Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Little Me Time

I have not blogged in a good while. Shoot, I haven't written anything in a while. Ya know why? Because, I am paranoid that people will think that I am a narcissist and a copy cat.

There, I said it. Somehow I have it in my head that by writing something and posting it on the Internet, I am being self-centered for thinking that someone would actually want to read it. Why do I think like this!? I love to read other people's blogs, and I don't think that they are self-centered.

Why do I have it in my head that it is great that other people can be boisterous and confident in who they are and share it with the world? I will cheer them on in the endeavors in subject areas that I am somewhat skilled in. But, then feel lost and lonely because they are most certainly going to exceed my skill level and leave me behind. I want to help and be involved in my friends lives. But, I just know that I am a more of a nuisance that anything and they are better off without me around. Even my husband.

I know that I talk incessantly. And, two thirds of the time I regret what I have just said. So, it is easier to stay away and not say anything.

I make plans and have dreams that fall through a lot. So, I get mad at myself for telling anyone about them. Because I feel like I have let them down, too.

I am my own worst critic. I need to work on it. A lot. (I can hear my husband yelling, "Amen!" from here.)

But, I started my blog because I wanted to keep a journal. But, I am terribly about misplacing notebooks and such. I figured I can't lose the Internet. I mean, if anyone could it would be me. But, still. So, I am making it a point to write for me. And, if people want to follow along, all the better. But, fair warning. There will be chickens. Lots of chickens.

Psssttt... on the subject of losing the Internet, here's a funny from one of my favorite shows, The IT Crowd.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

So, here I sit in a dress and make-up, running through the plans for the afternoon in my head, wondering if I can squeeze in a trip through the carwash. Leave work, pick up the corsage, go by the house to change shoes and tend to chickens (and shave the spot on my knee that I missed this morning), get Mr. J., fill up on gas, and head to Anson.

My son has 8th grade banquet tonight. It’s like a mini-prom. There is a dinner, awards, video montage of the kids’ pictures from when they were babies until now; they actually come in escorting their dates and everything. They do portraits and IHOP after the banquet. It is a lot of fun.

I have one worry. And, it’s not about the kids, not the dance, not getting everything done. I worry that I will spend more time remembering his sister than focusing on him. And, that is not OK.

Sarah's 8th Grade Banquet photo on my work computer

I am so terribly proud of the young man he is becoming. And, he knows it. I make a point to make sure he knows without coddling him. And, he expects us to think about his sister and talk about her. But, this is about him. Sarah’s 8th grade banquet was one of the last school functions she had. There will be awards ceremonies and he will start high school.

Then, *gulp* then there will not be any more memories of “When Sarah did it…”. He will have passed her. In October, he will be older than she was when she died. This year is going to be awkward and, hard.

But, on the upside, Ty gets to start on his own road without having to follow his sister. And, she was a big act to follow. I am actually excited about high school and the possibilities for my son. So, here’s to fresh starts and bright futures!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ponderings on Easter

Since Mr. J was under the weather Easter morning, we did not attend a worship service. Well, not in person. We did get to watch an amazing service on the television. It was a Catholic service out of Buffalo (We assume New York.) Jerry was raised Catholic and has been told he has family in Buffalo, NY. So we thought that was pretty cool. I wish we could go there sometime. They have a very eclectic congregation, speaking several languages. The building itself had the perfect amount of adornment without looking as though all of the money was spent on it. It was nice to be able to ask Jerry questions right then. I am terrible about remembering what to ask later.


The sermon portion of the service was my favorite. He spoke about the priorities of Easter Sunday. He pointed out that we, as people, seem to place more and more importance on the things we spend money on for the holiday than why we are celebrating it to start with. The clothes, the candy, the meal… it’s great as long as we keep the memory of Christ’s resurrection first and foremost. The last thing he said was, “And, enjoy those chocolate bunnies.” with a smile on his face.


This sparked a conversation between Jerry and I. I was telling him that I don’t remember if someone told me this as a child, or if it is something I pondered on my own, but for me, Easter is not just a celebration of Christ coming back. It is a fresh start. This is where we get to start the year, again. To me, the Easter outfit isn’t just for the one day. I always saw it as a traditionally adding a worship worthy garment to refresh the wardrobe. It is a way of doing the best we can to put on our best when we go to praise and worship.


We, well I, have decided that we shall follow what many others do and plant the gardens on the Saturday of Easter weekend each year. This year, I spent the time planting singing hymns and focusing on God’s blessings while putting out plants. That includes the sprinkles that were falling on my back as I was hurrying to put out flower seeds and sweeping the sidewalks.


So, this being a spring-board for the rest of our year physically, emotionally, mentally and physically, it is a great time for us to look at the direction we are going in. So, much prayer will be taking place. And, just so you know, I pray for all of you. I pray that God will pour his peace and love on everyone that I interact with, both in person and through more modern methods, on a regular basis. That being said, may God be with you and heap his blessings on you and yours this spring.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I'm a Little Country... I'm a Little Rock and Roll...

At 6:42 this morning, I found myself backing out of my driveway so that I could attend Muffins with Moms at my son’s school. His school is 25 miles or so away from where I live now. I used to live in that town. But, when I left his father, I moved back home. Well, I went to go spend the time before school with my son, baked goods and juice. It was really nice. 
He started pointing out mothers to me, telling who their children are. Then he says, “If you want to know who anyone is, just ask me.” I informed him I was fine. But, thank you for offering. He goes to a very small school. But, there were a lot of the moms I did not know. There were however teachers and moms that I have known for years. But, it was still a reminder how much things have changed. And, some things have come back around full circle.
I made the same drive at the same time of day that I made for nearly 7 years, this morning. Back before I left my husband. Back before I moved to Abilene. Back before I lost a child. Back before I lost myself.
 I am finally starting to pull myself together. And, I don’t mean emotionally. The knee-jerk reaction when getting the divorce was to turn away from anything in my part of my life. Anything to do with the country and farming. I didn’t listen to any country music for months, except for when my so would beg.
It sounds like I had never had any experience with anything country or western except while married. But, that is not true. I was raised in a fairly eclectic family. My grandfather was a rodeo cowboy and a farm hand. My grandmother grew up picking cotton. And, my other grandparents had chickens and gardens. They farmed, too. I remember going back my grandmother’s family home and meeting the turkeys. It wasn’t pretty. They raised them to sell. They opened the doors to a huge barn full of them. They were eye high to me. Traumatized is not a strong enough word.
Well, anyway, back on track. Back around Christmas, Mr. J (aka my Hubs) bought a pair of cowboy boots. He had been wanting a new pair for a good while and found some her really liked. And, since he is very particular about the style he likes, I told him, “Sure, go ahead.” But, on the inside, I was very uncomfortable. The last time I had shopped for men’s boots was with my ex-husband. And, I try really hard not to compare them. But, it happens. Both good and bad. And, even though I dated many men that wore boots, it was still somehow tied to my first message and awkward. But, I was NOT going to tell him that.
Another thing from when I was married originally was that we raised chickens. I taught first grade one year. It was in the small town where my son still lives. Every year the extension agent would work with the first classes and they incubate and hatch chicks. It was a lot of fun. Except for the last few chicks that just did not make it. Luckily, we found them before the students came in that morning. But, I digress. My children also participated in the activity as first graders. Somewhere along the way, my ex decided that we should get chickens. I gained so much enjoyment from them. I loved gathering eggs and tending to them. Even though I grumbled about it.
Well, recently, friends had mentioned they wanted chickens. And, after some checking, I could have them in town. As long as they aren’t too noisy, I would be good. (Our neighborhood sounds like a zoo as it is. And, it isn’t just our house.) So, 2 batches of chicks and 4 ducklings later, I have come to realize that I really am a bit of a country girl. I even want goats, again and a donkey. Those will require moving, in time.
I have started to separate out what parts of me were trying to be a good wife and what parts were me being genuinely happy. I will take a while. But, I finally feel like I am starting to feel like I am getting my feet underneath me. And, part of reassembling those pieces of me I left scattered everywhere has been finding which pieces are truly mine. And, surprisingly, for me, some of those pieces are from the country.
And, I can finally admit how good those boots look on Mr. J.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I Hate April Fool's Day.

There is a reason that I don’t enjoy April Fool’s Day. It is the same reason that I do not enjoy much stand-up comedy. I do not enjoy people being made fun of. And, when it comes down to it that is what it amounts to. April Fool’s jokes end up making people feel unintelligent. Most stand-up comedians have acts that revolve around of poking fun at themselves or someone else. There is a fine line between mockery and imitation. I am not saying that I do not on occasion do it myself. But, I always feel guilty when I do.
And, as a friend posted this morning, we try to instill honesty in our children. Well, except for this one day. Today it’s ok to lie your pants off. As an adult, we understand what is intended to be a joke and what is not. Kids do not, always. We need to set better examples.

And, there is a meme going around about not telling people that you are pregnant when you aren’t. Yes, people take things too seriously and personally at times. But, as a woman who is having a really hard time with the fact that she can’t and shouldn’t have a baby, just stop it. It’s not a subject to joke about. Also, it is terribly unoriginal. If you are going to pull a prank today, at least be original.

I hate to feel stupid. Ridicule cuts me to the bone and I know I am not the only one that feels that way. So, I will take a pass on this holiday, thank you very much.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Day Has Finally Come

One of the things that I was looking to happen as time went on was that there would be moments when Sarah would slip my mind. When she would no longer be on my mind constantly.

I am finally there.

Don't get me wrong. I have not forgot her. She is always there. Always at the back of my mind. But, she has stepped back and let me move forward.

But, then every once in a while, out of the blue, it hits me out of the blue.

I had a baby that grew into a beautiful young lady. And, she is not here anymore. And, she is not coming back. I should be able to call her. I should be able to reach out to her. But, I can't.

Then, there are tears and panic attacks.

Afterwards, I compose myself and go on about my day.

A dear friend should be holding her baby right now. But, she is not because her baby did not make it full term.

My heart is hurting.

For her and for me. I hate that other people can understand what I am going through. It kills me to know that there are other people out there that have lost their babies, whether they be infant or adult.

At the same time, it is comforting to not be along. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I Just Can't Shut Up

I talk a lot. Or, I don't talk at all. Generally, if I am in a group of people I know and like, I will talk non stop until I leave. Them spend the next two days wishing I had just kept my mouth shut. No one has ever said anything too ugly about it. At least not to my face, or to someone that would tell me. If anything has been said, it was with a genuine smile and in a very good nature.

When I don't talk, I am probably regretting all of the talking from a few days before. Or, something is really bothering me. And, it usually stems from my self-deprecating attitude. 

I had a friend comment that they were surprised that I am terrified that people really see me like I see myself. Lazy, all talk, fat, dumb, selfish, self-centered and unworthy. I am working on getting past it.
(Fair warning, to those that know me, if I ever get past it, I will probably just talk even more.)

Some people see those of us that have self esteem issues as "fishing for compliments." Sometimes it's accurate. More than often not. Just knowing your enough is all we strive for. But, somehow we just don't see it.

So, on behalf of all of us overly talkative, yet terribly anxious types out there. Be kind. Just smile and nod. We know we can come across as a bit anxious and obnoxious. But, we are working on it.

Friday, March 7, 2014

No Catching Fire in This House

This must be “writing about movies week” at Das Whetsel Haus.
Today, it’s why I will not be watching or reading Catching Fire. I can hear you out there stuttering over your, “Buh-buhhhhhhtttts.”
It’s not going to happen. Simple as that. I read and watch the first book. I enjoyed them. But I cannot finish the series. There are three reasons.
1.       This is one of Sarah’s favorite book series. She read it ravenously. She had a list of books that she wanted me to share with me. We tended to enjoy the same books. She read The Vampire Diaries before any of her friends because I gave her my copies from the 90’s to read.  I don’t like the idea of finishing things that we were going to do together. I am not ready for that finality. I know she is gone and she is not coming back. But, it does not mean that I want to shut that door behind me. There was a classmate that had passed away a good while back, now. My mother ran into her after we lost Sarah. She told my mom that he had a credit card bill that she was still paying on. She would only pay the minimum on it. The idea of that bill with his name on it being gone terrified her. I completely understand.

2.       Sarah was VERY excited that there was going to be a movie. She was also very excited about Jennifer being cast in the lead role. I spent the entire first movie wondering what Sarah would have liked or not.  It was very exhausting.

3.       During a conversation about the book, (I had not read it yet. I didn’t read until after she died.) she told me that until recently, I had reminded her of Katniss’s mother. But, she was proud that I had got myself together. And, she said I would understand when I read the book. I sobbed when I read the passage of the book where she describes her mother. Or, the shell of a person that her mother was. It was dead on the money. I have finally come to forgive myself for being that mother for a time. But, it still stings.
So, no, I will not be watching Ms. Everdeen in her latest adventures. But, I am sure they will great and she will be bold.

Enjoy it for me.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

20 Things I Learned From, and Because of, Annie

When I was in third grade, a terrible and wonderful thing happened to me. The movie Annie came into theaters. Some of you may be thinking to yourself, “And?” This will help. This is a picture of me from third grade. Yep, I had Annie hair. No, my hair wasn’t red. But my brother’s was. I loved the movie. But, I faced a lot of ridicule for having Annie hair. It didn’t help that I went around singing. Like ALL the time.
So, when I found out there was a new version coming out, I got very excited. I still am. I take a very Shakespearean view of movies and plays. No, not Elizabethan, Shakespearean.  That means a production is done set in the present time period and style. So, the idea of a modern version is very appealing. No, I am not thrilled with Cameron Diaz as Ms. Hannigan. Fergie or someone else that comes across more street savvy might have been a better choice. But, I digress.
I learned a lot from Annie. It was the first musical that I sunk my teeth into. I can still sing nearly every word. And, I still sit on the edge of my seat while she his hanging by the tips of her fingers until Punjab rescues her. I cry when she sings “Maybe.” I cry when he sings “Maybe.” I cry through the entire finale, until Carol Burnett rides in on the elephant.  Anyway, here are some of the things I learned.
1.       Children are cruel. Even the most well-meaning ones. I had the shorts, curly Annie hairstyle before the movie came out. It was the one I always had. Kids had always laughed at my hair. But, after the movie, it was worse. I hated my hair as a child. A lot of kids laughed because it was coincidence. They weren’t really making fun of me. But, somehow, I took it as mean. It helped me to develop a thicker skin. At least until I was an adult.

2.       It is perfectly acceptable to break out in song at any time. Yes. I still sing a lot. Not well, but, I sing. It makes me very happy. I occasionally break into “Sandy” when my dog walks in the room. If I had realized what he would end up looking like, that’s what I would have named him.

3.       A dog can make a huge difference in your life. (OK, so this is something I SHOULD have learned.)

4.       It’s OK to be a tomboy in a dress. Annie did it with grace and ease.

5.       You can win people over with a smile and a strut.

6.       Sometimes, the love of your life is right under your eyes. You just have to have some help to open them. Just ask Daddy Warbucks.

7.       Sometimes, you have to be VERY patient waiting for the love of your life to open their eyes, even though you are standing right in from of them. Ask Grace.

8.       Anything Tim Curry, Carol Burnett or Bernadette Peters are in will be a pleasure to watch. (Except for It. We just don’t acknowledge It.)

9.       Curly haired girls look great in red.

10.   That love doesn’t just come from blood. You chose your family.

11.   Never climb a ladder when followed by a bad guy.

12.   There is always going to be a grump (Pepper) and a baby (Molly) in every group.

13.   Singing and dancing always makes cleaning more fun.

14.   Life with a bunch of girls will drive you to drinking.

15.   There is very little in this world that is more important that feeling wanted. Be it by family, friends or in romance.

16.   Having your own indoor pool is the coolest thing EVER.

17.   A party is not a party without elephants.

18.   Having a sparkling, kick-ass personality is ok. This includes throwing a few punches on occasion.

19.   The sun’ll come out tomorrow. Seriously. Sometimes, you just have to hold on until the day passes.

      20. But, the BIGGEST thing I learned was to overcome my fears. For the talent show that year, I         went on stage with Shanna Phillips and sang “Tomorrow” in front of my schoolmates and their parents. I even wore the dress my mother made me from an Annie pattern. I was really proud of myself. Actually, it was one of my proudest moments.
So, if you haven’t watched Annie in a while, especially if you have kids. Do so. Now. I mean it. Get to it!

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Father In Law I Never Met

So, Kelly over at DeBie Hive posted about seeing her father today. Well, a man that strongly reminded her of him. Reading it reminded me of a man I never met. My father in law passed away just before Jerry turned four. His only vivid memory of his dad was when he died. But, as I spend more time with Jerry, the more I get to know his father.

There are certain qualities and tendencies he gets from his mother. But, there are moments when I know his dad is slipping out. His dad must have been a flirt. I also know that he was warm and charming. This I have heard from his aunts. His mother talks about things he did. But, not about him. The pain of losing him is still fresh after nearly forty years.

There are certain smiles and the way that he holds me that you can not teach. They only come naturally. He looks more like his father every day. I love that he has carried on his father's legacy of being a compassionate gentleman.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sharing Our Kids, and Some Belated Thank Yous

So, I am strolling through my FB feed when I come upon a meme posted by a fellow mother that lost her child to Type 1. Basically it says that all of the people that come to the funeral will not be there for you after you lose your child. This hit me weird.

Well, weird isn’t the word. Wrong isn’t the write word, either.

Unfair is more like it.
Your child isn’t just YOUR child. They are part of the world. Whether you want to believe it or not, your tiny little piece of your own world is part of the great big world, too. Especially when they get older and start school. Or, if your community is aware that your child has medical issues that they are fighting. You family, friends and community members are emotionally invested in your child. The parents of your children’s friends know your child. I found this out after losing Sarah. I had several parents that had stories that their children had brought home about her. They were all good stories that revolved around her concern for others and how they were impressed that she was so comfortable in her own skin.
These people that loved your child, they are experiencing loss, too. In our case, my best friends had children that had grown close to her. Hell, they considered her one of their children. They experience loss, too. So, when they see our faces, they don’t just see the person that lost their child. They see their own grief.
It is unfair for us to expect them to think we are the only ones that grieve. And, you know what else? Their grief goes on for years, too. Especially those of us who were really close to us.
So, sometimes, we have to suck it up and realize that we are being selfish and share. And, for those people that do move on. It isn’t fair of us to expect them to stay behind with us and hold on to our grief. Life moves on and so should we.
On another note, I do not think that I ever said thank you to the people that were there the morning we lost Sarah. They saw me at my very lowest. They were the ones that came running. I know that I will miss people because the morning is foggy and horrible.
My family… so much love.
Cathy… She was literally at my side when they broke the news and the first to console me. I always loved you. But, being there meant more than you will ever now.

Shara… I cannot imagine having to call me. It was not your fault and that should not have been your cross to bear.

Barbara and Ron… The fact that you took the time to come all the way out and wanted to help, yeah… I have nothing. Thank you.

Joy… You stepped and made things happened. You invited complete strangers into your house to take care of me. So much love for you.

Val… No words. Just love.

And, finally Jessica and Jasen… You have seen me at quite literally seen me at my lowest. Including my crashing and screaming. Thank you, my friends. We love you more than you will ever know.

Don’t worry, I tell Mr. J thank you all the time.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Words Are Weapons...

Words hurt. They stick with you. Even though you may know that what is being said is not true or said out of anger, spite or jealousy, they are agonizing. Even words that are said out of sympathy can be hurtful at times. Especially when you feel the person needs sympathy, and they do not. And, we are often so busy worrying about what we want to say that we do not listen, even when we are asking for help. This is my introductory paragraph. I have made my 3 points. So here we go with the body. Maybe I should just do this in outline form. I would. But, I fear I might age myself. Do they even teach outlining, anymore?

This is hard for me to write. Partly because I am afraid that it will come out as bad mouthing my ex. I am not. We have both changed a lot since our divorce. But, I am sharing because I want other people to learn from our mistakes. The prompt for this was when a friend shared that she was told she was a bitch and needed to shut the hell up. I immediately flashed back to years ago standing in the kitchen getting scolded for an improperly cleaned kitchen.

I did not communicate very well in my marriage. I am to blame for the problems, too. But, this is about things that we say that hurt. Especially when they are said over and over again. The phrase that I heard over and over again was, “If you don’t like it pack your stuff and get out.” It was always said in anger. It was only said when we fought. But, it still hurt. I never responded much to the statement. I couldn’t. Those words hurt far too much. I think there may have been once that I actually said, “No. You leave.” If I had started expressing my wants and desires in the relationship from the very beginning, it never would have got to that point. But, I didn’t. The words hurt. And, they stick.

Your value as a person is determined mostly by what you contribute to the world. When I heard my spouse leave, I heard, “We would be better off without you here.” And, he was surprised to hear I had suicidal thoughts and was shocked when I left. My value as a wife and mother mattered more than anything. And, I took the words to mean that I had no value. I felt that it meant I was in the way. (Hearing “Get out of the way.” Or “You’re in the way.” when I was where he needed to get at something has lead me to feel like I am always underfoot or a nuisance. I am slowly moving away from feeling that way. But, there are days that I can’t escape it.)

So, if I ever say I don’t understand why anyone would want to be around me, I am working on it. But, it’s going to take time.

We don’t think about the things we say when we are mad. That doesn’t mean they aren’t what we are thinking.

Next point, sometimes we should just keep our mouths shut. As human beings, we always assume that people want to hear what we think. OK, I am a blogger, so I think and hope that people want to hear what I think. But, I am not going to walk up to someone and start spilling my guts. (To be honest, I tend to get ran over in conversation anyways and make mental notes of what to talk to Mr. J about when we get alone.)

And, you know, sometimes it is OK. But, when it comes to subjects like healthcare, having children, relationships… tread lightly. It is perfectly fine to tell the person that you are there to listen and to talk. But, do not assume they need to hear what you think. There is a blog going around stating that people would not have to give you reasons why they are not having children. Had I been a responsible blogger, I would have stashed the site and shared it here.

The blog is based around the idea that how many children we want and why is our business and that people shouldn’t be expected to spit babies out like a pez dispenser. But, it goes both ways. We shouldn’t judge people or comment on families with lots of children, too. The comments about “Why haven’t you had any children yet? I bet you just can’t wait to have children!” and others of the nature are often meant to show concern or interest. But, generally, it is a sensitive issue.

In other words, remember that we do not know what is best for other people. It is arrogant of us to think otherwise.

My last gripe stems from my job. But, it flows into the rest of my life, too. Sometimes, we need to shut up and listen.

I am the receptionist in an office where people pay debts. A majority of the time, the callers are so wound up with trying to remember what they think they need to say that they get themselves all worked up about it and end up rambling loudly and making a fuss. Then, I still have to make them start all over because I do not know who they are and I have to find them in the computer. When we are so busy regurgitating what we have on our mind that the person we are speaking to can’t keep up, we are fight a losing battle so to speak. A majority of the calls take several minutes of them fussing over something as simple as stating, “I will be able to take care of this on such and such date, if that is sufficient.” All because they decided the person on the other end of the phone is going to be rude and overly demanding.

So, stop. And listen to each other. This is the one thing Jerry and I really have a problem with. Mostly because we are both ADD and our minds wander of the train of thought A LOT. But, we both know we do it and are patient with each other.

So, to wrap things up... 1.) Be kind and choose words that will continue to lift people up. The ones that tear them down will do more damage than you can ever imagine. 2.) Be mindful of what is actually any of your business. 3.) Listen and be patient. Enough said.

And, one last thing. If you are reading this and think that people who get hurt by people’s words need to get thick skinned or get over it, there is a good chance you are part of the problem.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Every time that you lose it sing it for the world...

Be careful what songs you play at your child’s funeral.

From that moment on, you will be tortured by the memory attached to the song. However, if they were favorites of you and your child, you will get the worst emotional whiplash you can imagine.

My daughter got her taste in music from me. We listen to a little bit of everything. But, we tend to gravitate to the more dark and “alternative” music. I listened to Sarah’s music with her partly because I enjoyed it. But, I mostly did it because my mother did the same thing. She wasn’t giving us permission to run the radio or “giving into us.” She was being involved and wanted to know what we were listening to. Plus, Bon Jovi was huge. And, she loved Bon Jovi.  So, when Sarah was gone, I was at an odd place in my musical choices.

Do I keep listening to these bands because I want to? Or, would I be listening to hold onto Sarah. Either was an acceptable reason. But, I wanted to figure it out. There are particular songs that we sang together a lot. 

“Weightless” by All Time Lowe. 

“NaNaNaNA” by My Chemical Romance. 

“Wagon Wheel” by The Old Crow Medicine Show. 

“Highway to Hell” by ACDC. 

Those songs I smile and cry my way through.

But, when a song comes out by of the bands that she loved, I am torn. Do I like the song because it's a good song, or because Sarah would have liked it. My taste in music will be forever touched my the taste of a fourteen year old girl. Granted, she had good taste in music. So, I am not complaining. But, it makes listening to music both sad and happy. 

But, the ones from the funeral are the hardest to hear. 

We called the list of songs we played at the funeral "Sarah's Setlist." And, here it is.

"Good Riddance" - Green Day
"Hands" - The Almost
"Hallelujah" - Paramore 
"Lullabies" - All Time Low
"Wagon Wheel" - Old Crow Medicine Show
"Love Story" - Taylor Swift
"What a Wonderful World" - Joey Ramone
"Airplanes" - B.O.B. with Hayley Williams
"Breathe" - Ryan Adams
"Beautiful" - Christina Aguilera

And, these are the two songs we played during the service.

But, most importantly, more than anything else you might take away from this... The ONE thing I hope you take away... Listen with your child when they listen to their music. If I had not, I would not have known her so well. I would have missed out on the opportunity to find out how much she and I were alike. How much I saw myself in her. How much she saw herself in me. And, I have the memory of hearing her sing in my head. I can still hear her voice. It is probably the most precious thing I have.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Letter to My Husband

Dear Jerry,

I know you have a big day coming up this week. It is a day that you have been anticipating with both dread and relief. On February 6th you will have spent more days on this Earth than your father. You have carried more on your shoulders than any one person should have to. You have carried your own burdens of grief as well as helping the rest of us to carry ours.

I know that you were not aware of that when you took the kids and I into your lives that more grieving would follow. There was no way that we could know we would lose Sarah. And, I feel so selfish letting you help me carry my hurt when I know that you love her, too. You were a friend to her in a way that no one else was. And, you have filled those shoes with Ty, too. You are an example of warmth and affection to he has learned from. The patience you show him melts my heart and gives me peace of mind.

I remember a time when you didn’t know that you would live to see the day that you made it longer than your father. The faith that the rest of the world has in you is so much stronger than you will ever know. You are an example of kindness and compassion. Intelligence and humor. Art and strength.

More than anything else, I am amazed with your never ending patience with me. You love me despite, and sometimes because of, my faults. I am not an easy person to live with. I have panic attacks when it comes to paying bills. I am horrid at cleaning house. I can barely make on complete thought. But, you find me charming and know when I am about to break. And, you know that sometimes I don’t need words, just to be held.
 And, in a week when we have friends that are having babies, you listen to my "if we were blessed with children" speeches with patience and understanding. You know that I do not expect to actually have more children. But, you are compassionate about the fact that I want them. You don't flinch when I say, "If we had kids...". This world would be such a grand place if they were blessed to have children you raised from birth. 

You are so loved. And, not just by me. Your family, Ty, your friends, even the animals. Thank you for the blessing that you are. I get teary eyed thinking about the influence you have had on us. And, I am so proud of the charismatic, charming, confident man you have become. I loved you before. But, it grows with every step we take together.

With all of my heart,


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Since I Haven't Written in a While

Wow, I have not sat down to write in days. Well, not anything that I finished. So, today I shall do some mini-blogs.
The state of Texas is considering dropping Algebra II from their curriculum. There was a debate when my husband posted the link. One person was very concerned that the school districts were concerned that classes involving higher level thinking are not encouraged. Some are concerned that requiring higher level course that are not going to be helpful to the students future course of studies or future job plans would damage the students G.P.A.s. My concern is that there should be more “real world” math required before graduation. Like how to manage a household budget and balance a checkbook. I say this as someone that wished someone had made me take these classes.

But, that is not why I am writing this. This is about one of the hardest things I have had to deal with as a parent. School was always easy for me. The only thing I remember ever really having trouble with was fractions in 3rd grade. Sarah was the same way. Ty is not the same way. He is very bright. But, he has to work a lot harder. But, give him something mechanical, and he is gold. He will not need Algebra II. He needs courses in mechanics. Yes, math will help. But, if he ever wants to be his own boss, he will need business math.

It is difficult for me to put myself in his place, because I have not been there. Just like it was hard for Sarah’s father to understand that she did NOT have trouble in school. And, what little she did get stuck on, she was stubborn enough to keep at until she got it. But, Ty gets frustrated with himself. And, he is hard on himself. He is capable, he just has to work harder on "school" stuff.

Now when he gets to more hands on activities, he blows me away. He is the child that changed a sensor out on a round hay baler at 7 or 8 years of age. By himself. (His father loosened and tightened the bolt for him. But, that is all.) He is going to be a gear head. We are all trying to encourage him to be a mechanic of some sort. He loves it. I am hoping he can work in physics and business courses. I am very proud of him.


I have been rethinking my goals. I love this blog. It is my therapy and I know it has helped other people deal with their own losses. And, I am not going to stop blogging. But, I am going to place another venture higher in my priorities.

As most of you that follow me know, I sew. I love sewing small projects. Baby/lap quilts and blankets, baby stuff, small home d├ęcor items, totes and things of that nature. In the past I have done some sewing for a little side money. The business name is Whetsel's Wearables and Crafty Creations. The goal is to get it up and running full time.

Eventually, I want to open a fabric store with a small boutique for the items I make. I want to make this happen. For now, I have started a blog to go with it. But, it isn't quite ready for a grand reveal.


Well, that is all for now. And, stay warm! It's cold out there!



Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Quick Tip For Anyone That Sews!

If you have ever used a store bought pattern, you know they come out like this. 

But, quickly it is more like this.

I found a box of shipping envelopes, the lightweight cardboard ones, that we had no use for because we were no longer using that service for deliveries. So, I took a good sized stack home.

The pattern pieces fit in much easier in here.

And, they are the right size to cut the envelope down one side and across the bottom and tape to the box. So, now I can keep up with them much easier! 

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Night I Didn't Feel Like A Bad Mother.

I remember this evening with such clarity. It was not long after I had left the kids dad and moved to Abilene. I had felt like a failure as a parent. 

I was at a loss as to what my duties were now. And, I was living at my parents. So, I didn't even have my own room. Not to mention the kids.

But, this night, as least between Sarah and I, all was right in the world. He have never laughed that hard together. I laughed until I cried. She laughed so hard that she fell of the bed. Then, she started laughing harder as she bellowed, "I am literally ROTFLMBO!" (That is rolling in the floor laughing my butt off, if you didn't know.) That is one of my single happiest moments ever.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Reality of the Darkness; The Ongoing Saga of Ophelia Redstar

You might have noticed that my blog address is Ophelia Redstar. It may seem odd because it doesn't have anything to do with my blog. But, it isn't any further from the truth. Ophelia is my literary alter ego.When I day dream about non-reality, make believe land, she is me. She is also a vampire that is also a vampire assasin. She is the part of the me that is strong, out spoken and has a backbone. 

I had planned on participating on the "Write a Novel in a Month" that was going on in November and realized, it wasn't going to happen. But, I had decided that I was going to write about her story anyway. I wanted to write Sarah in at least one story line. I plan on writing my son in, too. But, anyway, this was what I wrote.


The night was one that Ophelia would never forget. It was a haunting evening, All Saint’s Day. Day of the Dead. And, she had ended up in Mexico. She had been following the trail of a vampire by the name of Phaedra that had a deviant taste for children. She used the excuse that the blood of children helped to keep her youthful appearance. All she could figure was that Phaedra forgot the source of the blood had no effect on your appearance. It did however have an effect on your mind and strength. And, consuming the blood of children tended to make creatures unstable. Impatience and short tempers being the strongest effects. She had slaughtered her way through several small villages, leaving a string of tiny corpses along the way. Young girls between fourteen and sixteen were her favorite “treat.” She was very jealous of their youth.

Being Day of the Dead, there would be children everywhere, along with the rest of their families. Ophelia knew that the Phaedra had lost control and would see this as a feast. Not only was she risking the lives of innocents, she was risking the safety and isolation of the supernatural world. A few deaths could be covered up and dismissed. Even in this day and age where people believed in things that go bump in the night and “bad luck,” word would spread.

A radiant glow was visible from miles away from the cemetery. There were thousands of candles all through the headstones and markers. You could hear the voices of men singing happy songs traveling through the air. And, the laughter of children billowed and rolled through the hills where she had been waiting for sun down. This was the last place the “Red Ghost” had been seen. Her lair was easy to find. The stench was appalling. She had at least become a little smarter this time around. She was luring the children out to the hills where she would quite literally drain the children’s bodies and drop their remains over the edge of a cliff.

She was overwhelmed for a moment. Originally, Ophelia had followed this trail thinking that the guilty culprit’s were the ones who had turned her and stole her children. The last time she had seen the bodies of children, they had been her own. She felt rage rise with bile in her throat as she remembered being drug by her foot away from her burning home. The men had done their dirty work in the cellar. But, they made sure that they left them out for display for her to see as they had their turns with her. All four children had been violated in every twisted way that the bastards could imagine. She would never be able to fully put the sounds of their echoing screams out of her head. She did not know what was worse, the screaming or when it stopped. That is when hers began.

She knew as long as she could hear them, they were alive. But, one by she could hear the screams would turn to crying. The crying to soft sobbing. Sobbing to whimpers. Then silence. She was in such shock that she did not realize the men were on their way back to the house. “Men” is not the right word. These men had ceased to be men years before. They had been turned in the years of the Civil War where blood shed was every where and there was plenty of blood to keep a fresh, young vampire gorged on blood. That much consumption caused problems. It would make the vampire crazy and victim to their own bloodlust. Their sire wanted it that way. He was a debaucherous demon. Even for a vampire. These men would follow him to the end of the earth.

Her last memories as a human were being dragged from the house by her foot. She could feel her ribs snapping and twisting as her face dug into the ground. Her bones dig into her organs, puncturing them. What little blood that was left after their feedings was seeping out of her heart and veins. Muscles and tendons tore and pulled loose in her leg. Her foot finally snapped loose at the bone as they reached the creek. They laughed as they tossed her body into the ice cold water. The cold November air caused the water to drop her body temperature even lower. They thought she was dead. They did not realize that she was alive. But, just barely. Her will to live was gone. It died with her children. She had been thrown a good one hundred feet from the creek. And, as her head crashed against a large stone she felt her neck snap. She heard the crunch as her vertebrae collided and then snapped apart as she bounced on the creek bottom. And, she did not care. She just wanted to die.

Without her children she did not want to live. She didn’t care anymore. Her husband was gone and now her children. It had been five years since that night. Years had taught her that you had to go on. If you did not have anyone left to care about, fight for the people that do. And, she was not going to let anyone else lose a child tonight.

Upon descending the hill, she saw Phaedra in silhouette against the glow of the candles. She was tiny. No more than five feet tall. But the way that she stood there in the night air with her hair whipping in the wind, she seemed enormous. It was almost as though she was floating in the air. Flamboyance was always a specialty of hers. It wasn’t just for show. It was just who she was.

A small child, a girl no more than four, stuck her head around one of the outermost headstones. Her tiny feet began to take increasingly faster steps towards Phaedra. The child was being drawn in. Creating infatuation is a gift that few vampires have. And, the ones that do have it as humans, too. You know them, the people that others just want to be friends with. People give them things. Cars, jewels, groceries. The girl’s face was lit up, laughing. I had to move quickly. I wanted to surprise her, and the girl just blew any chance of that. There would not be any bloodshed. Not tonight.

She felt the fire in her chest flare as she pulled Retribution from his scabbard. It was a short sword that had been coated in silver. Using it made her nervous. She would have to keep from touching herself with it. The leather she was wearing would keep her from coming in contact from the metal. Tall boots, pants, corset and shirt were very fitted and would make her stick out like a sore thumb in her pre-Victorian world. But, it kept her safe. And, to be honest, the outfit was enough of a distraction that people did not look at her face. Not that many people lived to see her, anymore. The weight of the sword was very heavy in her hand. Even after all this time, she still hadn’t adjusted to the power in body. The sword should have been heavy for her to even lift. But, as a vampire, it was light as a feather. Power and anger pulsed through her muscles as she began her run at Phaedra.

A small scream escaped the mouth of the little girl. It grew as her sweet brown eyes grew larger at the mad woman running towards her. A sharp hiss rang is her ears as Phaedra’s head whipped around. Her eyes were red and full of lust and hysteria. Yes, she was completely off her rocker. But, she was ancient and old. That meant she was a formidable opponent. Her was strength was her speed and agility. That little bit of surprise that Ophelia had was now gone. Now, she would have to rely on her determination and use the anger that burned within her.

She was so focused on her mission that she was oblivious that the songs and laughter had ceased. It was deadly silent. As soon as the vampires had laid eyes on each other, the ghosts of the children buried in the cemetery began to gather.  The candles, toys and candies that were left by their families had enticed their spirits to come tonight. Tonight, when the veil between this world and the next, the spirits of the children that were there had a leader. The spirit of a fourteen year old girl, dressed in a torn white dress whipped around her feet. She began to gather the children with a gentle motion of her hand. The spirits followed her. Their family members following right behind.

Ophelia ran, almost faster than a human eye could see, sword close to her side. She gripped it tightly in fear that she might lose it. Or, that it might be ripped from her grip by her opponents. Phaedra flew right at her. On lookers would say that it reminded them of a head on train collision. The movement of the two were so fast that no one was ever sure what happened in the struggle. The sword that had been gripped like a vise had managed to be flung from her hand. From the ground she could not see. Her advisary had blinded her with dirt and had gripped her bony hand around Ophelia’s throat. She could feel her muscles pulling away from the bone. This was not how she had wanted this to go. Not at all. The cackling laughter from the woman looming over her was added to her confusion.

She was still a young vampire herself. She was still new to killing. It left a bitter taste in her mouth. She was ready to die. She had been since that night five years ago. Thoughts of finally being able to die brought her peace. Not knowing if she would go to heaven, hell or somewhere in between, she just wanted to go. She was surprised that heaven might be an option. But, when she heard the voice of her daughter, her daughter that had been long dead, say, “Mother…” she quickly filled with confusion. Surely she didn’t see her face. Her sweet blue eyes and warm smile. She was slipping in and out of conciousness. But, she knew that she wasn’t seeing things. Her daughter’s ghost was there. She was even growing more solid. Her bare feet disturbing the dry dirt, causing it to billow up in clouds as she walked towards the sword laying on the ground. With a look of determination and using all of the focus the girl could muster, she placed her know corporeal hand around the grip of the sword. And, with a tenacious effort, she lifted the sword and swung it in one motion, bringing the Phaedra’s head flying from her body.

Ophelia flew up from the ground. Her own shock and astonishment left her body tingling, unaware of the trauma dealt by the now dead vampire, whose body was already beginning the rapid process of decay. All Saint’s Day was when the spirits of the dead were supposed to be able to come back to visit their loved ones. But, she had always thought that this was just an excuse to celebrate the lives of loved ones. Once she gained her center, she realized that there were ghosts over other children making a circle around them, as though they were creating a protective barrier between the vampires and the people and the cemetery that had come to see what the ruckus was. Ophelia and Rachel ran to each other just in time to hold each other before she turned to mist again.

”I don’t understand. Come back my baby! Don’t leave me again!” Ophelia screamed as the child dissipated completely. She did not realize that she was sobbing and gasping for air as she grasped at the ground where her daughter had been standing. Every once of excruciating pain that she had felt over the last five years hit her all at once. She felt human for the first time in a very long while. It wasn’t until a gentle hand touched her shoulder that she realized the ghosts were all gone.

“The sun will be up soon. You can sleep in our cellar.” She looked up to see a girl no older that her own Rachel had been sitting beside her. “My grandmother said that anyone, vampire or not, that would the ghosts of our children would protect is worthy of our protection as well.” Her smile was gentle and warm. And, more importantly, genuine. Ophelia realized that she had been there for hours, curled on the ground heaving with dry sobs. “My name is Rose,” she spoke gently as she straightened her skirts as she got up from the dry ground. She was not scared of her. Knowing she was a vampire, and she still trusted her. She invited her to her house. The house where her family sleeps. She could not turn down her generosity. But, her heartbreak was starting to ease a bit. There was a part of her, the part that had saved her skin many times that said this could be a trap.

But, there comes a point when you are completely emotionally, mentally and physically drained that all you have left is faith. Faith in the ones that offer you shelter in the storms of life. She reached her hand up to the girl. Together, they dusted the dirt from her and her clothes and walked quietly to the house. It was located in the center of town. Right on the square. As the got closer to the house, she realized she could hear singing again. But, it was quiet. Murmurs, just above a hum. People were heading back into their homes. In her mind, she was evil. She was not worthy of love or trust. But, these people that had never seen her before, and knew what she was smiled at her. Warm, genuine smiles stretched across their faces. Some of them even brought her packages wrapped in brown papers. An elderly man scooted towards her and slowly reached out and delicately took her had in his. He placed his lips to the back of her hand. “Gracias,” he said as he bowed low.

She didn’t understand. Of all the creatures in the world to fear, vampires were high on the list. She was the thing of nightmares. Children should be running and screaming. These people should be crossing themselves and shivering. But, they were not. Instead they were welcoming her with open arms. There was something very otherworldly going on.

Rose looked over with a small smile. She could tell that Ophelia was confused. “My grandmother has spoke to the townspeople on your behalf. They understand that you came to protect our children from the Blood Witch and not to harm anyone.” Before Ophelia could respond the girl quickly added, “She is psychic. She read your mind and could tell that you were only here to help. Also, you are hurting and lonely. If there is anything that you ever need, we are at your service. If you need somewhere to rest or to hide. We will help you. You came to us in our time of need, without expecting anything in return.”

Ophelia stopped for a moment. Warmth and love radiated from the girls face. Any other time, she would have been furious that someone read her mind. But, the entire town wanted to take her under their wing. She had never in her life felt this kind of acceptance. She had spent her life not knowing who she was. Her parents had died when she was a young girl of eight. From then on, nothing was right again until she met Michael. Then, she lost him and her children. There had been so many occurrences of strange and supernatural activity around her that she was quite scared that she had been jinxed or cursed. What harm would come to these people for protecting her? Could she risk their lives for her own? But, she couldn’t refuse their hospitality, either. And, the option of a safe haven was so very appealing. “I will stay for a while. But, I insist that we find somewhere away from people so that I am not a danger to anyone.”

“As long as you stay with us until dusk. You have to rest,” the girl replied as she guided Ophelia into a doorway. “Welcome to our home.