Friday, December 31, 2010

Lottery Christmas Love

Finally getting to that story I mentioned a week or so ago...  I figured I'd like to leave you with a little gem while I'm away getting some sun.

We don't indulge in lottery playing much around here.  What with my husband being in the business of statistical analysis and all, we tend towards the belief that lottery tickets are a voluntary tax on those who are bad at math.  However, once in while even something like a lottery ticket can be a positive force.
Recently, my husband and I were at our weekly bowling league.  It was the night of our bowling Christmas party.  This party consists of people bringing snacks to munch on between turns at bowling and everybody bringing a small $10 or less gift to exchange.  You don't get to take a gift from the gift exchange until you bowl a strike.  Naturally, this results in the gifts with the most appealing appearance being chosen first.
This year there was the usual mix of candy, booze and silly Christmas decorations.  As the evening wore on and the pile of gifts disappeared, there came a moment when one last person finally got his strike.  However, there seemed to be no gifts left.  But no, there was something left there on the counter-  a plain white envelope, with 10 lottery scratch tickets in it.
The person who got this last gift was exactly who you might have guessed would be the last to bowl a strike and get to choose a present.  He's a middle aged guy who doesn't bowl real well.  He actually gets dropped off and picked up by his parents because he is somewhat impaired.  He lives in a trailer on his parents property.
He took his envelope and went quietly off to a corner to scratch his lottery tickets. 
He came back with the BIGGEST SMILE on his face!  "I just won $100", he said, with much gusto!  Then he proceeded to give us the play by play.  He ended up winning on the last two tickets.  The 9th ticket was the $100 winner and he got an extra $2 on the last ticket.
Nobody could believe it.  We were all just so happy for him.  Nobody else would have been as excited as he was about winning this $100.  It just wouldn't have meant as much to anybody else.  That money ended up exactly where it was supposed to.
He really wanted to thank the person who had put the lottery tickets into the gift pile, but nobody would fess up.  Of course a few of us were able to figure out who it was, but nobody told.  It was obvious that they really wanted to just remain quiet about it.  It was like the person who bought the tickets got a gift just by seeing this guy's reaction and that was more than enough thanks in itself.
The guy who won the money really wanted to spend some of it on something special for his Mom.  He mentioned that he would like to get something like the stuffed snowman that I had gotten in the exchange, because his mother collects snowmen.  He really wanted something to give her when she came to pick him up as a way of sharing his good fortune.  I was more than happy to give it to him.  It was a privilege to be a part of such a good moment for him and a sign of all the beauty that was to come for me this holiday season.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Little Holiday Sharing

Yes, I must admit again how much more difficult it has been than I had imagined it would be to try to fit in some blogging during this holiday season.  But for all the right reasons.....
So much fun and frivolity, a truly enjoyable Christmas this year.  What an absolute gift.
And all of you that read and especially those that respond to what I have to say here are a fabulous gift as well.  So for that I say a heartfelt THANK YOU!  And I offer up a couple of photos that tell some of the story of how things have been for me this Christmas time:

The beauty of taking the time to use the good china and crystal.  Not because I feel I need to.  Instead, because I get to show my loved ones how special they are to me and how
much I feel they deserve to enjoy the best I have to offer.

A father and son.  Reunited.  Finally. 

This holiday season I have been shown again the important lesson that imperfect relationships are beautiful in their own right.  That the love we show to one another through the patience and tenacity we have as humans preserves that which we deem as necessary to our very existence.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Happy Chaos

Just a quick update.  I have been caught up in the festivities, but I am still alive.
We are baking, wrapping, light looking, Santa visiting, and even birthday celebrating our way through a wonderful holiday this year.  Today my nephew is 9 years old!
Things are so much better for him than they were last year.
I will hopefully get a chance to post a lovely story for the season in the next few nights (,after my nephew has gone to bed.)  In the meantime, just know that I am grateful to be enjoying such a happy chaos this year!
Happy Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Party Musings

As a new blogger, this is my first go round at fitting this blogging thing into the holiday season.  I admit I have not been doing a great job.  Your patience with me is soooo appreciated. 

With that said, I will treat you to some pointers I picked up from a little shindig that I attended this past Saturday night. 

1)  It's never a good sign when the laughing Santa face on the door sounds mysteriously like Freddy Kruger...

2)  Your 10 year old belting out Christmas carols is entertainment enough.  She's not required to circulate the entire party for the 15 minutes between performances loudly announcing when her next 'show' is going to start. 

3)  Low fat, no taste food resembling cardboard will NOT get eaten, especially when little old ladies keep bringing the good stuff.
4)  If you're gonna' make us play games, there had better be prizes involved.

5)  Having Asian friends and then spouting 'Oh good, our Asian friends are here' doesn't make you politically correct in any way, shape or form.

6)  Any guest who feels the urge to breastfeed her child, WAY TOO NEARLY COMPLETELY TOPLESS, parked right in the center of the room, next to the lovely bedazzled and festooned Christmas tree should probably bedazzle and festoon herself as well.  That way, people wouldn't be as apt to keep making those funny u-turns right back out of the room.

The party goers, including us, had a great time in spite of the weirdness.  The holiday season honestly is somehow magical and there's nothing better than a true, good, hearty laugh.  Myself, I hadn't laughed that hard in a really long time. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Miracles

Many of you have followed my family drama with considerable understanding and care.  I so appreciate your thoughts and I know I have felt the effects of your prayers.  While I do not intend to use this blog as a pity party, I also realize that dealing with my family is part of my personal growth process.  Hence, when stuff comes up, I must deal with it as part of what brings me to where I am going.  Figuratively and literally.  That being said, today's post is a good example of what I mean.

Along with much of the baggage that I have dropped over this past year, I seem to have found new eyes and a new heart for so many things in my life.  And the Christmas season seems to be the epitome of this phenomenon for me. 
A few days ago, I got a phone call from my nephew's father.  He told me that my sister had asked him to come and sign papers to transfer custody.  I was in such shock.  Something I had been wishing for, for so long, was finally coming to pass.  (For those who have not followed this- in a nutshell, my sister is addicted to prescription pain meds. Along with the fact that doing drugs is harmful to the act of raising children, she also got into some deep trouble with how she obtained said drugs, resulting in a coming prison sentence.  She has been fighting logic and not wanting to allow my nephew to live with his father.)  Of course, I couldn't believe this was actually happening so I had to wait until all i's were dotted and t's were crossed before I would even breathe a word of it to anyone.  Now it is official.  My nephew, Nathan, is living with his father- long term.  I am so happy and grateful.  My sister finally did something completely unselfish.  I believe this had to be a difficult decision and I know that somewhere inside she is truly hurting.  I can only hope that the hurt now will result in growth and less pain later.  It is not a good idea for me to contact my sister at this moment so I just want to put it out there in the universe that I love my sister and I thank her for this beautiful gift.
Having some respite from the long battle for my nephew's childhood has certainly added to an overall new ease that has come over me this December.  I have always enjoyed Christmas.  However, it seems to have been in spite of many things, rather than because of them.  My family was always good at presenting a lovely picture.  But holidays meant everything was tinged with anger.  As much as I never meant to take any of that into my own life and the way I celebrate, it is tough to break habits.  No matter how badly you want to.  This year, I have spent time getting reacquainted with old friends.  I have been able to enjoy the Christmas carols without feeling as if they are pushing me too roughly toward an inevitable test of my ability to perform under pressure.  I've done things in an easier way and it feels good.  My sister was right when she reminded me last year that, 'it doesn't have to be perfect'.  Decorating and celebrating have finally become more joyous and less burdensome. 
I'm only sorry that the time is short in a different way.  But maybe it doesn't have to be.  I've made plans to go away to a warm weather place for New Years.  And us uncharacteristic as it is for me, I have not made plans for what I will do or see when I get there.  I may actually be able to keep a bit of what Christmas is supposed to be all about, to share with my future.  I have made the connection in a real way this year, that you can't rely on others for your own happiness.  Sure, I always knew this rationally.  But those darn habits brought on by family ties have rarely led me to any sort of rational place.  And I have to admit that holidays can be an especially tough time to stop the cycle, no matter how good I am at living well in other aspects of my life.  Now I really know that Mom wasn't unhappy because I wasn't good enough and I really never had the ability to save my sister from herself.  People have to make their own happiness.  And this year, I'm not faking it.  That is no small miracle.

Friday, December 3, 2010

7 Things You Don't Already Know About Me

If you're reading this and wondering why it seems like you came in on a blog posting already in progress, it's because you have...
Robin of  YOUR DAILY DOSE gave me this here award: 

and I awarded it to 7 others yesterday.  (Check my previous post to see if you are one of them.)  Now I need to get on with the 7 things that I haven't already spilled about myself.  I wanted to try to tell things that say more than meets the eye about me.  Let's see how I do....

1)  My house is the most lit up with Christmas lights on the cul-de-sac.  I'm not a very competitive person, so it's not about that.  I did enjoy the fact that nobody else was really doing it when I moved into this house 8 years ago, so I got to be the instigator.  I've even been known to add an extra long extension chord and throw some lights on a neighbors shrub just for fun.

2)  I am a mediocre trumpet player.  I am still actively playing in a local group.  I started out in the fifth grade playing the flute.  I was really good at the flute, sat first chair and everything.  But the flute wasn't really me.  I wanted to be in the jazz band and the jokes were better in the back.  So I guess I'm sayin' I'd rather have a good time doing something I'm just average at than excel at something that doesn't speak to my soul.

3)  I was a preschool teacher for 8 years.  I taught typically developing kids, and then special ed. for the last two years of my 8.  Preschoolers rock because they don't know anything about what they're not supposed to know or do yet.

4)  I met my husband on the Internet.  Way before people did that sort of thing- back in 1995.  We were both in college, on opposite coasts, avoiding homework.

5)  I love shoes.  I really, really love shoes, especially open-toed snazzy little numbers that remind me of something Dolly Parton would wear.  I also have a thing for cute tennis shoes.  In this current down economy I am down to a mere 60 or so pairs!

6)  I truly enjoy hand guns.  I am a very good shot.  Yet another reason I belong in Texas.

7)  I plan to get a pilot's license within the next few years.  Both of my grandfather's were/are recreational pilots.  Flying a plane is one of those things that makes me feel free.  As my husband finishes up his testing for his chosen career, that will hopefully lead to the financial means that will make flying on a regular basis a reality for me.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First Award And I'm Already Gonna Cheat...

Robin, over at YOUR DAILY DOSE saw fit to give me this:

Now it is up to me to bestow it onto 7 others.  Then I have to give those who read my blog 7 new tidbits about me that I haven't shared before.  Oh and dazzle the giver, Robin, back- which is easy to do as she's super cool. 

Robin looks at things in all sorts of unique ways.  She writes about her life and her BIG IDEA and weaves in some fun and her own brand of wisdom while she's at it.  Robin was one of the people who inspired me to start the blog that you are now reading.  I would often read her and so badly want to join in. So basically without her (and a few others), there would be no 'A Yellow Rose Of Texas'.  Robin loves 80's music and fun TV and likes to share insights, often using video to do so.  I only wish that I could write as prolifically as Robin, and have her knack to make that writing be meaningful in some way.   Robin was nice enough to comment on everything I wrote when I got started a couple of months ago.  I can't thank her enough for her support in this whole blogging thing.

Now, on to the 7 new recipients of the 'Stylish Blogger Award'.  

1) The Big Fat Gini Blog   Gini is funny and she really lets it all hang out.  I like her 'cuz she's from Texas and reminds me of what made me want to move there in the first place.

2) Loretta's Journey From 460 to 199...One Good Choice At A Time   Loretta has an awesome heart and she knows how to read my heart as well.  She is a fabulous artist and her weight loss journey is pretty amazing too. 

3) Faith, Love, Kids and Me  Amber is a real family woman.  She makes living at her house sound like all kinds of family bliss.  Good, real, chaotic fun going on over there.

4) The Southern Girl Gang Chronicles  Candance, Leiah, Aunt Crazy and Michelle make up a tour de force of Southern Charm mixed with some good old fashioned inappropriateness.  Makes me wish I was born below the Mason Dixon line, just so I could be as cool as all this.

5) Middle Passages  Liza is a real life writer.  She's published and everything.  She's also just real.  Which I like.  'Nuff said.

6) Life In Texas/ Wonder Walking  Krista knows how to live in the moment.  She is someone who also made a move to Texas, so I can relate.  She also touches on many topics I don't relate to, so I learn stuff.

7) A Deliberate Life  Christine gets hit with the award stick pretty often, so this is where the cheating comes in.  I'm gonna exempt her from actually having to do anything with it, other than accept it.  Christine is a weight loss blogger turned 'life liver extraordinaire'.  It's good stuff over there- read her.

Now for the second aspect of the cheating I'm doing with this here award.  I will be posting my 7 things you don't know about me tomorrow.  Thanks for being patient.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Perspective

I got that call I was waiting for, on Monday afternoon.  The prosecutor called to let me know the outcome of my mother's sentencing hearing for her felony domestic violence assault conviction. 
The results in rational terms: 6 months in jail, 88 hours of community service, 3 years of probation, various fines, will never be eligible to work with kids, the elderly, etc.  She must pay for counseling for the minor child that witnessed her behavior until he is 18.  She must have a psychological exam and pay for and stay current with any treatment that is prescribed. 
The emotional toll: I had pretty much prepared myself for the guilt and sorrow that I knew would come.  What I never saw coming was the anger and disgust.  The prosecutor took the time to go over the whole hearing with me, line by line.  She felt that I needed to know what had happened because she wants to be sure that I get through the reality of just how bad my mother's mental issues are and how that still might effect me.  I have to say that this prosecutor has been so good to me.  She has taken extra time and energy to truly help me through this.  One particular issue that has cropped up in the past that involves me is that my mother sometimes believes that she is me.  She has even been known to commit petty crime and give my name.  Apparently, the hearing had to be stopped twice so that things could be clarified for my mother.  She felt that the papers that the judge was reading, that I had sent in, were all just things that I meant to say about my sister, not her.  Then she said, "that's O.K.  I understand because I used to be her."  My mother honestly believes that she groomed me so well that I am not capable of saying anything negative about her, that everything I wrote was meant to be directed at my sister.  She is also still convinced that we are the same person.  She has spoken many times about how she used to be me and she is not speaking metaphorically.  My mother means that we are one and the same person, as if I am some part that has broken away and needs to be reined in. 
If you are not totally weirded out at this point, then I'm sure you are starting to get why this is so hurtful.  It's as if no matter what I ever do, I will never truly be my own person in my mother's eyes.  She will never get to see who I have become.  She will never enjoy me as her daughter.  My personality, my emotions, my thoughts are an affront to her.  If anything unique and apart from her is seen in me, it is a problem meant to be squashed.  I knew this was an issue, but had secretly hoped that one day things would change.  The prosecutor reminded me that although things could change one day, I need to live my life as if it doesn't matter if they never do.
It took me a couple of days to digest all of this and get to a point that I can live with.  I know my mother needed to be stopped.  I hope that she gets some real help.  I also know that regardless of whatever she does or does not do with her life, mine will go on.  And I will enjoy it.  To the fullest.  I deserve it.  And honestly, especially after some of the things I read on others' blogs, I know that my life is good.  I know I am changing the pattern in my family for the better.  I will continue to look to the positive and refuse to wallow in the past.  My mother may never truly know me.  I will share what I have to offer with everyone in my life and trust that my unique gifts will be accepted and appreciated by those who are meant to receive them. 

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