Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Need a Moment

We are in a busy season in Hicksville. As well as at work. The garden is producing produce at a manic pace, and I'm trying to keep up with the canning. The one blessing from having been hailed out twice this spring?

The green beans didn't start really producing until this week - when the cucumbers are (hopefully) starting to die back. I cannot imagine trying to can pickles and green beans and blackeyed peas all at the same time.

I'm thinking next year I just might plant beans and peas late on purpose!

When not trying to keep up with the garden and the yard and around the house (and you'll note - I said "trying" - let's not kid anyone. I haven't washed towels in 2 weeks and just used the last washcloth. I'm at a critical laundry point and we simply won't discuss the state of the rest of the house), I'm working extra hours at work in a vain attempt to keep up since we're down a person. Our new graduate students started trickling in last week, and I fully expect a deluge of 'em on Friday. It's also the end of our fiscal year soon, so I'm trying to make sure that funds are spent, and spent properly, and that everything is balancing correctly.

I feel like some days I'm in a whirlwind of activity - of paperwork and pickles, students and laundry and practices and weeding and accounts and phones and memos and beans and chickens and more and more I just want to stand still for a moment and yell


Stop - and let me watch as my eldest progresses on his walk to manhood. As he takes the next steps toward being an adult - driving, SATs, college planning, girlfriends, and of course, football. Let me have time to soak in his handsome face - the same one that once upon a time chewed on his tiny fist while scowling at me because he didn't understand why bottles in the hospital were so easy to drink, and nursing was hard. The same face that would light up a room when he saw me - his mom - come in to pick him up at the end of the day. The one that now will casually toss off a "later, crazy lady" and I quietly say to his back - "I love you too, E."

Stop - and let me have a moment to see my youngest take those first few steps of his walk to manhood. As he gets ready from his transition from his last year of junior high to high school next year. Let me soak it all in as he begins to shed childhood - and Yu Gi Oh cards and The Suite Life - in favor Hannah Montana and his iPod. Let me remember his sweet little face as he laughed uproariously whenever he was amused. And let me slowly adjust to his deeper voice, his hairier legs and the new more grownup face he sports these days.

Give me time. It's going by so FAST. I only have a few years left with my boys and I need a moment. A moment as I figure out how to let them go when I so desperately want to just keep them little.

Some time to just....let mom adjust.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Cassidy Trifecta

As a child, like so many in the US, I thought the two Davids were just DREAMY. You know which Davids.
David Cassidy

and Davy Jones.

As I grew older, another Cassidy caught my eye.

That would be the sublime Shaun Cassidy.

(oh shut up. I'm telling ya - back when I was 12 - 14, Shaun Cassidy was HAWT.)

Alas, as I grew older, my love for Shaun faded as I met boys my own age that lived in the same town and were all "Dude - why do you have that dork on your walls anyway?"

Pfft. Philistines.

Why all this nostalgia? Because last night I discovered quite by accident that Shaun was not the hottest Cassidy brother after all. No - that title goes to one of his little brothers.


That's Patrick. Take a little David, a little Shaun, toss in a lot of Jack (that would their dad) and dayum.

That's a whole lotta hot for one family.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Little Garden that Could

So - you remember back in June when our garden was decimated by the evil hail? And that was just the first hailstorm. Two days later - after we re-planted everything - it hailed again. And it was even more devastating that the first hailstorm.

But we Digby's are gluttons for gardening I guess. We just said to ourselves "Selves - time for another trip to the nursery." Then re-planted again. More corn. More beans. More cantaloupe, watermelon, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. And you know what?

The garden grew. And grew and grew and holy moly do you know how much yellow squash you get out of 5 well watered bushes?

More than there are unlocked cars in the church parking lot. That I can assure you. (We checked. People in Hicksville are *way* more savvy about squash season than they were in Mid-Size City. Hmph.)

So we have gone from this:

(Please ignore the empty Sonic bags and other crap on my kitchen table)

To this:
Canning season has commenced. As you can see, it made me a little blurry.

Besides cucumbers, we've also harvested our first cabbage and it was quite tasty. I think cabbage will be a new addition on our garden plans from now on. Remember that poor sad asparagus bed? We're *still* getting new asparagus from that patch. We had some last night with supper. I think we only lost one plant in the whole bed.

I love living in the country.
That's from our back porch the other morning. Just behind our new pecan tree is our garden, and beyond that is our property to the telephone poles, then someone else's field, then Hicksville. And no - I didn't enhance the colors with Photoshop. That's just how it looked Saturday morning. Pretty, huh?

We still don't have any tomatoes in the garden. Well - we had 4 on one of the plants, but Mr. Rabbit decided to nibble on them yesterday and he's just damn lucky I didn't catch his furry hide. Hmph. Not sure what the deal is. No one around here is having much luck with maters.

E started two-a-days this morning. Right now he's resting somewhere before the next practice session. He's hoping for varsity this year, but he's just a sophomore. He may have to wait another year. He was ready to play ball this morning though. Tomorrow J starts marching band (and tomorrow night they'll BOTH be at practice - woohoo! Nekkid supper at our house!), and we start winding down the summer. This weekend we are thinking about taking another trip to the lake. We didn't make it during my vacation this year since the hub's truck was in the shop.

The mom-in-law may be coming down to see us around Labor Day. She's is doing very well, and continues to be in complete remission. Such a complete answered prayer there, eh?

My folks will be here the 3rd week of September to hang with the kiddos while the hubs and I strike out for Nebraska to see one of my oldest and dearest friends. I met Gina in 9th grade, and somehow, we have managed to keep in touch - off and on - all of these years. Her beautiful daughter is getting married this fall, and we are using that as an excuse to go see Gina and her husband. It's been 26 years since we've seen each other in person - to say that I am psyched doesn't even begin to cover it! And we will ignore the fact that she is currently skinnier than I am. With any luck, and Weight Watchers, I'll be a bit *less* by the time we get there.

While I'm up there, I'll also get to see one of my oldest and dearest 'net friends. Jen was one of the first persons I met online - it's been close to 13 years now. We've never met in person - so I'm really looking forward to that as well. I've met so few of my "net" friends over the years.

Work continues to be crazy, but somewhat better. I had hopes for a smooth Fall transition this year - until last Monday when my receptionist turned in her notice. *sigh* Something about getting paid $900 more a month. Sheesh - some people are just so *material*. So - once again - I'm on a the hunt for a new girl. Wish me luck.

I would probably be horribly stressed if I didn't have this to come home to:

Makes it all easier somehow.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Memories of Water

We spent the weekend at the lake. It's odd how someone who spent most of her life in a semi-arid region of the nation has so many lakes in my memories.

One of my first memories is of the 4th of July was seeing the fireworks show at Buffalo Springs Lake as a little girl. I remember spending the day there, in the heat, and sand, with my family and my grandparents. We had a picnic lunch of some kind and after a day of swimming and eating and playing, there was the cool that only comes after the sun goes down around here. I remember how the breeze felt soft as silk on my skin - and the huge beautiful fireworks overhead.

Later we often went down to Lake Brownwood in the summers. My grandparents on my mom's side would go down there to go fishing, and we would go down and camp for a few days. Unlike Buffalo Springs Lake, Lake Brownwood had the muggy heat that I tend to normally associate with lakes. Surrounded by live oak and mesquite, I remember walking along the beach, finding "sea shells" that were really the shells of lake mussels in all sizes. Teeny tiny ones that were smaller than even the end of my little girl fingers, and the big thrill was finding one bigger than my entire hand. Riding on the boat, fishing with Granma and Granpa, and Mr. Pibb.

Because back then, you could only find Mr. Pibb in South Texas.

Between my 7th & 8th grade years, we went on the road with my dad. He was working on a power plant near St. Johns, AZ and the first couple months of summer, we camped out at Lake Lymon State Park. We swam everyday, climbed to the top of the little mesa near the swimming hole and looked at petroglyphs, and at 3 pm everyday, headed to the tent, because that's when it rained.

The following summer took us to Washington State. We lived in a little place called Smokey Point, and we were a short walk from Twin Lakes. Again - days were spent swimming and sunning. And although western Washington is known for it's nearly constant rain, I don't recall alot of rain in the summers. Instead I remember walking the bike trail to Twin Lakes, helping ourselves to wild blackberries along the way, and hot muggy days in the sun.

A couple of years later brought us back to Texas - and Buffalo Springs Lake. It's only a few miles outside of Lubbock, and my high school summers found us out there as often as it did at a city pool or cruisin' around Maxey Park. Still hot, still sandy, my high summer memories of Buffalo tend to revolve around beer, looking good in my bikini and watching shirtless guys playing volleyball or tossin a football (and other activities that would be hidden quickly if any law enforcement drove by). I lost my favorite pair of sneakers one summer out there - when I had a couple too many brewski's and forgot to grab them when I went riding around with a cute boy. Never did find a pair of sneaks to equal those white Nikes.

(Pronounced Ni - KEEs by the way. I never heard anyone in Texas pronounce it any other way. Which it why it irritated the tar outta me when I saw Friday Night Lights and that kid kept referring to them as NIKES. Puh-leez.)

After high school, we branched out to White River Lake - again - hot, sandy, but you could put a boat on it. I think that's all that mattered to us - could you swim? Could you put a boat on it? We didn't go out there as much as we did to Buffalo, but we did make visits. Not long after I married MDH, we went fishing at White River, and one night at the crappie house (that's prounounced "croppie" even those it's spelt crappy. Don't ask me why - it doesn't make sense to me either), during a thunderstorm, I think we encountered a little twister. I can't think of anything else that would have snapped the inch thick bolt that was linking the crappie house to the shore. Nothing like looking out the door of the crappie house, which is supposed to be fixed into position, and seeing the shore swing away.

Needless to say, I don't go anywhere near a lake when there's a storm on the way anymore.

Before I had E, some friends of ours bought a place at Lake Stamford. It's about 3 hours away, and is like the lakes I remember most fondly - surrounded by mesquite, hot, muggy, and peaceful. It's mainly a fishing lake - that's why our friends started going, and that's why we ended up buying a place there. For some reason, when we get there - usually at night - I step into the steamy darkness, and feel at home. I'm not sure I'd want to live at the lake - but I do enjoy visiting. Our place is surrounded by huge mesquite trees and buffalo grass, with the occasional mulberry tree. It's a little place - just a two bedroom trailer house. But it's perfect for my little family. We have a place to keep our boat, and we spent alot of weekends down there fishing and relaxing.

I used to hate going down there. When the boys were little, MDH would go out fishing most of the day, and I'd be stuck in the house with two rambunctious little boys. You could only take them swimming for so long each day. But now they're older, and we all spend our days out fishing, with breaks for swimming, so I don't mind so much. In fact - we're going to be spending our vacation down there this year - so that my boys will have the kind of summer memories I do.

Swimming. Fishing. Sunning. Finding teeny weeny shells on the beach. Just being. Because isn't that what a vacation *should* be?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Hail Sucketh. Much.

A few short weeks ago, I uploaded pictures of my cool weather garden to my Facebook. My cabbage, brusell sprouts and cauliflower (shut up - I *like* veggies!) were so pretty. And since then they have been growing like crazy. I had even begun to find tiny heads of cauliflower here and there.

Tuesday evening, as I was walking out of my office, my cell phone rang. It was J, who had been at home all day.

J: Wow mom!

Me: What son?

J: It looks like it SNOWED!

Uh oh. It's June. It does not snow in June in West Texas. It does, however, storm. And it had indeed been storming Tuesday afternoon.

This is what I found after driving home in the pouring rain:


Life of a "farmer," eh?

I won't even tell you what it did to our garden. It's too depressing. And although I love shredded cabbage, this was not what I had in mind.

Last night, MDH, the boys and I got out there and re-planted tomatos, peppers, cucumbers and squash seedlings. This morning, MDH will be re-planting green beans, corn and canteloupe.

Because we are nothing if not gluttons for punishment. As for my cool weather plants, I think we'll just see if they recover. It's fairly early in their development - who knows - maybe by fall we'll actually have some cabbage and a cauliflower or two. And since the brusell sprouts hadn't started with the sprouts, maybe they'll be ok.

A girl can dream, can't she?

To be honest - we certainly needed the rain. And we got plenty of that. But man - I sure hated seeing my plants and trees so beat up. One of my daylilies was a week from blooming - all but one bud was beaten off the plant. And my asparagus? Oy.

Stalks. No ferns. I certainly hope it grows back some ferns. Otherwise I guess I'll be re-planting *that* next spring.

Our one and only chick is eatin', poopin' and growing. It is very very cute. It started growing tailfeathers the other day. I'm hoping it's a hen, because I'm afraid I'm already too attached to the bugger to be eating him/her someday. If it's a hen, then at least we might get eggs.

You know - if we get her some friends and a rooster and all.

That's my life lately - work, a lot of gardening and talking to Chickie. Our only other excitement was going to Sonic last night for our free rootbeer float. I'm still convinced that my eldest is meant to be a lawyer - because that kid will argue about *anything* and hates to be wrong. No idea where he got *that* from....

I think I'd rather have free floats for excitement than this:

Ugh. Hail sucks.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Living the Hicksville Life

Life in Hicksville has been hectic lately. What with all the planting, weed pulling, watering and glaring.

Glaring? Yes - we have been glaring. For the last two years, since we moved to the boonies, we have enjoyed the distance between us and our nearest neighbors who were a good 15 acres away from us. At least until someone purchased the property between us.

Since then, our new neighbors ( let's call them Jethro and Ellie Mae, shall we?) have

a) let their 3 big dogs roam free - free to dig up and destroy my compost heap. Our sand heap. Our gutter that we hadn't put up yet.

b) when informed that the folks to the north of them free range their chickens, and letting their dog roam wild might not be appreciated, Jethro replied "Heh huh - guess they won't be free range for long!"

c) put up a pole light 200 feet from my front porch. Directly across from my bedroom window.

d) are now building one of those cheaply built homes about 6 feet off the property line - directly across from my front porch.

I know - I'm being petty. But for pete's sake. Control your dogs. And don't be a tool if you're *not* going to control them. I'm just waiting for someone to take a shot at those dogs because they were going after someone chickens.

Speaking of chickens, we borrowed an incubator and put in 24 eggs and have one cute little baby chick to show for it. We are such amateurs. We actually had two hatch, but the hubby forgot to read all of the incubator directions and took one out of the incubator too soon - and died. Our little chickie is very cute, and is pecking and cheeping very well. I went to look online to see if we could get some buddies shipped in for him (since we apparently suck at this incubatin thing) and found this:

Barbecue Special

That's so wrong. FUNNY - but wrong.

E made it through his first year of high school, and survived. Now both boys are out of school and looking forward to sleeping late and surfing the internet and watching TV all day.

Ha. Like that's gonna happen.

The hubs and I have already started our summer to-do list. Starting with "Build a Chicken Coop for Chickie."