Take it to the limit….

I generally don’t have a commute, so I don’t usually listen to morning radio shows. I happened to be driving back in the early morning from Republican Land last week and listened to the morning host describing an incident with a bitchy, angry lady at the grocery store. He was using coupons to get a better deal for (I think) Ronald McDonald House and it was taking a while. He apologized and apparently this lady was just seething with resentment for the five or so extra minutes spent waiting, despite being told they were completing a task for charity and said so out loud.  On one hand, she’s obviously not a very nice person… on the other I completely get the frustration of a simple transaction taking way longer than needed because of someone’s shenanigans.

 

Miss Shannon is always, always running on borrowed time. I do not want to have a lengthy chat over the corn, in fact I go to automatic tellers whenever possible to save myself time. It’s not that I don’t like people, it’s that I am so over-scheduled it’s not even funny. Plus, that thing where people have a deep seated need to bare their souls to me… really, is there a sign flashing over my head that I can’t see?? Anyway… that lady was wrong for expressing what I actually think is a legitimate frustration. Bad manners… but what hit me was the dj saying, “If you really don’t have five extra minutes, you’re just over-scheduled.”

Yes, dear… I am over-scheduled. In fact, I am unpleasant thoughts over-scheduled… like… Holy Christ, I would rather jump off a bridge than complete my next ten scheduled tasks over-scheduled. (Don’t call mobile crisis, Miss Shannon is fine and dandy.) I can give twenty legitimate reasons that I always feel pushed to the limit. I usually really don’t have five extra minutes for you to dick around in front of me in a checkout line. Now… I would rather plaster a fake smile on my face and break every traffic law known to man rather than confront the lollygagger in front of me. But I sure as hell mind. I can’t say I like that about myself, but it’s factual.

While I’m busy taking it to the limit… the limit of my patience, endurance, and good will towards my fellow man… ask yourself why a generally decent person gets into the sort of predicament where they are so overstretched they can’t tell up from down. I can think of many reasons… for myself, it’s being a single mom who runs her own small business and has just enough insanity left to try to cultivate a relationship with a fairly nice guy. The combination makes me a crazy person quite a lot of the time. So, I get the angry, impatient woman in a way I truly wish I didn’t… I’m fighting a battle I can’t afford to lose…. Maybe she is, too. My final word on the matter is this: That dj isn’t wrong… and he’s not right either. People like me ARE ridiculously over-scheduled… by necessity. I can’t imagine this sort of nonsense as anything but a necessity… so if you just like to be busier than a one-armed paper hanger… please, please tell me about yourself. I would also like to hear from you if there are just not enough hours in the day to do what has to be done, like me.   And for the love of all that is good and civil in this world, you cannot just tell a stranger they are wasting your time.  The correct, polite words are Bless your heart!

Vacation with the Other Team!!

I’m exhausted… 1044 miles on the back of a Harley makes Miss Shannon feel like she’s been through a meat grinder.  About forty of those miles were without a helmet, which is a bad bad thing that our good pal, Dozer, actually posted on Facebook so now our mothers know.  While I have the utmost love and respect for both ladies, who are both entirely right, which I know because there’d be hell to pay if one of my kids did it…I just don’t want to hear the rigmorale.  As the autonomous adults we are, we took a calculated risk for a short time on back roads.  The last time I rode without a helmet, I was probably seventeen.  That was back in the day when the dirty bikers were a different breed altogether… (Please note:  I almost didn’t go out with Dozer because I think most MC guys are dicks.)  I like my current manifestation of dirty biker much better, which includes fellows who won’t allow me to walk across the street alone at midnight on account of somebody might hurt me.  Miss Shannon needs protecting, you know…  It was awfully cute, never in my life have I experienced men in protective mode before I met Dozer.  And it’s not just Dozer… it’s his friends, too.  I really love them for it.

Our group took this trip through a thunder storm to support a brother whose son walks with angels, so we could help him cry.  It broke my delicate tulip heart… This is a man I dance with regularly… his wife is someone I count as my friend.  He actually came to me following the celebration of the life of his son to tell me he’d come hang my door next week.  I can’t tell you what it meant to me that on the day we celebrated the life of his son, this very good man was worried about whether I was safe in my bed.  These folks are who we’re talking about when we say ‘good people’…. I can honestly say that I have never experienced such comradery and willingness to give.  I grew up wishing for government cheese poor… and these people are right there with the folks who will share their last bag of pinto beans with you… You need, I got… if that’s not in your world… find it.  Be willing to reciprocate.

Since we were traveling as a legion, we popped on over to the local legion Post 177 in Fairfax, Virginia.  They have a nice post with some fun people, a bride to be that I am proud to say I didn’t try to talk down and most importantly… they have a separate room you can smoke in.  I headed back there and started making conversation with the guys playing pool.  We were heading to the beach the following day… Rehoboth Beach, Delaware… You could’ve heard a pin drop.  Apparently, there’s a large gay population there.  Despite the fact that I have many loved ones who aren’t breeders, this has just not come up in conversation.  Naturally, I found this hilarious, as did absolutely everyone who was with us except Dozer.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s homophobic, but he is an old white guy who is used to conservative, traditional folks.  (No, people, I don’t know why this relationship works… it just does.  You’ll be all right.) I decided to consider this a learning curve for him, kind of like hanging in Republican Land was a hell of a departure for me.

The beach was gorgeous… acres of beautiful sand, the ocean and a fun tourist trap kind of area.  We had a lot of fun, satisfied my inner sea sprite, and ate some really good food.  I wasn’t overly concerned that there would be anything that would make anyone uncomfortable… Gay people are just like breeders (aka straight people) in that they don’t commonly copulate in public, generally wear clothing and are at the beach to do the very same activities.  The only time Dozer even noticed any difference was when we were walking by an entirely male populated bar, at which point he steered me in another direction with a certain level of forcefulness.  I tried to tell him we’d probably have a hella good time there, but he wasn’t buying.  If there were twenty lesbians there, it’d be different.  That’s women together and he wants to watch… Miss Shannon is giving Rehoboth Beach two thumbs way, way up!!  Dozer says next time we’re going to the Outer Banks.  In the immortal words of Charlie Daniels, he’s going back where the women are women and the men are men.

Plants are people, too!!

Have I ever mentioned that people just tell me things, utterly unbidden and frequently undesirably?  Whether it’s my face, my aura or maybe I just wronged someone in another life, I really don’t know.  Commonly this occurs when I am out and about, minding my own business while someone is experiencing crisis in my vicinity.  This can run the gambit from their spouse has recently cheated on them to terminal diagnosis and anywhere in between.  I don’t have to engage or even make eye contact… these people just home in my invisible “Ooh, pick me!!” magnet and amble on over.  I cannot tell you the number of weeping strangers I have held in my arms, nor would I venture to guess the number of absolute lunatics that just need my attention.  I am deeply empathetic to the folks who just need someone to hear them and feel their pain.  The escapees from Bedlam, not so much.

Just for a little additional weird background, I don’t have a green thumb, I have ten gnarled black fingers of annihilation, hidden by a decent manicure.  A couple of years ago, my little boy gave me seeds for Mother’s Day, which we planted.  My daughter said, “What are you gonna do now, plant killer?”  I like plants, but they don’t demand food in the same way as children and pets.  For the last two years, I have planted outside gardens and have had a modicum of success.  Miss Shannon can be taught new tricks, she likes flowers and has difficulty justifying the expense of buying cut flowers.  I bought an aloe plant about a year and a half ago because I thought it would make good minion hair in the planter I made.  Sadly, it was accidentally left out in a frost and hasn’t been happy since.  I put it outside hoping the sun might revive it.  Enter the Plant Advocate.

An unknown woman entered the daycare and said, “I want to talk to you about your plants.”  Usually, I need to be visually available for the deranged to approach, so I was taken aback.  So I hesitantly said, ok…. Then, the bowels of hell (from whence she came) opened up as she took me to task over the state of the aloe plant which is probably going to die.  Die, I tell you.  Now, at this point I’m edging towards the phone so I can call 911.  Her face became very red and she sputtered, “I am an advocate for the plants!” Happily, she then exited the building and hopefully won’t be heard from again.  Once again, I’d like to state for the record that I do not make this stuff up.  Don’t believe me??  Just ask Dozer how many times some random person has approached us with deeply personal information that most of us wouldn’t tell our best friends.  It’s the anonymity, of course and that beacon inside me that I can’t seem to find and eradicate.  For the record, if you feel a burning urge to enter business establishments and yell about plant life, get your head checked.

A Life Well Lived

Tugga, Tugga, Tugga…my last baby, is nearly nine years old.  Tonight he told me that when we go camping, he wants to bring his roller skates.  You know, so I can tow him behind my car.  (Or maybe HELL NO!!!)  Brenna, my first baby, who is old enough to know better, says, “My dude… I will tow you behind my car.”  (Note to self:  Brenna is no longer qualified to babysit.)  Luke says…”Ooh, can we?”  And that’s how I know they’re mine.  Miss Shannon runs from squirrels like there is a hell hound on her heels, but never, ever from actual danger that could kill, maim, or otherwise inconvenience her.  I call it having a life well lived.  Sometimes… I get so bogged down in the minutia that I forget how I love an adrenaline rush, a good thunderstorm and getting out of my own way.

My little Tugga asked me the other day what was my favorite thing to do when I was a kid.  I told him I liked to play on my swing set and read books… He was very, very surprised.  He said, “Momma, I thought you were going to say your favorite thing was cleaning.”  What in the name of all that is good and holy am I teaching this kid????  Here’s what’s worse… I shared what I thought was a funny story about a little kid not understanding being an adult with Dozer and he, like my eight-year-old, was absolutely shocked to learn that I do not enjoy cleaning.  I am quite certain that there are women on earth who enjoy these tasks… Miss Shannon is not one of them.  I clean my house because I want to live in a clean house, I’m the mom and it is my job.  It’s an adult task, not exactly a blast…kinda like paying the electric bill.  Yet, two of the people nearest and dearest to me think it is my all-time favorite pastime.  As women, we often put aside the things that bring us joy in favor of required tasks.  Miss Shannon is calling shenanigans, because dammit, women matter, too.

I got a little perspective today on a bike run.  I participated in a very nice ceremony honoring fallen vets… then we stopped at an ice cream place where a particular family was honored.  We missed most of it but what I really saw was two little kids, maybe two and four.  The little boy wore his daddy’s dog tags and the little girl carried a bear wearing fatigues.  Mama carried their wedding photo.  Those kids are babies who will never know their father.  Thank you for your service seems a little pale in comparison.  That guy died in the service of this country, so people like me can bitch about housework and politics and taxes.  Instead of feeling guilty, I choose to make my life matter.  I will continue to raise good human beings.  I will continue to work for causes that I think matter… hunger, domestic violence, children and vets.  I will enjoy the life that I am afforded because of people like this man, whose name I don’t even know.  Miss Shannon urges you to do the same.

Duck OFF!!!!

I’m working on an outdoor play area for the days we can’t go to the park for whatever reason.  This typically includes sleeping babies, as it’s against the law to wake a sleeping baby.  I have a tiny stretch of yard to work with… what we’re looking for is some engaging activities, not necessarily active play.  My current list of outdoor centers includes a gravel pit -80% constructed, a pulley system for the sheer hell of it, a music wall -tomorrow, a sand table -100% complete and a water wall.  We want to talk about the water wall right now.

So, I bought a big pipe at Home Depot.  It’s a drain pipe, $9.98 and some especially large zip ties.  My master plan is to cut it up, hot glue it to a pallet, add extra security with some zip ties and pour some water through it.  I also got a couple of little pipes, some elbows, a funnel.  I thought I’d poke holes in some water bottles, maybe use a watering can.  I get it all home and think… shit, what do I use to cut this??  I’ve never cut a plastic pipe, what kind of blade should I get??  I keep telling you, I’m as lazy as the next guy, so I just asked Dozer… And now we’re mad at him.  This is a collective, people.

 

I told him it’s for a water wall, an excellent sensory activity that encompasses many of the eight areas of early childhood education.  He asks me if the pipe is attached to a water source already.  (Excuse me, I’m counting to 156.)  I asked if he thought I was stupid.  He said, of course not, you’re the smartest person I know… now is it??  (This reminds me of that joke… pretty girls like to be told they’re smart, smart girls like to be told they’re pretty.  So, what am I??  Smart… and pretty!!)  Naturally, I said… of course, it’s attached to the sewer line.  At which point he said, No no, baby, you need a plumber.   I have no idea what I have done in the couple of years we’ve known each other that would compel this man to think I would actually just cut a hole in a sewer line.

 

Miss Shannon is a lot of things.  Stupid isn’t one of them.  This does bring me back to the time that my ex-husband cut a hole in the sewer line inside our basement.   I actually called my dad, who made me repeat it twice and his answer was that I married a fucking genius.  For the record, this is the same guy who removed all the pluggy things from all the drains in my entire house, has “extra parts” every time he fixes a car and once cooked a ham with the paper wrapping still on.    So, I told Dozer to duck off, with the help of autocorrect that apparently doesn’t know me very well.

I will have fabulous pictures later this week of my totally kick ass water wall which will provide hours of entertainment for my wee beasties, drive my sister absolutely nuts and give me at least 8 points on the Quality Stars scale… It’s going to be a win, all the way around.  I also have every faith that one of my daughters’ boyfriends will cut up the pipe for me.  Not because I can’t, because I sincerely believe you should allow people to bless you just as much as you bless others.

Painted Rocks

I finished the rock mirrors!!!!   Mother of God, I am so grateful to say that.  I now have a beautiful bathroom… painted soft gray with a marble looking laminate counter and sinks with pluggy things (installed by the ever-fabulous Dozer) a white tub, cabinets painted a color that makes me think of thunder and photos of penguins (who are all named Mr. Penguin, except that one… His name is Jeff, per my Tugga James) and Antarctica.  Halleluiah… I was starting to think that was the project that never ends.  It needs a new floor, but otherwise, the kids’ bathroom is complete.

I wonder if I would be so creative if I had more disposable income.  Sadly, I think the answer is no… When given the opportunity, I am as lazy as the next guy.  If I had enough money to just pay someone to manage my renovations, two things would have happened.  I would have learned a whole lot less, for sure.  More importantly, I would not have tapped into my creative resources.  Boys and girls… being broke has an upside.  I found myself in creating pretty things… that wouldn’t have happened if I could just write a check.  It’s all a distraction anyway…

 

Here’s what we’ve learned:  Turpentine will remove spray paint from latex paint without damaging the latex.  It will also remove spray paint from mirrors and gel nail polish.  It stinks to high heaven and is not a recommended practice!!  Also, it is a pain in the ass to glue rocks to mirrors.  Miss Shannon probably needs a higher level of supervision than what she actually has, but I think we may have already known that.  I’m sure this information relates to why I don’t live with other adults.  They tend to cramp my style… who but a child is just ok with it when someone plays arts and crafts with the entire house??  Miss Shannon probably lives alone for a reason.  This is Jeff:

That there is the court of public opinion.  Because there must be something the matter with me, as a forty year old, single woman.  Most people go through their whole lives so worried about what this one or that one will think that they never stop to ask themselves what they think.  Those folks don’t follow their hearts and they end up unhappy because of it.  Run from the squirrel, if you’re of a mind to.  Find a new job, leave the guy who is eradicating your will to live… At the end of the day, it is not going to matter what your parents think, what your friends think or what the cashier at Price Chopper thinks.  Are you happy with your place in the world??  If the answer is no… change what you’re doing.  Glue the rocks to the mirror, hang the questionable art and chase your authentic self.  Nobody on this earth is going to make you happy but you… that includes your man, your mama and your babies.

Rabid Squirrels!!!!

Rabid squirrels attacked Miss Shannon.  Ok, chased Miss Shannon.  Oh, all right, a single, solitary squirrel chased me around the patio, into the driveway at Dozer’s house and I narrowly escaped death.  Probably the squirrel wouldn’t have killed me, but a heart attack was definitely imminent.  I happened to be on the phone with my sister, who found it hilarious.  I managed to get past the little bugger and back into the house, then it sat outside the door and waited for me to come out.  I’m afraid I don’t consider this to be normal squirrel behavior, and I would like Dozer to make every effort to eradicate what is clearly a threat to body and soul.  Dozer would like to train it to eat out of his hand.

Squirrels are rats with a fuzzy tail and a good shake from society.  Because they’re “cute.”  And they really are, in statue form, in Beatrix Potter books and way the fuck over there.  They are not at all cute when they chase my happy ass through the yard and back into the house.  Not at all cute while they sit patiently on the porch, waiting for me to exit the building.  I had to escape the house through the back door.  I am not kidding.  My well-founded terror of rodents (which includes rats, mice, gerbils, hamsters, chipmunks, and guinea pigs with white fur and red eyes) was developed in a very unpleasant tale that happens to be one of those things I will never fully disclose to another human being.  So there I was, living the dream, and suddenly I found myself being chased by a rabid beast that can only want to cause my demise.

I’m so very grateful that squirrel was my biggest problem all day.  Lately, my other shoes have been dropping… they always do.  They don’t go missing, like Red October…  because Miss Shannon puts her shoes away.  I enjoyed a bike run today with Blue Friday… a couple of hundred bikers came together to pay homage to our fallen boys in blue.  It’s been a George Straight kind of month, for me.  Largely because I’m always expecting the worst at the back of my mind… Experience has taught me that you always prepare for the worst, because it’s usually what you’re going to get.  Right now, today, I am blessed with five beautiful children, a man who sincerely loves me and a whole lot of good friends… even if you’re laughing because I ran from the little squirrel.

Red October… Where are you????

I’m nursing ouchy fingers from hot gluing rocks to the mirrors in my bathroom.  They were really ugly, so I’m gluing a rock frame to them because, somehow, that will make them less ugly.  My world is a very special place, friends.  I cannot show you pictures yet, because that shit is still not done.  We’re probably 150 glue sticks in, fyi.  Easily 73 million rocks.  Initially, these seemed like a quick easy project… short attention span, remember??  Yeah… this is a pain in the tushkabob.  I would probably do it again, because I really am enjoying the finished bits.  So, I’ll hit it again tonight, but I need more rocks.  I’m not sure how that’s even possible, but here we are.

This afternoon, I enjoyed the hunt for Red October, which makes you think I am watching old movies, but in fact that’s what I call Tug’s baseball cleats, which are red and always missing.  People, put your shoes together, in the same spot.  You will be able to find them.  It’s that easy.  We’re currently interrupting my life to bring you another five years of little league, and I have a bat bag.  It’s supposed to hold all the baseball things, (including Red October) but it’s very difficult to finagle for some reason.  In a lot of ways, it was easier to have a whole mess of little kids at once.  All of those kids were healthy and I didn’t feel a compulsion to baby them.  This kid… I once had an infectious disease doctor say to me… I want to see that… can you bring him in right now????  Want prompt medical attention from busy specialists??  Be weird: they want to find zebras, not horses.  My little boy is almost always the zebra.  It’s a claim to medical fame, but I could totally go for a little boredom.

Another little tidbit about my desire for boredom… I’m talking stress free time I can fill with my many, many hobbies and activities.  (I probably don’t really know how to be bored.  It seems like a positive thing to me.)  I find it difficult to empty my mind.  One of the things that does this for me is a motorcycle ride… Dozer brought me on a little run with his friends last evening.  He was probably tired of me glaring at him because (much like my boy children) the mechanics of the garbage can stymie him.  Please know, no man has ever been murdered by his significant other while washing the dishes.  This is a verifiable fact, kids.  Anyway… as usual, I was the only woman along for the ride.  This makes me the chief picture taker and they are all kinda hoping I don’t feel chatty…. And that maybe I have cookies or something somewhere on my person.

Sometimes… you have to just do the thing that gives you peace.  I know that I will spend the next weeks and months hanging out at Albany Medical Center, the region’s premier medical facility, confirming my little boy’s diagnosis of Ehler’s-Danlos Syndrome… EDS.  It goes along with his JIA… Juvenile Idiosyncratic Arthritis.  Which basically means… no clue why this kid swells up like a balloon for no particular reason and has difficulty walking some days.  So far, he escapes Celiac disease…which my Luke did not.  There isn’t a sauce I can’t make from scratch on account of that boy… Meanwhile… for Tug… if you pray, do that.  Light a candle, cast a spell, bow to the East.  Do whatever it is you do to send positive energy, because my little boy needs it.  EDS is a given, ask for the best possible outcome.  Then feed your soul, whatever your currency is.   Light ’em up!!

Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

I’m going to give a little shout out to moms today, seeing as it’s Mother’s Day.  I’m not downing fathers, I just don’t have loads of experience with them, so I’m not really sure what they do.  Most moms would cut off a limb for their child.  We lose sleep, work multiple jobs, stand on our heads and whistle dixie for our tiny humans… Guess what?  You’ll be doing that when they’re grown as much as when they’re toddlers.  Sometimes, our little people do not do what we wish they would.  This is true at every stage of their lives.  It does not mean that you are a bad parent.  I hate to break it to you, supermom, but you are not actually capable of controlling who another human being is, even if they call you mom.  Are you significant?  Absolutely. You are also the world’s leading expert on your child and no one knows them or loves them better.  What you lack is omnipotence.

Tiny humans spring forth with temperaments.  They are literally born individuals.  They have wants, needs, and guess what?  Whether you breast or bottle feed, whether you gave birth vaginally or by a C-section, whether you adopted or fostered…. your kids are going to be who they are.  Some kids are anxious, some kids have no concern for their personal safety, some are stubborn and some are wishy washy.  Tiny humans are a lot like big humans in that they have their own styles.  As moms, our job is to guide them through this world with as much grace as possible.  You teach them what you believe to be right, give them a moral foundation and take them to the doctor.  Still, they will be who they are.

You feel guilty for supporting your kids, but how are they going to survive if you don’t?  Or maybe you’re a stay at home mom, so you feel guilty because you’re showing your kids traditional gender roles.  Quite commonly, you’re a single mom and you feel guilty for everything under the sun.  It doesn’t help when you see all the nasty on social media about how to parent, what superfood (whichever one your kid will not eat) you MUST feed little Susie, or the hot new toy you really can’t afford.  As a single mom, my personal favorite usually relates to getting a babysitter… How dare I ever want grown up time or to have adult relationships.  Rosie O’Donnell said, “They put them in dumpsters and they live.  Your kids will be fine.”

Bottom line:  You do the best you can.  Miss Shannon loves to cook so most everything is homemade… if you’re feeding your kids McDonald’s four nights a week, guess what???  You’re getting the job done.  Forgive yourself, in short, for being human.  Love them, give them the very best you can, love them, read to them and love them some more.  Then let them see you take care of you…. You are teaching them how to take care of themselves and the women in their lives.  My final thought for the day… learned hard over many years… if you don’t take care of you, you can’t take care of them.  Be good to yourself, for some short people, you’re the whole world…

And it burns, burns, burns

I was shopping with my older daughter and she bought her boyfriend a black dress shirt, So I said, “You know there’s something about a man in black.”  She looked at me blankly, and I realized she had no idea whatsoever what I was talking about.  How that little girl grew up with me as her momma and doesn’t know who Johnny Cash is, is completely beyond me.  I was like, really?  I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die?? Nothing.  Ring of Fire?  Nada.  Proof positive that I failed as a parent.  Maybe they just weren’t paying attention.  Every single one of my kids know Queen and Charlie Daniels, which I suppose is better than nothing.  I started taking a poll and found that my boy children are way more familiar with good music than my girls.  Likely, that’s because I raised them alone.  I am sure I play music louder and longer without interference.  I also dance in the kitchen and that is invaluable.

               

You may or may not have noticed, but my creative well has been running a little dry.  I’m chalking it up to ill health, stress, yada yada.  Mostly it’s just that I haven’t had a rhythm.   You gotta have a rhythm, at least if you are riding a crazy train anything like mine.  My crazy train is usually a fairly pleasant place to while away the time.  We usually have good snacks, coffee and a project to keep you entertained.  Next up for me is sewing, as my younger daughter is preparing to present me with my first grandson this summer.  His name is Aiden Michael.  He is perfect, if there was any question.  Perfect.  He is in need of a leather jacket, a crib set and work booties and cowboy booties.  The shopping part is about me, kids.  Grammy’s got this.  Aiden will be joining the lovely Raelynn in my next generation…Being a Grammy is the best gig ever… you get to love them and squish them and shop for them and then send them home.

I did a really cool, quick project today. I usually need it to be fast, because I have a short attention span.  Basically, I hot-glued fabric to cardboard and nailed it to the wall.  I’m doing this because you don’t have to live like a refugee.  Your surroundings should make you feel beautiful and beloved… like you belong in this space.  Dozer, that’s why I decorate.  Everything should be beautiful, sparkle or have some special something that makes you feel good.  Life is hard.  You should always take your joy where you can find it… In my world, that often means a wall decoration, Johnny Cash tunes, baby shopping, you get the idea.  Unlike decorating, there are many, many things Miss Shannon can’t really control.  Her adult children, her nearly adult children, the weather and apparently, her waistline.  Certainly, Dozer and all the important people in her life make that list.  And that brings us to:  Projects.  Because, dammit, the fabric does what I tell it to, as does the paint or the wood.  People?  Well… Because you’re mine, I (try to) walk the line.  Or glue it into submission.