Sunday, December 20, 2009

How to Soothe a Baby...

...When you're:

4 years old-- Scrunch up face and sing-song 3 inches from baby's face "heeeyyy, babybabybabybaby! It's okay, it's okay, it's okay!"

8 years old-- Insist that you're old enough to comfort the baby. Gaining possession of said baby, bounce her like a rag doll. Upon receiving further instruction, proceed to bounce baby stiffly, while trying to support her head.

12 years old-- Call out "Mom, can you get the baby to quit crying? I'm on the phone!"

16 years old-- Walk bawling baby hopelessly through the house, hoping the pay is worth this.

20 years old-- Mutter something about how cute she is and hand baby hastily back to her mother.

24 years old-- Bounce her stiffly while trying to support her head and wondering if she can wait to nurse until you get home

28 years old-- Bounce baby expertly, while swaying, swooping and talking on the phone to your sister.

32 years old-- Hand her to your older child and instruct her in the art of head-holding whilst bouncing. ...Rescue baby and resume bouncing expertly while cooking dinner.

36 years old-- Demonstrate how to properly bounce a wailing baby, then hand her back to her mother.

40 years old-- Become oblivious to everything but the fact that your teenager is using her newest electrical device in the church service.

44 years old-- Grin at all the wailing babies you come across, thinking wistfully of when your kids were babies.

48 years old-- Start hoping for grandchildren to bounce.

This is based loosely on my own time line. I started kinda young... I was thrilled to share my bouncing skills with another (even younger!) mama this morning. It obviously got me thinking.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Persimmon Pudding: The foodstuff of Legend

In order to teach you how to make persimmon pudding, you must first be given the answer to this all important question: When are persimmons ripe?

I started my quest with this seemingly simple question several weeks ago. Little did I know what an epic experience it would become. My Aunt Gail, who has been quoted without permission, wrote me a useful, albeit avant-garde answer:

"They are ripe when they are puddles of orange goop that can be scraped up off of the ground. haha. How I get ripe persimmons is by first picking up the ones on the ground that look good. They will be soft. Then, like Steve said, give the tree a gentle shake. If it is a big tree, one can throw sticks at the branches and that will knock off the ripe persimmons (Mom and I did that on the Mville courthouse lawn with Auntie Carol. I think Carol was a bit embarrassed...). You can also pick them. If they practically fall off in your hand they are ripe. Of course, tasting is a good way too. Just squish one a bit and touch it to your tongue. It may have a bit of a bite but overall should taste sweet. If your tongue shrivels up, it is not ripe!"

Because I know this post is gonna be as epic as my persimmon experience has been, I'll go ahead and include the wiki information, which is less avant-garde, and less useful:

"Commercially, there are generally two types of persimmon fruit: astringent and non-astringent.

The heart-shaped Hachiya is the most common variety of astringent persimmon. Astringent persimmons contain very high levels of soluble tannins and are unpalatable if eaten before softening. The astringency of tannins is removed through ripening by exposure to light over several days, wrapping the fruit in paper... This bletting process is sometimes jump-started by exposing the fruit to cold or frost which hastens cellular wall breakdown...

The non-astringent persimmon is squat like a tomato and is most commonly sold as fuyu. Non-astringent persimmons are not actually free of tannins as the term suggests, but rather are far less astringent before ripening, and lose more of their tannic quality sooner. Non-astringent persimmons may be consumed when still very firm to very very soft."

These are Fuyu persimmons. These are not the kind I used for most of my pudding. I used Hachiya persimmons, but I forgot to take pictures of them. They are the same color, only slightly smaller and more pointy at the end. I had to wait for a long, long time for them to get soft and ripe enough to use. Poor Edie burned her throat when she took a bite of one before it was ripe. When they're ripe, they feel like water balloons. Don't try taking a bite unless they seem to be in imminent danger of bursting. The Fuyu persimmons aren't dangerous, but they are harder to pulp properly.

This is persimmon pulp. 2 cups of Hachiya persimmon pulp. Some purists will say you must take off all the skin and take out all the seeds before pulping persimmons in the blender or a food processor. I think I took off most of the skin and took out...mmm...probably all of the seeds. But it was easy. They're very soft and squishy.

I mixed the pulp together with a bunch of flour, milk, sugar and a couple of eggs. I tossed in some baking soda, baking powder, and spices. I mixed it. I thought I could avoid having to wash my beaters and just whisk it by hand...but I ended up having to wash my beaters and my whisk. Dang.

Uh, I should probably mention that once everything was all mixed up, it looked really gross. Really. The picture doesn't really do the grossness justice. Just warning you.

Alas, I poured the cake-like mixture/goop into an ungreased 9 x 13 baking dish and sprinkled nutmeg on top because I'm a nutmeg freak. It's true.

Then the waiting began. 70 minutes. SEVENTY minutes. This was gonna be a long wait...

So I decided to have a little breakfast while I waited...

But that didn't take very long. Not nearly long enough. So I turned my attention to my tea cupboard.

I know. It's a crying shame, everything all stuffed in there. I stumbled across my newest hot chocolate experiment. You should really try it. The dark chocolate version will change your life in a good way.

Ahhh...that's much better. Everything's back in order. What's that? You're wondering why I only have three teacups to drink all that tea and hot chocolate with? Don't worry. The rest of them are right overhead.

Yes, I did arrange them for the picture. Yes, you can get your own adorable snowman mug at Dollar General for a sweet buck.What that's you say? You're getting bored waiting for the persimmon pudding to finish baking? Yeah, you and me both. Okay, we'll zoom to the end.

Oh, it's a good thing. Make absolutely sure you have your whipped cream at the ready, as this stuff just doesn't taste complete without it. You might also want to put some on top of your hot chocolate.

By the way, "pudding" is a HUGE misnomer, unless you're British and accustomed to figgy pudding, bread pudding, and the like.

Yes, I know you're all clamoring for the recipe. I will generously include both the recipe I used and the one my grandmother used when I was growing up. Make sure you don't cover your persimmon pudding with any kind of air-tight plastic wrap or it will get really gooey on the bottom. It's still good that way, but I thought I'd warn y'all in case gooey is not what you're going for.

  • Ripe persimmons (enough to make 2 cups of persimmon pulp)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  • Whipped cream
X Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the skin and seeds from the persimmons and puree the pulp in a blender or food processor. In a large bowl, combine the pulp, milk, sugar, eggs, flour, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract, and cinnamon until well mixed. Stir in the chopped nuts, if desired. Pour the mixture into an ungreased 9- by 13-inch baking pan and bake for 70 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm with whipped cream. Serves 8.

Grandma Inman's Persimmon Pudding:

1 cup persimmon pulp
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
3 eggs
3 heaping teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup melted margarine
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
(note from Grandma)
If you don't have all the spices, you probably won't know the difference.

Mix, then bake-- 9 x 9 pan -- 1 hour @ 375

Serve with whipped cream.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

An Addict's Confession

There are a few of you who know exactly what to expect from this post. But for the rest of you who are now a little worried about me, let me hasten to explain: my addiction is milk.

But not just any milk. Kroger milk. 2% Kroger milk. (The blue kind.)

Oh, don't forget the half and half for my tea. Once you've started adding half and half to your tea, you can't really go back to milk. My mother taught me that.

Isn't it beautiful? Yes, I did take pictures of milk while I was shopping.

I'm sure you're all wondering a few things:
1) Why are you so addicted to milk?
2) Why is there so much milk in your cart?
3) Why, if you love the blue kind so much, is there also red in your cart?
4) How do you store so much milk in your refrigerator?

Well, to clear things up a bit:
1) I don't know why I'm so addicted to milk. Growing up, my whole family drank a lot of milk. The five of us would go through about a gallon a day. I seem to be the only one who has carried the obsession into adulthood though, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because of a traumatic preschool field trip to a dairy farm. At the end of the tour, we were served warm chocolate chip cookies, which of course are immediately devoured by preschoolers. After devouring, we then craved milk. Of course. And what better to drink than warm, fresh-from-the-cow milk, right? Yuck. No. No, no, no. But when you've just devoured gooey chocolate chip cookies, you really have no choice. Especially if you're a preschooler. So I drank. And it was gross.
And ever since I've had an issue with any milk that isn't ice cold, from a plastic carton, and of a very particular taste. Every once in a while, I even reject a gallon of Kroger 2% if it tastes like what I've come to term "The Bad Milk." Not to say that it's spoiled. I can just tell a difference and I don't like it at. all. I can drink it if I plug my nose. Let's just suffice it to say that I don't drink milk anywhere other than at home. If I come to your house for dinner, I'm probably drinking water.

2) The main reason I have 8 gallons of milk in my cart is because that's about how much milk we drink in a week at my house. And I don't like to run out of milk. I can't run out. Well, I could, but it wouldn't be pretty. I've been known to send Matt out late at night or first thing in the morning because I must have milk with breakfast. A frequent question at our house is "Do you have enough milk for...(the morning, dinner, the day, etc.)?
The other reason I have so much milk in my cart is because I am greedy with my milk. I've been known to deny milk to guests, children, and my husband if I deem that there might not be enough for me later. On these occasions, I generally have decided that I probably care more about the milk than they do. This, however, flies in the face of my other tendencies, which are very hospitable and generous. So to avoid the inner conflict, we've started buying milk in large quantities. Doing this has also cut down on the amount of ribbing I receive from my loved ones about my insane milk greediness.

3) I have red milk (aka whole milk) in my cart because I have young, lanky children. It's good for their developing brain and I keep hoping it'll help them bulk up a bit. Often Matt drinks whole milk if he's worried he'll take too much 2% and therefore leave me with not enough for breakfast. Poor Matt. Luckily, I've heard that whole milk is delicious. I'm not willing to try it though. It sounds a bit thick and thick is reminiscent of cows. Half and half is different because it's mixed with tea, thus diluting the texture. I knew you'd ask.

4) We store the extra milk in my special milk refrigerator in the garage. No, we didn't buy it for that purpose. Actually, we didn't buy it at all. It's Matt's mom's old fridge. But don't think it doesn't turn my heart over with love when I see it packed to the gills with 8 gallons of milk.

It's a beautiful thing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sasha's Favorite Gift Ever Giveaway

This is my favorite gift ever. It was a close call, as I have had several amazing gifts thrown my way. But this is it: my mom's piano/the bookshelves flanking it that my husband hand-made for me. Yes, I know this isn't the greatest picture. This girl's got some homeschooling to get to.

So if you can pick your Favorite Gift Ever, head on over to Sasha's blog and enter to win another great gift. And tell her I sent you and that I make the best persimmon pudding ever. Or don't. Do what you want.

My runners up included:
1) The enormous painting of a magnolia tree that my husband bought me for our anniversary once
2) My very own copy of The Library
3) The first season of Golden Girls
4) The first season of Frasier (swoon...those were the days!)
5) My first down comforter
6) My silver trumpet
7) My digital camera
8) My laptop

And several more...I love presents! Check out Sasha's blog. If she doesn't love you yet, she will soon...and vice versa.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Crayon Crimes

A box of new crayons! Now they're all pointy, lined up in order, bright and perfect. Soon they'll be a bunch of ground down, rounded, indistinguishable stumps, missing their wrappers and smudged with other colors. Sometimes life seems unbearably tragic. ~Bill Watterson

Aren't they beautiful? I love a box of new crayons. I'm sure you do, too. How could you not?

And the opening quote is, as we all know, only too accurate. Most children just don't have the proper respect for a brand new box of crayons. The contents of my crayon box looks more like this:

And the sad truth is, my youngest son chews, and sometimes ingests, crayons. Yes, Dawson. Yes, ingests. Yes, I do have proof.

They're non-toxic. That's what everyone keeps telling me when I lament a crayon's --ahem--passing. (No, not an entire crayon. But let me assure you, it doesn't take much to make a vibrant showing.) Non-toxic, which also means "non-digestible."

It just seems like such a waste. They don't taste good, and with the lovely pointed tips bitten off, they're just not so adorable anymore.

I try to stop him. I really don't like wiping crayon fragments off my son's rear end. Surely I care more than anyone else in the house, right? But with three other oblivious children playing with a HUGE box of crayons, there's bound to be plenty of them that end up on the floor.

And now that Dawson can make it to the top of the table, all bets are off.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

CMA Chat

So...I just want to start out by saying that I kinda like country music. Some of it I like a lot, some of it I can't stand. I'm right on the fence. Almost a neutral, really. Just wanted to make that clear from the get-go.

I guess tonight was CMA night--Country Music Awards, for you non-country-music or non-television type people. We were flipping through channels before bed and landed there. Our kids watched with sleepy interest. The following conversation ensued:

Kellar (3) (Watching Brad Paisley perform): That's Jesus.

Me: No, it isn't.

Nadia (4 1/2): And I don't think he's going to come out there right now,because he doesn't really sing.

Me: At least, not country.

I'm not commenting on any possible theology behind whether or not Jesus really sings. I'm just saying.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I was feeling exceptionally cool, because for the first time, I was gonna blog in bed. Oh yes, I know you're all duly impressed. I can hear the oohs and aahs. Thank you for your support.

But then, suddenly, I looked down and saw that my laptop battery was exceptionally low. And do you know what happened? That's right. Pressure.

I knew that I only had a short amount of time before I would no longer be able to blog in bed. Why not plug it in, you ask? Well, that thought occurred to me as well, and I would've been happier than happy to use that suggestion, if it were not for the fact that my laptop cord has three prongs and all the plug-ins in my room have 2 prongs. And yes, I know that I could just get up off my duff and go to the living room, but that kinda defeats the purpose of blogging in bed, doncha think?!

No, I'm not exceptionally bitter over this silly matter, why do you ask?

“The only pressure I'm under is the pressure I've put on myself.”

Mark Messier

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Top 11 Reasons I'm Ready to Love This Christmas Season

1. Christmas music. Soon Halloween will have passed, and when I crank up my Christmas-y tunes, I'll get fewer odd looks. At least, I think I will.

2. Christmas lights: the only thing that combats Daylight Savings Time. If my sunlight runs out by dinner time, I'm darn sure gonna have some extra twinkly lights to keep my spirits up.

3. Candles. My two favorites are Mulled Cider and Yankee's Basalm & Cedar. Oh, my heart! Maybe I should just get it over with and go work for Yankee. It's just possible that would be a more healthy outlet for my scent obsession.

4. A Charlie Brown Christmas. " I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It's not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love." Can a get a holla-holla?

5. We Care Christmas Tree Walk. What could possibly be better than a mall full of a hundred themed Christmas trees? Seriously? I love watching my kids' expressions as they try to decide which ones are in their top 3. Even better to see them try to recreate them when we get home. Priceless.

6. Shopping. I love shopping. I love shopping with my husband. I love shopping with my husband after the kids are in bed. I love getting a drink and a snack from Starbucks and going shopping with my husband after the kids are in bed--lovingly monitored by one of their grandmas, of course.

7. Snow. When I no longer thrill to the first snow of the season, I'll know I'm growing old.

-Lady Bird Johnson

8. Baked goods. I love Baked Goods (yes, capitalized on purpose) with a passion. Any old excuse'll do, but Christmas goodies are even better than the other year-round variety, because they're usually recipes that are brought out solely at Christmas time.

9. Brass groups. My kids are practically holding their breath waiting for the day they get to go to Grandpa's work and listen to the Christmas music his brass group plays. Yeah, yeah, the kids are.

10. Decorating my tree. I've been using mostly paper decorations for the last several years to prevent breakage. Turns out, I may never go back. I love the unique look that delicate snowflakes, red white & green paper chains, and glittery star cutouts give to my tree.

11. It's not here yet. I am therefore free to daydream about it to my heart's content: You see, by December 15th, I'll undoubtedly be freezing cookie dough to use on Christmas Eve. I'll be leisurely wrapping the gifts I made with my own two hands...and making lovely labels to go with them. I'll be perusing candy recipes and trying them while my kids nap. I'll have plenty of time for this, because my laundry will be all caught up.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Otherwise Entitled: How Much Pizza Can I Eat in a Week?

For Sasha who misses me when I don't blog
For Andrew for whom I tried to keep it short
For Doug and Edie who are always up for a good time
For Donna who has freed me from the Tyrany of the Matched Sock
For Matthew who knows how to show this girl a good time

Last Saturday night, Mr. Floyd and I went out on a date. A real know, where we're gone for more than an hour? That's right. And in a vehicle that had no car seats in it. Ahhhh...

Some of the Super Friends generously provided both the babysitting for our unruly brood, and the car-seat-less vehicle that transported us sleekly down to Indianapolis. It was a most amazing time. One of the perks? A GPS in the car, so there was no need for hastily scribbled directions or last minute panicking as we try to figure out why the parking lot wasn't included in those directions.

Our first stop finished up a sort of pizza tour that took place last week. I'll pause this oh-so-exciting date story to give a brief rundown:

1) Thursday, lunch-- Gas Station Pizza. From Russiaville. Some of the best pizza available in the Kokomo area. Edie never fails me.

2) Thursday, dinner-- A surprise visit to Pizza Hut. Matt's mom called mid afternoon with a plea to have us accompany her here to celebrate a dear friend's 70th birthday. Usually Matt hates Pizza Hut. This was no exception. We made it through, although I was beginning to question my often quoted: "I could eat pizza EVERY day 'cause I love it so much!"

3) Friday, lunch--My mom takes the kids and me to Harvey Hinklemeyers and I feel a bit green as I hear two of my children order pizza. Watching them eat it is no small feat either.

4) Saturday, lunch--The Menfolk are re-roofing my garage. We have lots of people at my house. Lots of kids. Guess what we eat? Oh well, at least it was Papa Johns, but eating it was real test, because I knew we were trying out a new pizza joint in Indy for our date that night.

5) Saturday night--Bazbeaux in downtown Indianapolis. We were definitely some of the least cool people there. The girl in the bathroom had a sprawling tattoo on her chest and one of the waiters had a handlebar mustache. The insanely-cheerful black guy who sat us told us we were being placed downstairs in the "TroubleMaker's Section" where the wine cellar was located. We actually got to sit at a table made for 2 people.

But the pizza! Oh, the pizza! I picked the Garden Pizza, which is really out of character for me, but wait til you hear what was on it: ricotta cheese, artichoke hearts, avocados, fresh spinach, red onion, and black olives. Be still, my heart. I love avocados and artichokes with a passion and spinach aint too bad either. When it arrived, the creamy blend of the ricotta cheese and the baked avocado slices was enough to render all my other senses useless. It was all I could do to sit there and help Matt eat the entire pizza. That's right. I'm not ashamed. If you'd been there, you wouldn't be ashamed either.

So back to the date. After we'd eaten until we were drunk on pizza, we waddled back to the Date Car and drove down Delaware (ha HA! built in alliteration) to the Benjamin Harris Home where we took part (you know, in an audience, fill-in-the-cryptogram on the program kinda way) in a walking play called Ghost Tales of Indiana. It was fun for me, who likes theatre and doesn't mind a touch (all right, a dollop) of corniness. It was fun for Matt, who was the only one who actually solved the cryptogram. I don't think that they expected anyone to actually solve it in the time provided, as was made clear by the fact that our hostess seemed more than a little crabby when I read it out loud for Matt instead of letting her do it. This made Matt very happy. I know, and we call ourselves Christians.

When we arrived home, no one was screaming, flailing, fighting, or bemoaning. We'd had more than two hours in the car alone, a pizza that made us hate all other pizzas, and a fun time annoying corny hostesses. Now that's what I call a date.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Rice Pudding Mishaps

So I've been on this unofficial quest to make a good rice pudding. Whenever we have gads of leftover cooked white rice, I'm seized with the sudden urge to use it rather than throw it out. (Yes, I'm aware this is dangerously close to the aversion some people have to throwing away "perfectly good" spaghetti, but I press on, because I believe it's my love of sweets and not my weirdness that gives me this irrational desire. If you, like Matt, see this differently, feel free to plan an intervention.)

Well last night was one of those nights. And I was JUST SURE that this time would be different. I say different, because in all the time that I've been feeling these rice pudding urges, never once has one of my puddings turned out to be something that ANYone would want to eat...not even me. Although I did eat one once, because I was JUST SURE that I would like it if I just gave it a fighting chance. But you know, sometimes I'm wrong. Matt spent the week laughing at me as I doggedly comsumed the entirety--all right, half--of the "pudding." It was really more of a rice mass.

Alas, last night was not a success either. I had been dreamily envisioning coming home and serving my children warm rice pudding, topped with a gentle sprinkling of nutmeg, and they would gobble it up and take their showers, and thusly warmed by their caring mother, slip sweetly away to sleep. What happened instead was that we came home, took it from the warm oven, and looked at it, suspiciously so. It looked...eggy. And true, there were eggs in it. But it didn't really look so much like pudding. Matt poked it and declared "I'm not eating any of it." This concerned me, because if my husband won't eat it, I find myself asking Is it just because he doesn't like it? Or because he doesn't feel it's safe to eat? And if it isn't safe to eat, should I feed it to the children? I threw the entire thing in the trash. I mostly lament the loss of 8 cups of milk used to make it. EIGHT cups of MILK! Never again, rice pudding. Sing your siren songs no more. I'm not wasting my dreams or my precious milk on you anymore.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sure fire signs it's an Indiana Indian Summer

Cook out food. Definitely makes you believe it's still the height of summer, even when the evenings are getting dark by 8 o'clock.

Kids wearing sandals (or wandering around barefoot) and showing off their popsicle tongues.

Vegetables from the garden...sittin' pretty on my counter.

And then of course, "School" pictures. I love my camera so much that I've more or less decided that we're never doing "professional" pictures again. Besides, my kids sit much better for me than they would for any other person alive. Don't you agree?

Of course, I didn't post the out-takes. They weren't quite as spectacular, although they were much funnier. Chandler sulking because he didn't WANT to take just one more picture. Kellar sticking his tongue out at me. Dawson trying to crawl away. Nadia's hair looking ever so slightly disorganized. Ah, the dance that is photographing children.

P.S.--Abigail and The Cat

When my family first moved into our new house on Melody Lane East, we had no pets. One day we went to the park. The parents went one way, the kids went the other way. Soon, our (I must clarify, I was one of the kids) attention was drawn to a small, sleek, black dog that was RACING around the playground. She was surrounded by a sprinkling of shouting children, one particular who was screaming that she was a vicious pitbull and was attacking people. Karen and I took one look at her and knew it was a hysterical lie. The puppy looked terrified. We caught her (no mean feat) and decided upon a scheme. Er, plot. Uhhh...plan. Karen was the youngest, and therefore the cutest. She, the Cutest, would hold the cute puppy and put on her sweetest face and I, the spokesperson Big Sister would do the talking. We took her home with us.

We put an ad in the paper to check for owners. Nobody responded and we kept her.

We named her Abigail, after Abigail in the Bible. My mom said that Abigail in the Bible was beautiful AND intelligent. Just like our puppy.

Actaully, she's kinda funny looking. She looks like a little black seal...sort of. She's supposedly a dachsund/lab mix...looks sort of like a long-legged dachsund.

Abigail has been a WONderful dog for the last ten years. She is well behaved, smart, and still very very fast. She's a miniature member of our family.

A couple of years back, in the dead of winter, a scared kitty showed up on my parents' front porch. She was terrified of all people. But she was very cold and hungry. But she was terrified of all people. Very cold. Very hungry. Very very scared. She would sit 20 feet away from the house and meow piteously at us. We would all take turns going out to try to coax her into the comfort of the house and she would take off. After two or three weeks of this craziness, she finally gave up enough to let someone catch her and bring her in.

She's never really warmed up, apparently. She's still terrified of all people...except my mom and dad. And she's not sure about them because they allow my loud, scary, AFFECTIONATE children to visit at least once a week. Oh, the horrors.

Her name is Gatita, Spanish for "female cat." My mom was a Spanish minor. It happens. *grin* We usually just call her "the cat" like many families I know. Abigail in horribly jealous of any affection that is bestowed upon her, but she shouldn't be. Abigail really is part of the family. Gatita really is just The Cat.

New Hair

I got my hair cut a couple of weeks ago. People have started demanding pictures. I aim to please.

I know. It's short. And I have bangs.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Chris Post

My dear friend Edie is of the opinion that The Inman Series will just not be complete without a Chris Post. So I begged my family to write stuff about me. Then the waiting began. Karen--she was ON it:

I don't think Mom and Dad realized there were nights we didn't go to sleep right away. I remember one night we camped out in a little cave/den thing Chris somehow made by the way our bed frames were situated. Chris put the bookshelf under there too and a little seat/bed fashioned out of blankets. We hung out there one night and slept there.

Something I thought was cool was when I came to high school. Chris graduated before I started my freshmen year, but she left me a reputation before I got there. She talked about me in band a lot, but in a good way. She said I was super cool and told all the guys I could beat them up. And they seemed to believe her when I got there. It was nice to be a freshmen and already have some coolness.
One thing everyone seems to have a knack for is confusing the two of us. A stranger once asked us if we were twins. We do look similar, but twins? Typically, I'm the one who is confused for being Chris. Or people tell me I look like my sister. After we sang a song together in church someone told me I sounded like my sister. I get annoyed because I just want people to know who it is they're talking to. Don't you know I can break your face? Get my name right! I'm just looking for competence in other people, but it's really not bad getting confused for someone like Chris.
Chris is someone who I can be laid back with and just be myself. I sometimes am too quiet and hide who I am. Chris can break me out of my shell. We both act really goofy when we're around each other. It's just that only kind of goofiness you can get with a sister.

* * * *

Then my mother, the Writer, told me she was working on it. She told me she'd do it by Thursday, by Friday, hey-maybe next Tuesday. Ah, the intimidation of the blank text box! However, she did not disappoint:

Chris. Social. She likes to go places. Was frequently known to say, "Where are we going to GO toda y?" as a little girl.
On being "Mommy's Helper". "Mommy, the baby was crying," as she carried out her four-week-old sister. She was 4 ½ yrs old. !!!! "Give Mommy the baby, honey. Next time just come tell me when she's crying."
On bedtime. "Chris, stop talking and go to sleep." It never worked. She just talked faster.
On clothes. She would change outfits numerous times a day, leaving piles of clothes strewn about the house. (preschool and kindergarten)
On amusement parks. "See that highest water slide, Mom? Yeah, the one that's almost completely vertical. I just went down that." !!! (high school?)
(Okay, I'm changing to first person here, and I know it.)
On having children. I really appreciate that you wanted me to be with you when Chandler was born. I d on't know if you needed the moral support or if you did it for my benefit. Since the three of you (you, David, and Karen) were born by C-section, and I was completely unconscious, I missed the whole birth experience. That made it even more meaningful to be there when Chandler was born and be one of the first to see his little face as he popped out. :^)
I didn't think I was ready to be a grandmother when Chandler came along, but it really is as great as all the other grandparents say. I feel kinda sorry for my friends who are my age and don't have grandchildren. I can tell some of them wish they did when they hug on my grandkids. :^) And I love it when I run into people around town and can say, "Oh, yes, we have four grandchildren now."

* * * *

Then The Real Waiting began. Oh boys, boys. How I waited for them. Finally when I could stand it no longer, I wrote them an email:

Subject: Calling InMen

Good evening gentlemen. I need to know if I'm waiting on articles that are actually forthcoming. Please respond to this email so I know if I can go ahead and write the Chris post or if I should wait for any of y'all.

I understand that you might:

A) be busy
B) be uninterested
C) be uncertain of your writing ability
D) be emotionally unable to express your deep and abiding love for the wonder that is me.

If any or all of these apply to you, I won't hold it against you. My feelings will not be hurt. Just please let me know, because I'm having blog readers surmise that I've run off to Las Vegas rather than continue the tedious task of writing. (Really, somebody s aid that.)
Let me know!

* * * *

I waited a little longer. My dad said "Sorry -- forgot (that wasn't on your list). Can't send anything this morning ... I'll try to ponder further ....D." My brother picked one of the options I listed, but he didn't tell me which one. Still I waited. I started feeling like I was just putting it off. I thought perhaps I should just move on to other things, new topics, and come back to The Chris Post when I got a chance. Then I got an email from my dad today and I rejoiced. Woohoo!

But then tragedy struck. Like many Dad projects, he made it harder than it had to be. He painstakingly crafted a lovely flow chart depicting who I am. Witty. Creative. Impossible to upload? Thank goodness I have geeky friends, or none of us would be seeing it right now:

Matt says it's the perfect representation of me. So I guess now you know. And we'll never know what David would've said, but that's okay. Seeing as how he frequently capitalizes on his brotherly right to make fun of me, you might not be missing all that much.

Technically, I'll be finishing the Inman Series with a brief post about our dog Abigail (she's smart AND beautiful). I was planning on moving on to her whilst I waited for the Chris Post to come together, but that was vetoed on the strength of the argument that I am much more important, more relevant, more...sparkly than the dog. Boo-ya, Abigail.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My brother David: And the bells started ringing.

My brother David.

I will explain a little about what he was like as a child, because the tedious business of surviving high school, excelling at college, and obtaining gainful employment seems to have somewhat subdued his original creativity and feisty spirit. This will give you a more rounded picture of who he is.

My relationship with him has been evolving since the beginning. We go way back. He's only two years younger than me, so the earliest of my memories has him right there, sidled up next to me. When he was very young, he had white blond hair and a devilish grin. I called him "Daving." My mom tried to correct me countless times, "It's 'David,' Chris. Da-vid." But I clung staunchly to my personalized version...until the day she decided to use some reverse psychology. "Where's Daving, Chris?" "Mom. His name. is Da-VID." And I never went back. Evidently the uttering of the special name by anyone else tainted it and made it unsuitable for myself.

During his white blond days, we attended a wedding and were photographed afterwards. Being the motherly type, I felt it my duty to help him smile correctly for the camera. It turned out something like this:

...Which he claims is the reason why, to this day, he doesn't like getting his picture taken.

Except on special occassions, I guess. Like, uh...Thanksgiving, I think this is. Yeah, yeah, turkey really gets him excited.

...No, not really.

Once we were a little older, Karen and I would build "homes" out of card tables and blankets and set up house inside them. Poor David, "house" was too boring for a rambunctious boy, and he would swoop down with a natural disaster to liven things up a bit: tornadoes, fires, blizzards, earthquakes, and dinosaurs plagued our otherwise peaceful homesteads. We'd rant and rave as he tore and shook apart our homes, but to no avail. The damage would be done and the girly whining would begin. Good times.

Once we got to high school, I adopted a new nickname for him: the Spanish version (of course; I was unconsciously preparing for my role as wife to a Mexican)--Dah-VEED. Yes, I'm wimping out and not going through the trouble of learning how to make an accento. Hey! At least I'm blogging tonight! Watch the criticism or I'll just go to bed.

That's right. Don't push me.

My brother David.

He has a hidden whimsical side that delights in well-made movies, movies full of humor and wit. He sometimes sings his side of the conversation, but somehow I doubt he likes musicals. He makes great jokes about computers and math that nobody in our circle gets. It's hard being brilliant.

He is a man of God. He is conservative, incredibly smart, has a great sense of humor. He is patient and reserved, kind and articulate. He doesn't like small talk, but sometimes indulges me. He has an uncanny ability to make me feel so proud and tender that my heart contracts a little and at times, a tear even squirts out of my eye.

My little brother David. I love that guy.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sista Karen: Not Last THIS Time, Sucka

My sister Karen is one of the funniest people alive. She does spot-on impressions, and her stories are not to be rivaled. I just do not hold a candle to her. The title is a tribute to her much-repeated lament when we were growing up: "I'm always last!" Whether it was in reference to the line-up, "And these are my children, Chris, David, and Karen," or the way she somehow managed to always be the last to be informed about Big News, she's always felt a little slighted within our family structure.

But she really shouldn't. Her comedic prowess sets her a step above the rest of us mere mortals.

I may be louder and slightly more animated, David may be taller and very very smart, Dad may be...Dad...(wink)...Mom may be Practically Perfect in Every Way, but you, darling Karen, are a star. You have some tremendous gifts and a beautifully powerful personality.

I admire her extreme loyalty. A loyalty that leads her to defend whatever position I take up, especially if there's someone else opposing me. She would've made an excellent Joan of Arc or some such Lady Knight. She can kick serious butt with her martial arts skills, so I always defer to her when I need someone to punch someone else in the face. Not that I need that frequently. Or ever. Riiiiggghht. I never desire annoying people to get punched in the face. It wouldn't be prudent.

I admire her hidden tenderness. I like watching her with my babies. I always feel like she's silently sympathizing with whichever one is the youngest at the time.

I like the fact that everyone makes a huge deal over her when she wears a dress. Her everyday style could easily be labeled "Cute and Comfy Tough Girl Casual."

I love that she's her own scintillating breed of Animal Whisperer. She's constantly finding/taming/expelling animals wherever she goes. I always call her when I have an animal question, although I could so easily google it instead.

I love her ability to take charge when necessary.

I love that she still gives this look. It's a carry-over from childhood, when she used to glare at anyone who offended her. Sometimes she'd really lay it on by folding her arms, tossing her heavy locks past her shoulder, and heaving her adorable little chin in the air. She'd then heave out a well-orchestrated "HMPH!!"

I love all the times we've spent together, just the two of us. There hasn't been nearly enough since I started having kids and she started college. But the comforting thing is that I know she'll always be there. She'll always be my Kare, my hilarious sister, my precious friend.

More than Santa Claus, your sister knows when you've been bad and good. ~Linda Sunshine

A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost. ~Marion C. Garretty

If you don't understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child. ~Linda Sunshine

"Well Karen? Well Chris? Goodnight, I love you, see you in the morning, say goodmorning. You, too. And have sweet dreams. You, too. ...Goodnight. Goodnight."

My Dad: The Executive

My dad has an Executive style personality. (I don't rememer what the official letters are, although I'm sure someone out there knows.) He is smart, loves learning new things, loves teaching. He can be disarmingly goofy. His head is full of knowledge: some that is useful, some that is fanciful. He is well-liked and knows how to keep a conversation going. He loves God and loves him some commentary--again with the useful knowledge thing. He's so confident he seems dauntless.

My dad has worked at an automotive-technology company since he was sprung from college twenty-some-odd years ago. Before that, he went to college at a parent-approved school and majored in Electrical Engineering. He wanted to be a musician, or maybe a computer programmer. His dad didn't agree with those career choices, so he picked something else. My dad was a good son.

He was the oldest of four children. He feels a great deal of responsibility.

My dad is an Eagle Scout. He is the epitome of an upstanding citizen.

When we were young, he took us on fun vacations, on camping trips. He played the guitar in the evenings. He'd hold up a sheet of paper when he kissed my mom so we couldn't see, and to be funny. He's always had a powerful personality and we loved that about him. Strike that; that's a weak thing to say. Let me try again. What I was trying to say: I love him.

When we were younger, he had a hard time being emotionally available to my brother and sister and me. We knew he loved us, but he didn't really say it. Knowing all that I know now, I can't blame him. His father was self-controlled, stoic, with a chest as hard as a rock. Not exactly embraceable and encouraging. How do you walk in those footsteps?

But then, shortly before my first child was born, my grandfather died. And the Inman clan got all crumbly and sort of short-circuited. The strong personality that had dominated for so long was at rest and nobody knew what to do with themselves.

Time passed, patterns shifted. I had three more children, and like the good mother and daughter that I strive to be, I did everything I could to bolster an affectionate relationship between the young ones and my dad. However, my firstborn is similar in personality to my dad, outgoing but a strong leader who doesn't take much time for cuddles. My next child, my precious daughter, is reserved and introverted. For the first 2 1/2 years of his life, my third child, Kellar the Koala, was uncertain about anyone other than me. He's just now starting to let down his guard. Finally I bore Dawson, a child who is outgoing, loving, funny, and unafraid. Finally I've been able to see my dad lovin' on one of my babies. I'm tellin' you, it just doesn't get much better than that.

I loved my grandfather very much, despite his lack of, er, cuddliness. But I didn't know him, I didn't even know if he loved me much. For all the remarkable things Grandpa Glen was, he was not an outstanding example of family love. I do miss him, but I am so proud of the father and grandfather that my dad is becoming as he learns to walk straight ahead, making footprints of his own.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My mom: Full of Dignity

My mom is the prettiest woman this side of the Mississippi, and has been her whole life. She is sweet. She is sassy (although most people don't know it). Chances are, you don't know what she's thinking. She's a thinker, this one.

Momma Jane loves to read, loves to write, has an amazing command of "language, situations and peoples."

She has a superb sense humor and she loves being barefoot. Or rather, her feet just don't like to keep shoes on them for very long. As a child, she was allowed to go barefoot all summer long, except for Sunday mornings. She is smart as a whip(Brief side note: Is a whip actually smart? I think not. So what is she as smart as? Dolphins are supposed to be pretty smart...but "my mom is as smart as a dolphin" doesn't sound very complimentary. I will definitely be giving this some thought.). And classy, caring, godly, patient, stubborn. But if I had to pick one word to describe her, it would be dignified.

Main Entry: dignified
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: honorable


aristocratic, august, courtly, decorous, distinguished, great, highbrow, highfalutin', imperial, imperious, magnificent, noble, refined, regal, reserved, respected, solemn, somber, stately, superior, upright

She's not actually highbrow or highfalutin', but I'm really enjoying imagining the look on her face when she reads those they're staying in. Oh, she's not really solemn or somber either, as you probably deduced from the picture above.

She is an outstanding mother, a precious and skillful grandmother. She cherishes her children. She's probably crying by now.

Everything you read above is stuff I've mulled over for years. I know it like the back of my hand. I've tried numerous times and in a multitude of ways to put into words and actions everything my mom is to me. I never get tired of it and I never feel I've done an adequate job explaining--to myself or to others--how special she is.

One quick illustration and then I'll sum up.

When I was a child, we had red raspberry bushes that lined the back of our yard, on both sides of the fence. Every summer, my mom would patiently, tirelessly pick raspberries for days and weeks on end. She would make pies, freeze them, and make more pies. They were wonderful.

Thing is, raspberry bushes have thorns. And no matter how careful you are, if your hands are in them several times a week for a few hours each time, you're gonna get some scratches. But there was bounty in our backyard, and by gum, it was not gonna be wasted. So every summer, my mom's beautiful hands and arms were covered with an abundance of thin, spidery scratches, such as raspberry bushes give.

But she never complained. And when we moved to a new house, we transplanted many of those bushes, only to watch them wither and die in the unfamiliar soil. So now she makes raspberry pies with frozen berries from the grocery store. And you know what? They taste just as good. It wasn't the berries, it was the love.

To sum up, I will say what I've been saying for years: If I can one day be half the woman that my mother is, I will be happy.

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future. ~Author Unknown

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Inman Series

This is my family. The Inmans. Or Inmen, if you're feeling cheeky. From the left: Papa Steve, Sista Karen, Bro David, Momma Jane, and Little Ol' Me Chris.

I was feeling a decided lack of Original Bloggy Material tonight, so I polled one of my friends. He brilliantly suggested that I dedicate a few posts to the fascinating members of my family. And they are fascinating.

Well, I'm no fool, so I agreed to give it a go. See what the blank text box had to say to me. And I to it.

We'll open with Momma Jane. She's sweet, she's sassy, she's the most beautiful woman this side of the Mississippi.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Annie Oakley, eat your heart out.

This weekend, I got to shoot a couple of guns. I've never really been interested in guns much, but neither am I against them. I grew up surrounded by people who thought guns were cool, and so if nothing else, it was a normal kind of thing in my world.

My grandfather had an impressive collection of guns. In the last house he built, he installed a secret room accessible through part of the ceiling. He filled it with his arsenal, you know, just in case of attack. Or something. Grandpa Glen was both a man and law unto himself and he didn't often share the inner workings of his mind. I'm sure it would've been fascinating. When I was about 14 or 15, I got to shoot one of his antique rifles. All I came away with was the impression that guns are extremely hard to shoot, and therefore, no further interest in them.

On Monday, in honor of Labor Day (??) or perhaps in honor of a day of fun, my very manly husband and our country-dwelling friend set out to shoot some stuff. Out in the yard. I'm not sure, but I think that makes us rednecks. *Resigned sigh* But again, that doesn't really bother me. I'm used to it. I have a gun rack in my otherwise Country Living-esque bedroom.

What did start to worry me, though, was when it started to get dark and the menfolk still hadn't come in from target practice. Right around the time I couldn't see them, I took it upon myself to go suggest they wrap it up. Yes, I'm the police. I'm all about responsibility, especially to a point. *Cheeky grin* So I went out into the yard and was relieved to see them loading things back up. I didn't want to actually be the one to break up their fun, as I don't particularly care for the labels that some men give women who "try to be in charge." I've come close to kicking my neighbor, as he persists in calling me "Boss" whenever I come to see what Matt's up to at his house.

Once I got closer to the guys however, they immediately asked if I wanted to shoot. I glanced up at the very dusky, darkened sky and said, "Isn't it too late to shoot?" The reply alarmed me a little, "It's never too late to shoot." Um, okay. I told them that if they hurried, I would shoot, but it had to be fast, 'cause I was ostensibly there to break things up and ensure safety. Gun police, that's me.

They sprang into action, throwing safety glasses and ear coverings at me. Within 60 seconds, I was standing with my hands wrapped around a big gun. I think it was some kind of shotgun. I was given strict instructions to press its butt firmly into my shoulder, which at the time, I couldn't possibly see as being important, but I did as I was told. My husband explained where to put my hands and when to pull the trigger. I obeyed and was rewarded with a sound blow to my upper arm. Evidently there's this thing called recoil...that's when the gun tries to attack the person holding it.You have to hold on tight or you might sustain injury. My arm is bruised today.

Next they handed me a smaller gun, some kind of pistol. This one was fun. After I got used to holding on tightly so it didn't flip back into my face, that is. I started doing something with my wrists that gave me some small illusion of control, which was comforting. And fun.

I came away enthralled and ready for my next opportunity to shoot, preferably at a time when the sun was up and I got to do it for more than 5 minutes.

Then last night, my darling husband wrote a post about me shooting guns. No, I will not give you a link to it, because I'm hoping that no one else finds it. Let's suffice it to say that my face stayed red all evening and that I evidently am a Gun Diva in disguise. I'm feeling some major conflict. I'm not sure what to do about shooting again. I like shooting quite.a.lot. but the thoughts that will be running through my head might disable my ability to keep the gun from recoiling into my body. And my face might be red. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with being a Gun Diva.

Just keeping you on your toes.

"When I'm with a pistol I sparkle like a crystal, yes I shine like the morning sun." --Annie Oakley

We have women in the military, but they don't put us in the front lines. They don't know if we can fight, if we can kill. I think we can. All the general has to do is walk over to the women and say, "You see the enemy over there? They say you look fat in those uniforms."
--Elayne Boosler