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Archive for February, 2009

Mourning Hair

haircut_elizabeth3

Perhaps I’ve gone over the edge with the T.S. Eliot?  I know people are reading my last post, but only a few have dared to comment.

Where is she going with this?

(One insightful friend did indicate she thought there was more to the post than just a hair cut.  Another friend called me “brave,” [isn’t she kind?], and promptly sent me the picture above taken a few days ago when I still had long hair, while another asked me if I was a modern-day Lady Godiva.)

Let me elaborate.

When I was almost three, my parents had another baby and cut my hair into a bad pageboy.  Then they sent me away to a spinster aunt’s for two weeks while my brother ‘got bonded,’ and my aunt bought me a horrific, leering-eyed clown jack-in-the-box at K-Mart, from which I’ve never recovered.

jack_in_the_box

So to get even, I stabbed my mother’s vinyl kitchen chairs with a cheap, serrated steak knife and pulled out the tufts of polyester fiber stuffing, ruining each and every chair.

How’s that for three-year-old sibling newborn angst?

From that point forward I pledged to keep my hair long.  Long hair, for me, exemplified graceful, flowing femininity and acceptance.  It represented an array of hairstyles from pony tails to pig tails, Princess Leah braids to headbands, handpainted name baretts to yarn puff-ball cheerleading hairties, elbow-length, face-covering Dead head hair to shoulder-length, trimly cut wedding veil hair.  And of course the pregnancy-fertile mommy hair that promptly coated the shower stall a few months after childbirth.

Two Christmases ago I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in years.  This normally bobbed-hair, perfect lipstick friend had rangy, shaggy hair halfway down her back.  We were in the toy store debating the evils of various Transformers when I finally had to ask her what the deal was with the hair.  Was she getting the band back together?

She explained that she was growing her hair out for Locks of Love.  “Wow!” I thought.  I could do that.  I mean I grow hair.  I love my hair.  Still, I could do that.  I filed away a short mental note and moved on.

Yet that memory of her “hair plan” nagged at me.  God began to whisperingly remind me about my pledge.  Each month when I would visit my hair stylist, I would ask him how many more months it would take for me to grow my 10 inches.  At one point, it was June and I thought how lovely it would be to have short, smart, Summer hair.

Next I felt it might take until the Holidays to have the right length.  “Yes, after Christmas, would be perfect,” I would think.  “Then I will have long hair for all the holiday pictures and will still have some time to grow it out before Summer.”

This hair dance continued.  Month after month, I’d sheepishly enter the salon, clutch my long locks, and admit I was simply not ready to shed them.  Yet why?  Why was this shock of admittedly stringy hair so important to me?

Finally the whole affair became a bit ridiculous.  Wednesday afternoon when I told H I would be emerging from the stylist with a significant alteration, a strange Lenten offering, he looked at me in a bemused way and gave me a hug, (ie, he didn’t believe I’d go through with it.)

My “stylist” is a 20-something, super-straight, University of Georgia football fan with an 18-month-old son and lovely wife whose hairstyle I pirated.  The man is the best colorist in South Georgia, and he does a great hair cut too, but he can’t put hair in a pony tail.  He gave me what looked like the rubber band off of a newspaper and asked me to put my hair in a loose pony tail.

lent_11

Hurry up please, it’s time.

All I can say is as I did this, I felt this floating, surreal sensation as if my head was disconnected from my body.  In slow motion I watched him take the shiny scissors, clamp down on my hair, and deftly cut.  And as he cut, the visceral nature of what I felt can only be described as akin to having a baby pulled out of your womb.

lent_23

Those of you who have pushed and pushed to no avail only to have the unfortunate experience of a forceps delivery will know what I am talking about.  I felt as though something was being removed from me…something I didn’t want to leave…yet something I knew had to go.

So when Tari asked me this morning via email if I missed my hair, I had to answer that not only do I miss my hair, but I am actively mourning my hair.

While I am missing the way my hair felt on my back, and I admit to looking longingly at the stray pieces that litter the floor by my computer, what I lament the most is my own inability to find joy in sacrificing my hair.

Let’s be honest: this is a miniscule sacrifice in the grand scheme of things.  It’s not like I had to cut my hair to prepare for chemotherapy like several of my friends have done lately.  Why has this seemingly small sacrifice been so difficult for me?

While I believe there are several reasons from the frighteningly vain to the extremely personal, honestly I am still trying to understand it all.  Perhaps you have some insight, and if so, please share it with me.

I do feel God calling me to acknowledge my own struggle with a new level of faith, and this reminds me of Stone Fox’s revelations of late.

Or perhaps the decision is just as simple as God called me to cut my hair to help another person and I finally obeyed just because He said so?

newhaircut-eliz

Could it really be that simple?

Posted on 28 February '09 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 17 Comments.

Ash Wednesday

Because I do not hope to turn again

lent_1

Because I do not hope

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Because I do not hope to turn

lent_3

Because I know that time is always time

I rejoice that things are as they are

Teach us to sit still

Even among these rocks,

Our peace His will

Posted on 27 February '09 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 12 Comments.

Twelve Things My Children Will Never Hear Me Say

(Helene did this hilarious post the other day so I am copying her!)

Let me move that Spode sugar bowl closer so you can ream out a decent fingerful of sugar!

goahead_sugar

I love it when tiny frogs are lost in the house!  Yes, by all means, bring that insect menagerie inside to lure out the frogs!

goahead_insects

My lipstick is your lipsick!

goahead_lipstick

I like where you are going with the distressing of this wall.  Repeatedly spinning and knocking this leather chair is creating such an authentic, aged plaster effect.  Perfect for this circa 1990 home!

goahead_chair

There’s no need to shower–just wipe your mud-encrusted knees on the one clean rug I own!

Certainly!  Butter is a wonderful finger food!

goahead_butter

Absolutely, you can swing on that poison ivy vine—why don’t you give your baby sister a boost?

Oh, just throw those purple puppy pee towels in the washer with my white monogrammed 600 thread count sheets!

Free cotton candy?  Golden!  Why don’t you get a pink and a blue!

goahead_cotton-candy

Iced tea spoons were just made for eating cereal!  Don’t worry about cleaning up all those raisins you picked out of that costly organic raisin bran you just had to have!

goahead_raisin

Feel free to roam around my clean house while you leisurely eat dinner!  Why don’t you see if you can flick banana strings on the chandelier!

goahead-banana

Mountain Dew is a great thing to drink before bed!

goahead_jump

Posted on 24 February '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 24 Comments.

George Washington’s Blood Chin

I’ve marveled before at Sue’s coloring ability which is true three-year-old art compared to her brothers who would just slap a random mark across a page and call it done.

Here is George Washington with what Sue calls a “blood chin.”

blood-chin

“See the blood?” she asks cheerfully.

“Yes, I see that red on his chin. What’s the deal with that?” I ask, certainly interested.

“Well, that’s his blood chin.  His chin has the blood,” she tells me matter-of-factly.

“Oh my!” I interjected brightly. “Was he injured some way?”

(I figured she might be remembering her own recent chin wounding and ER experience.)

“No, he was not hurt.  He just has this blood chin.  See it here?”

Alrightly then. I can’t argue.

Her brothers certainly thought this was all cool.

“Look!  It’s George Washington with a bunch of BLOOD on his chin!  Man, that’s awesome!  How did he really die?”

(I dare not tell them about the strange wheat bran poultices, blood-letting, emetic tartars or molasses, vinegar and butter tinctures.  No good can come of that knowledge!)

Many times I wonder how different she would be if she didn’t have brothers…

wild_outside

Posted on 22 February '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 12 Comments.

Library Angst: It’s All About Me

Andrea at Crazy Jugs tagged me!  She’s a fascinating and extremely real blogger, so if you haven’t checked her out, please do so!

Three’s About Me!

Three Names I Have Been Called…
1. Forsh
2. You know, that girl with the long hair whose children used to go to **** and how she’s homeschooling…or something…
3. That Book Lady

Three Jobs I Have Had In My Life…
1. College English Teacher
2. Biscuit Maker at Mrs. Winner’s Chicken and Biscuits
3. Crystal Seller

Three Places I Have Lived…
1. Nashville
2. Atlanta
3. Birmingham

Three Hobbies…
1. Hunting for rare books
2. Bargain hunting at garage sales and thrift stores
3. Beth Moore Bible Studies

Three things most people do not know about me…
1.  I have a wretched temper when faced with unfairness.  For example, today I received a letter from my local library claiming I owed then $55.00 because I checked out a book that was “not allowed to be checked out by the library.”  I mean, they checked it out to me!  Now they are sending me rude, threatening letters.  I called today and they said my only recourse is to meet with this one woman tomorrow morning at 9 am.  With my children in tow.  I am so, so blooming angry!

Part B: My inlaws read my blog.  And I’m OK with that : )

2.  I had my last baby when I was 38, and it was by far the easiest pregnancy!

oldmother

3.  I am obsessed with flossing my children’s (and my own) teeth.  I floss at least three times per day, and I truly thrill to flossing their teeth too.  Perhaps I should have been a dental hygienist?  Here’s a picture of me in deep flossing concentration:  (I like using those flossy sticks.)

flossing

Three TV Shows That I Watch…
1. House Hunters International
2. The Property Shop – that woman has issues but that’s another post for another time!
3. Sell This House!

Three places I Have Been…
1. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
2. Vienna, Austria
3.  Kauai, HI

Three places I want to go…
1. China
2. Japan
3. Israel

That’s three about me, now three’s about you too?

I’m randomly tagging the last nine people who commented on my blog.  If you have already done this self-absorbed meme, just move on!  And if you don’t want to write about these things, please don’t and I’ll never know because I can’t keep up with anything anyway!

Peanut

Patty O.

Rhema’s Hope

Mrs. Bear

Crooked Made Straight

Piece of Cake

The Domestic Fringe

The UnMom

Stone Fox

Posted on 19 February '09 by , under Accidental Homeschooling, Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 14 Comments.

Capable Randomness Stream

randomtuesday

I saw Kia doing this and thought it sounded grand!  It’s hosted by the Un Mom.

*The babysitter allowed my children to watch Andrew Zimmern (the food-thrill-eater-traveler) tonight, and I’m delighted to report it was the episode where he eats bird’s nest soup and drinks that civet poop coffee.  I’m not sure where this will lead us, but chances are it’ll be good.  Remember last time?  (Seemingly not because nobody commented on Ear Fat or the time I fainted on TV news.)  Somebody go read it!

*So Edward pulls his front tooth…blood blood blood because he’s what I call an ‘early puller'; he  puts it in a plastic baggie for the tooth fairy and then can’t find it.  Stressful worrying screeling low sobbing searching toothfairy fear what will happen to me blah blah blah.  We all look for like 45 minutes for that blasted tooth.  I actually dig down in a “post-period” waste can that someone had dumped old apple cider down in (you get the picture) and I slogged through that swill looking for the tooth. Only to find it in the PANTRY of all places!  Crisis averted!

*Please enter my Viral Valentine giveaway because the last time I gave something away only a few people entered and then the drawing wasn’t terribly exciting and that sort of dampened my enthusiasm for the give-away concept which looks so fun and jolly on other peoples’ blogs but plays out rather slumpily on mine.  Please?  Please?  Enter?  It’s free…

*I made that ‘ol Paula Dean’s Taco Soup last night and while it is rather good as are most of her recipes, (so I hear but do not know from experience because this is my first “Dean” recipe trial since I am afraid of Rachel Ray like Tari), I have consumed the soup for the past four meals, (since H is still a bit peckish from the intestinal stress), and I do not believe I can bring myself to eat it for a fifth meal so therefore I will freeze it.  Lucky, lucky shut-ins!

*Move over Annie Dillard!

Posted on 18 February '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 10 Comments.

Viral Valentine: Share Your Story and Win!

After Friday night’s beautifully surreal event, the crash was inevitable.

It started out slowly, with the following Declining Economy Valentine’s Gift:

valentines-case

First let me say that I am not ungrateful for the brand-spanking new lens case.  A few months back, I cleaned out my bathroom drawers and tossed all the old lens cases I had accumulated.  (Isn’t this riveting so far?)

I threw away every case except for one with mismatched lids.  So for the past several months, I’ve had to just prop some ill-fitting lens lids on top of the case.  You can imagine my children regularly knock them in the night and I awake to find crinkled blue contacts littering my bathroom countertop.

So this case is something I genuinely need, and I do not take lightly the choice of a name-brand item–clearly this is no dollar store contact case!  Earnest love shown here, friends!  Earnest love!

Soon after, however, my love succumbed to a particularly nasty intestinal virus and was laid up, alternatingly, on the sunroom couch and bed.

I simply thrill to the roaming sick.  As soon as you think you may have adequately disinfected one infested area, the invalid lumbers back only to languish further, thereby reinfecting or “sicking up” the area.  Let me just say again how thankful I am for Tromm.

So please tell me: What did you get for Valentine’s Day?  Perhaps I can share vicariously with those who received diamond necklaces and weep with those who received a card, or, alas, only a cheerful word.

The person who sends me the funniest and/or most pitiful Valentine’s story or gift, will receive a grand gift pack to include a copy of Sacred Sex: A Spiritual Celebration of Oneness in Marriage by Tim Alan Gardner.  (Get your mind out of the gutter: it’s a Christian marriage book!)  Also personalized notecards with either your name or initials, and, in keeping with the foot issues theme that seems to be going around these days, a Burt’s Bees Foot Care gift pack.

Just in case you are waiting with bated breath to find out whether or not I succumbed to the viral torment, let me say I enjoyed a much kinder, gentler version that rendered me sick only briefly last night and resulted in my oversleeping this morning and awaking in a fog to find out what it looks like when my children

valentine-toast

make their own

vday-cinnamon

breakfast!

vday_oct

So tell me your Valentine woes or joys!  Remember, you could win!

FYI: I am not voting on the winner.  H, my husband, will vote!

Posted on 16 February '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 26 Comments.

Valentine’s Blessings

Last night, the long-awaited Father/Daughter Valentine’s Day Dance was held in honor of Chloe Shiver, a precious five-year-old who has battled neuroblastoma for almost three years now.

(You may remember me writing about her before.  Chloe is the little girl in the pink.)

chloe-friend

During her fierce battle against this insidious form of cancer, Chloe has run through a million dollar health insurance policy, and is now reliant on donations to pay for her remaining treatments which involve flying to Sloan Kettering in New York for costly treatments each month.

She desperately needs Sky Miles donations as well as other donations to help with her battle.  Please visit Pray For Chloe for more details if you are led to contribute.

One of the fascinating things about this whole experience was how God took a casual conversation over dinner sometime in December and turned it into an event that blessed an entire community.  There were so many other cancer survivors and cancer fighters in attendance, including sweet Maggie Jo, a dear two-year-old battling another rare form of cancer.

maggiejoe_jpg

A grandfather, who has been given only weeks to live, danced with his two granddaughters.  So many cancer survivor stories and faith lessons were shared over the course of this evening where everyone lived in a moment of pure hope and joy.

I cannot explain the feeling of seeing 250 daughters and daddies dancing away all for the benefit of one little girl.  Something in the air was distinctly palatable.  It was unusual.  If you have had an experience like this, you know what I mean.

valentine_three-girls

The tables were sprinkled with pink, read and white M & M’s, and Sue certainly enjoyed her share.  She even entered a “Daddy/Daughter Dance Contest,” and won a door prize.

v-day-dance

She fell promptly asleep the moment she strapped in her Britax, and as I watched her clutching a balloon in one hand and a heart-shaped lollipop in the other, a poignant pressure on my heart told me, again, how God has reminded me to cherish each moment.

v-day-tired

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted on 14 February '09 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 12 Comments.

Perhaps You Don’t Know This, However…

My dear friend at Mom on the Run tagged me for this quick meme.  Per usual, I am late in responding.

So here are my 7 random things you might not know about me…

1.  Having recently been introduced to a tiny plastic ball curiously named “Bakugan Battle Brawlers,” I can tell you that few things would provide me greater joy than donning my circa 1987 black Doc Marten boots and crushing one of these “brawlers” to smithereens.

“But Mom, they are so cool and fit right in your pocket!”

My response:  So do marbles.  I mean please.  Round is still fun, right?

2.  I was sharing this story with Kia last night and thought others might find solace and/or humor in it.  I once had a pet Conure named Freddie who was given to me by an old boss who was married to a Rod Stewart impersonator/hairstylist who had hair longer than she did and always dressed in “flowy gowns.”  Anyhoo, she bequeathed this bird to me after she moved to California to flip houses, and I felt compelled to accept her (the bird.)  Freddie was a temperamental creature who tormented Pearl, my Chihuahua, and would bite at her and peck mercilessly whenever Pearl approached her cage.  While in Mexico on vacation, we boarded Freddie at a local pet store.  When we returned, however, we found that Freddie had been bird-napped by a trench-coat wearing aviary thief who had stalked the store.  These things happen…

3.  When I make Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, I double the water and use half the noodles to make a Kraft Noodle-Mac Cheese Soup.  It is supreme.  (Especially if you have PMS and are craving all that sodium.)

4.  Stone Fox’s toe hair discussion has me feeling a tad confessional about my own feet which are, incidentally, shaped like arrows.  Additionally, my pinkie toe has what I like to call a “dual nail.”

5.  Throughout my life, I have suffered from intermittent bouts of trichotillomania.  I’m not linking it.  If you want to know what it is, you’ll have to Google it yourself!

6.  One of my greatest frivolous delights is watching House Hunters International.

7.  Mayonnaise is revolting.  (To me.)

I’m not tagging anyone because I have no clue who has already done this.  Take it if you want it!

Posted on 11 February '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 14 Comments.

Only Today…

A year ago, our family was in Disney World, splashing around the pool at the Polynesian Resort, not a care in the world.  (H had a work conference so this was such a blessing that we could go without paying for most of the trip.)

fountain_2

Then the call came in.  H’s best friend’s sister, with whom he had grown up and known since tiny childhood, had died, completely unexpectedly, from a random blood clot; she was 38.  One minute, I was happily watching my children frolic in the spurting fountain sprays, and the next minute I tried desperately to hold all three of my children at once to make sure they were OK.  I shuttled them up to our room where we prayed fervently for friends who are family to us.

So a year later to the day, a shocking email crossed my computer: the mother of one of my son’s football teammates had died, unexpectedly, from an aneurysm; she was in her mid thirties.  Earlier that day, she was happily delivering invitations to her son’s 8-year-old birthday party, and later that afternoon, she passed away on her bathroom floor, only to be found by her five-year-old son.  She leaves behind this sweet child, a four-year-old daughter and a recently-turned eight-year-old who attended his mother’s funeral instead of his own birthday party.

Please know that I share this story not to be morbid, depressing or melodramatic, but to let you know that I firmly believe those events happening on the same exact day one year apart can mean something to me personally.  They stand as a wake-up call to me–a reminder that we truly only have today.

fountain_12

We don’t know what God plans for us tomorrow, or in the next moment, for that matter.  And while we all know this intellectually, an event like this reminds me in such a visceral way.  In my hustle-bustle, hurry-worry world, I forget that tomorrow just might not be for me, or for someone I hold dear.  I skitter along mindlessly, stopping to feel sorry for myself (or bitter) when painful events occur, but forgetting the big picture.

polynesian-beach

I used to write more about the story God is writing with my life.  Today during church I realized how far I’ve gotten away from that, and potentially why that is so difficult for me to address.  I believe it boils down to my inability to believe that God could actually delight in me.

Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you.  He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.”

sue_polynesian

I spent an entire year with that verse taped on my bathroom mirror, but it didn’t sink in, did it?  Perhaps I’d better stick it back up there where I can remember, rejoice and believe.

Posted on 9 February '09 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 15 Comments.