Thursday, September 28, 2006


A few weeks ago, I started thinking that blogging was a waste of my time. I started blogging for 3 reasons:
1. I love words. I love to express myself in written form.
2. My daughter reads it and I had hoped that someday both of my kids would view it as a legacy.
3. My husband travels a lot. When my kids were babies, I'd sometimes go days without speaking to another adult. Blogging has been a good way to use up my quota of words, especially when Paul is out of town.
Now though, I think it might be a little silly for me to spend my time putting my words to paper (so to speak)for, well...none of the world to see. I REALLY appreciate the 3 of you who have read and commented, but I am no Erma Bombeck (loved her) and perhaps my thoughts are best left un-typed.
However; just as there are times when I simply can't keep my mouth shut about something, I'm sure there will be times where I can't keep my fingers still and will just have to let my view be known. As for the legacy for my kids - I can always do that on a Word Document and print it out for them.
But before I go, I have one last request.
The news on my dad is not nearly as good as we had hoped. His cancer is inoperable. The doctors have said his lung capacity is too low for them to consider surgery. He has been prounounced "incurable." Yet, they are planning to start chemotherapy and radiation. I don't understand that. Does this mean there IS hope, or are they just giving him more time? I have many questions.
So please pray for him and for my step mother. And please pray for my siblings and me as we try to care for him from a distance, and as we try to manage this whole thing without angering our mother. Also, please pray for my mom, that she will finally see that when we give love to somebody else, we are not taking it away from her.



I've been a terribly indulgent dog-owner and I am now changing the rules on her. I did not want to spend my child rearing years yelling at the dog "Get Down, Get Down..."while I was yelling at my children "Get Down, Get Down..."
Now, though, I realize my mistake. Well, I realized it a long time ago, but you know how it is? So I went out and bought a dog bed (another one). The first dog bed I bought was quickly taken over by our 24 pound cat. So I placed new the dog bed by her favorite love seat and I stood the cushions to the love seat on end so she couldn't climb up there. Then I got a piece of cheese and had my daughter hold the cheese. My plan: have Cookie get on the bed and every time she got on the bed, Kayla could hand her a bite of cheese. Cookie wouldn't get on the bed. I even rubbed the bed all over her to get her smell on it. Then I put it back down and pointed to it and said "get on the bed, Cookie... get on the bed Cookie, geeeeet on the bed Cookie." Her ears stood straight out sideways from her head and she looked at me as if to say "but the loveseat is my bed." Then I dragged her onto the bed and held her squirming body down and said to Kayla in a panic "give her the cheese, give her the cheese!" Then Cookie jumped off the bed with her cheese and ran in circles around the coffee table and stopped and cocked her head at the bed with her ears sticking out sideways from her head again. We reapeated this until one slice of cheese was gone. Then I sat on the dog bed and called her to me. She came over and stopped a mere centimeter from the bed. I dragged her on to the bed and gave her more cheese. Then she started the circles again and I was exhausted and sweating. Then the cat came in and I threw him out of the room and gave up.
But when I went upstairs last night, SHE WAS ON THE BED.
This morning, she was by the front door, but you gotta look at the small victories.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


We skipped church today. We were not out of town. We did not over sleep. Nobody is sick. We just skipped. There I said it. And it felt good to sleep in a little. It feels good to look forward to a quiet day with the family. Even though our church is 40 miles away, we are usually not daunted by the drive, but after the hectic weekend we've had, we were eager to stay close to home and have a leisurely day doing, well, probably nothing. Although I do have a stack of clothes on my bedroom floor. I was in the middle of cleaning out my closet when I finally went to bed at 2 a.m. (more on that later)
3 years ago at our former congregation we would have been racked with guilt if we missed church for no "good" reason. We didn't necessarily have a desire to be there, but it was a good place to get a healthy dose of guilt from the pulpit and also from all the older members who would ask when they saw you next "and where were you last week?" REALLY. That was probably what kept our attendance regular for the last year we were there.
Now, though, it is the opposite. We have a tremendous desire to be part of worship services and we do not feel like we are being judged on the rare occasion we miss. Nor do we feel like we owe an explanation. You know sometimes, somebody will say "I missed you last week..." and there is the question hanging in the air: "Where were you?" Now it is just more of a "I'm glad to see you" attitude. No judgment. No guilt. No explanation needed. So I may actually miss church a little more now that we drive 40 miles, but I feel closer to God, and more spiritually fed, then I have in a long time.
I was cleaning out my closet at 2 in the morning because my son had a group of boys spend the night after the dance. He also had about 4 girls over until 1. Let me tell you something. This was not a pleasant evening. We told the girls we were taking them home at 1 (because they all said they had to be home between 1 and 1:30, which I think is a little late but I'm not their mother) so while the girls were here, Paul and I had to take turns going to the basement every ten minutes to make sure the kids knew we would be going to the basement every ten minutes to monitor them. I didn't even try to be discreet. I started just stopping at the bottom of the steps, looking around and going back up.
So anyway, at 12:50 I went downstairs and said "ladies, in 10 minutes Mr Woolard will be taking you home. Do any boys want to go home?" One did. So at 1:00 the boy (they call him Chili) was waiting in our living room to go home. No girls. So I called down the steps "girls, it's time to go" One of them makes a call on her cell phone. 5 minutes later, "girls. we need to get going." They ignore me again. So I tried my old family attention getter. I flipped the light on and off really fast several times. And I hear a voice say "we gotta go." 10 minutes later one girl comes up and tells us that instead of all of the girls going to one place they were going to two different places. I am not happy. Still missing 3 girls. I finally say "girls, you have to come up now. Your parents are expecting you." Up they come. So Paul takes the girls and Chili home. He has to make a huge circle to two different homes for the girls and then take Chili home last because he does not want to be alone in a car with teenage girls at 1:30 in the morning. Poor Chili, but it was the smart way to do it.
So then I headed to the basement to talk to the boys and ask Blake if he had a good time "No, I'm never going to another dance again." And then Taylor chimes in "from now on we are just having a get together like this, no dance, and no girls either. There's too much drama with these girls." I wanted to say "oh my sweet innocent boys, you have no idea. This is just the beginning." But I will post later on why these boys had such a terrible time. And you can decide if I'm just a mom who babies my boy or if THESE GIRLS WERE RUDE TO THEM ALL EVENING.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Back before I had children, I worked at a long term care facility for the mentally ill residents. I was in charge of care plans and admissions for 127 mentally ill individuals. Mostly schzophrenic. I great stories at the end of each day to share with Paul.
There was the lady who, every day of my first two weeks, fired me. And she was a different person each time. Martha Washington. General Eisenhower. Ronald Reagan. I knew who she was each day because she'd say "you're fired. And I'm Martha Washington so I have the authority."
There was the man who sat in my office and talked all day. His conversations went something like this "popcorn, got a washtub full of popcorn. Does the doctor want popcorn. is the doctor sick haha the doctor needs a doctor. tennis shoes, do you have red tennis shoes...hey Heidi, got any shoestrings. livin' on a shoestring, haha. " Sometimes this man would drink so much water that he'd wash the psychotropic drugs out of his system. Then he'd get...well, amorous. He was about 75 and bald and the few teeth he had were yellow and he'd get right in my face with his amorous self and say "kiss me Heidi (kissy noises) come on give me a kiss. MAKE LOVE TO ME BABY." And I'd say the same thing. "you know that is inappropriate and if you can't stay in your chair and be nice you'll have to leave my office." And sometimes I'd tell him he was being a dirty old man and he'd laugh.
Then there was the little old 80 year old lady who just sat in my office and ate hard candy and laughed. Just laughed. Every now and then she'd cry and that made me sad. But usually she just rocked and laughed and sucked on her candy.
Then there was the lady who one day was on a rant looking for "that Heidi" but nobody knew why. Every time she asked where " that *!@#$^%$ Heidi" was, people would act ignorant. She even asked me to my face where that "that little (expletive) Heidi" was and I said I sure didn't know but that I'd let Heidi know she was looking for her. Then the storm passed and I didn't have a hit out on me anymore and the lady was as sweet as could be.
Many many stories.

And it all came back today when I answered the phone at work "Smith Barney, this is Heidi, may I help you." And there was a stream of nonsense words from a man talking a mile a minute, obviously paranoid about his investments from 10 years ago. He wanted me to call GM and McDonald's and find out why he had not seen a return. He was calling from a pay phone. He remembered the name of his broker from 10 years ago. Evidentally he had called last week too and was wanting the number for the SEC so he could file a complaint. I think I will hear from him frequently and I think I have found some ways to calm him down. I really hope he is under the care of a professional, but who knows.

I always thought it was interesting that I have a Bachelors in Social Work and I am working at a brokerage firm. I guess you never know. Or as my grandma would say "who'd have thunk it?"

Thursday, September 14, 2006


There are a few movies which, no matter how many times I watch them, are still fascinating to me. Apollo 13 and Remember the Titans are two such movies. I think it's because each time I watch them, I am reminded of the "behind the scenes" heroes.

In Apollo 13, we see the engineers at NASA working frantically to bring our astronauts home. They are given an impossible task. They are asked to make a square peg fit into a round hole, and they do it. And yet, it is the astronauts that are considered the heroes. Don't get me wrong; those astronauts are definitely heroes. They were working in a dire situation to save each other and themselves. They stretched their expertise and training beyond limits to come home. But most Americans don't know the names of the engineers. I know I wouldn't recognize any.

And then there's Remember the Titans. First let me say that 5 years ago, if anybody had told me I'd be one to use a sports analogy, I'd have said they were out of their tree. But I am in a phase of life (as is every phase of parenting) where you love what your children love. Many scenes in this movie give me chills. I love the scene where the coach takes them on a 3 a.m. run to the civil war cemetery. When they finally arrive at the cemetery and listen to his speech, they finally get it. The team finally starts coming together. I also love the end where they are playing the championship game. In football it seems to me (in my limited understanding of the game) that there are 2 players who get most of the credit. Of course, there is the quarterback. And then there is the running back. Every Saturday during the fall, people are reading about the number of yards passed by a quarterback and the number of yards run by the runnning back to score in the game the night before. And these gifted young men deserve the credit. But what about the young men "on the line" making their jobs easier? What about the young men whose job it is to stop anybody in their way so the running back can score or the quarterback can pass? Do you supposed it's difficult for any of these young men to do such a good job and watch somebody else get credit? At the end of Remember the Titans, we see the final touchdown play. We see the young man running for a touchdown; but in front of him is another young man knocking down anybody who gets in his way. It is the job of the man in front to make a path for the man with the ball, the man who will score and get the credit. Last time I watched this movie (just last weekend) I watched that scene and thought of...well, Life. How nice, I thought, to have somebody running ahead of me through life to knock down anything and anybody that tries to stop me from achieving my goal. And then I was ashamed. Because I have that. I have that in our Lord. And unfortunately, I sometimes fail to give credit where credit is due.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


September 11, 2001 will be our generation's "where were you when?" moment.
Paul and I were nearing the end of the building process of our house. We had an appointment that day to meet at the house with the "tile guy" so we could decide on the tile for our jacuzzi tub. I saw the first plane attack on tv before I left. I called my sister and told her to turn on her tv. We watched together as the second plane hit. I remember saying "Rena, we're under attack." Strangely my first thought was that an American had done this. Remember Timothy McVeigh?
I felt so shallow and nearly ashamed leaving the tv to take care of a such a mundane task as choosing bathroom tiles. I told Paul I couldn't believe that our country was under attack and here I am walking in to our brand new home to decide what tiles will go around my tub. I wondered what kind of person I must be to carry on with life like that.
My brother was already scheduled to fly to Egypt 3 weeks later for military training with the Egyptian Army. We were very frightened for him and hoped he would not have to go. He went. We could not reach him on 9/11 but his wife said he was fine. He worked nearly 24 hours a day on the army base that week securing it. It was chilling to hear later the details of what they had to do to make sure their base was secure. I realized then that bases all over our country - all over the world - were going through the same thing; working frantically to secure themselves and ready their troops for what might come next. The base at which he was stationed was the main supplier of heavy arms. "Tank Row" is several miles of tanks parked side by side on each side of the road - just waiting until they are needed. My sister in law said it was surreal to watch those tanks be moved. Each time she went on base, there were fewer tanks there. When we visited several months later, tank row was nearly empty. The tanks that were left were being painted - changed from green camouflage to desert camouflage. It was a sight that answered many questions about what the future held for us.
My brother was not deployed to Afghanistan or to Iraq. His company was. The young men he trained were sent over. His wife said it was hard on him. Of course he did not want to go to war, but these "boys" who were half his age, these boys who were only 3 0r 4 years older than my son is now, were going.
I am VERY proud of our military. Both my grandfathers fought in WW II (their stories were heart wrenching) my dad was in the Army, and my brother served 21 years in the Army. My father-in-law(Paul's step dad) was a medic in Korea and Vietnam and
Paul's dad served nearly 20 years in the Air Force before he died. I am proud of any man or woman who will put themselves in a situation to have to do what our military is doing now, with very little pay and sometimes very little praise. And I am just selfish enough to be thankful for these sons and daughters who CHOOSE to serve so that my son or daughter will not HAVE to serve.
So to every service member, every police officer, every fire fighter...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

NOT THAT THERE'S ANY THING WRONG WITH THAT... dad is doing better. His surgery to cement the vertabrae went well, he is walking a little bit. He is not eating, though. His biopsy results will be back next week and we are still waiting to see when we will drive over.
I am hoping this will be the catalyst to a better relationship with him.
My son is a jock. No doubt about it. He loves his sports - football and wrestling being the top two. Grades have not been a priority for him, and I simply cannot comprehend that. There are days I just want to bang my head on the counter top while we discuss this issue. But he might be changing his attitude. I attribute this change in large part to his best friend's older brother. Cubbie's brother is a senior and a star football player. He is also a TOP student who is getting offers for academic scholarships as well as athletic. Oh and Cubbie's brother is Blake's transportation to all things football, which give Blake lots of time with him. We give him gas money and he drives Blake to and from practices and camps. It is worth every penny. This young man is not only a great student and a great athlete; he is a very respectful young man - just a great kid. I think he has been a tremedous influence on Blake by letting Blake see what diligence in the academic field will do for him.

Lately Blake's interests seem to be expanding to include more of a...well, down home, bubba kind of thing. He has developed a love for country music. He is now interested in Nascar and even bought a Nascar cap. And today - when we bought his school shoes...he bought cowboy boots.
Cowboy boots. Black leather with the stitching up the side and everything. He says he will now need some more jeans. I asked if he would want a different kind of shirts. I wouldn't put Nike t-shirts with cowboy boots and jeans, so I thought we'd pick up a dressier look - you know, something with a collar (gasp.) No. He just wants jeans. With his cowboy boots and Nike t-shirts. Not that there's anything wrong with that...I'm just sayin'.

Monday, September 04, 2006


I realized the other day that I spend much of my life apologizing; I'm sorry I'm not a size 5 anymore, I'm sorry I'm not a better housekeeper, I'm sorry I can't be at that family dinner, I'm sorry I have to miss your event to go to your sibling's, I'm sorry I can't get dinner on the table when we are on the go from 3 til 9 most evenings, I'm sorry I am missing another church function, I'm sorry I'm choosing a family outing over a church outing, I'm sorry I can't do that class party or supervise that field trip, I'm sorry if I've put you out in any way at all. And so it goes. Forever it seems.

Of course these apologies are in my mind only and I'm sure nobody else is giving as much thought to these issues as I am. Simply put, I feel guilt too easily. I want to please people and I feel terrible anxiety when I think I've let somebody down or have not made the decision they expected me to make. I don't know how many times I have done something I didn't want to do, just so I didn't disappoint somebody or because it seemed the more accepted choice. I'm not talking about letting myself slip into immoral behavior, or feeling resentful about helping somebody in need. I'm talking about simply not living up. I'm talking about not being assertive enough to simply say, "No thank you. I have something else I need/want to do." Or "Actually, I just don't feel I can take that on right now." I know that this all boils down to lack of self esteem - the fear that I am allowing people to think I don't have my priorities straight, even when I know in my heart I do.
When I do make a decision I think will be unpopular, I feel like I have to spend several minutes justifying it, "Well, I really want to. I'm torn about it. But I have this, and this, and this, and well...honestly I think this other thing is just as important.....I'm REALLY SORRY if I've let you down, I really hate to think I've disappointed you."
Much of this is my personality; but some of it is this BUSY phase of life I am in. Do other moms who are in this phase of life struggle with this same guilt? Do they get sucked into the pit of guilt because they can't do everything and please everybody? Do they feel guilty for choosing to forego many other things so they can be with family because they know all too well how fleeting this time is? Do they wonder if others are criticizing their choices?
I simply want to get to the point in my life where I make a choice and stand firm, where I accept myself as I am and feel confident that others do too, where I don't feel the need to apologize or justify.

And I'm really sorry if this has offended any of you.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Summer is over - and I am not really disappointed about that because I LOVE AUTUMN.
This is how I know Summer is over:
1. I was alone in the house last night because Paul and the kids were at the Friday night football game. I had said I was going to go more this year but then the thought of a night alone in the house became too tempting.
2. My sinuses are a little bothersome in the mornings
3. The mornings and evenings are cool - love it!
4. We had our last shaved ice on Sunday evening. We had gotten into the routine this summer of going out to get shaveed ice on Sunday evenings. It was our way of being sure at least Kayla would hop in the jeep with us and spend 30 minutes connecting before the week began. Last weekend, Blake went too. And we noticed the hut was closing for the summer later that evening. So we ordered our last 4 (we even got MEDIUMS) - pina' colada for mom, rootbeer float for dad, rock-n-roll for Kayla and candy apple for Blake. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it.
There are five children sleeping my house at the moment. I gave birth to two children. This is a common mathematical puzzle in our house. But I love it. I knew each of the kids was going to have a friend over last night. So when Blake walked in with an extra I just had to tease said extra; "Uh, Taylor, no offense....but why are you here?" He wasn't even flustered. He just smiled and said. "Blake already got the ok from Mr. Woolard."
So anyway after 20 minutes of these FIVE kids being here and all of them talking NON STOP and laughing I quietly asked Paul "Did you shoot caffeine straight into their veins?" I mean every kid was talking at once and they all seemed to be able to answer the others. How is this done?
Anyway, one of Blake's VERY BEST friends is different from Blake in many ways. His name is Jordan but his nickname - from kindergarten days - is Cubbie. (Cubbie spent the night last night too - his parents call me his second mom) Cubbie is 6 foot 3 inches tall and weighs 250 pounds (Quite understandable considering is dad is 6'6"). Blake is 5'10 and 140 pounds. Blake and Cubbie play side by side on the line in football and that is where their physical differences are really noticeable. First, their size - quite obvious. Second, Cubbie is bi-racial. So his dark brown arms are quite the contrast to my son's pale, freckled, red-head complexion-type arms. Cubbie is quiet and shy and quite gentle ( His mom told me that the coaches tell him "Cubbie you are the biggest thing on the field, you gotta get TOUGH") Blake is more outgoing and boisterous. They each have a great sense of humor, though. And boys can tease and "rag" on each other without a problem. They showed me a picture last night from their game this week. Cubbie is standing with his arms out in a gesture of exasperation. Blake goes "Dude, that's when you were yelling at me for missing those blocks." Cubbie say "Well, you were missing everything on that play - you couldn't do a thing." They cracked up. AMAZING. Girls would be mad 3 days later. Girls would be trying to get each other out of the carpool (over my dead body) But not boys. These boys were cracking up about how they yelled and screamed at each other through the game. But at the final buzzer - no more yelling or screaming... just more laughing at each other and themselves. It probably helped that they won again, but anyway...
But I wonder how many adults could learn something from teenage boys. You know, if someone says something that offends you, just laugh it off. If someone criticizes you or leaves you out - just laughingly say "um...that kind of bothered me" Or "DUDE... that was lame." Whatever it takes to let us move on. I know I need to be reminded of that quite often.

Friday, September 01, 2006


That's what Paul said to me the other day when I told him what I had bought at the store on the way home from work:
ingredients for homemade chicken noodle soup and NIGHT CRAWLERS.
It's not the homemade soup that impressed him; it was the night crawlers. I have made a few trips to purchase night crawlers for Blake.
This time he needed two tubs. I segregate the nightcrawlers in my cart - placing them in a far corner and making sure no other item touches them. Then I double bag them. Then when placing them in the van I hold the bag as far away from my body as I can and place them in the corner of the "stow-n-go" well and drive home fearing that the nightcrawler tub will pop open. They ARE alive you know. In fact, the label says "our night crawlers will catch fish or die trying." Then I carry all the other groceries in (except cases of water and soda, which Blake has to carry in for me) except the night crawlers because Blake knows once they hit our drive way he must take custody of them.
I just noticed a tub of night crawlers in the fridge. This is not ok. See, Blake has a dorm fridge in his room (he bought it with paper route money) that he uses for his gatorade and his allotment of soda for himself and his buddies. He is also supposed to use it for night crawlers.
Did you know a night crawler tub is the same size as a sour cream tub, or a cottage cheese tub, or a large margarine tub? Can you imagine the ramifications of a "tub" mistake.....