Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Love Letter to My Mom

I've written about my dad from time to time (see my sidebar for a couple of audio posts about his passing), and I may have left you thinking that my dad was a bad guy. The truth is, he had some demons I never met (thank God), demons that led him down the path of alcoholism. As I grew up, Dad's alcoholism colored my view of him (for obvious reasons) which is why this letter that he wrote for my mom for her 59th birthday is special to me. It represents a side of him I only caught a glimpse of in later years, long after he'd quit drinking and I'd left the house. It obviously meant a lot to my mom, too, who gave copies to all of us on her 80th birthday. She gave her consent to share it here. [I'll provide the transcription below.]

Dear Elsie,
Cards are nice, but they do not express my love for you adequately. There was a time when I was young, like 17, that I needed someone like you. You came along only by the grace of God, an angel. You have been so great. I needed you. You have overlooked my weaknesses as a true lover. Just between you and I, you told me many years ago that you only wanted to be a good wife, a good mother, and finally, a good Christian. The order may be incorrect, but I have always remembered that. How many people have lived up to that vow? You have, and God knows it, and I have been the benefactor. No one has ever been so blessed by an angel like you. I have. I love you more every day. You are the best. Happy Birthday. What a great gal; 9 children and 10 grandchildren, and me.
Love you, gal, Jim

Miss you, Dad....

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sundays in Kendall's City: Minnesota Interesting and Odd

Warning: At least one of these photos is bound to be offensive to some.

On my recent visit to Minnesota to see daughter Kendall, we had a ball.
At one point, we visited Minnesota's largest candy store, Jim's Apple Farm,

where, incidentally, I purchased the taffy 
which, on the drive home, pulled a crown out of my mouth. 
(No worries; it didn't hurt at all and was popped back in by my dentist without issue.)
Yes; I did finish the taffy (after I let it soften a little more in the sun).haha

Jim's Apple Farm is also the self-proclaimed puzzle mecca;
I was blown away by the selection; there had to be at least 100 different puzzles for sale.

I have never seen so much candy in one place! 
They seemed to have every single type of candy ever made.

Can't say that I have a collection to add any of these to, but I found them interesting.

Many of the sweets span back generations, as evidenced by these candy cigarettes:

And finally, there was this little visit, to a frat house on campus.
Can you spot what caught my eye and brought me over to their "inviting" little gathering?

If you said "free liquor," you'd be incorrect.
No, I did not partake, nor did I lecture them about their foolish ways;
I just told them I'd exploit them on my blog,
and they were cool with that.

And yes; I later noticed the young "man" behind me. 
I share the photo in spite of his profane gesture,
 in case you're unfamiliar with the slang term douchebag (or douche for short). 
He's a great visual representation of such.

I love Minnesota.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Friday Fragments: Episode #320

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Once again, I am blogging under the influence of pain meds. I welcome the opportunity/distraction of emptying my mind of random thoughts. Friday Fragments are the easiest posts to write--Just share bits and pieces from your week on your blog and link up! [following the Friday Fragments guidelines under the tab above]

***I won't bother going into details (even I am getting bored with them) except to say that the second phase of physical therapy for rotator cuff surgery is everything I'd been warned about. Thankfully, I have lots of support via work, family, neighbors, and other friends.

***On a positive note, my therapy is going very well; I'm no longer wearing the sling, and my range of motion is getting better and better! Also, I have to give a shout-out to this phenomenal product, which isn't cheap but is worth its weight in gold:

If you know anyone suffering with muscle pain, I highly recommend BioFreeze. I've only used the roll-on, but that's also my mom's favorite. I'm also planning to use some essential oils, once I receive doTerra order.

***I work full time, and that is going very well; I have never worked with such a wonderful group of kids!  They make going to work a pleasure.

***This week, a co-worker received news that she has acute lymphoblastic lymphoma.  It was caught early, and she's starting chemo tomorrow. She'll be out for months, though, and we started a Meal Train for her and her family. The website helps coordinate meals, but for $10 extra also allows volunteers to help with childcare, errands, pet needs, etc. In the first three days since being set up, more than 50 employees have signed up to provide meals, which says a lot about our school community, doesn't it?

***Poor Mr.4444 has been quite sick this week with a respiratory virus that started in his head and migrated to his chest. He has stayed-put all week. He was so miserable on Sunday night that, in the morning, I woke up and put my hand out (in the dark) to feel whether he was breathing or not. Thankfully, he is improving (with the help of an inhaler).

I apologize for not making it to any fragmenters last week; recovery is a full time job, it seems. I look forward to catching up this weekend (fingers crossed).  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Different Kind of Winning

The Packers haven't been impressing lately, overall, but Aaron Rogers, with his ItsAaron project is demonstrating that there's more than one kind of winning; what a great person he is. This is just one of the many selfless acts he's made on behalf of people making a difference in the world.

Our middle school Difference Makers club will have its first meeting next week, 
and I can't wait!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Reflections on Parenting

As a child, I was regularly "spanked," (hard, pants down), slapped across the face, cuffed in the head, and told that there was something wrong with me. Committing such childhood crimes of talking too loud when Dad was hungover, forgetting to take the tin cans outside after dinner, or moving too slowly to start the dishes made my siblings and me targets of my alcoholic father’s wrath.  A call of "Dad's home!" at my house did not draw children around a father's loving knee. Rather, we literally ran for the furthest reaches of the house and tried to be invisible. Dinner (which we ate “together” as a family, was beyond stressful; God forbid someone would forget to put the damned salt shaker on the table (because everyone knows that merits dinner plates being thrown at the wall, right?).   

I never knew how to respond when my scowling father snapped, "What the hell's the matter with you?!" and seemed to expect an answer. Sometimes, I felt like my dad hated us, and I had no idea why.

A beautiful spirit inside of me, though, instinctively knew that my dad was the one with the imperfection, he was clearly suffering with some kind of pain I was too naive to identify and too sensitive to be blind to. Possessing a temperament somehow mostly impervious to Dad’s emotional and physical attacks, I managed to give more credibility to the opinions of friends, their kind parents, and the loving support of a few teachers who truly cared and planted seeds of hope in me. In spite of allegedly being some kind of weed, I blossomed.

Fortunately, Dad mellowed over the years; he eventually got sober, we were able to find a kind of peace, and I’ve been able to live-out my potential. I’m proud to say that with the help of therapy (for this and a whole other blog post topic) I was able to heal, and I’m even more proud to say that the cycle of abuse ended on Eliza Street. I no longer suffer the residual effects of my dad's parenting, and I remember him with love.

Like me, in spite of corporal punishment, many (maybe even most) children grow up to be productive, successful, happy people. An abusive pro-football player dad on the news this week went so far as to say that his success has actually been due to his own parents similar “discipline” of him. Some of his peers have rallied around him and defended his parenting “technique” of whipping his four-year-old child with a switch until he bled. However, my own two hard-working, responsible, successful young adult children (and my husband, for that matter) are living proof that you can raise successful, healthy, human beings without beating/slapping or verbally abusing them when they are young. I find it sad that they seem to think that beating kids is the way to go. It may be "a cultural thing," but I assert that it's also an ignorant one; hitting, slapping, punching, and belittling children in the name of character-building is wrong. Perpetuating patterns of child abuse in the name of family tradition is bullshit; take some damned parenting/anger management class/therapy sessions, for God's sake. I couldn't care less if they're allowed to play football or not; let's just end the ignorance. In fact, let them get their aggression out on the field, where it belongs, and require them to learn how to be loving, nurturing fathers, instead. Give their children chances to grow up and bloom because of them, and not in spite of them.