Pink boas and tiaras

Happy Halloween!!! Leaving a trail of feathers as I wheeled Mimi down the driveway this morning to her bus, I had to admit the girl was looking mighty fine. Mimi was all decked out in a long pink feather boa and sparkly tiara. Then there was Mimi’s bus driver, Miss Beverly. She was kinda scary-looking dressed all in black with a long black wig and colorful mask. Strange … she must have cast a spell on me. I can’t remember if the mask was orange or pink.

So anyway, today the day center Mimi attends is going to be partying hardy. This year Mimi is a princess for Halloween. Actually, she totally fits the part without the garb. Last year Mimi was an angel … same boa and tiara … but since she has gotten a new wheelchair, the pink angel wings keep falling off the back. I hate when that happens.

Halloween is Mimi’s most favorite holiday. It’s not so much about the candy, although she would totally eat chocolate anything for breakfast if we let her. I’ve never seen Mimi’s baby blues any wider then when she is chugging chocolate milk. We have surmised Mimi’s fascination with Halloween is because she can’t pronounce Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and Valentine’s Day. Actually, she calls every holiday “Halloween,” but we know what she means.

Except for a year in Michigan when Mimi was a tot, we’ve lived on the same block since she was born with cerebral palsy 28 years ago. And we’ve tricked and treated for all but the past couple of years. It takes two people to get her and the wheelchair up the curbs so now Mimi helps hand out the candy. Actually, if the truth were told, Mimi could care less about the candy. She was always more interested in the bear hugs from the neighbors. Oh, and then there are the neighbors who dress up their dogs. That always got ginormous squeals from Mimi.

Yep, I suspect by the time Mimi gets home from the day center, the tiara will be a bit bent and there will not be one feather left on the boa. Next year I’m buying a six pack of both.

Bugs and yellow fuzz

It seems like I’ve been spending lots of my time this week maintaining. I started the week by purchasing the license tag for the family roadster … check. Next, I moved on to having said vehicle inspected … check again.

Oh, and then there was the bug man. Not sure I can officially “check” that one off exactly. He backed out of the driveway without spraying the outside of the house. Of course it conveniently started to rain right as he rang the door bell. Oops … so sorry I can’t do the outside, he says with a smile … some other time. Yeah right. Betcha nine dollars the dude forgot my address the minute he backed out of my driveway.  

 And lastly there was taking Lulu for her first yearly exam/shots. Boy howdy was that an adventure. This was my first time to take our pooch to the vet. Hubby did all the puppy visits. Last week when I called to make the appointment the receptionist indicated I needed to bring a poop sample. Thankfully, she could not see the look on my face.

Yeah, and the night before the vet visit Lulu ate most of the yellow fuzz off a long-lost tennis ball she found under the couch.

 “Dear, you’ve got to follow Lulu out in the backyard in the morning and get a fresh sample of you-know-what for me to take to the vet. If they give me grief about the yellow fuzz, I’m going to give them your phone number. Oh, and please make sure that Ziplock is sealed good and tight,” I told my husband with a shiver.

I decided since the vet wasn’t too far from the house, Lulu and I would make it an adventure and walk. Yep, a little exercise would be great for the both of us. With my purse over my right shoulder and the Ziplock bag in my left hand held carefully between two fingers we started off. Well, you didn’t expect me to put “it” in my purse, did ya?

Did I mention that Lulu pulls with the strength of a team of hairy-legged horses dragging a beer truck with two flat tires? A Dog Whisperer intervention was on my mind as she pulled mightily the entire mile to the vet’s office. Not that Lulu has an aggressive nature you understand. She trembled under the examination table when the good-natured vet appeared. Four shots, a friendly lecture on tartar build-up and another on Lulu needing to lose four pounds and we were out the door towards home. Whoa horsey … I mean Lulu! 

 Geez, I can’t wait till next week. No tellin’ what the heater man has in store!

The unfinished project

I took a black and white photography class in college a bunch of years ago. Spent gobs of hours in a darkroom and loved every single second of it. My favorite part was watching the images slowly appear on the photographic paper as I swished the tray full of chemicals to and fro. I gotta tell you … magical stuff happens in a darkroom.

One of the photo projects assigned by the professor late in the semester was to produce a self-portrait. I know what you are thinking. That’s pretty darn difficult considering you can’t be in two places at once … being the subject of the photograph and holding the camera. For the kinda of photo the professor was looking for, it woulda been mighty tricky to go the route of tripod and timer. So basically, the assignment required setting up the shot of how you see yourself and then having someone else just push the camera’s button. Sounds simple enough until you actually have to look at yourself in the mirror and try to figure out just who the heck you are!

At the time, I was a non-traditional student. I started taking college classes when our youngest hit first grade, so I already looked pretty funny carrying around a backpack instead of a purse that resembled a diaper bag. I could play off that angle, but it sounded a little too simple … backpack over one shoulder and diaper bag over the other. But I was also a wife, mother of three, daughter, sister, aunt … all the awesome roles that go along with living the life. Nothing inspirational immediately came to mind for a photo.

Fortunately, the college project happened to be right around the time we decorate the house for Halloween. One of the things I recall pulling out of the closet was a Halloween quilt that had never quite made it to completion. The cute quilt top had been pieced years ago with a number of pumpkins and bats. It never made it to the final quilting/binding phase. So the closet was where it stayed folded neatly for many, many Halloweens.

It’s amazing what idea pops out when you rattle the rocks around in your head a little. I wound up taking the unfinished pumpkin/bat quilt and draping it over my head like a scarf. Just like the quilt, it was certain I was also an unfinished project. Heck, we all are! And the Halloween quilt … finished it … last year. I’m still working on me.

Sittin’ with my feet in the breeze

“Shinin’ on Me” is a new song by Jerrod Niemann. It’s from his album, “Free the Music,” which officially came out today. If you haven’t heard the song yet, it will make you tap your toes, run outside and flop on the grass with your face toward the sun! Yep, it’s that kind of day … a great day to launch a blog.

I am in love with the lyrics of Niemann’s song particularly “life is taking turns, falling flat on your chin, trying to fly with the birds.” I can really relate to that this week. For almost two years, I’ve been trying to get my mother’s green card replaced.

It’s kinda an interesting story. In a peanut shell, my mom was born in Holland in 1933. She survived the Nazi occupation of Holland and immigrated to America on her father’s passport in 1948. She was just 14 years old.

Fast forward a bunch of years. She married, had five kids and a bushel basket full of grandkids. But she never became an American citizen. It was almost two years ago when mom went down to the DPS to get the address on her driver’s license changed. They asked her a simple question that would turn into a quest-like search for the Holy Grail.

“Are you an American citizen?” the DPS clerk asked.

Of course mom wasn’t, and for that matter, she couldn’t prove where she belonged. No green card, no passport, and a driver’s license that would expire in a year.

“I lost my green card in 1948 shortly after I received it,” was mom’s answer.

It was the first time in 63 years that anyone asked for her green card. How does that happen? The clerk told her to come back when she could prove it. Easier said than done. Over the next two years, I went down to our local immigration office with mom more times than I care to count. Mom wasn’t in the government computer. Or course she wasn’t! They didn’t have computers in 1948. Her stuff was probably in the bottom of a moldy box in some basement somewhere. That would require research and waiting. I told mom during our first visit that getting her green card was going to be a quest. I was right.

It only took three months to get her alien number but immigration neglected to give us another piece of information we needed to fill out the application to replace her card. Six months later we learned from the powers-that-be her file was stamped “classified” because it was suspected that someone was trying to steal her identity. Really?

The Freedom of Information Act allowed my mom to get copies of her entry documents so I could fill out the application. It only took three months to get that. So, in the mean time, mom is freaking out driving around with an expired driver’s license. The day we overnighted everything off, I told my mother that one of two things was going to happen. The first is they would just replace the green card and dogs and cats would live in harmony again. The second … they would reject her application but would tell us why and then we’d deal with it.

Today … the day Jerrod Niemann’s song “Shinin’ on Me” came out … my mom got a letter. She is going to get her green card!!!! It’s why I’m “sitting with my feet in the breeze, ain’t sweating the little things, and who know what tomorrow is gonna bring, but today, the sun is shinin’ on me.” Thanks Jerrod!