Sunday, May 29, 2011

To Make Children in the Crockpot

       As much as I need to get going on that paint job in my bathroom,   one must have their morning tea, right?  I have already made my bed, skimmed and back flushed the pool, taken out the garbage and started the dishwasher I left holding all the days dirty dishes last night - without even so much as a rinse!
         I started a blog about something (can’t remember what), before going to North Dakota.  Skimming through my documents I ran across “To Make Children in the Crockpot”.  Well, that’s what I read…what it really was, is just something I jotted down for Sydney, which said To Make Chicken in the Crockpot.  She wanted to make chicken in the crockpot while I was gone and she hadn’t used a crockpot much. The perceived title did make me think about raising children in a crockpot however….stay with me on this now, ha.
        Far be it from me to tell anyone how to raise their kids, I’m far from perfect myself.  I, like most Moms, have my moments of excellence- true genius even…and then I have my moments of insecurity and the need to be in control, which leads to rage. Only Kerry and the kids know I am a rager…even my sisters say, “I have never really seen you mad like you describe”. All I can say is, "it’s there"! Probably has happened ten or twenty times in my life but it happens.
Who could get mad at that lil face?
          It takes a lot to push me to the brink of insanity, well in a raging kind of way anyway, but when I pass go there is no return! One of the first times, I can think of is when Brendon had a big wheel or a hot wheel as some call it.  We lived in Berthold, ND. and on the only paved road leading into town from the east. Brendon was five years old and I told him he could only ride that big wheel in the drive way, ABSOLUTELY COULD NOT RIDE IT ON THAT PAVED ROAD!  I didn’t really clarify why as I had harped about that road since he was born with healthy ears!
          About ten minutes later and the first time I saw him peddling his little legs off on the highway out front I thought I was seeing things, so I went out there, stayed calm and explained that even if you don’t see any cars at the time of pulling on the road, the clacking that was part of the big wheel experience, would not allow you to hear any cars that would come up behind you, and you’d could be killed! Cars are not expecting big wheels on the highway!  I love you too much to allow you to be on that road- so you must stay in the driveway. Sitting there, hands up high on the handlebars, wheel turned a little to the side ready to go,  with just his pajama top with shorts on; he looked at me, big brown eyes peeking through his needing a trim, seventies “cuff cut” and said, “OOOKKK, Mom, I WON'T”! 
          Guess I thought that was, ok Mom I won’t go on the highway, but I was wrong, because there he went again out on the highway!   I opened the front door and reminded him to get back in the driveway and he sheepishly clacked it on in. 
          Couple minutes later, I thought I saw my first apparition, cuz I swore that was Brendon, flying past, peddling his little legs off out on the highway again!  Now I was mad, not raging yet, but mad.  I opened the door and bellered, “get that thing in the driveway or you will park it”! He yelled back, “Sorry Mom, I forgot”!  I thought, sure you did and shut the door, after all I’m not cooling off the outside (Ethel resides in my head).
           This time I watched him from the bedroom window.  He drove to the edge of the driveway, looked both ways for traffic,  looked back at the door where I had been keeping check from. Not seeing me there, front wheel grabbing for traction, he roared out into the street clacking all the way.  Oooohh…NOW THE RAGE KICKED IN! I grabbed a wooden spoon; you know the three for 99 cent kind, that scared the crap out of kids in the seventies… just by rattling the drawer! You only had to use it once or twice, and after that shaking the drawer was enough to do what the spanking would have.
          I stormed out to that highway like a wild charging boar, screaming the whole way! I was screeching something like "you forgot alright", grounded him for probably three months or something crazy, said I was taking away everything I could think of that meant anything too him, jerked him off of that hot cycle by one arm, cracked him on the behind with that wooden spoon screaming, "forget that will you! He took off running toward the house. I’m sure I was putting on an entertaining act for the neighborhood, but I’d past go with no return when it came to sanity.  I screamed and hollered the whole way to the house and he was crying, sobbing and tripping. As he scampered through the walk in garage door, in my rage I decided to give him one more crack for good measure.  Thank you God, because I missed his butt and hit the side of the door, breaking the spoon! I looked at the stick in my hand with the sharp jagged edges, picked up the head of the spoon, and muttered something about a cheap _ _ _  spoon!
           Heartbroken and angry, he went inside and flopped himself on his bugs bunny bed with all the Looney tunes characters I’d lovingly painted on his wall in his room around him.  I sat down in the living room and cried, letting what just happened soak in.  That pretty much ended the wooden spoon thing for me. Oh I still rattled the drawer on occasion, but the moment that stick broke I knew I was spanking for me,  it was out of control and did I really want to be a big looming threat in their lives and someone you had to be scared of to listen?  I never got spanked by my mother and I turned out ok I reasoned…
           I went in his room and apologized for getting THAT mad, gave him back the stuff I took away in my rage ( ya bad idea too, but where was Dr. Phil when I needed him). I told him I loved him more than anything, and I wanted to be able to trust him to ride that darn thing safely. The cycle stayed parked as the only punishment until the next time we went to Grandmas.  The big wheel went with and stayed there at the farm…he could clack till he was blue in the face, she had a hill he could ride down and we were both happier. All that is except Grandma, who worried he'd loose control and crash into the propane pig in her yard!  
           I'm still a rager on occassion, but it takes more energy than I care to expend these days ha...  Brendon teases me still about when he was in high school, and he pushed my buttons until I backed him in the corner with a broom to hold him in place till I got done chewing him out for something. Didn’t hit him - just threatened to stick the bristles in his face!
           So the idea of raising children in a crockpot could be a gentler, slower simmering pace. I think if I had to do it over again I would work harder at that approach.  I could still turn up the heat to near boiling if I had too, but not to where it’s overflowing and running over and making a mess of things. I have hurt my kids emotionally when I raged around and we laugh about it now yes, but it’s really not so funny.  Some people today hurt their kids by never taking a stand either and just letting them be the rulers in the family. That’s just as bad.
         So I say, put in your crockpot enough children to make your family complete. Pour emotional love, friendship, acceptance, understanding for what their world is like, fair discipline, physical needs and a handful of wants as well, over the top of them. Add to that a lot of fun and experiences, forming a colorful family stew of sorts, made up of all the different personalities and accepting them all. Simmer that all together. If you hit rough spots, you may need to turn up the heat until the mixture stabilizes.  Cook for a lifetime, never give up on each other, parents or children, and be sure to enjoy and appreciate each other along the way.
Brendon sleeping on his Looney Tune bedspread and favorite white blanket!


Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Soundtrack of My Life

               Music.  I’ve heard it said music is the soundtrack to your life. What music would you choose to make the soundtrack of your life?  My first memories of music were of Mom playing the guitar. She got her guitar from her brother Julius for her 17th birthday, and like so many others in her family, playing an instrument and singing seemed effortless.  Mom had probably six to ten, brown note books full of song lyrics, neatly written by her hand. When she was sure Dad was not coming in the house for a while,  Mom would take out her guitar and we’d page through the songs and eagerly find our requests.  I remember singing  the Old Rugged Cross, You are My Sunshine, Have I Told You Lately that I Love You, Don’t Pop and I’ll Be Good, At Mail Call Today, and I Just Don’t Give a Hoot!
Kathy and Me Cutting the Rug ha..

             When Marcy and Sonny were in high school, Kathy and I were preschoolers. Marcy taught us all the latest fifties dances, like the stroll (love that one), the hully gully, the hand jive, and our very favorite, the bop. During that time, I won a little record player at a Rexall drug store contest.  Marcy and Sonny picked out the music for me. I loved that little gold and white record player with the furry grey turn table.  I still have the 45 records of Elvis,  Buddy Holly and the Drifters. Those old 45's have two songs on each side.

               During  grade school, my Dad liked Buck Owens. I idolized my Dad, so I too loved Buck Owens - in spite of the filthy talking boy in school that I wrote about last time, taking the B out of Buck and changing it to an F.  It never stopped me from  focusing  on the wonderful memories that were made, two stepping around the living room with my Dad,  trying to dodge, but still bumping into Mom and Kathy two stepping beside us.  Lots of two steps to Open up Your Heart, Under  Your Spell and Sam’s Place. After three or four dances we’d take a rest.

          Then Kathy and I fell in love with THE MONKEES!  I loved Davey Jones and Kathy loved Mickey Dolenze. We skipped the Beatles, and went for the Monkees and Herman’s Hermits (Brendon got Kerry and I tickets to Herman’s Hermits a couple years ago and they were awesome btw!)
               In high school I loved Lobo, the Bee Gees, Bj Thomas, Johnny Rivers, Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Denver, and Top 40 radio.  A whole string of one hit wonder songs like Precious and Few fit on that list somewhere too!

               In my twenties, disco came in and I checked out …I still hate disco! I switched to country music or I loved The Gullings Sisters, who had a ministry based out of Minnesota, and sang at our church when they were in the area. I had all their albums and loved their music!  Shelbey’s gospel CD has a lot of Gullings music on it, which she redid with Dave Roise in Minot ND. 
         We did and do clean house with the radio blasting and take frequent dance breaks!  Back then we listened to The Judds, John Anderson, Joe Diffie , Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Martina McBride, Lori Morgan, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Diamond Rio to name a few. 

              After Sydney was born we girls started making long trips to and from Branson, Mo when Shelbey worked and lived there. I was still into country music and Sydney was now into Simple Plan and Good Charlotte type stuff. To be fair we played one of her CD’s and then one of mine. So it would go something like Dwight Yoakum, Simple Plan, Doug Stone, Good Charlotte, Garth brooks, Savage Garden, Tim McGraw, Britney Spears, The Mavericks, and Backstreet Boys etc.
                Then came the long drives from Minot to Phoenix and back. Country music had become all about Brooks and Dunn(yuk), Gretchen Wilson (yuk), Josh Turner(yuk)….so I switched to Sydney’s music for good.  Today I listen to mostly top forty pop radio stuff and old country.  I really like Garth Brooks, Jason Derulo, Carrie Underwood, The Black Eyed Peas, Kelly Clarkson, Enrique Iglesis, Rhianna, Rob Thomas,…I dunno… whatever I think sounds good!  I like some country now again too. Taylor Swift’s last album sounded good to me, although I think her real talent is songwriting… they can produce her so she sounds good.

           My Soundtrack goes like this (I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few, I should have included, so i may be adding to this yet ha).  
                Every day by Buddy Holly……five or six years old and my new record player.
                What a Friend We Have In Dad's funeral
                This Magic Moment by Jay and The Americans ….8th grade.
                Children of the Heavenly Father…a choir song I sang alto to and Kathy melody
                Do Lord Oh Do Lord…driving Marcy and Jerry nuts with it in the back seat on a Canadian road trip.  
              The Crystal Chandalier  …Kelly Moore used to bring his Charlie Pride albums out to the  farm.
               Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow…my favorite Monkees song
               Billy and Sue by  Bj Thomas……. high school dances in the gym my freshman year
                Baby I’m-a Want You by Bread….my first boyfriend
                Wild Thing by The Troggs……..wishing I was something I wasn’t.
                Runaround Sue by Dion….the song they gave me in the high school yearbook.
                 Precious and Few by Climax….a prom in Plaza I was invited to.
                 Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow by the Chiffons…I played this on my guitar endlessly. 
                 Maggie May by Rod Stewart…seeing Kerry driving down main street in Stanley with that song blasting, with his shoulder length hair
                Behind Closed Doors by Charlie Rich….Kerry and My song…1973
  Delta Dawn by Tanya Tucker….the only time I ever saw Lori (Kerry’s sister drunk, she sang that all the way home    from the state line club.

  Take Me Home Country Roads... my brothers funeral
 Baby’s Got Back by Sir Mix A Lot…I confiscated Brendon’s tapes of that “immoral music” !
Wild Angels by Martina McBride…Shelbey and I singing on a trip home from Bismarck!
Hungry Eyes by Eric Carmen…Dirty Dancing my all-time favorite movie
That’s What I like Dance Mix ….Sydney danced her way all over ND one summer, when she was only ten. She earned $600. in Jr. Division amateur contests at state and county fairs.
Now and Forever by Richard Marx …Brendon and his very first girlfriend
Holiday Road by Lindsey Buckingham…our vacation song we always sang in the car
Unchained Melody by Shelbey Picek…her first CD, so proud of her
            Mambo Italiano – Sydneys'  high school dance they performed for State, loved watching it
              One Friend by Dan Seals…Our 25th Anniversary
              If I Never Stop Loving You by David Kersh…Our 25thAnniversary first dance choice Kerry picked it
              In the Garden…Mom’s funeral
              I Will Be There by Shelbey Picek.. sang at her wedding
              Writing It Down by Uncle Kracker…worrying about Brendon
              Transform Ya by Lil Wayne…the last few years in Phoenix
              Telephone by Lady Gaga … concert with Sydney
              River of Time by the Judds …seeing the Judds with Shelbey
             Don’t You Wanna Stay by Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean or Think of You by 
Chris Young and Cassadee Pope my favorites right now.
         Music does so much for us. I have said many, many times to many people, “ I don’t know how I would have survived life, without music”. For me, music is wellness, healing, sanctuary, escape, comfort, distraction, encouragement, passion, transportation to days gone by and defineatly a staple for a sparkling life! Nothing is more intriguing than a cleaverly written lyric. I will rewind and listen to that one sentence several times, play it for anyone who will listen, amazed by,  how did they think of that? 
       You don’t have to be a musician to appreciate great music.  Music is an art that you can relate even if you don't have the creativity or ability to create it yourself. I declare that tear-jerkers, foot-tappers, rock and roll, country, rap or gospel ; some kind of music lives in everybody. What does the soundtrack to your life sound like?