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Trash Day

31 Jul

Y’all. I have a problem with Trash Day.


I know what you’re thinking and you’re right. You’re totally, totally right. What’s so hard about Trash Day? You bag your trash, you put it out, the gentlemen pick it up, you take your can back, you’re done. Super simple.


Except I didn’t grow up with trash day, so…yeah. I mean, I grew up in the middle of nowhere. The thought of trash pick-up services coming to my parents’ house is laughable. If you look at their house from Google Earth, you’ll see an alien landscape. The Texas Panhandle is a gorgeous place, perhaps a bit of an acquired taste to some, but it’s beautiful. Google Earth did us no favors, though. I’m pretty sure they chose the driest, most dismal looking time of the year to photograph my parents’ house and it looks like they live on Tatooine. Seriously.



Because I couldn’t get the actual Google Earth pic to work, here’s an old-timey view…


…and present day. Well kinda. This was taken during a drought in 2011, which is basically what the Google Earth pictures look like.



And so my parents won’t yell at me for such harsh depictions of our homeland, here’s the Canadian River which runs through my hometown. Now if that isn’t beautiful, then I don’t know what is.


So, yeah. Garbage pick-up didn’t happen at our house. And honestly, I’m assuming garbage pick-up happens in the actual town of Canadian, but I’m too country to even know if that’s a thing. Guys, do you hear me? I’m so country I don’t even know if the town of 2,000 people had trash trucks. Surely they do. But I don’t know. Geez. All I know is Dad would load up all the trash in the back of his truck and take it to town to one of the many public dumpsters that were around, toss it in, and that’d be it. No big deal.


Here’s the thing about me. I know Trash Day is every Thursday. My problem is that I’ll remember this fact on Monday, Tuesday, and on Wednesday morning at approximately 3 a.m. After that time, Trash Day escapes my mind only to re-enter it when I hear the actual truck passing my house. I think it’s probably a serious medical problem.


And get this…there are no public dumpsters around here. So, when I miss Trash Day, I toooootally miss Trash Day. The Panhandle girl in me is irritated by this, simply for the fact that I’d like to be self sufficient. I mean, I can dump my own trash. It’s really no big deal. It’s nice of y’all to offer to pick it up, but I got this. Thankyouverramuch.


And then there’s the fact that our deep freezer was accidentally shut off the other day. (Thank you, dear children, you precious cherubs, you.) So we had some meat that went bad. So basically, I could not miss Trash Day this week.


And then there’s the fact that one of our trash cans needs to be thrown away. Now, if this was the middle of nowhere, I’d just toss my own garbage can and be on my way. But noooo, here in the city I’m left figuring out how the hell to get rid of a trash can with no bottom. 


I tried leaving a note, but the gentlemen who take our trash apparently don’t read politely worded notes on the pizza boxes they’re ramming into the back of their truck. Who knew?


Also, in the winter the garbage truck comes around in the afternoon. In the summer apparently it’s earlier. And it’s taken me all summer to realize that this is not just a random, “hey, they’re early today” kind of thing and it’s more of an, “oh, that’s just what they do” kind of thing. I’m thick.


So this morning, as I was attempting to get Senor Wiggle-Britches to take a nap for the love of all that is good and holy and refereeing the squabbling girls, I heard the melodic sound of the garbage truck at my doorstep. So I dumped the baby into his crib with his bottle, the way they tell you never to do, you know? And I ran outside in my bare feet like a bra-less wild woman to haul the rotting meat filled crap can to the curb.


And I made it. I was even able to ask the young man to just toss the whole damn thing in the truck and I thanked him for his troubles. Win, win, and win!


I was congratulating myself pretty heavily as I made my way back to the backyard. Because, I won Trash Day today, guys. I. Won.


Except that I totally didn’t.


Because there sits our other garbage can, completely full of trash and waiting for that magical journey to the curb.


I’m sorry, old buddy. You’ll have to wait till next week. Or the week after that. Or whenever.



Image 1 Source. Image 2 Source. Image 3 Source.


Home Sweet Home

6 Jul

Now, I’m no mathematician, but to my calculations it has been 1 year and 20 days since my feet have been on Texan soil. That’s 67 weeks and five days, or 474 days, or if we want to be really melodramatic, it’s 682,560 minutes.


Basically, an eternity.


I don’t know of many other states that have as loyal a following as Texas. This is probably due to the fact that few other states invest as much time and resources into indoctrinating their youth. We had Texas history in school for as long as I can remember. Eighth grade social studies was devoted entirely to Texas, in fact, and I’m sure Sam Houston would be proud.


It also doesn’t hurt that Texas happens to be the Promised Land, something that we natives don’t take for granted. Wide open spaces, incredible food, as many tumble weeds and cow pies as you could ask for…what’s more to want?


Funny story: Vin’s precious Grandma Delagrange, who hasn’t left Ohio like, ever, came to Texas for our wedding, which was awesome. At one point she had to travel through some relatively rural area to get to the reception. I don’t know that the scenery dazzled her since she’s quoted as saying, “Do people really live like this??” Apparently parts of the Homeland are an acquired taste. Also, I’m sure Grandma, who is a devout  Catholic, was totally confused when my mother described the Panhandle as “God’s country.” Lost in translation, folks.


We Texans forgive outsiders for not getting it, though. There’s a saying at Texas A&M that goes,  “From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. And from the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.” There’s just something about Texas that makes people crazy for the state. I don’t know exactly what that magic is, but it’s powerful.


One of my best friends growing up had very devoted Texan parents. So devoted, in fact, that though they were living in Michigan at the time of her birth, they had a jar of dirt sent from home, took it to the hospital and put it under the bed so that she’d be born over Texan soil. True story.


Suffice it to say that I’m definitely missing home these days. So much so that I basically broke into tears when my mom sent these shirts for the girls.





And the glory of the Texas flag made me think about all of the other things I’ve been missing about home…mostly foods, apparently since I’m pregnant and the cravings are continuous. Like snow cones. Guys, I didn’t realize it, but they don’t do snow cones in the North. At least not in Ohio and not outside of the fair. Yeah, yeah, we’ve got Honey Hut here, but it’s just not the same as some stellar syrup covered shaved ice in the form of a Frosty Cone. Also people up here have no concept of flavors like Dill Pickle or Tiger’s Blood, which is a crying shame.


I don’t need to even mention the lack of Mexican food or fried okra. And “barbecue” here is all kinds of smothered in sauce. I’m genuinely excited that there’s a Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar restaurant coming here soon since they’ll have calf fries on the menu…not that I regularly consume calf fries, but it’s comforting to know the option’s out there.


And, gosh, I miss those never ending sunsets. I miss the smell of the wind on the prairie and the feeling of being so, so small under that gigantic sky.


Now, I don’t want to sound like I hate living in the North, at all. I do recognize the merit of other states…I’m not totally  biased. I truly love it here and wouldn’t trade our time here for anything…except maybe some tamales.


Seriously, I’d kill for real tamales right now.


So, what about you? Anyone else living far from home and missing it? What do you miss the most?

Night-Night Kisses

13 Nov

The other day, as I was tucking Mags into bed, I leaned over to give her a kiss while she was sleeping. Since the moment my girls were born, I just haven’t been able to stop kissing them. I could kiss those sleepy little heads all day every day if I were allowed. Mags is getting so big and I can already see that there are times a-comin’ in which she may be too busy to stop and kiss her Mama. I seriously don’t even want to think about it. For now, I just steal as much sugar as I can get and I know that my Mama was the same way.


I know this because, as a senior in high school, she scared the living daylights out of me by doing that very thing.


I was the only kid still living at home (and let me tell you, that was a HUGE perk of being the baby) and had exchanged pleasantries with my parents before going to bed. However, being a high school senior, I clearly had lots of important things to do before bed, like listen to some Dashboard Confessional to feed my angst, think about how, “nobodyunderstandsmeuuuuuuuugh,” message some friends on MSN Messenger (what, what!), be angsty, plan an angsty outfit for school the next day, practice being misunderstood, etc, etc. By the time I had actually gotten in bed and turned out the light, a good amount of time had gone by.


Enough time for my mother to assume that I’d truly be asleep.


Mind you, my parents’ home is in the middle of nowhere. Seriously. No. Where. For a while, we couldn’t even see another house from our home. Now you can see the corner of a “neighbor’s” roof peeking from behind a hill. My mom is still miffed about that. Also keep in mind that this was the year that a high meth addict wandered up to our house and knocked on my bedroom window at one in the morning. I am not lying. It seriously happened and my father let her in and gave her coffee while we waited for the sheriff to come get her. Lordy be. Nobody was shanked, though, so we’re good. Jumpy, but good.


Anyway, I was in the twilight stage of sleep…not capital T “Twilight” like the sleep you get from the coma-inducing breathiness of Bella breathing, “Eeeeeedward” over and over again, but that stage of sleep where you’re almost completely out, but are still a teensy bit aware of your surroundings. I was just really drifting off when I felt this dark presence looming over me, slowly getting closer to my face, presumably to suck out my soul. Clearly. Also, I had probably just read some Harry Potter.


Now, usually when I’m presented with a fight or flight situation, I’m all for the flight. I will run like a sissy every time, hands down. However, when caught between a possible dementor’s kiss and my own bed, I was forced to fight. And by ‘fight’ I mean that I flailed wildly in hopes of making contact with some part of my “assailant’s” face while simultaneously gasping in sheer horror. My mom’s lucky that I have no coordination or she would’ve had a broken nose.


“I just wanted to kiss you good night!” was her explanation. I thought she was crazy.


But now, now that I have my own girls, I get it. I totally understand the desire to lurk into their bedrooms in the middle of the night to kiss their heads and smell their hair. I understand the pull that my mama must have felt to be drawn into my room to give me a kiss. And I’m so, so glad that she did. Nothing can ever compare to the feeling of being loved on by your mom.


I just wish mine had been a bit more sly…


5 Nov

Note: I found this post from September. I apparently forgot to publish it ’cause I’m cool like that. Better late than never!


All I have to say is it’s a good thing we’re not raising Margaret in Texas because it’s becoming very apparent that  she’d do nothing but bring us shame at every meal.


The kid almost never eats meat.


Once, when Vin took her to the grocery store and let her pick out a special treat, she chose a yellow pepper.


She’s spent the last week eating only grapes and carrots and a strawberry that she grew all by herself. (And by “grew” I mean that we found the potted strawberry plant in the backyard, gave it to the child, and told her to observe. We’re practically farmers!)


I don’t know what we’re doing wrong.


Unlike her older and wiser cousin, Mark, who could order his own filet at the age of three, Mags has no respect for red meat. And to top it all off, she’s got a butcher for a father. Irony at it’s finest.


What’s a red-blooded Texan parent to do? At least we can take solace in the fact that the kid does love bacon.

Pros and Cons

2 Apr

A couple of regional differences reared their heads within days of each other and I simply have to share. The first one broke my heart a little bit, but the other one totally redeemed my excitement about living in the North.


First, in maybe one of the saddest moments of my life, I was forced to acknowledge the fact that some people don’t know what enchiladas are.


Holy Toledo, guys. I am not even kidding about this.

While having a conversation with a lady at the grocery store checkout about the merits of using rotisserie chickens for other dishes, I mentioned that I like to use the chicken for enchiladas (which you should really do if you haven’t already). This poor, poor woman looked me straight in the eye and uttered the most devastating sentences I’ve ever heard, “Enchiladas…now what are those? Burritos? Or like burritos?”


Forgive her, Lord, for she knows not what she said.


I’m sad to say that my explanation probably wasn’t the best. It also probably included phrases like, “manna from heaven” and “food of the gods.” I also stammered a lot seeing as I have honestly never met someone who didn’t know what enchiladas are. However, the same could probably be said for my father-in-law when he realized I didn’t know about stuffed cabbage. So there you go.


All I’m saying is, the whole exchange made me seriously re-think the decision of living in such a place. In the words of Grandma D. (ironically, while visiting Texas for our wedding), “You mean people actually live like this???”  However, a few days later, our neighbor totally turned things around.


We were over discussing neighbor-y things, which doesn’t happen all that frequently seeing as our neighbor, Bob, had to ask me for my name again. We obviously need to be better about being neighborly. When I told him my name is Mary Susan he immediately asked if he could call me…wait for it…”Mare.”


As in, shortened version of Mary.


As in the nickname Rhoda used for Mary on the Mary Tyler Moore show.


My life is now complete.


Some of you, namely my family members, will perhaps be surprised at my excitement seeing as I have forever and for always abhorred being called “Mary.” However, this nickname is just amazing on too many levels to turn down. Especially since A.) it was bestowed upon me by someone who literally forgot my real name and obviously needed to make life easier and B.) because of the Mary Tyler Moore thing.


Also, I’ve found that people in the North tend to be pretty nickname-happy. For example: my husband, who is named after his father (and grandfather) goes by “Vincent” professionally. He fills out his paperwork as Vincent, introduces himself as Vincent, etc. It never fails that the conversation goes like this,

“Hello, I’m Vincent.”

“Nice to meet you, Vince!”

They don’t ask, they don’t apologize, and  they most certainly do not think twice before putting “Vince” on his name tag for work.  Usually I’m quite militant about respecting the name that people request to go by, but “Mare”? “Mare’s” just too good to pass up.


And you’d better bet that neighbor Bob totally calls me “Mare” whenever he sees me. Now if I can only master throwing a hat in the air while not looking awkward, we’ll be set.

Two Years Old

26 Mar

This time two years ago I was checking into the hospital thinking that I would be having a c-section and a baby within hours. True to form, God and Mags had other plans! (Still grateful for the lack of c-section!!) A little after eight the next night, we were holding the most precious gift we’ve ever been given.


Words really can’t begin to describe how I feel about this little human who came into our lives two years ago. Nothing could have prepared me for how much time I would spend in awe of her. She is so adaptable, intelligent, beautiful, and has pretty much the best sense of humor on the planet. Also, she’s started talking in funny voices, which pretty much makes my life complete.


So, because my baby’s turning two and because I’m currently swimming in a sea of pregnancy hormones, I’m going to indulge myself and make a list of things I love about my sweet, sweet girl. And I’ll probably cry through the entire process. Sheesh.


This list is for you, Mags, if you’re ever reading it a zillion years from now. I’m sure blogs won’t be cool. They’ll probably be the microfiche equivalent for your generation. You should look microfiche up…they’re weird. Anyway, this is a collection of memories, thoughts, stories and things I absolutely love about you.


  • You were born during March Madness. When he realized that I was going to spend my entire labor with a damp cloth over my head, your dad turned on the tournament. I really don’t blame him at all…He kept the volume down, so we were cool. You were technically born sometime after the Kentucky game. I know this because the TV was positioned so that I could see it the entire time I was pushing…not on purpose, I’m not that big of a fan.  Anyway, the Kentucky game was pivotal because it always is and Daddy and I had each filled out a few brackets and you know how we feel about brackets. Therefore, after giving birth to you, one of the first questions I asked the doctor was whether or not Kentucky had won. They didn’t. My bracket was ruined, as was the bracket of the nice resident who attended your birth. He shared my pain…just not the labor pain, which would’ve been appreciated.

This is one of my favorite pictures of all time.


  • I remember a moment a few weeks after we brought you home when I was up in the middle of the night rocking and feeding you. I looked down our apartment hallway where the bathroom door was open and I could see our reflection in the mirror, and I remember thinking that, at that very moment, I legitimately had everything I ever wanted.

  • I love how you were not interested in sleeping unless you slept on one of our chests. Also, I love how you still sneak into bed with us every morning and wake us up by singing songs, patting our faces, and requesting juice. Or, in the case of this morning, you’ll get into our bed in the middle of the night, sprawl out like a spider monkey, and force your father to spend the remainder of his night sleeping in your toddler bed.


  • You’ve always been so laid back…pretty much the easiest baby we could’ve asked for. You’re sweet-natured and kind, adventurous and forgiving. There’s really no way you could ever know how much joy you bring us.

  • You have the best facial expressions on the planet.

  • Sometimes when your daddy and I talk about you, we both start to cry because we love you so much.
  • Also, sometimes we teach you to do funny things (like use your finger as a mustache and say, “Money!” as though you were a businessman) because we think it’ll be funny for your Kindergarten teacher to discover these little quirks.
  • I like the funny cowlick in your hair. Before all of it grew in, you had a ridiculous little tuft in the back and no hair anywhere else, so you looked like a peacock. It was precious. Also, at one time you had a mullet and it was glorious.
  • I really love to listen to you sing. It’s one of the best sounds I’ve ever heard.
  • Some of my favorite things you say are:
          – “Mama, Mama, Mama, Mommy, Mama!! What is dat tink, Mama??”
          – “Um, bedtime? Ok! A binkie anna bunny!”
          – “Baby Yiddy, come out!” (Yiddy = Lily)
          – “No way, Jose, Banjo!!!”
  • I like it that you’re sassy and you’ve started referring to me as, “Mom.” I also like it when you yell down the stairs to your father and use his first name: “Um, Viiiiin!!” It also scares me that you copy me so much.
  • I love it when you get really excited because, not only do you squeal, but you put your little hands up by your mouth and breathe really hard because you can hardly contain yourself.
  • I’m grateful that you’re the one who is constantly teaching me about what it means to be truly selfless. And you’re the first person who really revealed to me just a fraction of how God loves us, unconditionally and irrevocably.
  • When I look at you I see an endless future of possibilities and purposes. Every time I sing you to sleep I pray that you’ll have a clear understanding of God’s purpose for you and follow Him with your whole heart.
  • Last night you read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” to me instead of the other way around. You had a few substitutions: “Goldfish” was “Orange Fish”; “Teacher”  was “Green Teacher”; and “Children” was “Purple, Blue, Children! Yellow Children!!” You’re brilliant, for sure.
  • Gosh, I love being your mama.

Texas Trip Part 2: Party Time

22 Mar

So we got Mags an Elmo pinata for the birthday party at Granny’s house. As we were checking out at the grocery store, we noticed that Elmo had quite the collection of colorful ribbons arranged on his hindquarters. This is apparently because the uppity-ups in the pinata industry have realized that some consumers might perceive whacking the business out of your child’s favorite character to be a bit barbaric. I, however, say that there’s nothing more fun than beating a kids’ TV star senseless…in pinata effigy of course. I’d be indescribably happy if I could get my hands on a Clarabelle pinata. If you’ve been remiss and haven’t watched Mickey Mouse Club House lately, there is absolutely no way you can understand how great is my dislike for that cow. But I digress.


These days, instead of the violence of beating characters – and probably as a wise attempt to avoid lawsuits stemming from blindfolded children waving sticks around like Don Quixote – the makers of pinatas have attached several multicolored ribbons to the pinata. The idea is that the kids get to take turns pulling on the ribbons and eventually a hole forms, from which the treasure is dispersed. As previously mentioned, the ribbons on our Elmo pinata were attached to his bum. And I must say there’s nothing like a whole bunch of chocolate candy falling out of Elmo’s butt to make a party complete!


It's almost as if he knows he's about to be beaten and then ripped a new one.


I will say, though, that it was good that the ribbons were there because Mags really wasn’t too sold on hitting Elmo with a stick. She’s a sensitive soul, that one.


No caption would be good enough, so I won't even try.


Mags loved picking up candy. She also loved sharing with Orange Kitty, which I think is superbly sweet.


Sweet girl.


Orange Kitty was intrigued, to be certain.


The party also included kite flying, which was kind of intimidating since the wind was blowing about a zilliondy miles an hour. I pretty much let the hubz do the work, as I did not want to be held responsible if the clown fish kite ended up in the next town over. Or, worse yet, Oklahoma. I’d never forgive myself.



Mags was not allowed to hold the kite string by herself since she would most certainly end up in Oklahoma.


We also had presents and cuppincakes. Mom and I made the cupcakes and, I’m gonna be honest, they were precious. We’re available for hire, just so’s you know.



Mags was super-stoked about having the birthday song sung to her and loved blowing out her candle even more. So much so that we had to complete the entire process three times, which was nice since it allowed me to actually get some good pictures. Enjoy!


A good time was had by all.

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