the lady that loved strawberry mini wheats

She loved strawberry mini wheats. The first time I ever met her, she had a small baggie of them with her, munching on them without any milk. I remember her smile and that she was a happy-go-lucky type of gal. That was probably 5 or more years ago. Little did I know how our paths would cross in the years to come.

I worked with her a on a project for her company and then I didn’t hear from her for probably 2 years. Then, one day, she was sitting in our conference room in a job interview. The next thing I knew, she was my co-worker. And, man, did she work! It’s hard to find someone who worked like she did – it didn’t matter the task, she did it without grumbling or complaining. I could tell it was hard on her at this new job since she had worked a very long time at her last job.

Fast forward just a couple of months…while driving home from an out of town trip with my husband, I received a phone call. My mini wheat loving co-worker had lost her husband to a terrible, tragic tractor accident. My heart was broken for her. I remember going to visit her just a day or so after the accident and how devastated she was. Her little boy was less than 3 years old at the time and she was trying so hard to hold it together for him.

After about a month’s leave, she came back to work. You never know what to say to a person in a situation like that. I gave her my listening ear as much as she needed. One minute she would seem fine and happy, but the next minute, she was all to pieces and so angry at the situation. How in the world could anyone blame her?

I began to worry about her because weeks went by and it seemed to get worse. We found someone who offered free counseling, but I was afraid I would make her mad if I offered that to her. I was afraid she would take offense. Oh, how I wish I would have made her mad.

Then, the day came that I will always remember. I was walking up to my house on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, enjoying the sunshine and birds singing. My sister and I were going to go watch Sex & The City 2 and I was really excited. Phone rings and I see it’s another friend of mine.

“Hey girlie! How are ya?” I inquire.

“Mandy, she’s shot herself. She had been visiting with family, then went home and they found her just a few minutes ago. We don’t know how she is.”

I broke down and was asking my friend “Why? Why would she do that?” I was a sobbing mess and my heart was just bleeding with sadness.

At the time, I had connections and was able to find out that they were transporting her to the hospital, so I jumped in the car and was going to go see her. Before I could even get to town, I got the call that she didn’t make it.

That was the second person in my life to commit suicide and I truly hope the last, but I know it will not be. How I wish I would have made her mad and asked her to go to counseling. Maybe she’d still be here today.

I write this blog because she’s been on my mind a lot lately, even though this disaster was over 2 years ago. The other day, I saw her son who is now 5 years old. My own son is 6 months old and how I wish she could see him now. I wish she could have looked ahead to this day and saw what a beautiful boy she was going to leave behind.

Then, today I met with a man that I had originally met through her. I didn’t even realize the connection until driving to the meeting this morning.

I’m sure there’s a reason for all this reminiscing, but what is it?

My friend who loved her family (and strawberry mini wheats)

My friend who loved her family (and strawberry mini wheats)

blogger’s block

It’s amazing how you can have so many darn ideas flying around in your head and not be able to verbalize a single one of them. That’s what I’m experiencing – blogger’s block (am I the first to use that term? It would be really cool if so!).

Some of the crazy things I’ve been wanting to blog about include (but are not limited to):

I’ve been contemplating carrying around a notebook to jot down my ideas and thoughts. You’d think I would use this “smart phone” as a notepad, but that would be too easy. When on the go, I’m more of a pen & paper kind of gal.

This is the gadget that I’m sure is really neat if I would only try it out!

Speaking of pen & paper, I have a serious case of buyer’s remorse. Over a month ago, I got these neat contraption called an apen – it records what you write and converts it to type. The great part is that I haven’t used it at all…nope, not even once. How pathetic. OH, that was another one of my ideas to blog about – how I was addicted to those daily deal sites, but then I had to get a new computer and my home pages weren’t saved, so now I don’t see them every day so I’m not spending so much money on stuff I don’t need. That was almost a run on sentence.

SO…now, what to blog about? I think I’ll pick the irony about the lady I used to know.

my husband made me cheat

Yep, you heard it right. He made me do it! I had been doing so very well, behaving myself and feeling really proud, but he brought me down this evening.

It all started with an innocent meal at a local deli that we like to eat at. Great sandwiches and we got to sit outside an admire the flowers. I told Mike that I would like to take the baby next door and look at some of the garden items and he agreed. He went inside to pay the bill and that’s when it started. Sticking his head back out the door, he said “Don’t go anywhere.” I knew I was in for it.

Minutes later, the violation occurred when the waitress brought a huge, big fat of carrot cake out for us to enjoy! You see, over a week ago, I vowed no dessert, regular soda or sweet tea for two weeks. I cheated a hair on Sunday with apple pie and a real Coke, but then I was doing really well. I had a few bites of the delicious cake this evening and a few swigs of Pepsi. Shame on me.

Now, when I said he made me cheat, surely you didn’t think I meant something like Indecent Proposal, did you? Geesh!

BUT, the no sweet thing is working well – I’ve lost 2 pounds in less than 2 weeks. I also ran 3 miles this morning which is a first since early on in my pregnancy last year. My belly was all bouncing around and I was out of breath so easily that I decided to quit running. But, I’m back now. Check out this cool mushroom formation in the middle of the football field at the track where I was running. I posted it to Facebook and someone called it a “Fairy Ring”. Pretty neat.

Neat mushroom formation at local high school

The “Fairy Ring” of Mushrooms

paper bag pirate

My husband came in the door a few minutes ago and whispered “Come here!”, so I stepped out the door. Then, he tells me to put on my flip flops and come around the back of the house. After I get half way around the back of the house,  he’s saying “You have to see this.” So, I’m thinking he’s trying to get lucky (he tries to trick me sometimes).

BUT, that wasn’t the case. He really did want to show me this neat cloud formation in the sky and look at the lightning bugs slowly rising from the July landscape of our backyard. He gently wrapped his arms around my waist and we admired another one of the good Lord’s beautiful masterpieces.

June 2012 sunset on our hillside

June 2012 sunset on our hillside

He said he wanted to hit some golf balls (mind you, it’s 9 pm and you can hardly see) so I went with him to get the clubs and balls. He brings out a paper bag of balls he bought at this local gas station – $13 worth of balls, to be exact. After dumping the balls from the paper sack into his golf bag, he whacked one WAY out into the trees, all the way over the field. I thought I would try to hit one and I actually did with his coaching skills. I always miss the darn things. Mine went a total of 10 feet, I think. But, I did hit it!

He smacked the third ball out into the field somewhere and when he walked off to retrieve my pitiful attempt at golf, I saw the paper bag lying there and decided to have a little fun. I put it over my head and started trying to tear some eye holes in it so I could see. Needless to say, I got ONE eye hole because I had trimmed my nails down to nothing last night. So, I stuck my arms out in front of me like a zombie and started walking toward him. He’s laughing at me and saying “What are you doing?”

After I peeled the bag off my head (laughing myself), I said “See, I can be fun!” and he’s like, “You’re a lot of fun!” I was afraid I was becoming an old fuddy dud since becoming a mom (you know how we worry, moms).

On the way back to the front door, he says, “Now I only have $12 worth of balls.” But, that $1 sure did equate to a few minutes of fun for the both of us.

the family stone/christmas in july

I just finished watching the last 30 minutes or so of one of my absolute favorite movies, “The Family Stone.” I saw it in the theater when it first came out years ago and I watch in on DVD every year around Christmas. It was on TV a minute ago so I thought I would just finish the end. I’m glad I did.

Every time I watch it, I end up crying. I cry when Sara Jessica Parker (Meredith) gives everyone the framed prints of the mom who is dying of cancer. I cry when the sister Suzanna is watching that movie where she’s singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and I really cried on the very last scene when the family is gathering around the Christmas tree. There are parts in there when I laugh, but that movie touches me to the core for some reason.

One thing I realized tonight while watching the last scene is that my heart is broken that my family is not as close as we used to be. I promised to stay upbeat on my blog, and I am, to a certain extent. I’m so thankful that I have the best husband in the world (no, really I do) and that I have a happy, healthy, little baby boy who will celebrate his first Christmas this year. We’ve started our own family and I am so richly blessed that sometimes I just don’t know what to do.

I do have many repressed feelings buried away about my own family. Mom & dad divorced when I was about 18 (after about 17 years of marriage) and even though it was hard then, I honestly believe it’s been more challenging the older I’ve gotten. One of my sisters now lives in California and we see her about once a year if we’re lucky. Mom’s remarried and has started another family of her own, too. So, when we get together, it’s normally my dad, my younger sister, and me (along with my husband and son). We always have a wonderful time, but I do wonder “what might have been” if we could have stuck together. If we could  all get together during the holidays and birthdays like we used to.

We used to celebrate all of the holidays it seems…even St. Patrick’s Day and such. Our family was close knit and I do remember being a happy kid. And that’s what I want to pass along to my little boy – I want him to know happiness, safety, comfort, and lots of love. I’ve made a vow to myself that I’ll do whatever is in my power to keep my family (small as it is right now) together. And, when it’s beyond my control, I will turn it over to God. Well, I should do that in the first place. One thing I vowed almost 9 years ago is to love my husband until death parts us and stay with him and by gosh, that’s what I’m going to do. The going my not always be easy and he may want to strangle me at times (I do ask lots of questions), BUT we’re gonna stick it out till the end.

I really don’t have remorse toward my parents about splitting up and I don’t want this to read that way. I imagine that all children would love to see their parents stick together and be happy, in a perfect world. But, this world isn’t perfect, so I will enjoy the time I have with each of my family members, even though it’s not all at one time in one setting. And I can remember those years of happiness we did have and the holidays we were able to celebrate together.

On a lighter note, I sent my son to bed tonight with dried prunes on his nose. I had fed him some prunes and he got sleepy and didn’t want me to mess with his face. So, I figure we can wipe the crusty prunes off his nose in the morning, huh?

the "farris" girls many years ago

Me & my sisters, Rachel (middle) and Amy (right)

random ramblins on a friday

First bit of randomness: Yesterday, my husband and I took a short, but amusing walk to the end of our driveway to put a letter in the mailbox. There was a tree branch hanging down over the driveway with some dead leaves on it and Mike tried to jump up and grab it. It was funny because he didn’t get that far off the ground. Thinking I was some Olympic athlete, I decided to try it myself. I think I might have gotten half as far as he did. I was already laughing at myself when he decided to make a joke of me. He said “All I could see was you twisting your ankle or hurting yourself and looking at me like it was my fault.” If you could have seen the face he made (imitating what I would have done), you would have LOL’d too.

Randomness #2: Speaking of #2…stopped at the light in front of McDonald’s – nice big patch of green grass…three black dogs on leashes. One bowed over taking a massive poo. “I’d like fries with that!” I don’t think the woman was gonna scoop it up either…

Third random thing: I made my first post to craigslist a couple of weeks ago and someone is already trying to hoo-doo me! I had an email asking if my road bike for sale was in good condition, so I emailed the person back and immediately, I get this response…

thanks for getting back to me let’s do like this, actually now I’m not
in town for now, I came to visit my family so i wont be able to meet
with you to see the item but am ok with the price as seen on the
advert. I don’t mind to give you $50 to withdraw the advert for you to
see how serious i am in the transaction, i will contact my secretary
to issuing a Check out to you and when you received the check  I will
make arrangement for pick up. So get back to me with below details to
be on the check asap.

Postal Code:
Phone Number:

And as soon as this is provided, the payment will be overnight to you
and i will let you know when its mailed out. I need you to be honest
with the sale as I am a God fearing person.Note you don’t need to
worry about shipping the items for me as soon as you have the check
and have the check cash my shipper will come over for pick up.

God Bless

So, thanks but no thanks! I can’t even type that fast, so there’s no way this is real. Seller’s beware!

4th and final random thing: While watching the doggie poo, I hear this story on the radio and have to laugh – AIG wants interest on an overpayment they made on their taxes back in the 90s when they still owe the government about $17 billion.

If all of us would just behave ourselves, wouldn’t the world be lovely?

the past remembered

Friday evening, there was a terrible wind storm at our house that really did terrify me. It would have been scary a year ago, but it was even more disturbing now that we have this little life in our hands. After I realized we were going to live through the storm (I was really worried!), it made me appreciate the small things even more.

The power went off and yes, it was hot and aggravating. But, at the same time, it allowed me to have experiences I would have missed if the power was on. First of all, we finally made it to the creek and took our son for the first time. We probably would have talked ourselves into staying in the air conditioning if the power was on. But, we made our way down the creek and took advantage of nature’s air conditioning – the cold water and shade!

Last night, I got to sit out on my dad’s porch and hear him reminisce about how his great grandfather worked the piece of land his house is on and how he played there when we were a kid, just as I did when I was growing up. He’s so excited that Ezra will get to play on the same plot of land. Five generations and that piece of land is still in our family.

One of the best parts was the whippoorwill… I was just telling my husband the other evening how I hadn’t heard one in forever and dad has them all around his house. It’s one of the best sounds ever. After that, we saw a very white skunk in his back yard, too.

When I was a young teenager, we lived in a house with no running water for about 18 months or so. I’ll let you use your imagination, but times weren’t that hard and we really appreciated our running water when we finally got it back in our new home. Ever since then, I feel like I look at situations like that a bit differently. I’m glad my parents let me experience life like that. Maybe I’m crazy, but I feel more well rounded for it.

I started reading a book the other day called “Hope is Contagious” and it really is. It asks if you’re going to be the person grumbling all the time or if you’re going to be the one trying to find the bright side. I’m not perfect and I never will be, but I sure I hope to see the bright side more often than the dark. What about you?