One of the ladies brought a project using the paint sample cards from the hardware store. I've seen them used before, but had forgotten about it. I think I'll be trying something like that for convention swaps. I gave the card away before I got a photo, but it was really cute. Great to have club members that share like that!
As I was writing my "What I Learned on the Farm" blog entry, I received an excited e-mail from Mom. Apparently, her chicken is a new mother. Mom's urban front yard is now officially a barnyard. Congratulations Momma Chicken!
Note to Mom: I will not refer to these new "babies" as my brothers and sisters. Nor will I be knitting baby sweaters for chicks...that's just going too far!
Mom and I have been talking about going to our family reunion in Texas this summer. It doesn’t look like we’re going to make it this year, but the discussion has brought back a lot of old memories of visiting my Grandaddy’s farm in west Texas. For a kid from urban Arkansas, the farm was the coolest place on earth to visit. Not only did my Granddaddy get up before dawn to take me to Dairy Queen for an ice cream breakfast (as long as I didn’t tell my mom or my little brother), but he actually owned chickens and cows! These were mythical creatures only read about in nursery rhymes and at my Grandaddy’s farm, I could walk right up and touch them if I felt brave enough (I rarely did). Coincidentally, Granddaddy also had a whole herd of miniature bull terriers, a super climbing tree and an endless parade of horny toads for us to chase around the yard. It really was a magical place.
One of my most vivid memories of the farm happened when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Grandaddy loaded the kids into the back of his pick-up (with no seatbelts, y’all!) and drove us out to the pasture to “help” feed the cows. It so happened that one of my step-cousins of about the same age was also visiting that farm that day and he tagged along with my brother and I. I don’t remember the kid’s name, but he was full of mischief and he was a boy which meant I didn’t care for him much. In my mental picture, he has a Dennis the Menace cowlick, but I’m pretty certain that’s an exaggeration that my imagination has cooked up over the years. Nevertheless, I’ll call him Dennis for this story’s sake.
As the three of us bounced around the truck bed between large bags of feed, a discussion began about what cows eat. None of us were really sure. I glared at LB (4 or 5 at the time) and insisted that cows, most definitely, eat people. I don’t think he bought it, but he scooted closer to Dennis, just the same (perhaps hoping the cows might devour the larger meal rather than nibbling on a little morsel like himself). Anyway, Dennis smugly pointed out that the cows ate the food contained in the very bags we lounged against. Once we got to the pasture, I keenly noted that the cows did, indeed, seem to enjoy the mere presence of the bags as my Granddaddy unloaded them. The question then became, “What’s in the bag?” While we waited for the chore to be completed, I tore open a small corner of one of the bags and pulled out a small chunk of hard brown feed....sort of like a power bar for cows.
We marveled at the food for a while before Dennis finally took it from my hand and broke it in two , “I’ll eat half if you eat half” he sneered. I was never the type of kid curious enough to taste the dog’s food. The food was his and in his bowl and that always seemed ok with me. I’ll admit that face-to-face with this snot-nosed, dirty, Texas, know-it-all, redneck boy made me consider his proposition. I dismissed him by sticking out my tongue and declared that he should eat his first. As boys always do, he responded by mercilessly taunting me. I was too scared...or I was just a girl...or I was a cow, so I shouldn’t be afraid to eat cow food. You get the idea. It wasn’t long before little LB was in on Dennis’ fun too. Finally, I got so annoyed and stubborn and angry...and all those other things that I’m prone to do in such situations. I scooped up a fresh log of Bovine Bar and I promptly ate the whole thing. I am still ignorant as to what cows really eat and what was really in those bars, but I can tell you that I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be manure with a little straw and hay mixed in for fiber regularity. I resisted the urge to spit. I resisted the urge to make faces and I resisted the urge to cry. Then I very calmly turned to the shocked boys and asked for another. They just stared at me. Just to add a little flare to my victory I let out a loud “MOOOO” that would make any Bessie proud. Dennis jumped right out of that truck and ran off to tattle to my Granddaddy. To this day, I am probably still known as the weird step-cousin who ate an entire bag of cow feed (I’m assuming his imagination has also exaggerated over the years). Still, I was so proud of self-righteous, defiant stunt.
A girl can learn a lot about herself on her Granddaddy’s farm. I learned that I can do anything I set my mind to when my pride is on the line. I also learned that boys really do drool and girls really do rule. This, my friends, is why I must ride 25 miles in the Tour de Cure. Oh sure, it’s a great cause and Mom deserves it, etc. etc. But the truth is my pride will not let me fail. PK doesn’t think I’ll make it and that he’ll beat me to my fundraising goal. My friends all smile, but they look skeptical too. But they don’t know the Cow Chow story. It's all about a little dignity, y'all. I can eat a cow's lunch and I will make it 25 miles. I may even stick out my tongue as I cross the finish if I have enough energy left to do it!
My baby niece was baptized this past weekend. So, I guess that makes her official. Anyway, as a gift, I created a 8x8 scrapbook to commemorate the day. I'll share the photos of the pages, but you really can't get the full effect unless you can picture them with photos of a beautiful baby girl and her not-quite-as-beautiful Godmother.
I only speak a little French, but I'm pretty certain that "Tour de Cure" is French for "Insanely Long Bike Ride". I usually avoid all physical activity that might be considered "exercise". Afterall, I have a car....why would I even own a bike? OK, confession time, I actually didn't even learn to ride a bike until I was adult....and a parent. In fact, PK taught insisted that I learn when we first got married and I was still in that phase of a marriage where you actually care about what your spouse thinks. So I made myself look like an idiot at a southern California beach as a wobbled down the sidewalk screaming for PK not to let go of the seat. I even asked for training wheels, which PK wisely denied.
Despite my obvious hatred of all things healthy, I've decided that this is something I should do. Tour de Cure is a benefit bike ride for the American Diabetes Association, which researches prevention and cure methods for diabetes. For those who don't know, Mom has been living with diabetes for almost 20 years. Over the years I've watched her give herself shots every day...multiple times. She gets tired and worn out easily and has to watch her chocolate-intake (if that doesn't make you feel sympathy for her plight, I don't know what will). Anyway, she never complains and she never feels sorry for herself. She just does what she has to do. I've never told her how proud I am of her. I have a hard time watching her live with the disease. I definitely don't think that I could be so gracious in her situation. She's an amazing, beautiful person and she's my best friend. So, I've decided that if she can stick herself in the stomach with a needle 2 or 3 times every day for the rest of her life, then surely I can ride 25 miles on a bicycle to raise money for research that could cure her someday....at least I hope I can ride 25 miles.
PK is also participating and just one-up me, he'll be making the 50 mile ride. We've set a goal to raise $150 each (for a total donation of $300). Not that it's a competition, but I sure would love y'all to help me reach my goal before he does. See this previous post to better understand the "non-competitive" nature of our marriage. So, in the interest of preserving the delicate balance of our relationship (and also in the interest of helping the cause), I hope you'll consider making a donation on my behalf. Click the icon below to get to my donation site and thanks!
Snirt(n.) [snurt] A gray-brown mixture consisting of dirt and melting snow immediately formed following a fresh snow in any metropolitan area. The presence of snirt may indicate the beginning of spring. However, prolonged exposure may induce despondency and depression among the population.
Today, PK and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. It sure doesn't seem like 10 years....at least it doesn't seem like it until I look at our old photos and see myself with no gray hair and 30 pounds lighter.
We were going to celebrate by going to our weekly Russian class, but the snow has detoured our plans and now we'll probably be stuck in all night. I missed last week's class because I was sick. So far, I have really enjoyed the class, but I don't think I'll be a fluent speaker anytime soon. PK, on the other hand, seems to have really taken to the material and studies quite a bit more than me. He's getting pretty good...at least as far as I can tell. I'll just muddle through. Afterall, he suffered through ballroom dance lessons with no rhythm and two left feet. It's only fair that he gets to be better at something....it's not like it happens very often or anything. Not that our marriage is competitive, but I do feel obliged to point out that I soundly defeated him at laser tag last weekend.....just for those who are keeping score here. So what if he can say "Excuse me, do you have the time?" on the streets of Moscow. I can hunt him down in the dark and shoot him with a laser pointer....I rest my case.
And that, my friends, is the key to our happy marriage.....I am always better than he is. OK, OK, he's pretty cute too....and a great kisser....and he brings me chocolate....and he always at least pretends to appreciate my craft projects....etc., etc. OK, fine, I can admit it.....the truth is, the secret to our happy marriage is that he puts up with me.