Tag Archives: family thingies

I Need Some Help

Since I have decided to leave my family, there are a few hot-point days that I want to make sure that I am not at home.

I’m looking at the first three dates and thinking that I will take each of the pups for a road trip.

The question is:  which pup would enjoy what trip.

None of these are mutually exclusive, but I will be taking them one at a time.

I love Galveston.  And I think every pup should get to swim in the Gulf.  I also love Stephen F. Austin National Park.  Or at least I did.  I haven’t been there in years, but I have fond memories of it.

So, since I have already decided to take one pup on one adventure this spring/summer, who should I take where and when?

Suggestions of other parks are cool, too.  I’m looking at leaving the night before the day and then coming home the night of the day.   (So, no, Roberto, no need for you to sit with — unless you just want to 🙂



The Only Part of My Childhood I was Allowed to Have

I left my family home abruptly and could only take what my friends and I could carry.  At that point, I didn’t much care about all of the things that represented my childhood.

Over the years, my nieces inherited most of my childhood possessions, including  clothes — especially the ones that meant something to me, like my recital outfits and prom dresses.

A few years ago, my mother and sister gave me a box containing the few things I guess they couldn’t find any use for in their drive to buy my nieces’ love.

Earlier this month, I burned the bridge I had with those two women.  Oddly, I felt no remorse or guilt.  Why hadn’t I done it years earlier?  I don’t know.

Today, in doing my BIG TIME spring cleaning, I came upon that box.   What was inside made my decision solid.

It contained music from when I played, a diary, a couple of little notebooks, a diary,  a small Gideon New Testament bible, an empty bottle from Baylor’s 1980 Cotton Bowl, along with some things that clearly weren’t mine.  (Those two women have always had a habit of treating me like a Sand Dollar drop off.)

In one little notebook, my 11 year old self wrote about “daddy’s day” and needing to “rap” his present.   In the diary, my 12 year old self wrote about coming home late from a game because a friend’s mom was late, but that “mother wasn’t mad for too long.”

And that pretty much explains my life.  I loved my dad.  When he died, everyone fell apart, except for me, except for a while.  I stayed at the hospital and made the decisions.  I had always known that I was the least loved of us kids.  My dad was in Louisiana on duty in the Army when I was born, so he never really took to me, but I always loved and idolized him.

My mother has always been angry.  My sister has been angry for a long time, too.  Both of them have mostly been angry at me when they don’t have a better target.  Up until a few weeks ago, I had always tried to get them to love me.  Now I know it’s just not worth the effort.

Since I had that realization, I have been working on the house in order to make it easier to have people over.  With Dora wanting to kill Tammy, I have had to keep them separated.  The house arrangement has worked well for that, but it makes having company just about impossible.

I really want to get this done as soon as possible because my middle niece has asked several times over the years to come over.  I’ve always explained the pup situation to her, but now that just doesn’t work, and I can see how she hasn’t been able to understand it.

I will chronicle it as best I can here.  I really hope that I can invite her over when the garden is in it’s prime.

Free at Last

I’m looking forward to my life without the one person who has dominated it for so long.

It started last Friday and has been better than I expected.

From now on, I am living this life without that one very negative influence — and I cut it off just in time.  No vacations with my mother.  Ick.

Things just got a lot brighter.


What a Day

It all started before this morning, but that is where I will start.  I’m having some electrical problems, which I don’t think I will be able to get looked at until Wednesday or later, so I was worried about getting up on time.  I was also worried about my mom’s birthday — it’s her 75th.  I wanted to get her some flowers in lieu of a card and searched for a florist on Westheimer (which will become clear later) in stead of remembering that where I was going at 7:30 this morning was right by all of the 24/7 florists around the Med Center.

This morning was the Urban Harvest Fruit Tree Sale.  We went last year and arrived a little before 9:00 a.m.  That was a big mistake.   This year, Roberto got there at 20 till or earlier.  I got there late because I poked around the internet looking for a florist.  Like an idiot.

In comparing the two experiences, you either wait at the beginning or the end.  I prefer waiting at the beginning.  We had some delightful conversations and advised some newbies.  It was fun waiting in line talking about fruit trees, vegis, pups, varmints, and marathons, among other things.

After a couple of hick-ups, we got in and snagged the persimmon, poms and fig that I wanted.  Paying was a breeze — no line for the prepared and determined!!!!  And I resisted the urge to get more just because I could.

We wrapped on of the poms for mom and then ventured through the streets to the Fannin flower district.  Roberto found the place he was thinking of and we got a beautiful vase with roses and trim for mom’s birthday.  We then set out to find Little Napoli for brunch.

I can’t tell you everything that passed in getting to the point that we agreed upon this one restaurant.  In hindsight, I wish I would have insisted upon my choice, which was Hungry’s.  But that would have made it more of my day than it was.  And as my mother’s daughter, I think it was my day.

I don’t think the restaurant let us do anything Hungry’s wouldn’t have, and the food would have been better, and the atmosphere would have been classier, though the price would have been the same.  This one choice was my mistake.  Had I insisted on Hungry’s, perhaps my oldest niece would have been spared.

But I didn’t.

Instead, I witnessed the first time my mom saw my oldest niece cry and did nothing.  My mom has even criticized my sister-in-law for doing the same thing in the past.  What my mom did was cold and it was calculated for effect.  I know this because I know my mom.

My mom has always made a big deal about her birthday.  None of her children do.  Perhaps that is because her birthday has to be JUST SO, and our birthdays are optional.  Her grandchildren’s birthdays have always been about score keeping between in-laws, so I have been happy as the girls get older and don’t have to deal with that.

After the shaming of the oldest and favorite, my mom was left with enjoying the non-oldest-favorite of her grandchildren.  We went to the Museum of Natural Science.  I asked the middle one if she had learned about the planets.  She knew them in order from the Sun and knew about poor Pluto.

I told them to look for Pluto on the ground.  I asked the littlest one if she knew what a “P” looked like and she promptly told me she was in first grade.  OK sweety!

We had found Saturn by the time my sister walked up after parking, and the middle one showed her Pluto.  We got all the way up to Earth and almost to the sun before we were distracted by the fountain — granny likes fountains — and the coast of Texas.  While we were finding the star for Houston, another little girl somehow joined us as I was explaining it.  She was very talkative, but my littlest niece didn’t like sharing attention.  This happened more than one, and I wonder if my mom felt the same family pull I did, or if she was too into her perceived slight to notice.  I don’t know.  You’d think someone who has been on the planet for 75 years would be the adult and not pout.  You would be wrong today.

We enjoyed the butterflies and the sundial.  We enjoyed the cupcakes and drinks.

When my sister said what is next, I knew she was reaching out for help for the rest of the day, but I could go no further.  My mom is not my problem.  I don’t live with her like my sister does by choice, nor am I her golden one, like my brother is.  I cannot make her happy.

She was not going to be happy today, but I broke that wall down, if for a brief time.  It took will that I possess just a little of.  I pulled in all of my chits today for a very long time.

I really want to send a message to my oldest niece.  She’s not really old enough to deal with what she had to today.  I told her that it would be ok.

Sometimes I don’t know how to deal with adults who just want to punish each other.  I can only do so much.  I don’t really think my mom is worth all of the drama.


Tracking Santa

Well, at this point the old guy is still across the pond in Ireland.   I enjoy watching this and looking at the pictures of the places he’s gone.  From the local news report, NORAD got more calls than ever from children asking about Santa, and Santa is the most popular person on Facebook or something.

In just a bit, I’m going to go wash the turkey.  I thought that would shave a little time off of the morning schedule.

I bought a roasting pan and rack from Nordic Ware this year.  Made in America, of course! I plan to rub the bird with herb-butter between the skin and breast and all over the outside.  I’m following the suggestions here at epicurious.  I’ll stuff it with an orange and fresh rosemary.

Once the turkey is going, I’m going to boil some new potatoes to make smaded potatoes.  I thought my nieces might like to help smash them and then add the butter, bacon and cheese.  I’ve never made these before, so we’ll see how they work out.

Then I’ll put together the trail mix.  I have dried cranberries, apples, and bananas.  I’ll mix that with pulverized granola bars and mini chocolate chips.

I’m taking some homemade pickles and hot pickled okra, too.

Tomorrow should be fun!

Somewhat Successful Shopping

I did the local shopping for Christmas today.  I had to call my mom to confirm the color of foundation to get from Merle Norman, which led me on a hunt for a silly toy for my nieces, but also led to something good.

I started at Target to look for the Fijit.  It was sold out.  I bought some travel size baby care stuff for my littlest niece, who has a “Baby Alive.”  Don’t ask if you don’t know . . . all of it made in the U.S.A.  I also bought sheets made in Pakistan, and wrapping paper and ribbon made in the U.S.A.

I hit the Target on San Felipe next.  No Fijits there.

I went to the Williams-Sonoma store to look for some canisters made in the Netherlands.  They weren’t quite what I needed, but I did see some nice utensils made in Italy that I might ask for my birthday or go buy for myself.

I then went to Buffalo Hardware and found the Lodge (made in the U.S.A.) griddle I wanted.  They also had a six pack of two gallon Ball canning jars (made in the U.S.A.) which will work perfectly as canisters for me.  I just wanted something to hold the ingredients I use to make puppy cookies.

I made my way up Kirby to the Merle Norman on Rice Blvd.  There was parking and why was evident as there was a little post it on the door that the clerk wasn’t there.  Luckily, I had looked up other locations before I had left.

Next was Fly High Little Bunny.  I bought my sister-in-law some pretty silver and pearl earrings there.  I like that place.

Barnes & Nobel was next on the list.  I used to go to the one on Alabama, but now I have to go to River Oaks.  I found the CDs I was looking for.  I also found a beautiful day planner for next year made by GLC/Kudu — made in Maine.  All the rest (except for one other brand) were made in China.  While I was choosing a color, another customer picked up three of the ones I was looking at!  It’s a great planner and I will use it for everything from what I plant when and when to get pups their medicina.

I decided to get a bite to eat and call mom.  They still hadn’t found the Fijit, so I told mom I was going to a Merle Norman somewhere on Ella and that I would go out to the Target if needed.  At that point, they had had no success.

I stopped by Sonic (I love Sonic) and then moved on down to Ella, driving slowly and looking for a sign.  Things are kind of crappy out that way, compared to where I had been shopping, and I was worried I wouldn’t find it.

It was drizzling and I used that to excuse my cautionary driving.  Sooner than I thought, I saw the sign and pulled in right in front, just as another woman did.  We walked in one right after the other.

The clerk was a young cute girl with braids pulled back in a clip and a sweet face. She asked us both if we needed help.  I told her what I needed — jumping in first! — just as another woman came in and demanded samples because she had lost her job.  And I am sympathetic, but the woman wanted the samples NOW and certain ones.  (Thinking about it now, perhaps that is not such an unusual thing.)

The young woman had to go to the back to get the third thing I asked for and while back there, the demanding woman was muttering to herself and looking around the cramped store.  As she rang me up, I asked if she was ok.  She said yes, but I said I will look around for a bit, ok?  She said yes.

After she checked me out, I looked around and she got the woman some samples.  The woman wanted certain things, and as an after thought, said she would come pay when she got he paycheck etc.  I stayed until she left.

Once I was sure she was gone, I left too.  The clerk said thank you twice.  I’m not a fearful person.  I’ve always been aware of myself and my surroundings.  This young woman needed reassurance that someone was there for her.  It made my day.  I just left a really positive comment on their website about her.  Perhaps it will make a difference.

At the end of the day, I couldn’t find a store that had been in a place before and I couldn’t find the Fijit, but my mom did.

Now I just have to figure out when to thaw the turkey, how to get the smashed potatoes together, and then remember that we have a meet up with our buddies from Moscow day after tomorrow.


It’s Never Ending, But Things Move On

Another session is in the books or almost.  I didn’t finish all of my paperwork today.  There are books to sort and lots of other paperwork to clean off my two desks.  (At times I wonder what I would do if I only had one desk.  Probably put stuff on the floor, like I do now when I run out of desk space.)

I expect there will be no shortage of tears tomorrow as some students get the news that they didn’t make promotion.  It’s difficult to stay on an even keel when you’ve been on a roller-coaster or  in a spinning teacup for the last week.  I think I did ok today.  I only got a little testy when someone used the “I’ve been teaching for 25 years” defense for failing to address cheating during a test.  If you’ve been teaching for so long, then you know how to handle cheating and additionally should have reported it instead of waiting for your supervisor to bring it up.  meh.

Sometimes I feel invisible at work.   I work very hard to make things run smoothly through the term and finals and then scoring.  My co-workers’ smooth experience through all of it is my goal.  I rarely get any appreciation for it.

Today, I did hear from a couple of people.  It was good.

Otherwise, I am mostly invisible.  At times I wonder if anyone thinks about how finals or scoring would be if X (name your co-worker) were doing it.

Never mind.  I don’t even want to think about that.

Our family cooking tradition is this weekend.  We’ve decided on pizza.  I volunteered to make the pizza dough and sauce.  My Grandma — dad’s mom — loved pizza with pineapple.  This was back in the 1960’s.  It’s a cooking memory, which is what we are recreating for the girls.  It’s not one of the recipes in the BOOK, but I will help my middle niece make brownies — recipe from my same Grandma — which is in the BOOK.

This non-official holiday experience is quickly overtaking Thanksgiving as my favorite.  It’s a mixture of frenzy and patience.  Hurry up and get it done and waiting until something is just right.  Care and love mixed with what the hell are you doingness.  I love it.

And then Santa comes by on a firetruck, and we get to tease the little one about how she used to hate him but now she loves him and cries.

I’m really looking forward to next Saturday.

Hell, I’ve got to look up a good pizza dough recipe and try it out before then.  I’ve got the sauce covered.