In 1983 I Was A Sophomore

When my son was small he asked me, “What is this thing?” ,as he held up a record. “It looks like the biggest CD ever!” As I explained to him what a record was I began to feel like an ancient artifact. For cryin’ out loud. Later when he was in school he had to decide where he would like to go if given a time machine. He said, “Way back to the 80’s”. I wish I could tell you he meant the 1880’s…but no, he meant the 1980’s. I told him I could tell him anything he wanted to know, just ask. I was there. Aaahhhh…the mind of an 8 year old.

It is now seven years later. He doesn’t ask me those questions anymore, but he does say stuff like “back in the day”, or “you know Mom, when you were young”. It makes me feel so good to hear my son discussing my childhood as if it was during the Stone Ages. Yeah, Fred Flintstone and I were tight.

I tell him that I was fifteen once.  In 1983. A sophomore in high school. Times were good….and if I’m feeling particularly honest, yes, it does seem like a million years ago. I want to know where the time went? When did it sneak up on me? When did I stop listening to music too loud, worried about my fashion sense, had to have the permed hair, read Seventeen magazine, talked to my friends on a REAL phone, and could stay up all night at slumber parties? When was the girl replaced with a woman?

Sometimes I look at my teenage children and I have to smile. They think I’m old. But….I haven’t forgotten what it was to be young and goofy.  There are plenty of things I remember…and stories that I will just keep to myself. Thank you very much. My kids aren’t going to be with me much longer. Not really. Soon they will be gone, off to discover their new world of young adulthood. Having their own adventures. Meeting new people. Making their own decisions. Part of me wants to sit them down and tell them that they need to pay attention! Don’t be stupid. One day they too will be 42 years old, looking back…wondering where the time went. I’m sure my mom felt the same way about me. Knowing my mom, I’d say she did a lot of praying during the 80’s.

Sigh. Life is short. It goes  by way to fast. The years fly. One day you are in the drivers seat looking out at the road that lays ahead…and than you find yourself, on occasion, looking in the rear view mirror. Not that you want to go back, because there is still a lot of road ahead to travel, but it is nice to remember.

Truthfully, I wouldn’t want to go back to high school. I enjoyed it while there but, each stage of life has had its good points and its bad points. Being in my 40’s isn’t so bad. I am old enough to be able to share my wisdom with others, and still young enough to have my wits about me. It’s a good combination:)

In the meantime, I will discuss with my kids the merits of good personal hygiene, going to bed at a decent time, having a good work ethic and how to cook. Their future spouses will appreciate me.

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I HATE GNATS!

Okay, people. I am normally not a violent person. Notice I said normally. This time every year we get what amounts to a gnat invasion. They are everywhere and get into everything. They are driving me nutso. They are, of course, worse in the kitchen, but are leaking out into other parts of my humble abode. I want to kill them with a white hot passion. Now, that is saying something. They are little and they are fast….but, fortunately for me they are not all fast. I have zapped about a trillion of them with the electrified bug zapper. Yes, as I mentioned last year at this time….I am like Luke Skywalker with the light saber. My motto is whatever works…and works FAST.

How desperate is it that I sit in wait…watching quietly for their little bodies to settle on something…before BLAM, I smack them down. Then I manically laugh as I sweep up their gnatty, dead little carcasses. I’m seriously losing it. It’s me against the gnats. My husband set out a bowl with dish detergent in it. The more stupid gnats in the group investigate and their wings get coated in detergent…and well that is the end. No tears here.

As far as I am concerned it is full out war. I am planning my strategy right now. I’m thinking I will find a nasty leftover from the fridge. Something gross. Something soggy and yucky. They would like that. Then when a bunch of them have settled on the yucky food…I will jump out with my trusty zapper and pounce on them and electrocute them before they even have a chance for withdraw. Don’t cry for the gnats. THEY are the invaders. They get what they deserve.

Even though gnats probably have a brain the size of a speck of dust, some of them are very stealthy. They see me coming and congregate on the ceiling of the kitchen. My nine foot ceiling. The ceiling I can not reach–even with the zapper. I stand in the middle of my kitchen yelling vicious war words at my ceiling… pledging to drive back their forces. They will eventually pull out after about a month, having sustained serious loss of life….they go to wherever gnats go when it gets cold. They will plot for next year. So will I!  I hate gnats.

Pumpkin Moon and Attack Kitties

Last night I stepped out on the front porch. It was dark and it took my eyes some time to adjust. When one lives  in the country, out in the middle of a field…well….it gets dark. Like black dark.

The moon had just cleared the horizon and was making it’s slow ascent into the sky. The moon was a beautiful, mellow, orange. The air had a chill, not cold…but, definitely not warm either. I could of used a sweatshirt, but didn’t feel like going back in to get one….so I stood on the porch and was on the brink of chilly. My own fault for being lazy.

Soon the moon was up high enough that it bathed my front yard in a pumpkin-like glow. The moon made me think of Fall. In the distance I could hear the train as it made it’s evening jaunt down the tracks. Our dog barked over in the side yard and I heard a muffled meow from one of our porch cats–somewhere in the field–stalking who knows what. I watched headlights way off in the distance, on the far side of our neighbors hay field.

The stars started to make their appearance. They really were shining on this cool, almost Fall, night. All was still. It was very peaceful as I soaked in the night time sky. When all of a sudden WHAM!!! Out of the front flower bed something black and white flew through the air. AT ME. Before I could move, or scream, or well ANYTHING….I had a kitten on me. Our little kitten wanted to show me some love, but unknown to him he nearly gave me a heart attack. I can picture it now. Fifteen minutes goes by. No one in the family sees mom. Hmm…..Where is she? You seen mom? No. You seen mom? No. How about you? No. Is she in the bathroom? No. Is she in the laundry room? No. Deck? No. Where is she? By this time a good half hour has gone by. Maybe an hour…depending on if the kids (or hubby) wants me for anything in particular. Finally, they’d make their way out to the front porch. Only to find me laying there half dead from a heart attack –and what wasn’t already scared to death, was being licked to death by a very aggressive kitten. That is exactly how it would go down too. I’m not lying.

Lucky for my family that I’ve got a pretty good ticker.

You Know You Are A Child Of The 80’s If……

I’m currently listening to my 80’s music on Pandora. It is so funny how a song can transport one back 25 years in time. Who needs a time machine?

Who remembers skinny ties, stirrup pants, leg warmers, slouch socks, jeans with holes in the knees, Swatch watches, Izod shirts, medical scrubs, Polo shirts, prairie skirts, painters pants, rat tail hair, and shoulder pads? I mean come on….you couldn’t have gone through the 80’s without falling into the fashion blunder of AT LEAST ONE of these things! Don’t be scared to admit it. Hey, if you are really brave you might admit to the “Miami Vice” look. Remember Don Johnson with the blazer and T-shirt and loafers with no socks. Come on.

Let’s continue down memory road…..Banana clips, Valley Girl, Donkey Kong, BIG hair (I admit it!), MTV is new, Punk and Cabbage Patch kids. Remember Brooke Shields and her Calvins? Going to the mall to just hang out, wearing Jellies, and velour—velour everything. For crying out loud.

What about Baby Jessica? Reaganomics? Acid Rain? AIDS? And Hands Across America? The Huxtables? Family Ties? Facts of Life? Miami Vice?

Movies we had to see—E.T. Extra Terrestrial, Dirty Dancing (No one puts Baby in the corner! Sniff. I miss Patrick Swayze) , Back To The Future  (Hey McFly!), Risky Business (the living room scene…need I say more?) , Flash Dance (made me want to rip all my sweatshirts), Ghostbusters (Who you gonna call?), Lethal Weapon (Mel pre-the drunk years), Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Die Hard (Yippey Ki Yay!) , Fatal Attraction (Poor bunny in a pot), The Karate Kid (Wax on, Wax off), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Bueller? Bueller? BUELLER!!!), The Breakfast Club (Molly Ringwald was THE ACTRESS of the 80’s)and A Nightmare On Elm Street. (I can still sing that creepy song…One, Two..Freddy’s Comin’ For You!)

Michael Jackson in his hey day. I wanted to wear a sequined glove and be able to moonwalk. He really was a musical genius, sad that he became so odd at the end of his life.

Do you remember Mt. Helens exploding in 80?  Getting up really early to watch Lady Di marry Prince Charles in 1981? Tylenol recalled nationwide because some freak laced capsules with cyanide in ’82? Trivial Pursuit came out in 1983. Apple introduced the first McIntosh in ’84. New Coke was the joke in 1985. Bill Gates took the world by storm in ’86, and the Challenger exploded while we all watched it on TV at school. In ’87 televangelist Jim Bakker goes down. Pan Am flight explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland in ’88. In 1989 a huge earthquake hits the Bay area in CA. The Berlin wall falls, and hurricane Hugo takes out a big chunk of the Carolinas.

Did you know that all these things were created in the 80’s? Post Its, Sony Watchman, Microsoft, Apple Macintosh, disposable contacts, Rogaine, disposable cameras, Nintendo,cordless phones, and cell phone networks. Wow.

This trip in the time machine makes me want to go play Pac-Man, or Rubik’s Cube….or maybe go rollerblading.

Hey, don’t worry about the fact that those of us that remember these things are in our late 30’s and 40’s now. Who cares? We are kids of the 80’s and our decade ROCKED.

Fall Is Right Around The Corner

My friend and I walk in the morning at 6am. We’ve noticed the past few days that it is darker in the morning than it used to be. Fall is on the way. The school bus whizzed by us this morning. Here in our rural part of Ohio, it is the first day of school. Fall is coming. The blazing heat of summer is beginning to give way to a bit of coolness. Fall will be here soon.

All my monthly magazines are starting to have their Fall color issues. September. October. November. The months that hold beautiful colors of gold, orange, burgundy, red, brown and yellow. MIDWEST LIVING magazine has a great article about Autumn get aways. It makes me want to head to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Hiawatha National Forest, Indiana’s Amish country, or Door County,Wisconsin. Of course my state of residence, Ohio, is also beautiful in the Fall! In THE SATURDAY EVENING POST there is a article this month titled Living Colors. The author is talking about Autumn in New England. It is true that the northeastern part of our country really knows how to put on a good color show at this time of year…but, those hand full of states are not the only ones!

The state I just moved from, Tennessee, has some of the most beautiful Fall foliage I’ve ever seen. The colors do come later in the south than to their northern counterparts, but it is worth the wait. The Blue Ridge Parkway and The Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina are absolutely breathtaking.

As the days progress with a bit of chill in the air, leaves begin to change color, and school is underway…I will stand back and drink it all in.

Oh, Autumn. How I love you.

Elephant Elbows

It is time to take stock of my situation. I’m speaking of my elbows. I know they have gotten rough…and I might add, what is with that? What do my elbows do to get rough? It makes absolutely no sense to me. I now am the proud owner of “elephant elbows”. They are rough, dry, wrinkly, and ashy looking. That is not attractive. Not that I see my elbows all that much. But still…..yucky elbows could mess up my whole “look”. Not that I have “a look”, but you know what I mean. I mean who wants to go through life with virtual strangers pointing and staring and making comments under their breath about elephant elbows? What’s a girl to do? I can understand rough feet. I walk on them all day. They are battered and abused. But elbows???  I will slather on some lotion and hope for the best. Life is too short not to have smooth elbows.

Remembering Nancy

I originally wrote this blog in August of 2008. It is now two years later and those that love Nancy are marking seven years since she passed from this life. Time stops for no one…even if we wish we could stop it sometimes…if only for a moment.

My husband, Scott, and I were both widowed in our thirties. He at 39 and I at 32 years of age. It’s a club that no one really wants to be a member of…not that one has a choice. Life happens….and so does death….and death comes when it feels like it. It doesn’t matter whether you’re ready. Death doesn’t care about your plans. Death is selfish that way. This week marks the 5th anniversary since Nancy passed away. It is a time to think…and a time to remember. Now, you might think it odd that I, as Scott’s second wife, would be blogging about Nancy. I don’t really think so. I am intimately involved in the grieving of her passing as well as the celebration of her life. No, I never met Nancy while she was here on earth. We didn’t know each other. We lived hundreds of miles apart and our lives never intersected. I didn’t even know who she was until years after she was gone. How was I to know that God in His sovereignty would bring Nancy and I together? Two separate, very different women yet still alike in so many ways. I found that out last summer when cleaning the house in Texas. Going through Nancy’s earthly possessions was not easy for me. When I came across things that she owned that were similar to things that I myself had I couldn’t help but cry. Although that was a difficult time, it was also for me a picture of a loving God. He had me there for a reason.
So what do I know about Nancy? Well…….
I see Nancy in the faces of her children. I hear Nancy in the stories that are told to me. Sometimes I cry with the person that shares those dear memories. Sometimes I laugh so hard that my stomach hurts! I feel the responsibility of being a surrogate mother to her children. I think Nancy would approve of most of my decisions–because she’d know that my decisions come from my heart. I’ve tasted the grief that comes from living with those she left behind. I know how hard it is when my dear husband visits the grave of his first wife. Placing flowers and touching the cool smooth stone that marks her life–and her death is a difficult thing… Perhaps because it is a reminder to us all of how brief our lives are. Scripture reminds us that our lives are but a vapor and none of us are promised a tomorrow.
Endings are always sad and many times painful, but instead of concentrating on Nancy’s death we can celebrate her life…. Because of a decision that Nancy made, death couldn’t hold her in the grave. She’s not there. She is with her Lord….and really she is more alive today then the rest of us left here. I’ll meet her one day and she and I can sit down and have a good long chat….and I’m sure we’ll spend a lot of time laughing.