30 December 2012

iPhone Test...

Although there is a big scary note on Blogger that basically says, "Danger Will Robinson, Danger!" I  think I'll test out blogging on my iPhone using Safari anyway...

Although I have a miserable cold at the moment (I wonder if a wonderful cold exists?), I also have Insomnia.  What better chance will I get to truly wreak havock on my blog?

For those of you healthy sleeping souls out there... I wish you a lumpy pillow.  For those kindred spirits... Skip the "spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down", and just go get a serving spoon of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum.

PS Could someone test out this advice and let me know how we'll it works for ya? I'd really love to know if it DOES help the medicine go down?

18 November 2012

The Pillow Story...

Since being reminded that my husband will, again, be going back to the sandbox, I thought I'd repost a story about one of the other times he has gone there. This time the travel won't be quite as luxurious, but I couldn't help hoping that if he HAS to be on the advon team, then I hope they at least get to stop in Sioux Falls, South Dakota...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Pillow Story....

I have been reminded that I have yet to tell "The Pillow Story." So here it is:

The day DH left home for Iraq was very stressful for all of us. If all the changes to his orders were holes, his final copy would be swiss cheese. So after finally getting to the airport, he and Mr. T (another member of his unit) were treated to 2 1/2 hours of sitting on the runway awaiting liftoff. The bad news was that they only had a 40 minute layover at another busy airport where they were suppose to catch a different flight. The good news was the their tickets had been stamped with some kind of code that told the stewardess that they were servicemen bound for Iraq....so all drinks were on the house...so liftoff was slightly achieved before the plane left the ground.

They get to the next airport and low and behold their transfer plane is still waiting for them! On to the next plane they go....and wait another hour on the runway waiting for clearance (still with free beverages)....HOPING there would be someone on the other end to pick them up at the airport because at this point in their journey they had a Hotel reservation at the Sheraton, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for what was left of their last night on US soil.

Their luck held out and there was someone from the base who apparently deposited gently, two service members seriously in need of a pillow.

At some point DH realized that he had forgotten to pack one thing in his luggage....A pillow. So he got up the next morning intending to find a place within walking distance to find a pillow and get some breakfast. So he asks a Sheraton employee if there was a store close enough to buy a pillow. She suggests he check with housekeeping. She gives him directions to their office and off he goes.

After explaining his dilema to housekeeping, they tell him that will be $60. Ummmm. He wasn't about to pay that much for a pillow bound for a sand pit. So he politely declines the offer and sets out again, once more, for the dining facilities.

Upon reaching his destination he encounters the first employee who immediately asked if housekeeping could help him. He told her of the conversation and thanked her for trying and did she know of any stores nearby who might sell pillows. She said she would ask around as to the best source and get back to him.

So he sat down and had breakfast. Went to gather up his things for the shuttle and then to the front desk to settle his bill. There, behind the counter was a King Size FEATHER pillow with pillow case in a plastic covering. The three ladies responsible for it had 'reallocated' it for the war effort.

Darned if DH didn't squeeze that thing into luggage that didn't even have room to scream. Once he got to Iraq, he wrote the Hotel manager of the wonderful service provided by his hotel and in particular these three ladies. (I don't think he mentioned the pillow reallocation :o)

If you EVER get a chance to go to scenic Sioux Falls, stay at the Sheraton and ask for Pam, Gina or Nikki. Tell them from me...."Thank you!"

QOTD: "The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines." Charles Kuralt (1934-1997) Folksy CBS newsman whose reports from the small towns and back roads of America endeared him to millions

22 August 2012

Notes Confirming Life As We Know It Is Back To Normal...

Although I have not been able to do much in the way of blogging this past week, I have been gathering various sticky notes, note pads and receipts that I tend to write on, to capture wonderful family moments. Note to self: make notes more descriptive so I can be more accurate in the details.

I cannot remember exactly when my husband was talking to Erin, but it was not too long after he first got home.  The conversation went something like this (see above note to self about notes):

Husband, "Remind me NEVER to go to war with you. I can hear you now:"

"I can't go into that foxhole, it's too dirty."

"Whoa! Time Out!!! My pack is too heavy, I couldn't possibly be expected to carry it AND march, hike or whatever."

"But, I don't know how to set up a tent... Come to think of it though, we're Air Force... we can just call room service, right?"

Husband, "And if you were a superhero? Your power would be whining at the bad guys until they died just to get away from you."

"Your superhero alias would be Goldilocks:"

"My porridge is too hot. My porridge is too cold..."

Erin, "I really hate you right about now."

QOTD: "Newspaper ad:  Hiring clowns, must be serious." ~ Unknown

15 August 2012

More Than Just A Litmus Paper Test...

Glass Half Empty... Wow! The husband has gone back to work and my Honey-Do List is not quite finished.

Glass Half Full... Wow! The husband has gone back to work, there's only one thing left on the Honey-Do List and this week is even shaping up to be a STELLAR week!  How do I know this?  Well, I'm not roadkill yet... :)

QOTD: "I am thankful for laughter... except when milk comes out of my nose." ~ Woody Allen

PS As I was looking for my quote of the day, I ran across an article about teaching the importance of laughter that I wish I had read when my children were small (this author and our family must be living in a similar universe. You'll notice I did not say 'same', as our conversations are definitely more bizarre considering the teen/ young adult status of our offspring).  Not that I think it is too late, mind you, but perhaps my husband's dry wit might have been a little wetter on occasion with a little help from me. Must ponder on how to implement this change... how hard could it be? **Please forgive the unladylike SNORT** Suggestions are welcome in the comments!

17 July 2012

Tuesday At The Cliffs of Insanity...

When faced with the white screen of death I'm intelligent enough to know when to cry uncle and then call it a day. Life is too short to agonize over the written word in any of it's various forms. I'm also not one to seriously contemplate taking a header off the 'Cliffs of Insanity' simply because I can think of nothing worthy of writing about. I guess that's a bit of a conundrum since I am currently composing to you a post about not being able to compose.

I suppose I could steal someone else's work, but that is frowned upon in polite society, but most importantly... I KNOW it is utter stupidity to confess to anything on the internet, illegal or otherwise. I would be labeled TSTL (Too Stupid To Live, think horror movie characters), for such behavior and rightly so.  I would also deserve to be thrown into the slammer, but since I'm safe, having never knowingly filched someone else's hard sweat equity along with their angst over it's creation, I'll just bask in the knowledge that I can't possibly be labeled TSTL, which, by the way, brings to me many, many warm fuzzies of happy, happy, joy, joy... well that and the comforting recognition that I don't have to meet any new cell mates in the foreseeable future.  (nor be at the mercy of our kids who would allow me to languish in misery there in the slammer so as to negotiate for benefits before I could make bail...  and so I do not have to brush up on my negotiating skills, which is always a plus).

Besides, I have been blessed with the talent to describe something using forty words of prosaic prose while everyone else would use a miserly four words. (not that any of my kids would call this a blessing)

13 July 2012

Sometimes The Odd Thoughts Seem Hilarious...

It may be because my husband has been deployed and hence the wit is out of country... 

It may be because dinner conversation is just not the same without him here (see above)... 

It may be because Murphy has lived at our house lately (see above)...

It may be because I have five daughters who take after their father (see above)... 

It may be because I am finally losing my marbles (see above)...

It may be because I found a few scraps of paper I had written on recently that were supposed to have reminded me of something to blog about... but my memory has left on vacation (see above)...

Still, the notes seem funny to me, wish I could only remember what they were about:
Some Things In Life Are Technically Possible... But Not Recommended.

Not feasible, not reasonable, not realistic... this generation's 3Rs.
I dreamt of flying monkeys and zombies.

I can't sleep but I sure can dream.

My husband came home three days ago which means, "Hello wit and humor!  Welcome Home!!!"

Life is good.  :)

11 June 2012

Humor To Lighten The Load...

I'm not doing 'serious' today, therefore I look to the wisdom of children. (I remember I was thinking of Mrs. Who when I first read these.) Can't remember where or when I came across this, but it's perfect for a day like today.  :)
Kids are pretty smart. Who said children are getting dumber every year? Check out the wisecracks below (along with the person in my family it most closely reminds me of) and judge for yourselves:

TEACHER: How old were you on your last birthday?
TEACHER: How old will you be on your next birthday?
TEACHER: That's impossible.
STUDENT: No, it isn't, Teacher. I'm eight today.  (Nicole)

TEACHER: George, go to the map and find North America.
GEORGE: Here it is!
TEACHER: Correct. Now, class, who discovered America?
CLASS: George! (Danielle)
TEACHER: Willy, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.
WILLY: Me! (Danielle)

TEACHER: Tommy, why do you always get so dirty?
TOMMY: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground then you are. (I can soooo see my husband saying this as a kid!  It reminds me of his manners...)  :)

TEACHER: Why are you late?
WEBSTER: Because of the sign.
TEACHER: What sign?
WEBSTER: The one that says, "School Ahead, Go Slow." (Nina)

SILVIA: Dad, can you write in the dark?
FATHER: I think so. What do you want me to write?
SYLVIA: Your name on this report card. (This sounds a lot like Rachel) :)
TEACHER: In this box, I have a 10-foot snake.
SAMMY: You can't fool me, Teacher...snakes don't have feet. (Erin)
TEACHER: How can you prevent diseases caused by biting insects?
JOSE: Don't bite any. (This would be my husband's reply)

TEACHER: Ellen, give me a sentence starting with "I".
ELLEN: I is...
TEACHER: No, Ellen. Always say, "I am."
ELLEN: All right... "I am the ninth letter of the alphabet." (This would again be Rachel... I love her memorable 'lovely semi-colon'.)

MOTHER: Why on earth did you swallow the money I gave you?
JUNIOR: You said it was my lunch money. (Erin)

TEACHER: If I had seven oranges in one hand and eight oranges in the other,what would I have?
CLASS COMEDIAN: Big hands! (This would be Nina)

I have now officially lost track of the amount of emergencies and adventures this family has had since my husband deployed (most of which will never grace this blog).  I'm beginning to feel hunted.  Now if you just can't stand not being a rubbernecker at the scene of the accident, look below the fold line, but I'll tell everyone else that if you want a safe car... get a Sonata! This is the third (and final) hit this car has taken since October 2011 and we all walked away just a little dinged (Nina, Erin and I).  As you can see from these pictures and the ones taken in October, this car has now saved five of our family member's lives. The second hit was a hit and run the week after my husband left... along with all three cars dying that same week of mechanical failures. After a very LONG list of life events that you never expected, you can see why I'd rather listen to the kids.  :)

06 June 2012

The Lemon Stand Household A New Reality Show?

Rachel, "We really should have our own reality show. We're much more interesting than any of the other reality shows on TV."

Me, "We're really not all that funny"

Rachel, "Well, I think I'm funny."

She does have a point, I must admit.  She truly has inherited her father's dry sense of humor along with her own style of wit.  (Examples can be found here, here and here.)

As I'm typing this, I am now remembering the numerous amount of times when I have had to ask myself, "Just where does she come up with these things?" (not to be confused with the, "Just where does he come up with these things?" question) The answer, of course, is not far behind the question... her father has a twisted sense of humor and I've come to the conclusion that he is to blame not only for her genes, but also training her to be the perfect straight man to his warped wit. The speed at which these two can play off each other is truly dizzying at times... and most of the time... they are immensely funny.  So I want to be a fly on the wall when she asks her father to get on board with her idea.

QOTD: "I have a very firm grasp on reality!  I can reach out and strangle it at any time!" Author Unknown

16 May 2012

Participants Or Commentators?

Original Photograph copyright Danielle Smith 2012
Photo by Danielle Smith (sans embellishment) :)

Suspend reality for a moment... If you truly did have a wardrobe that opened into our living room on game night.

Would you want to be a participant or commentator?

15 May 2012


Most people look at the world and they see it with their eyes.  In our household, it seems, we tend to look and see (mostly twisted and dry) humor first and then see it how the rest of the world sees it.
For instance:


Rachel, "Dad says when he gets home we should fix that road sign." 

Me, "What road sign and what KIND of fixing?"

Rachel, "The road sign at the bottom of the hill just up from our house."  (The rest of the local population would see a sign marking the end of the current road and know that they must now choose a new direction of travel. This is apparently not specific enough for my husband and daughter...)

Me, "What KIND of 'fixing'?"
Rachel, "It needs directions to Narnia or Mordor. We're just going to add it to the sign."

I can not find a description for my husband's parenting technique.  This is the same man who taught our children (and they educated me on his wisdom) many years ago about the Four Laws of Life According to Daddy:
"One, Never break more than one law at a time.  So if we were able to drive and had a tail light that was busted, we shouldn't speed."
"Two, Never bring along a camera if you are going to break the law.  That one was easy to understand so we didn't really need an explanation for that one."
"Three, Never try to understand someone else's 'kink'.  So we should just accept people the way they are even if we do think they are a little strange."
"Four, Never date your friend's spouses or girlfriends/boyfriends.  This is just not acceptable behavior and could get you into a LOT of trouble so it is just best to avoid the situation."
Just to be clear about this.  They will NOT be decorating or embellishing this sign. We are law abiding citizens (mostly)... and besides... I don't want to have to go bail them out of jail. 

PS.  I had to ask Rachel yesterday, which way the sign was pointed to our house... "Definitely Narnia." Why this made me happy, I don't know. It just did.  :)

PPS. This post comes to you courtesy of inspiration from Dustbury.  :)

QOTD: "For business reasons, I must preserve the outward signs of sanity." ~ Mark Twain

14 May 2012

To Look Back And Laugh...

I've been thinking about all the horrendous and spectacular disasters that have peppered our lives.  My husband's and mine, that is.  I have realized that over the years, I've become pretty good at trying to find the silver lining... and most of the time, it's because it's seems hilarious now that it is a good distance in the past.

There was the time a 6 foot snake in our laundry room ended up in his own 'spin' cycle. There was the time that natural disasters seemed to follow us around the world.  In the span of about three years there were three major hurricanes, a volcanic eruption, earthquakes, a tsunami, and a typhoon that completely destroyed our house.  (My father-in-law told us (mostly kidding) that we could not come home until our relationship with disasters changed.  Can't say I blamed him.)

Actually, if I go far enough back (and forward), we've also survived floods, hail, blizzards, ice storms, and tornadoes.  There was the time we played the game of hide and seek with a rat and we all lost in a rather gruesome fashion. See (only if you are not drinking or eating anything... hmmm, maybe I should also warn you that you might not want to be at work... or a library?)  Resurrection of the "I'll See You the Flu During a PCS and Raise You an Online Hotel Reservation that Turned Out to be a Drug Den" Military Poker Game...

Lately our vehicles are either engaging in unhealthy relationships or just plain committing suicide on us.  (Husband, daughter and a date with a tree and ALL our vehicles dying the week after the husband leaves them behind for sandier climes?) I must remind myself of the possible silver linings here... After all, the search for replacement vehicles could have me sitting back and watching while the rest of the family uses dead bodies as a unit of measure needed in their requirements for trunk space. Seriously. After you read memories like that or rather in my case, remember memories like that, how could I NOT laugh?  The realization that there are actually very few events in my life that I can't look back on with humor, always gives me hope.  I can not predict the future, nor can I change the past but I can invite the memories over for a 'movie night'.  All I'll need is a little popcorn and soda.  (to be ingested only during commercials and intermissions)  :)


QOTD: "God gave us memories that we might have roses in December." ~ J. M. Barrie, Courage - 1922

The Giving Tree...

It's hard to believe that the 35th Anniversary Edition of this wonderful book is now being sold.  As an entry for The Giving Book Club, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a must.  Some might disagree since it is rather poignant, but it's lessons are worth learning.

If you've never 'read' it (especially to a child) it starts out with, "Once there was a tree...and she loved a little boy." Shel Silverstein children's picture book tells the story of a loving tree who gave and gave and gave, and a boy who grew to want more and more and more.

It's a book worth adding to your Lemonade Shelf bookcase.

04 May 2012

Honey? You're Going To Need Some Help With That Mail...

There are not very many fun things about deployments... It is strictly against all Military regulations to laugh (it tends to ruin one's gig line... please forgive me for this reference if you have never heard of a gig line. It's a stray question you can write on any correspondence to a military member so that they can fill up the white part of their return letter with their answer).   Laughing when everything sucks, just makes it a little more bearable.  So a little fun is OK.  Besides, if you happen to be a supervisor, do you REALLY want to have to make sure your troops don't go playing on the yellow lines? 

I'm about at that point where my husband will have to retire because I've almost run out of ideas that I haven't already tried.

So last week, when I talked to my husband, I warned him... "You're going to need some help carrying five boxes pretty soon."  Why is it, that we've been married almost 24 years and he still doesn't take my warnings seriously?  He called me today. He needed help carrying five boxes.  Imagine that?  :)

You know that old routine that goes, "You know you're old when..."?  Does anyone else out there remember 'Mr. Bill'?  Apparently he is now officially passé and undoubtedly my husband, kids and I are too.  ;p  It's a good thing that a poker set with chips and cards in a metal case is NOT passé.  (btw, that case was d*mn heavy!) Nor is a regulation sized Dart Board... (although 'hanging' the aforesaid dart board in the middle of the room was not really quite the location I intended!) Nor is Connect Four when the 'coins' are the RED SOX against the YANKEES.  (GO SOX!!!)

Sigh.  Our daughter Danielle has watched Generation Kill with my husband so she thought that several large, heavy cans of Chef-boy-are-Dee (or however it is spelled) along with a magazine would apparently ring some bells for her father.  She is going to be so disappointed.  (I have NOT personally watched Generation Kill, nor am I planning to, I'm more of an Indiana Jones kind of woman so I'm happy in my ignorance)  And as always... (water) balloons intended for cooling off at some point.  (It's a good thing the husband is not at the North or South Pole at the moment.  Concussions are not the effect looked for here.)

As you can see, most of the stuff was not for my husband specifically... it was just so that he doesn't have to spend any more time than necessary chewing someone's hind end off.  I'd hate for him to be responsible for someone returning without their backside. :)
There were a few other things for my husband but I think the majority of the loot was carted off pretty quickly.  I am currently rubbing my hands together... I still have a couple of aces up my sleeve that need to be implemented soon.   ;p

PS If it seems the humor is a little forced today, it's because I just had to go buy another Louisville Slugger.  The old one broke with the amount of lemon batting practice it has been getting of late.   

QOTD: "Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it." ~ Bill Cosby

30 April 2012

The Giving Book Club's Current Book...

I haven't posted any of my books from The Giving Book Club in quite a while.  Since I haven't done so and if you are wondering what these few posts have been about (I had only started them before back surgery) then you may want to read the short post that explains this club and it's first book at Giving Is Supposed To Come From Here... This is the perfect 'pick me up' for a Monday because it's a scientific fact that laughter makes you feel better... Warning: Just be careful not to read it at work... or while drinking your morning orange juice.  The juice really stings the inside of your nose.  :)

Just in case you can't read the small print it says: Follow Your Dreams (Except for that one where you go to work naked and dance the Polka) by Cheryl Caldwell.

QOTD: Discover your true self, whoever that may be. "Hello, My Name Is High Maintenance." ~ Cheryl Caldwell

27 April 2012

The Military PTSD Family...

Although military related PTSD is a huge part of my family's life, I rarely blog about it here.  I'm not absolutely silent about it but this is my place for making lemonade and on the average, most lemons are commonplace lemons.  PTSD is NOT an average or easily handled lemon.  PTSD is a very hard subject for me to face on a daily basis so it is hard for me to write of it.  I write posts in a journal fashion to find a positive point, frame of reference or personal compass direction to my personal life.  I have accepted that my life will never be 'normal', but I have learned be thankful for the little things in life.  Is my life the laugh riot it sometimes seems to be here on my blog? Of course not.

Writing about this part of our lives is extremely painful.  It is a lot to deal with and I have to remind myself often to NOT look at the big picture but to live life moment by moment. However, after reading a post over on SpouseBUZZ, a blog for military spouses and families, I decided that there IS a lot of positive things that have come out of my family's experiences and that it might give hope for some veteran or veteran's family member who are on a part of this road my family has already traveled.  For that reason, I've decided to share my current lemonade recipe.  Current recipe?  Well, yes.  Life is all about change and so the recipe is always adjusting to it.  And no.  I did NOT learn that overnight.  I did not live it for even longer.

I do NOT have any easy answers. Nothing worthwhile in life comes easy, at least I've found that's been very true for me.  This recipe is not some carefully laid out plan to having a happier life for someone who has PTSD (or for their families). Unfortunately (or fortunately depending upon how you look at it) there are some paths you must travel alone to learn from how and where they lead you.
Each and every member of a military member's family serves with the military member and that is an extremely hard concept for 99+ percent of the American population to wrap their minds around. Why? Because LESS than ONE percent are serving in the military today.  Military members can't do what they do without their families. To know the entire family is taking care of the home front whether or not the service member is deployed or not is critical as they work and relate as a unit. A family unit. Those same family members pay a price that is rarely acknowledged. It's hard enough to get help for a veteran with PTSD, getting help for the families, spouses and children is even harder.  In my opinion, an entire military family should be given the opportunity of both individual and family counseling WITHOUT having to get to the point of critical mass before something can be done!
Any wound, visible or not has an enormous effect on the entire family.  A diagnosis of PTSD brings with it the stigmatized 'Flipped Out' behavior attached to it. I am a veteran with PTSD and our entire family has experienced of the inequality of treatment by the general population at large (and within the VA). Once the diagnosis is revealed, for any reason, to a person or entity we often receive the "Oh my God, is this person or a member of their family going to go postal? We don't want to have to deal with the possibility or liability" and you are immediately discouraged, turned away, or flat out denied any kind of relationship to the individual or entity. Is that fair? No. Does it happen? With all too much frequency.

So this recipe begins with a lot of lemons... For about six years I rarely left my house, I did not even have a driver's license because I felt I couldn't LEAVE my house.  Has it gotten better?  Yes.  Why? I finally got a LOT of the help I needed from the right people within, and outside of, the Veteran's Administration.  How much better has it gotten? I can not define what PTSD is like for others, but for me, it had been tearing me and my family apart and we all still have bad days... and nights.  But I HAVE gotten out of my house.  I DO have a valid driver's license now.  Our family has learned and continues to learn how to survive and find a little peace and happiness.

After the first step of getting me some intensive help (for many years) I still felt like a hamster that went on vacation.  The wheel was still spinning, but I wasn't really there.  I was overwhelmed, which I've discovered is a trigger for me.  What is a trigger?  It's something specific that sets off a chain reaction of feelings and actions.  Being overwhelmed for me tends to give me panic attacks that only acerbate the rest of the alphabet soup of medical names for side effects from PTSD.  We have five daughters and I could see the damage from my conditions that left them feeling depressed.  Their feelings of worthlessness, helplessness to control anything in their lives.  I was supposed to be giving them a solid foundation to build belief in themselves and their abilities.  I knew I was failing them, my husband and myself on all fronts.

I couldn't help any of them.  I didn't even know where to start.  My personal therapist recommended going to family therapy.  The reaction of the kids pegged the 'not until Hell freezes over' meter.  I think our youngest was about ten at the time and our eldest was about 17.  After talking it over at length with my husband, I started dragging (and I DO mean mentally DRAGGING!) the kids and we would meet their father at the therapist's office after he got out of work.  Six times.  Once a week.  For six VERY long weeks.  I grew to LOATHE that day of the week.  

It was absolutely horrendous. They did NOT want to go. They did NOT see how it was helping, after all, just getting in the car was just one argument and fight after another. So on that sixth session, I announced that I was through dragging anyone, anywhere.  I was done.  They were right.  The stress of getting everyone even into the car was so negative that a one hour appointment could not overcome it.  

Our wonderful therapist explained to our family that this takes time to see any results.  She was just getting a feel for the family dynamics and we were all learning HOW to hold a conversation in which we ALL had a chance to be heard.  She named off some specific things the kids were peeved with each other and my husband and I.  She then asked each of them individually if they wanted to have a place where they had the right to air ANY grievance without the fear of reprisal.  That they would actually have a vote in finding a solution the entire family could live with.  My husband and I had to agree that we would agree to anything that had a fair majority vote. 

Well, I guess that got their interest enough that everyone was willing to try to improve our home life by giving family therapy at least thirteen sessions.  On the thirteenth, we would vote to see who still wanted to come and who didn't.  Nobody would have to come if they didn't want to.  The kids all decided that they were each willing to give it a little more time. My husband and I agreed to allow their decision to stand without any negative impact.  For the next seven weeks, we all worked on a specific problem for each week and then reported back how we each felt the solution chosen was working.  As an example, one of the earliest problems tackled was the complaint of being responsible for their own breakfast and evening dishes.   After a week of this, none of us were satisfied with the results.  Dishes were still magically appearing used and not taken care of.  So one of the kids suggested we all get a set of different colored dishes and you could only use the ones that were yours.  After this vote, we went and picked out different dishes at Pier One.  This seemed to work a lot better for quite a while... (we have all had to agree that we ALL have gotten the lazy gene so sometimes we really have to still work on this)

Week thirteen came and all agreed to keep coming because each of us were able to express what was bothering us the most without (mostly) any interruption.   The therapist basically plays referee and ensures we abide by certain rules of engagement.  She will sometimes start with a question, ask how our week went, did anyone have anything they really wanted to get off their chest.  We started going to dinner after the appointment because we got out so late. That was four years ago and we are still going even though three of our elder daughters have started college and jobs now. If for some reason one or more can't make it, the rest still go.  In a family of 7, we've had the occasional two or three member meetings.  We've all found there are benefits to this.  So we now all look forward to this time. It's our family time and after the 'family meeting' we go out for what has come to be a very wonderful and happy time.  Dinner or an ice cream cone and then home with a much lighter feeling.

This has by no means solved all our family problems, but it HAS taught us a lot about each person and how to communicate in a way that does not instantly push a particular family member's buttons.  My personal therapy has improved.  I think because there is a little less stress in all of our lives.  We all feel that there ARE a few things that we actually got RIGHT.  There is nothing like a little success every now and then to keep you hopeful.  I totally believe that life is NOT about the destination.  NO ONE is guaranteed another day, hour or minute.  It's what you do with the time that you have been given that will make all the difference to your life, and eventually, the biggest difference for all those important people in your life that you will someday have to leave behind. 

26 April 2012

Booking A Texting Vacation...

I dreamed about this last night. Although this happened LAST May...

A slightly harassed Lemon Stand attempting to make recent vacation plans being made via text (welcome to the 21st century) with Husband:

LS, "The kids want to know if we can go to Cape Cod for a week?"

Husband, "??"

LS, "You said something about the possibility of a military reservation? Oh, and I also made arrangements with Beth at the Oil company for the remaining heating bill."

Husband, "It's called Cliff and was she cool?"

LS, "I don't know if she had her air conditioner on or possibly took my call whilst standing in a meat locker, but she WAS very nice about it."

Husband, "She's like that."

LS, "What is Cliff and can I jump off it right now?"

Husband, "Only if I can push."

LS, "By the time you push, I'll already have jumped... so remember what happens to the lemmings..."

Husband, "If you jump, that would remove most of my reasons for following."

LS:  :(

LS, "Well then... start imagining a future without me being an anchor around your neck... 

LS, "We all need to have dreams..."

Husband, "Keep dreaming.  We don't have any high buildings in our piece of 'the middle of nowhere.'"

LS, "Hence the girls request for a Cape Cod vacation."

Husband, "Ah, no."

LS, "No vacation?"

Husband, "No lemming impersonations."

QOTD: "We hit the sunny beaches where we occupy ourselves keeping the sun off our skin, the saltwater off our bodies, and the sand out of our belongings."  ~ Erma Bombeck

25 April 2012

The Most Important Things in Life... Aren't Things...

Teaching a child to count isn't as important as teaching a child what counts. 

Google seriously let me down on the attribution of this one, but it made up for it by also finding: "There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: One is roots, the other is wings." ~ Hodding Carter

24 April 2012

The Secret Of A Happy Life...

If you want to be successful in life, then, without any expectation of anything in return, help others to succeed...

Definitely not a lemon in sight... just a learned lesson.

23 April 2012

Insomnia, Inigo and the Room of Requirement...

Sleep deprivation... It's a killer!  I feel like I should be called Inigo Montoya.
[Inigo Montoya] "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya, prepare to die!" or
[Vizzini] "HE DIDN'T FALL [asleep]? INCONCEIVABLE."
[Inigo Montoya] "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." [I agree!]

Picture yourself in my shoes (or slippers as the case may be), suffering from insomnia and a migraine headache that feels like the pressure and pain of being at the very bottom of the abysmal depths of the Mariana's Trench... Go.on.picture.it!  (No, no, no. No need to worry... why, I have never lost my zen...unless provoked, so all's good. Right?)

Insomnia, you suck.  Right now I feel 'mostly dead'... I guess I could go watch The Princess Bride again.  It's either that, or I may not have any patience left (much less zen) when I have to get up and actually try to interact with humanity on the morrow.  I must be able to control myself because I know that it's not polite nor politically correct to give anyone a complete verbal mental picture of how they should stuff their head somewhere that has been declared by the medical community as being anatomically, not in any way, possible and then informing the recipient that their new method of communication will have to be via their small (or would that be large?) intestines.

It stands to reason that to insure the recipient of my wisdom would never forget the lesson of ticking off my less than benevolent self. (only caused by sleep deprivation, you understand... or more likely, since this really doesn't seem to make me sound like a very likable human being... I have finally fallen asleep and this is only a dream... no?  OK, then. I guess I'm just a very unlikable person... at least without a benchmark minimum of at least a solid 6 hours of sleep) The lesson would probably be along the line of having the privilege (and joy) of tossing said individual into the basement (without turning on the light to gently guide their trip down the steep stairs), locking the door and then go to find a very large slice of pumpkin cheesecake and a mellow glass of wine. The basement dweller(s) would then either find the bulkhead door in the dark... or someday I could have them declared to be lost.  Now THAT right there would be the perfect 'Room of Requirement' a la Harry Potter!

QOTD: I also wish insomnia could be cured with a simple Harry Potter wizard's curse of "Stupify" which supposedly puts the object of the curse, immediately to sleep. Under the current conditions... I also wonder why it would be considered a 'curse'?

22 April 2012

Test Warning...

WARNING: This is a test. This is only a test. Had this been a REAL emergency, you would have been directed to go to the nearest sound proofed room for your own safety (and possibly sanity)...

***REBEL, past caring who's eardrums are ruptured, YELL***

I guess this wasn't a test after all... oops, my bad.  My only advice now would be to get to a sound proofed room as quickly as possible or go get really exceptional earplugs.  These precautions may save you from rebel yells, profanities and possibly my colorful use of verbiage in the days to follow.

I'd like to be able to apologize for this interruption of (truly, I would) your work Face Book, work Twitter, work Tumbler, work Pinterest, work blogging, work gaming work internet surfing, work texting  and work sleeping (except if you truly DID need that 'Beauty Rest' or possibly a 'Pretty Nap' to function keep others from wanting to kill you), but I cannot lie.  I simply can't be sorry for that Rebel Yell...  in fact... it felt so good, I might even try it again (after my own ears stop ringing, that is) and again and again and a lather, rinse, repeat.

Thank you. I know 'I' feel so much better now. 

Lemon Stand 

PS: Unanswered questions that keep me from being able to sleep at night:

I wonder if OSHA will soon be knocking at our door... for noise pollution... along with the police for possibly disturbing the peace?

What's the punishment is for exceeding OSHA's standards for safe decibel levels for any humans, pets, plants and zombies that might be within hearing distance? 

I wonder if zombies have to pay taxes... because they are not quite dead, nor are they quite alive? 

I wonder if I could patent the sound as a vociferous form of torture?

Is there really only three things you can never avoid in a lifetime... death, taxes and zombies?

I will be sure to let you know when you may return to your regularly scheduled activities... until then, my recommendation would be to hide.  :)

QOTD"There are three times in a man's life when he has the right to yell at the moon—when he marries; when his children come; and when he finishes a job he had to be crazy to start."  ~ Borden Chase [Frank Fowler] (1900–1971), U.S. screenwriter

20 April 2012

Note To Self...

The following post is a repost... only I must remember that when watching movies with certain members of our family, it is like having Siskel and Ebert in your living room... Oh, and we had KFC again tonight for dinner...

The Only Reason We Buy Video Games...

My husband hunted and gathered for our dinner tonight and brought home KFC.  For dinner and entertainment, we sat with our youngest daughter Erin and commented on daughter Danielle's performance of the video game, Nathan Drake's Uncharted.  A truly wonderful family moment between the chicken leg through the mash potatoes and gravy.  Normally I'd say it was a Kodak moment but the narration reigned supreme.

Erin, "You're supposed to shoot him."
Danielle, "Shut up."
Erin, "You're supposed to kill him with the grenade."
Danielle, "Shut up."
Me, "Huh, what's this game called?"
Danielle, whilst shooting her way through a dungeon, "Nathan Drake's Uncharted.  He's supposed to be a descendant of Sir Francis Drake. Nathan Fillion wants to play him in a movie."
Me, "Really? Does HE know how to shoot that weapon with any accuracy?"
Danielle, "Shut up."
Me, "The shooting doesn't look very realistic."
Erin, "Neither does the blood spatter."
Me, "Neither does the bullet count from that particular weapon, but at least he has his stance right."
Danielle, "Do you want to see what real blood spatter look like?"
Husband, "We should take her to Paris... Island."
Me, "Hey, Danielle.  Do you want to be a marine?"
Danielle, "No,"
Husband, "That's probably best.  You're shooting's not very accurate."
Danielle, "Shut up." 
Husband, "Well at least Justin Timberlake has gone up in my estimation."
Me, "You saw that, too? His Marine Corps Ball post?"
Husband, "Yeah.  Hey Danielle.  The marine corps could show you just how to use that grenade launcher.  You sure you don't want to reconsider your options?"
Danielle, "NO."
Erin, "You're supposed to shoot him.  He's not supposed to shoot you."
Danielle, "You're going to get shown violence up close and personal."
Me, "He's fading out.  Is he feinting? He's feinting.  Is he SUPPOSED to do that?"
Danielle, "Just GIVE me a minute!"
Erin, "You're dead."
Danielle, "So are you if you don't shut up!"
Me, "Well.  This has been entertaining, but it's time to go find something more heart palpitating. Like the Loo."
Plus the added bonus to have blog fodder.  All in all.  Another successful family dinner at casa de Lemon.  Still, I must put a caveat, because the girls give me crap about not having a photographic verbal memory.  Wording is never EXACTLY correct. It's true.  But do you REALLY want me to start recording dinner time conversation? No?  Then life is good!  :)

08 April 2012

My Quota Of Lessons For One Day...

You know how you should learn at least ONE new thing a day? Yesterday, I got lucky and learned:

Lesson #1 - A postcard... or more specifically THIS postcard (our entire family 'heart' Andy Riley's Bunnie Suicide cartoons) picked out by Erin because she thought it would be perfect considering her father's recent travel adventures.  The lesson?  It now costs THIRTY TWO CENTS to send a postcard? (Color me clueless, but I guess it's been a while since I visited one of those austere institutions)

Lesson #2 - When you only have 10 cent stamps and then run into the post office to get 2 cent stamps so you can apply the proper amount of postage required... take my word on this... you'll be given some very strange and possibly alarmed looks from your USPS staff and fellow patrons as you mutter obscenities under your breath while you attempt to put FOUR stamps across the top of the postcard... and run out of space. (The good news is that it only takes ONE irate glance to keep ANYONE from laughing at your obvious predicament)

Lesson #3 - Deciding to avoid the same problem again... I bought a book of stamps without really looking at them.  I got home and then realized they did not list the postage amount on the stamp.  Rachel, who happened to be sitting nearby, looked at the stamps when I asked, "How are you supposed to know how much these are worth?"  Rachel then said to me very seriously, "Mom, you can't put a price on 'Freedom'" I looked down at the stamps as Rachel continued, "or Justice, Equality or Liberty."  It kills me sometimes that she can say things like this off the cuff, all the time, with her father's straight face.  I've tried to stop asking either of them a LONG time ago, just where they come up with some of this stuff... but I still find myself sometimes halfway through the question before I realize this question has already been answered (many times) before I just turn and walk away.

06 April 2012

Ponderings From The World of Socks OR Break Out The Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum...

Or both? Yes! That's the ticket! 

For some reason, while I was recuperating (at a far slower rate than I feel is fair), the world of the socks who reside at our house have really, really become fearful at the sound of my walker, cane, or bare feet approaching. Who'd have thunk it?

Maybe it was my idea to end the plight of the refugee sock orphans? All I suggested was that we take a picture of every sock orphan and tape them to the sides of all the laundry hampers and baskets. Like they used to do on milk cartons.  Let's face it. Laundry for 7 means a LOT of hampers and baskets! Then, if no family members were found, we could decide their fates as needed.

Just think of it. A return of pairs. The warm fuzzies of a sock pair reunion. Celebrating by jumping out of a pair of perfectly good hands in tandem... into the basket. Come to think of it and the laws of physics... I surely hope I remembered to put fabric softener in the wash because the static electricity buildup caused by the friction of flying through the air could have rather shocking consequences.

Perhaps a sock dating service might help unite lonely socks.  A sock wedding would be a fine sight to see, don't you think? I can hear the couple now, "I knew from the first minute we were packaged together that we were meant to be." Can socks be born as a single or in triplets?

And what about 'toe socks'? By definition, they seem to be a little more possessive of my toes than I am comfortable with.  I MUST look for the silver lining here (that is, after all, the purpose of this blog).  If one has to wear toe socks, at least they won't have to worry about toe jam.  I guess it could be said that toe socks leave one's foot digits immaculately clean. No toe jam in THAT pair.

I'm getting off topic here, so to help keep things rolling in a somewhat linear pattern perhaps we could have a sing-a-long? Something like Sesame Street's song, "One of these socks is not like the others?" No? OK. Moving right along.

What about pairs of socks that LIKE to be different? I never thought about sock discrimination before.  It's not my cup of tea (unless my laundry hasn't been done in way too long), but now that I think about it? Socks all over the world should be set free to be who and what they are. Whether they are striped, polka dot, colorful, tidy whitey, left, right, long, short, silk, cotton, wool. Even a polyester blend.  Outdoorsy types and socialite types.  Therapeutic types. Tennis, running, walking or hiking socks are ok too.

Just so I don't seem too 'goody, goody', I must admit that I believe that socks stained beyond public display should be immediately removed from the family Escutcheon. 

It also has crossed my mind when I am about to throw some socks into our trash compactor, that I truly do have the necessary equipment to become the death camp command of orphan socks. Those socks not claimed within the prescribed time limit, will be terminated in our house.  

In this house, I'm all for the sound of the gavel, "Going once, going twice... gone... to that nice young trash compactor over there."

There are, however, a few necessary exceptions to this 'pair' rule.  Christmas stockings (although it would be nice to get twice as many stocking goodies).  The Rocky Balboa of socks... a sock full of pennies (for self defense).  For use as golf club protectors (although there really is no 'status' in that).  Sock puppets, but only if their facial and body reconstruction is done by trained and licensed professional sock puppet . A long single sock makes a great tail when you are two or three years old. A sock of ice instead of that expensive piece of steak. And let's not forget sock fights. What about 'holey' socks? Well I guess if they could survive the surgery, stitches and perhaps are blessed, we could take them out only on Sundays.

Still, I sleep and dream of a troupe of laundry baskets, all in formation.  Now if I could only figure out how to command them to actually pick up all the dirty clothes, sheets, towels and transport them to the wash staging area where they automatically sort, load washer, apply the correct amount of cleaning agents, then when ready, they dry, fold and put away all of the aforesaid laundry. The next day could be even better, only with the dishes.  Another wonderful lather, rinse, repeat day...

QOTD: "The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another's, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises." ~ Leo Buscaglia

14 February 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Especially for my husband... who typed and posted my last post.  I was obviously feeling no pain.  :)  I remember thinking of all the skill sets my kids were learning while I was in the hospital but it doesn't really look like I was compos mentis at the time.

Currently recovering from some complications, but doing well.  Since my husband is also getting ready for another deployment to the sandbox, I thought I'd note that for a while I will be recovering (then comes the PT to get me back on my feet) and the rest of my time is solely my family's.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine's Day!