Monday, May 25, 2009


My brother's in the army. Have I ever told you that?

Technically, he's a full-time supply sargent in the National Guard, but I guess that's army enough, so I'll just say he's in the army. I'm not very familiar with the world of the military so you'll have to forgive me any slip-ups in jargon or understanding for a little while. I know enough to know that BDUs are not underpants and that they are tan now instead of green.

In a week he'll be leaving for a chunk of training so he'll be ready to go to Iraq. We've known about it for a while, but I haven't wanted to say anthing for two reasons: 1) I hoped the government would changed its mind about sending him and 2) my brother tends to be rather reserved and I often say too much of the wrong thing where he's concerned.

But he's going now, so he'll have to wait a year to lecture me if he doesn't like what I say.

I don't hate that he's going and I understand why he'd want to go. I wish he'd picked a job as a dentist or an insurance adjuster instead, but I've long ago realized that he is a different person from me.

He is reserved to a fault (I'm really glad he told me he was leaving ahead of time instead of just sending me a postcard from Dubai) so he doesn't always tell me the stories of things that he's done or seen. One of the hardest things about this deployment (ha! I do know some military words.) is that he will be adding another layer to his life that he won't talk about.

I wish I could go with him and see the things he sees, but the chances are very good that I would only get him in trouble by saying or doing something stupid. I hope he tells me about his time there, though.

He's going with his best friend and this makes me feel so much better. I am so glad that he won't be there alone. I felt this way when he got married--I was so glad that he had someone who would know when he was sick and who would make sure he took care of himself.

So, we're doing the countdown now. I'd like to see him before he leaves, but my dad said that we shouldn't make a big deal out of it because it would just make it harder on him. I'm sure he's right, but I think it will be hard for him either way and I'd like to shake his hand before he goes. I know he's just doing his job, but it's a brave thing and I'd like him to know that I respect what he does. At the very least I'd like to offer him some advice. Like never go with a strange man on a camel, even if he does offer you lentils.

Well, I'm sure that this will all be over soon and that in thirty years or so it will all be a distant memory. I'm sure that I can be a big girl for a year. I know that at least a couple of you have had loved ones deployed for long periods of time. Is there any advice you would give him as he prepares to leave?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Fine Kettle of Fish

The lilacs are blooming and my allergies are going crazy. I'm waiting for my medicine to kick in but until then my face is going to feel like it's in a meat grinder. Ah, glorious spring.

On Friday morning I was going to tell you about my cat, Sabrina, and how after having her all of my adult life I had to put her down. Peter brought her in for me, since I really didn't have the strength to do it myself. I feel like such a coward but I'm so glad he took the burden from me. I wish we had gone together, but I took the kids out to the garage sales (with a very distracting Grandpa) so they wouldn't have an overly dramatic "Good-Bye Ceremony" to make it more difficult than it had to be. We decided to lie to the children about what was happening to her. Judge me if you will, but I just wasn't up to dealing with the whole 'the cat is dead' issue. And at 3 and 5 years old, I felt there was limited merit in going through the ordeal of losing a pet. I know that having a pet die can be very instructive (I lived on a farm growing up--I know whereof I speak), but I also felt like they were too young to gain much benefit.

Before we realized she was so ill we were going to give her to my mom's old co-worker who had lost his cat in an apartment fire. We had told the kids that this was going to happen and how good it would be to give him Sabrina for company. So we just stuck with this story. I was hoping that doing something good for someone else would help cushion the blow. I'm not used to telling fibs so this was perhaps harder on me in that respect, but it was better to deal with my own sadness and not have to manage theirs as well.

On Saturday I was going to tell you about how we went to Shepherd's Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival. It's the first year that I've remembered to go and we got to go with my sister in law Rachel and her husband Chris. It was so. much. fun. We saw a merino sheep (ugly beyond recognition as a sheep), goats, alpacas and llamas, and angora rabbits the size of pillows. The kids had a good time and Rachel and I had a great time. I saw yarn that was more amazing than any I'd ever seen before. I spent too much money. Best Mother's Day ever. It was a Mother's Day extravaganza.

On Sunday I was going to tell you about Henry's baptism. He just fit into the baptismal gown worn by his great-grandfather in 1915, his grandfather, his father and his brother. In another month he would have been too big. He laughed when the water was poured over his head and he drooled all over his gown. By the end of the service he looked like he'd had an immersion baptism. We had a nice dinner at my parents' house after and it was a good day.

But Monday came and now most of the weekend doesn't seem as important as it might have been. There aren't too many details that I'm willing to share because I don't want to tell too much of someone else's story. We have a close family member who is very sick. It will mean a long hospital stay and an unpleasant treatment. We are all very worried, of course, but most of all we're just so sad that this person whom we love most of all will have to go through this trial. One can always help and try to be useful. One can try to ease the burden. But sadly, no one can go through it for him. We can only go with. So, we'll be praying for strength and health and leaving it to God to do the rest.

You know, I'd give a whole lot to have a dull year. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for 2010.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Photo Tuesday

You can tell when Spring has really come when Rhubarb Muffins start coming out of the oven. The kids and I made a double batch this morning, no thanks to Henry McGrumpypants. I'm not really sure what his problem is, but he has been the grumpiest, most unpleasant person in town. Nothing seems to make him happy. But anyway, here is a gratuitous muffin shot:

I made a double batch since Friday kicks off Garage Sale Weekend in Woodbury. People come from all over (by the busload, no kidding) to live off the fat of the land. Woodbury is a pretty posh suburb, so there's a lot of fat to be had. I wonder what the sales will look like this year, what with the Tough Economic Times and all. My dad comes along as part nanny, part treasure hunter and it always makes the trip more fun.

Mostly, though, I'm just waiting for this baby to cheer up. He's so fussy and I wish I knew what his problem is. I'm really getting worn out. If gypsies were to come through town and offer me money, I might be tempted to take it. . . just for a minute. Do any of you know what could be making this kid such a crying grump? I'm open to ideas. We've been guessing 'teething' for about a month now.