Monthly Archives: October 2013

Halloween, One Year Ago


010One year ago…

I think about that phrase a lot these days.  It is ten months today since becoming a widow.

One year ago…

We quickly got ready after school and headed out around 5 to grab some of the fifty-cent corn dogs from Sonic.  Well, we only thought we would get corn dogs at Sonic.  We stopped at THREE different Sonics and NO CORN DOGS LEFT.  Their signs were still advertising corn dogs but none to be found. Our mouths were watering for the greasy goodness.  So instead we headed to Grandpa’s facility to gather candy from the occupants, still very hungry.

One year ago… my father was in a facility to help him recover from a broken leg.  Little did we know.  He actually took several steps backwards at the facility but that was somehow all in God’s sovereign plan.  Aren’t those sovereign plans so difficult to accept when they aren’t our plans?  We were dressed in costumes and walked around the cafeteria area to collect candy from the good folks there.  My dad never made it out of bed so we visited him in his room.  Mr Mark led the crazy costumed kids down the hall to Grandpa’s room to give him a bit of cheer.  We paused for pictures outside before moving on, back to our neighborhood to trick-or-treat with all the neighbor kids, still very hungry and craving corndogs.

corndog 2012a

As we left the facility, a thought occurred to me.  Coit’s hadn’t closed yet.  They surely would have corn dogs.  We pulled up to the speaker and promptly ordered 8 corn dogs.  You can’t make this stuff up.  NO CORN DOGS!  It is after seven by now and we are more hungry, even after numerous Resee’s Cups, M & Ms and Laffy Taffy.  The gal felt sorry for us and kept looking for corn dogs, but don’t even tell me where she looked because she came back to the speaker and told us she had found ONE.  One corn dog for a car of 7 people (Stephen was home working the door and handing out candy)!  We ordered old fashioned root beer floats and one corn dog.  One corn dog.  After it was fried up, she came back on the speaker and said she would give it to us free because it looked so strange and because she felt bad that they only had one!  So out comes the most deformed, dark brown, freakish corn dog.  We took pictures and named it, The Last Corn Dog in the City.

That memory resurfaces each time corn dogs are mentioned in our home.  We laugh about the crazy dog that no one really wanted by then but Dad ate it!  Mr Mark applied catsup and jumped right in while we watched with lips curled and noses upturned!

One year ago…

This year… Grandpa and Mr Mark are sitting at the feet of Jesus.  This year… Stephen is away at college.  This year… it is just me and five kids.  This year…We are together still, if only in our memories.

j's 16th bday


Step to Simplify my Life



I just discovered this spray.
I decided I could save money and conserve water and electricity and buy a bottle for each kid and then only do laundry once a month.
This stuff smells really good.
We sprayed the dog’s sleeping kennel and even he smells good in the morning.
I may be on to something.
I can use this spray on our bed sheets, our couches, our cars. I might just shoot a squirt on each kid as he runs out to catch the bus.
I have just opened up a whole lotta time for napping each day …

Foreign Phrases




I took French in high school.  One year.

And to this day I remember just one phrase that I try to insert into my casual conversations:

Je fais du velo.  I am riding my bike.  Very handy in just about any language.

Sur le Pont  d’Avignon l’on y danse.  At the bridge of Avignon people dance there.  It is a song that French children sing, at least according to my French teacher!  Actually, Mr. Mark and I did dance on it just for fun once in France!

Then there is my German.  After living in Austria nearly 2 years, I could comfortably order my Chinese food in German and speak in present tense.  I learned several German phrases from songs I played on my flute.

Ich steh mit einem Fuss im Grabe.  I am standing with one foot in the grave, a song by Bach I think.

Dies Bildnes ist bizaubernd schon.  I remember clearly the day I actually got to use the phrase correctly, while standing in front of a painting at a museum in Austria.  I impressed all those standing around me.  It means that the portrait is enchanting.  Good one, eh?

But lately I have been looking for foreign phrases that can actually enhance my conversation.  Here are the ones I like right now:

Vaya con Dios.  Go with God.

Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan.  What God has done, is rightly done.

Gott soll allein mein Herze haben.  God alone has my heart.

Now I need to go find the picture of Mr Mark and I dancing on the bridge.  It is pretty funny.  Mr Mark was like state champion French high school student and very good at catching onto languages.  He was speaking better German after one week visiting me in Austria than I was after nearly a year there!  None of our kids have taken to foreign languages yet.  After 3 and 4 years of high school Spanish, I can’t get the two oldest to speak anything in public.

And what is it about the “foreign language switch” in my brain?  When I order food from the Mexican food restaurant, my brain knows it has to say something foreign so it goes straight to German.  More than once I have said thank you in German to the fellows and I am sure that I am the only regular customer that does that!  Maybe that is why they always smile at me when I come in!  I have tried to order a dozen tortillas and queso in Spanish but it comes out more like, Mas agua, por favor, with a touch of Southern accent attached…

Today’s Mail Delivery


Look what came in the mail.

My first set of address labels without a ‘Mr and Mrs’ on it.

I still have lots of the other labels to use but isn’t it strange how looking at these labels makes me feel like a different person?

I actually looked at a tax form recently and didn’t know what box to check- married or single.
Here’s to accepting my new title.


Rush to Judgment



Mr Mark had been waiting for this movie to come out.  It is a movie about two Formula I drivers, one of whom I had heard of and the other I hadn’t.  When the movie was released recently, I wanted to see it for Mr Mark.  I knew it wouldn’t be my favorite movie but I wanted to see it anyway.

When I found out it was rated R, I decided that the children would not be seeing it with me, in case it would be embarrassing for me and them!  So instead of children, I took some of Mr Mark’s longest friends (Neil and wife and Mark and his wife).  And if the movie met my high standards, I would allow the older boys to see it.

Needless to say, it had been a VERY long time since I had seen an R rated movie and was very glad I had this small card (pictured above) to block my eyes through too many scenes!  Really, did Ronnie Howard need to include that much immoral living for us to get the point that the driver was a guy who “got around”?  I got the idea, honest.  I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but I understood what he was doing!

Niki Lauda is an Austrian who drove for the Ferrari team in the mid-seventies.  James Hunt drove for MacLaren.  They were bitter rivals.  The funniest part was in the first half.  Niki Lauda was not into the party scene at all so he wanted to leave a party with the Ferrari family and hitched a ride with a lovely lady also leaving.  She was driving a Peugeot (anyone who knew Mr Mark knew his enjoyment of driving those- we owned at least six at various times) and Niki was noticing engine noises that meant possible problems soon.  Sure enough, they broke down on the side of a country Italian road.  He tried to get a car to stop and help but no luck.  She tried and the car sreeched to a halt, since it is Italy, and we know how they feel about beautiful women.  But we also know something else about Italian men-they love their race car drivers more!  The car stopped because they recognized Niki Lauda and giggled the whole time, as they let Niki drive their car.  They enticed him to give it some gusto and he gave them a good show.

I liked the scene because that would have been Mr Mark – he never would have noticed the beautiful woman if he saw a Formula I race car driver standing nearby!  Or a beautiful race car nearby…

Our cat is named Schumi after the world champion driver Michael Schumacher.

We have been to see Formula I races in  Indianapolis.

Our older boys even had F I driver suits.

But the best is that about 5 years ago Mr Mark bought Italian leather driving “shoes”.  No, I don’t wear them.  Ever.

We weren’t the biggest fans out there.  We weren’t the most knowledgeable.  But Mr Mark was a huge fan and we supported him in that.  Some of the best Sunday afternoon naps I took were during Formula I races! Does that count as supporting your man?

No, I will not be recommending the movie to my boys, even the “adult” one.  Too many embarrassing scenes.  But I was glad I went.  It was just another way I remembered my late husband and events we shared over the last several decades.

This is what I do instead of visiting his grave.  i remind myself of the memories.  And I move forward with my children.