Archive for the ‘My Man’ Category

Observations on Love and Romance

The past few weeks have given me ample opportunity to observe the world around me.  It’s provided quite an education, or in some cases a bit of re-education.

It’s been fun to watch my kids, Christmas shoppers, extended family, my sweet man, good friends, movies, and more. However, I think the most intriguing observations have come from watching the many forms of love being played out in different settings.

It’s touching.

It’s frustrating.

It’s heartbreaking.

It’s beautiful.

There are a few things I have noticed that I think are important to mention.

Love is a choice. An everyday, wake-up-in-the-morning, get-through-the-day, because-I-want-to-love-you choice. It’s not a feeling that comes and goes. It exists through migraines, black eyes, busted lips, cash-flow-shortfalls, home renovation projects, crappy jobs, and more because we choose each and every moment to love another human being.

There is very little that is more difficult and heartbreaking than watching someone you love more than life itself suffering in pain. It’s true even when the injuries are relatively minor and heal quickly. Watching a child, a parent, or a lover hurt creates an overwhelming urge to throw up. Where’s a magic wand when you need one?

It is entirely possible to be madly, passionately, uncontrollably in love with someone and still want to smack ’em upside the head occasionally. Doesn’t matter if you are 20, 45,  or 70. I’m not advocating the smacking, just acknowledging that the urge occasionally surfaces.

The urge to smack a lover upside the head is usually followed shortly thereafter by an equally overwhelming urge to disappear behind closed doors and “…have a little fun when we turn out the lights…” (my regards to the musical group Alabama).

First romance is adorable. Freakin’ crazy precious adorable….when done right.

Being overly rational where love is concerned can lead to missed opportunity.

Sometimes the first time people meet and fall in love, it’s just too early. Life has a way of bringing things back around full circle. The trick is to trust the process, without waiting on the process. Roll with life. Don’t burn the bridge that will carry you over the canyon.

When the standard of perfection has been set, it’s really a waste of time and emotion to toy with those who don’t meet the standard. Just keep your eyes on the standard and know that when the time is right, it will appear beautifully, romantically, and perfectly. It is, however, perfectly acceptable to sample the menu in small doses to establish a basis for comparison.

It’s important to know the difference between having a standard created by logic and having a standard created by your heart. The heart is way smarter than the brain. The brain tends to mess things up by over thinking. I am grateful to know this lesson first hand and to be the one who listened to my heart when my brain was telling me how stupid I was.

It’s paid off beautifully.

The stronger the reaction (even negative), the more likely it is that there is unfinished business. Recognize it for what it is, and shower it with gratitude rather than attempt to drowned it in an ocean of anger.

There is a window of time in which it is good to be a bit subtle, however, ongoing efforts to be subtle and coy simply mask true feelings. When your heart and soul are already in shreds, the best thing is to be honest. Sometimes that’s all the other person needs is to see you for who you really are. If they run, then so be it.

Never ask a guy what he is thinking. Odds are he’s not. It’s a gift they have.

It’s never a good thing to expect a man to be overly romantic. Often times the ideal image we create is completely incompatible with 24/7 romantic male. Prince Charming arriving to sweep us off our feet is usually in direct opposition to the strong, hard-working, silent type. If he is willing to change a baby diaper, push a vacuum, mow the lawn, fix the toilet, clean the kitchen, cook supper, build a wall,  or feed your animals when it is snowing, that’s the equivalent of being handed a dozen red roses and being swept off your feet. Face it, accept it, be grateful, and recognize the disguise.

And finally, I am so full of gratitude for having survived my journey into love, for having a lover, friend, and companion who is willing to tolerate all my weirdness and quirky behaviors, and for time we have had and the time that remains to spend together. Each moment is priceless. Funny thing…..when I see us in photos, I see how time has changed us. When I look at him face to face, I still see that gorgeously hot 29 year old with the amazing dark brown hair and piercing blue eyes.

As I watch my girls tiptoe into the adventure that is finding love, I am swept back 25 years to that roller coaster that they are now experiencing.

It’s a stomach-turning, hands-in-the-air, scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs thrill ride, but what a rush it is.

What a rush!

Funeral Etiquette Fail

I’m writing funeral thank you’s this morning.

For the record, that’s one of my least favorite chores in any part of life. Funeral thank-you’s aren’t special. I’m pretty much inept at any type of written thank you. I mean, I can write a thank you that will knock your socks off, but odds are it will be so long after the actual good deed event occurred that you won’t even remember what you did to deserve a thank you.

Thank you writing ranks right up there with exercise, cleaning out my closets, and scrubbing my toilet and tub. I know it NEEDS to be done, but it probably won’t happen until the guilt of knowing I SHOULD do it overwhelms the laziness.

And as I write these thank you’s to the nice people who brought food to us in the days following the passing of my hawt man’s  86 year old dad, I can’t help but wonder if there is some sort of funeral thank you etiquette that I am stomping into the dirt.

Of course, this whole process has been an exercise in seeing how many traditionalist boats we can rock, so maybe I’m just an ongoing extension of that.

My oldest brother-in-law actually had some fun with the traditionalists.

I like my oldest b-i-l’s willingness to challenge expectation and tradition, so I’m sorta enjoying the ride. However, my paranoia meter is still pegging the max on occasion.

I think I have a few sista-in-laws right there with me.

Here’s a run down of a few of the traditions we may have smashed in the past few weeks:

1. Open casket. Nope. Not here. I find it funny how obsessed people are with evaluating the handiwork of the undertaker. Hawt Guy’s parents had made it very clear they didn’t want to be gawked at, and the boys did a very nice job of making sure that didn’t happen, much to the chagrin of a few of our older friends.

2. Flowers. My poor sis-in-law who used to own a flower shop kinda freaked when she realized there were pretty much NO flowers. None. Nadda. And yet, it totally worked for this situation. The boys took loads of family photos to the funeral home so everyone who came in could remember the living moments of happiness, energy, and handsome vitality rather than the immediate moment of the many ways age and ill health had taken its toll on the physical body. Those photos rendered the need for flowers completely irrelevant. No mums, roses, or carnations could possibly outdo the beauty of a young couple in love and their amazing family through the years.

Although I have to say, I was hoping to snag a free plant or two for my wellness center.

Fortunately someone loves me and gave me some overflow from their place.

POST BLOG PUBLISHING UPDATE: I completely missed the wreath sent by a guy that loves this family like his own. Fortunately, my hawt honey was paying attention. Thanks, Friend! You are the coolest.

3. Church. Nope. Not this go around. No rosary service. No aisles or pews. No suits and ties (at least none required). Just a few words of remembrance and encouragement out in the beautiful pasture that is Rose Hill Cemetery. Ten minutes from welcome to final amen. That’s exactly what Charlie would have wanted. Exactly.

4. And then there are the thank yous. I have a list of people who brought food to us at some point during the process. Some of them are friends of Hawt Guy and me (my? mine? us? I?) who barely know the rest of the family. A few fed us because they love our children and wanted to make sure the little hummingbirds had plenty of sugar to survive the days of being ignored by their parentals. Some are extended family both on Hawt Guy’s side and my side. Still others are from his dad’s associations and I don’t even know them.

It dawned on me about half way through the thank you list that maybe I should sign the cards with more than just Eric, Angie, & Girls. After all, there are a few other families on whose behalf I am thanking people. I promise we didn’t hog all the food just for our bunch.

Then I happened to notice the little blank space at the bottom of the front of the card and wondered if I was supposed to be writing in the name of our departed loved one.

You know….in case they don’t remember who just died and why they made that cake.

5. Sadness and grief. I think we probably failed miserably at this one. The Kleenex Corporation stock probably dropped for a few days from lack of consumption. I know the guys will have their moments of missing Charlie and remembering the way things used to be, however, this seemed more like a celebration of a life completed: Almost a bit of relief that his struggle is  over, the worry is over, and now we move on. He wasn’t ripped from us. He released us and we released him from his physical container. We get the memories. He gets his freedom. Not much sadness to scrape up when viewed like that.

And for the record, I have learned a lot in the past couple of weeks. It’s all good information, yet not exactly an area in which I want to become an expert. At least we  have some idea what to expect the next time we experience the process.

Maybe we’ll have figured out a few more rules of funeral etiquette we can break when that time comes. ;-)

The Call

No matter how prepared you are, words can’t begin to describe the feeling that accompanies a middle of the night phone call with the news.

It’s like a sucker punch to the gut, delivered with a gentle dose of love and relief.

We’ve been waiting on that phone call for quite awhile. I guess if the truth be known, it’s been about five years we’ve been waiting and wondering when the call would come. However, recent days have heightened the intensity and expectation as decisions were made to stop life extending medical interventions and let nature work her spirit-freeing genius.

The call came at about 1:30 am Friday morning. It was the hospital delivering the news we knew would be coming, and had even predicted the likelihood of it being this night. No surprise at all.

No tears. At least not yet. It’s the circle of life, Cox style.

Just a big dose of raw practical gratitude and relief.

Plus that feeling of being lovingly slugged in the stomach.

And the opportunity to pass on the sucker punch to other somewhat prepared, but not bullet-proofed guts.

The Call is actually a game of tag. We were tagged first this time. We then tagged the others. We became their gut-punch of love, relief, and sadness.

Thirty minutes after our phone first rang, we were back in bed planning on a peaceful night’s rest knowing THAT call would never come again.

WRONG.

There are just some things life skills class doesn’t teach you.

Like the fact that there is never just one phone call after a loved one passes.

And the phone calls will come at intervals designed to make sure you will not get that peaceful night’s rest tonight.

2:30 AM: “Would you like to donate his skin for skin grafts?”

Huh? It’s 87 years old and paper thin. Why would you even want it? Not exactly a decision to be made at 2:30 AM by only one of four brothers. Someone should have asked that about 3 days ago during daytime, wide-awake hours.

Another hour passed, our brains began to settle down just a bit, and the fit-full, mind-racing sleep almost overtook us again.

And the phone rang…..again.

It was Steve, the sweet guy who will graciously prepare our loved one for ceremony and burial asking my husband’s permission to begin his work. It never occurred to me that his night would be interrupted, too. However, I did give his precious wife the heads up Thursday evening that I thought Eric’s dad would pass before morning.

And so we are up. Coffee is made. It’s now 3:40 AM. Sleep will have to wait until later this afternoon when our bodies decide to slam us into the relaxing embrace of an easy chair.

Mama said there’d be days like this, but she forgot to mention there’d be a few nights, too.

Adios, Charlie. Give Alex a hug for us. You boys try to stay out of trouble up there, ya hear? Say hi to my Pappy, if you see him. He’ll be the one out hunting rabbits, dove, and pheasant.

A Gallery of Tush Admiration

Something dawned on me this morning. Something more than the usual sun coming up over the eastern horizon.

Something that completely struck me as a bit odd.

I follow the writings of several women bloggers. I like what they write. They are funny, informative, down-to-earth, and so much more.

This morning I realized what exactly “so much more” really is.

Several of these intelligent, earthy women really like their men.

More precisely, they like their man’s backside….

They like their man’s backside appropriately adorned in a pair of nice fitting jeans. Wranglers seem to be the top pick.

The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, has a thing for the perfect frame created by a set of chaps properly fastened over a pair of Wranglers. As she says, she’s just keepin’ it real when she shares photos of Marlboro Man’s attire.

Darcie over at My Modern Country goes so far as to call her man Wranglers. I went over there just a few minutes ago to check on some info, and sure enough, there was a nice photo of some well worn, good-fitting wranglers staring me in the face. Apparently he was helping her can some pickles and her camera lost interest in the cucumbers and dill. If my man was helping me can pickles, I’d probably lose interest in the vegetables, spices, and vinegar, too.

And just when you think it’s safe to peruse photos of someone’s beautiful babies, Mama M. at My Little Life slips in a pair of 501 pockets that don’t belong to a ten year old.

I honestly had to ask myself, am I just a sick puppy with a desperate need to see the married butts of men whose wives adore them enough to brag to the rest of us about what they captured?

Or is it possible that I truly admire and appreciate women who adore their men and will publicly acknowledge that fact?

Seeing as to how I have my own set of Wranglers to appreciate and brag about, I think I’ll opt for the second option. He’s more than I can “handle” most days anyway.

However, let it be known to all that the artistic value of a well packaged and framed portrait of men in denim does NOT go unnoticed!

I'll Have What He's Smokin'

My sweet husband coined a phrase a few years back when he met my …uh…. interesting is a good word…..OB/GYN for the first time. I was preggo with gorgeous model #2 and it was my first time to have a baby with a “big city” doc. My doc was simply amazing, but he had a funny way of snorting whenever he laughed. As we left, in response to my, “Well…????” inquiry, hubby simply said, “I don’t know what he’s smokin’, but I want some.”

I’ve never forgotten that moment.

It’s etched in my psyche for all eternity.

And at (in)appropriate moments, it comes leaping out of my mouth.

Yesterday was just such a day. Having delivered a car to gorgeous model #1 at the far edges of Western New Mexico, I participated in a game of “how to get from Nowhere, NM back to my warm, inviting home with no car.

It involved two shuttles and two different airplanes, a two hour ride with a most…ahem…”interesting” driver (that’s an experience I shan’t soon forget), and a Southwest flight attendant crew who changed planes with me.

If you’ve never flown Southwest, you should. Connan O’Brian’s got nothing on these people. Plus, no terrorist would ever fly Southwest for fear of a redneck takeover.

“We don’t anticipate a drop in cabin pressure. If we did, we wouldn’t have come to work today.”

“Oxygen will be delivered to you through the mask. First three minutes are free. Additional minutes are priceless.”

“If you are traveling with small children, or if one is sitting beside you, you have our sympathy.”

“In the event of a water evacuation, put on the life vest from beneath your seat, pull the cord to inflate, and kick, kick, paddle, paddle, breath. Kick, Kick, paddle, paddle, breath…..until you reach the shore.”

“This is a non-smoking flight. If you feel the need to light up, please step out on the wing and enjoy our feature presentation, ‘Gone With the Wind’.”

“We will now dim the cabin lights. That’s in order to enhance the looks of the (dark complected) male flight attendant.”  (He was the one who said all of this.)

“On behalf of the entire Southwest crew, I’d like to welcome you to Hawaii, but I can’t, so welcome to Lubbock.”

I’ll have some of whatever he’s smoking. I bet it’s good stuff.

I “deplaned” (insert midget voice from Fantasy Island here) and greeted the hunk who had repeatedly provided the necessary genetic material (and some great sex) required to produce gorgeous models #1, #2, #3, and #4. We watched as an old guy grabbed my bag off the luggage carousel by mistake. I commented to my hubby that his wife was gonna freak when he got home with a suitcase full of women’s underwear. Quick thinking hunky babe that he is, the father of my children commented that wasn’t anything compared to what she’d do to him when she found the inflatable mattress packed inside with those underwear.

Fortunately he learned to read luggage tags quickly.

Divorce averted.

Hubby, wife, and two younger gorgeous models climbed inside a 94 Chevy Suburban Dallas Cowboy package vehicle and headed home. A varsity volleyball match and a religious crusade awaited us back in the big town of Smallville.

The volleyball match was…er…uh….soon over.

The crusade preacher was quite focused and…uh….preachy. We didn’t have to go to the football field. We could easily hear him from the Wellness Center.

Am I the only one that has visions of murderous blood baths upon hearing the term “crusade”?

Hubby mentioned counting the number of references to hell, death, etc. the night before. I heard a few myself.

I’ve also heard this crusade cost as much as what my house  appraised for. Don’t know if it is true, yet if so, it’s a bit disturbing. That much money would feed a lot of Dump People in Honduras.

I admire those who put it together. Too often in this town, we tend to see barriers instead of hurdles. For hurdling over seemingly insurmountable barriers, those organizers have my admiration and respect.

Yet I can’t help but wonder what this investment accomplished? Did anyone demonstrate or imitate the life of Jesus through this project? Or was it more recruiting for the religion known as Christianity? A religion that tends to focus on proselytizing over serving.

I just don’t know. I wasn’t there. I didn’t hear that much. Not overly interested in hearing any more of it. Therefore, I have no right to judge the motives, intentions, actions, or hearts of those who participated.

Here’s what I do know. There was supposedly a man who walked the earth for 33 or so very short years. He went around healing those who were hurting, teaching about how to live a peaceful happy life, and feeding hungry people. Crowds followed him everywhere. He tried to escape occasionally, because the needs of the people were very draining. He didn’t walk around telling them how they were gonna go to hell if they didn’t go see John the Baptist to get every square millimeter of their body dunked under water.

Other than the twelve he picked out for his man-posse, from what I read, he didn’t recruit much at all.

He didn’t have to.

Everyone wanted whatever it was he was smoking.

That’s how Jesus-Following should be….everyone looking at the life of a person and simply saying, “I want whatever s/he’s having.”

No revival.

No crusade.

Simply an incredible example of caring about people.

There’s no need to proselytize. When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

Now, if this crusade guy decides he needs a massage today, we just won’t mention this little blog, okay?

Sssshhhhhhh!!!!!

Divine Feminine Girl Daddy Hubby Dude

I’m taking some time this morning to dig further into Sue Monk Kidd’s book, Dance of the Dissident Daughter. It is some really good stuff. Lots to process.

One of the most important things I have gleaned so far is how blessed I am to be in a relationship with a man who is very a-typical of the human male species.

The author talks about the expected rolls of women and how we usually end up being this and that and everything else taking care of not only the children in our lives, but the men in our lives, too.

I am not sure whether to be proud or feel guilty, but this is not something I struggle with. I don’t know if we are just the weirdo family or if my man got a raw deal. He certainly didn’t get his Italian mother in the exchange of vows. I think he got someone a lot more like my mother with a huge dose of “if you want it done, you’d better get on that one yourself!” and a splash of “where’s the mountain? Let’s conquer it!”

Case in point. I loved having my babies. I just didn’t enjoy the lack of sleep (along with a few other things). As a result, from a very early age, my children were empowered to get it for themselves, whatever IT might be. Hence there were babies in bed with us for a very long time. They couldn’t exactly crawl to their food supply, so I made it readily available without a ton of effort on my part.

By age four, my oldest was introduced to Mr. Toaster, Mrs. Butter, and Uncle Jelly. She was already operating electrical appliances. If the kid was going to get out of bed THAT ridiculously early on my only day to sleep late, she simply had to learn to take care of herself.

I rarely ask permission to go on a trip of some kind. Of course, I am not gone that often, but if my man isn’t going with me, it is simply a matter of remembering to tell him that I will be gone. There is no great drama. No wailing and moaning about how will we survive while mom is gone. Quite honestly, things always seem to run smoother with me out of the house. Chaos returns with me.

Not exactly what is considered normal for a traditional household.

I can’t really decide whether I’m okay with that or if it makes me feel inadequate. Hmm….

Okay. I’m over it.

Yes, they fend for themselves.

And my man does A LOT! He is probably the only reason my children survived passed their third month of life. Someone had to nurture them. It obviously wasn’t going to be me beyond supplying liquid sustenance.  This man can salvage a dying plant. He can take care of small animals. When I found him at age 29, he had plants and fish and candles and cats. I figured he was either a good catch for raising a family or he wasn’t overly interested in females. It took all of about two seconds to figure out the latter was NOT the case.

He also cooks, washes dishes, does laundry, vacuums, shampoos carpets, cleans up animal poo and kid barf, mows, landscapes, repairs, builds, does stupid science and art projects with my kids, fixes our vehicles, and performs taxi duties. I don’t tell him he has to do those things. He just does them. Because I don’t. At all. Unless there’s a blue moon. So once every couple of years maybe. He’s on his own. I show up for dinner. Maybe. And I tell him what an awesome guy he is. A lot. A whole lot. Like mucho a lot.

Did I mention his only vice is an addiction to cigarettes?  I stopped harassing him about that a long time ago. You’d smoke, too, if you were him.

So yeah. I may be coping with the effects of a male empowered world, but the catch I landed 20 years ago hasn’t oppressed my divine feminine spirit in the least.

And single guys? There are four women about to conquer the world who are growing up with the ideal that their daddy is just about as perfect as a man can get and telling them to do the dishes is unacceptable. They’ll do them if and only if they want to.

And they are some gorgeous, talented, and amazing women.

If you want their attention, you might want to come apprentice under my man for awhile.

They won’t be an easy catch.

My Guys in Action

As you may have figured out from other posts, the male species is a bit sparse around our place. So in addition to the claim I’ve staked in Hunky Farmer Boy, there’s a wee bit of a claim staked in another middle-aged male. I should probably introduce him to you. Actually, you met him a couple of weeks ago, but no photos accompanied the introduction, so that one doesn’t really count.

I referred to him as the red-headed uncle. I actually think there’s more gray and white than there is red. He’s the one I blame for sucking us into the money pit of all hobbies known as showing horses. He would be my brother.

Oh, and he wears starched Wranglers.

That seems to be of some significant importance out here on the big ol’ Internet.

HFB is just glad his Wranglers get washed occasionally.

Red-Headed Uncle gets starch. I don’t do his jeans, in case you were wondering.

As fate would have it, this Texas A&M animal science lovin’ former county extension agent aggie has in recent years acquired a position with a local rural electric utility. HFB has been working for an electric utility for what is creeping up on 30 years.

Coincidence? I think not.

It must be my addicting electrifying personality that draws them into the business. Oh wait….HFB was in the business before I showed up on the radar, so never mind that last epiphany.

Neither one of them are licensed to teach in the state of Texas, which is too bad, because by all accounts, these two yahoos are pretty good at it.

Every year, several organizations work together to put on the Progressive Farmer Farm Safety Day. They bring in all kinds of experts and demonstrations and presentations and cool t-shirts and fire trucks and…and…and….

My kids have always loved it.

And every year one of these good lookin’ men gets suckered into taking their fire-shooting, weinnie-zapping (as in Oscar Meyer in case you were wondering), wah-wah-sounding electrical toys to wow and terrify helpless little elementary children. Of course I am sure it is just pure torture for a couple of little boys grown men to have to put on a zappo-powwie show for a captive audience of munchkin flavored ooo’s and aaahhh’s.

Pure torture. No fun at all. <wink-nudge>

This year the little boogers are in a heap o’ trouble. Both of my boys men got suckered into standing up in front of a class of munchkins. Both ends of the school building are subject to electrificution. (Is that a word? It is now!)

And as expected, HFB gets rave reviews. Red-Headed-Uncle had to sit through one of HFB’s performances. Apparently HFB is so dang good, he’s inspiring the competition. I can see it now…new reality TV series called “Family Power Line Wars”.

Hmm…maybe we’ll work on that title a bit more.

And since my boys men need to have their images splattered on my now world famous blog, I had to get a shot or two.

Red Headed Uncle is showing off what happens when lightning zaps one of the utility company poles….and what might happen to a munchkin that decides to play out in the middle of a storm. Check out his little power line village on the right side of the picture. Isn’t it cute?

Women, notice the shiny cowboy boots.  All together now…..”Ooooooo…..Aaaaaahhhhh!”

Wait a minute! Is that a bare spot I see on that back of that boy’s head? Nah. Couldn’t be. Must just be a weird reflection of some kind.

Hunky Farmer Boy has a long standing reputation as a pyromaniac electrical entertainer. Nothing like a few thousand volts to captivate munchkin attention. Hey maybe that’s what all our teachers need to help maintain classroom focus on learning!

Geez, he’s hot! (I’m pathetic. I know. Deal with it.)

Isn’t his little village just so cute, too? Isn’t HFB just so cute? Mmmmm….think I’ll stare at these pictures for awhile. Lucious ‘Lectric Lips.

Hmm…shirt’s a little big on him. Maybe I should feed him a bit more often.

Weinnie roast anyone?

Intuition: It's Been Here All Along

Of the many changes that have staked their claim over me in recent years, the one that I am delighting in most is the realization that

I am an intuitive person.

Apparently I have been all along.

I just didn’t know it until now. I owe a debt of gratitude to some extremely beautiful women and one incredible man who have helped me to realize this important bit of knowledge.

There simply had to be something inside of me that was aware of where my life has been headed, and it was present in me from a very early age. Time and again, I would rebel against that which was rational, seemingly intelligent, and made the most sense on the surface in favor of the passions of my heart.

Case in point: Boys and Men

Nothing I have ever done in my pursuit of male affection has EVER made sense or aligned with the ideals of my religious heritage.

THANK GOD!!!!! (Literally.)

Otherwise, not only would my spiritual life be a bit scrambled, my marriage could have been, too.

I’ve never been one to desire the “good boys”. I used to call them the Bible Bangers at college, and I had absolutely NO interest in them whatsoever. They creeped me out. My one and only experience with an honest to goodness “nice Christian young man” (translate CofC gentle-guy from church camp) lasted through months of cards and letters, but all of one real date. Ugh….he was just……TOO nice.  That relationship cooled like ice plunged in a bucket almost immediately. Something was just….weird…about that deal. I didn’t pick up on it at camp, but it showed up on that date when no one was around but the two of us. Years later we learned that Mr. Gentleman robbed a bank so he could have enough money to go see his girlfriend.

Score one for intuition.

My first REAL BF was the bad boy of high school. Lineman on the varsity football team. He was a junior who had enjoyed an extra year of school and was a fall birthday. I was a freshman. That made him technically A LOT older than me. We met on the track bus one evening. We were sort of an item. Never regretted that deal. He respected my boundaries, yet still made the experience exciting for me. He certainly wasn’t the church going, Bible-carrying type. He also wasn’t exactly the potential son-in-law of my parents’ dreams. Fortunately they were smart enough to sit back and watch—and probably pray alot—knowing that it wouldn’t last. And it didn’t.

He eventually broke up with me after he graduated and moved on to other women. As fate would have it, the high school bad boy ended up back in our hometown serving his community as a police officer. I still get a smile on my face when I see him. It’s a smile of appreciation and respect. Appreciation for letting me know I was worth something to someone, and respect for the way he treated me even though he had the physical power to  do anything he wanted.  I didn’t get him in the end, yet I grew so much in the process.

Score two for intuition.

There was the younger guy. I was more like mom to him. It was kind of a weird deal, but with the older guys having graduated, and the guys my age interested in the younger girls, that pretty much left the younger guys. I don’t go back there very often. That one had to be released pretty quickly. Nice kid. Nice family. Just a bit on the weird side.

Score three for intuition.

One night in my junior year, I found a sweet bad boy on Dip Street, the main drag through town. Violating every principal of safe, intelligent interactions with strangers, I was drawn to him immediately. His kiss was passionate and tender. His demeanor one of a romantic. He was in town visiting family, and in less than two weeks he was headed to basic training for the Navy. I will always remember the beautiful cards he sent me from San Diego and later (for awhile) from his station in Florida.

I’d like to think I was his angel for awhile until he found one with whom to spend his life. His words always made me feel special and I trust that mine kept him going through the tough and lonely times. We had “our song” and I would play it over and over. To this day, I think of him and get a lump in my throat every time I hear REO Speedwagon hit the classic rock airwaves. He made his escape from this world a few years ago, way too soon. I’d like to think somewhere in another dimension, he still remembers what a gift he was to me at that point in my life.

Score again for intuition.

Then I met “the one”. EVERYTHING about the situation violated all the rules of “good girl” relationships. I was CofC. He was a Catholic. I was 17 and about to start my senior year in high school. He was 29, and a working man with a bucket truck and a tool belt. I didn’t drink, dance, smoke, or partake of any mind-altering substance. He was a bass guitar player in a well-known area dance band, smoked, played in bars, and graduated in 1974 (which automatically addresses the mind-altering part). My brain said this was stupid and dangerous. Everything else inside of me said, “I WANT HIM!”

For four and a half years, I battled my brain and my heart. Rules and boundaries were shot to hell where he was concerned. Other guys came in and out of the picture, but he was always somewhere in the painting. Like a haunting spirit, he never left the corners of my soul. I would sneak visits to this forbidden love, this bad-boy of a man, even in the midst of  budding college romances. I ached at the thought of leaving him. I hurt for him when I was away. I loathed the drive between him and college. He was everything I wasn’t supposed to have, be, or do.

And yet…..

He was exactly what I needed. He didn’t complete me. He allowed me. He accepted me. He endured me. He caught me when my world began shifting. His patient tolerance of my “growing up” has been nothing short of saintly. Had he been one of  those good boys that I SHOULD have married, he probably would have left me or driven me insane when my awakening began. Instead, he has welcomed me into that place so that now we share it together finally united as one after 20+ years.

The ultimate score for intuition.

Miss John Deere Lives Here

I simply must get pictures of my other children, but they just don’t frequent my favorite photo spots as much as this one does.

Cowgirl thinks this is actually her Tonka Toy. As coincidence would have it, she was born quite close to Father’s Day, and occasionally her birthday lands on Hunky Farmer Boy‘s special day.

Last summer in the middle of a deluge, I ditched Saturday massage class and our crew headed the opposite direction in search of a Father’s Day lawn tractor. The existing lawn tractor was approaching 20 years old and there is only so much that bailing wire and parts stolen from another mower can do to extend the life of an old piece of equipment.

Cowgirl had her heart set on a green and yellow model, and after some research and price comparisons, we decided a John Deere LA175 would suit our needs and our budget for our modest acreage.

Of course any new “tractor” purchase requires a baseball cap. She managed to squeeze the salesman for a pink cap for her and little sis plus the traditional black farm cap for HFB.

Here’s where things get confusing. The green machine was actually Dad’s purchase on Dad’s credit card. That would suggest that any sister willing to learn to drive it and mow should have access to our version of four-wheelin’.

Not so. Cowgirl is quite the possessive one. If a sis wants to go for a spin, they are relegated to riding in the pull behind trailer. That works for Little Sis, but the 15 year old has some issues with Cowgirl’s constant claim to ownership. Cowgirl doesn’t have a problem with it at all. Stealing the key is a frequent strategy. After all, it was purchased for HER birthday. (No Cowgirl. It was actually HFB’s Father’s Day on which your birthday fell last year.) Okay, in all fairness, we might have gotten out of a $100 birthday party by bribing her with joint ownership.

Did I mention she mows this whole pasture? I guess that makes it hers after all.

Hippozebrapotamus Sightings and Other Self-Image Issues

I like me.

Really I do.

I even like most of my body, most of the time.

I can look in the mirror at 42 years old and say to myself, “Honey, you rock!” and really mean it. I clean up well. I think.

Hunky Farmer Boy says it, too, so it must be true. Of course being of the male species, he can do that at 6:30 AM on a Saturday morning when my eyes are swollen shut and I have crusted drool glued to my face. I’m not sure his opinion is always completely accurate, but I’m really glad he finds my 42 year old swollen eyed drool-faced self worthy of his ….ahem…..attention.

And this fabulous self-image rocks along pretty good most of the time.

MOST of the time.

Until someone brings out one of those nasty, obnoxious, things called a camera.

Don’t get me wrong.

I like cameras.

As long as I am behind the lens and not in front of it.

And I don’t even mind being in front of one as long as I never ever ever ever never EVER have to see what distorted torturous images of humanity were captured by that lens.

Because unless it is capturing a picture of my kids, HFB, a peach blossom, or any member of the human species OTHER than me, a camera lens is just another one of those horror house freak mirrors that stretches and bulges it’s subject in all the wrong places.

Because I can’t possibly look like that. I’m much slimmer and substantially more gorgeous than THAT!

After all, I was a Beauty Queen. Miss McKenzie AND Miss Tulia 1986. I had the crowns to prove it. I even had the glamour shots thing done after the second rugrat came along in 1995-ish. THAT camera said I looked like Reba McEntire.

All cameras should be outlawed except that camera. It can stay.

And those clothes. My gorgeous look like a million bucks clothes. Black slacks, sort of shimmery two piece animal print top. Very classy. Until a camera destroys the look.

Kill the camera.

Death to the camera.

Leave me with my fantasy.

PLEASE?

Some well-meaning, helpful type wants to show off my progress on my new business.

Then take a dang picture of the business, NOT ME!!!!

Oh no.

He wanted me in them.

I’m thinking, it’s been awhile. Maybe cameras have improved. Maybe his is one of those glamour shot cameras that will make me look like I SHOULD be the owner of a wellness center.

Nope.

No such luck.

(cue Jacque Cousteau voice)

“What we have here folks is the rare hippozebrapotamus of the species married-with-four-children-and-too-busy-to-take-care-of-herself.”

Looks more like I need to find a wellness center instead of own one.

And shut my trap long enough to smile for the evil camera.

And how appropriate that this particular shot is in front of a danged refrigerator.

“Notice how well the specimen spans the width of the refrigerator.”

And they say black is supposed to make you look thin.

LIARS!

Did I mention how much I HATE cameras?

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