Where I’m From

Where I’m From

I am from the Foothills along the winding Hwy 9; from saddle shoes and hand-me-down clothes.
I am from the yellow mobile home next door to my Grandma’s house and across the street from church.
I am from the crick, buttercups chins, dandelion chains and skunk cabbage fans.
I am from blinking porch lights to get a horn toot from the 9 o’clock train and chasing cows at 2 a.m.
I am from family camping trips and Vikings, from the Ferry’s and Boice’s and my Grandpa Butch and my Amma.
I am from artists and jokesters and thinkers.
From “Here comes trouble” and “Say that again…slower” and “I can do it MYSELF!”
I am from grassroots, charismatic Jesus Freaks and proud of it! From Sunday services that could run all day depending on how the Spirit moved the congregation. From Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Little House at the Ferry’s, choir practice, Christian schools.
I’m from San Bernardino, from Iceland and American Heinz 57.
I am from Vinarterta and hamburger casserole and gingerbread houses.
From the family who moved with their entire village to North America, the man who once tried to count the Mama bulls, and the woman who survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
I am from “butt shots” and polaroids in albums so worn out their covers are missing.
I am from the land of hippies, yippies and yuppies; from as far west as you can go without jumping into the Pacific and as far north as you can go without entering Canada.
I am from Van Zandt, population 52 if you include the cows, in the Foothills along the winding Highway 9.

Today I’m participating in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop
Mama’s Losin’ It


Obey? Yeah, Right! – Writer’s Workshop

Today I am participating in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop with writing prompt #5 – I sometimes laugh when I’m uncomfortable…or being yelled…or in church…or at a funeral. Write about a time when you laughed at an inappropriate time.

The first time I met most of my in-laws was the day before I got married.

They thought I was crazy.

They might have been right.

I met the Ranger while doing an internship in Pennsylvania (3,000 miles away from home). I was “allowed” to go on the condition I didn’t fall in love, get married and move there. Well, I always figured my parents got off easy when I was a teenager, so I rebelled in my mid-20’s.

We got married in the little church that I grew up in, a nice little PROTESTANT church. (This becomes important later). We got married the Saturday before Easter. Our rehearsal was held on Good Friday.

All was going great with the rehearsal until the minister got to the word “Obey.” I insisted this word be included in our vows, not the Ranger.

He knew better.

I went hysterical…LAUGHING! I laughed so hard that I had tears rolling down my face! I laughed for a good 10 minutes while the poor Ranger looked on helplessly! The poor guy thought I was going to call the whole thing off with his entire family standing there, having flown 3,000 miles for the occassion!

The next day at the actual ceremony everyone who had seen the spectacle the night before held their breath waiting to see if I would have a repeat performance. I held it in.

I always chalked it up to nerves. I just had to get those nerves out and was able to go on with life!

I thought.

Flash forward a couple years – we are living in Pennsylvania, Big is 2, we have started attending the local Catholic church – my mother-in-law was THRILLED!

Did I mention that my husband had been raised Catholic?

Did you know that if you aren’t married by a Catholic priest, the Catholic Church does not recognize your marriage?

Did I mention we were married by an Assembly of God Minister?

So, we decided to have a small ceremony to reaffirm our marriage vows with a Catholic priest who didn’t require me to convert. We had to go through pre-cana classes (pre-marriage classes). We could have taught those classes.

All was great until in the middle of the ceremony when the priest said that magical word, “Obey.” And, it started with giggles which built to a full-blown fit of laughter. About 5-minutes later I had pulled myself together and we were able to finish the ceremony.

The next day the priest pulled the Ranger aside and offered to have our marriage annulled.

Well, it has been another 9 years since that ceremony and we’re still going strong!

We just don’t use the word “Obey” unless it is in regard to our children.

Wedding photo

Substitute v. Students

Today I am participating in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. The topic I chose is #3, “Something Students These Days Should Know.” However I wrote it from the view of what I think they should know about this substitute teacher. Sorry, no pictures today.

Yes, I am a librarian, but I also substitute teach.

I have substitute taught off and on for about 3 years, and I really like it! Not enough to have my own classroom, but enough to keep doing it.

I have taken workshops on being an effective substitute teacher, and I have bought guidebooks with possible lesson plans and tips.

I take it very seriously.

I am not there to babysit the students in the class; I am there to continue their education and to implement the lesson plan their teacher has in place. If no lesson plan is in place, I will pull out my Handy-Dandy little file out of my Sub Bag and go to town. With some sort of lesson or assignment, usually something involving writing, to keep my students occupied for at least five minutes.

I substitute teach for all grades from Pre-K through 12th. The younger kids are so very sweet! The older kids are cooler than I ever was or could hope to be. However, this particular list is aimed toward the older crowd.

Something High School students today should know…from the point of view of your Substitute Teacher.

  1. I am not there for your entertainment. I do not juggle…well. I am not a comedienne. Seriously! No one can kill the punch line of a joke faster than I can! The funniest part of my jokes is me trying to remember exactly how the punch line goes!
  2. When I give you an assignment it is NOT a suggestion. Unless there is no lesson plan available, the assignments I give you are coming from your teacher and I am just the one giving you the bad news. If a teacher knows they will be absent they give LOTS of work in the attempts to keep you from sending me straight from your classroom and into a bar!
  3. I am not going to delude myself that you are actually acting the same way you would if your regular teacher were in the room.
  4. I KNOW you are going to act up, it’s a longstanding right and ritual among students to expect they will get away with a bit more mischief with a substitute than with their regular teacher. However, there’s mischief and then there’s going way beyond!
  5. I am not there for your entertainment. (please refer to #1). It is not advisable for you to pelt me with papers, to throw candy around the room (unless you are sharing with me), turn on the radio, etc. All this will do is force me to call the office and request you be removed from my room. It usually only takes one student, then the rest get the idea.
  6. Sticks and stones and all the rest, the writing assignment you turn in noting that you hope a dog urinates on me just makes me happy you know how to spell urinate correctly.
  7. I am a librarian, with a degree and everything that says I am a librarian. This means that I am classically trained in the art of “SHUSH-ING” you.
  8. The phrase, “If you are talking, the people around you cannot hear what I am saying,” really means SHUT UP!
  9. I do not negotiate with terrorists or high school students, however, I may offer you a deal. I am not above bribery. You pay attention, do your work, follow the rules and you might just get rewarded. I buy Jolly Rancher candies by the 3lb bags. If you don’t follow the rules I have the ability to impose a SILENT STUDY HALL! Mwahahahahaha…POWER!
  10. I do not have all the answers, but I DO have an answer key! At least you better hope I do, ’cause my degrees are in history and libraries which means I do not excel in science or math, especially at the high school level. But I will do my best.
  11. Your teacher may not be in the classroom, but they left the world’s biggest TATTLETALE in their place. I do leave a highly detailed note for the teacher outlining every aspect of my day in their classroom – what we accomplished, what we did not accomplish and why, every absence, every student who leaves and for how long, and (depending on the day) every class or student who gives me an unusual amount of grief.

I actually ENJOY teaching high school and even *GASP* middle school. I must be crazy.

Wacky Wednesday

Today I am posting with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop using the prompt, “What inspired you this week?”

So, what inspired me this week?

My poor, little Baby inspired me this week. She’s been pathetic sick.

I thought she was feeling better! So we went to Sissy’s P.E. program.


I sent her to school the next day (Tuesday), she hadn’t yakked since Sunday morning. I put her on the bus at 7:15 a.m. and at EXACTLY 8:04 a.m. I got a call from the school telling me she needed to be picked up ’cause she was pathetic sick again.


She snuggled on the couch with her ratty pink teddy, her smushed Cinderella pillow, and her Hello Kitty blanket and moaned and groaned watched T.V. all day.

PBS Kids made her happy. Food did not.

Then came Wednesday, Wednesday was Wacky Wednesday at school. It was also Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss’ birthday) Baby missed it. This did not make Baby happy.

So we had Wacky Wednesday at home. This made Baby happy!

There is something inspiring about a purple Huggy Bear hat and hot pink Dame Edna glasses. There is something inspiring about a child whose taste in clothes tends to run toward the wacky…

…looking for something she deems wacky enough to wear for Wacky Wednesday.

“That’s not wacky, Mama, that’s pretty!”

Apparently nothing in her drawers or closet are truly wacky, ’cause she finally settled on an inside out T-shirt and backwards pants.

I really hope she keeps this sense of style. There is something inspiring about a person who is comfortable enough in their own skin to wear what they like and not what everyone else is wearing.

Heading to Alice’s House

This post is being written as part of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. The prompt for this week is a vacation to remember. (I’m sorry, Mama Kat, I still can’t get the button link to work).

I live roughly 3,000 miles from my parents and my siblings and their families. We usually get to see my parents twice a year, once we’ll fly to them and once they’ll fly to us. We usually get to see my siblings and their families once a year…maybe… it’s rough.

In Nov. 2009 we flew out to Washington to spend Thanksgiving with my family. It was really nice and it went way too fast. But this post isn’t about that vacation. This post is a vacation idea seed that was planted when Poppop (my Daddy) heard his youngest granddaughter, Baby, ask if we could go to see Alice (Disney). Poppop thought and thought and thought and then in June, I was grocery shopping and got a call from my Daddy. At that time I didn’t get many phone calls from Daddy, so I was quick to answer. The jist of the phone call was to see if instead of Nana and Poppop coming to see Baby, would Baby like to meet them at Disneyland.

Ummm…let me think about this for a minute… YES!

So, the ball was rolling, and two months and numerous emails and phone calls between my Sissy (aka, the Cruise Director) and me, we were on our way to see Alice. Everyone in the extended family knew except Baby. Baby thought we were just going to see Nana and Poppop. We let Nana tell her at the airport in California.

It didn’t sink in until we were driving up Disney Blvd. and she could see the tips of the castle. Her eyes got huge and stayed that way for a week.

This trip was for more than just because Baby told her Poppop she wanted to see Alice. This trip was a huge celebration for the entire family – Poppop was getting ready to retire, I was getting ready to graduate with my Master’s degree, my oldest nephew had just graduated from high school and my Sissy had a BIG birthday, and at the last minute we were celebrating a job transfer for the Ranger to TN. (We found out 2 days before leaving on vacation that we had 30 days to relocate to TN).

This was a family reunion vacation. We are one of those families who spends at least one day touring the park wearing matching t-shirts that proclaim we are family!

Well, everyone wore a t-shirt except Baby. This was the day she hoped to see Alice, so she got to wear her costume. We didn’t see Alice that day, but Baby did get Poppop onto the Alice ride!

Baby is by far the youngest; she is 6. Big is 10. Their closest cousin, Miss K is 13; she was all about spending time with her girl cousins. Their boy cousins are 16, 16 and 18; they were all about scoping out girls and trying to look cool.

For us this was a trip all about Baby and Big and the magic and awe that surrounds small children in Disneyland. Come on people, it’s is called the Magic Kingdom for a reason. Nana and Poppop spent a good deal of the trip with us.

This was the trip that Nana introduced Baby to her favorite ride, which is now Baby’s favorite too – It’s a Small World.

This was a trip where she got to meet the live, for REAL princesses!

“MOM!” she said, “Did you see who was standing behind me!”

This was a trip where she got to go to Pixie Hollow and to meet Tinkerbell.

This was a trip to meet someone who gets into as much trouble as she does – Stitch.

This was the trip to finally, FINALLY meet Alice.

She didn’t just get to meet Alice, she got to play with Alice!

Many children get autographs from their favorite characters, but playing a game of musical chairs with Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter, now that’s something pretty darn special! That is something I doubt they will ever forget.

This was a trip to spend with Miss K.

This was a trip (probably the last) to ride on my Bubba’s shoulders.

This was a trip to spend just spending with Poppop.

This was probably the last trip the entire family will be present for at one time. Oh, they’ll all show up here and there when we go to visit Nana and Poppop, but as a family get-a-way this was probably it.

We split up during the day with groups going one direction or the other, meeting up here and there for rides together. Supper was always together. Chaotic and loud, but the good kind of chaotic and loud. Kids running between hotel rooms (we were at the end of a corridor and there was no one else around us). And, the adults going from room to room scavenging snacks, chargers and laptops (well, I was having laptop withdrawals) or just sitting and chatting. And one night there was my Sissy, my Bubba and I all together running from one ride to the next like we did when we were teenagers – only on this trip we had our spouses with us.

All in all it was a very exhausting week. It was a happy week. One sparked with wonderful memories. One that I would love to repeat….and repeat…..and repeat…..and repeat and so would Baby.

My First Valentine

Today I am participating in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. I am using the prompt – Share a photo that captures a special Valentine.

This is a picture of Baby with my first Valentine, my Daddy. Yup, this Mama still calls her Daddy, Daddy. I chose this picture because today is a special day, it’s my Daddy’s birthday (if you see him, tell him I said, “Nah, What’s up, Doc?”) He’s not going to be really happy that I shared this photo, or that I told you it was his birthday, but I’ll live and so will he. He’s a quiet, humble man. I love him, he’s my Daddy and he’s forgiven me much greater things than sharing his photo on my blog. After all I did move 3,000 miles away, and he’s forgiven me for that!

My Daddy is pretty darn cool. When I learned to drive he didn’t scream or yell, just asked for a Diet Pepsi and stick of beef jerky while I was practicing (he didn’t even yell at me the day I ran the car into the DMV building when I went to take my test). When I was learning to cook, he ate whatever I created despite my lack of skills. When I went away to college he slipped me $20 every time we stopped for gas and offered to drive the 8 hours to pick me up if I changed my mind and wanted to come home. When I was getting married he asked me for a yearlong engagement in case I wanted to change my mind (I didn’t). And, when I went through with the wedding he gave me the best advice EVER as we waited for our cue (Basically, save the arguments for something really important, because you can never really take back something said in anger). When my children arrived he would walk them through the toy store and say, “Anything at all, anything…Poppop will get it for you!” (Not that he’s spoiled his grandchildren).

He just retired from his job as an engineer in order to start his second career. He is now an Associate Pastor. He’s been planning for his retirement for decades, and now he is doing something he truly loves (not that he didn’t like his last career, but…). He always swore that if I went back to school to get my Master’s degree he was going to go back to school too, and darned if he didn’t! He started taking classes to become an Associate Pastor around the same time I started working on my MLIS. He started work as an Associate Pastor on January 1, 2011.

I’ve heard this often from my parents, I’ve been blessed. So now I’m passing it on, “I’m so very proud of you, Daddy. I love you Daddy, miss you!” Great, now I’m crying (and so is my mom if she’s reading this ’cause we never cry alone).

Sorry Mama Kat, I still can’t get your button to cooperate.

Writer’s Workshop – My Queen

Today I am participating in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop with the prompt – “If you could change anything about your pet, what would it be?”

We have more than one pet, but only one of them is truly mine, Queenie.

A queen for the Queen of the House!

We rescued Queenie from the Humane Society on Palm Sunday, 2010.

We rescued her in memory of our cat Alley who passed away in early March.

There were a number of cats at the shelter that day, lots of cute little kissup playful kittens and Queenie.

Queenie is 3 years old, she came from a loving home (or so the paperwork said).

Queenie looked at us with disdain, she allowed me (and me alone) to pick her up.

I was sold! Queenie was mine! Mama got to pick the pet this time!

From the day we brought her home until we moved to TN, there were only 4 Queenie sightings in our home.

Queenie lived in the basement (we couldn’t get her to come out); we called her the Invisible Cat and the only way we knew she was there was that she was eating the food and using the litter box. We nearly had to sell our house complete with a cat (anyone want to buy a house, I can give you a GREAT deal!).

I ended up borrowing a live animal trap to catch her. I caught her the day before the movers came.

Before moving, I would say that the one thing I would change about my cat would be that she would become visible. However, since moving to TN, Queenie has become very social. Queenie is a hoot!

She puts up with Big and Baby talking to her in baby talk, “Who’s a good widdle kitty? Hmmmm? Are you a good widdle kitty? What’s a matter Queenie, cat got your tongue?”

She begs.

She sleeps.

She looks at me with disdain.

She is overweight mine!

The one thing I would change would be that she do less of this…

And learn how to use one of these.

I don’t think I’m asking too much?

I mean seriously, if I can teach Baby how to use a broom, why can’t I teach the cat to use a mop?

Oh, yeah, that’s right… she’s the Queen and we are just her minions.
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