Tag Archives: Women

Yes Virginia

Yes, Virginia there is a Santa; but in truth he’s a bit oversold.

There’s a bigger person that’s working the season.

Now, that’s a story that ought to be told.

While Santa works hard for the holiday mirth and is often considered the cause,

 the real muscle and brains, as each woman knows, comes directly from one;


She hangs up the stockings, she preps all the lights, she shops for the elves, and maps out his flights.

She buys for his office, preps food for his parties, she hangs out the wreathes, bakes cookies and tart


She shops for his brothers, his sisters and aunts, she matches his outfits, nice shirts with nice pants.

She brines the turkey, she preps the sprouts, she’s taking the photos and getting cards out.

Yes, he works hard and his work pays the bills, but without her this season would fall flat on its’ heels.

I mean really does he even know the elves’ sizes?

What type of dessert, Prancer’s favorite pie is?

No-he’s round and he’s jolly, and hangs with the kids, has not even a clue where the mistletoe is.

She wonders sometimes if all this toil matters;

then an elf wanders in, steals a cookie and scatters.

Pretty soon three more elves slip through the door,

“Man, those are great, can we PLEASE have some more?”

They walk away smiling, and munching and shine

“Gosh she’s just the BEST, don’t you LOVE Christmastime?

And amongst all the ribbons and glitter and cheer,

Mrs. Claus nods…


 and sniffs back a tear.

Parenting Tip of the Day:  Hide those receipts.  I know you’re hiding the  presents but don’t forget that those little guys learn to read and if they find the receipts or the open bill from the credit company–YIKES LUCY–you got some ‘splainin’ to do.


Things I think:

Things I think:

1. If it is flameless…it is NOT a candle.  It’s a light.

 2.  If you are one of the four out of five women that cannot read a pregnancy test, you should NOT be having children.  You are stupid.

3.  Even if you didn’t take a little blue pill, any erection that lasts longer than 4 hours requires medical attention. Frankly, your wife needs to get examined too!

4.  Future episodes of Degrassi on the Nick TV channel should NOT be advertised during iCarly reruns; especially the ones about lesbianism.

5.  You should NOT check the “Correct Blemishes” box on your child’s school photo ordering sheet.  Kids should not think they need to be photo shopped to sit on their parent’s shelf.  They are perfect.

6.  Teenage kids should not be able to express themselves by wearing any part of a military uniform unless/until he or she has worn it in combat or in service to their nation. 

7.  Stay at home moms deserve the right to represent what they do at career day.  They don’t stay home because they are unable to do anything else.  It’s because they are putting their considerable talents into raising their children.  Trust me—it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

8.  If you are a commissioned officer in the United States military (or a retired officer drawing retirement pay) and you use contemptuous words against the President, you are in violation of Article 88 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice and are subject to a court martial.  Yes.  If you are retired they can reactivate you and court martial your butt.  That is the case even if you do it with a wink and a smile and a nudge.  Clean up your act.  You fight for democracy, you don’t live by it.    

9.  Skinny people do NOT eat McDonald’s food. 

10.  Going to the McDonald’s drive through, ordering coffee and having the little black box ask you “Where’ve you been?” is NOT a good sign.

11.  If you have 18 children, that’s enough.  Really, 18 of anything is enough.  If you cannot control yourselves please stay in separate rooms.

12.  If someone offers you a reality television show you are odd.  In some way you are odd and there is nothing good going to come of it.

13.  If you do get a reality TV show, when things in your personal life go to crap please, please, please don’t go on the talk show route and talk about the intrusion into your personal life.  Refer back to #12 and probably #2.  You are odd and you are stupid. 

14.  If airlines are going to sell food or alcoholic beverages then they should have adequate change for people who buy the food and beverages they have to sell.  I’ve been flying in airplanes since I was 16 years old and they STILL announce they can’t make change when you buy a drink.  Is this rocket science?

15.  If you are 24 years or under – you don’t have a “life story”.  Don’t write a book.  It makes us 40 somethings mad.  Only people that have lived longer than a horse should be able to write a book about their life story. 

16.  The world changes when both your parents have passed away.  If you are in this situation, you know what I’m talking about.  Home is no longer someone or someplace you go to visit.   There is a  painful hole that you will never fill with anything but sweet memories.  I respect the process and the whole circle of life thing, but I miss my mom and dad.

17.  If for some reason you are not speaking to one of your children, you need to fix it.  You are the parent, you are the grown-up, and you need to fix it.  It may hurt and it may be the last thing you think you need to do or you owe to your child; but someday you will die.  When you do, you want to leave someone grieving your loss.  It means you impacted a life. 

Your tombstone will not say:

“I was right by God”. 


even if it does;

No one will come to read it.

Parenting Tip of the Day:  We struggled with our decision on letting the boys see their Grandmother’s body.  My husband was traumatized by that process when he was young and we all worried that perhaps our boys were too young.  In the end, we asked them for their thoughts.  We were very frank with our children that the body was not their grandmother that she’d left.  In honesty, they did not know her very well.  She was sick for about the past seven years.  They opted to be a part of the service and I’m glad they were there.  They heard me speak about her legacy and they rallied around me in support.  And the oldest, the one that did know her, he cried.  I’m glad he cried.  Some things are worth being sad about.


When the boys ask me why I rest my hand on their father’s leg when he’s driving, I think about all the miles my family would travel in the car on summer vacations.  I remember looking to the front and she’d be sitting there with her hand resting on daddy’s leg.  They didn’t speak too much but occasionally they’d look at each other and smile.  When I touch my husband’s leg, or reach over and hold his hand in the car I tell the boys:

My momma taught me that. 

When I come down in the evening in my PJs and the boys come rushing over to sit by me, Sam will raise his head and say:

 “Ohhh….you have on that perfume don’t you?”

 I think about hugging my mom over the years; burying my head into her neck and smelling her perfume.  I remember it warmed me and made me feel safe and loved.  So when the boys snuggle down next to me taking in long breaths of whatever perfumed lotion I’ve slathered on, I think:

My momma taught me that.

When I give a stranger a couple of dollars  I remember watching my mom reach into her pocket book and pull out money at the grocery store.  She’d help the person in front of us if they were a little short.  I’d walk away from the register holding her hand, looking up at that beautiful face, and feeling so proud.   Charity is one of the things she taught me.

When I start to put together a meal, I think about all the meals that she made in our kitchen.  Meals weren’t just something you ate, meals were an event.  Meals were cornbread and pinto beans, collard greens with ham hocks and sausage gravy and biscuits.  Saturday dinner was a steak, always a steak, sometimes in the kitchen or sometimes in the dining room where you “dressed” for dinner and ate by candlelight.  The kitchen table was a place of ritual and family, sometimes heated discussions and always good food.  When people ask me where I learned to cook I tell them:

My momma taught me that.

When I stand on the porch and wave goodbye to family and visitors pulling down the driveway and I take a moment to say a little prayer for their safe journey, I remember all the times I left my home on May Avenue, watching momma wave to me as I pulled away.  I know how important that last wave is and I think:

My momma taught me that. 

Even as mom started her slow journey from us, even when she didn’t always know who I was or where she was, even then she’d hug me and tell me she loved me.  That was her nature. 

I wonder if I would want to live the last years of my life as my momma did.  I can’t help but think about how much comfort and joy she brought us by being there for us to visit, to touch and hug.  We’d sit and share a cup of coffee, maybe watch a cooking show or take trip out to the garden.  Sometimes we were strangers, sometimes we were her daughters but always her gentle nature recognized us as friends. 

She gave so much and continued to ask for so little.  I’d want to do that for my boys as well.  She allowed us to let her go slowly and when it came time to say goodbye, we did.  My sister was there when she left us.  As gently as my momma lived, she died.   

Many years ago, right after my grandmother died, I found my mom in her bedroom writing down her thoughts.

Through her tears she said:

“You can read this when I’m done.”

She wrote pages about the things her momma did that made her world so full of love.  

If you wonder why I thought it important to write these things down now,

through my tears I can only tell you:

My momma taught me that.

                                                            Janice Irene Austin (Barrett)

                                               October 17, 1923 to November 7, 2009

                                             Every good thing I am; is rooted in you!


There’s a Booger on my Lampshade

There’s a booger on my lampshade;

 a bunch sticking near my bed.

I’ve got quite a good collection

by the pillow near my head.

I don’t want my mom to find them

‘cause she fusses all the time;

about my picking and my digging

“It’s like you worked inside a mine”.

Sometimes I like to flick them;

they go clear across the room,

but I have to do it quickly cause

my mom could walk in soon.

“Don’t do that” she will holler;

first she’ll gag and then she’ll wretch.

Then she’ll rub my nose clean off

with some stupid, pink Kleenex.

I just can’t seem to help it,

there’s some in there I can tell.

 I love to clean them out but,

“No tissues near…oh well.”

There’ll be boogers on my lampshade;

and some tucked beside the couch.

A few flicked on the doggies;

maybe one inside my mouth.

But what’s a kid to do,

it brings me so much joy;

I simply must continue digging

after all, I am a boy!

On baseball

My husband said he wants me to watch more baseball.

I said I want him to stand in a corner and poke his eye with his thumb till it bleeds;

same thing.

He doesn’t understand why I don’t get it and I swear to God I don’t understand WHAT he sees in the game. 

So I asked him.

“It’s the strategy” he tells me.

“Do you know those pitching coaches will watch one hitter from an opposing team for hundreds of hours,


in order to properly coach their pitcher against the hitter.”

“Hmmm” I thought.

Now THERE’S a man who needs a life.

Some facts:

On August 22, 2007 the highest scoring modern game of baseball was played.  In game 1 of a double header the Texas Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles at Baltimore by a score of 30-3!

The guy that posted that information on a site I visited recently then wrote

“My team may be ranked at the bottom this year, but they are AWESOME!”

That, my friends, is a man with very low aspirations.

He probably still lives with his parents and thinks HALO is real life warfare.

Okay-so a score of 30 is the highest.  Let’s see, each play takes about 20 seconds to complete, and frankly that’s if there’s an error and someone bobbles the ball. 

No, I’m not counting pitching as a “play.”  I know you purists are screaming.



To me that’s about as interesting as watching someone sitting on their porch waving at passing cars. 

There is NO sane woman in the world that will sit there and watch ONE GUY for five hours,

sit there and watch him move his arm,

 even if he moves it really, really fast,

 and think something cool is happening.

Let’s remember people.  You’re watching a game where a NO HITTER is one of the best things that can happen.

ABSOUTELY NO ONE MOVES…and people are screaming like they’ve hit the lottery.

Okay-so 20 seconds a play.  Let’s say each one of those 30 runs took 4 plays to make.  Probably an over the top exaggeration since at least one of those guys probably brought in a couple of runs when he actually connected with the ball. 

So that’s 120 plays, at 20 seconds each.  That means that over the course of a four or five hour game, something was actually happening,

I mean someone was moving more than his arm,

for about forty minutes.


The rest of the time you’re basically eating hot dogs, drinking beer and yelling for some guy to throw you peanuts.

You’ve got to wonder about a sporting event where, as folklore has it,

the largest President ever in the history of the United States, William Taft, supposedly couldn’t stand it any longer and had to get up to stretch to wake up and everyone else said:

“hey THAT’s a good idea.”  so they stood up and stretched to wake up;

that moment speaks for itself.

Somebody must have recognized its value because they built it into the game.

I’ve said it before.

Watching baseball is like watching farming. 

Still, I have four boys so I understand that baseball is a part of my life.  We spend hours on the fields, hours practicing and hours talking about what went right and what went wrong.

The good news is after the game, I get to do the laundry. 

Now THAT’s exciting.

Parenting Tip of the Day:

Get your kids into sports.  It will teach them teamwork, leadership and how to deal with winning and losing.  If they join a team though, don’t let them quit.  It’s hard because honestly sometimes they will whine till the cows come home that they don’t’ want to get dressed or get ready.  But that’s all a part of it and they will learn that when they make a commitment, they have to live up to it.

“What’s Wrong With Mom?”

Sunday Afternoon (The scene):

      Four boys sitting on one couch looking down and playing their new DS games they purchased earlier in the day.

     Husband of four boys sitting in “his chair” (why do men have “a chair” anyway); looking down at his laptop.

     Mom walks in, sits down and literally as her butt touches the cushion:


Brother #1 (not looking up):

    “What’s for dinner mom?”


     “Flank steak and roasted red potatoes.”

Brother #2 to Brother #1 (not looking up):

     “What did she say?”

Brother #1 to Brother #2:

     “Meat and potatoes.”

Brother #4 to Mom.

     “What kind of potatoes?”


     “Roasted red potatoes.”

Brother #4 to Mom:

    “Do I like those?”



Brother #2 to Brother #4:

    “What’d she say.”

Brother #4 to Brother #2:

    “Potatoes I like.”

Brother #2 to Mom:

    “Do I like those kind too Mom?”

Mom to Brother #2:

     “Yes, you like those kind.”

Brother #1 to Mom:

     “They’re not the kind I like are they mom?”

Mom to Brother #1:

     “I’m not sure you do like those kind Jake.”

Brother #1:

     “Oh Man.” (In that long drawn out “maaaaaaaaaaan” sort of way.)

Brother #3 to Brother #1 (without looking up)

    “What’s wrong?”

Brother #1 to Brother #3:

     “Mom’s making the kind of potatoes I don’t like for dinner.”

Brother #3 to Mom:

    “Do I like them mom.”

Mom (a little louder):

    “I DON’T KNOW IF YOU LIKE THEM BEN.  But those are the kind I’m making.”

Brother #4 to Mom:

    “Can’t you make French fries?”

Mom to Brother #4:

     “Yes, I COULD make French Fries, BUT I’m making roasted red potatoes!”

Brother #1 to Brother #4:


Brother #4 to Brother #1:

     “She won’t make us French Fries.”

Brother #1:

     “Oh man!”

Brother #2 to Mom (not looking up):

    “Can we have peaches?”

Mom to Brother #2:

    “Yes, if there are peaches you can have peaches.”

Brother #4 to Mom:

   “But I don’t like peaches.”

Mom to Brother #4:

    “Then you don’t have to HAVE peaches.”

Brother #3 to Mom:

    “Can’t we have mandarin oranges.”

Mom to Brother #3:

     “I DON’T CARE if you have mandarin oranges instead of peaches; it’s up to you.”

Brother #1 to Mom:

    “How about salad.  Are we having salad?”


Husband to Mom:

    “Where you going?”

Mom to husband:

    “I’m going to watch TV in my room.”

Husband to Mom:

    “What’s for dinner?”

Mom to husband (Who is STILL looking down):

     “You’re kidding me, right?”

Brother #3 to Dad:

    “What’s wrong with Mom?”

Dad to Brother #3:

     “She’s a little edgy today.”

Brother #1 (without looking up):

     “What’d he say?”

Parenting Tip of the Day:

When they were little I started serving the boys spinach with ranch dressing.  It was “dark green lettuce” I told them.  Now they are very happy to “eat their spinach”.  (All except #4 who won’t eat ANYTHING other than meat and potatoes.)

The Life Cycle

“I killed it.”

 Well I guess I should say,

“We killed it.”

Not sure what the cause of death is officially, but it was a long time coming and the smell, once death was pronounced, the smell was awful. 

We had 22 good years together so I can’t complain.  How many things in your life do exactly what they’re supposed to do for 22 years? 

Oh sure, there were times it was overwhelming.  All the bending and lifting; crossing the line between dirty and clean over and over again. 

Nothing in my life has brought me such grief and such joy as that which I am now laying to rest.

Goodbye washer.

Goodbye dryer.

You’ve served our family well.  I don’t think it was the first 10 years that were too tough on you.  After all it was just the two of us. 

It was these past 12, all the itty bitty socks and t-shirts that became hundreds of pairs of sweat socks you repeatedly cycled around and around.  All the baby clothes laden with food spills and unspeakable matter, the description of which is too foul to print, spewed across the front and back.  All the candies you were forced to reduce to silver slivers of paper, slivers that became trapped in your vent; and of course the occasional red marker and game boy game that you sadly rotated to oblivion knowing they would never function correctly again.

The pain of watching your kids pull those small rubber bands that go on their braces from your inner workings; listening to them as they howled after realizing their favorite Pokémon card or DS game was destroyed in your rinse cycle. I’m sure it took its toll. 

We did share some times didn’t we?  Remember those hours upon hours of me folding clothes; me talking to you about how recently we’d just washed a pair of those exact same looking jeans.  My screaming exclamations of:




As I stormed from the laundry room calling one boy or another, preaching what is now a well known sermon that we wear pants 2 or 3 times and underwear only once!

All the times, in the middle of the night, I came rushing in with sheets covered in whatever midnight body functions had shown themselves in one of the boys rooms.  Starting your soak cycle, filled with Clorox or any other germ killing detergent I had at the time. 

We can never get those times back can we?

You never complained. 

I bought your replacements yesterday.  They’ll be here next week, and the men in white jackets will take what is left of you to the recycle bin.

I asked Steve if we could keep you.  Maybe put you out in the yard and give the boys some screwdrivers and let them have at it.  It would have been hours of fun for them,

 and I sure would love to know where that yellow sweater went.

But I was overruled.  I think my husband worried that I’d want to start stacking up our used tires in the yard, and maybe get a chicken or two.

I don’t have much faith the two shiney, white, brand new replacements coming from Maytag will live up to your reputation.  How could they?  They’re so young and naïve.  With all their fancy cycles and steam clean options.  I won’t be able to share the same stories and midnight visits with them I did with you.  After all, the boys are older now and I really don’t have the emotional energy to invest in another relationship like the one we shared.

In retrospect, I probably hung on too long.

Even after you wouldn’t stop cycling when your lid was lifted,

I kept you. 

Even after your cycles wouldn’t stop without manually turning your dials to “off”,

I kept you.

Even after your tub would slam so violently from side to side during the spin cycle that I could watch you dance out into the hallway,

I kept you.

After all, you still cleaned the clothes, and well; frankly,

I’m pretty cheap.

But once I heard you screaming; screaming so loudly I couldn’t run you through your drills and not wake the boys; when the smell of rubber was so pungent it burned my nostrils. 

I knew it was time for us to part. 

Enjoy retirement dear friend.  You have served our family well and you will be missed.  I just hope your replacements are ready to be put through the wringer.

Parenting Tip of the Day:

If you have many children, that means many, many socks.  To keep them straight mark their socks with a laundry pen when you get home from buying them so you can match them to each other and to the child who owns them.  I used the “dot” system; one dot for the first born, two for the second and so on.  That did two things.  I was able to couple socks when they came out of the laundry and send them off to their rightful owners; and I could also immediately pinpoint which son thought it was okay to leave their dirty, smelly socks on the dinner table.