair of longjohn bottoms like he was stomping grapes! Poor Lewis, he just keeps on giving us more to blog about. His life is no longer sacred.

Hopefully, we will have something a little more amusing next week.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Dewey Decimal System

I guess I have my greatest thoughts about my blog when I am either going to sleep at night or upon wakening in the morning. As I was laying in bed this morning think about my blog post last night it kind of hit me that I don't have to tell my story with Butch all at once, I can tell it bit by bit.

The reason that I named this post the Dewey Decimal System is that I was thinking about different memories that I wanted to post about it. As I was pausing over the different memories and then shelving them, I was thinking about the old card system in the library. As those of us with a little age on us knows, when you used to go to the library you would pull out the long wooden boxes with the little cards set up for each book. You could pull the card and see the title of the book, the author, what the book was about and where it was located in the library.

I guess I was doing the same with my memories. Thinking about them, remembering a little more and then putting the memory back for another. I realized I don't have to tell the story all at once, I can do it a little at a time. I love blogging because it has made me think of so many things that I had not thought about in forever and ever. I constantly find myself making little notes so that I can blog about it at a later date. Now, the key is to do it. I promise a memory post is coming soon.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Friday, February 20, 2009

"Well, I had enough. So I said when."

I guess this must be my week for quoting from my favorite movies. If you do not recognize the quote that the title of this post comes from, it was from the movie "Regarding Henry". This was a movie that I very much associated with. If you haven't ever seen it, it is a very good movie with the typical happy ending. Per IMDb "Henry Turner is a despicable and ruthless trial lawyer whose life is turned upside down when he is shot in the head during a robbery. He survives the injury with significant brain damage and must re-learn how to speak, walk, and function normally. He has also lost most of the memory of his personal life, and must adjust to life with the family that he does not remember. To the surprise of his wife and daughter, Henry becomes a loving and affectionate man."

Yes, I can relate to this movie because of my experience with my husband and our 19 year story with strokes and dementia, but I am not going to detail our story yet for I am not quite ready, although I am working on it to post in the future.

The reason though that I mention this movie is the quote "Well, I had enough. So I said when". I was laying in bed thinking about this week and a conversation that I had earlier with my brother, Scott. Sometimes, we have to recognize within ourselves when we've had enough and gain the courage to say when.

That is not an easy thing to do. It is so easy to say though. This is not even easy to explain here in this post. I am the type of person that is a pleaser. I value my self-worth on making others happy. I know that and I freely admit it. It is not a good thing though, because when you are that way, you are constantly disappointed and unhappy. You are continually trying to make others happy but in the meantime you make yourself miserable. You have to learn how to say "when".

I guess I have always confused self love to being selfish. Sometimes you have to have that epiphany to realize that you have been wrong all along. Self love is not selfish, if anything it is self preservation. You have to learn to love yourself. It is vital to self preservation. It is no wonder that I have spent a lot of my life unhappy. I need to practice what I preach. Maybe part of being able to do so is to recognize that I am guilty of this. I need to make a concentrated effort to change.

I know it will not happen overnight. I have been doing the pleaser thing ever since I can remember. You will never make everyone happy. You may as well at least make yourself happy and at peace. We only have one life and we need to live everyday to it's full advantage.

Just remember my dear brother. A good sister will help you move. A great sister will help you move the dead body. I am your great sister, in fact I am your only sister. Good thing you got me!!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rough Week

It's been a crazy week. Started this weekend when Lewis' niece Kaitlyn ended up in the ER. She was diagnosed with a viral infection and sent home. Went back to the ER on Tuesday and was diagnosed with pneumonia. Our poor little Cindy Lou Who (as we sometimes call her) is so sick. Needless to say, as much as Jessica and Lewis are around her, now they are sniffling and feeling yucky.

Then on Monday evening Lewis' best friend, Kyle had a house fire and the house is almost totally destructed. Luckily, Kyle's brother was home and heard the dog's barking and went to check. The garage was already in flames. He got the dogs out and got out of the house himself. By the time the fire department got there, there were issues with the fire hydrant and needless to say there is not much left. Poor Kyle has been over every evening to hang out. I feel so bad for him. His family does have good insurance but still that doesn't make it a lot easier. At first they said they were going to repair the house but as of tonight apparently the insurance company is talking about razing it and starting all over.

To top things off, I got a call from the facility that my husband lives at. He had some outbursts yesterday and they had to call the MD back in for a medicine change. Come to find out today, since he had been doing better the MD decided to cut back a medicine, hence the bad outburst. When will these professionals learn that just because a dementia/Alzheimer patient is in a good spot, it does not mean that you go fooling with their medications? Why, why why do we keep going down this same road? I'm so frustrated! These patients are not lab rats and you do not experiment with what is working.

I'm so glad tomorrow is Friday. If I can just manage to keep my patience for one more day, I will have the weekend to relax. It seems like every tax return I have touched this week has issues and I end up having to call the client, get information faxed, etc, etc.

I'm going to end my post tonight with a quote from my favorite heroine Scarlett O'Hara "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow, after all, tomorrow is another day". It is another day and it will be better!

Photo of the Week

This picture was taken in our front yard. Last week the weather was about 70-75 degrees all week and now it's back to 35-40 degrees. I'M SO READY FOR SPRING!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Not Me Monday!!!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Let's take our not-so-proud moments and spin them around in a delightful therapy session, shall we? This kind of therapy is free, funny, and oh so refreshing.

Being brutally honest, and living to tell about it.

I did not wear a shirt that was four sizes too big because it matched my black pants and I thought it was cute just too big in the bust.....

I did not go to the Silver Spoon Bakery on Tuesday and buy one large brownie, one canolli and four lace cookies and put them in my desk at work. The cookies are gone, but I still have the canolli in the fridge and half of a brownie in my defense.....

I did not put on my sweats yesterday morning over my pajamas and proceed to wear them like that all day while I cleaned house, also sans bra and didn't remember that I had them on over the sweats until I went to get a shower yesterday evening......

I did not lose a half of a Subway club sub that I was going to take to work for lunch. I still have no idea of where it could be.......

I did not order four boxes of Girl Scout cookies and then proceed to buy two more when I owed the Girl Scout $14 and only had a $20, $10, and three $1 dollar bills, therefore I had to get the other boxes so that I could pay with exact change......(Jessica says it will take me two years to eat them all, cuz they sure aren't coming home to get gobbled up)

I did not get home this afternoon to find that my freshly laundered and made bed had cat throw up all over it where someone got sick while sleeping on my bed today, now resulting in another three loads of laundry tonight..............

and last and best, Jessica did not get a phone call from Lewis today while in a meeting announcing that he had ate soooooo many red velvet cupcakes that his poop was now red.............

Nope, this didn't happen to us!!!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Williamsburg Bread

I used to cook a lot but haven't as much in the past year with all that has happened. My dear niece, Sarah, who just so happens to be my first blog follower, gave me this yummy recipe and I tried it out the other week. It was a big hit!! It is so simple but it has that WOW factor. This morning I only made a half recipe and it is almost gone already. Give it a try and I promise it will WOW anyone that tries it.

2 pkg. crescent rolls
2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 c. sugar
1 egg yolks (reserve white)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Sm. pkg. pecans
Spread 1 package of crescent rolls on bottom of greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Mix cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, egg yolk and vanilla; spread over layer of crescent rolls. Put second package of crescent rolls on top. Brush with egg white and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Valentine's Musing

No matter how old your kids get, they are still your babies and sometimes continue to act that way. Even if you did not give birth to them!

I guess a little explanation is needed at this point. As most of you know Jessica is my biological daughter. Lewis, her boyfriend (and love of her life as Jessica tells you, see sidebar) has lived with our family since 2006. His dad is deceased and his mom was unable to care for him at the time, so he came to live with us and we had custody of him until he graduated from high school in 2007. For those that know me, Lewis is not the first teenager to join our family. I pretty much have an open door policy when it comes to teenagers in need. He is in fact the third, but more about that on a future post.

Getting back to this morning. I am at work (it is tax time people!!!) and in walks Jessica and Lewis, clutching a long stemmed pink rose and a box of candy. The candy was actually given to me yesterday by my husband, Butch, when Jessica and I went to visit him in the facility that he lives in. One of the dear staff members knew that we were coming and knew that Butch would want to be able to give me something for the holiday, and a lovely, heart shaped box of Russell Stover candies were awaiting me. On the front of the box was a small picture of the assorted candies. The kids proceeded to laugh about them regifting the candy and then Lewis looks at me and said “I really want that piece of candy, it looks so good!” pointing to the picture on the box.

What else is a good mom to do???? I promptly opened the box and gave him his desired piece of candy. Kids, you gotta love em!!!!

Stay tuned, more blogging coming this afternoon. I promise!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Memories of the Past

I'm going to try to post one memory per week. This was one of the reasons for this blog so that one day my daughter will have my memories here and won't have to rely on what my brain can still recall.

This picture is of my paternal grandfather, Clyde Lincoln Chidester. He would have been 86 today. His middle name was in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, since he was born on Lincolns' birthday. My mother very graciously let me scan it and when I took the picture out of the frame, I discovered on the back that this picture was taken on September 19, 1945 in Brussels, Belgium after the end of World War II. It states "To my Darling Wife and Baby". That would have made him twenty-two when the photo was taken.

I always called him Granddaddy Clyde. When I was about three years old, my parents and I lived with him and my grandmother while my parents were building their house in Dillwyn, Va. I remember following him into the bathroom in the mornings while he shaved. I would stand on the toilet and he would put shaving cream on my face so that I could "shave". He would give me a razor with no blade in it so I could be just like him. I would also sit at the kitchen table in the mornings while he drank his coffee and I would be allowed to get a cup of coffee and would imitate him as he would always pour a little into the saucer below the cup so that it would cool quicker. I would do the same, although I know now that my coffee was more milk than the real thing. Maybe that is why I have such a love of coffee to this day.

Every afternoon I would stand in their front yard, waiting for that red Ford truck to come around the bend. He would usually have something in his black, metal lunch box for me. He worked construction and was very good at it. My grandmother would fuss at him in the afternoons because he would be dirty or have concrete on his pants or such. When he went to work though, he was always pressed and starched. He always had ink pens in his shirt pocket and they were usually from some construction company. I liked them because in the end where you clicked the pen was a clear area with a little truck in it that would float back and forth. Sometimes he would put me in his truck and off we would go to the Tastee-Freeze at Sprouses Corner. I would always get a cheeseburger with only mayonnaise, french fries and usually a Coke or sometimes I would get a Coke float.

I never remember him getting impatient with me or fussing or yelling. My brother, Scott and I were his only grandchildren and he certainly doted on both of us. I remember more about him, as Scott is eight years younger than I am, so unfortunately Scott does not have the memories that I do. He had several tattoos on his arms and he would let me sit in his chair with him and color them in. I also remember when I was very little how he would ask me to say yellow. I couldn't pronounce my y's very well and would say "lellow". The same with refrigerator, I would say "bigerator" and he would get a big kick out of hearing me say those words back to him.

My nickname then was "Baby Bear". I had this idea that my Dad, Mom and I were really the Three Bears and that we had came out of the forest and turned into people. I know, I was a strange little kid with a VERY active imagination. Anyways, my grandfather would call me Baby Bear as well. It's funny because years later when my brother came along, he was called Baby Duck. I don't remember where that one came from if we were the bear family, but who knows?

When I was about twelve we were riding around in his truck one day (he always had red or red and white Ford trucks) and he let me drive. I got us stuck in the red clay on the side of the road. He just laughed and said someone would come along and get us out and sure enough they did. That's how patient he was with me. If I wanted it, I think he would have moved heaven and earth to see that I got what I wanted.

During the sixties he would always watch Hogans Heroes. That was one of his favorite shows. Now I find that kind of confusing, since he was stationed in Europe during World War II and he fought in France and Germany and I know that he saw a lot of devastation and suffering. He was in Berlin when the Allies took back over and I remember him talking about the Allies blowing up the city and how a bank blew up and German money was flying everywhere. He also collected stamps while he was there and I have his stamp book with his collection. My mother says that he told her a story about how he was patrolling an area and he ran into a young German soldier. He said he wasn't sure who was more frightened, him or the other soldier. Apparently the other soldier asked him for a cigarette (as the Germans were out of everything at that point) and he shared one with him. After finishing, the other soldier turned around and walked away. They were both just two young kids fighting on opposite sides.

The last time that I saw my grandfather alive was in February of 1990. My daughter, Jessica was only two weeks old. I wanted him to see Jessica, but he had been ill and was in McGuire Veterans Hospital in Richmond, Va and babies and small children were not allowed in, even as visitors. My husband and I snuck Jessica into his room so that he could see her. A nurse caught us but when we explained the situation she simply smiled and left the room. Luckily, we had just bought a video camera and caught the moment on film. A month later he died and I lost my last living grandparent.

I wish Jessica had had the honor of knowing him. He would have been so proud of her. I know that with all of my heart. Happy Birthday Granddaddy! I miss you, but I still have you here in my memories and the memories that I share.

Photo of the Week

Well this will be my first post. My name is Jessica and I'm Janice's 19 year old daughter. Real quick, a little bit about me-I'm attending my first semester at Tidewater Community College majoring in Paralegal Studies. I currently work for the law firm of Cooper, Spong & Davis in the collection department. I've been with the love of my life, Lewis Hubbard for almost 4 and a half years, you'll be seeing more of him in the coming posts. In my spare time I LOVE photography so me and my mom decided to create a "Photo of the Week". Every Thursday I'll post a picture that I've taken or what not.

The gorgeous little girl in the picture is mine and Lewis' niece Kaitlyn, she is two years old and just a handful but I love her more then anything.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Kathy!

I wanted to get this posted and give a Happy Birthday shout out to my friend Kathy. I hope you have a great birthday and I promise we will get together before the next week is out and we will have a birthday dinner together. This picture was taken about 18 months ago on a girls outing that we had at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. I promise we will do it again sometimes this spring. Even though you don't do the roller coasters we will still have a great time!

I Am The Face of Welfare

I had plans for a different yet very controversial post today but I received an email from both my mother and a very dear friend, which made me change my mind and post about welfare instead. Especially since welfare is such a HOT topic, I may as well go ahead and piss someone off out there that is one of the few readers of this blog. Please note: I love getting emails from both my mom and my friend so please don’t take this post to mean any different. It is expressly my opinion and does not mean that I don’t want to hear yours. I have changed my mind many times throughout the years. I guess that's one of the good things about getting older, you can and will change your view on many things in life.

The email that I received was about immigration and how some immigrants collect welfare in greater amounts than perhaps a social security pensioner. If you want to read it in it’s entirety go to Snopes and you can see the email (BTW, it’s the second and longer one called “Welfare Poem”) and Snopes response to how it’s not valid. Here’s the link:

Getting back to my post though. Receiving this email got me thinking about welfare and how people feel about it. No one wants money going to someone that they don’t feel rightly deserves it but let’s stop for a minute and think about welfare. Welfare is supposed to be there for those that can’t provide for themselves or their family. When I say that I am the face of welfare those that know my family and me knows what I am talking about. My husband, Butch, lives in a nursing home. He is there because he has vascular dementia and I can no longer care for him. Medicaid is paying for this care, which is a state run medical plan for poor people. IOW, welfare. You got it. My family is on Medicaid. The cost for Butch to be in the facility is approximately $5500 per month. I have always worked since I was sixteen years old and never have I made $66,000 per year and that would be for his care alone, not counting my expenses for my daughter and myself. I would be willing to bet that most of the people reading this blog doesn’t make that kind of money either.

What people don’t realize though is what goes on to qualify and receive that help. I have signed over my husbands’ life insurance policy (over $100,000) as well as his half of any proceeds from our home if I ever sell it. I don’t mind doing that because I know that this help has to be paid for in some form or fashion and I can no longer do it on my own. Then again it scares me to think that when he does pass away I will be left with very little and will have to start all over again. It is very hard to be 45 years old and have to depend on your parents to buy you a winter coat because you can’t afford it yourself. The Medicaid is a Catch 22 situation and that is what I think angers many including myself. I can’t make over a certain amount of income or we will no longer qualify for Medicaid. So I’m stuck. I am going to make the best of a bad situation and go back to school in the fall. I am 95% sure of what I’m going to take and I will discuss it later on in another post. In the meantime, back to the subject at hand.

Thinking about my situation and others as well, I realized several things that many people tend to forget when they are thinking about themselves and welfare. Way back in the sixties I remember standing in line with my grandmother and great-grandmother. What were we standing in line for you may wonder? Government surplus peanut butter, cheese and other food items that were purchased by the government and then given to the people, specifically the poor. For those that remember, the food came in cans with white labels and black lettering on the can. It clearly stated it was US Government food. I will say this, the peanut butter sandwiches that were made with my great-grandmothers hoecakes were some of the best that I have ever had. At the time I didn’t realize that we were standing in line because we were deemed poor. I just knew you stood in line to get the food. It was welfare plain and simple. I was not yet school aged and I have quite vivid memories of this.

I also remember being enrolled in and attending the Head Start program. It was 1968 and I was five years old. I remember going to a farm (I had grew up with farms all around but it was a trip somewhere different so it was a big deal to a five year old) and milking a cow. I received a certificate, which I still have in the album that my mom put all of my school certificates in stating that I completed the program. Lady Bird Johnson, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s wife started this program for poor children to get an early start in school. Remember this was in the years before kindergarten. Another welfare program though.

Anyone out there get the Earned Income Credit on their tax return? You will if your family makes less than $42,000 in adjusted gross income on their tax return. I work in the tax field and I see families just like mine that qualify for it everyday. This is again another type of welfare program. Is it abused. Yes, it is, but does that mean that it should be done away with? No, if anything the cases of abuse should be cracked down on and in fact the IRS is doing just that.

I guess my point is, before spouting off the usual “that person is on welfare, they are sucking the government dry, blah, blah, blah” take a look around and think back through your life. Those of us that have had to use the programs at one time or another are very grateful that they are there. I didn’t even realize until I was an adult that the government surplus food program and Head Start were welfare programs. I don’t remember the times when there wasn’t programs to help people, but I remember my parents and my grandparents talking about poorhouses and such. I don’t know what would have happened to my husband or myself if I had had to continue to care for him. He had become violent and I suspect someone would have gotten hurt had it continued. I do know that many nights I have sat on my front porch and cried because I am in a situation that I cannot change and I hate it. I hate that I cannot care for him myself and I hate that I have to rely on the government to help pay for his care, but it is the way it is. Those that were close to us know that I would have most likely lost my own life simply from exhaustion without the other factors involved.

Remember, the next time you want to see the face of welfare, the face staring back may be your own. You never know what the future may bring. I certainly never thought that this would have been my future when we married over twenty years ago but life has a way of throwing lemons at you. The trick is to catch those lemons and make lemonaid.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


My dear friend Maria from N.C. had hip replacement today. The last call that I got her husband said she came through the surgery well and all looked good. Maria and I have been friends since 1988. I met her and we just instantly clicked and we have been friends ever since. Her daughter is 17 months older than my daughter and she lived nearby until she moved back to her home state of N.C. in 1996.

About two years ago she went into business for herself and started a baking/catering/sweet business called Mrs. Vingerber’s Sweets and she has been very successful. Her signature cake is a 13 layer chocolate cake. Everything Maria cooks is simply to die for. I'm so happy for her that her business is a success. She really, really deserves it! I couldn't help but attach a picture here of that delish cake. FYI, she can bake and ship this cake anywhere so if you are interested in tasting something scrumptious that will simply knock your socks off think of Mrs. Vingerber's Sweets. Comment me and I will send you her number. Needless to say, she will need some recovery time but knowing Maria, she will be back working in no time flat. When she originally broke her hip last May she was decorating a wedding cake from her hospital bed.

I'm sending you good thoughts and a speedy recovery your way Maria. I love you my dear friend!

Monday, February 9, 2009

I Got A Comment!!!

Thank you to my online fellow blogger SAHM: Surviving Assorted Home Mayhem for my very first comment.

She was discussing on her blog today how she needed more readers and I left her a comment about FINALLY setting up my own blog. She visited mine, hence the comment. I will certainly link to her blog and maybe, just maybe I too will one day have readers and they will see her link. Now for the hard part, someone please explain to me how to do links!! I feel so dumb when it comes to making my blog my own. I know I can come up with many posts (at least I can in my head) but I want my blog to be "tricked out" as the Progressive chick says. So???? Anyone out there that can maybe help me do this????

Now, onto more about what I want for my blog. I do want to discuss things that are happening in the present but I also want to blog about memories of the past. See, I realized over the past year especially that our memories change and fade over time. I want to put my memories down in this blog, memories of my grandparents, my life, special anecdotes that I can blog about and perhaps one day have my daughter read them and learn about times and people that are many years gone but never forgotten.

To end on a completely different note though here is a link for a site that my daughter somehow found. It certainly gave me a laugh. Maybe it will give any readers here a laugh as well.
All I can say is my dad didn't come to my wedding but he would have whupped my butt if I had even wore something as horrible as this. Of course on the home page of this site is the super duper redneck style wedding attire of blaze orange and camo. That he would have probably understood being the Number One hunter that he is. He would have loved the wedding cake topper of the doe and deer head. Yes, my fathers side of the family is quite the rednecks. Needless to say, I will never run out of things to blog about when it comes to that branch of the family tree.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Beginning

Well, this is it. I have finally started my own blog. I have been wanting to for a very long time and without further ado, here it is. My goal will be to blog not only about the present but also the past. I want a record of things so that my daughter will have it for the future and can look back one day with fond memories and not hazy recollections.