What I Did on My Summer Staycashun

By Jenni


On my summer staycashun, I went too my parents hous to hous sit wile thay went to a famly reyunyun  reyoonyun get together. My parents liv on 160 akers and it is rilly pritty. It was also rilly hot. It got up to 106 digrees. Lukily, we bot a pool with a big bloo rubber ring and filled it with woter. It saved our lives.


(not rilly us)


We saw sum deer, and sum turanchulus  tuhranchuluhs  big harry spiders and turtles and frogs and toads and skinks and bunnees and a kiyotee. We didn’t see a skunk but we smelled it win my parents dog desided to try to eat it. He is not verry smart.


at leest hes cute


Becos I am the gud dotter, I also helped out around ther plase. I pulled the weeds in ther flower gardins evin tho it wuz so hot I almost evaperatid  evaperated  diyd. Win I felt lik I wuz going to puke, I wud go jump in the pool and feel beter. Thin I wud go pull mor weeds evin tho they didnt ask me too, becuz I am the gud dotter lik that.


Weeds ar evul.


I also got eeten by chiggers becuz I sat on ther home, I gess. Chiggers itch rilly bad. Thay lik to bite you in bad plases wher you cant scrach becuz it isnt pulite.


Chiggers are even mor evul then weeds.


I also polished moms silver and cleened her windoes. Becuz I am a gud dotter  I love her.


My staycashun wuz a lot of werk but it wuz mor fun than I ecspectid. I wotched lots of sunsets and even wun sunrise. I did not feel clostruhfobic  clostrufobik  trapped. Kuntry air is hot but it feels happy. Espeshully in the morning and eevning.



Sum day I wud lik to liv in the Kuntry to.


The End

Dear Ocean,

My darling, beloved friend! I’m sure you have been questioning my devotion to you these two long years since last we met. You think me cold, unfeeling, faithless! But nothing could be further from the truth!


My longing for you is a deep and endless ache, an appetite that cannot be quenched by any mortal thing, a cruel torment of misty dreams and memories worn to tatters by my constant handling.


How long must we be apart? How long will time and space stand between us? Must I forever pine for a permanent union? Will my tears be my only taste of you?


How I long for your warm embrace, your salty kiss, your boundless generosity. I long to walk with you and discover your many moods…from blue and peaceful to grey and stormy, how I love your unpredictability! Every day with you is a surprise.


I cherish the gifts you’ve given me through the years. I turn them over and over in my hand and try to hear your voice in them. Your scent is long gone from their surface, but when I close my eyes I catch an echo of its perfume.


Dearest, fairest, brightest friend! If circumstances forever prevent our reunion, know that I am, as I ever was…




The Caribbean Vacation that Almost Was

Have you heard that the economy is shot to heck? Up the creek? Over a barrel? Between a rock and a hard place? In a pickle? On the fritz? And other assorted prepositional phrases?


Yeah. I think I heard that somewhere.


Fortunately, even though the economy is, well…you know…here’s some good news. You can still take a lovely Caribbean vacation! Yes! In fact, in my current issue of Coastal Living (AKA “that glossy publication that repeatedly causes me to break commandment #10 into teeny, weeny pieces”), there is an entire article devoted to helping good, hardworking folks like you and me save a buck or two on just such an endeavor. And since I am all things magnaminous, I will henceforth share this information with all of you.


First on the docket is the fabulous island of St. Lucia. Can you believe such places exist on this earth? Are those angelic voices that I hear, or have I just suffered a minor brain embolism in the face of so much lush tropicality?



Lucky, lucky us! Coastal Living informs me that we can go and stay at the Jade Mountain resort in St. Lucia anytime this year and receive our fourth night FREE!!!! FREE!!! Absolutely FREEE!!!!!


Pack your bags! Buy your flip flops! Slather on the sunscreen! Wax your…


Hang on.


Forgot to mention something.


The first three nights? $850.


Per night.


Okay, okay, okay! Don’t despair! I’m sure that was just a little joke to whet our appetites. Let’s move on and see what else they can offer us middle class slobs who stand in Wal Mart and compare cost-per-oz before choosing a can of garbanzo beans.


Deep, cleansing breath.




Oooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….be still my heart. The Turks and Caicos Islands are surely the jeweled landing on the staircase to heaven, if not the lobby of heaven itself. Drink it in, my friends. Drink it in.



And guess what???  After June 1st, rates drop several hundred dollars per night! And if you book four nights in a row, you get FREE MEALS!!!!!


Where’s my snorkel? Is my passport still valid? Does my camera have batteries? Has anybody seen…?




I seem to have overlooked the fine print.


Staying in one of those cute little pavilions?


$1200. Per night.


But yoga classes are free with that! And afternoon tea!


If your windows shatter suddenly, do not be alarmed. It is simply the frequency of my shrieks at this moment.


Okay, Coastal Living. I’m giving you one more chance. Show me something that the teeming masses can enjoy, or I’ll cancel my subscription.


How about Virgin Gorda? It’s a sweet little British spot of fragrant frangipani, sea grape trees, and white sand beaches rimmed by that undefinable blue-green Caribbean sea.



I’m finding it difficult to type, my keyboard being so slick with drool.


The good news? Seven-night stay packages are several THOUSAND dollars cheaper right now.


So now, nights at the resorts run a paltry $700, champagne included.


What are you waiting for? It’s practically free!


Forget drooling. I’m starting to spit.


On the bright side, I think I’ve figured out what sort of relaxing, sun-drenched vacation I can afford this summer.


And it looks something like this.



Someday, I shall learn to love January.


I shall love its stillness and its silence and its gray waiting.


I shall appreciate its call to rest, to sit, to muse and meditate.


I shall approve of its hidden activity, the changes occuring beneath the ground my frozen feet tread, and I shall not chafe at the secrets it withholds from me.



I shall savor its call to slow down, to travel less, to reflect more.


I shall string the days like jeweled beads upon the cord of time and learn to see the beauty in even the common and coarse.


I shall.


Perhaps next year.




The room is darkened, the screen is off. I lay down and hold my breath, my heart fluttery and anxious. My Beloved sits beside me, making smalltalk with the tech as he readies his equipment. The goo, which is promised to be warm but never is, is slathered on my belly and the screen flickers to life.


To life. Life being the key word here. There is life within, floating and bobbing and wiggling and squirming. It is grey and white and black and more beautiful than I can say. I don’t bother to ask too many questions since I know the tech will not be permitted to give me anything but cursory answers, but he politely points out spine and ribs, heart and stomach, arms and legs and face.


Measurements are taken and compared. My eyes never leave the screen. The baby’s mouth is opening and shutting, and we can even see the tongue moving in nursing motions, practicing for that day still 20 long weeks away. The tech enjoys his job; he is jovial and interested in our reactions to his limited information, but he cannot know the depth of gratitude that I am feeling for every second that the screen shows this little bit of humanity waving at me.


The room is the same from many months previous. The screen is the same, the womb is the same. But this time there is not silence and stillness and sorrow. This time there is joy. I’m sure the tech has delivered sorrowful news before. He may have even been on the receiving end of such news himself, once upon a time. But we do not discuss such things. He has good news today for us; a heart beating strongly, growth appropriate to the dates, and organs all present and accounted for.



Loss affects everyone differently, and no one can compare their own to another. But in one way it is always the same…it always changes you. It changes everything. Close by in my crowded heart are friends whose own losses outweigh my own. And I am keenly aware that it may even still be in my future. Loss never leaves; once you experience it, it becomes a part of you.


The sonogram is over too soon. There are others waiting and I mustn’t be selfish. I wipe the goo and collect my things: pictures, dvd. Tokens of this moment of peeking. I treasure the glimpse and I anticipate April, but for now it is enough. More than enough. More than I ever expected to see again. I gaze at the fuzzy image and thank God for my tiny son.



Sorry, Bing

I’ll…be in the Caribbean….for Christmas….



you…can count…on me….


please….have sand….



and hammock stands…



and palms…on every treeeee….



Christmas Eve…will find me….



where…the sunshine….beams….



I’ll…be in the Caribbean…for Christmas….



If only…in….my dreams…



Jenni, plain and, uh. Short.

True confessions: I live in Oklahoma. I do not live at the seaside. I apologize if my header, theme, quotes, or frequent photos have led anyone to believe erroneously. Make no mistake: I am landlocked. Prairiebound.


And you know, most of the time I’m okay with that. I realize that the dream of living beside the sea is one that only a tiny fraction of people actually manage to achieve in their lifetimes (just don’t bother saying something like “oh but you know, if you lived there, you’d get tired of it. I used to live by the sea and blah blah blah blah…” because, Mr. McGee, don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry).



I don’t waste time dreaming about things that, barring torrents of money raining down from the heavens, just ain’t gonna happen. I mean, yeah, I’m going to hope for some prime real estate staked out in Heaven next to the Crystal Sea, but let’s talk here and now. The prairie. Where I live.

Actually, right now I live in a semi-medium-to-larger-smallish burg in Oklahoma (yes! we have them!) However, if you drive 10 or so miles in any direction, you can see the waving wheat and plains wherein the wind sweeps. THAT is where I set my sights, many, many years ago. I grew up on it, and in a small (very small. like infintesimal, but work with me here) way, it bears a resemblance to the ocean. It makes a noise. It moves. It has an endless feel to it if you squint a little. If I can’t have the ocean, I’ll take the prairie.



For eons, however, circumstances did not accomodate us. We were poor, we were moving, we were in flux, we were distracted. But I never wavered in what I desired, in the back of my mind. I wanted not 2, not 5, but at least 10 acres. I had children, and my children wanted beasts. Beasts need some room to run (so do children, come to think of it). It could not be at the bottom of a hole. It must be farther than 2 miles away from the highway. It must have a view (a nice view). It could not be next to piles of rusted crap. What is it about the pristine countryside that makes some folks want to fill it with their rusted crap? That is fodder for another post.


So twenty years later, we have found it. We have bought it. Yes! We have 10 acres.








Now, if you want to see REAL land, check out The Pioneer Woman’s blog (in my blogroll. I’m not linking to it because, frankly, the woman has enough readers. Stay here). Her property is truly droolworthy. But this, for me, is enough. Enough to build our rambly white farmhouse with the wraparound porch and porchswing. Enough to fill with beasts and children. Enough to raise some bees (they have to stay outside). Enough to build a little studio to throw pots and paint and tantrums. Enough to grow my hair long and wear it in braids and get really freckly and turn into a proper cottage businesswoman. I’ll sell my honey and pots (not pot, I said pots…I’m not getting that groovy) and homemade bread and flowers and vegetables. Maybe vegetables. Maybe I’ll actually learn to eat vegetables. You never know what kind of radical things might happen!




But not right now. Right now we just get to look at it. And save our pennies. And dream some more.





This blog just knocks me out. It’s like spun sugar and brown bread and a big bear hug from your favorite relative. I want to skiddoo into it like they do on Blue’s Clues. I want to be a fly on the wall of the house and see if all is really as it appears (read: perfect). Actually, I don’t give a flaming crap if it is perfect, because if it’s even half that sweet it’s good enough for me.



When I first started out on this mothering-homemaking-homeschooling-homebirthing-QF gig, I thought my life would grow into something resembling that blog. No really, I did! Stop laughing. I like teacups. I enjoy baking. I like to think I’m a creative sort. My heart swoons over a garden of swaying flowers. I used to read Victoria magazine!


But something somewhere went seriously awry. I think it all started when I couldn’t grow roses. They always shrivelled, got black spot, lost all their leaves, and died. I also hate ironing and I can’t sew. I tried, I really really did. I tried so hard. But everything I sewed wound up looking like A Really Bad Idea. I think these were the main obstacles in my quest for a life of unspeakable beauty and grace. That and I say things like “flaming crap”. Oops.


I haven’t completely given up, however. My Beloved and I still scan the newspaper every Sunday in a vain hope that our Dream Property will crop up and it will not cost eleventy-million dollars and be at the bottom of a lake. I still peruse my Beekeeping For Dummies book and tend my pathetic little patch of non-roses out front. I would hang my wash on the clothesline in our backyard, but unfortunately it stands directly adjacent to our neighbor’s dog run, and I don’t think that’s quite the scent that people rhaphsodize about when it comes to their line-dried laundry. And so I pine, stuck in suburbia, pathetic and goatless.


In the interest of wistfulness, however, I decided to throw a teaparty today. These used to be weekly events at my house for an entire school year once upon a time, under the guise of cultivating things like table manners and chivalry (I wonder if Jewels from the abovementioned blog ever has to tell her son to check his battle axe at the door before supping with the family?), but they have become much less frequent now. Anne Kroeker, over at her blog by the same name, put the notion in my head today with this post.


And so we lay the cloth (covered in smiling daisies and ladybugs, a leftover from a past birthday). And I thank God from the deepest crannies in my heart for my crazy, conflicted, bipolar, perfectly imperfect life


(pictures, you say? oh well, okay, if you insist)


mini zucchini muffins fit nicely into egg cups


a bouquet that I made from roses (purchased, ahem!), bleeding heart, hosta, and hydrangea (my garden)

look at them, taunting me with their smug resplendance. why must they torment me so?


anyway…back to the tea…here are some dignified sorts…


(sorry about the blur…the lighting in my dining room is abyssmal and my camera is dorking up)

Connie is holding her pinky high and proud


Jordan and her, uh…cheese man.


Gabriel’s tea leaves fortell doom, apparently…


highly satisfactory, I must say…



tea bags are undignified, honestly! how tacky.


And so the end. If you had been a fly on my wall, you would have heard many exhortations to please handle the china carefully, requests to pass the sugar, endless questions about whether said china was priceless or pricefull?and is that really real gold on the edges and will anyone be breaking into our house this very night to pilfer it? assorted bodily noises, another request to pass the sugar, exceedingly loud laughter, grimaces over the bitterness of a particular orange tea, one last request to PLEASE PASS THE SUGAR BEFORE I CRUMBLE INTO DUSTY ASHES IN MY CHAIR FROM WAITING SO LONG BECAUSE NO ONE CAN HEAR ME OVER THE DIN.