27th Mar2015

Life After Kids: Get Physical

by Daenel

Life After Kids - Get Physical {Living Outside the Stacks}

“Mommy, Brandon’s getting me wet!”

I look at my daughter with disbelieving eyes. “B-b-b-but you’re in the pool,” I stammer. Then I look at my son and half-heartedly reprimand him, “don’t get your sister wet.”

I think his 4-year-old eyes are mocking me.

I wanted nothing more than to go back inside to the way-too-cold discomfort of the air conditioned living room and relax, but when you become a mom your needs are sometimes secondary to the wants of your kids. Especially in summer, when they want to not get wet in the wading pool.

I was never an athletic person. Or an outdoor person, for that matter. People who knew me in high school were flabbergasted to find that I’d joined the Army. I was the girl who’d turned getting out of gym class into an art form. In fact, I was so bad at PE that a couple of my high school phys ed teachers actually asked my mother to ask me to drop their classes. Seriously.

Then I had kids and gained weight. Then I had Thyroid Cancer and gained more weight. Then I woke up one day and needed to do something. I didn’t know what, I just knew I needed to challenge myself. So I signed up to run a 5K, which I ended up walking and not running. Long story short, I temporarily lost my vision in one eye and running was near impossible for me.

I hadn’t really run a day in my life, except for those half-hearted attempts in high school that helped me squeak through class with a “C” because the teachers liked me. And the forced Army runs because, well, Army. I’d been a non-running civilian for almost 4 years by then. I used to say: “Even if someone was trying to kill me, I’d only walk really, really fast.”

Skip ahead a few years and the desire to run hit me again. This time, I signed up for a C25K program with the city parks and recreation division and, lo and behold, a runner was born. There were no freak blindnesses to contend with, no sprained ankles, no achy knees… Just me, my headphones, and the pavement.

Best feeling ever.

Over the years, my daughters have joined me on various run/walks but running/walking/slogging continues to be a thing that I enjoy doing just for myself. And, honestly, by myself. I like running with a group but I also like the solo aspect. When I put on my headphones, I tune out the world. I listen to praise music and, for that 30 minutes or so, I’m focused on my stride and mentally singing praises to God.

Yes, I still struggle with my weight. Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to get out there. And, no, I don’t always run the entire route but I’m out there and I’m taking care of me.

Physical activity, no matter what it is, is key to making it as an empty nester. Think about it, this is the time for you to go out and explore the world, you know, see the things you want to see. How fun is that if you get winded trying to enjoy it? Not very.

Are you physically active? What do you do to stay healthy?

Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}



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20th Mar2015

Life After Kids: Find a Hobby

by Daenel

Life After Kids Find A Hobby {Living Outside the Stacks} #EmptyNest #Marriage #Parenting

“Jazmine’s mom…”

I look at the little hand tugging at the hem of my shirt, smile, and respond.

For the past 22 years, I’ve been “______’s mom”, “Tony’s wife”, or some variation there of. I will always be their mom and I will always be “Tony’s wife”, but I’m also “Daenel”. Daenel is who I was when I came into this world and Daenel is who I’ll be when I leave it. Somewhere in the middle, I became this person whose identity was dependent upon the people I was caring for. Now I’m at that time in my life when I should be remembering who I was and discovering who I want to be.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a journalist. I wanted to tell stories and change the world. I wanted people to read my words and think I’ve got to fix this… I don’t think I ever really lost the desire to tell people’s stories; I just changed the way I needed to tell those stories. When I was raising my kids, those stories were told with the voice of a mother who wanted to encourage her children to explore the world around them while still staying safely nestled in her arms. Gosh, there’s so much conflict in being a mother.

Now that my kids are exploring the world on their own, it’s time for me to get back to the art of storytelling. Only now I’ll be using my camera.

Making pictures is cathartic for me. And frustrating. But I enjoy it. I like that there’s a moment – good or bad – that has been preserved. There’s something about having an image in my head and then seeing it come to fruition.

Burfordville Covered Bridge Bollinger Missouri {Living Outside the Stacks}

Fungus {Living Outside the Stacks}

There’s also something to be said for those candid moments.

Little Boy with Attitude {Living Outside the Stacks}

Life After Kids Coffee {Living Outside the Stacks} #EmptyNest #Marriage #Parenting

I’ve found that having a hobby is one of the easiest ways to stay in touch with who you are as a person. The act of doing something that you enjoy because you want to and not because you have to is renewing. There are no expectations, you’re not meeting anyone’s needs but your own. For a half hour or so, your focus is on making yourself happy and doing something that you enjoy.

Trust me when I say that this time that you take for yourself will not only make you a better {and, dare I say, more interesting} person, but it’ll also make you a better wife, and, yes, mother.

What did you want to be when you were a kid? Now that you’re older, have your dreams changed? Have you found a new passion? How are you maintaining or creating your identity?

Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}



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13th Mar2015

Life After Kids: Where’s the Kool-Aid?

by Daenel

Life After Kids: preparing to be an empty nester {Living Outside the Stacks} #EmptyNest #Parenting #Marriage #Family Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Someone is always gonna want Kool-Aid.

I leaned against the kitchen counter and stared at the four pairs of eyes looking back at me, tears streaming down their little faces, empty cups being shoved at me. I’d had enough of the crying, the fighting, the wanting, the needing… I wanted to run away from home. And, as soon as my mother-in-law walked through the door, that’s exactly what I did.

I grabbed my purse and my keys, hopped in the car and started driving. I had no destination in mind. I just needed to get out. I drove for a couple of hours before I finally pulled the car over, had a good cry, turned around, and went back home. I won’t say that’s the last time I thought about running away, but it was definitely the last time that I actually went through with it.

When my kids hit their teen years, I started to understand why some animals eat their young. I have a theory that the teen years are difficult because it makes it easier for parents to release their children into the wild when they come of age. But then something weird happens…

The closer you get to letting them go, the more you want to hold on to them. You start to remember the neck nuzzles when they were babies. Memories of them on their first day of school… The funny lisp from missing teeth… Shopping for the first formal… Bowls of ice cream used to mend a broken heart… Resisting the urge to stand up and yell “That’s my baby!” on graduation night. It all comes back, the good stuff, you know? The bad stuff is forgotten. Kind of like labor pains once you hold your newborn for the first time.

The kids are leaving home now. The Hubs and I are moving away and becoming empty nesters. I lean against the kitchen counter, eyes closed, ears straining…

No one wants Kool-Aid.

Daenel T {Living Outside the Stacks}



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Beginning this week, I’ll start sharing a weekly series on how The Hubs and I are preparing for our new lives as empty nesters. I’d like to thank my friend, Madison, for speaking into existence an idea that has been flitting about my brain for nearly a year.

24th Oct2013

Throwback Thursday: Rolled Eyes, Broom Sticks and Scenes from the Matrix {In the Cafe}

by Daenel

BroomI don’t know if y’all have had a chance to read Just Another Day with MrsTDJ but if you haven’t, stop reading  this post, and head over there now.  I’ll wait…

Specifically, what I wanted you to read is the post MrsTDJ wrote called “What Did Her 5 Fingers Say to My Face?”  Heelareeous! Seriously. In the post, Mrs TDJ describes an incident in which she was reprimanded by her parents after she was over the age of 18. At the end, she asked if any of us have ever been snatched up by our parents? blank stare Um, yeah.

First, let me give you a little background on the parentals.  They are both preachers. Enough said. Actually, that’s not true. Dad was easy.  Mom, not so much. My mom is about 5’1″ and a buck ten soaking wet in the middle of a monsoon wearing her longest faux fur coat. True story.

Now back to my butt whupping…

We were living in Mississippi at the time, and I was home from college for a visit, so I had to have been about 18 or 19 years old. My mom was sweeping the kitchen/dining room floors ~ the floors had carpet but Mom was old school, no vacuum for her. We were talking about something ~ to this day I cannot remember what ~ I do remember that I had my back to my mother. This is important, so remember that.

Meanwhile…  my twin sister was in her bedroom in the back of the house with the door shut listening to some music. This is also important, so remember that.

All of a sudden, a sound like a rushing mighty wind broke what I can only remember was a reasonable conversation about goodness knows what and I felt the broom slam across my back.  he next thing I heard was my mother yelling “Don’t you ever roll your eyes at me!”  What?  ince when did I grow eyes in the back of my head?  nd when did I roll them?  he second time the broom cut through the air, I was up and out of my chair so fast, I don’t know what I thought I was gonna do but all I heard was my sister yelling “Daenel, Noooooooo!”

And like a scene from the Matrix, my sister was soaring through the air, her back bent in all sorts of inhuman contortions, hands flying faster than we could see them, as she took the broom from my mother, and saved me from what could possibly have been the last day of my life.

My mother, sister, and I have discussed that day, many years later with us separated by miles and telephone lines… Mom can’t remember what we were talking about either, the only thing she is sure of is that I, sitting with my back to her, rolled my eyes.

When was the last you got in trouble with your parents? What’d you do?

Daenel T

13th Oct2013

Coffee Talk: Parents, Protect Your Children {In the Cafe}

by Daenel

Coffee Talk {Living Outside the Stacks}Hi, and welcome to Coffee Talk. In case you’re new here, this is where I share some of the great and not~so~great stuff that I find on the web. Topics range from news stories that leave me scratchin’ my head to DIYs that I think are absolutely clever. And, who knows, there may even be a recipe thrown in here or there just for fun.

So grab a cup of coffee {or tea or whatever floats your boat} and let’s talk…

When I read the news that the two~year~old son of Viking’s running back, Adrian Peterson, died, my heart broke. I sat at my desk and fought back the tears, not just for Peterson and his family but for every child who has been hurt by or lost their lives to abuse. Peterson’s son died at the hands of his ex’s boyfriend. That man beat that sweet little baby to death. Someone that the mother was dating, someone that she should have trusted, murdered her baby…

This highlights something that too many mothers {and fathers} seem to forget: your child is your first priority. You cannot leave your child with just anyone and assume the child will be safe. When it comes to your baby, you can never be too careful. And if you know that your boyfriend or girlfriend is hurting your child and you do nothing, you are just as guilty as the person swinging his or her fist. Even more so, in my opinion.

You see, that person has no obligation to your child {other than to treat him or her humanely because that’s what civilized people do} but you, Mom or Dad, you have the obligation to protect your child at all costs. Even if it means walking away from a relationship and putting your life on hold until your child is old enough to care for him/herself.

When I was a single mom, I knew my life was no longer my own. My daughter’s health and happiness rested with me and my health and happiness rested with her. If she were hurt or in danger, how could I be happy and secure? Once I married and had more children, this same sense of responsibility extended to my other children and continues to this day, even though my children are now teenagers. I was blessed to marry a man who loved my daughter as his own, and has never distinguished between her and his biological children and I thank God for that.

As my children got older, I was able to take back my life and focus on my own happiness, but, lemme tell you, the need/desire/instinct to protect my babies still rests within me. And more parents need to take that responsibility seriously.

I write this as a survivor of abuse, a mother, and someone who knows what it’s like to try to date while raising a child on her own. It’s hard and, at times, it can be lonely, but when you chose to become a parent, you took a blood oath that you would protect your child with your very life. Like my aunt told me years ago, “My children are blood, everyone else is just a close friend of the family. They can be replaced.”

What had you scratchin’ your head this past week?

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20th Aug2013

Coffee Talk {In the Cafe}

by Daenel

Coffee Talk {Living Outside the Stacks}

Hi, and welcome to Coffee Talk. In case you’re new here, this is where I share some of the great and not~so~great stuff that I find on the web. Topics range from news stories that leave me scratchin’ my head to DIYs that I think are absolutely clever. And, who knows, there may even be a recipe thrown in here or there just for fun.

So grab a cup of coffee {or tea or whatever floats your boat} and let’s talk…

1.  Before I bring up this topic, I want to make it perfectly clear that anyone who engages in sexual (be it physical or emotional) relationship with a person under the legal age of consent is a pedophile and deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. That person is a victim in every sense of the word. Now, let’s talk about kidnapping victim, Hannah Anderson, there are a couple of things wrong here:

  • She was allowed to go on overnight trips with this man?
  • They had contact (letters, phone calls, etc) even though she said he made her feel uncomfortable
  • She’s connecting with people on social media after finding out that her mom and brother were brutally murdered

Let me stress again, I’m not blaming the victim but I am raising some questions about the wisdom of the parents. Who allows their teenage daughter to go on away trips with a man? And, no, I don’t think all men are pervs but I do think that parents need to remember that most child abuse is committed by a family member or someone close to the family. Why is her father allowing her to discuss this stuff on social media? I realize this is how kids connect with each other but shouldn’t she take time to decompress, talk to a counselor, and hug her father?

2. Hillary Clinton may be running for President in 2016. Don’t we have any other choices besides another Clinton, another Bush, or any of the other people who’ve been trotted out over the past 4 election cycles?

3. And because I saw it I think you should too. The lap pillow. Good night.

What had you scratchin’ your head this past week?

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15th Jul2013

Get Bitter or Get Better: Moving Forward after Trayvon {In the Cafe}

by Daenel

Get Bitter or Get Better: Moving Forward after Trayvon {Living Outside the Stacks}I, like many people, sat glued to my seat as the verdict was read. Not guilty. Another black boy’s life snuffed out. Not guilty. Black lives are worthless. Not guilty. Skittles and a hoodie can get you murdered. Not guilty. Unless your skin is black.

Whether we agree with the verdict or not, it is what it is. We can’t change that. But we can change where we go from here; we can get bitter or we can get better. Bitterness is easy. All it requires is for us to wallow in self pity, to lay down the victim card, to riot and react with violence, to throw our hands up and stop caring, to look at our young black boys and confirm what society has ingrained in them from the beginning of time: that they’re worthless.

But getting better… Oh, that requires work. Work that begins at home, with parents who love and support each other {even when they’re no longer together}. It requires that parents encourage their children to pick up books and learn to read, write, and speak properly. It requires that parents stop recording their kids “twerking” and start recording them participating in spelling bees and graduating from high school. It requires that parents look at the struggles of the past and determine that their children will be more and do more with their lives.

Getting better requires that we look at our culture that celebrates drugs, the denigration of women, and the glorification of violence and expect more. How can we expect other people to value our lives when we don’t? Where is the outrage when a black child is killed by another black child? When we start to care about ourselves as much as we expect other’s to, then and only then will we see change. We need to show them that we are more than stereotypes and internet memes.

Don’t let Trayvon’s death be in vain. Don’t let the deaths of thousands of others before him be in vain.

Do better. Be better.

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24th Jun2013

5 Things I’m Sorry My Kids Will Never Experience {In the Family Room}

by Daenel

5 things im sorry my kids will never experience {Living Outside the Stacks}

Do you remember playing outside until the street lights came on? Or sliding down a metal sliding board at the peak of summer? Riding in the back of station wagons without the benefit of seat belts? Ahhhh, those were the good ol’ days. We were hard core. We survived! Too bad our kids will never fully understand those joys.

And here’s a list of other things they may never experience:

5. Recording Songs Off the Radio ~ I remember sitting there with my finger hovering over the pause button, desperately trying to avoid the DJ’s needless chatter. Seriously, he couldn’t wait til the end of the song to crack that corny joke? How many mixed tapes did we pass on to boyfriends and girlfriends that had songs that ended mid sentence? I remember trying to be slick and adding my own voice edits, like I was hiding something.

4. Metal Lunch Boxes ~ I had the biggest crush on Shaun Cassidy when I was a kid. I mean, I absolutely positively loved him. That hair. The smile. Those teeth. No one will ever understand the thrill I used to get from taking my sandwich out of my metal “The Hardy Boys” lunch box.

3. Writing Notes ~ I know it’s possible to write notes but kids today just don’t. I remember the first love note I ever received, it was hastily written on a sheet of paper at church, folded, and passed down the line of kids til it reached me. “Do you like me? Check yes, no, or maybe.” swoon A text message just doesn’t have that same feel.

2. The National Anthem ~ Back in the day, when we only had three TV stations, imagine that before the screen would go blank, they would play The National Anthem. Every time I heard it, I felt like I’d hit some “grown up” mark because I stayed up long enough to not get the jokes on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

1. Phone Slams ~ My sisters and I like to think that we invented the phone slam during an argument. Even if we didn’t start it, we certainly perfected it. You do remember the phone slam, right? You’re in the middle of an argument on the phone, you make your point and slam the phone down on the other person so they can’t reply. Oh there was nothing more satisfying than knowing that the other person was on the other end staring at the receiver.

What’re you sorry that your kids will never experience?

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10th Jun2013

Coffee Talk {In the Cafe}

by Daenel

Coffee Talk {Living Outside the Stacks}

Hi, and welcome to Coffee Talk. In case you’re new here, this is where I share some of the great and not~so~great stuff that I find on the web. Topics range from news stories that leave me scratchin’ my head to DIYs that I think are absolutely clever.  And there may be a recipe thrown in here or there just for fun.

1. It was with a heavy heart that I read that Terrilynn Monette’s body was found over the weekend. I wrote about Monette before here and here. Monette had relocated from California to New Orleans to teach in underserved schools. She did so well that her class went from one of the lowest ranking to one of the highest ranked classes. Her innovation and skill with the children lead to her being nominated for the Teacher of the Year Award.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I wish that her story {as well as the stories of other missing people of color} had received the same attention as that of missing white women. Perhaps, she {or others like her} may have been saved. My heart aches for the families and my prayers go up to God for peace for them.

2. Did you see this video of a student playing the cymbals during the “Star Spangled Banner”? If not, check it out. During the performance, his cymbal broke and what the student does next shows incredible recovery and quick thinking. Way to go, Kid. You handled an embarrassing situation like a boss. Your parents should be proud.

3. A group of students along with their chaperones were recently kicked off a plane for unruly behavior. The students, on their way to a senior class trip, were removed after the plane’s departure was delayed by 45 minutes because a few students refused to obey the instructions of the flight crew to either turn off mobile devices, sit in their seats, or tone down the chatter. The students and their chaperones are claiming they were removed because they were Jewish students {although they admit that there were a “few” who were not following directions}. OK. I’ve talked about controlling kids before but that was in reference to young children not people who should be old enough to monitor themselves. I think the flight crew was justified in removing the students and their chaperones. Flight crews are not babysitters nor are they wait staff, they are there for the safety of the passengers and crew. If people {regardless of age, color, or religion} cannot follow directions, they need to be removed. Immediately.

What had you scratchin’ your head this past week?

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12th May2013

Happy Mother’s Day {In the Cafe}

by Daenel

Mom and Us {Living Outside the Stacks}
This is one of my favorite pictures of my sisters and me with my mom; it was the first time we’d ever seen snow. We totally gobsmacked. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day. I did absolutely nothing, which is exactly what I wanted. Thank you to my children who threatened to force me to spend the entire day with them.

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01st Mar2013

Coffee Talk {In the Cafe}

by Daenel

Coffee Talk {Living Outside the Stacks}1. I big puffy heart social media; it has allowed me the opportunity to chat with you on Facebook, see your lives on Instagram, and hoard on Pinterest but ~ and this is a big BUT ~ there are a lot of things that are inappropriate for social media. Things like breaking up, drunk texting, and notifying people of a family member’s death. It happened. As in a Georgia police department notified a mother of the death of her 30~year~old son via Facebook.  Shaking my head The police department’s Facebook page isn’t even identified as being run by or affiliated with the police department {a picture of a rapper is being used for the avatar and the name on the account is one that is used for investigative purposes ~ “Misty Hancock”}. Seriously The family thought the email was a cruel joke {1. It had ended up in their “other” box on Facebook and 2. The message looked unofficial}

The department stated that they’d tried to contact the family using traditional means but couldn’t so they used Facebook as a last resort. Blank stare OK, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say they couldn’t contact the family using the telephone or a physical address, are they seriously trying to say that it never occurred to anyone to set up an official Facebook account for the police department so that people wouldn’t receive messages from a “Misty Hancock”?

2. And speaking of Facebook, a friend of mine reposted a video of some kids, roughly aged 8 to 12, “twerking”. If you don’t know what that is, look it up, I’ll wait. The first part of the video showed young boys dancing with each other and then a group of young girls were added to the dance party. Do you need a mental scrubbing? I know I do. This posting came just after I’d read an article about a 9~year~old rapper’s family being investigated by protective services because of some sexually suggestive videos in which the boy appears. There are so many things wrong with these two stories:

  • It is never appropriate to sexualize children; dancing in a sexually suggestive manner or pretending to smack the butt of a woman is neither cute nor funny. Parents, you can’t wonder why people see kids as sexual playthings when you’re encouraging them to shake their behinds while being taped.
  • Adults are laughing and cheering these kids on like they’re doing something special and/or unique but how many of these adults would be cheering as wildly if their kid won a Spelling Bee or was a Mathlete? It’s about priorities and these adults/parents have theirs in the wrong places.
  • Drug use is not a playing matter. Too many people have lost their lives to drugs, so phrases like “Coke ain’t a bad word” is irresponsible and stupid. What parent wants their kid to grow up to be a user?

We need to be encouraging our children to:

  1. live a Christ~centered life ~ enough said
  2. get an education ~ education is the key to escaping poverty
  3. make life enhancing decisions ~ be wise and use good judgement
  4. be healthy ~ eating right and being physically active is important throughout all phases of life; dance is a great form of exercise but keep it appropriate
  5. create and maintain wealth ~ I’m not talking about a couple of dollars to get you from the beginning to the end of the month, I’m talking about the kind of wealth that is passed from generation to generation. The kind of wealth that gets a family off welfare and into a position of self sustainability.

Parents need to do better. We as a society need to do better.

What had you scratchin’ your head this week?

25th Jan2013

Coffee Talk {In the Cafe}

by Daenel

Coffee Talk {Living Outside the Stacks}1. Did you hear about the Houston waiter who refused to serve a family because they asked to be moved away from a family who had a child with Down syndrome? The father reportedly said “Special needs children need to be special somewhere else.” It takes a special kind of idiot to be that insensitive towards a child, any child. The waiter overheard the comment and told the customer that he would be unable to serve them. Fist bump for the waiter because he lost a tip on that one (I’m guessing the family weren’t big tippers though just from the butt headedness displayed, so he may not have lost much). Now, I’ve been out and about and come across some unruly children, in fact, I’ve even left stores because children were just so obnoxious that I couldn’t deal. But from what I gather, this child was just chattering but not misbehaving. I think what the waiter did was pretty cool and I’m glad he didn’t lose his job over it. I do hope, however, that the family learned a little lesson on tolerance.

2. I don’t dislike children and, goodness knows, I heart puppies but if I see one more Facebook post that says some kid is gonna get a puppy if he or she gets a bazillion likes, I’m gonna scream. Getting Facebook likes is not a reason to get a puppy. Puppies are living things that require a lot of work and a lot of patience. And, much like kids, they don’t stay cute and cuddly forever. They grow up, get sick, poop on the floor, and act like two~year~olds forever. Y’all, please stop encouraging all of these “I’ll get this for so many likes” posts.

3. I hope you’re not eating right now. If you are, I’ll wait… I have two totally disgusting pieces of “art” to tell you about but before I do, I wanna know WHO ARE THE PEOPLE WHO’RE BUYING THIS STUFF? AND IF YOU REALLY JUST NEED TO GET RID OF YOUR MONEY, GIVE IT TO ME! OK, now that that’s out of my system… A “designer” had a piece of his own skin surgically removed and mounted on a $500,ooo 24~karat gold band. You can see it here, if you’re so inclined. Another designer has started creating jewelry from finger and toe nail clippings. It’s called “Human Ivory”. You can see it here, if you’re so inclined. When you first see it, it kinda looks like shells or something and then you realize, it’s human “scales”. I just threw up in my mouth. A lot.

What had you scratchin’ your head this week?

28th Dec2012

Things That Leave Me Scratchin’ My Head {Coffee Talk}

by Daenel

Coffee Talk {Living Outside the Stacks}Wow! Y’all, this is the last Friday of 2012. Is that crazy or what? I just want to take this time to thank all of you for hanging in there with me for the past year. I enjoy reading your comments on my blog, talking with you on Facebook, and sharing our lives on Instagram.

I’ve celebrated with some of you as you’ve added to your families and I’ve cried with others of you as you’ve lost loved ones. You’ve wished me well with all the changes in my life and laughed with me when I’ve had moments of silly. We’ve been through a lot this year and I thank you for sharing with me. My fervent prayer for each and every one of you is that you will find love, health and happiness in 2013 and that God will bless and keep you always.

Now enough of that, let’s bring on the crazy…

1. When I taught at university, I witnessed a lot of helicopter parents and I dealt with a lot of co~dependent kids but I never dealt with anything quite like this… A college student won a restraining order against her helicopter parents. According to newspaper accounts, the student’s parents would drive 600 miles from Kansas to Ohio for unannounced visits. They also installed keylogging software on her computer and a tracking device on her cell phone so they’d be aware of her every move. The school even went so far as to hire guards to keep the parents out of the music major’s performances.  Whoa I’ll admit, when I thought I was leaving my daughter in Pennsylvania, I cried for weeks but it never occurred to me to stalk the girl. That is the epitome of cray cray.

2. A man in Sweden has been granted disability benefits because of an addiction to heavy metal music. blank stare Apparently, his addiction is so bad that this guy can’t function without his skull and crossbones jewelry and long black hair. Nor can he stop attending heavy metal concerts, which led to his being fired because of reliability issues. I think this is just a case of a grown man not wanting to be a man, get a job and support himself. Hope springs eternal for all the gamers living in their parents’ basements.

3. Soooo, TLC has another reality show. It’s called “Wives with Beehives” and it’s all about modern women who live the lives of 50s housewives. insert one~eyed eye roll The four women featured were, um, interesting. On the one hand, I admired their dedication to the lifestyle and one of them even had a valid point about that being a time when “men were men” I have issues with men who spend more time getting ready to leave the house than I do But that being said, I also think those women are delusional. The 50s weren’t all pearls and fresh baked apple pies. Blacks were still being lynched, women were just this side of chattel and men were trying to escape the role of “the other”. I could do a whole history course on women and the 50s; oh, wait, I did. Women, if you want to dress like you live in the 50s, I think that’s fabulous but don’t glamorize the subjugation of an entire race of people and the submission of women to a standard that only June Cleaver could live up to.

This post is one of my most popular features and I look forward to more head scratchin’  in the new year.

21st Sep2012

Things That Leave Me Scratchin’ My Head {Coffee Talk}

by Daenel

Coffee Talk {Living Outside the Stacks}1. I love bacon. Goodness knows, I love myself some bacon. My friends and I are constantly discussing the many ways bacon can be used to enhance everything from steak to chocolate but it has never once occurred to any of us to use bacon as currency. But one guy, Josh Sankey,  is traveling across the U.S. on Oscar Meyer’s dime using bacon as currency. Everything he gets from gas to food to lodging is paid for using bacon! GeniusDude, if you’re ever in Missouri, I’ll trade you one of my hand crocheted scarves for some bacon. May even throw in a kid or two….

2. And while we’re on the subject of food, did you hear about the college professor who breast fed her kid during class? Now, before everyone gets all “breastfeeding is natural” on me, let me explain, I agree “breast is best” but there are some places a breast should never make an appearance and the classroom is one of them.  The professor’s excuse was that her child was sick and hungry, ummm, stay home with the kid, excuse yourself and let the TA take over while you handle your business, there were plenty of other options.

3. I guess this next one is only natural ’cause what goes in must come out… And, apparently, this mother thought it was OK for it to come out in the middle of a restaurant. Yep, you read it right, a mother found it to be too much of a hassle to take her tyke to the bathroom so she decided to  plop her kid on the pot in the dining area of an eatery. I know how tough it is to potty train, but that’s not right and the manager would have been well within his or her right to ask the parents to leave. And, ummm, doesn’t that violate some health code? I guess she’s never heard the old saying “Never pooh where you eat.”

What had you scratching your head this week?

20th Sep2012

Seventeen Years Ago Today… {Repost for the Birthday of Twin A and Twin B}

by Daenel

Jazmine and BrandonI gave birth to Twin A and Twin B, also known as Jazmine and Brandon.  But, really, their story begins nine days earlier…..

On 11 September 1995, the hubs and I showed up at the hospital for a routine OB visit.  The baby was due in nine days and, almost overnight it seemed, I had put on about 15 or 20 lbs and my pregnancy gait had shifted into full on waddle.  Furthermore, the baby was bouncing all over the place. Don’t babies normally slow down the closer you get to the due date?

Anyway, the hubs and the two~year~old sat in the waiting room while the doctor pulled out the measuring tape and measured my belly.  “Hmmm,” he flipped through my chart, “where’s your ultrasound?”  I noted the apprehension in his voice and replied, “I only have the confirmation ultrasound but they haven’t done one since then.  Why?”  He looked at me over his paperwork, “Well, you’re measuring a little large.  How about if we get you in for an ultrasound?”

I rolled off the table (at that point, that’s all I could do), got dressed and told the hubs that we were headed downstairs to get an ultrasound.

Insert cold belly jelly here

I looked at the ultrasound and started to panic.  My baby was going to be a freak!  There on the screen were two baby heads, one pointed up and one pointed down.  I asked the tech what I was looking at and she replied that I’d have to wait for the doctor, in the mean time, she was going to get my husband.  This did not sound good.

The doctor and the hubs both walked into the room at about the same time, the hubs looked at the screen and started backing away as the doctor announced “TWINS!”  What?  You have got to be friggin kidding me?  Nine days before they’re due and now you’re telling us that we’re having twins? But wait, it gets better…

The doctor went on to explain that the hospital at Fort Polk, Louisiana didn’t deliver twins (especially high risk twins ~ who knew what condition my little monkey babies were going to be in when they arrived?) so we’d have to drive to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas to have them.

The next day, we drove the two~year~old to Mississippi to my parents’ house and then drove down to Texas.  With me having contractions the whole way.  If you think pot holes are a pain in the butt on a regular day, try hitting them when you’re in labor.

We arrived at BAMC, just in time for them to decide that it would be too much to have the babies right then, so they stopped my labor.  Yes.  They stopped it.  I could have cried.  Then they started doing ultrasounds and stress tests to see how the babies were doing.  The entire time, we could only hear one heartbeat.  Finally, the doctors decided that I needed an amniocentesis but they didn’t really want to do it because they didn’t want to put the babies in any harm with a double stick (anesthesia and the hollow needle).  I told them to do it without the anesthesia. What was I thinking and why didn’t my husband slap me straight?  PAIN!!!!! Worse. Than. Child Birth.

The amnio showed that the babies were developed enough to survive outside of the womb.  So on my original due date ~ 20 September 1995 ~ the doctors induced labor.  At this time, I would like to stop and thank my anesthesiologist because I felt absolutely nothing! I have a picture of him and his wife in the twin’s baby books, that’s how much they mean to me.

Jazmine Danielle was born at 11:40 AM and she was followed ten minutes later by Brandon Anthony.  Their birth was witnessed by the hubs, the seven doctors and nurses  who worked on me, six doctors and nurses for the babies, as well as fifteen to seventeen residents who watched from the observation platform.  I know this because we met one of the residents in the elevator when I was being discharged.  He proudly stated in the elevator before a group of onlookers, “Hey, I saw you have your twins!”  Yuck!

Seventeen years ago today, I was surprised and doubly blessed with two beautiful babies who have grown up to provide me with love, laughter and a healthy dose of humility.  I love you guys and it has been an honor and a privilege to be your mother.

Now start packing your bags, ’cause you’ve got one year left!

22nd Jun2012

Things That Leave Me Scratchin’ My Head {Coffee Talk}

by Daenel

Things That Leave Me Scratchin'  My Head {Coffee Talk}1. So George Zimmerman’s defense team released the video of his re~enactment of the events surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, and I’ve heard that this may be the thing that gets him acquitted because it shows self defense. Ummm, what? NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED HAD HE STAYED HIS TAIL IN THE CAR LIKE THE DISPATCHER SAID!

2. Have you seen the video of the kids bullying the 69~year~old bus monitor, Karen Klein? You can watch it by going here. I was absolutely floored. I cannot believe the level of disrespect those kids showed towards that lady, a senior citizen. How dare those kids fix their mouths to speak to an adult like that?

I think there are several causes for this:

  • No home training {if parents would parent instead of friend their kids, their kids would understand that respect for their elders is expected at all times}
  • General lack of civility {people, in general, have become less civil, even the basics like “thank you”, “excuse me”, etc have fallen by the wayside}
  • Gang mentality {kids who would otherwise behave in a mature and responsible manner, get caught up in group think}

After viewing the video, I wondered at the response of the parents of the kids involved… I wanted to know what kind of punishment these kids would be facing, ‘cause I know if it were my kid, there would be heck to pay… Anyway, one of the fathers said he feels that the kids have been punished enough because their faces and the video have been played all over the news and web. Ummm, unacceptable, dude

3. At least we know justice will be served in one case, apparently, the father who beat his daughter’s molester to death won’t be charged. I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would find that man guilty. It’s not like he heard about the act or suspected the act, he walked in on the man molesting his child and lost it. I cannot blame him. Not that I advocate murder or anything, but I wish more parents would choose to defend their children, instead of selling them out for a better life, a quick buck, fame or whatever they gain at the price of their child’s innocence.

4. Kristen Stewart tops the Forbes’ list of highest paid actresses. Does that mean she finally has something to smile about? Good grief, I’ve never seen a more miserable looking person.

What had you scratching your head this week?



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