Another Difficult Thing

A few weeks ago, I wrote about one of the most difficult things I have ever done which was to go through Army Boot Camp in Ft. Knox, Ky. I also mentioned at that time that another difficult thing I have experienced in my life was watching my son struggle with a life-changing illness.  Before I get into the specifics of the illness and how it changed his life, I need to give you a little background information about my son.

Ever since my son could walk and talk, he  aspired to be just like his daddy; a West Point graduate and an Army Officer. Year after year, his Halloween costume was a pair of his dad’s BDU’s (Battle Dress Uniform). He always dressed  up as a soldier.   As a very young child, he wore his snow boots on the hottest summer days because they were his “Army” boots.  There was no arguing over how hot he would be; soldiers wore their boots, and he was wearing his.  I was grateful at those times when I could get him to take them off long enough to get into the shower and to go to bed at night.  Every stick or piece of wood was  fashioned into some sort of “Army” weapon because soldiers needed to be able to protect themselves.  He built an “Army” forts somewhere in the house or yard regularly.  There was no deterring him; throughout elementary, middle and high school, his goal remained the same: to receive a U.S. Military Academy appointment just like his dad and become an active duty Army officer.  Not even the events of September 11 changed his mind.  On the contrary, they solidified his intent.

For whatever reason, I always got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when my son would speak of his plans for his future. I always doubted that his dreams would become a reality.  I doubted his ability to realize his dream because I did not think he would be competitive academically.  Chris was a good student; he had a very strong work ethic.  However, as an educator myself, I knew there were other candidates out there that were stronger academically and … I just did not think it would happen for him.

I never verbalized my doubts to my son.  I always encouraged him to follow his passion, his dream.  I told him he could accomplish whatever he set his mind to, as long as he was willing to do the work.  At night when I went to bed, I prayed my intuition was wrong, and Chris would realize his dream.

When he did not get his academy appointment right out of high school, he decided he should attend a military prep school. New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) in Roswell, New Mexico was his choice.  He would spend two years there working on an Associate’s Degree in Science and on attaining his academy appointment.  If the appointment did not materialize, then he would enter the military via ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps).  This was his plan B.  I liked his plan B; I entered the military through ROTC.  ROTC officers received the same pay, responsibilities, etc. when they were on active duty.

At the end of his first year at NMMI, he once again failed to receive a Military Academy appointment. At a time when most people would give up (including myself), Chris soldiered on.  He would not give up.  In addition, his father and I continued to encourage him.    He would apply one more time.  He had one more year to complete at NMMI, which meant one more year to try for an academy appointment.

Soon after his final year at NMMI began, Christopher learned he was awarded an appointment to the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Tears streamed down all our faces!  It was not a West Point appointment, but it was okay by him.  He would enter the military via a military academy.   His dream was about to come true!

I’m going to stop my story at this point and move on to my card.   You will have to come back on Saturday to read the rest.  🙂

I call this card Bright & Beautiful Shooting Star.  I was inspired by a card I saw on Split Coast Stampers when I created this one.  Hope you like it.

Bright & Beautiful Shooting Star

Again, come back on Saturday to hear the end of my story.  Until then…

Happy Stamping!

Josie2

 

My “Head” Friend

Admit it. We all have head friends or friends that exist only in our heads.  (Don’t deny it. You know it’s true!) It might be a famous movie star or sports figure; heck, it could be anybody.  The thing is nobody knows we are friends…not even the person with which we say we are friends.  But, we have regular visits with this friend on a regular basis…in our heads.

My “head” friend is Ed O’ Neil. You know, he plays the role of Jay Pritchet on the popular television show Modern Family.  Ed and I go way back!  We go all the way back to when I was in college the first time about 100 years ago.  We were in the play Private Lives by the play write Noel Coward.  Of course, he had a major role and mine was minor, but that is where our long-term friendship began.  It was sometime in the late 1970’s when we first met at the Youngstown Playhouse in Youngstown, Ohio.

In my head, Ed and I are friends. We are friends because I always tell people that I know him.  I tell people that Ed and I were in that play together a million years ago.  He also attended the same university as I attended.

And, to add a little credibility to my story I always add, “And I still have the play program too!”

The show keeps Ed busy these days, so we don’t manage to get together very often. Heck, we don’t get together at all.  I am sure that in the “real world” he doesn’t even remember who I am.  Then I think, “Why wouldn’t he remember?  Would he forget that he had a lead role in that play before he was famous?”   So in my head, he remembers.

However, if he did remember, and we did manage to get together with our families, I would treat him as if I would treat any family member I had not seen in a while. I would invite him into my home and prepare him one of the best Italian dinners he has ever had!

My husband says that if Ed comes to dinner, he wants Sophia Vergara to come with him.  I guess she is my husband’s head friend.  🙂

Next time I will write about my other “head” friend, Oprah Winfrey.

Today’s card is a Thank You card that I made using the Watercolor Thank You stamp set.  I am liking the look of vellum on cards these days!  It might be difficult for you to see, but I stamped onto the card stock in Whisper White craft ink using one of the Gorgeous Grunge stamps before I added the vellum.  The thank you sentiment is heat embossed with white embossing powder.

Watercolor Thank You

Thanks for stopping by today.  Hope you enjoyed your visit.  Until next time…

Happy Stamping!

Josie2

Getting Off A High Horse

Last weekend, my husband and I along with friends visited Estes Park, Colorado. Estes Park is the home of the headquarters for Rocky Mountain National Park.  I would have to say that Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park are two of my most favorite places to visit in Colorado.  The town has a population of about 6,000 and it is a popular place for visitors during the summer.  It is probably popular because of the park, which is a great place to camp and admire nature.  I have been there many times to do both.   Although we did not camp this time, we did visit Bear Lake in the park. In addition, we strolled along main street and visited many of the specialty shops Estes Park has to offer.  We also planned a little horseback riding expedition on Sunday morning.  We had an excellent dinner Saturday evening at Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Taphouse with our friends.

Sunday morning, as we were waiting for everyone in the group to arrive at the ranch where we planned on riding, I happened to mention to the woman in charge of the event that I was always a little nervous when I rode a horse. To be honest, horses frighten me.  They are bigger and stronger than I am, and what frightens me is that I might lose control of the horse.   I told her that I had ridden several times before. I mentioned I always felt a little frightened of the horses. As a matter of fact, one of the times I went horseback riding when I was younger, it was at night and my horse got a little frightened by something and took off running, or galloping and I was knocked off the horse when it ran under a tree and I was struck by a low hanging branch.  I told her I was not hurt, but I was frightened to death.  Just as an aside, in my life whenever I have enjoyed doing things, it seems something has always happened to take just a little bit of the joy out of it.  Falling off that horse took some of the joy out of riding.  I know when you fall off you are supposed to get right back on, and I did.  Nevertheless, it still scares the bejesus out of me.  As I was showering that morning I was wondering why I agreed to horseback riding this weekend in the first place.

While conversing with this woman, the wranglers start bringing the horses to the corral. I comment on one of the horses being pretty and she says, “That’s Pearl.  She has been with us about 20 years.”  I could see over Pearl.  She was light chocolate-brown in color and petite and about four hands tall. That would be 4 feet in regular language because one hand is equal to four inches. One measures a horse’s height from the ground to the top of its shoulder. I said, “That’s what I need.  A horse that’s small, and old, and slow…just like me!”  We had a good laugh together.   I am 5 feet tall and you could say…older.  J  Notice I did not say old.  Ninety is old, and I have a way to go before I am 90!

Finally, the wrangler in charge of our party starts assigning horses. He mentions we needed to remember our horse’s name because that would be the one we would be riding.  My friend Karen, about my height, gets a horse first.  The wrangler says, “Karen, you will be riding Pearl.”

“Okay,” I am thinking, “I am cool with that. There are other small horses.”

Everyone has a horse when he finally looks at my husband and me. If you know my husband, you know he has a slight physical handicap, but nothing that keeps him from being active. It does make it difficult for him do some things, but it does not stop him from trying.  My husband is about 5’10” and he gets Dillon, a big horse.  My husband and I exchange quick glances.

The head wrangler looks as me and says, “Ma’am, you will be riding Oleo.”

“Okay.” All the smaller horses assigned, I ask, “Which one is Oleo?”  .

“This is Oleo, Ma’am,” says another wrangler. “He is my horse.”  I could tell by the way he said, “He is my horse” that this man truly loved this creature.”  I almost felt guilty for having to ride him.  Who was I to come between a man and his horse?

I look at Oleo who is a beautiful golden brown color and bigger than a house! My husband says teasingly, “Oh, Josie. Oleo?  Smooth like butter.  You are going to slide off!”

“Well, thanks for the vote of confidence, sweetie.” He knew I was a little nervous because I had told him so earlier.

Oleo stood about 17.75 hands tall. That is taller than I am! I mentioned earlier that I am only 15 hands tall (60” or 5’).   I am not exaggerating when I say I COULD NOT see over Oleo!

The wrangler asks, “Can you put your left foot into the stirrup, and I will help you mount?”

Seriously? I respond, “Ahhhh, No!” I have not been able to elevate my leg so my foot would be even with my head since I taught aerobics when I was in my 30’s.  Even then, I was not able to do that without any kind of trouble.  I have never really been THAT flexible.

He says, “Let’s go over to the steps then.”

HELLO! I am assessing the situation to myself, “If I have to climb a stepladder to get onto this mount, then that is a horse of a different color!”

I climb to the top step, and I mention to the wrangler that I am a little scared and concerned. He says, “Don’t be scared, Ma’am. If you are scared, Oleo will sense it, and he will think he has reason to be scared.”

Well, that reassured me. NOT! No matter how much I tried, I now was even more anxious.  I had visions of this horse being petrified  of me and doing menacing things as I rode him. I put my left foot into the stirrup, grabbed onto the saddle with both hands, and heaved myself up whirling my right leg around back to the other side.

“You’re kidding, right? “ Oleo’s back was about as wide as the Grand Canyon. It smarted to sit with my legs spanning such a wide expanse.

“You know what? I think I am not going to do this,” I said to the wrangler.  “My feet don’t even reach the stirrups.”

“We can adjust them, Ma’am. It’s gonna be just fine. Oleo is a good horse.”

“I’m sure he is.” I know I offended him, but I insisted, “No, that’s okay…I don’t really have to do this. My gut tells me not to do this today.  It’s not as if I have never ridden before.” And I am thinking to myself, “Not no how! Not no way! This ain’t happenin’ today!”

I have learned to follow my gut. Had I learned to do so earlier in life, it would have saved me a great deal of trouble.

Getting off a high horse is just as difficult as getting on it.

Another Christmas card is posted here.  It is a simple one.  Sometimes the simpler the better as far as I am concerned. In other words, less is more.

Cut Out Festival of Trees

When I made this card, I punched the tree image out of the white card stock before I ran it through the Texture Boutique Machine.   I then stamped the tree image on another smaller piece of Whisper White card stock and lined it up with the cut out.  I then adhered it to the card base.  I used Stampin’ Dimensionals to adhere the embossed card stock  to the Garden Green base.

Hope you enjoyed your visit here today.  Thanks for stopping by.   Until next time…

Happy Stamping!

Josie2

 

 

 

 

 

My Most Embarrassing Experience

The most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me took place when my son was in eighth grade. I was fortunate in that for the first six years of my teaching career my children were able to attend the school in which I taught.  I did not have to worry about before and after school care, and we had the same days off each year.  I also had the pleasure of being my children’s 8th grade Language Arts and history teacher.  My children might have another opinion as to whether or not it was a pleasure to have their mom as a teacher.    They could not get away with anything!

The incident in question happened one day in the middle of one of my son’s Language Arts classes. One of the guys decided he should “break wind”.  Gross!  Something most 8th grade boys or just boys in general think is funny.  With a disgusted look on my face, I walked over to the window and opened it.  My son immediately piped up.

”What’s the big deal?” he asked. “That’s the first thing you do at night when we get into the car to go home at the end of the day!”

The class had a great laugh at my expense. Mortified, I laughed along with them.

When my son and I got into the car to go home that night, I quickly engaged the child lock on the power windows.

“Oh my god!” my son shouted.

Ahhhhhh! Sweet revenge! “That will teach you,” I thought.

Here is my card today.  I call it Lovely As A Tree Meets Festival of Trees.  I’ve paired an oldie but goodie which can be found in the Annual Catalog with a new set from the current Holiday Catalog.

 

Lovely As A Tree Meets Festival of Trees

I will admit the lighting on this isn’t that great.  That’s because I loaned my digital camera to my son to use while student teaching to record some of his lessons.  That leaves me with my cell phone camera which does an okay job, but my other camera has a flash on it.  The things we do for our children!  If only I would have the opportunity to embarrass him in front of his class as he did me when he was in 8th grade!  You never know!  Maybe when he gets a job I will pay him a visit one day.  🙂

I did some heat embossing on this.  That seems like the thing for me to do these days.  I’ve rediscovered heat embossing.  Sorry, but the Pool Party Seam Binding is no longer available, but this color is available in the cotton ribbon.

Hope you enjoyed your visit here today.  Please let me know what you think of my creation…and my story if you like.  Thanks for visiting and until next time…

Happy Stamping!

Josie2