Just letting it go…

I also remember standing in line for government cheese. People make jokes about that nowadays but government cheese did exist, trust me.

I’m a 12-year old kid but I’m wise beyond my years and more responsible than most of the adults in my life. They say that comes from being the oldest of 4 kids, I say it’s because my mother was crazy. She had everyone fooled including our dad but us kids knew she was on the edge of sanity most of the time. I was the one the younger kids came to when mom was so out of it she didn’t know which end was up and which was down. When she wasn’t telling us how she was going to kill herself she was fighting with someone, a neighbor, another family member, dad, our oldest brother. I don’t know why she seemed to hate him for some reason for which I never figured out. Karma got her on that one though, and that one is a sad, unfortunate story.

We moved from Seattle, Washington in 1979 and that’s when things went wrong for the whole family. Our uncle’s new wife’s son molested my younger sister, she was 3 years old, and he was 7. He and his sister had been severely abused by their bio dad and possibly even their own mother as it later came out. Based on family history, my mom was a little on the kookier side to start with but this sent her over the edge, way over the edge. There was nothing she could do about what happened, and they lived right next door to us on the property that was purchased jointly. She felt trapped and isolated from everyone and everything she was used to.

My dad, who owned his own contracting business and did better than well with it, in Seattle was now unemployed and looking back I can see he was depressed almost to the point of not caring about much. With mom constantly telling him everything was his fault and that he brought us to this “hell-hole” and pretty much that he was worthless, who could blame him? Mom got a job, briefly a couple of months tops, but to this day she makes it sound like she worked her tail off while dad sat on his ass all day. In reality, dad did work at odd jobs farming hay and building cabinets or a deck for someone here and there, but not a real steady 40 hours a week to support your family job.

We were on welfare. I remember sitting in the welfare office for what seemed like hours on many occasions. She figured it looked better if she dragged her kids with her, I guess. I also remember standing in line for government cheese. People make jokes about that nowadays but government cheese did exist, trust me. I remember our mom sending us kids into the store to buy a .20 pack of gum with a food stamp dollar to get enough change to buy herself a pack of cigarettes. She didn’t care that I was humiliated almost to death. I got all the babysitting jobs as I could to buy some of my school clothes and a horse. I put down 1.79 on my first horse and made payments until she was paid off in the amount of $200. I was pretty proud of that.

The morning of my youngest brothers 7th birthday my dad woke me up to help him with something. I thought he wanted me to make him coffee or pack him a lunch because he was going on a haying job. What he wanted was for me to watch my mom and make sure she didn’t vomit and aspirate on it, while he went to find a phone at the neighbors to call 911. Strewn all over the floor were empty prescription bottles. I think that’s when I became the parent, and we started tiptoeing around her like she would drop dead at the slightest thing gone wrong. There was another time we got off the school bus and mom was nowhere to be found. My brother begged me to go check behind the haystack because our mother had threatened to go behind the haystack and blow her brains out so many times. That broke my heart and scared me all at the same time.

The day I turned 16 I got a job at the grocery store. I think they felt sorry for me for all the times I was forced to come in with a food stamp dollar. I worked hard and got a lot of compliments for it. I took extra shifts when I could and worked until close most nights after school. My family had the electricity cut off for non-payment and since they had ruined both mom and dads credit, I had it put into my name and I paid the bill. I didn’t need to start my life with bad credit and I certainly couldn’t stand by and let my siblings do without hot water, heat and cooked meals. Not when I could do something about it.

I remember buying my sister school clothes and my youngest brother toys, our oldest brother, a year younger than me, had a job of his own and bought his own things he wanted or needed. I didn’t mind providing what I could for my family, that’s what families do, right? Eventually, it got to the point where I needed to work more and more and I quit going to traditional school and switched over to the alternative, which was not to my liking, so I went in and took the GED test. I passed those tests with high enough scores to get into almost any college or state university I wanted to attend. I had dreams of making something of myself someday, a large animal veterinarian, or a child psychologist.

It got weird at work when my mom started showing up on paydays looking for me with her hand out. My boss took it upon herself to notice this and tell her I wasn’t there, that when I got off work I left with friends. Then a miracle happened and I met my husband, he saved me, I truly believe that with all my heart. I was able to leave that job and move away. By that time, my sister was 13 and presumably old enough to take care of herself. After all I took care of all 4 of us at 13, right? She wasn’t nearly as mature as I was, and she was a real handful. Mom would never let go what happened to her and reminded her of it every chance she got so of course she was pretty messed up too. To this day, my sister is messed up and I don’t necessarily blame what happened to her at age 3, I blame our mother for making her relive it over and over again.

I never finished college, my dreams changed. I wanted a family of my own to raise in a way that was opposite the way I was. I got married, and we had three beautiful babies who grew up happy and healthy, in every way. I feel like I broke the cycle that my mother lived through and her children lived through. I know that all three of our kids love us and believe they had a normal healthy childhood. They see how their grandma is, and they know that my growing up was rough. When they come to me and tell me how much they appreciate their dad and me for raising them “normal” and that we did a great job, my heart swells. I devoted everything to them and I made sure they had everything I didn’t. Most importantly a mother who loves them unconditionally and is present anytime they need anything. We’ve been blessed with one granddaughter so far, and she will know she can count us for anything too. Family is the most important asset we have, we need to treat them as such.

I sat down to write today with the intention of freeing myself from my mothers latest fight, which she chose to engage me in. Out of the blue as always, random displays of hatred and nonsensical ideas. I found it’s best to let her say what she’s going to say even though, it’s always untrue and hurtful, and let it go. It’s hard on me sometimes, when I need a real mother in my life and don’t have one. I am so thankful for my husband and my children, I don’t know what I would do without them.

Much love to all,

~ Jane

I Participated in the Purge, and I Liked it!

Do “The Purge” it will make you feel better.

I feel a lot lighter now, 113 Facebook Fake Friends and Family lighter. What prompted it? I’ve been thinking about getting rid of it altogether for a while but then I’d miss out on pictures and keeping up with family and people I talk to a lot. I did the next best thing, “The Purge” and I’m here to tell you, it feels wonderful!

Let’s start out with all the juvenile quizzes, sure they can be fun and a good time killer while you’re waiting in line or something, but come on… constant posting is embarrassing. This is even more obnoxious when the adults doing it complain about how hard they work and don’t have time for much else. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so damned sad. Grown adults acting like teenagers is a major annoyance to me and so called friends who only want to talk or hang out when they need something is something I’m done with. I know, I know… you can “unfollow” annoying people, but why would I want to do that and have them stalking me.

That’s another thing that irritates me, those who stalk you but never click “like” or make “comment”. People do this! True story… We’re in the grocery store and happened to run into some Facebook friends. Note: these people are on my Facebook because they are family members. Also, keep in mind that they talk smack about us behind our backs, and we know it. Where was I? Oh yeah, so we run into these people, and they act like we don’t know they talk about us and start a conversation. They ask questions they already know the answer to, then when you answer they say, “oh, yeah… I read that on Facebook”. Funny part is that you didn’t post that on Facebook, this information was buried deep in the conversation. Creepy AF if you ask me. Then when you ask them questions they blatantly lie to your face. Come on people, information like that doesn’t stay secret for long in this town. Wouldn’t want to ruin anyone’s perception of your great parenting, would you? News flash, that cat’s been out of the bag for something like 19 years. Sorry/not sorry.

That is why I deleted and blocked 113 “friends” from Facebook, too much negativity for me. I’m serious, 5 minutes talking to the above mentioned people was exhausting. Not one positive comment the entire time. A lot of “I hate” being spat out like a natural habit. I feel bad for kids that had to grow up in that environment, I truly do. More negativity is what the world needs, right? Can you sense my sarcasm? I read an article about how deleting Facebook was a positive thing for many people and made them happier… except for them missing out on the latest news, that made me laugh out loud. Everyone knows the “news” you get on Facebook is not even truth.

It feels good to be rid of it all that. I’ll keep my friends and family that care about us and have some common sense about them and be happy. I feel like a weight was lifted. Do you get annoyed or pissed off often when you scroll through Facebook? Do “The Purge” it will make you feel better.

Much love,

~ Jane

Epiphany of a Larger Magnitude

Funny how a bad day of negative feelings can make you think, make you find peace with past hurts.

It’s been one of those days. The kind where you’re not feeling like yourself and the more you think the deeper you sink. It started with my husband losing his charging cable to his phone. That set me off on the wrong foot because I like to hear from him on his breaks. It’s not that he HAS to text me every day, but he does and I’ve become accustomed to it. The day went on with more negative thoughts that I alone created in my head. This is something I do and I know I do it pretty much every year around this time. Seasonal depression perhaps?

I knew I had to go to town and pay some bills and collect the mail so of course that didn’t help my state of mind one bit. I tried to cheer myself up by talking to one of my cousins for a bit on Facebook and the minute I commented on some decor she was crafting for her wedding my sister had to comment, so I would see it. She is manipulative like that. I had her blocked, but she must have gotten a new account or I unblocked her by accident. She is a sorry excuse for a human being and a total waste of air. She almost gave me some comedy relief until I started thinking about it. She said she was excited for our cousins wedding and hers. Crazy bitch didn’t even attend her own daughters wedding, but she thinks she’s going to a distant cousin’s? Secondly, she is already married so yeah, how does she think she’s going to have a wedding to her new boyfriend who is also already married? Hilarious!!

Anyway, that did get me to thinking about what a whack job she is, my sister. Alcoholic for sure and the probability of her being on drugs is, I’d say, better than 50/50. Our dad is sick and his doctor said he had 3-6 months to live back in March, 10 months ago. Apparently he calls sister nut job on a regular basis. He calls me when he feels like he has to, like when I had surgery. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m totally OK with that except for the fact that she thinks she’s special and brags about it. After leaving the post office today where they crammed my granddaughters book club books into my box, AGAIN, and I had to have them retrieved by the clerk, I was in an even worse mood.

That’s when the epiphany hit me like a ton of pellets. My dad is like his own dad, my grandfather. I loved my grandpa and still miss him to this day, he passed away when I was 12 years old. I used to go stay with him on weekends and clean his house for him and do his laundry and some light cooking. The Best time of my life back then because he lived on the golf course right next to the horse stables where I learned to ride. Funny though, my cousin (not the one mentioned above) come to stay sometimes too, not nearly as often as I did, but she did. Grandpa always seemed to like her more, and she wasn’t even the one doing his household chores and making sure he had clean laundry and no moldy food in the fridge.

As I got older, I realized that he didn’t love her any more than he loved me, he didn’t know how to spread his affections evenly, and he thought she needed “more” than I did because my parents were still together and I wasn’t left to fend for myself as much. What he didn’t know was that I needed him every bit as much as she did even though I didn’t show it. My home life wasn’t all peaches and cream and roses and wine. Not even close.

I don’t resent him for treating me with less concern and empathy, not at all. I see why he was like he was and my dad is the no different. He thinks my sister needs “more” than I do because I have a husband who loves me and three kids who I can count on who like to spend time with me and call often. He too, doesn’t know how to read between the lines and treat his children with the same courtesy and respect. Grandpa had no daughters, so dad had no sisters to learn how to relate to girls, I guess, and that’s OK because I can see through their misgivings and understand that it’s not me, it’s them.

Does it hurt? Sure it does. Why? They both are/were intelligent men who should have figured it out at some point but didn’t. To be honest, my mother is the same. She did special things for my sister who was pregnant at the same time I was. She bought her maternity clothes gave her special attention, like manicures and pedicures because she was pregnant and single. Sure I had a husband and two children but that didn’t mean I had extra money for frivolous extras and I needed my mothers attention every bit as much as my sister did.

I know I should feel bad for my parents, missing out on a lot of time getting to know me but I don’t. I don’t even harbor negative feelings toward them after all they’ve done and said at my expense. I am grateful to them in a way. They taught me how not to treat my children. How to raise them to be close-knit and loving toward one another, not feeling like they were rivals for attention or anything else. I think I did a good job based on how my kids act and treat others, and also, they have told me how much they appreciate me being their mom. I have a hard time picking out Mother’s Day cards for my own mother. It’s a sad thing to have to admit.

Funny how a bad day of negative feelings can make you think, make you find peace with past hurts. In the end, this day turned positive for me with one single epiphany that extended beyond one small thought, to a bigger picture. A reminder of how to live my life, how to treat others and how to accept past deficits in my life in a positive way.

~ Jane

Is “perfect” even a thing?

The first thing is, you need to start from day one with consistency and conviction. No means no…

I have always said this and I truly believe it, or I use to. “The perfect parent” and “the perfect child” do not exist. I mean, who gets to decide what defines “perfect”? The dictionary definition of “perfect” states: having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be. Or, when used as a verb: make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible. In essence, perfect is in the eye of the beholder.

I know we have three great kids “perfect”, if you will. They all finished high school and went on to finish college. They all are responsible, well-adjusted, functioning members of society who are respected by their friends and co-workers. The values and morals we instilled in them are clear in their character, world views and over all demeanor. Kindness and respect toward one another without jealousy or rivalry and great senses of humor, all three of them!

Both my husband and myself feel bleed with the family we received. Sometimes I wondered how we got so lucky. I would hear other parents talking about how unruly their kids were and how they couldn’t wait until they graduated and got out of the house. Those parents who hated vacations and summer breaks because they might have to deal with their kids for longer periods of time. Not us, we couldn’t wait to spend time with our kids! Camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, vacations to the coast or sitting around the dining room table talking about anything and everything. I’m guilty of allowing “hooky days” because I missed them when they were away.

The word “perfect” can have a different meaning to different individuals, I suppose. As far as kids go and as far as parents go. I do believe some key factors, or ingredients, for solid, decent children and families are necessary. Let’s talk about that for a minute. The first thing is, you need to start from day one with consistency and conviction. No means no, and you don’t go to the other parent looking for a different end result. You must remember that each child is an individual with different learning styles and needs but at the same time treat each child as equals, thus preventing unnecessary conflict and animosity. Listening and communication amongst all family members is probably a number one must. Showing love and support for each other and protecting each other from negative elements is a good start to creating sibling friendships that will last a lifetime.

It saddens me to see families in chaos, fighting all the time with no coherent communication. Parents who don’t want to allow their kids to be individual self thinkers and express themselves. We as humans are not clones, we all have our own thoughts and views of situations and events. That doesn’t automatically mean they are wrong because they are different from our own. Let them talk while you listen to actually hear. You will be pleasantly surprised at the depth of understanding and knowledge your children have acquired that you might not have realized. Raise them up to be independent self thinkers but let them know you are there for them under any circumstances without passing judgment or ridicule.

Remembering the following items is a good, solid base for building healthy family relationships.

1. Communication. 2. Consistency. 3. Common Sense. 4. Respect. 5. Love.

~ Jane

Merry “Non-Traditional” Christmas

I will send out a “memo” so everyone knows ahead of time, where Christmas is happening, be there or be square!

Merry Christmas everyone! This year is going to be different. Kids in Idaho, kids in Washington, us, in Oregon. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though. Our usual Christmas is filled with decorations, a beautiful fresh cut tree that we cut ourselves, gifts, good food and the entire family. The thing I will miss most is the entire family being together. I feel blessed to have been able to spend two weeks with our son, his girlfriend and first granddaughter before Christmas. I will cherish that time for sure. We will also have dinner and movie day with our girls so it’s not like we totally gave up Christmas this year. Also, even though we all agreed no gifts, we couldn’t help ourselves and got everyone a little something and of course the granddaughter got spoiled. It’s a parental prerogative, right?

The reason I say it’s not necessarily a bad thing is because it makes a person more appreciative of the time we have spent together and more longing for more times together in the future. In other words, every one misses traditional Christmas! This will give the husband and I our first alone Christmas since before we had babies, so like in 30 years; It’s going to be strange, for sure. At first, I wasn’t on board with basically skipping Christmas but now that I’ve allowed it to sink in and digest some, I’m actually feeling pretty good about it, this one time. We spent less money and I have less stress. But, like I said… this one time.

Next year will be grand! I’m already planning it out. There will be a fresh cut tree from floor to 9 foot ceiling, lights on everything, garland, elaborately set dining table, embroidered stockings (need to order for any new family members). Christmas shower curtains and hand towels, festive bed linens in all guest rooms, Christmas Eve pajamas for everyone, grandpa reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. My famous Christmas sugar cookies, intricately decorated, honey ham with all the fixings, pies and fruit and everything yummy. Those are some things that initially pop into my head, I’m sure I will come up with so much more by next December.

I will send out a “memo” so everyone knows ahead of time, where Christmas is happening, be there or be square!

~ Jane

Tis’ the season…

I thank God for him every day.

…for pondering life.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, as I often do actually. Most commonly, it’s thoughts of my youth and relationships I’ve had and how they formed me into the person I am today. Specifically today and for the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about my relationships and my decision to not have sex in high school.

As a teenager I was a little on the wild side as far as doing crazy stunts and going to parties where there was alcohol and marijuana. There were boys I made out with on occasion but I didn’t have an official boyfriend until I was 18. That was a comfortable relationship but I knew he wanted sex and I wasn’t ready. It’s not that I wasn’t ready as much as that I was responsible. I had a lot of friends during that time frame who were engaging in sexual activity and ending up getting abortions. I knew for a 100% fact that I could never kill and innocent child for any reason and I also knew I wasn’t ready to be a mom yet. Being a mom was my dream for as long as I could remember, but I was not ready at the age of 18.

I liked the guy I was dating and I liked his family, but he wasn’t the right guy at the right time, and we both knew it. Admittedly, I was weakened when we broke up because I knew the biggest reason was because I wasn’t giving him sex. Looking back that was the biggest favor he ever did for me! Since he told my, now husband, he was wasting his time because I wasn’t “putting out”. That was great because then my future husband knew he was getting a woman with morals and values that were in short supply in the 80s.

I dated my husband for over a year and a half before we married, I was 20, which I know is still young, but I was ready, and he was right. Our first beautiful baby arrived 10 months later, followed by 2 more within the next 4 years. We’ve had rough times, and we’ve had wonderful times, but the one thing I know for certain is I don’t know what I would do without him! I thank God for him every day. We’re still married 30 years later and I’m so grateful for my choice to stay a virgin until I was sure I had the right guy. I will admit I was not a virgin when we married, but not a lot of women I know can say they’ve had sex with one man. 

~Jane ❤

Lists and stuff…

Oh hey, let’s get back on track here. Where were we? Oh! Lists.

I used to be a crastinator, then I went pro. I didn’t make that up but I love it and it fits!

It’s going into fall, my favorite time of the year. Time to make my lists. I make a list for everything, there’s even a list of lists! A girl has to keep organized, especially when she is a procrastinator. I’m not saying the things on my list don’t get done, they do (mostly) but a lot of times its last-minute. I’ve come to accept the fact that, that is how I roll and I do my best work under pressure and impending deadlines.

I have to admit this summer was a bust for the most part. It started out great then mid July it took a turn. I pretty much dumped my lists in the trash after that. No sense going over them constantly and not being able to make those, oh so satisfying, check marks. It was depressing. Time to start over with the new season! Granted, I will have to make sure I make my lists within reason, particularly the To Do List. Baby steps, is what they say. I say, grandma steps. I feel like that is a bit more sophisticated. Ha!

So, we are going away for the long weekend and I still have a “few” things to get done (remember, I work best under pressure) before we leave early in the morning. The problem I have right now is thinking about my lists and where to start. Logic tells me to start with September’s house projects and updates, move on to October’s decor and Halloween shenanigans, then November… you get where I’m going with it. My heart tells me to start with my Christmas gift list. This will be my granddaughters first Christmas and I don’t want to go overboard but I want it to be special. What needs to happen is for me to start sewing on her quilt. Which is kind of funny since I haven’t finished my own kids’ quilts yet. How much would you like to bet the baby’s gets done first? 😉

Another thing about me and my lists… I like pretty paper. I like pretty office supplies in general but I love paper. I REALLY love the Me and My Big Idea planners. This is my second year of owning one. They are so pretty with their inspirational quotes and you can decorate them with colored pens and stickers. I even bought the instant camera that shoots out pictures that are stickers, they fit perfectly in the boxes provided on each day of the week. Notice that what I said is I own one, I have to admit that after the first few weeks or maybe a couple of months I lose interest in filling it out daily. I don’t know, I can’t really say I lose interest as much as I think I’ll do it later, but don’t. I think we’ve gone over this…

Oh hey, let’s get back on track here. Where were we? Oh! Lists. Yeah, so I don’t think I have any pretty paper suitable for fall/winter list making so a trip to Michaels is probably in my near future. I’m going to have hours of riding in the car time to work on this so I’m going to have to write on boring plain paper and transfer to “final draft” on fancy paper. I guess this is good because my first draft is always a mess and I don’t really like wasting my good stock. Now, let’s talk pens. I have a very large array of pens. Ball point, sharpie, gel… in pretty much any color you might need. I tend to collect pens as much as I do paper (my paper stock is 95% scrapbook paper). However, it is time to go through and check them and throw out the bad ones.

Oh wow, look what time it is!! I HAVE to go finish getting ready for the long weekend! The husband is going to text me on his break and ask me if I’m about done and I’m going to say, “Yes, of course! What do you think I’ve been doing all morning”? The truth is, he knows me and he knows that when he gets home I’m going to ask him to help me with something I should have already had done. Good thing he loves me and thinks I’m cute because damn, I’m not sure I could put up with a person like myself. Ha!

Happy Labor Day weekend!

~Jane