Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The soldiers entering the auditorium.

Soldiers Creed

He is the third one to speak.

Saving My History

What an interesting, fun filled two weeks this has been. This post may make no sense but i'm not really writing this one for my readers. This one i'm writing for my own memories, you know, someday I may write a book and be like "hey I wish I could remember all the details of those two weeks". Yeah. Maybe.

My Mom came out to visit, she got lost in Mankato so I knew she would never make it to my actual house since you have to get off the main road and all. I was chatting with her on the phone asking her if she was coming down the hill yet when her phone went dead. The last thing I told her was that I was going up to the farm road to wait for her. I am sitting at the road waiting for her and there goes her car zooming by. I whip out, do some fancy driving to get behind them and start flashing my lights. I finally get them behind them and lead them to my house. I asked what they would have done if I hadn't found them. My nephew says keep driving until they saw a sign that said old farm road. I think they may have ended up in Canada before they found that road.

There is nothing like having your Mom come to your house and cook for you. She made my absolute favorite poor mans food, potato soup and dumplings then we made home made creamed corn. Yummy! She and Sky then made a bunch of loaves of zucchini bread for Shawn. Not my cup of tea but the kids liked it.

I took her and Bryon (nephew) to Minnesota's tourist trap also known as the Mall of America to do some school shopping for the kids. We shopped and shopped some more. Bry and Matt headed off on their own to do some looking around while the girls all headed to American Girl doll factory. The girls have wanted one of those dolls for ever and ever. I wanted one when I was a little girl. We walked around for ages (maybe 30 minutes) picking out their favorites. I walked over to Sky's favorite doll, picked her up off the shelf and handed Skylee the box. Her eyes got big, she squealed, got tears in her eyes and hugged me for all she was worth. Seeing her so happy of course made me get teary. It was an awesome mother/daughter moment. Hannah picked out her favorite, I cut off my arm and handed it over to the sales clerk and we were out the door to find the boys. I called and they said they were on the third floor at Journies. We were on the first floor so we located the escalators and up we went. We walked around a bit looking for the store when I decided to stop in my tracks and look down three floors. There sat Matthew on the first floor in the Journies store. Not 20 feet from where we were before we went up those 3 floors. I had a blast hollering his name and watching him look around trying to figure out where I was.

August 20th was family day at Fort Leonard Wood for the families of the young men and women graduating from basic training. We left Wednesday afternoon (the day before) on our million hour journey through Minnesota, Iowa and most of Missouri. It was long and rainy and tiring. Did I mention I hate riding in a car? Spent the night in Columbia before making our way to the base. Did I mention I had to drive through the Ozarks? They are beautiful but come on! Hills and curves. Yuck.
Arrived in the nearby town where we were staying to meet up with Shawn's parents before heading to the base. Lots of fun stuff happened there, like Shawn's step dad forgot to take his pistol out from under his seat before he left Tennessee and trying to find a place to put it before we went on base since no one could check into their hotel rooms that early.
We made it finally. On to the base and figuring out where to find our kids since the Army gave absolutely no details about the entire visit beyond the dates. Found the theater we were supposed to go to. Here I am thinking I would walk in, see my kid and that would be that. Wrong answer. We had to sit through and entire briefing, a military briefing. They are not short. The commander made jokes, I fidgeted and couldn't concentrate on anything more that seeing my kid already. Finally they wrap it up, tell us our kids will march up in front of the building, stand in formation then be released to us for the day. OMG! Finally they start coming around the corner and I just about lost my shit. One of those boys was mine. I was going to get my boy very soon. I couldn't handle it. The march in was mesmerizing. I have never actually seen a military march with cadence in real life and I was blown away. They were so disciplined and sharp. Maybe my boy wasn't in there after all. Finally they entered the parking lot, stood in formation. Forever. I think the drill sargents were torturing them. Like hey your mom is here but you can't go to her because we own your ass. Well they don't own my ass. Give me my damned kid already. You hear me mister man with the funny hat on? Finally they released them and I got my hands on him. I hugged that kid like I haven't since the day he was born. Finally he whispered in my ear something about okay Mom, that's enough. I let go, couldn't hog him to myself. He hugged everyone and we were off for family fun.
We went out for lunch and that kid didn't stop talking the entire time. I'm not even sure how he ate through all the talking. He told us all the details of his 10 week stay. I mean in detail. At one point he was talking, I looked over at him and saw this baby in a blue sweater jumper with a helicopter on the front in tiny white baby booties and had to wipe back a few tears. How did we get from this itty bitty baby to this well disciplined man? What happened to the years in between? Don't blink.
He took us to the Ft. Leonard Wood museum and to the px and the mini mall. We saw all the sites to see and went to dinner. On the drive there we saw a huge 5 vehicle crash on the interstate below us. It was awful and I don't know how anyone lived through it. 2 small cars went under a semi trailer. It was horrible looking. I was obsessed with finding information about those involved so when we got back I googled and found that although a teacher was seriously injured no one had died. I keep checking back to see if he pulled through, no news and I hope no news is good news. Anyway, ate dinner and met up with Jason (Shawn's so called father) before taking him back to base. The kid did not take any time off from his duties, he wrote the fire watch schedule on the ride back to the base. Good soldier.
I'm not really even sure I can properly convey what I felt the following day at graduation but I will try. We arrived at the theater (after getting lost) and waited in line for ages before the doors open. We ended up with awesome seats. We were on the aisle the boys walked down after getting pinned. Anyway, lots of speeches, the commander fumbling his entire speech then a really cool video of pics and video of the boys throughout their entire training, awards which made my heart burst right open with pride. There still may be pieces of blood, heart muscle and pride left in that auditorium. Not many of the boys won awards and my soldier won two!! Then came the soldiers creed and what was left of my heart entirely exploded from the pride, just a few soldiers were chosen and my son was so loud and serious I didn't even recognize his voice!! Oh I forgot to tell about the soldiers marching into the auditorium. It was amazing the drill sargents voice was so melodic and hypnotizing and all those soldiers voices in unison as one was captivating to say the least. I will never ever forget that moment watching their precise movements and hearing all those voices as one. The kids were all pinned with their US pin and shook the hands of all the higher ups and then were dismissed. I got my kid back!! I am telling you all those two days were the proudest days of my entire life for many reasons but to look at the kid I sent off to basic training in early June and see the man he turned into was amazing and I don't think I will ever forget the moment I stopped viewing him as a little boy. He went back to Wyoming with Grandma for a visit and called to let me know he got a tatoo. I was not in the least bit upset by that. He is a man now, he can make those decisions for himself. 3 months ago I wouldn't have though that way.
The drive back from Missouri was long but had Shawn drive for half the trip and took a few cat naps to shorten things up.
Sunday was Shawn's family reunion. I don't like going to those things at all because I only know a few people but it was fun to show the boy (he will always be my boy) off.
Monday, Mom, Bry and Ed left for Wyoming and Monday night my stupid fucking brother announced he left his family behind. I am pissed, beyond pissed at him, not because he split with his girl but because I am scared shitless that he walked out on his son and I will never see him again. I love my niece and nephews and always want to be a part of their lives.
Tuesday I started back to school. Yay! I love school.
Today I went to the doctor about my anxiety issues. The normal person has an anxiety level of less than 10 of 110 on a scale. A person with an 80 has severe anxiety. My score was a 99. I am a damned wreck. That really bothers me because I am happier than I have been in years. My marriage is mostly good, my son who has caused me so many headaches is growing up to be a fine young man, the little kids are doing well and I am in school studying a subject I love. I am genuinely happy so why am I having so much anxiety? I can't wait until it's all under control.
Did anyone make it through all that?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Good Kitty/Bad Kitty

Good kitty, snuggling with his teddy bear

Bad kitty on the counter where he isn't supposed to be.

See the yogurt container in the pic above?
It has his food in it, he kept scooping his paw in then looking to see if he got anything out.
I love this stupid cat. He never stops entertaining me.

Linus hasn't been the star of my blog for awhile now. He is famous amongst all 10 of you readers and I know you have been itching to see him in all his cuteness.
Thanks to my cousin Bob for the title of this post.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Frank's Story

As much as I tried to work this story out and figure out what I wanted to write it really isn't working for me. I cannot nail it down so I will give you the short version of the story so I don't leave you all hanging.

Frank was my ex's younger brother. He was a sweet guy who would have helped anyone out of they needed it. He loved country music and his prized possessions were his cowboy boots, hat and autograph from some musician who's name escapes me at the moment. He also dreamed of being a country singer and had a demo made. He had plans for his life. Plans that would lead him out of choking poverty and on to a life where he could be happy.
Frank and I had english class together in college, he always shared his notes with me and always gave me a ride home after class. He was a genuinely nice guy.
The morning of the 4th of July many years ago I walked into my ex's house and had him tell me Frank was dead. I was stunned. How did that happen I asked. He was hit by a train. I was floored. How in the hell was he hit by a train? The police said he laid down on the tracks, crossed his arms over his chest and waited. The engineer said just before the train struck him he popped his head up and looked at the train as it was barreling down the tracks toward him. On it's way to take it all away. Take what away though?
What a told you above are facts that I know to be true. Things that I was told first hand by those involved. What I am about to tell you are things my fuzzy brain sort of recalls all these years later. Things people in town speculated, etc.
Frank had a crush on a woman who was older than he. Well into her 30's. A woman who in my opinion was never really into him and mostly just used him. Anyway she moved in with another guy and broke his heart into a million pieces. That was the day he drank himself into oblivion and laid down on the tracks. Also he had discovered his brother had molested his sister years before, years before he was even born. This tore him up in a way he couldn't recover from. None of these things are a secret anymore. This was the summer a million little secrets came to light. The summer that changed everyone in ways that many still haven't recovered from. All the secrets and lies and cover ups and then the death.
Frank was working for a seamless gutter company. Apparently the day he died he bought his co-workers soda's. No suicide note, nothing. The only clue looking back were those soda's. That is why the police ruled his death a suicide. Those soda's that were given away. I don't know about you but I regularly buy my friends things. Soda's, lunch, a drink here and there.
After Frank died I spent days sitting on bar stools all over town questioning people who saw him that night, people who spoke to him, the bartenders and the wait staff. Everyone said the same thing. He was happy that night, drunk but happy. He left his car parked on main street and took off walking because he was drunk. What I will never know and never understand is what happened in those 4 short blocks. How did he go from drunk and happy and not wanting to hurt himself or anyone else by driving drunk to making the decision to say fuck it all and lie down on the tracks waiting for the train to take it all away.
I was told at the time to let it rest, just let it go but to this day I do not believe he voluntarily laid down on the tracks and killed himself. I refuse to believe it.

There ya have it. The short version that took me an hour to write. My brain really had to work to remember even that much.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Growing and Fixing

This past weekend I got a wild hair that said I was sick of having this piece of crap on my deck.

So I begged and pleaded and bargained with my husband......

to please fix this thing so it is useful again and doesn't end up at the scrap yard.

Isn't it pretty??

By the way dear readers...I haven't forgotten the story I promised. I am still working on how I want to write it. It will come, I really could use some quiet time around here to think and write. That may never happen.

Yesterday was my oldest child's birthday. 18. Can you even believe that? I certainly can't. It seems like yesterday I was missing out on one of my favorite movies (The Best Little Whore House In Texas) to take my sister to my aunt's so Mom and I could go to the hospital. It seems like yesterday I walked and walked and walked so labor would go faster. It seems like yesterday I squatted on all 4's trying to get that little man to turn so he could come out face down and stop making me have back labor. It seems like yesterday the doctor declared it was a boy and I declared "It's my Shawnie". Seems like yesterday the nurse swore I gave birth to a future line backer. (He is 5' 3" and weighs 120 now) It seems like just yesterday my life became so incredibly complicated and so full of joy at the same time. Seems just like yesterday I was a teenaged Mom. How did I become 34? How did he become and adult? Happy Birthday to my bullrider who has never been on a bull.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Story in the Making.

This afternoon while taking a shower I thought of someone I haven't thought of in years. It may seem strange but the memories were so overwhelmingly vivid that I feel like they were being poured into my head through the spray of the shower head. It's as if I was communicating with something that wasn't really talking to me but was in it's own way screaming at me. Why now? Why all these years later? I don't even know what to say about it. Who needs me to tell the story? Some details are vivid, most are fuzzy. Some names remain, most don't. All I know is while I was standing in the shower I kept repeating the mantra in my head "I must tell this story, I must tell this story".
I hurriedly got out and dressed so I could make a mad dash for the computer and google any info that may be out there. News paper articles, obituaries. Anything. Nothing much came up. One reference stating a birth and death date. Another search returned an article written by his best friend. I looked at the picture of the author and I could see this guy in my memory. I know him, I can make out his mannerisms. I can recall conversations with him. I remember speaking to him the day after he died and asking him questions. I cannot remember his name. I shot off an email to some old high school friends begging for info on him and went outside to smoke. I looked up to the sky and said help me, I need to tell this story. A name popped into my head. Scott. Can this guys name be Scott? I don't know. I'm hoping the girls get back to me and confirm who he is. In the meantime I will work on the story that is begging to be told. Frank's story. I don't know where it will go or if my suspicions on how he died will ever work it's way in but I will tell what I can recall and hope the rest comes to me someway, somehow. Stay tuned.

Unrelated but devastating for us as state......Today is the 2 year anniversary of the collapse of the St. Anthony's Falls bridge. Praying for and thinking of the victims and survivors.

UPDATE: Just received confirmation that the friend's name is indeed Scott. Now to get in touch with him.

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I am Mom to 4 of the most kick ass kids ever! I learn shenanigans from them every day.



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