Thursday, November 25, 2010

~ Happy Thanksgiving ~

We had the best Thanksgiving this year. I didn’t cook a turkey, bake a pie or candy a single yam. There was no linen, china or crystal on our table. The fireplace had no fire, the wine remained in the cabinet and no family or friends showed up at our door. It would have been a shame if they had because we weren’t home.

We left at nine this morning and headed over to the City Rescue Mission where our girl Amy had signed us up to have Thanksgiving dinner with the homeless. We arrived at ten, decorated the table that had been reserved for our family and then waited for our four guests to arrive.

Miranda, Cavan, Amy and Hannah waiting for our guests

Our girls, Bel and Hannah getting excited

Nona and Hannah discussing seating arrangements

Finally, Bob and Bel saw our guests arriving

Meeting Laura and her family was absolutely lovely. They are wonderful people and we look forward to seeing them again sometime soon.

We also met Jeff. He and my husband Bob spent the entire three hours they were together talking military. Jeff is ex-Navy and with two of our sons in the military, that gave Bob all the incentive he needed to talk for hours.

Hannah was yelling for more pie for Jeff. She kept giving him hugs and I think it broke his heart a little.

Tonight, I am thankful ~

For friends and family that love and support me.

For food and clothes and a home.

For our jobs and the money they provide.

For having more than I need or deserve.

Life is good and I am thankful.

~ Happy Thanksgiving ~

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What About Bob?

My husband and I have a wonderfully strange relationship. We are best friends, partners in crime, kissy face huggy bear pals, and all the rest that goes along with having a pretty darn good marriage for the last 34 years. One of the things I noticed lately is the way we converse with one another. It seems maybe a bit less than normal when compared to some of our family and friends. Then I realized, this is our normal.

They look so normal and yet...

“Bob, why do you put the trash bags on the can so tight? I can never get the dang things off without fighting my way through the entire stinking process. You know I’m the weaker vessel.”

“Whatever! I use to believe that weaker vessel crap but not anymore.”

“Smart man.”

Then there are the constant jokes. Every day. Constantly. All the time. For the last 38 years. With promise of at least another 38 years. Jesus, Mary and Joseph pray for me.

I dig your pink guitar, Baby. No really. It's so, so, so, YOU!

“♪♪ Wasting away again in MarlaRitaville. Looking for my lost shaker of fart. Some people say that there’s a woman to blame but I know, it’s my darn wife’s fault ♪♪ . You know, honey, there is something seriously wrong with me.”

“Yes, I believe there is, Bob.”

I hate to even bring up this next Bob subject. I really do but in the hopes of possibly helping someone else out there, I will share this piece of our life. My darling, my sweetheart, my luvah, has the worst sense of timing when it comes to certain things. I am not going to say what things specifically but let’s just say, “things”. For instance, Bob is on vacation right now which means he is here. All. The. Time.


All. The. Time.

“Hey Baby. Wanna snuggle? Hehehe”

“Wow! That is a great idea. Tell ya what, as soon as I get the 5 loads of laundry sorted and started, something taken out for dinner, the grandkids in front of a movie, the horses, pig, chickens, dogs, cats, geese and Harley fed and watered, the bills paid and Ebay listed for the day, I will be all about snuggling with you. It's all about you, baby.”

“Awesome. Thanks for always putting me first, darlin.”

“Smart alec.”

Anyway, I noticed something else lately. When I post things about my husband, there are some of you that actually feel sorry for him. You leave me comments or send me emails saying you are worried about him or how hard it must be for the old man to be married to me. Stuff like that. I want to thank you for taking the time to look out for the guy and for giving me a good laugh along your worry journey. So, I was thinking maybe I would turn this little old blog over to the man himself. You know, to defend himself, defend my honor (oops! too late for that) and other nonsense. So here is your chance. Send me your questions and I will interview the man, the myth, the legend in his own mind, the white guy extraordinaire, Mr. Robert E. Hansen.

Mr. and Mrs. White Guy

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sundays In My City

Sunday in my city began like this

Yeah, the photo is fuzzed out but so were we. It was too early for picture taking. We needed our coffee and newspaper. Leave us alone already, will ya? Why were we so tired this morning, you ask?

Partying with Santa til all hours of the night on Saturday was hard work but hey,
somebody had to do it.

Now go visit Unknown Mami
while we drink our coffee.

Unknown Mami

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sundays In My City

This Sunday in my city, fall has finally arrived here at Hansen Farm. In all it's glory, with all it's frosty chill filling the air, it's here.

Time for a fire in the fireplace. Life is good.

Now go visit Unknown Mami and see what's happening in other cities this Sunday.

Unknown Mami

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thanks Boys

These are two of our children, Matthew and John Hansen.

They are both helicopter pilots, Matthew with the Army and John with the Navy. On this Veterans Day, we want to make sure they know how much we love them and appreciate all the sacrifices they make on a daily basis to ensure our freedom and security. You both are amazing human beings and we are proud. If we had any idea you two were going to turn out so well, we would have never grounded you for all those cars you totalled when you were teenagers. Anyway, thanks boys. We love you both. We won't say which one more but one of you might want to rethink flying that Chinook so close to the house all the time. I'm just saying.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sound Bites

I love conversation. For instance, one evening when my oldest daughter and her family were over for dinner she had this to say:

"Mom, this is one of the best dinners yet. How do you make it look so easy all the time?"

"It’s not hard. Cooking is fun."

"I think I would love cooking if I didn’t have to go into the kitchen."

My daughter Rachel is the one at the head of the table. She looks scared and confused because she just realized she is in a kitchen.

Then there is my youngest daughter Miranda. She is incredibly funny only she doesn't know it which makes it even funnier. Just listen to this recent conversation between Miranda, Rachel and myself:

"Hey mom, my teacher sent this paper home for you to sign. It says I can take some cultural classes because I’m part Cherokee."

"Miranda is part Cherokee?"

"Yeah, she is on the Cherokee Nation rolls. She’s even got a card."

"Hey mom, I’m also part Mexican. Do I have a Mexican card, too?"

Yes, she is part Mexican however, to my knowledge, she does not have a Mexican card to prove it. Not yet anyway.

Hannah is my youngest granddaughter at three years old. She is here visiting and I couldn't be happier. One of my favorite parts of the day is having Hannah conversations like this one:

"Hannah, look at all those birds on the telephone line. How many do you think there are?"

"One…two… a lot!"

The kid is a mathematical genius. She gets that from our side.

Of course my conversations with my sisters are always memorable. They usually involve one of them trying to tell me what to do and me not doing it, mostly to annoy them. Such was the case last night when Kelly called.

"Hey, you need to call Char and thank her for sending you a photo of dad’s headstone. It hurt her feelings that you never acknowledged receiving it."

"Yeah, well it hurt my teeth having to receive it. You guys know I am still upset about him leaving me. How selfish is he anyway? I bet he didn’t even think about what this whole dying thing was gonna do to me."

"Are you crazy? What about Char and me? You think we don’t miss him too?"

"Whatever. This dead daddy thing is not working for me."

"Seriously, seek therapy. And medication. You may be certifiable."

Hey Char! Hey Kel! Did I ever mention that Dad liked me best?

Finally, there's that guy I am married to. Oh he is a real laugh riot. I especially like his jokes after the bazillionth time. They never lose their hilarity. Like the way he introduces me to people I have never met before. Like, say...his boss. Yeah, this is how he introduced us the first time.

"Brenda, I'd like you to meet my first wife, Marla."

Yuck it up, funny boy. You'll get yours...or not.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stuck Like Glue

My husband Bob is a butthead. Oh yeah, he is. I know I am always writing things on this blog about how wonderful he is and how much I love him and can’t live without him. How he makes my stomach do twirly whirlies just by looking at me and how he makes me want to kiss him and stuff when he sings to me. Yeah, I know I wrote all that stuff but he is still a butthead.

Don't let the smile fool you. The big guy is a butthead.

Bob has this absolutely annoying, drive me crazy not in a good way thing he does. He acts old sometimes. Like an old, grouchy, get off my lawn or I’ll call the coppers, old guy. I have no clue where he gets this stupid idea that he is old but it drives me insane.

"...and STAY off my lawn!"

We have always had a really fun relationship. We act crazy and laugh and go out of our way to do really embarrassing things together in order to humiliate our children. We are an awesome team like Laurel and Hardy. Yogi and Boo Boo. Ricky and Lucy. Bonnie and Clyde. We are lethally fun and funny together.

Well, we used to be until Laurel/Yogi/Ricky/Clyde decided he was old. Now it is simply too much for him to stay up past nine, meet new people, play a full game of cards at Starbucks. I mean, he might miss his next dose of Geritol. What if he needs to pee and has to be cathed? Seriously, the poor guy is on the edge of sixty.

So, a few days ago he had one of his, “I’m so old, I simply can’t go out and have a good time because I may miss an episode of Matlock” moments. To say it was the last straw for me would be an understatement. I did my best to make a few things very clear to the old geezer.

I will never have sex with an old man.

I will go out and have fun without you because I am young. Then you will have to sit at home watching Matlock wondering what embarrassing things I am doing while wearing your last name.

I will never have sex with an old man.

Your children, grandchildren and all children of the world will remember you as THAT GUY on the street. Is that how you want to be remembered since you are so old and close to kicking the bucket?

I will never have sex with an old man.

Anyway, the last few days have been a bit chilly here and I am not talking about the weather. Then today, just when I was thinking that single life wouldn’t be so bad, I found this comment on my blog:

Bob said...

Marla Ann,
I am truly humbled to be your man...Bob

November 9, 2010 9:58 AM

Damn old men!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Puzzling Life

I have a blog friend named Nancy. She is an amazing writer. I'm talking deep stuff, folks. I read her posts and am filled with longing to write the way she does. Nancy writes from the heart and from the gut. That is a lethal combination. Seriously. One of the things that I so deeply respect about her writing is that she is so honest. Nancy tells it all, her struggles and successes. She also writes fiction based on truth. Is there any other kind worth reading? Anyway, do yourself a favor and check out her blog, Away We Go. You can thank me later.

Nancy is the one with the big grin.

I was reading through her posts last night, leaving a bazillion comments, as I am loathed for doing, when I came across this one. It's about working on a puzzle with her two boys. The amazing thing is, it spoke volumes to me about me. Here is the part that really grabbed my attention:

After the puzzle was complete, Owen and I talked about our thinking process. We unpacked our thinking, and determined a few strategies that helped us be successful:

1) We figured out that straight-edges go on the outside edges.

2) We looked for like colors and patterns.

3) We did little bits when the big bits seemed like too much.

4) We asked for help when we needed it.

As Owen and I talked, I stated, "See how you can do hard things?" and "I like how you worked to meet your goals." I was trying to develop his sense of self-efficacy. Things in life aren't always going to be easy; having strategies when things get tough can be the difference between confidence and defeat.

I seriously cried when I read those words. I have been going through some soul-searching for quite a while now. It probably has something to do with being in my fifties, both my parents being dead, all but one of my children being grown and gone. That's what the books say anyway. But the truth is, I believe it's deeper than that. It's about disappointment with me. It's about not being who I want to be or even who I thought I was. It's about not achieving goals, not setting goals, making excuses, wanting do-overs and realizing there are no such things in this life. So, I have been reading and soul-searching and praying and doing the best I know how to do when it comes to figuring out what's next. How do I do the rest of what's left of my life in a way that feels on purpose and not just survival mode? Then I read Nancy's post.

The straight-edges go on the outside edges.

I'm setting my boundaries. Something I have rarely done throughout my life. I have not been good about setting them where other people are concerned and I have been horrible about setting them for myself. So, today I am picking through the pieces of my life and relationships to find those outside edges. Then I am putting them in place, stepping back and smiling at what I've done. I know they are there; I just have to find them, lock the pieces together and keep going.

We looked for like colors and patterns.

I have made some really poor choices in this area. I have sold myself short, again and again. Told myself I wasn't good enough, or smart enough, or thin enough for too many things. I have avoided people and places based on my own insecurities. I have looked down on others because I thought they were better than me. Yeah, read that one again because it may seem I meant it the other way around but I didn't. I have had opportunities to do some great things with great people and I turned it down. Why? Because of fear of not being enough. But I am enough. So, today I am going to look for those people and opportunities that are like the me I know I can be, am meant to be, am destined to be. No more excuses. No more fear. No more judging others. No more judging myself.

We did little bits when the big bits seemed like too much.

The big bits always seem like too much to me. I can easily focus on the big bits. So, today, I am focusing on the little bits. There are some HUGE bits in my life right now. Take my hips for instance. My piles of paper on my desk. My writing. I could go on and on but the bottom line is this: I am going to tackle each huge bit, one little bit at a time. I was a project manager. I understand time management, dividing the project into workable pieces and meeting the goal in a timely fashion. Come hell or high water. I was successful when I did it for a paycheck. This is so much more important this time. This time, the pay is a balanced life. My life. A life I can be comfortable in, not constantly squirming to find a place to hide.

We asked for help when we needed it.

I love this writer. They know how to ask for help.

Out of everything I read in Nancy's post, this was the hardest for me. I hate asking for help. I want to do it myself. Everything. Myself. Why? Because I am a control freak. Because everything I do is better than the way anyone else does it. Because I am afraid of needing people. Because I am a freak. Whatever the reasons, I need help and I am going to ask for it. This does not mean I need or want unsolicited advice. You know the kind where you tell me what to do then when I decide not to do it you get mad at me and won’t speak to me for a year. I am talking about the kind of help that really helps me be a better me by accepting help from those people that are better than I am at certain things. Lots of things. So, I will ask. It won’t be easy but I will.

I really want to be able to say to myself one day soon, "See how you can do hard things?"

What hard things are you doing today?

Monday, November 1, 2010

¡Ay, Caramba!

Sometimes things are so painfully obvious to everyone around you that you just have to step back and wonder how you missed certain things all through the years. Take for instance an observation by my daughter-in-law, Molly.

Molly is one of the joys of my life. Like my other daughters-in-law, I consider her nothing less than a true daughter of mine. Molly and I have known one another since she was twelve years old. She was and is our oldest daughter Rachel’s best friend. She is married to our oldest son Matthew and mother of two of our grandchildren. Molly is beautiful and bright and kind. Maybe this is one reason I was so shocked by her words as we sat having coffee one afternoon.

“I don’t know why, but lately, I feel like I’m in a Mexican prison.”

“Excuse me?”

Yeah, that’s what she said to me. A Mexican prison. Did I mention Molly and her family are staying with us right now? Did I mention she was obviously referring to staying here with us feeling like being in a Mexican prison? Did I mention I would have never allowed our son to marry her if I had known she had been in a Mexican prison at one time? I mean, obviously she must have been because how else would she know how it feels?

Ok, maybe she wasn’t actually ever in a Mexican prison. That we know of anyway. And maybe I spewed coffee out my nose when she made the comment because, well, it was kind of funny. But I still don’t understand how she could say such a thing.

My father raised me to show hospitality to people in a way that makes them feel comfortable when they are within our walls.

We raised our children to behave a step above the common criminal, Mexican or otherwise.

Even our animals know the score.

A Mexican prison, indeed.