Friday, March 29, 2019
I have mentioned my mother many times. I was very close to her growing up. When I was grown we were the best of friends. I am her oldest child.
It was in the days before fast food. Even mixes that make cooking faster were not available in our home. We always had plenty of flour, sugar, butter, and milk. We made food from scratch.
There were seven children. You can imagine the meals we had to make. Since I am the oldest I was her main assistant. However we all learned to cook.
Mom was the most intelligent person I have ever known. She insisted that all of her children learn to speak and write with proper grammar. I was the most indoctrinated. I suspect it was because I am the oldest. All of us speak well and know the correct way to speak. The younger siblings are perhaps not as careful about it as I was expected to be.
Both my parents were strict but loving. Because she did not usually work away from home Mom was the main disciplinarian. From her I learned that, "I will tell your father when he gets home," is unacceptable. It means that Mom does have the authority that Dad has. If either parent says, "No!" it means no.
Mom had this look. You know the one. All mothers have one. It is the look that lets us know we have carried things too far. We called it 'Mom's go to Hell look.' She would never have said that because Mom never said a word worse than heck or darn.
To receive that look was wilting. To disappoint Mom that much made me ashamed. It was the best tool (besides love) that she had in her Mom toolbox.
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
As you have read in past posts we have not had the best of luck with some of our pets. My son wanted to be able to get a puppy and give it a good life. A long life.
I was at a friend's house one afternoon. We were sitting on the porch enjoying a nice spring day. Next door was a cute little puppy tied to a stick planted in the yard.
It was so warm in the sun and the puppy had no water. When the small children who lived there came out to play they naturally wanted to play with the puppy. Unfortunately their playing included poking it with sticks.
When I took a small dish of water to the puppy to distract the children their mother came out. I nicely expressed concern for the puppy. She told me that it did not matter. She was taking it to the pound the next day.
I told her to give it to me instead.
I took the puppy home with me. My son and daughter were the only two of my children left at home. Both fell in love right away.
We discovered that she was a female. We named her Tilly. Later my son expanded her name to Tilly T. Wonderdog. She became his dog.
Tilly was just a little ball of fluff at the time. She had blond hair.
We had cats too. Tilly began to copy them in many ways. There was a window in the living room where the cats liked to nap and sun themselves. Soon Tilly would get up on the windowsill and lie there to nap and sun herself. Eventually she got too big and fell off a few times. She had to stop.
Tilly was such a Lady. She hardly ever barked. She refused to eat human food. She had her own food thank you very much. The only exceptions were cherry cough drops and Frostys from Wendy's. She also liked money... the folding kind.
My son had shelves next to his bed. He kept things there that most of us keep on a nightstand. Money that he did not want to carry around. She would pull the money off onto the bed and roll luxuriously in it.
Because Tilly never bothered our food we did not worry about her when we ate. One day we were watching something or other on TV. We had ordered take-out food from Wendy's. We sat in the living room to eat.
I was regaling the group with a fascinating story. They were really enjoying it. I could tell because they were all smiling and chuckling. I had never had such an attentive audience.
I reached down for my Frosty (I drink them like a shake). What I felt was the dog with her face in the cup. She could not help herself and she stole my Frosty! That was when everyone finally laughed out loud. They had been waiting for me to find out what was happening.
Tilly led a sheltered life. She would go out in the back yard. Once in a great while we would let her ride in the car with us. She loved it and got so excited. She was not the best rider.
As she got older Tilly became restless. She was non-stop pacing in a circle from the end of the hall to the front door. When she was totally exhausted she would sleep but was soon up again and pacing in her circle.
We took her to the vet. She said that Tilly had a brain lesion causing the strange behavior. She let us know that eventually she would have to be put down and that we would know when it was time.
One Sunday we had a big family outing at a lake one of my sons knew about. We took Tilly with us and she actually slept the whole way.
When my son was trying to put her leash on her she was actually energetic. As soon as she was hooked to the leash she took off running toward the water. She swam all afternoon and had a good time. She slept all the way home.
Tilly had been having seizures. My son came in late the night after our trip to the lake and told me to call the vet. I called. Then my son could not bring himself to take her in. He took her to bed and she seemed to improve a bit.
The next morning he knew it was what he had to do. We took Tilly in to the vet. She seized the whole way.
The vet saw what was happening and prepared the injection immediately. Tilly looked to my son to make it all better and began to seize again. The shot worked instantly and she was gone.
They provided us with a box of tissues and gave us all the time we needed to compose ourselves.
We had Tilly for a lot of years. My son had given her the life he had wanted to be able to give a dog. The end was hard but she brought a lot of joy to our lives.
Friday, March 22, 2019
Being a child is a thrilling experience. Children automatically know how to fully enjoy the moment. You can see joy, puzzlement, curiosity, fright, sadness, and glee on their faces because they have not yet learned to keep their emotions to themselves.
Of course a trip to the amusement park or a memorable vacation is thrilling to all of us. But children do not need extreme stimulation. I remember some of the things I liked as a child and they are the simplest things. As adults we might not give them another thought.
I love the rain. My parents let us play in the rain unless conditions such as lightning made it dangerous. I still go out and dance in the rain. For some reason it seems to be a basic and freeing thing to do.
One time we had a huge downpour of rain. Of course we had to stay inside because we could not even see the street from the window.
When it became safe to go outside we had a swimming pool! The very shallow ditch which was not more than a slightly lower section between the road and the yard held water. The reason it was so deep was that the water ran halfway up into the yard and halfway out into the road. We had a great time splashing around as the water slowly receded.
Bugs and spiders hold a special fascination for children. I think it may be because they move. Some have good colors.
We collected them. Our way of collecting little critters was to catch them in a mason jar and close the lid. After we began to tire of them (usually a matter of minutes) we set them free and went on to capture another critter.
My best friend had gooseberry bushes at her house. My parents always had strawberries. As a family we went into the country to pick chokecherries for jelly. And there were wild berries to be found all over the place. And I will not even count my very absolute favorite mulberries.
It was always thrilling to pick berries. If they were something we could eat right on the spot so much the better.
Just running and playing are joys for children. One Easter we gathered at my son's house. We all took the eggs we had colored. I filled plastic eggs with goodies. My son had already hidden the ones he filled. When he finished hiding the ones I took there were hundreds of plastic eggs and dozens of colored eggs hidden in his yard.
We released the kids. They had so much fun running around filling their baskets with the treats. Then we went inside and had a scrumptious meal.
After the meal another son tossed a real egg at my grandson. My grandson tossed another back. The Easter egg fight was on! They were all splatting each other with eggs. The yard was covered with colorful bits of eggshell. And a tradition was launched.
But to watch a game of tag when the children do not realize you are watching makes you smile. They are so carefree.
Do you know what a thrill it is for a child to get a hug from a parent? For no reason other than the child just happened to be close? I remember those hugs. I hope my children remember the ones I gave them because I would notice how cute they were.
I constantly mention our family rides in the country. That is because they are some of my favorite times. A simple drive with no time constraints and people pointing out interesting things. For instance a squirrel running up a tree is interesting. A tree with an interesting shape is good. It is interesting to spot a scarecrow, a different kind of flower, chickens scratching around, a road sign that makes you laugh... you get the idea.
We usually lived near a creek. Wading in the creek is great fun. All that splashing and getting wet has other benefits. On a hot summer day it is the best way to cool off. Plus children who have been playing in cool water dry off and warm up a little. When that happens they feel cozy and will take a nice nap.
We also seemed to live near train tracks. Waving at the engineer and getting him to wave back was exhilarating. If he blew the horn... jackpot!
It takes so little to delight a child. I want to always be able to see the joy and wonder in my world too. I wish the same for you.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
It has been with much interest that I have been following the education fraud cases in the news. I had four children in public schools in a big city. The schools were horrible.
I taught all of my children to read because the schools did not put much effort into what they were being paid to do. I also worked with them on all their other subjects. If I were a good teacher that is what I would have done for a living. Patience is key and I am not good with patience.
For instance my son was in the second grade and I noticed that he could not read as well as a second-grade student should. I went to the school to talk to his teacher.
She said she was glad to see me. I asked her why she did not call me. I was informed that so many of the parents do not want to be bothered. I replied, "Bother me!"
I said that if I could get a copy of the reader they were using I would work with my son at home. She gave me one.
Then she proceeded to tell me that when she would tell the children to take out their workbooks my son would just sit there with his arms crossed. She was afraid of him.
"He is 7 years old! Tell him to take out his workbook!" I was getting angry with her so I left.
I went to the principal's office to talk to him about the situation. His response was, "Well you have to understand that she is going through a nasty divorce."
In the first place I have to understand nothing. That phrase sets me off like no other phrase. Besides she had been divorced for at least ten years.
Within a week my son brought home copies of every book for every subject they were learning. Of course I helped him. I was so happy when he advanced to the next grade.
Now I will pull my old woman routine and talk about the good old days. When I was in school there were at least three grades to a classroom. The teacher taught all subjects to each grade. I had a good education.
Part of our education was to prepare us for life. We learned how to write checks and balance checkbooks. We learned how to apply for a job. We learned how to greet people. We learned the correct way to introduce one person to another. We learned manners and etiquette. My children learned none of that in school.
I applaud the parents and children who taught and learned. We had no homework. Today children are expected to spend almost as much time doing homework as they spend in school. It is not easy.
For children and parents who work hard to earn good grades so they can make better lives for themselves I congratulate them. Then to see them passed by for students whose parents bought the way into college for them is inexcusable.
Bribery, paying for a new wing for a building, donating to a sports team. Those are not doing favors for their children. It only teaches them that cheating and scamming is the way to get ahead in life.
Friday, March 15, 2019
I partially got my wish. Most of the snow is gone.
The temperatures have risen. To above freezing. The snow began to melt slowly.
Rain started to fall. A lot of rain. Rain is warmer than snow so the snow melted a little more quickly. Unfortunately the combination made a lot of ice.
I worry about falling at my age. I am clumsy and fall too often to begin with so I take no chances with trying to walk on ice. Most of the ice is gone now.
The rain continues. I read that Gavin's Point Dam will be releasing a larger amount of water to lessen the danger of flooding. It is not working.
We are having floods in the fields again. It is so early for that. Some towns have had to at least partly evacuate.
I saw on the news that the wind gusts are actually blowing trucks over on the highways not too far from here. I just heard a big thump outside a minute ago. I will check to see what the tree branch (I assume that is what it was) hit and how large it is when the wind backs off a bit.
I am now watching a news bulletin informing us of a levee breach in the next county south of us. A whole town was evacuated to a school in a nearby town.
Weather all over the country is so harsh. I hope for everyone to stay safe.
All I wanted was for the snow to go away. I guess what I am trying to say is to be careful what I wish for.
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
When I was small my father often brought home stray dogs. One of his duties as the town marshall was to capture all stray dogs. He was supposed to kill them but he could not bring himself to do it. If he made sure the dog was not a danger he would bring it home. It would become a new member of our family.
With each dog my father brought home we would be asked to name it. There were five of us at the time. We named each and every dog Suzie. No matter if it was big or small, no matter what kind of dog, and no matter if it was male or female. For some reason we had a lot of Suzies.
My youngest brother at that time loved all of them. He was not much more than a baby. The dogs loved him back and would let him climb all over them and stick his little fingers in their mouths or almost any place. They never complained because he was a baby.
One Suzie was a smallish mutt. She was a dark (maybe black) color.
One day while Suzie was eating my little brother snuck up behind her to scare her. He jumped on her back and yelled.
Suzie was not expecting him. She did what animals instinctively do... she turned quickly and bit my brother.
The bite was in his face. In fact Suzie's teeth caught right on one side of his mouth. There was a lot of blood.
Mom saw that the wounds would have to be cared for by a doctor. His upper lip had a huge gash and the lower lip had a slightly smaller tear.
There was actually a doctor in our little town which was unusual. His office was half a block from our house. He had been a doctor for many years so he was an older man.
Mom carried my brother to the doctor's office and they were seen right away.
The doctor said that the wounds were serious. Normally animal bites are not stitched but these needed to be. The doctor said his hands were no longer steady enough to do the job and he referred Mom to another doctor. Of course that doctor was in another town.
My parents took my brother to the new doctor who stitched the wounds. He said that as the years passed my brother would probably have to have plastic surgery because the scarring would cause puckering affecting my brother's appearance as well as his ability to eat and speak well.
Poor Suzie felt terrible. She babied my brother more than we did. Of course we kept her.
My brother was so fortunate. He never had to have surgery. His lips grew normally. He has scars. They are hardly noticeable.
Suzie is a good name for a dog but that was the last Suzie we owned.
Friday, March 8, 2019
As far as weather goes I cannot take the heat. My energy drains and I feel completely wilted. I will take the cold over the hot any day.
But oh am I ever sick of snow.
The ground, the roofs, the trees, the roads. All have been under a sea of white for so long. I am not sure how much longer I can stand the constant white.
Actually the major roads are not always covered with snow. I guess I exaggerated a bit there.
As I drove to one of the towns about 25 miles from here to pick up some groceries the fields were completely white. The sky was overcast and the same color as the snow colored fields. The wind was blowing dustings of snow across the road.
The blending of all those non-colors made it look like I was in an off-white bubble. The motion of the drifting snow made me slightly carsick. It was not a pleasant ride.
It snowed again today. We got a couple of inches.
It is supposed to snow again a couple more days in the near future.
The temperatures are finally rising. We are actually supposed to have some days with the temperature above freezing. It has been a while.
I like cold weather. Boy oh boy am I sick of it.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
I am not sure where we got Trixie. After all I was only about 4 years old. We lived on a farm so she had lots of room to run and play with us.
Trixie was some sort of terrier mix. She was white with big black and brown spots.
Apparently she had a romantic tryst because she gave birth to a litter of several pups. We named them all but the only name I remember is Ugly. He was a homely little guy... so homely he was cute.
One day my little brother and I walked into the house with angelic expressions on our faces. "Mommy I don't know how it happened but all the puppies are down the toilet hole."
We had an outdoor toilet and my brother and I had tossed all the puppies in.
My father started to laugh. He actually fell out of his chair onto the floor trying to catch his breath.
Mom rushed out to try to rescue them.
She managed to get all the puppies out. She had to clean them off using water from the pump and some dish soap.
Daddy was still on the floor laughing when she finished. Mom was not happy with any of us.
By the way all of the puppies went to good homes except for Ugly. We kept him.
Friday, March 1, 2019
I cannot remember where Bluto came from or who brought him home. He was a cute little black puppy. He had long hair. He looked like a fluffy black Q-tip.
He was lovable as all little puppies are. He slept on my son's pillow but often roamed the house at night.
Bluto's favorite toy was a squeaking hamburger. It was almost as big as he was.
We did not have Bluto long. He was listless and feverish so we took him to the vet.
After ruling out distemper testing was begun.
We visited every day but he had to stay with the vet.
Bluto had Parvo. Parvo is sort of like a super-flu in dogs. That is my explanation not the doctor's.
Parvo is treatable and if found soon enough about 85% of the dogs who are infected recover to some degree and even completely.
Little Bluto was too small for effective treatment to work. He died after a few days in the vet's care.
Bluto made a huge impression on our family. Possibly because he was only a baby. We still have his hamburger somewhere.