Friday, November 20, 2009

bad day at black rock

The flooded basement with my red pajamas floating by.

Well it finally happened, the whole tower of lies came tumbling down. There I was at the library responsibly returning my library books checked out under an assumed name, one that you can assume is not mine, when this new Librarian who looked just like Ellie Mae Clampet, wearing one of those bumps as seen on t.v which is supposed to make your hair look thicker but in reality makes you look like you have a brain tumor, demanded I.D. I don't know why I did it. I could have refused, i could have lied, the only thing i can think is being a stay at home mom is dulling my bat-senses.

I gave her my real id. She looked it up and a stunned silence fell across the library. They called out the seventy or so librarians from the back to gaze in awe and rapt disapproval at the person with the biggest single library fine in the history of libraries. $110. American dollars.
I tried bafflement followed by shock and awe and finally my old standby towering outrage.
Nothing worked, it didn't help that we have suffered a flood in my house this week which broke the washer and dryer leaving me very few clothes. Sophie and I were dressed in clothes that would shame an Afghanni refugee. I was wearing an outfit that i thought would make me look sort of Audrey Hepburn but in reality makes me look like a rubenesque Where's Waldo and Sophie was dressed in too small tights the crotch only came up to her knees a too short knit dress and cowboy boots two sizes too large. I could not even employ the adorable daughter factor, as she picked this week to cut her own bangs to a length of two centimeters, which look just like goats have been chewing on her head and recovering from "hand foot and mouth" (a real disease, by the way, and 10 solid days of the swine flu).
She also pointed out that I could not pay my fines in the canned goods I was holding because the food drive was last month, I should have thrown the cheap canned pineapple at her head, I should have run but swine flu has left Sophie weak and the two big pink cowboy boots would have slowed her down. And if Sophie gets taken hostage over my library fines well that is just the kind of thing that puts Bob over the edge, a place he dwells anyway. So I paid ten dollars of my fine bringing it down to only $100 more dollars and exited the library setting off the theft detector. It was a very bad day. I hate all librarians now, not just the Cagney and Lacey wannabee that busted me today, maybe someone should look into why they employ 100 librarians in the library or did they send the bookmobile out to bring them in like a field trip kind of thing. Either way they should be nicer to me since I am paying all of their salaries.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Family Vacation

This year a lot of our Riverview neighbors went on vacation. They went to Paris, San Diego, and London to see the broadway show Wicked. Here in Amish country we live a simpler life. We took Sophie to Yorktown where she got to belly up to her first bar and later sit in a tepid swamp like stew on what shall hereafter be known as murder beach. The temperatures were roughly that of the surface fo the sun and we were next to what looked like a squatter's camp. The squatter was missing. We think he evaporated in the heat. Anyway good times for Sophie to remember as she has the cheapest parents in the free world.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Matilda Jane Newman

This is Matilda now. She appear to be a mix, not a Dalmatian cow as Sophie at first imagined. She has the head of a chihuahua, the body of a beagle-goat mix and the heart of a chupacabra. She also has the intestinal fortitude of a python.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sophie turns 4 and a half.

We had a birthday party for Sophie. We decided on an evening barbecue on a day when the temperatures reached the love one thousands. with a chance of torrential downpours with a side order of locust. It was actually a lot of fun and I feel very grown up for hosting a party. We did almost poison the guests, Bob's doing, lost his mother, my doing and forgot to give Sophie any dinner. So much for grownups. Happy birthday Baby Girl. Sorry about the sideways pictures, courtesy of Ansel Newman. Just turn the computer sideways. Valerie

Sunday, June 14, 2009

prostitute Bob

I saw the scariest thing today, a family on the side of the road offering to wash cars for money. Not the glee club, or the rowing team but a family obviously down on their luck. I did not stop because i had no money and have lost my bank card which even if it has fallen into the hands of a master criminal is saving me money. I thought it would be rude to offer 3 cans of vienna sausages and 6 obsolete furbees, which was all we had in the car. I worry that this could happen to us and we would have to live with my mother in law, Before I let that happen I will make the sausages last 3 months and have a big furbee sale. Also I would try to sell Bob into prostitution, he has really nice legs and with the right hotpants and the right streetcorner, who knows. Valerie

Friday, June 5, 2009

potato foot is her indian name

Today someone called me "young lady" In that hilarious jocular tone that young annoying bagboys save for the elderly. I did not cave in his forhead with my elderly fist because my four year old had already stepped on the costco cheesecake and I was at that very moment trying to hide it there at the checkout. She shamed me into buying it by announcing what are you doing with that cheesecake mama like she had a built in magaphone in that dainty throat. In fairness it was a costco Key lime cheesecake and they are so good I would cheerfully scrape it off her potato shaped foot and serve it up. Don't come to dinner at my house anytime soon. Love Valerie

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Happy Tuesday to me! I took Sophie to the pool tonight, frolicking about in the shallow end playing "alligator gone bad". Noticed some other parents watching me. Assumed that they were admiring my parenting skills not my right breast bobbing merrily along on the top of the water. They may not have recognized it as a breast since it is so sunburned that ir resembles bacon rather than skin. Then I went home to make spaghetti keeping up the mother of the year status and caught the stove on fire the whole stove. Luckily right now is the Law and Order SVU finale so I have reason to go on. Love Valerie

Monday, May 11, 2009

swimming to Savannah

This is Sophie and her swim teacher, Teacher Dave. Sophie trusts teacher Dave, a complete stranger, large and hairy and clad only in little swim trunks, entirely, he tells her to cliff dive to the bottom of the pool, wrestle an octopus and return to the side and she does. He tells her to lay back and she will float and she believes him. I told her to lay back and relax and she acts like the four years on the planet and the nine months of womb rental were merely a prelude to this moment where I was waiting to plunge her to the depths of the YMCA pool. Not very flattering. She sees me as something like Jeffrey Daumer, home for a weekend pass. But she is doing very well swimming despite the fact that she swims upright. Her entire little bikini clad body is completely vertical while she bobs along. But she is not scared.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ruined lives, innocent bystanders

I haven't been doing much blogging lately since I made the decision to ruin all our lives, also known as the new puppy, Matilda. Yesterday I untangled her from the three balls of yarn she had tied herself up in, cleaned up all the colorful poop in the yard, now I know where Sophie's crayons are and attempted to restuff Sophie's favorite hedgehog. She is really great and the chupacabra known as Lola really loves her despite her hanging off her jowls occasionally. I would enclose her photo but I either lost or had stolen our camera with all our pictures on it. Valerie

Friday, April 10, 2009

Matilda Jane Newman

Welcome new baby dog, Matilda to the Newman household. We got her from Recycled Paws in Lexington North Carolina. 10 hours of Sophie in the car saying "are we there yet?", which started 7 minutes into the trip, one ticket and one episode of puppy dog car "sickness" later and we are home. She is a great little dog. Anyone looking for a dog, check out Recycled Paws. There is a really nice girl runnig the place, she has been rescuing pets since she was 12. They still have Matilda's cute little brother there. Marina took the pictures at the thrift store for me. Valerie

Link to the ad at, the temporary home of 273,898 adoptable pets from 12,536 adoption groups

Monday, April 6, 2009

triple x

I was so impressed with how many people looked at my blog, utnil I discovered that when people come looking for the movie "little Nadia" with the triple x rating they get my blog. imagine their surprise. Valerie

Friday, April 3, 2009

queen of the bland

I spent 5 hours with my mother in law today, Bob's fault. He is punisheing me for the past year's absence. Anway we usually go to McDonald's her favorite she gets the absolute same thing every time but this time she strayed off the reservation getting a sundae, I am her interpreter so I asked what kind of Sundae she wanted. PLAIN! Who on earth gets plain? If you have ever wondered if perhaps you are boring the test is- given any toping on a sudae would you pick Plain, if the answer is yes, then yes you are indeed boring. And your Queen is currently residing in Hampton Va, More spiteful comments from the life of Valerie.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

singing sophie

Sophie was singing the Pocahontas song, one line apparently goes "You think I'm an ignorant sandwich" sometimes she is an ignorant sandwich but aren't we all, sometimes. Actual line of song goes "you think I'm an ignorant savage" I apologize to you, who have that song stuck in your heads now for the next three days.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

the brown pants

I went shopping for more grown up clothes the other day. I found the most perfect brown trousers. I was sort of pleased with them, sort of strutting around the dressing room, when I made a fatal error in judgement. I viewed the rear end. Instead of viewing my rear end I was looking at sponge Bob squarepant's rear end. Really, slap a pair of tube socks on me and I could be his stunt double. Too upset to go on. Home again in Norfolk, I have to take my mother in law for a scan of her brain. It will look something like a beach ball with a b.b. rolling around in it. take that karma. Valerie

Monday, March 23, 2009

The certain shunning of Sophie Jane Newman

I took Sophie to the upscale park, here in Woodbridge Va, the other day. She was the only child not dressed in Laura Ashley from head to toe. Another mother with a tiny fairy confection of a daughter approached her and asked her to play ball with her daughter. She told Soph to throw the ball to her little girl which Sophie did, executing a perfect spiral and landing it squarely in fairy girl's nose. The ensueing screaming was more in line with being clubbed with a broken beer bottle not a nerf football. I have always suspected Sophie was more the Tanya Harding not Nancy Kerrigan type. She loves high heels, lipstick a feather boa and absolutely nothing else, but she is a something of a ruffian. I am so proud of her. Valerie

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

For my birthday I got the news that I do not have ovarian cancer!I have worried about this for the last year, being around the cancer ward does that to you and the fact that I schedule pap smears roughly every 20 years. I had convinced myself that I had it, I had the symptoms, I know that because my evil friend Marina sent them to me and when I went to the dr for the test she said "Oh I think I would like you to have another test" translation into valerie speak you have roughly 4 and a half hours to live. They scheduled the test for two days later, and it turned out just to be fibroid tumors HOORAY!! In my head I have been composing goodbye letters that rivaled Love story and Brian's song. Explaining to Bob and Sophie why I was not tested, I also promised God and Karma, I like to hedge my bets, that I would be nicer to Eileen, not nice but nicer If i said nice I might as well stick my tongue in a light socket and get it over with faster. Anyway huge sigh of relief and back to life. Valerie

Friday, March 13, 2009

A long cold drink of water.

I saw the freemarket for the first time today, I read about it but have never gone. It was amazing. I thought that I would be going to a run down church full of very, very poor people sorting thtrough the cast offs of more fortunate society. It was very different. Sophie and I arrived by bursting into a meeting of what looked like the well healed Jr. League. Sophie and I looked like Kosovo refugees, no offense meant to any Kosovos, We lost our only comb a few days ago and tried to make do with a 3 centimeter bratz doll comb. It worked sort of ok on my fine hair but Sophie's curly hair ended up looking like Don King on a motorcycle. I didn't bring Sophie a coat because it was warm, and I am a bad mother, but then it snowed last night so I had to make do with three sweaters limiting her range of motion. Before us were a squadron of well dressed women all working their hearts out. My friend, Cassie Matthew, runs this and was organizing things effortlessly. She was saying sheets there, clothes over there cook wear there. Everyone was working like a well oiled machine, putting food in bags organizing pastries and coffee and putting up signs. If Cassie had said ok now do it hopping on one leg we all would of, she leads by sheer force of personality and charisma. I was amazed at the really nice things people donated, one hotel had given sheets towels and really nice bathrobes. (this was set up day, saturday is the day of the market) At the end of setting up Cassie was talking to some of the jr. league set and the most intimidating of the bunch, thin well dressed sort of aloof started regailing Cassie with stories of an upcoming court date. What's this? A criminal element in the jr. league. The criminal element is my favorite element, next to the honda element of course. Turns out that this pretend jr. leaguer was a recipient and a volunteer who had seen her share of trouble and still had such a great spirit and was so generous with her time. There was something so wonderful about doing this kind of work with these wonderful women, everyone hugs you. Cassie's wonderful friend Terrie Smith was at the forfront of this and while barely knowing me give s these wonderful warm hugs making me feel so welcome and cared for. After the worst year of my life there was something so comforting about the acceptance of this group of women. While I am not terribly religious or religious at all actually, I am really impressed and a little jelous of this group of women of their faith and sense of belonging in the world. It felt like a long cold drink of water on a really hot day. I am very grateful for this experience and am so impressed with all that Cassie has accomplished, she was my college roomate and while not as bad as me she was pretty close. I asked if she was tired and she said a little, turns out she works at night and looks after three boys and manages to work the freemarket. If Sophie strays from the house speciality of bread and butter I feel overwhelmed, and have lay down with a cold cloth on my head. The only sour note of this day was one of the Jr. Leaguers spottless perfect children taught Sophie "talk to the Hand" Sophie of course had to ride home strapped to the hood of the car. Don't tell social services. Valerie

Monday, March 9, 2009

Am I blue, or purple.

I heard my little girl at the park today telling another little girl that that was her mother over there, the one that looks just like a bratz doll, (cause we both have long hair) I actually look nothing like a bratz doll more like kathy bates in birkenstocks but it was a sweet moment. My little girl thinks I am good enough to be a bratz doll. She is three and a half. It will change. Kind of a bittersweet moment. This spot is supposed to have a purple picture to be in the round robin. This picture is the only one I could find with any purple in it. Sorry Zia mARINA. vALERIE

Saturday, February 28, 2009

thank you Dixie Chickens

It had been a horrible day, my sister fired me, as her sister. I didn't know that could happen, nothing dramatic, Donald Trump wasn't there or anything. It was none the less sad, she also resigned as Sophie's godparent. I cried more about this then I can remember. Anyway on a day when it felt like I would never smile again My tiny darling cheered me up. We were listening to the Dixie chicks and she asked me how they played the guitar. "Do they use Their beaks?" She thinks they are actual little chickens. It must be really fun to be three and a half. And maybe a little confusing. We had a mouse death today and I put the mouse in the trash. Sophie asked if the trash was heaven? The mouse was dead. Dead things go to heaven and the mouse was in the trash. perfect logic. She is building an interesting view of heaven. Our dog Lucy died not long after Grandma and Grandma's little dog C.c. as well. Sophie asks pretty often if they have enough dog food in heaven. So now Grandma has a mouse as well. She won't be pleased. She (my mom) thought I was single handedly bringing back the bubonic plague by not killing our mice. More ramblings from Valerie.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


My wonderful friend, Cassie Matthew, has started a program in Richmond. She is feeding and clothing people who are down on their luck.. I am, without her permission, going to post her letter to me so you can see what kind of things she needs. I am hoping my massive following (8 so far) will read this and chip in things they don't need, I will come to your house (unless you are my one tasmanian reader ) and pick it up and take it to Richmond. Write me if you have anything you want to send. Thanks very much. Valerie

These are pictures of us in college 100 years ago. picture on the left is me, betsy bouffant and cassie

Dear Friends

Free Market was a beautiful sight today, again folks are lining up for food & wares before 9, doors opening at 10. Several families had to be turned away because of the zip code, we just don't have enough food to serve them all. Of course before you scream....Jeannie never lets them go empty handed...but there is a system in place to help them all.

We served about 60 families today(over 100 bags of food/fresh meat), and several are not in the zip code, several were served last week and still wanted more food, some were just hungry (Randy whispers thank-you). One friend, Deborah, asked for food she can just eat out of the can/box, without heat, gas, microwave but no electricity, she was honest to say" I got my bag last week at another church", "I was given chicken but have no way to cook it". "I tried to give it away." No electricity, I've been to her home, I forget who went with me in Sept. but she collected water in buckets all around her place. When we drove up, her home is beautiful,
who would guess, she lives in an older house, probably belongs in her amily. She's old enough for SSI, but hasn't yet filled out her paper work, no ride and doesn't quite understand. Her sisters are responsible for her care, the system in place for her is not working. She was
carrying magnolia leaves in her bag, she said "I found them on the ground, is it OK that I keep them?" Guys she might be "slow" she is not stupid, she is the most beautiful woman you have ever witnessed. She refused my ride home, she walked away in her mans coat, mens shoes that do not fit, and her one bag of non perishables...Deborah. She's well into her 60's. She breaks my heart. Pray for her, and so many like her.

We were short on wares, linens, and baby items,... sheets arrived by Patty C. at 6pm last night...6 bags of sheets, beautiful sheets, all gone today. We had NO baby items, Kelly rolls in last night at 9pm...........Filled was her car with Baby gear (Sharon B. & Joy G.) and housewares...GONE..two hours and it's all gone. The desk from the trailer was so LOVED, the lady who took it has just got her first apt. for her & her daughter. Charmaine & Chelsea, she bwled when Megan D. & Kristen D. (teens 15 & 1/2 years old) came in with their own clothes that fit her daughter Chelsea! First hand they clothed that child! It was a beautiful sight, those girls LOVED that lady, loved her as Jesus calls us to love. It's hard for me not to go on and on, but there are great things happening, God is everywhere in it, we prayed a beautiful prayer, and the day was just as God planned it, no food left, wares all gone, gave with all we

Needs: Men's jeans: (T.C. needs jeans w- 32/34 (L-36) he needs size 13/
14 shoes, beautiful man, not past 30.)
Marcus needs 38/40(w) 32 (l)
Jennifer has a newborn and needs a bed.
Charmaine(sp) needs all types of furniture and furnishings, has nothing but a desk!(NHPC donation)
Diane: has a great need for a Washer & Dryer for Diane, grandmother caring for twin 5 year olds (size 8) & 15 month old. Their mother is 27 with Jaw cancer, in the throws of surgery & chemo, grandma is not functioning well. Her twins, size 8 (K) need uniforms, white shirts, blue
pants or khakis.
Toiletries, new & used all, hygiene products needed.
CLOTHES: If you donate clothes, I and my pals have to sort them ALL...if you label them or put them all together in like bags, my time would be better spent.
Housewares:glasses, cups, dishes, pots & pans, small appliances, coffee makers flatwares, rubbermaid
Linens: sheets towels, blankets, throw rugs comforters
Table chairs
NOT ACCEPTED: books Please hold off on clothes unless it's above items, under ware, socks, coats & gloves will always be accepted.
God is so good to me, I pray to make a difference in my lifetime, for Him, and His kingdom, for my children, for the people. God has blessed our home, I pray I will be a blessing to others. I am so grateful for my friends, for those God has put in my life. I thank you deeply for your
heart, your time, your listening ears, your hands, our new friends who braved coming forth.
Thank you......May God Hear our prayers,
Set up Friday 1/30 9:30 -12 7p-9
Love Cassie

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

my dears

I'm back at home for a while. Sophie and I drove back yesterday, she slept most of the way home but at one point I brushed her hair back from her eyes and she said "don't mama, I am protected by the dear" I am elated and frightened all at once. I don't know if she is terribly creative or headed for a tinfoil hat. I met another mother, a friend of a friend, she told me that her daughter was an "Indigo child", she said that with great authority, like that meant something real. I have decided to start proclaiming things about Sophie as if they are absolutely the truth. She is Queen of the Dear, or maybe the mice. That will be the first proclamation. Valerie .

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Joy is the beach in the fall and the tiny terrorist running wild in her underpants.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ironmom Triathalon

I have decided to enter the ironman triathalon, running up a mountain barefoot, swimming through an active volcano those things seem easy compared to a morning with the tiny alkhaida operative, Sophie Jane Newman. The Iron mom triathalon would consist of dressing the tiny three year old. then redressing her after she took all her clothes off to dance, then running up the stairs shattering your ulna to find her teetering in highheels and a cinderella dress at the top of the stairs, at this point you would lose 3 points if you staple gun her tiny little umermaid underpants to her tiny little bum. next part of the obstacle is to feed the dog and let her out in the yard, then feed the cat, find out there is very little cat food left, run upstairs to dress yourself , come down to find that sophie le the dog back in and he ate the remaining cat food, cat is screaming that she is starving. put dog out lock the deadbolt, feed the cat a can of vienna sausages, come back down to discover that Sophie can now work the deadbolt and she and the dog are enjoying the vienna suasages out of the cat's bowl. Unclench your jaw threaten the child finish dressing throw child and luggage in car, turn on waltdisney cd and have tiny terrosrist say to you that you sound just like ursala the wicked queen in the little mermaid. drive 8 million miles to your brothers, listening to music deemed too cruel to play at gitmo. drink coffee. the end. start all over again at your brother's house. Good luck to you ironwoman

Thursday, January 29, 2009

mouse gitmo

The mouse problem rages on. We have decided, finally, to murder them in their sleep if possible. But meanwhile we are trying to catch as many as possible so they can live, preferably with the neighbors. After capturing them we waterboard them, wrong I know. We use a little wooden spoon and an eyedropper to find out where their little friends are hiding. We also are trying to change the way we look at them. No more Maisy and Stewart Little. This new batch are called Susan Smith, O.J., Adolph, Sadam, Rush Limbaugh and Eileen . All my love Valerie

Saturday, January 24, 2009

new job

Models in the photo are Bob's three daughters, not actual hobos.
I am not looking after my Mom anymore and I quit my job at the Asylum so I guess it is time to look for a new job. Bob doesn't say it but sometimes I can hear his thoughts from across the living room , something like the telltale heart, saying "hey I work 2 full time jobs and take care of my mother who is one thousand years old and really, really irritating, when are you going back to work? "(I may not have heard the part about really, really irritating, I may be making that part up. )
Given my particular skillset and more importantly my wardrobe, I may have to rule out sherpa, my clothes aren't quite that nice and I am kind of lazy, I couldn't climb a mountain if wolves were chasing me up it. But if it comes down to a mcjob or a return to my one day career with 7-11 I have decided instead to hit the rails and become a hobo. Sophie bin Laden will have to come with me I guess she will be a hoboette. She will have to dance in front of a little tin can while strangers throw pennies to her. We will have little matching outfits like something you would see on the old Carole Burnette Show. I am kind of worried about jumping on and off the trains, I'm not very fast and I will insist on wearing birkenstocks. So if things don't work out watch for me at train crossings or where ever hobo's hang out cooking over tin cans and playing the harmonica. That picture is of Sophie and her two pretty sisters, they are not actual hobos. Sophie seems to have a real affinity to dancing around fire. This seems worrisome. valerie

Friday, January 23, 2009

Choose an Identity

Does anyone else get a little thrill when they leave a comment and it asks them to "CHOOSE AN IDENTITY" Ok I choose Dorothy Parker, with a little Cat Woman, the original, thrown in and maybe Frieda Khalo's eyebrows. Also as long as I'm choosing, I choose to be one of those mother's I thought I would be back in my smug days, before karma kicked the crap out of me. The kind who only watches PBS and cooks organic meals while making every moment a learning bonding adventure. I am a lot like that if you substitute A House Marathon for PBS and a grilled cheese for organic meals and instead of a bonding moment you hear yourself saying eat your grilled cheese Sophie or mama will turn off that idiot tugboat. (that is a real and shameful comment from me) I haven't' reached rock bottom yet, that comes when you hear yourself saying "but I thought you always like nyquil. But close. February resolution. Choose an Identity, other than mine. Now just to see if anyone is really reading this(my true Friends will leave two or three comments so I don't appear so pathetic, please tell me who you would choose if you could "Choose an Identity" nothing sappy please, like I am just happy being me EEEW. Valerie

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Being NIce.

I am getting back to my wicked old self. I know this because my husband, St. Bob of Riverview told me I needed to "learn to be nice" the other day. I can't remember what this was in response to, I think he wanted to know what to get his mother for her birthday and I may have said a case of Marlboro's if cocaine was too expensive. The trouble is not only do I despise being nice but I don't think that it is something you can learn, at least I have never seen it in any community college catalogue. I think some people are naturally nice, My friend Sonia Purkey is genuinely nice. She doesn't gossip or stir up drama and she likes just about everyone, not Saddam Hussein or anything but everyone else. She makes being nice seem easy. But a life without gossip or wickedness you might just lobotomize me now. anyway we are pretty good here. Still fighting the mice and I am cleaning up mom's stuff at her house. I am sure QVC has had to lay off the whole Gloria Petersen Memorial wing. Still miss her, still wicked. My love to everyone. Valerie

Monday, January 5, 2009

Truck snakes

I'm posting part of my Eulogy for my mother, it's ok, it's not too sappy or sad, I'm still not sure why this is so much easier in a blog than talking to people but anyway here it is. (giving the Eulogy tomorrow, scared to death, taking a xanax before the reading so it will have a nice zombie like quality to it. Valerie

When my daughter was born I remember wondering what kind of mother I would be and what things I would pass from my mother on to her . I had a hard time narrowing it down to one thing that I thought was the most important. Her sense of humor and her storytelling were two things that stood out for me but the most important was her spirit of adventure and her enthusiasm.
She taught her children not to be afraid of trying new things, even stupid things. She took me Michelle and Scott cross country in the 70's, From Virginia. to Utah. Remember there was a big gas crisis then. I remember she took us in an old Volkswagen van to see "Rocky" at a drive in theater. Now mom was always more of an adventurer than a planner, so when the movie was over we found we were almost out of gas and no stations were open. There was room for me, Michelle and Scott to sleep in the van but no her so she parked in a gas station. After bedding us down she climbed in to a strange truck cab with her pillow and blanket to sleep. When we woke at dawn we looked out to see the reassuring site of our mother waving to us out of the cab of the truck. We waved back and went back to sleep. It turned out that once she got in the truck she noticed that there were no door handles or window rollers. She was well and truly stuck and to top it off she could hear what she was sure were truck snakes slithering around on the floor of the cab. I think my mom was so great, how many moms would have climbed up into the cab to begin with and then to be able to laugh about it, we laughed for absolutely years about that.

I really am doing ok, thanks for all the kindness people have shown. Sometimes I think I might be doing too well, but then a box of red berry cereal that we bought when she was alive sends me into paraxoms of grief. It's ok though i think that's all part of washing away the grief. thanks valerie

click photo to view larger version