Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Grinch, not such a bad guy

Christmas is over.

And I'm officially sick of it. I have had a nice Christmas this year, as far as my stress level goes. Things are good with my family and I have much to be grateful for, and I am grateful. Very grateful.

However, I have noticed a lack of gratitude with my daughters this year. Part of it is that they are teenagers and part of it is that I think they have been overindulged this past year. This is the first year that they've done nothing, absolutely nothing, for anyone else. Well, there was that one night this week that they both babysat for me while I went to see a movie with a friend. I made it through the whole movie without one phone call or text. How nice. Found out today that the reason for that was because they were busily unwrapping and re-wrapping each and every present under the tree.
That explains the stench of disappointment that hung in the air when they finished opening their gifts this morning. Stinky.

Tomorrow, I think I'll drag the tree, ornaments and lights and all, down to the curb. I want it out of my house! I realize you can't left the selfishness of others spoil your Christmas, but it's not just that. I am sick of the commercialism and the pressure that Christmas brings. Isn't that the opposite of what it's supposed to be about? Or do we even truly remember what it's supposed to be about? I'm not sure I do, honestly. I get caught up in it just like everyone else does. But why in the hell should we focus on love and relationships and giving this one time of the year? Shouldn't it be this way all year long? Wouldn't it mean more if we did? No lights, no reason, just because? And let's face it, I know we who are Christians say it's about the birth of Christ but it isn't really, not anymore, if it ever was.

It's about a whole lot of expectations to make everything perfect which is completely unrealistic. And when it's not perfect, there's a tremendous letdown. Because life isn't perfect. It's messy, unpredictable and the beauty comes in everyday, mundane life. It comes in the things that surprise you, the moments that you don't plan for. It comes without boxes, ribbons or bows, thank you very much, Mr. Grinch.

Every year, I realize, I have this competition with myself to make this "the best Christmas ever!" and I always lose. Because my emphasis is on the wrong thing. The almighty dollar. Screw that. This year, my son is back with us, laughing, being the life of every room, because that's who he is. He makes us laugh. He's whole again.

And my daughters will eventually get over the disease known as teenagerism. They're good at heart, I just need to get them back to the basics.

And then there is Mr. Wapkaplet...sweetest boy on the planet. Loves unconditionally and easily, smiles constantly and hugs and kisses freely. He and Jess were the Christmas spirit this year, they kept me grounded amidst the commercial carnage.

Next year, I think I might skip Christmas. Or at least, do my best to experience an alternative Christmas. One that only gives in ways that have absolutely nothing to do with money. Especially for the sake of my girls, who seem to have lost their way a little bit this past year.

Please, dear reader, remind me of that next year when I start stressing about finances and Christmas lists. Let me rewrite that, christmas lists. I'm not even going to capitalize it anymore. Seriously.

So here's to the next holiday in line, New Year's! A drinking man, or woman's, holiday! A philosopher's holiday, a time for reflection and having fun.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Boring Blog Award Winner 2008

No wonder I can't get any traffic on my blog...I'm boring and talk a lot about the weather. The Weatherwoman. Today is a sticky 64 degrees outside with the possibility of thunderstorms. Humidity, 100%. That's right, we're in for another good ole' muggy, Louisiana Christmas!

Laissez les bon temps roulet!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Those Summer Days

It's hard to imagine that there was a day this warm, only 3 1/2 months ago. This winter, especially for us warm-blooded Louisianians, has been especially harsh. Last night, the low was 23 degrees. Unbelievable.

Usually, by December 22, we've had a few cold nights in the 40's and a few cold snaps that lasted a couple of days and then, back up to the 60's and even 70's. But this year, the norm has been cold, cold, cold and only a few warm spells.

The good news is, it's nice for the Christmas season. The bad news is, our cars are dying. Just this month, I had to replace my radiator, one of my employees blew up the engine in his truck, and my husband's work truck is overheating. I know, I know. I can't blame it on the frigid temps. But maybe, just maybe, our cars are used to warm weather and the cold weather is just too much for them. Maybe we aren't feeding them enough anti-freeze.

And Christmas is three days away. Funny, every year, I make a promise to myself to focus on family and not the negative. I mean, really, life doesn't stop with all of it's conflicts and problems just because it's Christmas, right? And every year, it's as if I'm tested on my promise. I just got my car out of the shop last week and poof!...there went my Christmas bonus. And now Robert's car is overheating.

But so what? I think I'm getting the hang of this. Those things, and the mounting pile of bills, are just that...things, distractions. They do not represent my life.

I hope everyone that I know and love enjoys this joyous season. And, hey, nothing wrong with looking forward to warmer, summer days when we can get together again and laze around in a pool somewhere...or a lake...maybe a puddle.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Your Majesty, Himself

he's cute.


a new laptop and I can!

Monday, December 08, 2008

This Boy's Life

If you read the previous post, you know that my best friend is at the beginning of a hard road with her teenage son. Things progressed from bad to worse over the weekend. The good news is that she is going to be fine. Although emotionally bruised and battered two days ago, I have watched her each day slowly gain the strength and wisdom that she needs to face this. She's like that.

As for her son, everyone is hoping that three nights locked up in the juvenille detention center might be the thing that causes him to wake up. Only time will tell.

On a totally opposite note, I am coming out on the other side of a five year slide with my oldest child, my only son. It makes me want to cry.

We spent the whole day together yesterday. We are at the beginning of a brand new relationship. One where I get to be the parent to my grown-up child. Strange but so, so cool. He is different. Thoughtful, positive, considerate and he listens. My son, the constant talker, LISTENS.

He surprised me yesterday with two tickets to "Songs of the Season", a local, holiday, musical extravaganza that plays every year at the downtown historical theatre, The Strand. For the entire first hour, I fought back tears of joy. Because one year ago, today, if anyone had told me where Jesse would be today, I wouldn't have believed them. I would not have believed that we would be sitting together, holding hands, at a Christmas musical that celebrates the birth of Christ. I would not have believed that as we walked up three flights of red-carpeted stairs in this beautiful place, that he would be on my left hand side, his strong hand gently on my back, for support and guidance. My son...supporting me. Or that at the end of the night, as I drove him home, he would say,

"Mom, I had so much fun with you tonight. Thank you for being my date. Let's make this a Christmas tradition, me and you, every year."
I am grateful beyond words.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Worst Kind of Heartrbreak

My best friend is going through a lot. Her fifteen-year-old son, who, I might add, is extremely intelligent, is throwing his life away. Who knows how far this will go before he turns himself around. Having raised one teenage son, and in the process of raising two teenage daughters, I can honestly say that I don't understand them. I don't understand their anger.

When I think back to my teenage years, I still find no clues. I didn't understand myself then either. It can be such a horrible time in one's life, for both the parents and the kids.

I wish I could help her. But what? I have no answers, no wise advice, no great epiphanies to offer.

For some reason, I thought blogging about this might be a good idea, but I find I've got nothing but confusion and hopelessness. It's hard enough to give your trust away to adults. Harder still to give your trust and love to your child, who could very possibly, be smiling the biggest, widest smile on earth while lying to your face.

It is the worst kind of heartbreak, the worst kind of helplessness. Because they are a part of you, literally. Connected.

Here's to the all the parents and kids with broken hearts, lost in confusion and fear. Maybe the whole horrible process is necessary for disconnection to begin. But to the teenagers, a simple cut will do. No need to leave severed, bleeding limbs in your wake.

We'll let you go, we promise. We'll let you go in a slow, gradual process, with love and pain, as we watch you test your wings to fly.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

It's 4:21 in the morning, and I am insane. This year, I've decided to go shopping on Black Friday. Never done it before. I usually laugh and laugh and laugh at people who get up this early to brave the crowds for a few good bargains.

But, what the hell? I figured I'd try it just this once, with Robert being gone and all. He usually laughs and laughs and laughs with me at those people and I'm afraid he couldn't bear to see this.

See what happens when you're gone, honey?

I need you to keep my grounded...

So sleepy, need more coffee, more later.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Oh, Thanksgiving!


I think I'm finally getting my space. I'm not sure, it's been a while and I don't quite remember what it feels like...but I think this is it!

My hubby is gone this week to see his family, I've got some time off's just me, my girls and Mr. Wapkaplet. No soccer games, no running around, just finally, sweet relaxation! I'd love to finish the novel but I know that won't happen. I am, however, going to try to put a big dent in the word count and keep writing as far as I can go before the end of the day Sunday. I have claimed my space and told the girls that I won't be their chauffeur for the next four days and cleared all of my work files from my desk. I don't want to see them. I plan on writing, sinking my brain into my new, big, thick, beautiful novel by Wally Lamb, and watching holiday movies from the comfort of my bed or couch. That's right, I have two choices, baby, TWO. Sorry, dear husband, to sound so excited that you're not here...but the truth is, I am a little excited.

I love my hubby, I really do, tremendously. But I think it's good for couples to have a little time away from each other. We're not your typical "joined at the hip" married couple, and I think that's because we were older when we got married. At any rate, this is nice.'s Thanksgiving today! My favorite holiday!

Oh, Thanksgiving, how I love you. You, of all the holidays, expect so little from me. No costumes or candy to buy, no eggs to dye or presents to buy. All you want is a little comfort food, and some time. Time to be grateful and reflect on God's sweet blessings. Time to kick back with my family. Time to eat, eat, eat! You are the last,lazy day before the rush of your sister holiday, Christmas. You usher in the hope that this year will be the best holiday season of all. And, as I do every year, I vow to enjoy this next month. I vow to not overplan and run myself ragged. I vow to slow down--way, way, down--and relax. I vow to go ice-skating, christmas light gazing, sugar cookie baking, but most of all, to think of others. To spend time hugging and laughing.

I have so much to be thankful for...Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

And now, if you'll excuse me, I hear the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade calling...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pep Talk No. 2, 002,643

Some of my dearest friends seem to be fighting off the winter blues, myself included. It seems a little early for that so I have to ask it really that? Or is it that myself, and my dearest friends, are in a season of perpetual giving and not a whole lot of receiving? Maybe receiving isn't the right word because my group of friends are a lot alike. It's not that we NEED, per say, we just need time to recharge our batteries. Which I guess is a need, just not necessarily something that someone else has to give us. It's something that we need to claim for ourselves and that, my friends, is the conundrum. Why do mother's seem to have such a hard time staking that claim? Is it guilt? Are we martyrs? Are we control freaks? Or just good mothers? Hmmm....maybe a little bit of all of the above, if we're honest.

Guilt, that's easy. We have to be the best mothers that we can be which involves nothing new under the sun. Every mother who has half a conscious tries to be everything, and I mean everything, to her children. We have to communicate openly, expose them to our view of right and wrong, correct the mistakes that our parents made and raise well-rounded, productive human beings who will never, ever, be sad or hurt or inflict pain on other people. Or else we will have failed. What a tremendous pressure.

Lately, I've been thinking I micro-manage my children too much. "Text me when you get there, immediately." "Who are you going with?" "Why didn't you answer your phone?" When we were kids, we left at morning, came home at dinner. No cell phones. We had plenty of opportunity to spread our wings and fly, even if we fell quickly to the earth. We had a whole world outside of our parents and we grew, made mistakes, and gradually cut the apron strings. I wonder if I'm giving my children the same opportunities. They are individuals. They have their own thoughts, ideas, some of them completely different from mine. I have to be okay with that and let them spread their wings. But that's not always so easy. We, as parents, have to find a balance. Where's my damn manual?

So, where do I fit in? In all of this guilt, martyrdom and controlling? That's just it. Lately, I'm having a hard time finding my space. It comes and goes. The last week has been hectic, one daughter had a tonsillectomy, another had a two-day soccer tournament and a 16th birthday, and my son came home for the weekend from rehab. Oh, yeah...and it's almost Thanksgiving. And my grandson is discovering his individuality and screams when he wants something, which is often. He wants everything.

So do I.

But right now, I'll settle for a little space, a little time to be only Melinda. No one else will claim that for me.

Just say no, Mo, just say no. You are no one's everything. But if you lose yourself, you are nothing to everyone.

Thanks, me. Good talk.


Friday, October 17, 2008


All of the children are gone for a while tonight and I'm left with myself. Wow. I've forgotten what that feels like and I'm reminded tonight...liberating. So much of my time is spent doing for them. I get so tired. So bored. So wrapped up in routine. Sigh. It's just the season that I'm in.

Some thoughts that pertain to me...apparently, I'm more into fashion than I ever dreamed I'd be. Weird, most of the time I wear jeans, t-shirts and flipflops. Hair piled up on top of my head, little make-up and I use a purse until the straps come apart, but yet...Project Runway is my favorite show, next to Top Chef. I long for a night where I can spend two hours getting ready, a symphony opening, a play...just something where I can shine. Is that narcissistic? Maybe shining isn't the right verb, maybe just feeling like I'm doing something that I ENJOY is enough. What's that like?

I watched an excellent movie tonight while the kids are away...The Visitor. Check it out. Awesome movie. And it's funny, it expresses exactly how I feel lately. I love when that happens. An older guy, bored with his life, going through the same old routine, playing a part he feels he has to play, but longing for something more. Something passionate, something that he loves and believes in. Beautiful movie. BEAUTIFUL. And he plays hand-drums. Actually, he learns to play them. I play the hand-drums, but I think too much when I play. There's a new building down the street that they just put a sign out for this week, the sign says "Lotus Studios...Belly Dancing, Yoga, Hand Drums, Karate". Think I'll check into hand drums.

That's all. Just feeling melancholy lately that I'm not doing what I want to do. Think I've said that before.

When will I start?

Too many thoughts going 'round in my head to reign in. Thinking about the possibility of opening a book store...hmmm....

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ode to a Friend

I have a friend.

She's been my friend for 28 years. Just to write that number makes me catch my breath, to realize that I, and my friend, have been around for that long, and longer. Let me recount....2008 minus 1980...yes, that's right. 28 years. Wow.

Not to sound cliche, but it certainly doesn't seem that long. We've been through many jilted boyfriends, an untimely death of someone very close to both of us, college, drunken binges, a few disagreements, children, husbands, and many, many, many pets.

We only see each other a couple of times a year, and talk about once a month but each time I hear her voice, it feels like home.

She's always in control while she's out of control, that is who she is. Always questioning and never settling for ordinary, still she loves the mundane. She's somewhat of a contradiction, my friend, which is what makes her so interesting.

Happy 28th know who you are.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Snails and Puppy Dog Tails Rock


So much to say about this gentle gender. I'm raising two teenage daughters and for the most part, they are the light of my life. Opposites in every way, they are in the 10th and 9th grade and growing up. Or not. Growing down? Stagnant? Filling out by the bust and booty but not in the brain? Moodier than a woman in the cruel throes of menopause. So smart sometimes in their insight to the human condition that I'm amazed, and other times, dumber than a pile of dirt. And just as unsightly. How can a teenage girl's very countenance change from one of bright, yellow sunshine to odorous, green dung in less than a second?

All I can say, is thank heaven for little boys. And men. If it weren't for my husband, Roberto, and my grandson, Mr. Wapkaplet, I'd lose my mind. As I type this, Roberto is behind me, playing COD on the XBox. Completely at ease with his geek factor, he's got more gadgets to this machine than I knew existed. I can't hear anything from the TV because of the full headphones he wears but at any given moment, he explodes with random comments that mean nothing to me but everything to his twelve-year old Internet comrades..."I'm in Grandma's house" or "They're in the conference room, dude!" and then there's "Watch the cave!" or "There's still one ON THE BALCONY!", and my all time personal favorite, "WHAT? NO WAY! I JUST UNLOADED A FULL CLIP ON HIS ASS! NO WAY HE'S NOT DEAD!"

Gotta love him. Simple creature that he is. He works, he eats, he sleeps, he poops, he plays. Just like my grandson, minus the work. And at the end of the day, he smiles at me, hugs me and tells me he loves me. Just like my grandson, minus the telling me he loves me. But only because he can't talk. I'm sure though, that when he says, "gleekumblakeoopuuu", that's exactly what he means. Because he's cool like that.

Ten minutes with the guys is like a band-aid coated with neosporin for my wounded, teenage girl inflicted, tortured soul.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The World Goes to Hell in a Handbasket

I've had quite a frustrating weekend which revolves around customer service, or should I say, the lack thereof. I have had heated discussions with numerous Comcast employees, trying to find someone who could correct an error that they made. It took me weeks just to get Comcast to even acknowledge the mistake, much less correct it. In a nutshell, we dropped our landline on July 7th because we don't need the extra expense when everyone in the house, except Mr. Wapkaplet, has a cell phone. The monthly bill is autodrafted so I didn't realize that I had been paying for a phone line that I hadn't had for two months. When I realized this, I merely wanted to be credited...that's all, just credit to my account for the cancelled service.

These people are wacko. Idiots. Maroons.

First guy I talked to says yes, my phone service was cancelled on July 7th but to ACTUALLY be issued a credit, I have to GO TO the Comcast office.

"Huh?" (pretend you're me...right now your mouth is hanging open)

"Yes, man. In order to actually have the charge for the phone service REMOVED from your account and be issued a credit, you have to do it in person, at the office."

"Really? How come the girl I spoke to on July 7th didn't mention this vital piece of information to me? And how is it that you can disconnect my service with the touch of a buTTon, but you can't credit my account for a service that I haven't had for two months and HAVE BEEN PAYING FOR DURING THOSE TWO MONTHS?"

"Ma'm, I'm just telling you how this needs to be handled. I can't help you."


Fine. Three weeks later, I finally find the time to drive to Comcast and I'm pissed. Gustav is heading our way and it's been raining for three solid days. When I arrive, of course, there is a line out the door with similar irate customers, like myself.

I wait, ever so patiently. My patience was not rewarded. A woman who looked like she needed to have something removed from her buttocks, told me that I would NOT get a credit because I still have a phone.

"Huh?" (pretend you're me except this time, your mouth isn't hanging open and you have that bitch tone in your voice)

"Yes, mam. We're showing you never cancelled your service and the phone is still on."

Tap. Tap. Tap. The lady (and I use this term MOST loosely, is making this sound with her pen on her desk while she stares at me as if we are 'bout to throw down)

"No, mam. You are mistaken. I cancelled that service on July 7th and merely want my credit APPLIED TO MY ACCOUNT!"

"Mam, I can't help you until you turn in your modem at which point, you will be issued a different modem, at which point, your phone will be terminated as of that day."

"Really? Return the modem? Even though I still have Internet with you halfwits? The phone is TURNED OFF! THERE IS NO DIAL TONE! How come no one told me I had to turn in the modem the first TWO TIMES I CALLED?"

"Mam, please calm down and move aside. I have told you all I can do at this point and what YOU need to do to correct the situation."

Imagine her looking so annoyed with me, the pitiful victim, and imagine her whiny, condescending voice as she sends me away. Then imagine me smashing my hulk fist through the plexi-glass shield that separates us and ripping out her thin, whiny, vocal chords! No, that didn't happen, but welcome to my mind.

This story could take all day, so I'll condense. I did eventually get my credit. But only after I threatened to cancel my service completely and THEN find every employee of Comcast and sew their ass-cheeks together after I've shoved massive doses of Ex-Lax down their whiny throats.

But I must share with you the last conversation that I had with the Comcast drone before I got to the sweet, kind young lady who helped me.

"This is Doris, can I help you?"

"Yes, mam. I cancelled my phone service on July 7th and have been paying for this service for two months, still shows up on my newest bill, so I just need to have this resolved and have a credit issued to my account."

"I see. (type, type, clickity, clickity frickin' clack) Mam, I show no record of your service being disconnected. You are being charged for this service because you still have this service."

"No...I don't. I have not had a dial tone as of July 7th when I called and cancelled this service. Don't you show that in your records? WHEN YOU CALL THAT NUMBER YOU GET A RECORDING THAT SAYS THE NUMBER HAS BEEN DISCONNECTED OR IS NO LONGER IN SERVICE! WANNA KNOW WHY, HUH, DO YA, DO YA? BECAUSE I CANCELLED IT! CALL IT! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE CALL IT! I WANT MY CREDIT!"

"Mam, please calm down. There's no need to shout. Have you contacted our service department to see why it is that you don't have a dial tone?"

I kid you not. That's exactly what she said. It was then that I lost complete control of my bladder and all rational thought. The paramedics later found me lying in the parking lot, muttering something about the wrath of Gustav and the evils of digital phone service.

Tomorrow: The sad, sad story of how the Texas Street Tavern royally screwed me shortly after my release from the 8th floor.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Winter in August

Louisiana is a strange land. All summer long, we've hardly had any rain. But even without the cool of the rain, the heat, with the exception of the last two weeks of July and the first half of August, hasn't been terribly oppressive either. But now the lingering Louisiana rain has set in, five days in a row. No sunshine. I have to keep reminding myself that summer is still here, that any day now, the sun will show his sweet, glowing face and that wem will go swimming again before the end of August. It's gray, it's dreary and it's getting darker earlier because of the cloud cover.

I thought I was ready for a change in the seasons, but as it turns out, not quite. I love the ease of the summer.

Languid. I love that word. Sultry. Another word that I love.

And with the change of the seasons, from summer to fall, from fall to winter, comes my love/hate relationship with the holidays. Love because it's warm, filled with family, food and giving. Hate because it's filled with activity, school projects and endless commitments to have warm time with family, friends, food and giving. Seems I have managed the art of finding fault with things that I love. Can't I ever be content?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Night Thoughts

It's late and I find myself wandering the house alone again.

This has to do with my son and my counselor. I am trying turn over a new leaf. I am trying not to consume most of time with worry over my oldest child. Sometimes late at night though, when he's not yet home, it gets a little difficult.

And I can't help but wonder about something my counselor once said to me. She said that addictive personality's often crave drama. And then she said that I had that personality...addictive. Me. I guffawed at this. Guffawed. And I'm pretty sure that's how you spell it.

The thing about truth is that when you recognize it, it's liberating. So, even though this flys in the face of everything that I'd like to believe about myself, I have to consider that this may be true .

So, what does this say about me? And how can this liberate me from my present cycle of drama revolving around my son?

This blog doesn't wrap itself up with nice, fuzzy answers. I don't have any right now. I'm working on it though.

And that, in itself, is a beginning. An unraveling of truth.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Blessed are the Cheesemakers

I had a wonderful week with my in-laws. It's a unique situation...maybe not so unique, but still very special to me. If you read my blog (TWO...count them...TWO readers) you know that my husband, Brian, passed away when we were very young. That's been 19 years ago exactly tomorrow. Hard to believe that so many years have passed. His family, the Johnsons of the Wildwoods, have never let me forget that I belong to them. Just the other night, over margaritas at Pepito's, my mother-in-law, Carmen said those exact words "You belong to us." She's an amazing woman whom I love and admire greatly. And she loves her some margaritas. Incredibly refined and always in control, one margarita unlocks the door to her "long hair" side. I love that about her. She shines. And funny!...she makes me laugh until my sides hurt. She opens her house to me and I feel like I'm home.

And then there's father-in-law. He comes and goes but when he's there, he's there. Warm, big-hearted and full of stories about his military life, his gunshop, and anything else that involves explicit, technical mechanical details or a man named Beaudreaux. The man is always working on things. And he always fixes them. He loves his family and hands out hugs and kisses unlike most men I know.

Kristin, the baby of the family, has grown into a young woman. My first date with Brian was taking Kristin and my little sister, Pam, to see The Fox and the Hound. It was so sweet. She was so tiny and slight. Full of questions. Now she's a beautiful young woman with two girls of her own, Bella and Anna Marie, and well on her way to making a life for herself and her two girls as a single mother. I have no doubt that she can accomplish this.

And then there's Diahn, the middle determined child. We befriended each other in high school and it never ceases to amaze me when she says she thought that I was high school. And how she loved it that I let her hang around with me and my cool senior friends at lunch. My friends and I were anything but cool.

We were the anti-cool.

The negative of cool.

We were...well, let's face it, we were cool repellent.

But when I'm with her, my sister-in-law, we are anti-cool together. We remember. We laugh. We drink a little and laugh a lot. We sing. We throw out Monty Python one liners like crazy.
And we catch up on every detail imaginable that we've missed. Never miss a beat.

I am different, yet the same when I return to Tuscaloosa, to the Wildwoods. There is a part of me there that is separate from my other life. A part of me that I left there. It's so good to remember that girl...that life. And even better to find her among sweet family, and bring her back to life, back to my family in Louisiana.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

She Was Marvelous

My Grandmother, Learon Laverne Cooper, passed away this morning. She was 86 and I will miss her terribly. These are some things that I loved about her.

She always talked about herself in third person.
She made the BEST biscuits in Louisiana, possibly the WORLD.
She loved AquaNet.
She loved DippityDo.
She cooked for an army, which my family definitely is, and loved to see us eat.
She cut a special piece of chicken just for me, from the pulley-bone, and called it a "frog."
She cooked "Grandma peas" just for me (black-eyed peas).
She loved me the best of all the grandchildren.
She gave me a bionic woman action figure for my 11th birthday.
She made me a giant Raggedy-Ann doll for Christmas on my 10th birthday, she made my prom dress and my first wedding dress.
She loved polyester.
She was a strong, independent woman and has been on her own since my Grandpa died at the young age of 43 and has taught me perseverence.
She loved to travel, alone.
She loved, loved, loved her family.
She was a faithful, consistent, calm, strong Chrisitian woman.
She loved chinese food and we went to "Imperial Gardens" together often for lunch.
She was a breast-cancer survivor.
She was a dear friend to me and always listened to me.
She told me her stories and sometimes her secrets (my favorite...her best friend, Mr. Pickett, whom everyone thought she would marry one day, was gay...I knew it!)
She loved coffee with cream.
She was the best seamstress...ever.
She cooked everything southern style...bacon grease, Crisco and butter...lots and lots of butter.
She liked to gossip a little but always finished up her stories with "bless her/his heart"...a southern disclaimer.
She was soft when she needed to be and tough when she needed to be.
She was the most forgiving, non-judgmental person I have ever met.
She was my Grandma and she was marvelous.

I love you, Grandma.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


That's what the previous post is. M-A-L-A-R-K-Y. Tough love is necessary. Tough love is hard. That's why they call it tough. I get it now.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

What If?

This is just a random thought that's been floating around in my head this evening, so I'm setting it free to float around in blogland.

What if tough love is total bullshit? Could it be that it's the easiest thing for us to do in the guise of the hardest thing for us to do? What if the right thing to do is for the stronger to love the weak, those who can't take care of themselves, and help them no matter what? Wouldn't that be the truly hardest thing to do? And if you say that you can love them, you just can't let them pull you into their drama, what does that mean? Isn't love a verb? If you don't put it into action, isn't it just an empty word? Suppose there's been a twist in our culture, a twist that we all buy into because of the Oprahs and Dr. Phils and years of self-analysis, one that's actually backwards, one that says "I" deserve to not be bothered, "I" deserve to be free of other's problems and "I" deserve to be happy at the cost of losing someone else that might be assigned to me? Have we taken this too far? Do we live in a world where it's every man for himself? Isn't putting someone elses needs first the ultimate sacrifice? Would doing that make me a martyr? Or isn't that the definition of a christian?

Just a thought. Sometimes it seems as if my life is filled with such useless routine that I'm truly missing something important.

Something simple.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Stay awhile

I wrote this Thursday night about my Grandmother. She recently broke her hip and is in the hospital. She is 87. I've been sitting with her some, feeding her and holding her hand. She's so frail. She's always been so strong and independent. Her husband, Elsie, died of a massive heart attack when he was 42. She never remarried because she said simply, she never found anyone else who could fill his shoes. She raised six children and endured the heartbreaking loss of her youngest son ten years ago. She's a breast cancer survivor. A heart disease survivor.

Strong willed and oh, so opinionated...sometimes she seems a bit calloused because it's hard to see her soft side buried underneath all her grit and determination. But it's there...I love you, Grandma.

Here's to strong, surviving, independent women.


Beside your sterile bed, I pull up an uncomfortable, green chair.

Not a lush green, not a green that screams of vibrant life and birth,
but a sad excuse for a green.
Tell Crayola that hospital green should be it's official name,
washed out and devoid of it's greeness.
You color is gone, too.
Your hand rests limply in mine,
and how is it that your skin, once as taut as a trampoline,
stretched from spring to spring, has multiplied?
There's too much of it now.
It gathers in folds around your knuckles and on the top
of your hand. A forked royal, purple vein runs
the length of it, from the wrist to somewhere between
your middle and ring finger.
It fades away there.
Your rings are gone from those fingers.
Your silver wedding band and the other one...
the one with six, colorful birthstones all in a row
for each of your children.
I want to find them and put them back where
they belong, dress you up and curl your thinning, hair.
Fill out your cheek bones with the coral you love.
Stay awhile longer, Grandma.
You haven't told me all of your stories and
I haven't made the time to listen to them.
I promise to pay attention and fill in the blanks
with colorful details and vibrant greens.
Stay awhile longer.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Yesterday was my birthday. As I get older, the best birthdays are quiet ones spent with my family. I have a lot to be greatful for. A wonderful husband, three amazing children, two beautiful grandkids. A quirky little house that I love and loyal friends. My daughters wrote me poems for my birthday. Here they are. The first one is from my oldest daughter.

You have always been there for me when I needed you.
There were times when I didn't know what to do.
Even though you and me are growing older,
I will still cry on your shoulder.

I'm writing this poem because you mean so much to me.
I love you as much as a sailor loves the sea.
No matter what you do;
I will always love you

Even though you are a little quirky;
And usually, you're not that perky,
You are still really cool;
But only if you remember to sign me up for driving school!

I will always love you no matter what
And I"ll always be there for you if you're in a rut.
Well, I'm running out of things to say,
Oh yeah, Happy birthday!

And here's the second one, by my youngest daughter:

Caring, loving mother.
Adoring, loyal spouse,
Personable, funny best friend,
You mean so much to everyone.

Love, your favorite daughter

You can definitely see the differences in their personalities. Stevey wrote hers two days before, put some thought into it and also a friendly reminder to sign her up for driving school. I particularly love the line "like a sailor loves the sea". Clever. Her last name is Sailors. Not to be outdone, Sara wrote hers quickly on the morning of my birthday and signed it the way she signs everything she gives, your favorite daughter. Nice to know she sees me as "personable"...? Good girls, both of them.

My husband gave me a beautiful, black sleek wine cellar with five bottles of different wines. The sweet man really knows my heart.

All in all, a wonderful birthday. We stayed in and had chinese food delivered from our favorite place, Lucky Palace. Forty-three feels good. I do have about fifteen or twenty pounds I'm trying to lose before summer. And I'm still struggling to write and publish this year. There's a lot of good ideas churning around up there, as usual, but getting them down on paper is another thing entirely. I'm hoping my counselor can help me get to the root of my procastination and angst.

She's doing a lot of talking about boundries.

What are those?

43...almost fifty, geez. Know what I mean, D?

Monday, January 07, 2008

New life revolution


What a year.

Lots of love, lots of drama, lots of soul-searching. I haven't posted in awhile because my family has been going through some crisis. I say my family, specifically I mean my son and his wife. It hasn't been pretty. But the good news is that I'm done.

Done in a good way. Done enabling and being the middleman for a grown man and his grown wife. Tomorrow, I'm going to call a much recommended counselor and make an appointment. It's time to shed my baggage, my co-dependent tendencies, much guilt and much anger. It's time to make some goals and see them through.

I have things I want to accomplish. Writing, for one. I want to be published in something other than a college literary journal. I have new, creative avenues I want to explore and many places to visit. I have daughters who are with me for only a few more years before they make their way out into the world. They need me to be on top of my game and I need me to be on top of my game. I need to see them, who they are. I've spent way too many years getting by, coping and missing out on the joy of life. Way too many years not believing in myself. Way too many years taking care of everyone except myself.

Time for a change.

It's time for a new life revolution.