Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Facing my Thirty Year Grudge...In The Face

As I write this short blog, I know that this may be my last post. I am going to my class reunion to face my "UNI BOMBER". I have wrestled back and forth over whether or not to husband is reluctantly going with me (probably so he can call in the life insurance policy as soon as I am "OFFED" by my enemy from three decades ago). I just cannot, with a clear conscience let this girl who for some strange reason wants to either kill me or dump pig's blood over my head while I am basking in the spotlight of having kept all classmates in touch for thirty years...keep me away. "CARRIE" the old movie is swimming through my head even though the event is two days away. She has been strangely quiet...probably planning her strategy and her quick get away. Or maybe she is back on her meds and is not planning to come at all. My husband jokingly (I HOPE) told our kids; "Your Mom might not make it into the ballroom, but if she doesn't...we will take the target out in the parking lot"! THIRTY YEARS...three stinking decades ago, someone felt picked on . Well you know what? We were ALL picked on in high school , we all had our weaknesses, we all had our phobias, and except for one person, we ALL got over it. So I leave you with this thought...I will not be deterred from going to see my former class mates and friends, not be scared away by vicious and spiteful comments...and more than this..will not run away from my past. I have had MANY, MANY emails from class mates wanting to know if I was obviously they either want me there, or want to see my timely demise by a 4'10" tall STARK white....amazingly white, angry and boiling pot of humanity that wants to show everybody that she can not only hold a grudge for three decades, but can still try to whip my butt! So every morning as I get ready for work..I play the "ROCKY" theme song, drink my glass of raw eggs...and prepare for my "BIG GRUDGE" match. If she does come, I have already decided to play it low key, just speak to her politely, and walk on my tip toes the rest of the evening. Let's just hope for the safety of every one there, no TEQUILA is brought out, and hope that you all hear from me Sunday morning. High school is indeed a rough period in life...but I feel that it is one that is intended to prepare you for the rest of your journey, teaches you what to take to heart and what to take as a lesson. I think that this may be our BIGGEST turnout yet!!! I wonder if all my class mates have a "squares" betting pool going as to what will happen....I wish they had let ME buy a square. Or come to think of it...I am wondering if maybe my husband started it...He HAS been UNUSUALLY nice these past few days. I think that I will end now so that I can go check the caller ID and see if he has been talking to the enemy ! Till (hopefully) next time.....MEAN OLE COTTON

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Recommended Reading....(besides my blog)

I am reading the most absolutely wonderful and enlightening book that I have read in YEARS! It is entitled "Eat, Pray, Love", by Elizabeth Gilbert. It has almost become a mantra to me.... a book that I felt I needed a highlighter pen to read it with. So MANY profound statements and observations about life... that I found myself constantly saying "I have GOT to remember that"!!! If you read ONE book this year, I recommend this one!! As a forty eight year old woman, wife and mother...this book has touched me and made me think about the entire scheme of life in an entirely different way. I am on the last part of the book(three parts) and I am intentionally slowing down because I already dread it being over with!! She writes and sounds a lot like me (that isn't the reason that I recommend it) and I feel such empathy for her , and the excellent way she figures EVERYTHING out. Should I ever make money and get all three of my kids out of the house...I will do the EXACT same thing she did and KNOW that I will reap rewards untold!! I feel like OPRAH pitching a "Book Club" selection (which this book probably was)...but caring for my limited and few readers...I felt compelled to share this amazing discovery with you. Pick up a copy and it will change your life... Life is a road we are ALL destined to is all about choosing the correct may not be the easiest route to travel....but the one that will take you DIRECTLY to your destination and ultimately your life's total state of well being and sincere happiness. TRUST ME...I am being totally serious (and not even getting a kick back from the Author)!!! Till next time...COTTON

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Seventy Eight Sounds Great!!

I can hardly believe that I have already made 78 posts. Obviously my verbal diarrhea comes so fast and furious that even I have lost count!! This blog has been an amazing thing for me. It has allowed me to express myself, introduce my small audience (actually I have had over 3000 hits on this blog) to the many characters that I have in my life at home and at work. It has enabled me to vent about so many vast and differing topics and opinions that I have (right or wrong) to re connect with a few old friends, and make a couple of new ones. A special shout out to my new friend Eamon, from the UK and a writer from New York!! I sit here at night and just tell my stories, tell you about my life and tell you my problems... and you know what?? A lot more people than I would have EVER imagined are listening and reading. I honestly can't imagine running out of topics...I have about thirty more running through my mind on a daily basis. From the economy, the three houses in foreclosure on my street... to the INSANE way people act about the smallest thing that goes wrong... to the impossible task of raising children in this CRAZY,CRAZY world. I was impressed today at work, when my boss said that he had read my blog last made my day to think that he felt my ramblings were worth his spare time...which he certainly does not have a lot of...monitoring all us idiots at work. A dear friend that moved away about ten years ago, told me she sat at her computer for four hours alternating between laughter and tears reading my stories...that is EXACTLY what I am striving for.. to not only entertain and enlighten but to strike a chord in people that they can recognize and relate to. My only wish is that more of you would add your own comments more often...(except crazy girl from high school). A few of my readers are great about it, and nothing excites me more (that may be an overstatement) than to see new comments on my site. Maybe I need to rip the Republican Party a little more... that will be sure to get my husband to comment!! All in all I have been tremendously satisfied with my little project (Thank you once again , Lisa) and been given the chance to do what I want to do more than anything else in my life (career-wise) WRITE, WRITE, WRITE!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading and letting me write....not that a team of Mexican Mules could stop me!! Unless one of them was a "Crip" or "Blood"... then I would just plead insanity, and mention that I have a HUGE fan base at my place of employment with a large number of illegals that not only LIKE me, but consider me an amiga. I have been given a wonderful life..probably one that I don't deserve..just ask my former class mate from high school...but one that I do NOT take lightly, and one that I thank GOD for every day of my existence on this Earth. I hope that I have entertained some of you half as much as I have entertained myself (which obviously isn't hard to do). Big plans and ideas are flowing through my teeny mind even as I type this, my 79th post. I'll have to have an 80th "POST" party...maybe invite a few of my friends over for a cold one, and a night of celebration; because since I have started this blog...everything has looked up for me... I feel like I have grown as a person ( I can use the extra pounds) and I feel like my life has another purpose besides being a mother (which I love) and an over worked person (which I HAVE to be right now). But I love my country, I love my life, my family (not necessarily in that order) and I love my blog!! Thanks for reading....And letting ME be Me!!! Till next time..COTTON

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Thirty Year Grudge

I am a member of a website that is for finding old classmates and reconnecting. I have several different schools on mine. I have my college, my elementary school, my husband's high school and the high school that my college room mate went to (my sister also taught at that high school) as well as my own high school. It is fun to start discussions and see how far they get. My most popular post has had over 1400 views and over 67 postings. As anyone who reads this knows...I LOVE to write. Since I have started this blog I have kind of ignored my high school site. A friend of mine sent me a text on my phone last night telling me to read the high school website. I came home from work to find a "diatribe" written about me by a girl that I barely knew in school. It read like a manifesto that was written by the uni-bomber. It began "Not that I am bitter..." and got more intensely bitter with each line...and there were about a THOUSAND lines of the most bizarre comments I have ever read. She dogged me because I was "just" a waitress, and that she made over $400,000 a year. She dogged me for not responding to an email that she had sent me in early 2007. She said that I was mean to her, and was ignoring her extension of the olive branch of her email...more like a beating stick! I remember her well, and she was an odd duck. But to harbor these feelings for thirty years is not only disturbing, but sad. As her rant went on page after page after page... I was absolutely astounded that I had obviously wounded her beyond repair. She lambasted me not only for high school, but for writing so many posts on the website and not returning her email. You know...high school is a tough place (even in the late seventies). I am hoping that she takes some of her $400K and gets some therapy. She informed me that one of her great achievements was being the president of Charlie Sheen's fan club. NOT helpin her cause with me!! I tried to apologize to her, but by that time, several people had responded to her post about me... Let's see.. the first post was entitled "DAMN".. It read..."Looks like someone needs to get back on their medication." After that post, she retorted with yet another long winded roasting of me and my ignoring to respond to her email (I will NEVER forget to respond to an email again...even if it is to say "leave me alone"!!) The more my friends and former class mates took up for me, the more rambling posts she made.... It was almost amazing in a spooky kind of way. Hang on a minute while I go out side to make sure she isn't out in a tree in my neighbor's yard with a sniper rifle..........WHEW!!! The coast is clear for now!! You know, when you are a 15 year old kid, how can you see that 35 years down the road, you can still have an effect on a person that you haven't seen in over thirty years? She kept posting and posting and posting..."STOP IT"!!! I wanted to say, but I was trying to placate her with apologies and kudos for her $400K job that she had "shown me up with." Even that wasn't good enough. FINALLY I made a post that said "Let's just put this all to rest...and lighten up a bit... we are starting to sound like a Jerry Springer episode". The next post was entitled "JERRY, JERRY, JERRY". (NOT HELPIN ). You know, I had a lot of people that weren't very nice to me in high school.. I was flat chested (still am) and wore braces all through high school. But I moved on, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let this girl move on before she hunts me down and does whatever it is that she so adamantly wants to do to me. YES kids are cruel in high school, but there were a LOT meaner kids than me, even ones that picked on me. I almost feel sorry for her , reading all the responses to her "Tirade". But you know what? She hit a nerve with the "waitress" comment. I may "JUST" be a waitress, but I am a DAMN good waitress.. one that loves her job, enjoys going to work every day and has great satisfaction in knowing that I have customers that call just to see if I am working. I am so sorry that I offended this girl thirty years ago.... But for "Pete's Sake" Move on Sister, remember that I was 15 then, and I am 48 now. If I still held a grudge against all high school pettiness and cruelty...THAT would be a full time job, and then I would not have time to write my blogs.... Now THAT, would be REALLY cruel!! Till next time...."Big ole mean COTTON!"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stormin "NORMAN" to the Rescue

On Tuesdays I open the restaurant with two other waitresses. It usually isn't too busy right off the bat so we are okay until around 11:45 when the other servers come in. On this particular day, at 10:55, five minutes before we open...a group of 115 came streaming in the front door. It was an immediate "INVASION". Frantic calls to servers for them to come early were made, the kitchen...headed up by our "Stormin Norman" was alerted to the fact that the "ENEMY HAS LANDED!! BATTLE STATIONS"!!! It was a company bringing the entire office out for Secretary's Day. Obviously everyone in their office knew about it, and our Troops were TOTALLY taken by surprise. The cooks had no one to call in ..they were all we had. "Bring the Latinos up front"!! Give the manager an apron..load up the bread oven...start filling glasses with ice...GO GO GO...NOW"!!! One of us three servers started taking drink orders, the other started taking food orders, and the third began ringing them into the kitchen. I cannot even begin to imagine how it must feel to the cooks to receive 115 orders one immediately after another, but it must feel like having a M-16 spraying around your head with nowhere to run or hide. When we asked Norman if he wanted us to stagger out the orders or send them all at once..the reply from their battle station was "BRING IT"!!! Thus began our normally quiet Tuesday lunch! By this point another server that is an "Ole Timer" like us had walked into the chaos. She immediately started going to the tables that we had not been able to get yet, and started firing orders back to our troops in the kitchen as well. It was 24 tables in total that we rang into the kitchen in a matter of about ten or fifteen minutes. Steaks, chicken, ribs, special orders, special instructions...and it didn't faze our "Stormin Norman" one bit! I can honestly say that we had a harder time of just getting drinks refilled and salads out before he was sending out the can two cooks beat four servers to the punch, considering they had a lot tougher job to do than us? I can honestly say that I do not remember one person sending their food back or complaining about their lunch. Out of 24 tables, one table had to wait for their food...but HEY!! someone has to get served last! Let me add that while all this was taking place, the kitchen was still filling orders from the rest of the restaurant that was filling up very quickly with our regular customers. Believe it or not, it went AMAZINGLY smooth. Our manager that day was on the ball, shouting out his commands, and we were listening to him. The host staff did a great job, the other servers that walked into a mine field when they arrived for their shift did an amazing job. It was truly a team effort...but one that I give the kitchen staff of "Stormin Norman" all the credit for. We are a family at our store..granted a sometimes dysfunctional family, but one that pulls together when the bombs are dropping and there is no place to hide. The public is a tough crowd to please. I have learned this over my 30 years in the business. But on this particular day, in this particular restaurant, this particular crowd had a particularly amazing man shooting out their lunches like mortar fire coming out of a tank. My hat goes out to this amazing feat the "Stormin Norman" pulled off with the grace and ease of a trapeze artist..Although he is one person that I don't think would ever be caught dead in a pair of tights...But tight spots are his FORTE, and he did an outstanding job in one of the tightest spots we have ever been thrown into, and saved our butts from what could have been a tragedy...but ended up to be a success...Thanks to "STORMIN NORMAN". Take a bow my deserve it. What impressed me even more was the fact that he acted like he had done nothing exceptional, just had done his job. I swear I work with the greatest people in the world... At least a lot of great people, that make working with some of the others that aren't as great, an OK thing. Maybe they will look at us and say "I could do that too if I tried". YOU NEVER KNOW!!! But a HUGE, FAT "THANK YOU" and my total admiration for a "Job well done, Soldier". Till next time...COTTON

Monday, April 21, 2008

Another Tragedy of Life

My youngest, my daughter got off the bus today at 4:00 and fell into my arms to tell me to hug her tightly. One of her friends who had lost her grandmother on Thursday, had lost her Mother in a car accident. This "GIRL" is thirteen years young, facing a lifetime of regret, "coulda done" and "wish I had" thoughts and feelings. She is a sweet smart athletic girl who has all in the span of four days lost not only her grandmother but her mother as well. I want to drive over to her house and throw my arms around her neck and tell her it will be okay, but it WON'T...not for a long long time. From my own personal experience I can tell this young girl that you NEVER get over losing your just learn to live with the pain that eventually dissolves into a dull ache that you learn to live with and one day will finally be able to think of her without immediately crying. The tears will always be there. When something happens and you at once think of telling her, or have a question that you want to ask won't be able to do these things ever again. But on the flip side of a horrible situation; she is in a wonderful place and not in pain or suffering. She will come to you in your dreams...both of my parents come to me in my dreams and they are the sweetest dreams I ever have , a way to remember their face and voice and have them back with me for a few short minutes. I am going to buy this young woman a blank journal that she can write all of her thoughts, worries and feelings in. My journals are priceless to me and often a saving grace to read and remember how I felt at certain points in my life. I think EVERYONE should keep a journal. As you grow older, they will be precious beyond belief and a comfort in times of reminiscing. Life isn't guaranteed to any of us even for the next five seconds. As I have said many times before, "Live your life to the fullest and enjoy every second that you have." The tide can change in a millisecond, you can't afford to let any opportunity of showing your love to the people that mean the most to you go unobserved or unspoken, tell them how much you love them every single chance you get. My prayer and heart go out to my daughter's little friend... I hate that she is having to learn one of life's toughest lessons at one of life's toughest ages...13. Till next time...COTTON

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Work is WORK and Kids will be KIDS

It is a hard world that we live in..especially mine. I am on the verge of being half a century old...working with kids that are sometimes not even a quarter of a century old. My job is my career. It is something that I have worked at for the past thirty years since getting out of college. To me it is my life blood, my food on the table and the way that I am able to help raise my family. I don't live at home with my parents, don't only have to make enough money to pay fines or party... I am in this business to make money, earn respect from my peers and do the best job that I can do on a daily basis. I am confronted on an almost daily basis with kids that are just at work to have fun, make a little money and could care less about the "BIG" picture. When the "kids" don't take it seriously, or make fun of me for being conscientious... it bugs me BEYOND belief. If this is just a game to them, they need to take it somewhere else. I work six days a week, sometimes seven..come in and give the exact same performance every time I walk through the doors. When I get upset, it is generally for a good reason... but often "Poo-Poo'd" by my younger co workers. I do not care what they do in their off time, but I care about the reflection that their mistakes make on my own performance and my consideration of what a good work ethic is. Call me a bitch, call me a granny.. but DO NOT MESS WITH ME!! They can be "CUTE" all they want, or suck up to the management all they want, but when they are working with me, I expect nothing more than I expect or give of myself as a server, and expect the same from them if they are on the clock and being paid the same rate that I am. We have MANY ,MANY good young people at our store...and some that are just there to make a dime. If you are unfortunate enough to be working with me, I expect NOTHING but professionalism and hard work. I do not want their little "comments" or sarcasms, I have children older than them and if they were as slack as them, I would either have them in re-hab or kick them out of the house altogether. I guess that I may sound bitter, but I do NOT take my job lightly or for granted. I feel that I do a great job for my company every time I walk through the door... Should I not expect the same from my other co workers? Life is tough..incredibly tough... but the sooner you learn what life is made of, the sooner you can make something of not only yourself, but the people that are in your life and the entire scheme of things. There are several of these type of people that I work with, and sometimes I just want to shake them into submission and tell them how much of life they are missing by not standing up to the challenge of being an adult, being responsible and held accountable for not only their actions but for their productivity and their contribution as an adult an employee and as a person of significance in the workplace. When they are standing in my shoes, thirty years down the road, I hope that they are lucky enough to know the difference between a good employee and a dedicated one. They may hate me today.... but I will still be here tomorrow..and be working as hard as anyone around me, and grateful that I have my job and the security that it brings me, my husband and my children . Life is fast and furious, there is no time to take ONE second for granted...TRUST ME...I KNOW!!! Till next time..a vented and relieved COTTON

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Day Off Finally...(Kinda)

Twenty days in a row that I have worked...time for a break! I worked in my yard from noon until seven PM. That is like "Nirvana" to me. There is nothing more pleasing to me than to come home and see my yard all cut, trimmed and looking neat and tidy (Thank God people can't see INSIDE of my house). My day in the yard starts with mowing my yard and my next door neighbors (they have moved and their house is still up for sale) This amounts to over 2 acres. It bothers me to no end to have my yard look great with an unkempt yard staring at me across the driveway. Then I move on to my weed eater. It is the greatest invention of the last century. I start by the mailbox, move through the front yard and around the house...move to the back yard and trim not only inside the privacy fence but outside as well. Then you have to trim under the huge hammock that I have and the swing set , only to replace all fifteen steppingstones that I have had to move just so that I can mow the yard around my patio.. How lame am I that this constitutes a fabulous day in my life? I am so sunburned, scratched up by trees and bitten by bugs and covered in grass that you would think I had been backpacking in a jungle in the Congo. It is strange what makes people happy...I guess the old saying "Whatever floats your boat" is really true. I am never happier than I am when I am in my yard on my John Deere (my boyfriend) and making my yard such a pleasant thing to look at. I have day lilies, irises, daffodils and gladiolas, daisies and is my little piece of Heaven and one that makes my day every time I drive up to my house. It has been the most spectacular day I have had in the past three weeks... me and the yard!! After my day in paradise it is even better when I grill out burgers in my newly groomed and fabulously tidy back yard. At least my dogs seem to enjoy it. After being trapped inside for several hours, they romp out into the yard like it is a new found freedom (at least THEY appreciate my efforts). I will go to bed after a HOT HOT bubble bath and a few cold ones, to wake up in the morning...peer out my bedroom window and view my fabulous achievements of the previous day....which will set my entire tone for the day....I had a day off and I made the most of it, enjoyed it and can look at my efforts with a smile....knowing that once I go to work again this next day, I can come home to a fabulous scene of my blooming flowers and trimmed out yard....I just wish that I felt this passion for the inside of my house. Maybe if they made a John Deere vacuum cleaner, I would really have something going on!! Oh well... time for a reality check..AKA cleaning the bathrooms!! Till next time COTTON

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Looks Like We Picked A "Renner" !!

Another post about co-workers...(my kids are obviously in a slump).We have a bartender that is HANDS DOWN the best bartender that I have ever worked with or known... And in 30 years of being a sever, I have met quite a few! He handles himself with precision and grace behind the bar, and is the favorite of every regular we have or sometimes the favorite of our first time guests. He reminds me of Bon Jovi ... and to me that is a GOOD thing. Not the Bon Jovi from the eighties, but the current one. Remember when he was a regular on Ally McBeal? Our barkeep is a sexy mix of an outdoors man, with David Letterman humor (without the gray balding look, spaced out teeth and 30 year age difference) and an all round great guy that holds no bias or bigotry against anyone... the first person to tell you when you do something wrong, and the last person to admit his mistakes...granted they are far and few between. You never wait for a drink when he is behind the bar ; and if you are smart you help him out when he needs it(which is rarely). The servers that are slack make themselves an open target for his sharp tongue and even sharper observations of who is working hard and who is not. If you dare to challenge him on a point... you should really stop and reconsider the repercussions of crossing into an area that you may never make it back from alive. I have to give it to him... He is 99.9% right in almost every battle he is "Shoved" in to. Some of the younger servers that we have...#ONE don't all care about their job like he and I do. #TWO they don't realize that like me , he has been in this business a LONG time...and #THREE don't realize that they are fighting a battle that they can never win. Management will back him up EVERY TIME. I will be the first to say that is one of the things our managers do best...recognize who is making our store the best and supporting them 100%. He is married to an obviously Saint of a woman that not only puts up with him, but has bore him two beautiful little girls....That will be his penance in with three women!! No wonder he always has to be right at work, he is under the wrath of three women at home... He probably likes to come to work just so he can BE right. He has begun a new career of "Land surveying" that has been put on hold due to our wonderful economy at this point in time. I for one; am grateful that due to it he is still with us. When he leaves us it will leave a huge and massive void in not only our staff family, but in our customer family as well...It will be hard to decide who will miss him most. Actually it won't be...It will be me!! I have enjoyed working with him every shift that I have, and on the rare occasion that he has made me angry... I just tuck my tail under me and skulk away far enough for him not to hear me and gripe quietly. One night when cleaning up the bar after close, he found a wallet on the floor. It was right around Christmas when people were coming in constantly to buy gift cards as presents. The wallet was filled with several hundred dollars in cash and several credit cards. Do you know how many places that this woman could have left her wallet and never seen it again? Or woken up to hundreds of dollars worth of charges on her cards? But she left it at "Renner's" bar and it was returned to her completely as she had left it. She wrote a very nice letter to the local newspaper about her "Christmas Angel" . I don't know if I would call him an angel...but I consider it a mighty privilege to call him not only one of my favorite co workers but a dear friend. Thankfully for me the way the economy is going, I will be able to enjoy his friendship, humor and banter for a while yet! But when he goes it will be a huge part of our heart , soul and family that will be sorely and surely missed. I am glad that I have known him for the past ten years...and will remember him fondly for the rest of my life. Truly one of the most interesting, and honest men that I have ever met....even though he can be a "Baby"... He's OUR baby...and BABY DO WE LOVE HIM!!

P.S. (My first blog with a post script)!! I went into work tonight..after posting this last night, to a flurry of complaints from my co workers. Let's see what some of the comments were.."You are a suck up" " Renner is a big fat baby" "You were WAY too nice about him" The list went on and on...much to Renner's delight! He could care less what people think about him, and it only makes him laugh when he hears their complaints. I guess that is why we get along so well...I am the same way. I am sure that there are many, many co workers that don't like me for a variety of reasons.I can understand my co workers gripes... He CAN be a baby; and is QUITE often. But I am one of the smart ones that knows when to leave him alone, or when to move FAR away from him and complain in a quiet voice ( Which is ALMOST humanly impossible for me and my big trap). But I know which side my bread is buttered on with him, and I tend to slather it with the butter of my kindness and therefore frequently avoid the sharp acerbic darts that he verbally throws at us. Actually, he is a lot like me... you know what they say..."Birds of a feather flock together." Call me a "suck up" call me a "baby enabler".... Just keep reading my blog and remember that is what the "COMMENTS" tool is for! Let's hear back from all you disgruntled readers....or are you just ALL scared of "The Big Fat Baby"??

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Greatest Gift

Had a little shin-dig at our house last night to celebrate my oldest son's and my older (MUCH OLDER) sister's birthday. Grilled out hot dogs and hamburgers, and had several cold ones. As I looked out my back window, I saw my kids, my nephews, their girlfriends and my three pooches. They were all sitting at my patio table talking and laughing...(well the dogs weren't actually talking, but they looked happy). It filled my heart with joy to see these kids that have grown up together...still together and enjoying being with family and friends. It seems like yesterday that they were all little squirts. How does time fly by so very quickly? They are all young adults now, making their way down the highway of life and moving further and further away from the nest that I wish I could keep them in. I don't know what I would do without any of them, and love every one of them more than words or emotions could ever express. To see a new generation of family coming of age is an awe inspiring thing to me. After my mother died, the family just kind of dwindled down to almost nothing. Then as my siblings and I married, began to have kids of our own ; the family began to grow again. It saddens me that neither my mother nor my father is here to see their grandchildren make their way in life, or to be able to let my kids see what wonderful people my parents were. All they have to rely on are my many memories of them that I have shared with each and every one of them. They knew my dad, but he was taken from them way too soon for my liking. Unfortunately, we don't get much say in the way life goes... and all too often don't cherish the time we have together. I love my family so much that it is an actual ache that I can feel when I look at them all together, laughing and loving as they do SO wonderfully. I have had much tragedy and heartache in my life... but I have also been blessed with the marvelous gift of watching my kids, nieces and nephews growing up together, turning into fine young people, and making my heart sing like a bird every day of my life. I take absolutely NOTHING for granted in my life...ESPECIALLY family. I am proud of all my kids, and hope that they are proud of me as well. Hopefully I will live long enough to see them all succeed as I know they will, and bring a next generation into the family tree. Family is a blessing that you JUST can't take for granted. It is a blessing that needs to be appreciated and fed with love and care to be able to survive and grow. Tell someone you love that "You love them," as often as you can. Life doesn't leave much room for regrets... and once it becomes a regret... there is little you can do about it. Always keep in mind that "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." Make that your daily creed, and make the most of every day you have on this Earth. Time is literally flying by faster than any of us wants to admit... Take the time to make it important; and savor every moment, every experience and every facet of this wonderful blessing of family and friendship that God so amazingly gave us. If you don't... You will regret it beyond belief, and may possibly never have another chance to hold someone, kiss someone or tell them you love them. My family is my life..they make me happy, sometimes angry...but ALWAYS proud, and impressed at the wonderful way they have grown and flourished like a perfect red rose, a beautiful sunset or a stupendous full Harvest moon. Be sure to take the time to smell that rose, or enjoy that sunset or moon... you can never know when it may be the last one. Till next time..COTTON

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


This blog is dedicated to two of my favorite people... my oldest son and my sister. Her birthday is the 9th, my son's is the 10th. Let's start with my sister (I've known her longer). She has recently survived open heart surgery...her husband's! I love her dearly...but Florence Nightingale, she ain't! It was a traumatic time for us all; mostly for my brother in law...but not easy on any of us. He is in the early stages of recovery, and she is in the early stages of "sometimerz's". I consider myself her own personal memory stick, she has NO capacity to remember the smallest or biggest detail, but I am there for her, and feel grateful for the fact that I have her in my life. (Even if she forgets that I am her sister....I remind her of the fact with all my phone calls and emails). She is my ROCK, she is my best friend; and most luckily of all..she is my sister!

On to my son... where should I start? Maybe with a "Balance Owed" sheet!! Kids have a marvelous way of sucking you dry at every point in their life. I know this from experience... I did a GREAT job of it with my own parents, and obviously it has trickled down to them as well. But I do truly love him, respect him and only want the best for him. He is a handsome, smart and headstrong young man that not only gives me heartaches, but heartfelt love . I believe in him; have tremendous faith in him, and feel that once he finds his will be the right one. It is hard to believe that he is turning twenty two.... am I REALLY that old? I guess that I am , because I have three kids that are wearing me out on a daily basis; and would not have it ANY other way. My "TJ" is a special one to me... my first child, my oldest and not only my son, but my friend. I hope that he knows how much he means to me... and how much I want for him to live up to all the expectations that I have for him. He has his entire life ahead of him. If I knew then, what I know NOW... my life would have been such a breeze. Well, maybe not a breeze...but a whole lot easier. But as a parent...unfortunately you have to let your kids find their own way in their own time. If only; ONLY they knew how fast life flies by you, how quickly things can change in an instant. But that is not a part of being is a part of being older and wiser. I remember when you used to wake up with nightmares in the middle of the night. Now it is me waking up in the middle of the night, hoping that you make the right choices, and that I have been a good parent to you. Enjoy your youth, but make the most of it. I mean this so sincerely, and with a heart full of love and emotion... feelings that you will not experience until you have a child of your own. You make me proud every day, mad every day, and happy every day that you are in my life, and that I can call you my son, and feel honored to do it. GODSPEED.... Go take the world by the horns, and show it JUST WHAT YOU ARE MADE OF!! Happy Birthday, you "little squirt" from my past, and make not only me and your father proud...but yourself as well. I have ALL the faith in the world in you, and I know that you won't let any of us down. We'll always have your back...and YOU will always have our hearts. Go out there and grab life like it was meant for you to have... you deserve it, and know that I will always love you... always be your mother... and more importantly... that it will be my most amazing accomplishment in life so far.. to see you make a mark on the world that I know you are capable of, and to make a future for yourself that is worthy of your great desires and ambitions. MAKE ME PROUD... more importantly...make yourself proud... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Till next time..COTTON

Monday, April 7, 2008

The "Weaker" Sex ??? Are You Kidding?!!!

It's 8:00...just got dinner on the table. Thank goodness it is Spring Break for my kids. It just seems that sometimes life just falls apart at the seams at the most inopportune times. It may not seem like a big deal to anyone else...but I have a 15 year old "video" game freak. We bought him an X-BOX 360. I highly DO NOT recommend the purchase of one. We had to take it back after three days.. got a new one, brought it home; and now it has broken once again. Unbelievably, I still had my receipt, warranty , and even my canceled check. After standing in the line at the Walmart service counter, I was informed that I had to call the number on my warranty from Walmart. After calling them , I was told their warranty didn't start until my Microsoft warranty expired. After calling Microsoft... and having the delight of talking to "ACHMED" for several minutes... most of which were asking him to repeat himself in a language or dialect that I could understand; was told that I would have to send my game system back to Microsoft for repairs. THERE GOES SPRING BREAK FOR MY SON!!! It seems to me that Bill Gates has a heck of a lot more money than me, and should know better than to produce a shoddy product that will have mothers all over the world in my same position. And isn't he married? Does he NOT know what type of wrath a woman can spew on the nearest recipient or victim? I paid $485.00 for the system and "WARRANTY" (which is essentially useless for this Spring Break period) . I have to pack up this hunk of junk, mail it back, have them let ACHMED look at it, determine what is wrong, try to fix it, and ship it back to me. What in the heck was my warranty EVEN for?...FREE SHIPPING? I just feel as a consumer, that if I have all of my paper work in order, all of my receipts and a canceled check... BILL GATES owes not only me...but my son. I am so extremely ticked off at the system they are putting me through... jumping through hoops for the richest man on the planet, because I was stupid enough to buy a game system that is so obviously full of defects, that Ray Charles could have seen them. I had asked my husband to take the system back on Saturday, but he didn't have the "TIME." Well, I found the time... and found that it was the most unproductive two hours I have ever spent. I WILL NOT STOP AT THIS BLOG!!! I intend to pursue this to the bitter end. If my company gives out thousands of dollars to people JUST because their steaks aren't cooked right... I want more satisfaction than having to wait 4 to 6 weeks for a repair on an already faulty game system. If Microsoft thinks that women are the weaker sex... They have a HUGE shock coming. I feel like the guy in the movie NETWORK. " I am MAD AS HELL, AM I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE"!!! (HEY! It worked for him) . I don't know who designated women to be the "weaker" sex ... but obviously they were not of a right mind... or they were just a bully. I fight my battles like they were an ultimate fighting contest... and never think about the consequences, because I know that when I am RIGHT... you couldn't stop me with a bulldozer... "Just go ahead and TRY"!!! Weaker sex? PLEEAASEEEEE!!!!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

"Robyn's" Little Eggs

If you read my blog, you know that my twelve year old daughter is running a babysitting enterprise out of my house. Two of our latest additions are Emma and Gracie, five and three..respectively. Although I think that Gracie, may in fact be a thirty year old woman reincarnated into the body of a three year old. Emma is as sensitive as Gracie is strong. They are two of the most well behaved, intelligent and respectful children that I have ever met. Their MOM is a single mom.... one of the toughest jobs on the planet, but one that she has mastered quite well and should be extremely proud of. These two girls are always clean, dressed to the nines, and happy EVERY time that I see them (KUDOS to you Mom... and I can say that with the experience of having raised three, and enjoying your two!) They never hesitate to tell you EXACTLY what is on their mind at any given moment, or telling you want they need most in that exact second of their little lives. In some ways I miss those times; in others, I am glad that I have lived through them. Girls are so totally different from boys...and I have two boys... that were later pestered with a sister. (THANK GOD IN HEAVEN). When you have boys, you just throw them into a room, give them some Legos or a controller to a video game, and tell them to call you when they are hungry. With girls... they HAVE to be in the middle of whatever you are doing, constantly wanting to help, assist or know "WHY"? are you doing "THAT"? It is like that they know one day they are going to have to do it all themselves, and if we could just give them a little "heads up"... they may end up with a few less gray hairs or frown lines than us... and may figure out some shortcut that us "OLE" farts forgot to tell them about. These two girls are "SO" on top of their game, so smart, cute and well raised... it is only a matter of time that they meet a man that is "DOOMED" to be a victim of their beauty and poise; and will begin his slippery slide down the slope that they couldn't claw their way out of with acrylic nails.They will just say "YES", they will nod blindly ; and they will be two of the luckiest men on the planet. It has been a sincere pleasure to meet these two little "WOMEN", and will be a "hoot" to one day meet the men that they will entrap so gracefully. I enjoy it every time I see them, and they are always so loving to me that I sometimes wonder if their mother pays them for their compliments to, and about me! Us women are a hearty stock of humanity... and "Robyn" has raised two of the best eggs in the nest! I wish that my daughter had a sister... (although that Christmas present that I gave my husband several years back...a vasectomy) HEY!!.. at least I paid the co pay, AND bought him a bag of frozen peas... probably struck that from life's agenda. I try to not only to be her mother, but her sister and her best friend. So far, it has worked out famously... my daughter is my saving salvation in a house of males that would die of starvation or stupidity without us. I say that last comment in jest (KINDA)... the more you do for them, the more they TOTALLY rely on you. So what I am living with is a product of my own over achievement as a wife and mother. I need to prepare her for her future though, because I don't see the women of the next generation (Gracie and Emma) doing what I have unfortunately done and created. If the men of the future knew what kind of strong willed, self sufficient women "Robyn" has STORMING towards them down the path of life... It would be a whole new ballgame... and one that I would want a "side line" seat for!! Till next time, unless my husband happens to read this post and throttles me...(then who would do the laundry, cook and clean?) ....GUESS I'LL STILL BE HERE!!!! COTTON .... P.S. I love my husband dearly, but men JUST do not know HOW MUCH women do, or how much would NOT get done without us. Sometimes that is all we want... JUST a THANK YOU!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Blogging Twice in a Day... Sometimes Not a Good Sign

It is with great sadness that I add this latest post. If you read my blog, you know that I used to work for the school system in my county. I attended the funeral today for one of my former co worker's husband at the school that I once worked for. He was MY AGE!! For Pete's sake... are we dropping like flies, or am I zooming towards this end soon? She is a terrific lady, full of life and a wonderful person in her own right. I had waited on her and her husband at my restaurant. He was an absolute happy guy, who loved his wife and kids, a real "GO Getter" who owned his own transmission shop, and raced cars on the side. Perfectly healthy....he woke up on Sunday morning to cook breakfast for his wife. He felt a twinge of "heartburn" ...and before you know it, she was calling 911. He had a massive heart attack, and was gone from her life in a few short minutes. Nothing to do now, nothing can help...go to the funeral home, hug her.. and tell her what you already know (from my TOO frequent experiences with death). He is gone, he is NO MORE. She is left with kids, a shop that she doesn't know how to run, and a heart full of grief, and a burden that I am sure she thinks that she cannot bear. I want to console her, but she is still in a state of shock. I want to tell her that..."NO, it will NEVER be the same.... but on a small, day by day time will eventually get to a point that you can live with the pain, and it WILL ease at some long destination down the road." Losing a loved one is one of the things that I have learned to deal with. I lost my Mom when I was 17. I lost my Dad to West Nile Virus when I was in my mid forties. It NEVER, EVER gets easier. But this is the time that you need to take the whole big picture into focus. Do you want your beloved to suffer? Do you want them to hurt? Or do you just say to yourself... It is in YOUR hands, me to be me to somehow carry on... help me to remember the man that I loved, how much joy he brought to our lives, and THANK YOU for letting me have him for as long as you did. It is probably nothing that she wants to hear now... but is a lesson that she will gradually and unfortunately succumb to as I have. Death is a HORRIBLE experience, one that I do not wish on anyone.. but one that forces us to look at our lives, and realize that NOTHING is a given. Cherish every moment you have, remember to tell the person that you love , that you DO in fact love them... and live your life to the fullest. And when you do, in fact lose a loved one, think of how different your life would have been without them in your life at all. No one said it would be easy... but no one told us that it would be this hard. It was a wonderful turnout for this man, and a tribute to how many lives he touched. I just hope that his wife can find her way to realize that even though this horrible thing happened to her and her family.... how much worse it would have been to not have had him touch their lives as he did, or to have not have had him at all. Of course for now, they are in shock and total grief... but not only have you lost a loved one.... you were lucky to have had him, and lucky that he loved you the consummate way that he did.. and know that right now, he is preparing to sit on your shoulder every day and be in your dreams every night. You may not be able to see or touch him... but he will be in your heart, and he will watch you from above. Death does NOT become us, but it is an unfortunate part of life, and one that we will ALL face one day. I will think about you daily, and pray for your recovery from losing your loved one. Heaven must be bursting at the seams by now.... We will see them all again one day...I know!!

PFC "Meathead"

Geez, I hope he is still a Private! If he isn't, he needs to tell me so I can upgrade his rank!... One of my coworkers actually signed up to join our armed forces, with all expectations of being shipped overseas to help in the fight. If ole Bin Laden knew what kind of terror was on the way to find him , he would pick up his skirt and start running like a little girl. We called him "Meathead" at work, and a few other names as well. He is a big "BOOB" of a that an oxymoron? He is the sweetest guy you will ever meet...he is as huge as a double wide trailer, and barely fit into the extra large shirts that we gave him for work. He always looked like the Incredible HULK, when he was bursting out of his shirt, changing into his green self. When he came home from boot camp, he had slimmed down, and looked TERRIFIC! He is the epitome of a soldier..takes direction well, and is extremely disciplined. I have been writing to him, and my twelve year old daughter has been writing him as well. I totally admire him for his dedication , bravery and commitment to standing up for our country and it's citizens. I worry about him, like I would about any of my own children being sent into harm's way. He is a stand up guy; and with a head as large as his, I have repeatedly told him to keep that big noggin down, and be careful. So another one of my dear friends is going to be shipped overseas... to a country that is TOTAL NUTS, full of people that are angry at us Americans, and just ANGRY in general. I pray for him daily, as I do for all the men and women going over there... they are ALL heroes in my book, and the reason that we get to live such a privileged and generous life. When I think about him, it makes it so much easier to not gripe about a gallon milk being more expensive than a gallon of gas. I admire and salute this man, friend, and hero. All I can do for him is to pray for him, write him religiously, and always have him in my thoughts....I want all of you that read my blog to do the same. This is a wonderful young man that deserves all of our prayers and blessings... he is essentially saving our way of life...and putting his own in the line of fire...literally. KUDOS to you, big guy, and know that I have started a world wide network of people that will think of you and have you in their prayers at night.... You are ALWAYS in mine, and THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! It is because of great Americans like you, that Americans like me can sleep at night, and know that we are protected by the BEST... Our loyal and dedicated soldiers... GOD BLESS YOU ALL...and come home soon, and safely! Till next time...COTTON

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My 15 Year Old Son is Having "Text"

How can this happen? How can it be? He is on his phone constantly... always with girls. I just pray that they are having "safe" Text. At least he has a social life; and one that luckily requires no picking up or dropping off at the mall or theater. How in the world did we get to this point? When I was 15, it was still notes passed back and forth in school with a "check YES or NO" box at the end. He is basically a good kid, far too smart for his own good, and dragging his feet at showing it in his school work. He is a video game fanatic, one of the things that ADD kids are best at...( My boy is the KING of it). I was in the car with him yesterday, I was driving and attempting to find a contact in my cell phone. I was really just thinking out loud when I said "where is the letter V"? My son immediately said # 8. I turned to him and said "what"? Low and behold the letter "V" was located under the number 8 on the cell phone. How can he fail "ART" in school, but know the corresponding number on a phone for a letter in the alphabet? ... I guess that all fifteen year olds have their priorities. They know how to do things with their phones that I did not even know existed. By the time my youngest graduates from high school, they will probably be transporting their bodies VIA cell phones, and I will NEVER be able to track them down! It is almost scary...this new technology. To think that I thought I was lucky to have "CLACKERS" when I was their age....remember the two glass balls that hung from two strings that you bounced together, eventually going from bottom to top quickly...if you were good enough! For Pete's SAKE...HOW OLD AM I ? and how quickly are my kids growing up? Hopefully, by the time they are all grown, they will still all be safe, healthy and able to do at LEAST SOMETHING on their own without the help of a cellular or computerized device. But at the rate things are progressing... I am not taking any bets on it. I just hope that they don't put me on their "NO CALL" blocking. Now THAT would really hurt!! Till next time... COTTON