That It was the Same Only Better

Absolutely breathtaking piece on adoption. Written by Red’s Wrap.

Red's Wrap

Jan and baby boys

I thought God had circled the Earth twenty times until He saw me wringing my hands after another failed home pregnancy test and decided to bring me babies from somewhere else. That’s how far gone I was. I absolutely believed that I was purposely plucked from the vast sea of infertility to mother these two specific boys. All of that business about how adopted kids aren’t born of your womb but are instead born of your heart, I bought all that. I reeked of Hallmark.

When they were babies, I laid them on my chest. Although they were born in another country and born of other mothers, nothing about them was foreign. I knew every inch of them. Their tiny hands, their beautiful backs, the smell of their hair. Though they were toddlers when adopted, their illnesses and delays made them like infants. They were weak and dependent and it was…

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Style Tangents

In response to the Daily Prompt: The clothes (may) make the (wo)man. How important are clothes to you? Describe your style if you have one, and tell us how appearance impacts how you feel about yourself.

i often complain
that i’ve not found my style
some days i’m tailored,
then gypsy awhile.

my brain and my body
can seldom agree
on what I should wear
or what looks best on me.

at my age you’d think
I’d have developed a plan
for looking my best
or as sharp as i can.

alas i’m afraid
more often than not
my style comes across
looking none too hot.

I have some incredibly stylish friends, women and men who know exactly what defines their look. I admire their fashion sense. Occasionally I can almost picture my own style and decide to build a suitable wardrobe. Then something odd or offbeat catches my eye and I’m off on a tangent. A style tangent.

interesting graphic found on Pinterest.

Head Transplants: Decisions, Decisions 

Recently right before bedtime I read an article on Facebook about a surgeon who believes that within the next two years he will be able to perform head transplants.

Well, bully for him! I tried in vain to figure why anyone would need a head transplant, but it just didn’t make sense. Maybe if some poor soul had a decapitating injury and by chance his body was kept viable and another poor schmuck found his torso ripped to shreds yet his head was intact a surgeon could put the head with the torso and voilá! Frankenperson!

I read parts of the article to Studly and we brainstormed ways in which it might work. Then I went to bed and the topic entered my dreams for an epic, ethical nightmare:

Three children, two boys and one girl each suffering from an incurable head-eating disease. All will die within 24 hours if a new head isn’t found to replace their defective ones. One head becomes available. It is compatible with each of the three children who all went on the transplant list at the same time. I have to decide who gets the head.

I awakened in a cold sweat and I have no idea who got the head. 

That’ll teach me to stay online too close to bedtime.

Peace, people.

Algebra is Such a Lonely Word

In response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion. Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!

I was a smart kid. Not motivated, and certainly not well-directed in my educational goals, but I had a talent for learning and for taking tests. 

My family wasn’t particularly concerned with my academic performance. They were pleased that I earned good grades, but there really weren’t any expectations that I’d go on to college. 

For the first eight years of my formal education all the subjects were ridiculously easy for me: English grammar and literature, Social Studies, even Science and Mathematics. Seldom did I need to study, even though had I done so on a regular basis I might have ended up near the top of my class. 

In ninth grade my good grades landed me in an accelerated algebra class and my educational wheels fell off. I worked my butt off in that class, but the concepts were so abstract that my brain was unable to process them. 

I literally thought that I must have missed the lesson explaining what “n” and “x” were, so night after night I’d reread my algebra text from the beginning trying to unlock the code. Surely, I thought, if I could just figure out their values I’d be okay. The concept of a variable just made no sense.

With the help of a good and brilliant friend I managed to stay afloat, even though she occasionally became exasperated and annoyed with my questions. It seemed simple to her, why couldn’t everyone “get it?”

Our accelerated class churned through one and a half years of algebra in one school year, then we moved on to Geometry. Holy crap. If I’d been merely struggling in algebra, geometry put me down for the count. I lasted half the year and then dropped the class since it wasn’t required to graduate. 

I can’t even remember what replaced Geometry in my schedule, I just know that for the first time in my academic life I doubted myself. It was a lowdown, crummy feeling.

Following my junior year my family moved to a slightly larger town. I met my future husband (Studly Doright was so cute back then) and even though I went to junior college for a year my heart wasn’t in it, and I was petrified by the idea that I wouldn’t be able to conquer college algebra. So I married my Studly and we settled into our lives together.

When our children were in elementary school we decided that I should go back to college, and with a totally new focus I rocked that scene. To my surprise and delight I was still a smart kid. With trepidation I faced my college algebra class. What was once too abstract for my 14-year-old brain now made sense. Amazing!

It was the only class I didn’t earn an “A” in, though, preventing me from graduating college with a perfect 4.0. But, that “B” felt like a victory after all those years, and summa cum laude looked great on my transcript.

Take that, algebra!   

Peace, people!

Potty Time

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: What’s the household task you most despise doing? That’s too easy.

Scrubbing toilets, ugh!
an onerous job, no doubt
deliver me please!

Surely scientists
who’ve put humans on the moon
could solve this problem.

A self-cleaning john
for every domicile
let this be our goal!

A Day for Jason and Jackson

May 12 is an important day in our family. On this day in 1978 our first child, Jason, was born. It was a pretty big deal. That Jason survived having a neurotic mother was an even a bigger deal. Thank goodness Studly Doright was around to hold us together.

Not only was our son born on May 12, but his son, Jackson, was also born on this date in 2006. That makes it so easy to remember at least one grand child’s birthday. Trust me, the older we get the more important this becomes.

Our Jackson is a cool dude. He’s athletic, witty, and handsome. I can’t even express how much we love this kid who reminds us so much of his dad. And, since I’m not a Nana who makes things for her grandchildren I try to compensate by writing stories for them.  This is one I’ve written for Jackson.

Lumber Jack

There once was a legendary lumber man. The greatest man to ever wield an axe. This man’s name was Jackson. 

Jackson was no ordinary boy. Born with an axe in his hand, he used a chainsaw as a rattle and cut his teeth on a big old knotty pine. He learned to climb a tree before he could walk, and he could beat any grown man at log rolling before his first birthday. 

When he was nine he could grow a full beard, so he left home and headed out to make his fortune.

“Bye Ma! Bye Pa!” Jackson called as he headed out with just his saw and his axe. 

“Goodbye, son!” said his Ma.

 “Make us all proud,” said his Pa. 

Now even with his skills those first months on his own were not without peril. Once, Jackson came across a mountain lion fighting a grizzly bear. Mid-fight the grizzly bear was distracted by Jackson and the mountain lion got in a nasty swipe at the bear’s nose. Jackson felt responsible for the bear’s injury, so he jumped into the fray and put the mountain lion in a headlock.

 “Stop that, you two!” Jackson commanded. “Life’s too short to be fightin’!”

He patched up the bear’s nose and made him shake paws with the mountain lion. “I could use some help out here on my own, and I sure am lonely,” said Jackson. “How’d you like to come along?” 

And just like that the grizzly became Jackson’s watch bear and the mountain lion became his pet. The trio made a mighty fine sight as they traveled the back country helping out settlers and felling trees. 

One fall morning, Jackson, Grizz, and Kitty wandered into a lumber camp looking for work. Jackson asked to speak to the foreman and was directed to a huge tent. He instructed his companions to wait outside.

 “You two stay out of trouble. I’ll be right back.” 

Inside the tent was a big man. The biggest man Jackson had ever seen, at least eight feet tall, weighing close to 300 pounds. 

“What can I do for you young man?” the man boomed. 

“I’m looking for work,” said Jackson. “Folks tell me this is the best camp in the country.” 

“We don’t hire youngsters,” said the man. “Run along now, son.” 

“Sir, just give me a chance to…” 

Just then a mighty roar erupted outside the tent. Jackson and the foreman ran outside to see what was causing the ruckus. There in the clearing stood a giant blue ox. Grizz was on one side and Kitty on the other trying to herd that ox away from the tent. The ox bellowed, Grizz and Kitty roared. 

“Down, Grizz! Down, Kitty!” shouted Jackson. 

“Babe, sit!” yelled the foreman. 

The animals complied. 

“Dang, if that wasn’t something,” laughed the foreman, “I see that you aren’t an ordinary youngster. I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you a test and if you pass it I’ll hire you.” 

“You have a deal, sir.” 

“Call me Mr, Bunyan,” said the foreman. 

“Call me Jack,” said Jackson. 

That very afternoon the test was arranged. All the men in camp gathered to watch Mr. Bunyan explain the rules.

“Son, my best man can cut down a tree in five minutes and eight seconds. My slowest man can do it in seven minutes flat. All you have to do is beat the slowest man, and you can have his job.” 

Jackson nodded his understanding and hefted his axe. 

“I’m ready, Mr. Bunyan.” he said. 

“Go!” exclaimed the boss. The crowd roared. 

“He’s just a kid!” yelled one man. 

“You’re going down!” hollered another. 

Grizz and Kitty roared their support for Jackson. Amid the noise, Jackson remained calm. Then, he took careful aim and with three mighty chops he cut that tree down in less than a minute. 

The crowd went silent. Then they began to chant. “JACK! JACK! JACK!” 

Mr. Bunyan clapped Jackson on the back.

“Son, you have a job. And a nickname. From now on, you’ll be known as Lumber Jack!” 

And from that day forward all lumber men were referred to as lumberjacks, but there has only ever been one “Lumber Jack.”

Mayhaw Festival

I’m a big fan of festivals. All festivals. I don’t care what’s being celebrated or honored or paraded, if there’s a festival within easy driving distance I’m there. After all, every festival needs a queen. I’d love to be queen.

This past Saturday while Studly was playing golf I drove about 35 miles east to the Mayhaw Festival held at Golden Acres ranch just outside of Monticello, Florida.  I had no idea what a Mayhaw was, but it sounded vaguely Southern so I couldn’t wait to see what this festival was all about. 

In my excitement I failed to check event times and arrived just about the same time that the various exhibitors were setting up. Oops. I wandered around and visited with folks, but there wasn’t a lot going on. 

However, the morning weather was absolutely gorgeous without the heavy humidity and heat that would set in later in the morning. Maybe early was better after all. My chances of being named Queen increased significantly with me being one of the few women present. 

This gorgeous rooster and I kind of bonded. He followed me around like a little lamb. But My name isn’t Mary and he was no lamb. I think he wanted me to join his harem. I respectfully declined. I did ask him if I could be Queen of the Mayhaw Festival. He just said, “cockahahaha!”

This baby Pygmy goat was three weeks old. Her name was Daisy and she was a big hit with the few children in attendance. When I asked Daisy what my chances of being named Mayhaw Queen were she said, “baaaaaad” 

I bought a couple of items. On the left is a jar of salsa. I’m opening it tonight. On the right is a jar of Mayhaw jelly. I asked what a Mayhaw was before making my purchase, after all I’m not a complete idiot. Mayhaws are small red berries that resemble cranberries. The sample taste was pleasant–tart and rich. 

As festivals go this one was pretty laid back. Maybe if I’d stuck around the activity might have increased. But, the temps were headed up into the 90’s on Saturday, and I’m such a delicate little flower that I headed home for a nice long (three hour!) nap.

Festivals are common in this area during the spring and summer, and I’ve started looking for one to attend next weekend. I’d really like one willing to name me Queen over the proceedings. I’d ride in the parade in a lovely   gown of fuschia or purple or lime green and wave at all the little people.

Peace, little people!