Sunday, January 02, 2011

Welcome, 2011

Here we go again. Starting a fresh new page on a new calendar. Another year has somehow whizzed right by. Goodbye, 2010, I won't exactly miss you, you were pretty tough. I'm hopeful that 2011 will prove to be better.

I don't really make any resolutions for the new year. It's quite obvious that I can't stick with them. Just look at this blog, and you'll see. So, needless to say, I'm not resolving to do anything. I will just take things as they come and hopefully be better at managing my time to get them done. I will also shed a few pounds, but I'm not starting on one particular day. I'll be more aware of my portion sizes and squeeze in as much exercise as I possibly can.

I will blog in 2011, but I can't promise that I'll do it daily. I'd like to, yes, but it doesn't always happen for me. I've tried and failed at this many times, but looking at the bright side, I am here today! ;) It's a start (re-start?).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Garden progress

I've decided to take a picture of the garden every week. I planted on Saturday, May 29th, so I'll take a pic every Saturday, if possible. I will keep coming back to this post and adding to it to hopefully watch it grow.

May 29, 2010 Planting day:

June 5, 2010 Week 1:

June 12, 2010 Week 2:

June 19, 2010 Week 3:

June 26, 2010- Week 4:

July 3, 2010 Week 5:

July 10, 2010 Week 6:

July 17, 2010 Week 7:

July 25, 2010 Week 8 (plus one day):

July 31, 2010 Week 9:

August 7, 2010 Week 10:

August 14, 2010 Week 11:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Tale of "Jerry Garcia Mousie"

It was a warm July day. Bradley, Corey, Collin, and I decided to take a dip in the pool. We were in the pool for some time, but not long enough to become "pruney". It was to be a quick dip before dinner.

Before long, I decided that we should all get out of the pool and dry off some before heading into the house. If there's one thing that really irritates me, it's having dripping wet kids dripping all over in the house. I also despise wet shorts or swim trunks on a pile in the bathroom. Eeewww!! I told the boys that we'd head up to the house (the pool is at the bottom of a huge hill in our back yard) and we'd just "hang out" for a few minutes before we'd head into the house so that we'd have some time to dry off.

As a rule, the last one out locks the gate and carries the key up to the garage. Today, it was Collin. Corey raced up the hill and ran straight into the house. (ugh) Collin, Bradley, and I took our time and Collin hung the key in the garage. Then, he ran up the steps and went into the house. Brad and I stayed in the garage where it wouldn't matter if the floor got wet.

As we stood there, I noticed something by Dennis air compressor. It was moving! Upon closer inspection (I'm so brave!), I noticed that it was a mouse. A tiny little mouse. A cute little mouse. A tiny, cute, OH MY!!!, it's a tiny, cute, SUFFERING mouse!! As we dripped, we watched the poor little thing struggling to catch his breath. His (every animal is a "he" unless it's a cat) little heart was just about pounding out of his body as he struggled to breath. The poor little thing....well, that's what I said, not Brad, he really didn't care.

We watched the little thing for a minute, at most, when Collin came back down and into the garage. He asked us what we were doing and we showed him the little mouse. He really didn't say too much, but was interested. The animal lover in me was coming out in full force. "Poor little thing" , "Maybe we should get "Dad" so he can end it's suffering", followed by a few more "awwwww's" and my sad face.

It was then, that Collin realized how much of a softy his mom really is. To make me feel better, my sweet little boy told me his thoughts....we should just go upstairs and I should try to forget what I saw. How sweet of my boy! He didn't want me to be sad. If only life were that simple...just walk away and forget.

I then found a dust pan and brush and decided to scoop the little mouse up and I grabbed a shovel to start digging a hole for his burial. I tried several times, in several spots, but I was having no luck. Do you know how hard it is to dig a hole, in rock, while wearing flip flops? The third spot was a little better, but I was still pretty much getting no where fast. :(

As I was trying to dig, we heard Dennis in the garage. He came out and asked us what on earth we were doing. Then, we explained everything and he went in to the garage to see for himself. I told him that he would have to help us out and that we had to end the little thing's suffering. To which he replied, "OK! Who wants to shoot it with the bb gun?" To my astonishment, my sweet little boy, Collin, was the first one to excitedly pipe up with, "I will, I will"!!!

I think my jaw hit the floor? This sweet little boy of mine, just minutes before, was feeling sad and trying to make me feel better, told me that I should just go upstairs and forget about it, was now VOLUNTEERING to be first in line at ending this poor little mousie's life!

After watching me struggle, Dennis laughed and took the shovel from me. He finished digging the little hole and gave me a hard time about having the hole dug before the mouse was even dead. He made a few other remarks, something on the order of me being nuts.

The three men (and I use that term lightly), Dennis, Bradley, and Collin headed into the garage......

I could hear the pumping of the bb gun...... I put my fingers in my ears and proceeded to "la la la" while staring up at the roof. I could faintly hear the excitement of the three of them followed by laughter. I took my fingers from my ears and asked if the "job" had been done. I got a, "No". Fingers back into my ears, continued to "la la la" until I heard a faint, "Alright Brad, you got 'em"!


I then heard the scrape of the dust pan on the floor and the three of them came out to the hole. Dennis flopped him in and I covered him up. They laughed as I said a few words and named my little "friend"....Jerry (as in Tom & Jerry) Garcia (because it goes well with Jerry ;) ) Mousie (perfect last name for a mouse! They continued to laugh at me while I told them how wrong it was of them to find joy in all of this.

Due to the "evidence" found, we did not have to perform an autopsy. No toxicology reports needed. It was determined that Jerry Garcia Mousie was poisoned. It was an assisted suicide....(Brad ultimately finished what the poison had started).

Poor little "Jerry Garcia Mousie". RIP little rodent.

"Said" poison block that "JGM" ingested.... (looks like he digested some of it too!)

The scene of the crime:

"JGM's" final resting place:

Monday, July 12, 2010

First Harvest of 2010

The garden is doing suprisingly well, so far, this year. The compost and mushroom soil that we added before planting seems to be making a difference. The plants are looking pretty good and are much bigger than they were last year.
I'm still kind of "new" to gardening, and I still have a lot to learn. I'm not quite sure how to get rid of insects? They are wreaking havoc on the leaves of the plants, especially the bell peppers. We're trying "Sevin" and hoping it helps. Another thing, too, is the rabbits! I've been finding some nibble marks on some of the veggies and have seen rabbits in the garden. Ugh. Needless to say, we are looking for free or cheap fencing for next year....
Tonight, I had some cucumbers and zucchini that were ready to be picked. Mmmm!!

Collin was amazed by the size of the zucchini. He compared it to the height of his head. lol

Corey wanted a picture with the big zucchini too.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Missing Corey Meinhart

Just as hard as it was to understand 15 years ago, I'm still unsure. On this day, back in 1995, Dennis's best friend, Corey Meinhart was killed in a motorcycle accident. I remember seeing the story air on the news, and even after the mention of his name, I thought I could wake up and find that it was all just a terrible dream.

This was supposed to be a happy time in my life. I recently found out that I was pregnant and I was to be experiencing joy. How could it be, that a little over a week after losing my cousin, another loss would cause even more suffering?

I met Dennis in July of 1991. Shortly there after, I met his friend, Corey. I knew from the first time talking to him, that he and I would get along great and I could certainly see why Dennis was so proud to call him his friend. Corey was the life of the party, spoke his mind, had a great taste in music, and knew how to have fun.

Dennis and I would go to "Bouncing Billiards", in Palmerton with Trevor (then almost 2 years old) and we would shoot pool. It could be just us for a little while and a few straglers here and there and then, the place would start jumping and once Corey got there, it was then time for the fun to begin! Trevor, as young as he was, idolized Corey. He would later make up stories about what him and Corey would do together. One time, Trevor told us that he and Corey "partied in the pits". (A place that Trevor had never been, but he recalled Corey's story about it.)

Corey was, simply put, AMAZING at shooting pool. He could run the table all night. He, most definately, mastered the skill. He couldn't be beat. He was humble, and never really bragged or thought anything of it. That's just how he was.

A short while later, Dennis, Trevor, and I moved out of Palmerton and into our first apartment in Weissport. We really enjoyed Corey's visits, which surprised us, since he wasn't "tied down" like Dennis had just become. ;) We had the most fun while living there, especially when Corey and friends would visit. I still enjoyed the "parties", even though I didn't drink (one of us had to be responsible). I loved just sitting back and listening to all of the stories being told. I can still hear in my head the way Corey would say a certain profanity and how he annunciated it. He "owned" those two words.

What I remember most about living there was how we knew when Corey was on his way. We could hear his stereo long before he'd even get into Weissport. He would be "up" on the 4-lane (248) and we'd know he'd soon be there. Corey really liked his music, and he liked it loud. lol He had even showed us how he had to keep tightening things on his car and adjusting mirrors from all of the bass coming out of his subs.

There were a few occassions, too, that we'd go to Corey's house. I can remember being afraid to knock on the door. "Dinch", Corey's dad, was a HUGE man (prison guard!) and was very intimidating....on the outside. We'd learn just how cool of a dad Corey had later. :) Dennis is probably still wondering how he got away with breaking the windchime on the front porch. haha

Another fond memory that I have is the time that a group of us got together at Corey's and then we all got into our cars and Corey led the way to some festival that he'd known about. I'm sure we're all still guessing how he'd ever heard of it in the first place. To this day, I'm sure I'd never be able to find it again. It was in the middle of nowhere.....up on a hill...with nothing else around it. It was almost as if we were part of a story in a really weird book? It was really creepy, to me, so Trevor and I stayed in the car. Our cars were the only ones there.

Not long after that, Dennis and I had moved out of that apartment and to a 1/2 double house "over town", in Lehighton. Corey stopped by only once or twice and we didn't see him as much. As it turned out, he found himself "tied down" with a girl. (Long, funny story behind that one.) :) Had we known then, that in just a short time later, he'd be gone, maybe we would've made a point to go down to Palmerton more?

In the early morning hours of June 25, 1995, Corey was on his motorcycle, on his way into Palmerton. He was at the intersection of Forest Inn Road and Stoney Ridge Road when he was struck by a motorist, driving a small Toyota pickup truck. I don't know the entire story, but I pray that he didn't see it coming, nor did he suffer. At 22 years young, a precious life was taken.

I remember going to his funeral and still being unable to believe it. He didn't have a scratch on him and to me, he just couldn't be gone. Dennis didn't want to stay and I remember not wanting to leave. It was so hard for Dennis and he has a different take on these things than I do. I can totally understand.

On January 4th, I had my baby. A boy. We had given the name, "Corey" some thought, but even the nurse agreed that our baby did "look" like a "Bradley" (the other name we had in mind).

Years later, on July 3, 2001 to be exact, we found out that we were to become the parents of twins. I had hoped to have at least one girl, but later found that I was carrying two boys. On the day I found out, it was decided that our "Baby A" would be named Corey. It's kind of funny, the way God works. The "irony" of it all is that our Corey does look the part and we're not sure if the name has anything to do with it, but from the time "our" Corey picked up a pool stick, he is just amazing. Just the other day, Bradley was ashamed to admit that he had been beaten in a game of pool by an 8 year old.

If Corey were here today, I'm sure he'd still be the life of every party, the joker, the prankster, the everything anyone would want in a friend and more. Though I only knew him a few short years, a big part of my heart still aches and misses him dearly. I'm sure he's up there, in heaven, running the table and I can't wait until the day that he sinks that 8 ball and beats me at the game...again. If you should make it to heaven before I do, please do me a favor and ask Corey how to catch a unique rabbit.......U-nique up on it! ;) (That was one of his favorites!) :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

15 Years....

Fifteen years ago, on this day, I lost a piece of my heart. What's left of it still aches and I can't help but cry as I type this. I lost my cousin, my friend, my classmate, a person that was a part of my entire life. I lost Bobby.

I guess, no one can really know how a person feels. I think what adds to the pain is knowing that my Aunt Betty lost her son. My cousins lost their brother. My Aunts and Uncles lost their nephew. Bobby was loved by everyone.

I felt sort of out of place when I was there, at the hospital, moments after he had passed. I don't remember anymore who called to tell me, or how I had even gotten there. I remember wanting to be there for Aunt Betty and I wanted to see Bobby just one more time. This time, I'm sure he would understand my crying. I used to have to try soooo hard not to cry in front of him when I did go to visit him in the hospital. I think he understood just how hard that was for me. I was always the "over-emotional" one in the family. It didn't just bother me that he was in the hospital dying, it bothered me that he was in the hospital and not at home with his family. I told him that he could've been in there because of something as simple as a stubbed toe (of course, I know that's not a reason for hospitalization, just tried to make my point) and I would still cry. I never did like hospitals.
There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about Bobby. Little reminders of him pop into my head at various times of the day. I see anything with Spiderman on it, and he comes to mind. He had a pet spider and was nicknamed, "Spiderman" because of her. Even spiders in the house are given a second chance at life if we find them. It's because of Bobby that we capture them and release them outside rather than kill them.

When I bake molasses crumb cake or cupcakes, I think of him. I used to bake them for him. He loved them. I'm not sure what medication did it to him, but when he had trouble "going", I baked some for him and they helped him "go".

Butterflies. The day of Bobby's burial, there was a butterfly hovering around the pastor as he spoke. A few times, the pastor even waved his hand to get it to move. It fluttered around us all as we stood there. That little butterfly, to me, was Bobby. Hovering around us to let us know that he was in heaven and he was alright. He would never want us to be sad and I think he sent that butterfly to let us know. That little butterfly inspired me to write poems and has helped me as I later experienced more losses. It was included on my grandmother's funeral bulletin some years later.
I had also written a poem about spiders, just for Bobby. It was an honor when Aunt Betty (Bobby's mom) wanted it put on the back of his tombstone.

Today, so much has changed since Bobby had to go. I often wonder what he would think about how far the internet has come. He was one of the first to use the internet in our family. A far cry from what it is today. I'm sure he would have the latest video games too. He was the one that introduced us to Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo. We still have yet to conquer it and we miss his little secrets to get through some of the tough levels. He never did get to play DK2 or DK3.

I wonder, too, if Bobby got to meet Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)? Bobby LOVED the Grateful Dead and just about 2 months after Bobby passed, so did Jerry. I like to think that they did meet.

This past Wednesday, I went to the CCEEC. Just like any other time that I walk through the front door, I have to somewhat "prepare" myself, but still, it hits me. A burst of emotion goes through me. The first thing you see when you walk through the front door is a plaque with Bobby's picture on it. He worked there for a bit before he got sick. "Hiking Bob" is what they called him. He loved the outdoors and wildlife.

Of course, too, I can't help but think of Bobby when I listen to Kenny Chesney. I doubt, at that time, that Bobby had even heard of him. Kenny's song, "Who You'd Be Today" says just about everthing that I think about and wonder about when I think of Bobby.

I can't pin-point just one thing or another that I miss about my cousin. I miss everything. I miss his jokes, playing cards with him, his intellegence, his funny stories, his smile. I miss his voice, his ways, his love that he had for all things. I miss everything about him.

I wonder what he would look like today? What would he be doing? What new things would bring him joy. What would he excell at? What kind of car would he drive? (I'd hope he would've switched over to being a Chevy man, rather than Dodge ;) and of course I would tease with him if he didn't.)

So, here I am today missing him just as much as I did back then. I am so grateful to have had him in my life as long as I did. I just wish he could've stayed longer and wouldn't have had to go through what he did to get to heaven. I'm not sure I could've handled it as well as he did, or could've put on a smile through the pain like he did to keep us from hurting for him. I know he wouldn't want us to be sad, but I'm sure he would've felt the same way about any of us if we had to endure what he did.

Dear Bobby,

I miss you. You were the first to learn of my pregnancy but you had to go before Bradley was born. (Yes, another boy.) I gave him the middle name, "Robert", for a few reasons, and you are one of them. Dennis and I tried for a girl and we had 2 more boys, twins. Trevor still remembers you, and Bradley, Corey and Collin never met you, but they "know" you. I tell them about you often. I'm sure they would've loved you just as much as you would've loved them.

I can't wait for the day that I will see you again. I can't wait to hear one of your jokes or to just reminisce with you. We've got so much catching up to do!

Until then, I keep you and your memories in my heart and I take comfort in knowing that you are suffering no more.

Your favorite cousin,


Monday, June 07, 2010

Getting old?

Back in March I turned 40. I don't "feel" 40....mentally, I feel it physically. As I sit here tonight, I just popped 2 Tylenols. My back and legs are killing me! For most people, what I did today is just a "walk in the park".

My day started off a little late. I just couldn't drag myself out of the bed this morning. I rushed the boys to get ready for school. Once they got on the bus, I watered the garden. Nothing major. It's just a pain in the rump that I have to go into the closet in the garage to turn the water on and I have to make sure to turn it off when I'm done.

Once that was done, I started on the laundry. There is so much piled up and I just don't want to do it. I'm telling you, my laundry room shrank! That has to be what happened, since we all have the same clothes that we've had and the laundry room just can't hold it all anymore!

After that I did *some* cleaning up...not much...well, not as much as I should have. I played Bingo on the computer and then sorted through some pics on my computer and started uploading to the school's website.

Before long, Dennis called. Lunchtime! The day was just flying by! That's when I started watching the clock. I have a bad habit of doing that and when I do it, I seem to get nothing done. They boys were dismissed from school at 12:30pm and my mind just isn't capable of figuring out what time they should arrive home.

So, instead of sitting in the house, I went outside. I checked the mail...nothing good. I started getting things ready (wheelbarrow, shovels, top soil, etc.) to do some planting and transplanting. I killed just enough time because before I knew it, the bus pulled up.

I gathered buckets from the basement and headed to the garden. I got this brainy idea and I guess time will tell if it will work or not. I was surprised by how many of the green beans actually came up in the garden. According to the seed packet, I am to thin them out. I can't see throwing anything away, so I decided I'd take the ones I pulled from the garden and plant them in buckets, giving me even more green beans. :) So, I now have a row and 7 buckets of green bean plants. I hope it works!

I was lucky to have a little helper with me as I worked. I can most times count on Collin to help me out. Many times, he helps without my asking. So, if he offers to help, I let him and I always thank him for his kindness. I loved, too, our little discussion as we worked together. He and I both agreed that it's silly to be inside of the house when the weather is so nice.

As we were working, Collin spotted a few butterflies (cabbage moths, actually). He asked if he could use my (old) camera to take a movie of them. I'm not sure that he got the footage he was looking for? I'll have to check the camera tomorrow. :)

About a week ago, my darling husband brought home 2 huge tractor tires. Why, you ask....because they were "free". I can't knock the man for wanting a good deal, but honestly, I really didn't see a need for them. lol Last week, when Ted (my brother) was here, Dennis talked him into taking one, so I just had one to deal with. When Dennis got home from work, I put him to work and had him cut the tire so that we could put it around a tree. I then hauled dirt to the tire and viola'! I had an instant flower bed. lol I put it around a tree in the back yard, by the boys' swingset. Added a little mulch...ok, A LOT of mulch, and some water, and now we hope that the animals don't eat the plants (I planted Cosmos). Did I mention that I had a helper? I did! Collin shoveled some dirt, pushed the wheelbarrow for me, and then helped water the plants. He's such a good boy! :)

Before long, it was time to head back up to the house. Time to water the garden and other flower beds. They really are looking good! Dennis and I are doing what we can with as little money as possible, and it's really starting to look nice! I haven't had flower beds in a few years. If I remember, I will post pics tomorrow. :)

As usual, we ate a late "quick supper" and I got the boys to bed. I'm not sure what happened to the in between time, but here I am, tired, achy, and ready for bed. I'm hoping that those two Tylenols will allow me to fall asleep. I have a few more plants to find homes for tomorrow, as well as a laundry room to find. I am hoping too, to get my rug shampooer out and clean the living room carpet. No pain, no gain......

Good night.

Sweet Summertime...well, sort of...

While the calander doesn't have summer scheduled to arrive until June 2oth, in our minds, summer is upon us. Today, however, we are getting a little bit of a break from the heat and humidity. A relief from the days prior.

We've already been in the pool more times "this summer" than we were all of last summer. The water has reached 80 degrees and higher. The boys and I plan on enjoying every minute in the pool that we can and our hopes are to not stay up late at night in order to get up earlier in the morning so we can enjoy as much summer as possible.

Of course, we are also planning more "night swims". There's nothing more fun than swimming under the light of the moon and stars!

We understand, too, that we can't just spend all of our time in the pool. I planted the garden on the 29th of May. That will keep me busy as well. We can't forget grass cutting, either. The tractor is down so that means I will be doing a lot of mowing with the push mower. Ugh. Great exercise, yes, but in the heat and humidity it's hard to enjoy.

Dennis is hoping that we can take a day trip out near Reading, PA for pool supplies and possibly a stop at Roadside America. I'm hoping we can also throw in a trip to Delaware to spend some time with Dennis's dad and step-mom at the beach.

The boys are down to the final week of school. They'll be dismissing at 12:30pm today, tomorrow, and Wednesdy and then they go Thursday until 11:10am. Then, our summer vacation will "officially" begin. They'll return to school on August 25, 2010 as THIRD graders! (Where, oh where has the time gone??)

Our plans may fall short, as far as trips go, but one thing we can count on is that we are going to have fun! Have a great summer, everyone!