Monday, November 30, 2009

The Annual Stalking of Bambi

Today is Testosterone Day in Ohio. More conventional people may also designate it as Orange Day, but I'm not real conventional. When you can sense it just by opening a living room window, it's T-Day.

I'm referring, of course, to Opening Day for deer hunting season.

It's guaranteed that if I drive anywhere in the next week, I will see several deer hanging from trees, dripping on garage floors, and lolling over pickup tailgates. (Especially the bucks. You NEVER put your tailgate up when you get a buck!)

Life demanded that I make an errand run today. My route took me past a house that is apparently a hot spot for hunters. Two mega-duty trucks pulled out in front of me, thick black exhaust rolling from the jumbo pipes rising above the cabs. Two more trucks waited for me to pass, so they could join the cavalcade. The drivers and passengers were sporting the universally recognized neon orange. One by one, they all turned the same corner. I envisioned fourteen overgrown boys piling out of the monster machines, smacking each other on the back, popping the lids off their Michelobs and reliving the take-down of the 12-pointer swinging from the tree in the front yard.

These men may or may not have surprised their wives with a bouquet of roses in the past fifteen years or spent a dime on a family movie night. Vacations to Disney or the Grand Canyon may be a foreign concept. But! By golly, they've had this week of vacation approved at work since the first of January. Every year. Without fail.

When I was in high school, all of my male classmates who hunted were allowed to take a free day on Opening Day. The notion of allowing the females the liberty to enjoy a day for shopping wouldn't have been entertained. Sure, the men were hunting and providing for the family. But we all know that's not why men pull on their boots and Carhartts and perch precariously in homemade tree stands in subzero weather waiting for the elusive stag to have an unfortunate meeting with the wrong end of a shotgun. The fact that the family gets a little deer jerky and enjoys a steaming pot of venison stew is a side benefit.

Several months ago, Tom brought home an eight point buck head that one of his friends at work had parted with. The friend was cleaning out the Man Cave. I'm not, by far, the best decorator in the world, but our house is not a log cabin or in the country. I wasn't thrilled with this monstrosity hanging on my wall. I appreciate benevolence, but...

Tiffany was even unsure what to think about it.

We recently came to an agreement, with the help of an acquaintance. This guy had reason to step on our front porch while the Thing languished in the bad weather, and upon noticing, he declared an immediate need for it. He desired to own it to the extent that he offered us his own deer, should he get one this year. When we didn't respond to his offer quickly enough, he increased it to include a really nice Pack-n-Play for Tiffany.

The Pack-n-Play is lovely girly colors and suits Tiffany perfectly. We're waiting for the call that will fill our freezer. And somewhere, there's an eight point buck hanging on a cabin wall, with a bunch of strong, tough Davy Crocketts beating their chests and telling fish...I mean...deer stories.

Granny, Help! My Bread is Terrible!

Typically, junk mail causes me to sigh, roll my eyes, head straight for the closest trash receptacle, maybe even get a blood pressure rarely makes me smile.
There's one catalog, however, that always makes me chuckle.

My Granny was a junk-mail queen. Among her garage sale plastic flowers, Conway Twitty 8-tracks and homemade yarn kittens, we could always find items she purchased from Fingerhut. Trinkets, dust collectors, most of it junk. All Granny. She bought a lot of flowered hand towels, probably from Fingerhut. She cut them in half, crocheted across the top, attached a button so the towel could be looped over a drawer handle, and gave them away as gifts.

Granny was little more than a feather. Barely five feet tall, she probably weighed a hundred pounds on a good day. She struggled with heart disease and several other health concerns, so she didn't have a lot of good days in her last years. She may have been small, but she was anything but weak. She raised nine children. She worked in a diner on Broad Street in St. Louis, Missouri. When she felt well, she was always on the go.

When I was about ten years old, my mother took my younger sister and I, my aunt and her boys, and Granny to a local park. The kids were all playing on the swings and slide. Mom and Aunt Joyce decided to enjoy a trip down the slide as well. Not to be outdone, Granny nimbly climbed the steps and began the trek down the shiny metal. Apparently, Granny had, over the years, forgotten how to gracefully bring yourself to a halt at the bottom of the slide. KERPLUNK!! Into the dust Granny landed, directly on her tailbone, legs out straight in front of her. I can still see the look of complete shock on her face. As soon as her daughters were sure she wasn't badly injured, they did what all good children do when their seventy year old mother falls off a slide...they burst into raucous laughter.

Around this same time, I recall sitting in Doc's Place, an ice cream shop, in Homer, Michigan where I grew up. Granny was relaying to my mother a story that my aunt had shared with her. I do not have a clue what the story was about, but I can remember that it involved how gravity affects a woman's upper body parts. My grandmother, being the proper lady she sometimes was, didn't want to mention this issue in front of my sister and I, but she wanted to make the point to my mother. Sitting at the table across from me, grinning and eating her ice cream, she kept drawing her hand down her chest. "You know, how know...fall...down". I'm not quite sure why she thought that I wouldn't know to what she was referring!

Granny made The. Best. Dinner. Rolls. Ever. THE BEST. Try as we might, no one in the family has ever been able to duplicate the taste of Granny's bread. Countless times, we asked her to write down her recipe. "Oh, you just throw a little of this and a little of that in and stir it all up."

So you can probably sense my frustration when my bread machine malfunctions on Thanksgiving Day and I get this! (Great for having Communion with the family, though!)

Granny has been gone for 21 years. She would love my children. They would love her fuzzy TV with rabbit ears, her crocheted slippers, her bread.

Granny, I miss you.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Those City Slickers Miss Out On All The Good Stuff!

The following incident was published in our local newspaper, and with the exception of * is verbatim.

*names and addresses changed to protect the innocent?*

"At 1:27 p.m. Saturday, Lady A, 83, 123 Letter Avenue, stopped at 234 Edgetown Road, in front of Unit 121, to let a passenger into her vehicle. Lady A's vehicle lurched forward, striking the garage door. A vehicle in the garage owned by Lady B, 234 Edgetown Road, was pushed forward. Lady A then attempted to back out of the garage rapidly. In doing so, her vehicle sped across the street and a yard, striking the house at Unit 172. She then pulled forward back across the yard, crossing the street in a 292-foot half-circle and coming to a stop in front of unit 109. Both vehicles sustained non-functional damage. Lady A was cited for failure to control."

I always knew Barney Fife was precise, but...292-foot half-circle???!?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Who Messed Up My Peanut Butter?

Seriously, am I the only one in the house that can successful remove peanut butter from the jar, without it looking like this? What are they using, a pitchfork?!?

Around here, it's typically referred to as "B-Bot" - one of the first words Dylan learned to say when he came to live with us. Spoonful upon spoonful, he never gets tired of it. (Thank goodness! It sure makes MY life easier!)

When I was little, I told my Dad if Heaven doesn't have PBJ's, I don't wanna go. While I've since grown up in my spiritual thinking a wee bit, I'm still hoping I get to lick grape jam off the spoon when I'm looking at my reflection in the gold streets. ;-)

Monday, November 2, 2009

OCC 2009

It's that time of year again.

My (probably) favorite children's mission project to support is Operation Christmas Child. Find the drop-off location nearest you on their website.

I hope that I can someday go on a delivery trip and see this amazing program firsthand.

Grab your empty shoe boxes, fill 'em up with good stuff, and bless a child this holiday season.

And Merry Christmas to ya'll, early.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Cake, or Next Time Someone Else Can Drive

Last week, we had Dylan and Tiffany's adoption party celebration. After 16 months of waiting to adopt them, 2 months of party planning, (well, really more than that, because I've been planning to plan a party for a very long time!) and a few hours of decorating and cooking, we pulled it off.

Other than knowing we'd get to introduce our new children to some friends we hadn't seen for quite some time, the biggest thing I was excited about was their cake.

When Dylan first came to live with us, he brought one change of clothes, a couple of diapers, and a couple of small trinkets that the police officers involved in the case had given to him. That was all.

When he got to our home, he attached to a small, stuffed Jo-Jo, from Disney's Jo-Jo's Circus very quickly. Jo-Jo went everywhere Dylan went. He played with her so much that her nose wore off, so then he kept her under his pillow all the time so her "broken nose" wouldn't lose more stuffing.

In planning the party, I decided to go with a circus theme, for two reasons:

1. It describes our family perfectly!!

2. I wanted to have a huge Jo-Jo cake made by a local cake artist. (I don't use the term artist lightly...she really does do great work!)

Sunday morning, we skipped church (Shhh!) and spent the morning finishing up for the party, which was beginning at 2 PM. I left the party spot, retrieved the cake, and headed back to the party spot.

The cake was gorgeous. Perfect. Jessica did a WONDERFUL job.

(Photo courtesy of a very smart cake maker named Jessica, since I didn't get one with it looking like this!)

This trip, half-way across our small town, should take approximately 1.3 minutes, although we do have a double train track, so it sometimes takes longer. There were no trains during this trip. And apparently, I was trying to shorten the time to 1.1 minutes, because my foot slipped off the brake pedal. This, of course, caused me to hit the brakes again, a little too hard...

Yeah, you know what happens next...

I heard it going, reached back to catch it, as it was sliding off my van seats (which had been laid down for this particular excursion)...



Tom managed to salvage Jo-Jo's face, at least. Everybody said "Oh, don't worry about it. The cake tastes fine."

In the great big grand scheme of life, the fact that this cake hit the floor doesn't matter one iota...