Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Pickin' Pumpkins!

Luke's first hayride and trip to a pumpkin patch!

I couldn't choose and had to post them all..

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Mommy's Little Monster

Of course, Mommy's little monster would not hold still for a photo, so go to nonny & boo to check out how amazingly cute the monster hoodie is!

Monday, October 6, 2008


Ghosts come in many shapes and forms. There are the ghosts of our pasts, the memories we'd like to forget. There are the ghosts of chance, a missed moment or a risk not taken, that leaves us wondering "What if..." There are the ghosts of those we've lost, those times when you see the back of a head in a crowd and think, "Hey, is that?" before remembering that they're gone from our world. Then there are ghosts, those of the supernatural, "things that go bump in the night" variety.

If you ask me if I believe in ghosts, I'll tell you that I don't know. I say I don't know because I don't want to say no and have a ghost prove me wrong, but also because I simply don't know. I believe that when a person dies, energy can be left behind. For this reason, I could never knowingly live in a house in which a violent death occurred. Not because I think a vengeful ghost would wake me up in the middle of the night, tossing wine glasses at my head, but because I believe that in the instance in which a life is ended with rage or fear, surely something must linger. But what that something is, I don't know. I grew up in a house that was built in 1841. A house that likely saw many more births and deaths than any house will today. In my parents' orchard, the old outhouse is still standing, and I grew up knowing that someone died in there, with his feet propped against the door, so that the door had to be torn off to remove his body. If some part of us is left behind after death, I certainly hope he hasn't had to spend all of eternity trapped in an outhouse. In high school, my friends and I would always go to a local cemetery, an old Gypsy graveyard, hoping to see something scary. We succeeded only in scaring ourselves. In college, we would make trips to a cemetery, out in the middle of a state forest, where the surroundings were perhaps scarier than any ghost could have been. In all those trips, I never found an answer or had an experience that made me move past my thoughts on ghosts, my status of simply not knowing.

Statistic says that 1/3 of Americans believe in ghosts, yet when you ask someone a question of the supernatural variety, the inevitable answer--whether or not they're in that 1/3--is, "Well, there was this one time..." My one time happened when I was around seven. I was in my bedroom playing with Barbies. I never liked the cheap plastic hairbushes that came with the dolls, so I always used this green wire-bristled hair brush. To this day, this memory is startlingly clear. I was brushing the dolls' hair, and I set the hairbrush slightly behind me to dress the dolls. After dressing Barbie in a cocktail gown of some variety, I wanted to make a few last minute adjustments to the hair. I felt behind me for the brush, couldn't find it. I turned around and didn't see it, so I remember thinking that I likely knocked it in between the bed and wall. I peered into the slightly gloomy space between and didn't see the hairbrush, deciding that it had fallen all the way under the bed. I remember thinking that I should ask my mom to help me, but at that moment, all I wanted was to fix Barbie's hair, so I headed downstairs to get a new brush. As I opened the cabinet in the bathroom, I caught a flash of green. I opened it further and there was the green hairbrush, the one I'd just been using. We didn't have two green hairbrushes, and I knew it was the one I'd had, the one I'd set behind me. But how? I didn't take it, I didn't go back upstairs, instead I walked outside, into the bright sunshine. To this day, I still wonder what happened. Childhood's logic can be simple some times and memory can be faulty, so perhaps there's a part of the story I'm forgetting. Yet, that memory has stayed with me all these years, clearer than any other childhood memory, simply because I do not understand it. I do know that that is my story, that it is not dramatic and does not involve a light leading me from a burning car, or a hitchhiker that disappeared in front of a cemetery. Still, it is my story, the one that makes me wonder, the one that longs for a rational explanation, yet in all these years, I cannot seem to find one.

Entry submitted to Scribbit's October Write-Away Contest.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Is It Your Mother, Sister, Aunt, Cousin, or Friend?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, something very near to my heart. As I've said before, I love the color pink. I own many pink items, and not just because of the color. I buy them because many companies market pink items that give a kick back to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Not only am I buying items with my favorite color, but I'm making a donation, as well. I give money to this cause because this year alone, breast cancer will take an estimated 40,000 women, and another 182,000 will receive the diagnosis. I support this cause for those women, but mostly, I support this cause for Betsy and Barb.

When I was in 8th grade, I dealt with death for the first time. Betsy was someone I knew my entire life, literally. She and my mom met when they were both pregnant. Betsy's daughter was born two days after me, and I can't remember a time they were not in our lives. Betsy and my mom did Girl Scouts together, we went on trips together, held garage sales together, and we were as close as any people not related by blood can be. One afternoon when I was in 6th grade, Betsy's daughter called our house and asked if my mom if she knew where her parents were. She got from school and no one was there, no note, or anything. My mom didn't know, and shortly after, her parents returned home. For the first time in my life, I heard the phrase "found a lump" as it was revealed where they were. For the next two years, Betsy fought. She lost her hair, she lost her breast, and then finally, she lost the fight. I remember the afternoon I found out. I overheard my mom on the phone, and I knew before she even came upstairs to tell me. I still miss her, and more than anything, I hope for a cure, so no other girl will have to lose her mom at an age when girls NEED their moms (whether they admit it or not).

Barb is a dear friend with whom I was lucky to teach with for two years. She was my team leader my first year of teaching, and when we split to two middle schools, she stayed, and I transferred across town. I don't see her as much as I'd like, but we try to set aside dinner dates! Barb is hilarious. She has such a dry sense of humor that sometimes, it takes a few minutes for what she said to settle in... and then, you're usually laughing so hard you're crying! A few months into my first year of teaching, Barb told us at our team meeting that she was going to have to start undergoing chemo for her breast cancer. I then learned that she'd been fighting it for a long time and that it would go into remission for awhile, then return. I learned that it had spread to other parts of her body. I also learned that she is stronger than any other human being I have ever met, hands down. Every Monday, Barb would have to take the afternoon off to go to chemo, but that is the ONLY day she'd miss. She came to school when her hair was falling out, when her nails peeled, and when she was so sick that she could hardly keep down Saltines. And you know, what we do.. it's not easy. When the kids would complain about Barb being grouchy one day, I wanted to smack them, because they just had no idea. Barb is not someone who lets you pity her. She is very private, and so, we never talked much past the surface, but every now and then, we'd move past the jokes, and I'd let her know how much I admired her utter strength. And I do. Barb is my hero, and I want a cure for Barb. One Christmas, I told her I'd buy her a car, and she said, How about a cure? I would trade just about anything to be able to give that to Barb.

For Barb and Betsy and all those other women, protect yourself. Examine your breasts, get yearly checkups, and if you're in an at-risk group, start mammograms early. Exercise. If you have a child, try to breastfeed. Did you know that breastfeeding benefits mama, too? The numbers are so staggering, so great, that it's easy to believe that our lives have all been touched by this disease. So, who is your breast cancer survivor, hero, or angel?