The Number of Visits to JoJo The Dog Face Girl's BlogSpot

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Life goes on... With you or Without you. (this includes Christmas)

My first Christmas without Mom.    I've not "dreaded it"... in a ways I' dismissed it was even going to happen.    But.... She kept showing up, by well.. not showing up.     When I heard Christmas Carols, there was no teeth to grind.  I didn't have to turn up the radio to drown her off key singing out.   She LOOOOVED "Silent Night"... and for years I shook my head in disbelief as she butchered that beautiful song.    But... I learn something..  like most days.  That Mom's version was HER version.  It was MY version.   It was MY Christmas.     And now it isn't the same.   But... Christmas comes with or without or permission.   And it's here.   And that's OK.     

    Mom was like a child herself about the holidays.  LOVED the hoopla of it all.    Mom mentioned Santa Clause so often, I was sure that SHE believed in him    One year when I was about 5, I found all my Christmas presents in the closet.    I wasn't looking for them.  They were just there.   I Looked at this huge rag doll and thought "I don't even LIKE dolls...  "   But..  my mom wanted me to.    So I made a decision that day.  I wasn't ruining Christmas morning for my mom and I was going to LOOOOVE that doll come Christmas morning.     My Mom's feelings were my world.   To have her disappointed would have crushed me.   She was soft and kind hearted...

    My childhood Christmas memories are of spray snow, cheesy icicles which i LOVED to be the one to decorate the tree with.   Construction paper garland made at school.    The love was incredible.   .   There wasn't much under that tree,   Mom always worked overtime to afford school clothes and Christmas.   I remember getting a barbie head to fix on one year.   I cut her hair within days.   I tended to do that to all the barbies...  cut their hair.    One year I got  a Shawn Cassidy doll  *swooooon*.    And I remember the year I was finally allowed to wear make-up!   WHOO HOO!    She wrapped each piece in wrapping paper and filled the stocking with it.   It was all Cover Girl... I'll never get the smell of menthol make-up out of my    I can remember being told I have to "believe to receive" and pretending to believe that Santa was still visiting.   Again... this charade was for her... more than myself.  

   As Mom got older...our roles changed.   her excitement for Christmas didn't go away ... but now she was the one receiving the presents and I was the one excited for her to see what I got her.   And if it was a   she wasn't much of a poker face.. it showed.   So I usually got her a couple of things.. in case.   
   Last year she couldn't leave the home, so we all went to her nursing home room and said Merry Christmas.  She wasn't very enthused.   Could tell her spirit was down.   Then she opened her present from Ryan & Sarah.  It was a shiny fuzzy purse... hard to describe.    but it had bling and Mom woke UP.  lol   She kept it in her bed and layed down to sleep with it.   Even calling out to the hall to be sure I hadn't taken it with me.  lol  

   I'd give anything to hear Silent Night sang out of tune, be a child, my mom watch me open a present with so much anticipation of MY reaction to it, to see her gush over a flashy purse. 

  But what I DO have this Christmas?   All of those memories.  All of those values,.   All of the love she ever gave me every day and every Christmas morning.   It all goes to preparing you for when they aren't there.     My Mom can't be here with me this Christmas... but...  it's because she's spending it at home.     

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So how's the "Photos by Jo L.C.C." thing going?

Psssshhhhh!   Glad you asked!   So far... so good!   Here are some of my favorites from each session so far...  Can't wait for Spring to come.. and choose some new places to shoot pictures at.

YUP....  I'm enjoying it!!!
That was one from each session... and hard to pick just one.  Love doing the lil kiddos though... I just let them be themselves and try to capture who they are.   LOVE when that occurs!    I have a website.. just haven't worked on it and applied a program to it, etc,..   In my spare time ;) I'll get to that.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ummmmmmmmmm.... I GOT QUESTIONS!!!

I'm reading over my last blog post and look at pictures of Mom... and I'm looking at this picture:
Does anyone else notice something weird in this picture?   Other than the Budweiser     SURELY our family didn't have beer at family functions.   OK... back on track.

Let me zoom this for ya:

EXIBIT B (a zoom of exibit A)

UMMMMMMM.... Hello!   That is my Mom's LEFT hand and her RING finger... I'm calling on ALL my older cousins NOW!!!     Mom was never married, RIGHT?  

Maybe she was a nun and was married to Jesus?   Naaaa... she's a Willis... no way
 Man, I bet them Willis sisters knew... they all carried each other's secrets to their graves...

Thanksgiving past: Willis fights, scrabble, stretch pants and kids... lots of kids

Not doing Thanksgiving this year.   Just not ready for a big holiday without my Mom.  Not depressed.  Not down.  Just... not ready.  

My Jake and Blake will be at their fathers and our Ryno is going to his Moms... so it'll be me and the Bear.   I've asked my groom to take me hunting tomorrow morning.   I had to twist his arm... hard.  lol

But... Thanksgivings as a child?  They rocked!!

The Willis group was big.  All my aunts had 4-6 kids each.  But, I was raised an only child.  SOOOOOO  I totally loved all the cousin fun.   My Mom had seven siblings.   The oldest, Aunt Rosalie was gone usually.   But after her, there was (in order of oldest to youngest) Aunt Sally, Aunt Jo, Uncle Bubba, Aunt Mary, Aunt Nancy, Aunt Billie and my Mom... Audrey.   I had a special relationship with them each.   Except aunt Billie... she thought I was spoiled and bathed too much.   LOL  I remember my mom defending me... Ya see... Aunt Billie had mostly boys.  And boys.. aren't known for their high attention to hygeine.    If I went outside and played for an hour and got sweaty, I was coming in to take a bath (only to go back out  This annoyed her to no end.   I still like to be clean.. I'm funny that way.

   Back to Thanksgiving though...  we had big meals!   We kids always laughed that them women... they wouldn't cook for us kids on a daily basis, but let us all gather and the cooking skills came out the closet.   LOL   Ohhhh and I recall us kids playing outside so the adults could talk.   I always hated being sent from the room because they wanted to talk about something I couldn't hear.   Soooooo wanted to be a grown up.   Now I are and I'd trade     Two of the aunts would eventually have a disagreement and get into an argument.  THAT was when the real fun began.  One year it was over the football game.   LOL  Most of them were die hard Cowboys fans.    No one messed with my Mom though.   See... Audrey was the baby.  And not one of the sisters would allow anyone to be ugly to the baby.   So she got a "pass" on the drama.    But always tried to make it stop.    By this time though one of the aunts had gathered their 4-5 kids and just left.   LOVED watching the action... HATED watching the cousins leave because of it. 

  Family called me Jo Ellen or Jo Baby.   Mom named me after Aunt Jo and she said from the beginning it would NOT be "big Jo" and "little Jo"  and called me Jo Baby instead.   I don't recall us kids ever getting in the spats on these occasions.  Of course... maybe I was just never involved because I was Audrey's baby.

The aunts and Mom played scrabble... a lot.   In their stretch pants I might add....HA!     They were all so smart.... but eventually there would be an arguement over a  of course.   Was glad when they finally came out with that little scrabble word book.    My Mom and I played scrabble a lot when it was just us.   Oooohhh and I remember when Aunt Jo bought the deluxe scrabble game.   Pimping!   I still have my Uncle Bubba's scrabble set.   This looks like an old tattered game with mixed tiles (you know... some are blonde and some the maroon wood)... but to me... it's childhood memories.

Of Mom's generation, everyone but Aunt Rosalie have passed away now. I treasure the trip I made to Tennessee in October to see her.  It was important to do that.   Love and miss her.  And some of the cousins have passed too.    It hits me sometimes that we ARE that generation now.   And we're spread out ... we aren't all in the same area like they were.  No big family gatherings here anymore.   They do see their own siblings though and their kids get together.  Guess that's the downfall of being raised an only child...  And the siblings I have found, live from Austin Tx to Murray KY.   

 Once I got older, I did Thanksgiving for my kids and my Mom more than anything.   It was important to her.  To be with her grandkids.   and me too maybe.   So... I'm not up for it this year... a Momless Thanksgiving.  It's not that I'm depressed... and I AM thankful! HOW lucky am I?  Seriously... to have God, my boys & Jenn, my husband, grandkids, my life, my work family, my health and the capability to fill my pantry and gas tank when needed... I have so many blessings I can't even count them.  But one of my greatest appreciations in life is for having her in the first place... Mom.

So no turkey this year.  I'm trying to talk myself into the Christmas tree still... lol

You may not understand this, but I would give anything to see a WILLIS sister brawl about now...

Friday, November 11, 2011

I protest that you protest!

I am really trying to wrap my mind around this... the students of Penn State are PROTESTING the firing of their beloved coach. The man is a legend. No doubt. However, Paterno KNEW his assistant couch showered with and molested a 10yr old boy and he didn't inform the police. So lets protest his firing?

Wait, what?

1. The law: each state has laws about "required reporting" of suspected sexual abuse. IN this falls, police, teachers, COACHES, medical personel, day care workers, etc,... We don't have a "choice". It has to be reported. When we report it to our superiors, they TOO are now obligated to assure it's reported. (Which leaves me asking, why hasn't the other asst coach, McQueary, been fired?.. he witnessed and failed to follow the law as well)

2. My child would never be allowed a "sleepover" at a grown man's house. The request for such a thing would send up an immediate red flag.

3. WHO are the protesters? Well.. I can tell you who they aren't. They are NOT parents. They certainly are NOT the parents of a 10yr old boy that was seen in the shower with Sandusky. They are NOT the parents of the children that were abused PAST that point. I'd like to ask these young adult protesters in about 10 years... after they've held their own child in their hands. AFTER they've felt that overwhelming love and compassion and fierce parental protectiveness in their heart, "SHOULD Coach Paterno have been fired immediately?"  You'd hear a different answer than they are giving today. You don't have to be a parent to have morals and ethics and be law abiding.   Or to see a great injustice was done to these kids, but I think it helps.

4. Why am I discussing Paterno and McQueary and not Sandusky? Sandusky is a pedophile. I can't tell you how it turns my stomach, wrenches my gut and breaks my heart that children were abused. And Sandusky will pay. On this earth and after he leaves it. Blaming Sandusky is a given. Who do I blame for him being allowed to continue sexually abusing these little boys? The other coaches, the administrators. His "punishment" was not being able to bring kids back to the campus. WOW. Seriously think of this... So... we won't report to authorities that you were observed violating a 10yr old boy, just please don't do that HERE on our campus!

5. I "get" Paterno is a legend. I do. And his career will forever be tarnished. But.. be assured, he KNEW the law. As wonderful of a coach as he may have been... his inaction to alert authorities allowed a pedophile to continue abusing children. Would Coach Paterno or Caoch McQueary have let Sandusky near THEIR sons or grandsons? The man used a charity to find kids who needed attention (a pedophiles perfect target) and Coach Paterno knew this. Perterno may be a hero to some college kids... but he FAILED the future and past victims of Sandusky. They all had a responsibility and obligation to report this. They didn't. So fire them all. No last game. No honor.

6. I want to protest all the protesting. We live in the greatest country ever and people are out there protesting things they don't have and aren't owed. There are people using Iphones to protest corporate greed. Does this not seem ironic to anyone else? Americans should be grateful for the things we DO have... not protesting the things we don't. Now, the people of Darfur? THEY got some **** to be protesting.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Takes a lot to insult me... but it CAN be done

First thing is... you have to know me to insult me, right?   I mean.... in general... strangers are just that... strangers.   They don't KNOW me well enough to hurt my feelings.  Usually for me to take "offense" it's from being spoke down to.     That gets my goat (well.. you know.. IF I had a goat... it would get it... and I guess that would anger me, right?)!!!!  

So... I was offended by a friend.   How?.... you ask (or you may  But... it's my blog.. we all know I'm saying anyway!)?

I was explaining a volunteer thing I'm doing. (which I'd like to blog about once I complete the training process and began the volunteer work.   It's about advocacy for abused children.   Kids are my heart.   My soft spot.)    While describing my hours of evening training and the volunteer role to a friend and she says (in ALL seriousness), "But, I thought you were a republican!"

Oh, Wow. 

I know, The resemblence of me and Pochohonas is uncanny, right?  ;)

Here's the thing... I don't PUSH my politics on people.  Nor will I debate my belief system with someone.  I don't have to defend it.   It is based on my experiences, research and "take" on the issues.   And I won't take the bait and "answer" to anyone as to WHY I think this way.    You see... I really AM passionate about it.    Could I defend myself?   Well.. shhhhhaaaaaaa!   But, I would rather keep a friend than draw lines in the sand.   It's the "cup half full" part of me.   I prefer smiles and hugs over sneers and jeers. (This can annoy people.. I know)    My Mom and I didn't discuss politics.   And I love her more than chocolate.

So... I cared about this friend's opinion... obviously.  And was surprised at this comment.   I didn't even KNOW her political views.  Nor had I ever assumed to know them.

Me,"What?  Ha!   You're joking, right?"
Her,"No... I don't understand.  Don't republicans hate poor people and all free programs"
Me,"I'm more conservative than republican...   but political party has NOTHING to do with this."
Her,"Well... most republicans are rich"
Me,"I am NOT rich.  and was raised poor"
Her,"Yeah... so how did you become a republican then?"

I disengaged from the conversation.    And I resisted her urging me to explain WHY I believed as I do.      My name isn't Bill O'Rielly... I don't have a show on FOX News.   Therefore, I don't feel the need to explore your politics with you or justify mine. 

Don't look at a person's political party, religion, race, job, tattoos, clothes, etc... and assume to know what's in their heart.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


                                                    What a doll?!?!?!

More pictures of her to come:    Photos by Jo  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

photos by jo L.L.C.

I know, right!

I've been toying with this idea for a while...   actually making a small company out of my photography obsession.   After much thought, I've decided to try it out as a limited liability company.   

I also realize this will be more about my friends and their friends.   And offering a good deal to those I care about, and those they care about.   I'm not looking for a 2nd career... just a way to feed my hobby. 

My plan is this:

I can charge a small amount to help cover my costs.   ($50 session fee)
Only do on-site photo sessions (like parks, river front, etc)
Events would be negotiated (but very cheap)
Reinvest everything back into equipment.
This is a way to indulge my guilty pleasure (photography).
I will gain experience in taking the pictures and digitally working with the images.

Here's the BEST part:
I GIVE ALL the photos to the owners on a disc.  
I know, I know.. not very business savvy of me!!   

But, but, but.... I've purchased photo packages both ways.   I've bought the expensive photo packages and walked away not knowing if I should have picked another one.  And as a Mom... leaving adorable pictures of my kid behind... it ain't easy baby!     And I've also experienced a package deal where I was given the CD and a waiver to full printing rights.    (a waiver won't be needed until i get my logo finished)   I left there feeling ahead instead of behind.

 *** with that being said... I'll gladly guide people to websites that make
           quality prints.   but this is the digital age!                   

Photo books are a little different.  I don't mind (for a small fee) making the book.   I know Seniors really like to have them.   To be done correctly... it takes hours, but I enjoy working on them.  And again... this is ONLY if you want one.  I make a bad salesperson. 

I'm kind of excited about kicking this off.   I know my price is reasonable.  $50 and all the images are yours...  (and I separate the images into two files... those I've worked on and those straight from the camera)

I took this beautiful young lady's Senior pictures this past weekend. 
Now... HERE is the catch.. it's only $50 if I can use the images on my "photos by jo" FB page (I will not tag you, but feel free to tag yourself in those images), this blog and website (soon to come).     If you'd like to have pictures taken and not let me share... It'll be $75.  See?  I can be tough if I need to be.

I'm still working on the website details... there are a few directions to go with it... and I haven't settled on one.  

But pleeeeeeeeease click on my Facebook "photos by jo" page and "like" it.   It makes me feel popular.   I'm needy like that.    I'm going to add more pictures and photography sections to it.

BUT... I am now president of a company. 
You may now address me as "Mrs. DogFace"!


Friday, September 16, 2011

I had a dream...

... and it wasn't near as noble as Martin Luther's dream.

First off... know this... I had cereal for dinner.   No weird food.  I didn't even take my antihistamine.   But I had the craziest dream.  Now, I know.. no one wants to hear about crazy dreams... so this is where you make your choice... to read... or not to read.     (Cause this dream was some random weirdness)

What had happened was:

I was driving to Texas for some reason.. and wrecked my vehicle.  (no worries.. I wasn't hurt...).   This led me to high jack a city bus. (made perfect sense at the time).    I am driving the bus down Youree (which looked nothing like Youree drive). (and yes... there will be a lot of parenthesis in this story.. I told you.. random weirdness) 

So anyway...  I had to ditch the city bus.. because obviously the chic that knocked out to steal it, had woke up and reported it (duh!).    AT this point, I'm in a red one piece bathing suit and cowboy boots (Ummm chics that weigh over 150... do NOT wear red bathing suits... we wear black)   I'm at a gas station and trying to figure out what I'm going to do.  And in my mind... I'm terrified of my husband finding out.   Thinking he was gonna be sooooooooo mad I jacked that bus.  It's at this point I hear people talking about the stolen bus and how the person who stole it had wrecked it.   But not before dragging a dog to death.  Damn... I did not see the bus driver's dog tied to the bumper. 

Anyway... this older man shows up.   AND my husband pulls up..  and asks why am I in a bathing suit.  (he made no mention of the cowboy boots.. which to me.. just made the whole ensemble pop)   The old man snitches me out to Ron.   Tells him all about my crime.     At the same time..  the Po-Po show up (that's the police for you peeps raised in a brick home with air conditioning).  One of the Po-Po is a detective (who is an administrator where I work)... so yeah..   random weirdness is the theme.   I'm call the detective Eminem, to protect him (and my job.. ha).   Soooooo  My husband... being the gent he is... tells me we have to go.  I get in the truck and hunker down low so Eminem doesn't see me. 

Next thing in the dream... I'm turning myself in and my Mom (and she looked lovely.. she was the healthy Mom) was with me.  Because she was being arrested for harboring a fugitive (me!).   She sat there telling me she loves me and it was worth it and she'd do it again.  Mom's are the coolest (my children need to know however that if you commit a crime, I will narc you out in a heartbeat... it's not personal.. I'm just too pretty to go to prison)    OK...  so,, the "jail" is more like a waiting room... as we're in the jail/waiting room.  We hear a ruckus ( I like this word... ).   And in comes Eminem with Ron in hand cuffs.   Ron makes a poor prisoner.   He ain't happy.  At all.

So... in a dreamy/dramatic fashion I run to Ron telling him I love him and I'm so sorry.    He is too angry with Eminem to even notice.   The guard make me go back to my seat.   I cry and tell Mom I HAVE to talk to Ron.   And I couldn't understand why they were separating us... just because the males and females are kept in different areas.    RIDICULOUS! 

So... Mom helps distract the guards and I run through doors to find my soul mate and tell him how much I love him.   He let me know he loves me back (JUST like real life, huh?) and he made the choice to hide me.   (swoooon..  he's my hero, even in my dreams)

And then... I'm worried, because I've begun itching and have spots hurting.   OOOOOOO whoa!..   worms are squiggling under my skin... let me repeat... WORMS ARE SQUIGGLING UNDER MY SKIN!!!   I'm trying not to panic but assuring the guards.. I need to go get help for this.   The worms we're breaking the skin surface.  I was able to pull a couple out.   But one I had to smash under the skin because it begun climbing up my shoulder and into my neck (and all I could imagine was that freaking worm getting into my brain..ugh!)  The guards were more concerned with catching my worms than getting me treatment for my worms.   Eminem shows up and says he'll take me to the hospital.

So he handcuffs me. WHAT?   It's uncomfortable and I can't balance myself.. and they chaff.. and yeah... I whined... a LOT!    He kept telling me that I had to wear them.  All the while escorting me to his sports car and bragging about it.     (Like I care about Eminem's sports car.. I am a prisoner.. and I'VE GOT SKIN WORMS!!!)    He keeps raising the seat, demonstrating the car functions, etc.    Then he puts down a paper liner for me to sit on.  Now mind you... I DO realize I got the skin worm condition and all, but manage to still find this   Finally Eminem can no longer stand my complaining and takes the cuffs off.    (about freaking time!)    He then takes me to the hospital... And there was a "prisoner" entrance.  Good gravy, really?  I was mortified.  Me a prisoner.    

So... this is wear things got weird(er).  Eminem leaves me there.  They only have a bed on the pediatric unit.  Which is open bays.  and by open bays, I mean the beds are right next to each other.   I was next to a little girl on a vent (through her trach) who kept giving me the stink eye.   I tried to be nice to her..  but she was annoyed with me for some reason.  (And I didn't get the feeling that it even had to do with the skin worms) And a lil 4 yr old boy who kept climbing in my lap.  (kids love me.. I'm like a cute kid magnet... still don't know why the lil trached girl was uncharmed by my smile) . I told him not to.. he'd catch my worms!!!    But eventually just laying a blanket between us and snuggled the lil feller.

I begin thinking of an escape plan. 

Then I woke up.  

Sooooooooo... last night I have another dream (which I wont even go into, because no one wants to hear/read a story about some one's weird dreams) but at one point in the dream I go out to get in my vehicle.  And It's gone.  Finally after searching... I remember it was impounded the night before when I was arrested.   CRAP!   It hits me.  I'm on the lam again... to turn myself in or not to turn myself in... hmmmm...

Dream interpretation?   Not sure I really want to know what THAT all meant.   I like to just think of it as random weirdness... 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Something will be missing this year...

My mom. for all of my adult life, has called me at exactly 2:10 pm every September 7th to wish me a happy birthday.   I have always imagined her sitting there... watching the clock for that exact moment.   It was that important to her.  So it was important to me.   I have watched the clock waiting on my mom to call on my birthday.  
    One year I'd worked the night before and slept through the call.  I felt bad.  Not for me... but for her... because I knew it was important to her.

So this year... will be my first without Mom's call.    I miss her.   I know how important I was to her.  And she always made sure my birthday was always a big deal.  I recall the home birthday parties.   Not the expensive ordeals kids today get.   I remember my mom decorating with paper streamers and sometimes a cake, sometimes homemade... always ice cream to go with the cake.   And I remember LOVING those parties.  

As time progressed and I grew up, Mom would remind me of upcoming birthdays... including my son's and my own.   lol   This always tickled me.

I'll miss those reminders.   I'll miss my 2:10 call.    I'd give anything to rewind to a previous birthday.    ...To have her ask me if I knew what happened at that time, however many years before (as if this was the first time she'd ever asked me this question on my birthday)...  

I skipped Mother's Day... stayed home... buried in.   I know I can't do this every birthday and holiday.  It wouldn't be healthy.. and it wouldn't be what Mom would want for me.   I've always associated my birthday with my Mom...  after all.. she did all the work.  I kinda just.. showed up.   :)

Miss you Mom.  And this Wednesday at 2:10.... I'll miss you even more.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Some ME time (well me and some of Minden's past citizens)

What would YOU do if you had a morning to spend to yourself?   (Well Jake wouldn't wake to go with me... so I ended up alone) 

Take pictures of a historic cemetery?  OF COURSE you would!     Well maybe you wouldn't.. but me?  I'm all over that.    I'm not warped (much), it just takes me to a happy place.

I have been wanting to photograph the Minden Cemetery for a couple years now and never made time to do so.  I needed to go to Minden today, so I decided this was my opportunity.

Was it creepy being alone in the cemetery?   Not at all.. kind of peaceful.   Just me and the headstones.   I probably didn't wear the best shoes.. had on my flipflops.  :)  My boots were in the truck.. but when I got there.. I was too anxious to start exploring the cemetery.  

Minden Cemetery has some rich history, but for the most part, very humble headstones.  No large angels (my favorite...)   And far less military graves marked.   But modest and ornate headstones I admired and respected just the same.

 I enjoyed my time alone.   It is a time that I can think of colors and angles and life and God and the past and the future.   It's MY time.   It's therapuetic.   It makes me whole.    I crave this.   The aloneness, but the comfort of knowing I will go home to my menfolk.    And I've not done this  several months, go spend time taking pictures for the sake of taking pictures.   For me, this is almost as satisfying as fishing.. almost.

When I got home to do some editting, I think I was in a black and white mood.. I converted so many over.   But this one is straight from the camera... no edits (except for the red  I added that):
See the Orb???  I wasn't alone out there.   Ok...Ok... I admit it was probably just the reflection of the sun off my lens.. but the orb thing makes for a much better story
I hope everyone has that thing, that place... your cemetery exploring, fishing, amatuer photography, walk in the park, etc,...For me I find this inner peace and reflection always tends to be outside.   Find that place that you're alone and surrounded by God.    We all need it.... a place, some time, the reflection, some pray in the outdoors.    It makes us better people, wives, moms, citizens, employees, etc,..    It makes me a better version of me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I *heart* Mom

             Everyday I miss the lady.  Much.   I'd give anything for a hug.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Zombie Jo

                                                             How I feel after I've poured a bowl of cereal, only to find out there is no milk!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lake Trash, Fishing, Jefferson, Angels, Death, Garbage Truck, Mom... (I think the technical term for what takes place in my head is called Associated Looseness)

My goal in life is to grow old and be Lake Trash.   Is that too much to ask?  I want to walk out my back door and drown a worm while sitting under a tree.    We go to Crips camp often.   And enjoy our self and getting to see friends.  But... there were a lot of folks there this weekend.   Took away from the relaxing part of our weekend.  You can't rent peace and quiet. 

Ron and I enjoyed our time there (despite the sometimes crowd)  We caught bream, saw friends, visited Jefferson, TX and I took a lot of pictures.  We visited a cemetery in Jefferson and I was in heaven (pun intended).   There were beautiful angel monuments everywhere.   By the time I inspected the beautiful face of one, another would catch my eye.   There is just something so special about these hand carved memorials.   The people long gone that bought them to memorialize those that came before them.   I love the bit of dark marble they use in the angel's eyes to form the iris.  And angel feet... always barefoot...   Always one foot stretched.    One was a little girl, a toddler.   

Ironic, I love memorials so much, but I want to be cremated. So does my husband.    I have no special requests... or at least I didn't.  Always figured you can mix me with clay and make me into an ash tray for all I care.   But my husband said the most romantic thing to me the other day.   :)  He wants to mix our ashes.    Seriously.. can ya get any more romantic than that?   I think not!   We plan to keep the other's ashes and when the survivor passes... have them mixed together (Ryan, this will be your job).    A mixtures of his & hers.    That is TRUE love.   My husband wants them to go in the Atchafalaya Basin (Also your job Ryan).   Death will imitate life... I always tell him, " I do what you do".    Let me just add though....that I will be furious if I'm the one that goes first, he remarries and my ashes end up in a garbage truck.   ( Like how I went from the lake to Jefferson to death to being thrown in a garbage truck?  I know... it's a gift.  HA!)   And no Honey... we can't all three be mixed together.     I know, every man's fantasy, right?  

I dusted Mom the other day.   Her ashes sit on a table in the foyer (or as we plain folk call it, the doorway) area.   I have to take them where she wanted to go.  I don't look at the urn and cry or anything.  It's the actual "letting go" and the act of taking the ashes out there that has me procrastinating.    Surely Mom would have understood and not minded spending a bit of time on the shelf overlooking her daughter's living room.   I used Pledge.  If you're curious.  To dust the urn.  It's wood.  

I'll need a look out, while I spread the ashes. This could include a cute bright orange jumpsuit!!!    Any takers?

(just an added note: if you google anything with the word "looseness" in it... you'll find interesting data on bowels, vaginas and such,..)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Father...unknown? What does THAT mean?

When I was in elementary school, I had to bring a copy of my birth certificate to school, so the teacher had me leave it on her desk.   I can't recall the grade, but it was at Creswell, so it was 4th grade or earlier.   My birth certificate is sitting on her desk when a little girl reads it.   And says loudly,"Father..unknown? What does THAT mean?".   I remember saying (loudly)." My father is Ronnie Wallace, I know who my father is!!!"   And then the teacher taking me outside the room because I was crying. 

My original birth certificate does read under the "father" section: "unknown".   I hated that.  Because my Mom always told me who my father was.   She told me he saw me until I was about two.. when he got married.   I knew he had another little girl a couple years after me.   And later heard another child.   I recall Mom's friends mentioning how I had eyes like Ronnie's etc,...   So WHY "unknown"?   Well, this was before the days of DNA.  You couldn't just put someone's name on the birth certificate.  but more importantly, she did not want his name there.   She didn't want him to have a claim.   I love her and know she was protecting her newborn girl.   New reprints of my birth certificate are just blank under the father section.

Growing up, Mom always sent my school picture to a sweet lady named Ms Dew.   I remember seeing Ms Dew... having cookies at her house.    Ms Dew was Ronnie Wallace's best friend's mom.   And when he came to town to visit, she would secretly show him my pictures.  And my mom would see pictures of Ronnie's other kids.   This wasn't weird to me.  It was how it was.

So, I grew up with a name... Ronnie Wallace.   And a location... Kentucky.   I resisted looking for him many years.   With the advancements of the Internet and search engines... the thought was there.  I just couldn't decide if I would or should or could find him.   My husband actually encouraged me to look.  It took me years to finally decide to look.

September 2010, I begin the online search.  Joined a couple of people search sites.  Called a few Ronnie Wallaces... emailed some.. did searches on Classmates, obituaries, etc,..

I finally asked Mom to help.  In the past, she had discouraged me looking.   But, she began giving me information.  But couldn't remember his middle name... thought his birthday was in October... I was asking a woman with three strokes to recall 41 years   But she tried.  

 In early October 2010, I was alone one night, and digging through the Internet looking for my father.   And it hit me... one thing a lot of obituaries listed is where someone was born.  So I entered,"Ronnie Wallace born in Shreveport"   And it came up.  A picture of a man just as my mom always described.   I knew it was him before I even read a word of the obituary.  I was alone, my husband in Baton Rouge.   And as I read... his mother lives in Bossier City... and is alive?   He'd passed the month before on September 5th.   Damn.

Why bring it up now?  I had a blog in September... I'm an "open book", right?   Well... I had to wrap my mind around this.   And it occurred to me... with Father's Day coming up... that it was a bit different for me this year.   I found and lost him within moments.   Mom passed just 3 months later.   And I discovered I had family that accepted me , including another brother and a sister, an aunt that sends me packages of love (cookies, brownies) and a grandma still spry at the age of 98 (at the time.. she's had a birthday since)!

I've had time to think about the "timing" of everything happening.  I think God was "hooking me up" with more family.  He knew he was calling Mom home soon.

God is great.  And my father is not unknown.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I love him for loving her

My husband was good to my Mom.    Really good to my Mom.   If I didn't pick her up, he'd insist I take her a bowl of spaghetti or gumbo... whatever great thing he'd made for supper.   There were never leftovers, just Mom's serving.   And she was grateful.

Mom's first year in the nursing home she won a the Ms Riverview Pageant.  I kid you not.... the nursing home has a pageant.     She looked beautiful.   But what it did for her self esteem...'d have thought she won Ms America.

Well... the winner goes to regionals.  Let me type that once more.... the WINNER of the nursing home pageant goes to regionals!    Again... You'd have thought this was nationals.   But she had just one request,"Do you think Ron will escort me?"    Huh?   "They said I can have an escort walk me for the pageant."    I went home and asked my husband.   He kinda laughed and said "yeah... the things I do"    I tell ya the truth.. she DID have the most handsome escort there.   My husband pulled out his best suit and walked the lady down the ailse for the pageant.   And her beaming face told it all. (eyes closed in almost every ( and I just want to say she came in 3rd place... She was robbed!!!... But I thought it'd be classless to protest.  Besides, that lady that won was on oxygen... that should be an automatic forfeit... I mean seriously going after the sympathy vote!  Have she no shame!?!)

His poo pretty much didn't stink after that...ha.   She'd have swore it smelled like rose water.     Mom had been at the home a couple of years and had been eyeballing one of them fancy walkers with the seat in it.  Oh yeah... all the cool nursing home residents had it.   (ha)   Anyway... One day out of the blue, I get a call at work and Mom is crying, "Your husband is the best man in the whole world".  I said,"Well I know Mom... but why do YOU think so?"   He'd gotten her that walker in a pretty dark red , assembled it and took it to her at the home.     Now that I think about it, that's how she got a new TV out of him too one   

She and I were soul mates.   She was worried about me handling her being "gone".     I assured her I wouldn't be alone, that I have Ron.  She said, "Yes, you have Ron".    I'm not sure who she was reminding, me or herself.     And none of this has been easy.  But I've had Ron.  And he loved my Mom.  And I loved that he loved my Mom. 

Ron made spaghetti tonight.  I'm a silly girl sometimes...   I get weepy over the little things.. like left over spaghetti.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Love to go see Ron's family in South Louisiana

This is usually a street.
The water was up...   10ft above normal in the Atchafalaya River.  You can see the river from my in-laws house.   But this past weekend.. the seawall blocked the view.    The good news is the seawalls and the levees have held up.    We went to the Berwick seawall to see the view.

The Aychafalaya River was swollen and rapid.   
 The birds were hitching rides on the debris.   Whole trees, root ball and all, floated by.   Many were visiting the seawall on both sides of the river, Morgan City and Berwick.

We went for a drive and saw the various ways people were protecting their land.     I love South Louisiana.  It is a unique place.  Love hearing the accent of an older cajun men in the Pierre Part store discussing how the fishing is going.    I am so glad the levees have held.  

My in-laws live in Berwick.   They are genuine, good people.   They have worked hard all their lives and raised their kids.   And now they work with ceramics and... enjoy retirement.    The backyard is a wonderland.  plants.... flowers, vegetable garden, ceramic charaters here and there, antiques, and a windmill here and there.   Jake likes it there.   So do I.   It's a calm place, their back yard.  
With everything going on this past year, we haven't been there since last September.  We went for the 2010 Shrimp and Petroleum Festival...  I blogged about it here .     That's the longest we've gone without going home to see everyone since we've been married.   I had major withdrawels.    Something about down there.. I can't describe... but it just feels like home.   
We also got to see Jennifer's family.    Sooooooo love my grandson.    He's so smart and witty.    And handsome.

I'm ready to go back already.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Can I just brag about my day?

This morning Jake and I went to chimp haven... enjoyed using my zoom lens and photographing the chimps.   If you don't know.. it's a "retirement center" for chimpanzees that have been used in lab testing.   No biggie, these chimps just helped scientists discover diabetic medications, HIV treatments, etc,...  Some were rescue chimps from being illegally kept as a pet.     These chimps were given these diseases so that WE, the people would have treatment.   So I'm all for them having a place to relax after all they've been through in their life.   The facilities are nicer than when I went a few years ago.   Nice improvements.   That time, Mom went with Jake and I... she was as in awe as a 4yr old kid!   :)  Go to to find out more.   The video on the home page explains what all they do for the chimps there. 

On the way home we stopped by the Northwest Louisiana Veterans cemetery.  I think it's important for Jake to see how many people gave their time to this country.   To never take our military for granted.   And remember that they do this voluntarily... sacrifice so much for  Americans to live safer.

                After gassing up (OMG! I wish my truck ran on whole milk, at least it's cheaper) and washing the truck, Jake and I went to the Boardwalk and  in search of lunch.   Jake didn't want to go to the Italian place...   I was surprised, because I knew he liked that food.   Finally, he admitted it was because he was afraid it would make me think of my mom (she loved Italian).   He said "if you DO think of her.. think of happy times".   What a deep kid, huh?   

We did some shopping, went to Bass Pro Shop (love,love that place) then went to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie (yes... it was good).  

Since then, I've come home, posted my chimp pics and grocery shopped.   I'm tired.   BUT... not exhausted.   It occurred to me today, months ago... I couldn't have done so much in one day.  I physically couldn't have done it and after Mom passed, I emotionally couldn't have done so much.    So, yeah.. I had a great Mom and son day.   When he was little, we called them "dates".    He won't let me call it that    After a fun day with Jake, I come home to my honey, my hero.

       I'm grateful for so much in my life.   A husband that loves me and spoils me a bit (ok.. a lot!), kids that are progressing... My Jake to high school, Ryan to 2nd level on nursing school, Blake earns his first degree in December, Jenn's doing well.. (miss Matt a bunch.. a whole bunch) and a wonderful work family.   But I thought of Mom too... like Jake told me.. I thought of happy thoughts. How lucky am I?  To have even had her... to have had her devotion all those years?   God must like me.  :)   Cause he blessed me from birth. (not that God doesn't like you if you had a crappy I'm only bragging about my  

And to top it all off.. the world didn't even end today! (yet)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

God help us all

WHY,WHY, WHY are we picking on our friend, Isreal?      Obama does NOT speak for US.  He speaks for himself.  Yet, we choose to continue funding a country that harbored a terrorist who masterminded the murder of 3000 American lives?   And we put ourselves further in debt to China to do so.    So.. how does this end?   We are at China's mercy.  We lose a great allie.   I am rarely "politically angry".  I am reasonable about politics.   And well aware of what I can (I vote) and can't control.  But... this... has me fuming.    1967 lines?   Isreal would die.   They are our last "powerful" alliance.   It's a sad day for Jewish people everywhere.  The disrespect and destruction of our promise to them.   GRRR!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

"Ray, I'm not sure she should join the Air Force because she lost a bet"

We were at Bass Pro Shop last night.   The guy in line in front of us was from Germany.    Our cashier, Ray was about 18 years old.  A young, handsome kid with a cute personality. Ray wanted to talk to the German about recruiting for the Air Force.   He kept asking the guy about recruiting for the Air Force and why was he here visiting our base.   The German guy was confused as to why the checkers was asking him for his zip code, much less how to join the American Air Force.   Ray had a cute personality, but he didn't "get it".   Ron had the "look" on his face.   lol    just knew he was about to bust this kids chops, bubble, something... if this conversation kept going in circles with them too. 

I finally said, "Ray... This man may be here in our country for some top secret sh*t and you're blowing his cover".     Eveeryone laughed (the German understood THAT and they wrapped up the purchase.    Our items were on sale on the internet, but not in the store, so we had to wait for the manager to approve the alternate pricing.   While waiting, Ray explained to me that him and his girlfriend want to join the Air Force.

I asked Ray, "So, you BOTH want to join the Air Force?"    He says, well, I do... I'm making her"   Huh?  "Well, she lost a bet.." I said, " Oh.. well that should work out well".   Ray says, "yeah, it will" (sarcasm completly lost on him).    I said ,"Ray, I'm not sure she should join the Air Force because she lost a bet".   He says,"Well, I bet her when she'd graduate school and I won" I liked this kid.   My husband just sits there and and shakes his head at me teasing this kid.    I said," Ray, are you in school?"  ( I liked over-using his name like a car salesman does...ha ).   He said,"yeah I start in a few weeks" I said,"college?" He said,"Well.... college... slash... other stuff".    I said,"Ray.... you know community service don't count as college, huh?"     He laughed and assured me it wasn't community service.   Then he clarified that it was a GED class.   I laughed and said, "It's ok I'm a GED girl, too.   I'm from Cedar Grove, 72nd street, but, then I went to college.."      He says,"East or West?" (Now... only someone from the Grove knows what this means)  I said "West".    He then lets me know that I live around the corner from him... I got tickled and said, "No Ray, I'm 'from' there.. I don't live there. Thats why you get your GED and go to school or join the Air Force... so you can live where you don't have bars on the window"   He laughed and said," I like my neighborhood".    I said, "Ray... the operative word there is 'hood'".    We left Ray still laughing. I liked this kid.. and his desire to join the Air Force and complete his education. He had ambition and goals (even though his gf is joining the Air Force on a lost bet...). Ray has a future.   

My husband lets me know as we leave,"Ray had enough trouble checking us out without you jacking with him".    HA!    I can't help it.  I like people.   I won't even tell you about me flirting with the 90 yr old man I'd flirted with just 30 minutes prior to meeting Ray.   :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I've gone GLOBAL baby... who knew?

       So, I'm looking at my blog today and I see a "Stats" tab.   I've not noticed this there before.  Is it new?  So I start exploring it... it lets you know your "audience".    LOL... I have an "audience".     Years of receiving a "D" in conduct finally pay off!!!   I honestly didn't know they gave above a "C" in conduct anyway.   I talked and joked... a lot.    And maybe flirted... maybe.  

The dark green in the majority of hits, the light green is a large number as well..
      Anyway... back to my "audience".   The stats let you know what country is viewing you.    Of course, most were from the United States.  USA!!! USA!!! (sorry.. had to give props to my country... ha)   I had several "hits" from the U.K.... You think maybe Prince Williams was making sure Ron and I was going to work out before he settled on Kate?  (Her majesty wouldn't know what to make of me... HA!)    Canada had several views too.   Hmmm,  well if the USA can't win it in the Olympics, I do cheer for the Canadian athletes.   Then came Japan.  Japan?   Yeah...I have a Japan audience.   Then Germany and Russia.   I do have a friend that lives in Germany.  Hi Suzanna! (if it's you)  Then the Philippines... I have many Filipino friends. (Hello my wonderful friends... miss you so much!)    But, I'm doubting they're checking my blog when they visit home.  Then there was Malaysia and Denmark.   Yep, Denmark.... and a few hits from way over there.   I had to google it to be sure where Denmark is located.    lol    And last.... was France.   I am sure these "hits" were an accident.   But it was interesting..   to learn I have an "audience" at all.   I always assume most reading this blog are from my Facebook.  I are wrong!   Of course, they may be all trying to give me a virus...  This could very well be a global conspiracy.   Hmmmm...

Well... my adoring (and no the stats didn't say anyone "adored" me...) audience... til next post...

bye!, 再見,  Tschüss, свободный от игры день, バイバイ,  au revoir
Peace out!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Our trip to Eureka Springs

Day One
       Ron and I had nice drive up Hwy 71... The weather was beautiful.  I like traveling with my husband because he doesn't "race" to get there.  If I see a road side stand I want to look at, or an old church I want to photograph... He happily turns around. 

  Once we arrived in Eureka Springs, we had Bar-B-Que at a place called Bubba's across the street from the little cottage/gift shop that we check in at.   This was interesting.  There was a large family (if there is a large loud group of people or a baby crying, my husband and I WILL get seated next to them.  He thinks it's a conspiracy).   Notice how there is always one voice MUCH louder than the others?  Well... The dude had a mullet and his email was something along the lines of Captain Concrete.  He'd recently knocked some chic up, but she wasn't speaking to him because he lacked enthusiasm for the pregnancy.   Did I mention he was loud?   He was showing off his big bucks too... buying a round of french fries for the whole table.  Big Spender.

       The city was a bit sad to me.  The longer we were there and explored the downtown area, etc,.. the more disappointed I was.  This beautiful town had been oversold.  There was a hotel every five feet and where there was not a hotel, there was a sign letting you know there's a hotel in five feet.   The beautiful old architecture was cheesed up and there were signs everywhere.  The town has some wonderful history.   The restaurants were either open for Breakfast, lunch and or dinner.. but none for all three.  Nor was this clearly marked anywhere which shift it served a meal.   The shirtless guy on roller skates skating down main street with a huge rebel flag may have also influenced my views.   Some eclectic folks... one van looked like the space shuttle.  An El Camino that well.. I no words  explain.   

      We got our key, directions  and went to the Treehouse Cottage my husband had reserved for us.  It was so nice.  There was a beautiful leather king size bed, a heart shaped jacuzzi tube (sounds corny, but it was not).  Great scenery and big windows to see it out of.   My husband had chosen well.   I liked this place a lot.   We've stayed Bed & Breakfast places, at cabins in Texas, been in the luxury hotel rooms... but this was different.   We napped.  Then got up and went for a hike along the trail that led to a cave on the property.   Ummmmm.... The sign said a mile... what it didn't say was..."EACH WAY"!!!   Down hill a mile.. then back up.  O....M....G..... I am out of shape.   I had to stop and hold a tree up several times.   My husband was patient.  Once we made it back... (with a storm blowing in) we went to dinner.  That night was a lightening storm.  Added to the coziness in a strange way.

Day Two
        We got up real early to go fishing.  Did you know if you want REAL eggs you have to specify?  Or you'll get powdered... WTH?    Anyway... we ate our toast and powdered eggs and headed out to meet the guide.   It was windy and we did "ok" fishing... caught trout, wall-eye and white bass.  LOVED the scenery.   After fishing we went to see Beaver Lake and the mini Golden Gate bridge..  corny tourist stuff.   On our way back there was a bluff I wanted to photograph off of.  Ron pulled over and I stood there.  The wind had picked up and there were hawks flying off the edge.   You could see them using the wind to soar.   I took several pictures but was so caught up in the moment.... it wasn't easy to think of pictures.   It was beautiful.  Quiet, with only the sounds of the wind....  and the hawks kept going.  Probably about 6 of them in all dashing all around, over me sometimes, in front, from the left, from the right.   Beautiful.  

Then we went back to the cottage. Showered and napped (see the theme here... we are old... we sleep after everything we do)    Later, I set up the tripod and took pictures of some of the birds that visited the bird seed feeder on the back of the cabin.  

Day Three
       We slept in... well as late as a sky light and picture windows will let you. we explored the town some more, took a train ride to no where (seriously... we went 2.5 miles and it took an hour), went to Lake Leatherwood, some creeks,  Holiday Island.   Was a nice afternoon.   One disappointment.. we went to the Blue Spring Heritage Center.  They let us know that we could pay to go in but could not see the Blue Spring because of a wedding.  Huh?  We can't see the main attraction... the blue spring itself?   On a Saturday at 1 pm???    Pass!   So we went back to the cabin and napped (surprised?... didn't think so)

Over all... Eureka Springs, the town, wasn't so great, but the nature surrounding it was awesome.   We didn't go see The Passion Play.  But, I feel certain our Lord and Saviour wasn't crucified on a cross so that every gas station in Eureka Springs could sell a 5" plastic Jesus statue for $5.99.    (and no Tami.. I didn't get you a key

We headed home on Sunday.  We stopped in Fort Smith to see the court house where Isaac Parker (The Hanging Judge) presided.   I'm a nerd... I love historical stuff.  We stopped in Mena and had lunch on Queen Wilhelmina Mountian.   Came home from our trip happy, but exhausted.   I even cooked supper. (grilled cheese sandwiches..ha)

My husband planned this trip last August.  And after this past winter... it was perfect timing.  I needed time away with him, no kids, no dog, no Mom reminders.   Just us...  (Oh.. and a red headed woodpecker that stayed outside the back window as long as there was seed to be eaten)