Victoria Day

I know things have been a little heavy on the Victoria front lately, but bear with me once more.

Ever since Victoria was old enough to read her own name, she has searched for it everywhere. She used to get the biggest thrill out of seeing it plastered on the exit ramp to Hwy. 59 South–it says RIGHT THERE “Victoria” big as day. . .though we’ve still never made it to Victoria, Texas.

Last year, she discovered in the very MINUTE print on our calendar that there is, indeed, a Victoria DAY. Being the mover and shaker that she is, she was very excited to find out that an entire day had been set aside in her honor.

Her Daddy and I quickly explained about QUEEN Victoria (she already knew about HER she said), alas, it was still entitled Victoria day, and who are mere parents to argue with such an honor? So we claim guilty to cultivating a minor amount of hubris in our off-spring, and we celebrated Victoria day 2005 with some suprise treats and a balloon from the dollar store for Victoria and a very disappointed Thad (seeing as how there is not a Thaddaeus day).

In order to educate our daughter, I thought I might ask an actual celebrant of Victoria day if there is anything special and unique (and cheap) that those who owe their allegiance to Queen Victoria do on her day. . .dessert, decor, traditions. . .my new blogger friend Sandy from Canada was JUST the person to ask. . .if you care to read her official Canadian explanation, as well as her declaration that since Queen Victoria is dead, she sees no reason why she can’t claim Victoria day for one that is alive and well in Texas, go here .

In the mean time, Happy Victoria Day. We have no long holiday weekend to offer, and if you’re name is not Victoria, you’re out of luck, but we plan on having some fun anyway.



Earlier today I happened across the blog of a “friend.” She’s only a “friend” because I’ve actually never met her. . .only know her through her blog. . .but she was asking for advice regarding her daughter. The daughter is a little on the larger size, although she has a very tall daddy, and the pediatrician thinks there is nothing to worry about. Problem is that she is having trouble finding age appropriate clothing for her–the daughter is 8–and don’t we ALL have trouble finding age appropriate clothing for any girl who is past a 5T or a 6x???? I do. She also mentioned that the daughter has already come home crying because other girls have called her fat. So I commented the following on her blog. . .

Speaking from the body of a big girl (always have been) who could never fit into the “Luv it” jeans or the latest “Esprit” fashion of the day. . .I think what you’ve been saying is fine. . .and I would go really big on the comfort issue. As in, “This style doesn’t fit really well. When things don’t fit, after about 30 minutes you just start to feel uncomfortable. That’s why there are so many styles of clothes–some fit–some don’t.”I know you want to protect her–and you have already been privy to the fact that you can’t. So just keep on doing what you’re doing–loving her, supporting her, and trying to find the cutest clothes possible without making her feel out of style or out of place. I teach in a Jr. High school, and I see girlies every day who try to squish themselves into clothing that is way too small–not flattering. Yes, they are wearing what everyone else wears, but I know they feel rotten. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could make everyone be sweet and kind and happy with themselves and everyone around them? Until that time–which I pretty much think will be in heaven–we can only raise our daughters to be that way as much as possible. Prayers for you and your girl.

I had JUST hit submit, when I realized that this goes along perfectly with something that happened to Victoria this week. So I commented AGAIN. . .

Two more cents here.
I have given birth to a daughter with her daddy’s genes. She is lithe and thin and willowy and has blue eyes and long blond hair to boot.
One would think she has it made, but she was in tears on Tues. after school because she couldn’t “jump and twist” as high as Samantha. Therefore Samantha and her cronies had written her name on the “bad list” and made her stand on the “bad side.”
I have no clue what Samantha looks like–she could be 7 year old super-model thin or as big as the broad side of a barn but have great jumping abilities. . .and she made my gorgeous, thin, can-wear-whatever-she-wants baby cry.
So what I told Victoria was this.

“When Mommy was a little girl there were some girls who were very mean to her. They would never let her play with them at recess, and whenever I would try to play with them, they would grab each other’s hands and sing

‘Tick-tock, the game is locked. Nobody else can play. Hurray!’

Mommy would cry and cry and she got her feelings hurt a lot. But you know what? Now at least two of those girls are grown ladies like Mommy, and I don’t think they are very happy. I think they were unhappy little girls and are unhappy big ladies. They haven’t ever been happy with themselves, and so they will never be happy with anyone else. You will always be happy, because you love everybody. You don’t make fun of people, and you want everyone to play and have a good time no matter what they can or can’t do. You love everyone just like God wants you to, and so even though those girls can hurt your feelings, they can never make you unhappy because Jesus lives in your heart.”

Now that might have gone straight over her head. And some of it did. But she does know two things, no one can truly take her happiness away, and her mommy has felt the same way at times and has lived through to the other side.
That was on Tues. On Wed. evening, we were sitting around after dinner when Victoria came up to me and said,

“Mommy. I made up a new song.” I was a bit confused at first, then she said, “You know how those girls used to sing that mean song to you? Well, I made up a NEW song. ‘Tick-tock, the game’s unlocked. Everybody can play. Hurray!’ ”

I was speechless. All I could do was hug her and hug her and hug her. She is at the very beginning of her journey in this world. And she is at the very beginning of all the pain that is here as well. But she already has a valuable little lesson stored away in her heart. And if that is the best I can do for her, then maybe she will be okay after all.

I say all of that to say this. . .love your girls–not that you don’t–but love ’em extra. Let them know that you have felt the exact same way they feel. Victoria thinks I’m the perfect mommy (her words), and while that makes me feel wonderful, I am always careful to tell her that I’m actually NOT the perfect mommy, but I try my best. And she will never be perfect either, but she can always try her best to do what God wants her to do.

I see sweet girls and mean girls and lonely girls and nice girls and pretty girls and not so pretty girls and insecure girls and confident girls every day–jr. high girls–and sometimes they are one and the same. The only thing for sure is that EVERY girl is complicated and multi-layered and EVERY girl is vulnerable. So if there is one living in your house, take extra care. And if there’s not one living in your house, find one to love, because they need all of that they can get.

Self amused again. . .

Okay. . .did NO ONE find this blog entry amusing but me? No one commented. . .not even Sarah who SHOULD have found it HIGHLY amusing.

It would not be the first time.

I have a habit of amusing myself more than I amuse anyone else. . .and normally I’m just being amused ABOUT myself. (Sarah will agree to this most heartily.) Sometimes it’s random things that have nothing whatsoever to do with me–they just strike me as funny at that moment. I’m striken quite frequently. This striking (re-run) blog happens to be all three. . .amusing. . . random. . .and (according to the Blog Things website) about me. So here’s your chance. . .if you don’t find my list amusing, but you have a few minutes to kill, check out the website and get amused about yourself.


According to this website I have a:

Sanguine personality
am a gooey caramel crunch donut
am 70% average American (lost 30% because I don’t drink)
should live in Dublin
was an All American kid in high school
was a giraffe in a former life
should be a member of a rock band called The Republican Bunnies
have a heart that is pink (this is the MAIN one I find to be correct)
should have violet eyes (they’re green–that explains it. . .)
should strip to a Depeche Mode song (should I decide to strip for someone)

AND. . .
my sexy Brazilian name is Joelma Pires (very sexy)
my French name is Jossette Lois (I could handle Jossette)
my 1920’s name is Lurline Bonita (even worse than Joelma)
my Japanese name is Nayoko Susaki (the Japanese wouldn’t have me)

Who knew. . .

And is there anyone else out there that is glad Season Finale time has rolled around? I’m seriously considering NOT watching t.v. all summer long. I am quite sure that some of you are already NOT watching t.v.–please don’t preach–I admit my guilt. I really don’t watch THAT much t.v. I’m not an “every night” kind of gal. There are five shows that Tony and I record and watch. That comes to 1 hour of t.v. per week night, but we have to wait until the kids are in bed, then we are too tired to watch, which pushes it to the next night and so on. Now that it’s season finale time, after each “finale” is finally finished (see, here is a PERFECT example of something that highly amuses me–alliteration) I am under NO pressure whatsoever for the next four months to make sure something gets recorded and then watched in a reasonable amount of time. . .not that any show on t.v. REALLY matters. It’s just a way to self-medicate without medication. There is also NO new Harry Potter book out this summer to anxiously await. What will I do with my time? Well, after helping to plan VBS, and teaching ladies’ class, and arranging two birthday parties, and being a wife and mother, I might actually tackle my photo albums.

That remains to be seen. It’s late. Time for bed.

Note to self: Continue to find most things in life amusing. Watch less t.v.

The Women I Come From

Well, tomorrow is Mother’s Day. My own little popkins are very much looking forward to giving me the corsage they’ve already shown me. . .and encouraging me to stay in bed until they come into my room. They amaze me, these two children that I carried for a total of 82 weeks, 19 1/2 lbs., and 9 days in the ICUs of two hospitals here in Houston. They have left their mark on my temples and forehead and most certainly on my heart.

It makes me think of the women that brought me into this world–my Granny, my Nanny, and my own Momma.

My Nanny, Cleavie Millicent Johnson was born in Bastrop, Louisiana and died there at the very young (I now know how young it was) age of 58. She was a severe diabetic and had several massive strokes around the time I turned 3. I never got to know the woman she was before that–just the sick version. But I have heard the stories, and I’ve read the letters that she and my Grandaddy wrote when he was drafted during World War II. He had to leave her at home with her diabetes and two small children–my Daddy being one of them. She was responsible for the livestock, the garden, the produce trees, and taking care of anything that should arise. I grew up right across the pasture from the place she struggled so hard to keep. I didn’t know until I read those letters how close they came to losing it. In one letter Grandaddy wrote, “Try as hard as you can to keep the place, my love, for it’s a pretty little place and just right for us. But if you must let it go, I will know you have done your best.” She went to school again at the age of 30 something to get her LPN degree so she could nurse at the hospital in town. She was a faithful wife to my grandfather, who adored her, and the mother of three children. She loved jonquils, irises, and tulips, and was a fabulous artist as well as being able to sing.

My Granny, Rubye Mae Williamson was born in 1911 in southern Arkansas. She was very proud of the fact that she graduated from high school. She was the oldest girl of 11 children who survived being born during that era and did her part as the sister-matriarch of the family. Her mother and daddy were dirt farmers. . .and sometimes that’s all there was to farm. She and my PaPaw were married for 3 days short of 50 years. She buried him on their 50th anniversary. When she died we found 88 wash cloths in her linen closet–the only remotely selfish and non-frugal thing I ever knew her to do. She had that many because as the oldest girl in the family, all the kids had to be washed before she got her bath. Sometimes she was left with cold, dirty bath water and a filthy wash rag. So she decided when she got old enough and had her own money, she would use one rag for her body, and one for her face, and one for her feet if she wanted to. And so she did. She mopped her kitchen floor EVERY DAY except Sunday, wore Merle Norman makeup and Oil of Olay face lotion, and loved my cousins and brother and sister and me within an inch of our lives. Her favorite color was purple. She had horrible arthritis in her fingers and hands, so she sewed every day, and used her sewing to supplement the income she and PaPaw had. She has been gone for nearly 21 years and I still miss her.

And my Momma, Glenda Sue Bawcom, was born by c-section in the Lake Village hospital in Arkansas September 7, 1940. A remarkable birth at that time. . .and she and my aunt are the only children Granny ever had. (My mom and dad were both born during “summer”–Daddy on August 5, and I’ve often thought how hot and uncomfortable it must have been to have babies before air conditioning in hospitals. There is so much we take for granted.) She and Daddy have been married for 43 1/2 yrs. In that time she has had three children, two miscarriages, worked full time, taken care of EVERYTHING (and I do mean everything) that has to do with hearth and home, and survived my Daddy. He is quite a character. She is what is known as a hunter/fisher widow. She says when a man asks you to marry him while driving through the game reserve looking for deer, you know what you’re in for. They went to Colorado to hunt on their honeymoon. She taught school for 37 years and retired last May to spend more time with Daddy. It’s a good thing, because he’s spent a lot of this year in the hospital–and is currently there. My Daddy lost his left leg in an accident in the paper mill where he worked just one month before I was born. I have never heard either of them complain or bemoan the change in their lives this brought about. That’s just the way it was, and we were lucky to have Daddy at all. My momma always smelled like Gloria Vanderbilt perfume and her hand was always soft and cool when I was sick. She had a bad temper sometimes. She didn’t always fold the socks. She was, and is, my hero, however. She taught me how to take care of a sick child or a sick in-law. She taught me how to get dinner on the table with all of it still hot. She taught me how to handle a crisis. We have never fought. She has supported me 100% in any decision I’ve ever made because she says she taught me right from wrong and she depends on me to use my “good common sense.” She never told me she didn’t have the time when I needed her–and I needed her a lot. We talk at least once each week–sometimes more–and we still stay up late and talk when I go home for visits.

I hope that as Victoria grows older I am able to impart some of this to her. She will have her own set of women to look to, to learn from, to be like or not like. But she will be loved, as I was and am loved, no matter what.

I come from good stock–not perfect–didn’t ever claim to be–but hearty and solid and full of common sense and make-do attitude. I am blessed in many ways, and these women were and are part of that blessing.

We are ExperiencingTechnical Difficulties. Please Stand By

First of all, a big ‘ole thank you to Sarah for being my proxy and taking care of posting this for me. (Don’t worry, Roxanne, I’ll be commenting throughout all of it! s.s.)

Modern technology is such a wonderful thing. It has enabled me to write my thoughts down, “visit” with my friends, and “meet” new friends. Unfortunately it is also susceptible to major malfunctions AND not all people care to have me use this wonderful medium. I’m pretty sure that the future for some of my 6th graders involves writing computer viruses. We can’t use the internet until we get a certain disc in the mail, because our firewall/virus scan/ad aware/antivirus whatever was down for about 2 seconds, and something attacked. We have to wait for the new disc to arrive. . .install. . .blah, blah, blah.

AND since the kids at school go onto the “dirty” blogs. . .ALL blogs are barred from me on my computer at work. So I’ll see you all sometime next week. I may go into blog withdrawal, but I’m looking forward to a wonderful fix (kind of like a large Sonic diet Coke) when we are safe to venture into cyberspace again.

Until I am able to post again, please visit Sarah’s fascinating blog! Today she has a captivating post that includes (decorated) lima beans, ill tomatoes, pedicures, and little league concession stands. Some days she has actual thought with it, as well. Stop by!


To everyone that I need to e-mail. . .namely Stephanie, Robyn, Sarah, Carolyn, and possibly Amy O., I have not forgotten you. . .I am currently being squished between VBS, the prairie skirt I need to make for Victoria’s play on Monday, and her poetry project on Wednesday. . .that coupled with last weekend’s bout of illness, the end of school, goofy 8th graders that I don’t even teach, and weekend birthday parties have me running low on time and brain power.

I’d much rather be writing you. . .and I will. . .soon.

In light of that, I’d like to share a victory. I teach a girl named Jenna. . .she would make a perfect pixie. . .strawberry blond hair, freckles, bubbley personality, winsome, giggley. . .would probably be blown away by a stiff wind.

Jenna is not an A student. Jenna is a B/C student. . .and that is FINE, but Jenna also has MAJOR test anxiety. She has not made higher than a 75 on ANY test I’ve given all year
long. . .and we were both VERY excited when she made the 75.

On Friday, Jenna made a 90. . .that’s right. . .a nine-zero on a major test over our story about King Tut. She was not the only one in my 5th period class to make an A. . .but neither of us could quit smiling over her triumph. . .I smiled until my cheeks hurt.

You don’t get many moments like that as a teacher–in fact you may not get a moment like that even once a school year–but when you do. . .words cannot express. CONGRATULATIONS JENNA!!!!