My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

And then there's Maud... TOWANDA!

Let me preface this by saying that my research has been via and not as concrete and valid as research that is done by genealogists who actually know what they're doing. If my research is right, it's super cool to have Maud as an ancestor. If my research is wrong, she's still a super cool historical figure to blog about. So, here goes:

my mom is the former
Norma Pennington, daughter of
Virginia Jackson, daughter of
Mary Alice Ray, daughter of
Mary Jane Alderman, daughter of
Daniel Alderman, son of
Nancy Ann Newton, daughter of
Isaac Newton, son of
Abraham Newton, son of another
Abraham Newton, son of
Daniel Newton, son of
Anne Loker, daughter of
Elizabeth French, daughter of
Susan Warren, daughter of
William Warren, son of
Margaret Leigh, daughter of
Eleanor Savage, daughter of
Katherine Stanley, daughter of
Lady Joan Goushill, daughter of
Elizabeth Fitzalan, daughter of
Elizabeth De Bohun, daughter of
Elizabeth deBadlesmere, daughter of
Margaret FitzGilbert deClare, daughter of
Juliana FitzGerald, daughter of
Matilda dePrendergast, daughter of
Matilda deBurgh, daughter of
Egidia deLacy, daughter of
Margaret deBraose, daughter of
Maud deSaint-Valery aka TOWANDA...

ok... maybe her name wasn't really TOWANDA but when I read her biography, my 26x great-grandmother sounded like a Steel Magnolia of the nth degree! This is the wikipedia account:

She was born Maud de St. Valéry in France in about 1155, the child of Bernard de St. Valéry[2][3] of Hinton Waldrist in Berkshire (nowOxfordshire)[4] and his first wife, Matilda. Her paternal grandfather was Reginald de St. Valéry (died c.1162).
She had many siblings and half-siblings, including Thomas de St. Valery (died 1219), who was a son of Bernard by his second wife Eleanor de Domnart. Thomas married Adele de Ponthieu, by whom he had a daughter, Annora, who in her turn married Robert III, Count of Dreux, by whom she had issue. Thomas fought on the French side, at the Battle of Bouvines on 27 July 1214.[5]
Sometime around 1166, Maud married William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber, son of William de Braose, 3rd Lord of Bramber and Bertha of Hereford de Pitres. He also held the lordships of GowerHayBreconRadnorBuilthAbergavennyKingtonPainscastleSkenfrithGrosmontWhite Castle and Briouze in Normandy. When King John of England ascended the throne in 1199, he became a court favourite and was also awarded the lordship of LimerickIreland. Maud had a marriage portion, Tetbury from her father's estate.
Maud supported her husband's military ambitions and he put her in charge of Hay Castle and surrounding territory. She is often referred to in history as the Lady of Hay. In 1198, Maud defended Painscastle in Elfael against a massive Welsh attack led by Gwenwynwyn, Prince of Powys. She successfully held off Gwenwynwyn's forces for three weeks until English reinforcements arrived. Over three thousand Welsh were killed. Painscastle was known as Matilda's Castle by the locals.[6]
Maud and William are reputed to have had 16 children.[7] The best documented of these are listed below.


[edit]Enmity of King John

King John of England:
Maud de Braose's enemy
In 1208, William de Braose quarrelled with his friend and patron King John. The reason is not known but it is alleged that Maud made indiscreet comments regarding the murder of King John's nephew Arthur of Brittany. There was also a large sum of money (five thousand marks) de Braose owed the King. Whatever the reason, John demanded Maud's son William be sent to him as a hostage for her husband's loyalty. Maud refused, and stated loudly within earshot of the King's officers that "she would not deliver her children to a king who had murdered his own nephew."[8] Maud, upon realising her grave error, tried to make amends by sending Queen Isabella a herd of four hundred cattle, whose quality she had previously boasted of.[9] The King would not be mollified and quickly led troops to the Welsh border and seized all of the castles that belonged to William de Braose. Maud and her eldest son William fled to Ireland, where they found refuge at Trim Castle with the de Lacys, the family of her daughter Margaret. In 1210, King John sent an expedition to Ireland. Maud and her son escaped but were apprehended on the Antrim coast while trying to sail for Scotland.[10][11] After being briefly held atCarrickfergus Castle,[12] they were dispatched to England.

[edit]Imprisonment at Corfe Castle

Maud and her son William were first imprisoned at Windsor Castle, but were shortly afterwards transferred to Corfe Castle in Dorsetwhere they were placed inside the dungeon. Maud and William both starved to death.[12] Her husband died a year later in exile in France where he had gone disguised as a beggar to escape King John's wrath after the latter had declared him an outlaw, following his alliance with Llywelyn the Great, whom he had assisted in open rebellion against the King, an act which John regarded as treason. He was buried in the Abbey of St. Victor, Paris.

Corfe Castle; within whose dungeon Maud de Braose and her son William were starved to death
Maud's daughter Margaret de Lacy founded a religious house, the Hospital of St. John, in AconburyHerefordshire in her memory.[13] On 10 October 1216, eight days before his death, King John conceded three carucates of land in the royal forest of Aconbury to Margaret for the construction of the religious house. He sent the instructions to her husband Walter de Lacy, who held the post of Sheriff of Hereford, by letters patent.[14]
Maud de Braose features in many Welsh folklore myths and legends. There is one legend which says that Maud built the castle of Hay-on-Wye single handed in one night, carrying the stones in her apron.[15] She was also said to have been extremely tall and often donned armour while leading troops into battle.[16]
The legend about her building Hay Castle probably derives from the time she added the gateway arch to a tower which was built in the 1180s.[17]
In contemporary records, she was described as beautiful, very wise, doughty, and vigorous. She kept up the war against the Welsh and conquered much from them.[13]
The manner in which Maud and her son William met their deaths so outraged the English nobility that Magna Carta, which King John was forced to sign in 1215, contains clause 39; it reads:
No man shall be taken ,imprisoned, outlawed, banished or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Do I Stay or Do I Go?

I migrained all day yesterday, slept eleven hours and am migraining again today. I tried the *good stuff* for it last night and it helped me sleep but didn't cure the pain. Today I'm trying a new tactic, we'll see if that works. I'm having these headaches more frequently and for longer periods of times but... I'll see the doctor next week and hopefully they'll have a suggestion/solution.

We're anxiously awaiting confirmation that the mountain house that mom and dad want to buy is indeed theirs. It's a nice big house on a lake, it has three and a half bathrooms and four bedrooms, a nice "daughter suite" in the basement with room for me to have my own bedroom, bathroom and a big open space for my living room furniture and kitchen table. So... minus a kitchen, it's my own little apartment. It has a separate entrance and looks out on the lake. There is to be an inspection Wednesday and if all things go well, they'll close on it mid-August.

To understand what a huge deal this is... you should know that my parents have lived for thirty-six years in a little ranch house with four bedrooms and one bath. The kitchen is so small that my dad and I can barely be in there together. The mountain house doesn't have a huge kitchen but it's about twice the size of their current kitchen and open to the next room so it will be nice and roomy. My parents' house is about 1100 square feet and the house they're *hopefully* buying is about 2600 square feet. Big, big deal!

All this leads to the question of where I will live. Here are the factors that I'm considering and I hope guys will weigh in with your thoughts.

1. I love, love, love being here with my parents, my kids next door and all the fur-babies. I was #2 of five kids so there was always someone else around and I started having kids when my brothers were 4, 7 and 10 years old (and Jim was 20) so there were always little ones that needed/deserved our attention. I've never been able to just hang out with my parents and I love it.

2. I always said that "Austin was my youngest but Cody is my baby". Cody's just the kid who does the best job at taking care of people. Maybe it's that whole middle child thing, I don't know. He's a sweetheart and I have missed him soooo much! I'm not ready to leave him and I don't want to go months in between seeing him again.

3. Finally, after two years of having a daughter-in-law, I'm really getting to know Marquee. She's so intelligent that you really have to get beyond small talk with her to appreciate the depths of her personality and to understand what interests her. I love having that daily access to her and Cody. And, just for the record, I don't go over to their house much. they usually both come over in the evening after Cody gets home from work and we all hang out in my room watching tv and playing with the fur-babies.

4. There is a decent possibility that I will be starting work soon with the agent in Fayetteville. (for those of you who are not Georgians, Fayetteville is about fifteen minutes south of where my parents live, which is about fifteen minutes south of the Atlanta airport). If/when I start working there, it is likely that I will not work a five day work week which means that I could live part time in Riverdale and part time in the mountains.

5. I've asked the Fayetteville agent to "sponsor" my sales agreement with State Farm so that I can do fill in/temp work for other agents. I've done this in the past and it works well for me. I just need to get an agreement in place and make sure I'm up to date on any changes within the company. There are a lot of agents who need a little help here and there but can't commit to bringing someone on with regularity. Most people can't afford to work temp hours but I don't need to make a huge amount but I need to be able to cover my doctor bills, prescriptions, insurance, gas, etc. If I split my time between Riverdale and the mountain house, I can work for anyone in those areas.

6. If I'm splitting time, I need to have creature comforts set up in both places which means I will need to buy a tv and be able to pay for the internet and satellite service at the new place (and the utilities, to as much of a degree as I can). I know this seems more like a luxury than a necessity but... it's how I deal with being alone, having contact with the outside world. We can easily furnish both places as I have my furniture in storage and dad inherited some furniture from grandma (who is settling into her new senior living facility). But I need a second tv to make it work in my nest.

7. Living here (in Riverdale) helps me deal with the pain better and I think it helps my mom deal with her pain issues better as well. We sort of cover for each other based on which one of us is dealing with less pain that day. That helps me to push through on days that I might not otherwise. One or the other will do the dishes, deal with the animals, take Marquee to school, run errands, etc. Having someone else close by who can validate what you're feeling is a huge help. I don't LOOK sick. People tell me all the time that I don't look like I'm in pain. I'm not sure what "in pain" looks like but I'm not going to dramatize it as a ploy for sympathy. I hurt most of the time. My mom hurts most of the time. It's just what we live with.

8. My parents Riverdale house only has one bathroom. It's not nearly as big a deal as it was when I was growing up with four brothers, two parents and me in a house with one bathroom, but it is not as nice as having my own private bath. So, although we're not really crowded with just the three of us... and in an emergency we could use Cody's bathroom next door... there's only one bathroom here.

9. My mom has decided to go ahead and work another year as a crossing guard. Pop will probably retire in about a year and a half. So, at least until about January 2014, they will not be full-time in the mountain house and *somebody* needs to keep watch over it. It's fairly remote but really only about a five-ten minute drive to my brother's house.

10. I don't qualify for medicaid or food stamps while living here with my parents because the household income is too high (even though I'm not contributing to it). If I lived alone at the mountain house, if I wasn't working, I could qualify. This is not my CHOICE, you understand, but I also have to take into consideration that there is medical care that I need and pharmaceutical intervention that I require that has to be paid for somehow. And if I'm living in the mountain house and not working, I'd have to pay for food somehow.

11. My mom eats better if there's someone around to cook for her. Pop and I both enjoy cooking. When Pop golfs after work, I cook dinner. When Pop makes breakfast on the weekends, I clean up afterwards. I keep track of what we need at the store and try to match coupons to what we need (sometimes it works... this week we didn't buy anything that I had a coupon for). I enjoy cooking more when people actually enjoy and appreciate my efforts (Austin never did, much).

12. Having the mountain house as a residence means that I can continue to keep my car registered there, I can keep my voter registration there, etc. Keeping the car registered there is a big deal because in the Atlanta metro area you have to have an emissions test every year which is costly and aggravating if the car doesn't pass the test. Voting in White County is waaaaay easier than voting in a busy, crowded suburban county. There are people who waited HOURS to vote in the last presidential election here. There are only 14,000 registered voters in White County.

13. Austin. He won't move to Riverdale. I can't keep tabs on him from him. He doesn't drive yet. Doesn't have a car. Doesn't have internal motivation, much, except I have found out that he went to the Vocational Rehab place and they are going to start him on a work evaluation program that lasts ten days, afterwards, if he does well, they will "slide him into a job". They provide the transportation to the work evaluation. I'm not sure about the transportation to work. I want to be able to remove any obstacles to his success. Being there helps me help him. Being away from him breaks my heart.

14. I miss the mountains. I miss the clean air and the beauty all around me and wonderful community there. I miss my church there, even if I wasn't faithful to attend, I always knew they were there for me and cared about me. I miss that small town niceness and the familiar faces. I was meant to be a small town girl. I miss my girls.

15. It is not good for me to be alone. I'm not one of those nervous nellies that hears noises and gets scared. But, if I'm alone I don't eat well, I don't get dressed, I don't do anything except sit. I need the motivation of caring for someone else to keep me functioning.

Sooooo... as you can see... there are still a lot of variables involved once the house is a done deal. It was never my intention to be a burden on anyone. I need to make my own money and take care of my needs and contribute to whichever house I'm in. Pray that the job situation clears up for me. It's been a nice break but it's gone on too long. Somebody hire me, please!

Hope you're having a great Monday!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Yes, we are THAT Cleveland!

I thought I blogged yesterday but I guess I didn't.  I must have been too deep in Olympic spirit and genealogy. Here's one of the lines I've been working on:
my dad is Jim Gant, son of
Leta Ward, daughter of
Charles Pelham Ward, son of
William Cleaveland Ward, son of 
Caroline A. Cleaveland, daughter of
John Cleaveland, son of

Aaron Cleaveland (1727-1785)
A few notes from the family archives:

Col. Aaron Cleaveland was the fifth son and tenth child of Josiah and Abigail (Paine) Cleaveland.   
He lived all of his life in Canterbury, Connecticut.
He married Thankful Paine, his mother's niece and therefore his first cousin. 
Together they had eight children: Aaron, Moses, Abigail, John, Paine, William Pitt, Thankful and Camden.
Moses and William both graduated from Yale, classes of 1777 and 1793 and were both lawyers.
I haven't been able to determine the education or profession of my ancestor in this line, John. 

From the Paine Family Records by Henry D. Paine, 1883 "Aaron Cleaveland was a distinguished man in Canterbury, and prominent in public affairs during the Revolution.  He furnished the 'pent up' Bostonians a cow for food in 1776.  He was known as Col. Aaron.  He was struck with palsy and died after a lingering illness."

(I found this information on but I've seen it other places as well so I'm not sure where it originates) He served as captain in the French and Indian wars; was a man of wealth, and well known throughout New England in business and political circle. He bore a conspicuous part in the Revolutionary struggle as a gallant soldier and meritorious officer, was present at the time of Governor Tryon's assault upon Horse-Neck, and saw "General Putnam plunge down the steep bluff, the bullets of the baffled dragoons whizzing around him, and even passing through his hat." 

Colonel Aaron Cleaveland was a man of great wit and humor, with wonderful powers of mimicry. He accompanied his son Moses to Ohio, and with him invested largely in those Western Reserve lands, making their purchases from the Indians. The land on which the City of Cleveland stands was purchased by them and named for them."

According to "A History of Cleveland and It's Environs: The Heart of Old Connecticut" , it was Moses Cleaveland who traveled to Ohio and Moses Cleaveland for whom it was named. My family, but a great-great-great-great-great-uncle. Apparently there was some concern among the residents of Connecticut that things were getting too crowded so they formed an expedition to explore and expand. This was the Connecticut Land Company. 

My brief study on the Connecticut Land Company showed they intended to go West and "survey and make locations on said land and to enter into friendly negotiations with the natives who are on said land or contiguous thereto and may have any pretended claim to the same".  In other words, kick out the Indians.

If you would like to know more about the Connecticut Land Company, this is from wikipedia: 

The Connecticut Land Company was formed in the late eighteenth century to survey and encourage settlement in the Connecticut Western Reserve, part of the Old Northwest Territory. The Western Reserve is located in Northeast Ohio with its hub being Cleveland. In 1795, the Connecticut Land Company bought three million acres (12,000 km²) of the Western Reserve. Settlers used the guidelines of the Land Ordinance of 1785, which demanded the owners survey the land before settlement.[1] In 1796, the company began surveys and sales on property east of Cuyahoga.[2]
The original proprieters, 57 of the wealthiest and most prominent men in Connecticut, included Oliver Phelps, the largest subscriber and chief manager of the project. In 1796, one of the largest shareholders, Moses Cleaveland, planned a settlement on the banks of the Cuyahoga River with Seth Pease. This planned settlement would become the city of Cleveland.[1] 

This is what wikipedia says about old Uncle Moses:

At Buffalo a delegation of Mohawk nation and Seneca tribe Indians opposed their entrance into the Western Reserve, claiming it as their territory, but waived their rights on the receipt of goods valued at $1,200. The expedition then coasted along the shore of Lake Erie, and landed, on July 4, 1796, at the mouth of Conneaut Creek, which they named Port Independence. The Indians were propitiated with gifts of beads and whiskey, and allowed the surveys to proceed. General Cleaveland, with a surveying party, coasted along the shore and on July 22, 1796, landed at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. He ascended the bank, and, beholding a beautiful plain covered with a luxuriant forest-growth, divined that the spot where he stood, with the river on the west and Lake Erie on the north, was a favorable site for a city.
He accordingly had it surveyed into town lots, and the employees named the place Cleaveland, in honor of their chief. There were but four settlers the first year, and, on account of the insalubrity of the locality, the growth was at first slow, reaching 150 inhabitants only in 1820. Moses Cleaveland went home to Connecticut after the 1796 expedition and never returned to Ohio or the city that bears his name. He died in Canterbury, Connecticut. Today, a statue of him stands on Public Square in Cleveland. The statue makes occasional appearances in popular media referencing Cleveland, including the movie Major League and the viral video "Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video", in which he is credited for "inventing" Cleveland.[1]
The place called "Cleaveland" eventually became known as "Cleveland". One explanation as to why the spelling changed is that, in 1830, when the first newspaper, the Cleveland Advertiser, was established, the editor discovered that the head-line was too long for the form, and accordingly left out the letter "a" in the first syllable of "Cleaveland", which spelling was at once adopted by the public.[2] An alternative explanation is that Cleaveland's surveying party misspelled the name of the future town on their original map.[3]

President Grover Cleveland is a relative but I have been unable to figure out the exact lineage. 
"In Memory of Col'o Aaron Cleaveland; Who died of a fit of apoplexy on the 14th day of April AD 1785 AET. 57. Born the 7th day of Dec'r 1727, on the 17th of June AD 1782, when in the bloom of health, & prime of life, was struck with the dumb palsy; From that time to his death had upwards of sixty fits of the palsy & apoplexy. -- He was imploy'd in sundry honourable offices, both Civil and military."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thank Heaven for Little Girls

This is not  the earliest picture we have (of course) of Sarabeth, Jamie and their best friend, my adopted niece, Jorjann, but it will give us a good comparison of how much these girls are growing up! (there are also pictures from just a year and a half ago on the sidebar of my blog)...  I'm so proud of them! Left is Sarabeth and Jorjann at a wedding... Sarabeth was a Jr. Bridesmaid. She's been promoted from flower girl... and she's been a flower girl a half dozen times or so.
And below that is  our "grown up" Jamie dancing with a friend at the same wedding. These girls have been in so many weddings that it wouldn't surprise me if one of them grew up to be a wedding planner.  This is what happens when your parents are heavily involved in the lives of young people... and you're a perfectly matched set of redheads...

I snagged these pictures off of facebook. I also snagged another picture that just makes my heart melt in the way that your heart can melt when precious little girls happen to mothers of little boys. If you've never been that woman who longs for a little girl to take to dance class... and cheerleading... and to put bows in her hair and dress her in frilly dresses... and if every blessed event brings you a bundle of blue... which is what happened to me, times three... and what makes me an expert on the subject of boy mamas and how, although we love cheering them on at the ball field and finding little treasures in dirty little pockets... although we would never trade a single one of our boys for one of those little girls we long for... there's still this little corner of your heart that is the tiniest bit wistful that we never had a little girl to love. One (very wise) lady once told me that "mothers of little boys get their daughters when their sons grow up" and it's true. I certainly couldn't have raised one nearly as wonderful as the one my son married.

I just think that God has a special way of filling in those gaps in our lives by giving us nieces and daughters-in-law - and eventually, for some of us (not me, at least, not yet) granddaughters. On the right is  Little Ava,, the granddaughter of my friend Sheree. I'm posting this without permission (so I hope she won't mind) but when Sheree posted this yesterday I just knew I had to blog about it! Back when we were young(er) mothers, Sheree and I bonded over a lot of things - having kids in the same school and at the same ball park, living in the same neighborhood, having mutual irritation with the same people (girl mamas... UGH! there was one that we were SURE was put on earth just to rub it in our faces that she had a little girl and WE didn't!) and just by the fact that we both drew the blue ticket repeatedly in the baby lottery.  So this Little Miss Muffet campaigning for her daddy... made my heart just about BUST with pride for Sheree. I know she has to be just absolutely over the moon for this baby girl! And I know how proud Sheree must be to have a son running for political office (because I was excited just by the fact that my boys registered to vote).  Raising boys to be contributing members of society... especially if they bring daughters-in-law and/or granddaughters into your life... well, what more could a boy mama ask for?

Anyways... today was a really long day. I went to the pharmacy to drop off a refill for my back meds (completely out, which set me up for being uncomfortable no matter what else I had done or hadn't done) then I took Marquee to school and then took my mom to the doctor (she hurt her back) and then we dropped off her prescriptions. We got back home and had a bite of lunch and started to get settled in and then we found out that the seller had accepted my parents offer for the house they want to buy in the mountains... (just a few miles from where I was living and just a few miles from my little red-haired girls!). Pop was in North Carolina at Grandma's house, getting it ready to sell and mama needed to get money wired to the escrow account for the house. Mama had a pain shot so she couldn't drive so I took her up to the bank and then what should have been a ten minute transaction at Wells Fargo (that's a blog for another day) ended up in a two hour ordeal. We got home... settled in for a few minutes and then Cody and Marquee came over and we decided what to have for dinner... and then Cody went and picked it up... and the dogs got in a fight over breadsticks... lots and lots of coming and going and letting dogs in and letting dogs out and feeding cats and coming and going and... I'm worn out. Mama and I have both sworn that we are not leaving the house tomorrow. Other than to pick up my prescription, that is. 

Hope you had a great Thursday... one more day until the Olympics! Woohoo!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Newsday Tuesday

I've spent my "unintentional sabbatical" watching countless hours of In Session. It can tend to be redundant but it can, at times, be interesting. I mean, there are precious few soap operas on any more and I've watched every single episode of A Baby Story, so In Session is my standard entertainment.

Yesterday we had coverage of the Donald Montanez trial - this is a guy who owned a towing company who had a "client" intercept the removal of his vehicle and was shot - by the owner. Sad, sad case. The victim was in town for his brother's funeral and ended up getting killed over picking a bad parking place at a strip joint. Withholding judgment about the patronage of a strip joint and being out and about after midnight (because nothing good happens after midnight),  I think the tow driver is guilty as sin and the jury agreed. In Session tends to show most low profile cases a few months after they actually happen. I try to avoid googling to find out what happens... but in this one, I had to peek.

Yesterday was also the beginning of jury selection for the Drew Peterson trial. Third wife mysteriously dies in the middle of a bitter divorce. Fourth wife mysteriously disappears. Poor fella... his wives are dropping like flies! He's a narcissist and YOU KNOW how I feel about narcissists. I hope he fries. He won't. I know there isn't enough evidence and the trial hasn't even started.

There was a little coverage on the sanctions brought down against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky conviction and the independent report about Penn State's role. Here's my thing: if the culture of football has escalated to the point that *the program* becomes so important that it takes precedence over the safety and well-being of young children in the community, then *the program* needs to end. I love college football. I love the traditions and the passion and the hype around it. I have a lot of respect - make that HAD a lot of respect for Joe Paterno and Penn State. My former mother-in-law went there and I highly respect her and know that she built a successful career from the education she received there. However, I am convinced that many, many kids were victimized that wouldn't have been victimized if the powers that be had taken a stand the moment they had even so much as a suspicion that something was going on that shouldn't.

In Session also showed the first court appearance of the Movie Theater Killer. He looked like he was drugged or crazy or both. Personally, I think he's faking. He is one of superior intelligence and *perhaps* narcissism (I don't have enough information to completely diagnose him yet) and I believe *he knows* what will appear as being psychologically disconnected. I think he's trying to portray himself as incapable of standing trial. Again, this proves my theory that nothing good happens after midnight. Not that I want to be flip or irreverent about those poor people who were killed, those who were injured and those who will spend the rest of their lives trying to forget what they saw that night. My brother and I used to go to the midnight movie (Rocky Horror) all the time when we were teenagers... it just seems that life is meaner now.

We took my mom's car in for servicing today and instead of sitting for the two hours it was supposed to take, we opted for a loaner car. Big, huge, hairy mistake! This dealership doesn't just give you a car off their lot... they cart you off to the nearest Enterprise Rental Car where you go through the whole "mother's maiden  name, blood type, firstborn grandchild's kidney" examination. Seriously, it would have been easier to just wait two hours. And then the guy tried the typical up sell, trying to scare my mom into thinking her car insurance wasn't transferable and even if it was, in the event of an accident she'd have to pay the deductible herself and loss of use on the car and blah blah blah and I jumped in and told her that the State Farm Visa that she had to use to secure the rental car (something the dealership neglected to mention) would cover any out of pocket expenses on a rental car. Most people don't know that... but many credit cards provide this type of benefit when you're renting a car, especially if it's a credit card with rewards or points or that sort of thing.

We also made a trip to pick up Marquee from school... normally either mama or I go but rarely both of us but she didn't want to drive the rental car (so she doesn't have to refill the gas tank, yet another inconvenience of a rental car vs. a loaner) and as I was backing out of the driveway to go to the college, Marquee called to let us know the front entrance to the college was closed and we would need to use the back entrance and I wasn't sure what she was talking about so my mom just grabbed my granddog Sammy and rode with me. Well, she didn't GRAB him... he was being sort of mopey and whiney so she didn't want to leave him with the other pups. And kitties.

Can you see the rainbow in the back porch screen? We had a hard, steady rain for about a half hour yesterday, complete with flooded backyard and dogs who are scared to death and hiding under chairs from the thunder. Pop said it never rained at the golf course but the thunder and lightning drove them into the clubhouse for a bit.  *grin* Everybody (mom, Cody, Marquee, four dogs, four cats and me) gathered in my room to wait out the storm and watch the news and The Five. I don't think anyone was really watching The Five except me but... it was on. It's nice to have company in the Nest.

I talked to Austin this morning and he was nasty with me again. Someone once told me that people carry with them their own perspective of a relationship, especially when it dissolves. Although I did not leave Cleveland with the perspective that Austin and I were estranged, his attitude makes me feel like we are. In my mind, I did my best to love and provide for Austin, even beyond, a lot of the time, what I could really afford to do or what most parents would have put up with. He's angry at me because things changed and I'm the one he feels like he can blame for that. He can't see how hard I worked to keep my finger in the dam for all those years... he only sees the results of the dam breaking... and that dam breaking interrupted his creature comforts that he's enjoyed with me.

At any rate... he was still focused on the fact that his phone coverage expires at the end of this month since I can't/won't pay for the renewal and I asked if he had heard from the Vocational Rehab place about a job - he said they hadn't called him back. (I knew this was not true) I suggested that maybe he should talk to his Youth Pastor or Uncle Bubba or someone at the church about finding someone who might pay him to do their yard work or something to give him a little pocket change (and pay for his phone) until he finds a job. He ended up hanging up on me. I emailed the super nice, super concerned lady at the Vocational Rehab place and she said they had not heard from Austin but she would call him right away. So that's that.

I'm trying to keep a lid on geeking out about the Olympics but I am SUPER excited about the games and can hardly wait until Opening Ceremony! My enthusiasm always wanes about a week into things but... still... it's one of those things that I still think are worth watching, just because.

Random crazy cat lady picture of the week: this is Trouble with his "tings" (things) (straws) (he loves them) and my Hop on Pop doll who wears a dress that I wore when I was a baby. I call him "Cross Dressing Hop on Pop" but my mom says he should be called "Purple Pop".

And speaking of Purple People*, today is Purple Michael's birthday and, just like with my kids, it makes me sort of wistful and sad that I can't be with him. Chicago seems worlds away sometimes. I miss him so much.

I have been watching Big Brother but it hasn't really piqued my interest as much this year. Not much news there.

My back has really been bothering me this week. The pain changes just often enough that when I get used to one kind of pain, I get something different that makes me miserable in a whole new way. Right now I'm back to the feeling of my spine collapsing on itself which is what happens when I pick up things that are too heavy for me. After a few days of that feeling of pressure, I'll start dealing with muscle spasms in my lower back, which will evolve into more of a sharp pain pinpointed in the middle of my spine (this is usually the arthritis) and eventually it cycles back into the piriformis syndrome (which is the pain like what you would feel if you were sitting on a wallet) and the sciatica (which is the pain that radiates down into your legs and feet) and then, periodically, just to keep things interesting, the "all-over" fibromyalgia type pain will kick in.

Anyways... so we're just hanging out now, waiting to hear back from the car dealership and take the rental car back and pick up mom's car. And that... is my Tuesday. What's new with you?

*In the original version of my blog I would highlight the names of girls in pink, the names of guys in blue and the names of same sex oriented people in purple. Since I had a brother Michael and a husband Michael and a best friend Michael, they were blue, orange (Gator orange) and purple. Thus, my friend Michael became Purple Michael.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Few Post-it Notes

Dear Heather,

Please refrain from lifting heavy objects, especially when you lift more than one in a day.

Yours Truly,
Your Spine
Dear Cody,

You are an amazing husband and son and grandson and every day I grow prouder of you. I hope I can take at least some of the credit for your cooperative attitude and loving spirit.

Dear Bathroom Librarian,

I have finished reading the six copies of Readers Digest and the instruction manual for the fish aquarium. Thank you for leaving the sports page from Saturday but it would be nice if you could include the Living section of the paper as well.

Your Frequent Patron
Dear Rosie the Cat,

Please refrain from using the Living section of the paper as your litter box.

Peace Out, Old Girl.
Dear Trouble aka Shadow aka Lex aka Little Kitty,

I am glad you like to cuddle at night but could you possibly refrain from using my heel as a pillow?

K. Thanks. Bye.
Dear Old Friend,

It was good to talk to you again. It would have been nice to have lunch with you yesterday as you had mentioned but I understand that sometimes plans fall through. Your text last night was sweet. I would like to see you very soon as well.

P.S. Yesterday was a waste of mascara
Dear Oldest Child,

You don't have to check in every week or anything but if you would just post a little something on facebook occasionally so that I know you're alive and well that would be fabulous.

Dear Youngest Child,

Please refer to above message.

P.S. It would be awesome to get a text from you that is more than a one word - or one letter "k" - response.
Dear Oscar the Wiener Dog,

I have trouble typing when you're in between me and the laptop. Please go back to bed. Also, licking my face does not change this.

Dear Purple Michael,

Tomorrow is your birthday and I have (once again) failed to mail a card, present, cash donation, gift card, or any other suitable observation of your special day. Please know that I am thinking about you, praying for you and missing you terribly. Love him!

Dear Pop,

Thanks for the new tires! I have a feeling we narrowly avoided an unfortunate circumstance with the old ones. 

Your favorite (and only) daughter
Dear Angie,

I miss you! I would like to spend a couple of hours just sitting and chatting with you. I feel like our lives have changed so drastically in the past four months that we need to reconnect. 

Your sister-in-law
Dear Sarabeth and Jamie,

Stop growing already! I miss you and love you more than you'll ever know!

Aunt Heather
Dear Stasha,

When are we going to get news of a Baby Addison? Not rushing. Just wondering.

Love, Aunt Heather
Dear Aunt Ginger and Uncle Carl,

Happy Trails! I'll visit soon.

Your Favorite (yet elusive) Niece
Dear Mama,

I've had more fun hanging out with you in the past month than in the rest of my whole life put together. Thanks for letting me take over the Gant Child/Grandchild Museum.

Dear Eyebrows,

What do I have to do to get you under control? There should be two of you.

Muppet Face
Dear Pop,

Thanks for the new brush. We love feeling beautiful.

Lily, Lady and Trouble
(and Oscar too, although he only gets scratched, not brushed since he doesn't have fur)
Dear Prospective Employer,

I'm worth it, I promise. Hire me, please!

Heather Gant
Dear Blog Readers,

Thanks for your love, your comments, your private messages, your emails, your suggestions, your input, your prayers, your kindness and for bothering to read my blog. It makes me feel like I make a contribution to the world other than serving as Trouble's pillow.

Love and hugs,
Dear Monday,

You may come at me with an aching back, an empty bank account, a longing in my heart to see my boys that are far off, a disappointment or two and whatever else you think will bring me down. I will love you anyways. There are always reasons to love Monday.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

*yawn* Miss me?

This may have been the longest gap EV-UH between blog entries. It wasn't intentional. It wasn't just that there wasn't anything to blog about (when has that ever stopped me?). The computer is working fine. I actually worked on a few genealogical blog entries that ended up requiring more research and I got bogged down in the research to the point that I was too bogged to blog.

So here are a few highlights from the past few days, in no particular order:

I got new tires (and needed them desperately)
I had dinner with mama, daddy, Cody and Marquee at O'Charleys
I watched countless hours of the wall to wall coverage about the Movie Theater Massacre
I wondered *judgmentally* why anyone would take small children to a midnight movie
I spent another countless number of hours working on
I have petted, brushed, fed and watered most of the countless four legged creatures in our house
I went grocery shopping and pet shopping with Pop
I have been haunted by a nasty migraine that keeps resurfacing
I got a text from Austin asking for more money
I have had a dozen dreams about Austin asking for money
I have washed dishes a few times
I got a call from an old friend and may, (possibly, not holding my breath) have lunch with him today
I have dealt with more pain than usual, not sure why
I had Captain D's for dinner on Friday
I made my awesome chicken sausage, kale and orzo dinner
I made some really good quinoa
I have eaten a lot of pimento cheese sandwiches
I decided not to make the trip to the mountains today for my doctor appointment tomorrow
Rather, I should say, I decided to postpone the doctor appointment
I got another "still in limbo" job response so... no job yet
I'm beginning to think that the hold up is what I think the hold up is
A friend of a friend is opening a new insurance agency (not State Farm) and may want a part time person (like me) who is already licensed (like me)
Other than that... I'm one disappointment away from Walmart greeter
I have had more than my share of bad hair days
My hanging clothes are still riding around in my trunk - or, as my dad says, "Living out of my car"
Actually... I have the biggest bedroom in the house, it's just missing a closet
I still haven't scanned the fourteen shoe boxes of pictures in my room
I did a load of laundry.
I have been amazed at how my laundry pile has shrunk minus one teenager
We're still looking for a place for grandma (and by "we" I mean my dad and his siblings)
My parents' got a counter offer on the mountain house they want to buy and countered the counter.
My aunt and uncle are heading out to Texas via motor home and then Italy, not by motor home.
I haven't made any paper dolls yet.
Marquee has one week of summer school left then has a two week break before fall semester.

And that's about all I can type for you at the moment because Oscar is demanding my attention... nothing like having a cold little dachshund snout trying to push your hands away from the keyboard.

Hope all is well! Love and hugs!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What's Up Wednesday

Continuing my theme of whining as little as possible... and just letting you know what's up without all the woe.
This morning I decided that I needed to get out of the house for a little while. Not that it's unpleasant here... quite the opposite. There's plenty to eat... my room is big and comfy... I have lots of fur-babies to keep me company... It's just that I don't have the usual issue of kids who need to be various places (other than taking my daughter-in-law to class but usually my mom does that)... I don't have the responsibility of running a household, from the perspective of paying bills (dad usually does that online) or shopping (although I do enjoy grocery shopping with Pop on Saturdays)... me, Pop and Cody sort of alternate cooking but I don't do it every day... I try to do the dishes before they pile up and I make coffee if Pop hasn't yet... I make my bed the minute I'm out of it (as usual) and I keep my space relatively tidy... but for the most part, I don't have much that I HAVE to do so I've been just in sort of no-makeup, hair in a ponytail, staying home and not spending money kind of state.

My big adventure for the day? Thrift store shopping. I bought four new pairs of shorts a long sleeve hoodie made out of tshirt material, a big roomy sleep t-shirt and a great cowl neck top. I also bought a pair of Old Navy capris but the bad news is that I'm so fat now that even the fat pants don't fit. Ugh. I'm taking them back. So... not counting the Old Navy pants, for all of that - seven pieces of clothing - I spent about $16. You can't beat it. It's guilt free retail therapy.

I also went to Chickfila and used the change in my car to buy a large lemonade. I'm not boycotting Chickfila as some are, due to the company position on gay marriage. I think the Cathey family (which owns Chickfila) are good people, I know that they have changed many, many lives and enabled many young people to get an education, I know that they support their community and do a lot, a lot of good. My opinions on homosexuality are based on my personal experience - Purple Michael has been a very good friend and co-parent for me. My friend Charlie has practically raised Ryan. Austin still talks about Josh (whose mother cuts my mother's hair) and how he took such good care of him. Joey opened up opportunities for me in theatre that I would have never had before. I love these guys - and many other gals and guys -with all of my heart....I want them to be happy. However, I am weary of the politically correct police who want to basically banish Christianity or anyone who believes differently from them. Our society has evolved to the state that Christianity is "bad". I love and appreciate the gay men who have literally colored my life. I also love Jesus and I love my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I'm a conservative Christian who votes Republican and loves a lot of people from a lot of different walks of life and believes that we all have the right to believe what we believe. I don't want to take sides. I just want everyone to love one another. The greatest commandment is that you LOVE one another. I don't have it all figured out. I don't really know how to reconcile these two different ideologies any more than I know how to foster peace in the Middle East.

But the lemonade at Chickfila is awesome. And that's all I have to say about that. 

A few of you have asked about Austin and I really don't have much to share. He's still, to the best of my knowledge, living with his married friend. I don't believe he's working. My brother tried to take him to lunch and Austin was busy doing some game thing and couldn't go. Austin called and asked his dad for money and his dad refused. I sent him $40 (that I didn't really have) and paid to have it sent priority mail so he would have it the next day (it cost $5.90) and although the post office shows it being delivered on Saturday morning, I didn't hear anything from him until Tuesday. And that was after me making several attempts to connect with him on Monday. I was THISCLOSE to asking the Sheriffs office to do a welfare check on him but I didn't. He finally, on Tuesday afternoon, sent a text that said, "yeah. got money". No "thank you"... nothing. I was worried about keeping his cell phone paid for so that we would be able to get in touch with him but... yeah... I'm over that.

Speaking of cell phones... I changed my plan from a $60 a month unlimited talk and text to a plan that gives me 250 minutes of talk and unlimited text for $25 a month. I never talk on the phone. Never, ever, ever. The only time I might use my cellphone is if I'm out in the car and have car trouble OR if there's a time sensitive thing that needs to be discussed before I get to a landline. I do text. Slowly, but I text. So this plan makes much more sense for me right now.

Back to Austin - I do worry about him but I also know that worrying won't change his perspective. He's got to go through this process in his own way and there is absolutely nothing I can do to change his mind. He is emotionally about five years behind his age and so - in my heart- it's like leaving a 13 year old kid to fend for himself with people who have demonstrated to me that they have poor judgment. Even if I had all the money in the world and could afford to allow him to live the way he wants to live - I wouldn't do it. I had a dream the other night that I had delivered a baby and left it at home alone... and all my friends were asking who was watching the baby and ... yeah, it's fairly easy to interpret that I'm feeling like I have a helpless child out there all alone without supervision. But the fact that he's not taking advantage of the resources available to him - the Vocational Rehab place, the many, many businesses within walking/biking distance from where he's living that he's never bothered to apply to, the fact that he only took flipflops with him and sees no problem with applying for work wearing flipflops, the fact that he'd rather download some games than have a free lunch with Bubba, the fact that he didn't want to have lunch with me when I had the opportunity to see him... this tells me that he's going to have to find out the hard way that the path he's own may seem smooth and easy but it's really a rocky, steep, unpleasant journey that he's mapping out for himself.

And... so that's the deal with Austin and that's what's up this Wednesday.

Love and hugs, y'all!