Beachcombing and Bemoaning

By Andrea Hagan

 

I love shelling.  It combines some of my favorite things – the beach, physical activity, solitude and attention to detail.  Planning for one of my family’s upcoming Florida trips, I (naively) thought that it was time to introduce my daughter to my beloved pastime.

I envisioned us as a great mother-daughter beachcombing duo.  What fun we would have on our hunt and even better, getting our treasure back home where we would eagerly sort and proudly display our fighting conchs, kitten paws, shark’s eyes, maybe even a prized alphabet cone or two!

 

Then there was the reality of shelling with a toddler.  One of the best shelling spots in Southwest Florida takes some effort to reach.  We set off on bikes for the first stretch, my husband pulling our daughter and her baby brother in the bike trailer.  The second leg requires a one-mile walk along the beach.  My husband pushes our son in the bike trailer and our daughter gets out and takes my hand.  It’s the perfect day for shelling and I smile, excited to create this new tradition with my daughter.

That is until I spot the first fighting conch.  l let go of my toddler’s hand to pick it up and put it in my bag and she whines, “Mom, hold my hand.”  This is my daughter’s latest annoying toddler behavior.  In public, she demands I hold her hand, regardless if I’m holding her brother and a diaper bag plus a bag of groceries, she goes into complete hysterics if I let go of her hand for a split second.  I’m not sure if this is a power struggle, jealousy of her brother, or if she’s becoming Howard Hughes, afraid of people and being in public in general.  So I explain to her that we are shelling and that when we see a pretty shell, we stop and pick it up and I need my other hand to do that.  Two steps later and I spot another shell, and again, “Mom, hold my hand.”  “Mom, hold my hand.”  “Mom, hold my hand.”  “MOM, HOLD MY HAND!”

Now, some of you might be thinking, what a terrible mom complaining that her daughter wants to hold her hand.  I implore you to listen to “Mom, hold my hand” for 150 times, each whine becoming higher in octave and louder than the Gulf of Mexico crashing against the shoreline before you lose your (sea glass) marbles!  My husband tried to help, but he’s pushing baby brother in a bike trailer, not an easy feat on baby powder fine sand. Eventually, my daughter has a complete meltdown and we are forced to put her in the trailer too, which makes strolling on the beach difficult and shelling less than enjoyable.

One mile in means one mile out.  We try to let our daughter walk on the return trip, and it’s still the broken record of “Mom, hold my hand,” but now sprinkled in is, “Mom, hold me” with “Mom, this is too much walking, Can you hold me?”  The hallmark picture perfect mother-daughter shelling tradition that I envisioned sinks right to the bottom of the Gulf and is carried over to Keewaydin Island, probably with the alphabet cone.

I did add a few shells to my collection on that trip.  Just don’t hold the fighting conch up to your ear because all you’ll hear is whine.

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No shoes allowed…inside the house!

At my house, we have a shoeless policy.  Everyone takes off their shoes before they come inside.

Prior to having children, this is something that would have never even crossed my mind.  “Sex and the City” (anyone remember “Sex and the City”???) did an episode about Carrie attending a baby shower at a friend’s apartment with such a policy, only to have her Molonano Balanics stolen.  Legal Disclaimer – if you own a pair of Manolo Blahniks, please do not wear them over to my house.  I cannot be held responsible for the safety of your insanely expensive shoes.  Years ago when I watched that episode, I completely related with Carrie.  What lunatic makes you take off your shoes?

Flash forward 2013 when my daughter was born, and that lunatic is now me.  Once your little one becomes mobile, with those sweet little hands on the floor, and subsequently, in their mouth, it makes you think twice about wearing those old gym shoes in the kitchen.  I would never let my kids crawl around on the grocery store floor, for example, so why would I wear shoes in the house that just walked in said grocery store?  I’m by no means a germaphobe.  Kids should eat a little dirt now and then, just not off my hardwood floors!

Sans shoes really wasn’t too difficult to implement.  We just put a shoe rack at the top of our garage steps, easy peasy.  I have a pair of flip-flops handy in case I need to go out in the garage for something.  And who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?  My husband has no problem with taking his shoes off.  He agrees with my logic and appreciates the end result of cleaner floors.

For guests that don’t know the shoe rule, I have prominently displayed an Etsy hand-painted sign that reads “Because little hands touch our floor, please leave your shoes at the door.”  Cute, right?  Apparently not.

After recently moving to our new house, we threw our first party.  I prominently displayed the shoe sign on the front door for those that had never been to my house before.  Guests politely complied, as a pile of shoes lay by the door.  One individual came inside with their shoes on.  I explained that we have a shoes free house but apparently this offended this individual’s dignity and honor.  I might as well have insulted their mama!  I thought I was going to have to forcefully remove their shoes.  The shoes were finally taken off with an audible huff, but it was a weird exchange that I thought was unnecessary.  And for the record, the shoes in question were definitely not Manolo Blahniks!

Am I militant about the shoe thing?  Yes.  But that’s just my personality.  Once I commit to something, I’m all in.  So, you’ve all been warned.  Please leave your shoes and attitude at the door!

Until next time, I’d love to hear what you think about my barefoot brouhaha.  Does anyone out there have a shoe-free home?  Any Carrie’s out there that think being asked to remove your shoes is offensive and borderline OCD?

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Lemons & Lyme Complex

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.  When life gives you Lyme complex, you make…?

After a few years of rapidly declining health with fuzzy labels such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, I was finally diagnosed with Lyme complex. And I couldn’t have been more excited. Wait, what? If you’ve ever struggled with an unnamed illness, you know what I’m talking about. A diagnosis at least is confirmation that yes, you’ve been really sick and here’s why. 

Lyme disease is a big old political firestorm for reasons longer than I’ll delve into right now. Life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Life gives you Lyme, you’d better make a sizable annual income because treatment is going to be expensive. 

To compound the issue, no one agrees on the treatment plan.  Take long-term antibiotics, but how long? No, take IV antibiotics. No, antibiotics will wreck your already wrecked system, take herbs. No, detox from heavy metals and co-infections first before you even think about addressing Lyme.

So what to make with Lyme? Stephen Buhner, Lyme expert, herbalist and author of “Healing Lyme,” opines that one of the many functions of illness is to “teach us how to alter the fabric of our lives in order to become whole again…and how to remain that way.” Of course Mr. Buhner looks exactly how you’d imagine an herbalist would look like, with long hair spilling out of his beret, neck adorned by various necklaces and scarves. You can practically smell the patchouli wafting off him from his website picture. 

While I’m not about to don a beret any time soon (sorry, I don’t care that they are called fascinators across the pond and that Duchess Kate wears them), what am I going to make with Lyme? 

I started honestly examining my life and asking myself what I want to do with the precious time that I have on this planet. And my books popped back into my mind. I had written a couple of children’s books several years ago, sent them to a few big publishers and never hearing anything, so I easily gave up and moved on. So I’ll put my writer’s hat back on, OK maybe I will wear a beret after all, and pursue my passion, which is to see my children’s books published.    

Till next time. Make lots of lemonade between now and then!

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A Valentine’s Day Regift

Think regifting is limited to December 25th and bad Christmas sweaters? Think again!  Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to regift.  Valentine’s Day is all about giving your heart to someone else.  I am being literal here.  I am taking about becoming an organ donor.

Organ donation is dubbed the gift of life, but I think it’s really a regift.   We are blessed with these original gifts in our bodies.  Take the human liver, for example, it is so amazing, it can regenerate itself even if part of its own tissue dies.  On a side note, let’s all take a collective moment to apologize to our liver for our past transgressions – spring break; college; your best friend’s wedding; cheap beer; you fill in the blank.  My mother was an organ donor and her organs helped save three people.  One recipient now has my mother’s liver; she was a teetotaler to boot so talk about a top of the line regift!

Only around 37 percent of eligible Tennesseans are registered organ donors, well below the national average of around 50 percent.  (FYI, New York state has the fewest donors, coming in at an abysmal 33 percent).  Why are Tennesseans, known for our volunteer spirit, failing to volunteer our hearts?  There’s certainly a lot of “bless your heart” being dished out, but not a lot of actual bestowing of the heart.  On this Valentine’s Day, let us all commit to regifting our hearts (and other organs that aren’t quite as Valentine’s theme related).

Please go to donatelifetn.org to become an organ donor.  It only takes a few minutes to fill out the online form.

 

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Happiness on hold and other DIY mommy projects

 

By Andrea Hagan

My kids and I love visiting the library.  As an adult, you get to relive those great childhood memories of your library, excited to pick a few new books to take home.  I allow my daughter to check out two books at a time; otherwise, we’d wind up losing them.  She went through a stage where it was great fun to place items in various locations throughout the house (Mom’s hairbrush shoved in the onion bin in the pantry, check!  Mom’s bra tied around lion’s neck, check!  Mom’s wedding ring under the trampoline, check!)

I like to check out a few books too, usually cookbooks.  While perusing the cooking section, I stumbled up “The Happiness Project,” a book that had obviously been mishelved (Can’t blame my daughter, she was in the stroller at the time…).  This is an older book I vaguely remember hearing about back when I had the time to read one book a week, ie before children.  I decide to check it out.  Why not?  What mom couldn’t use a little more happiness?

Fast forward three months later.  I am exactly on page three, having renewed this book a total of four times.  I’m almost embarrassed to attempt a fifth renewal, afraid the librarian will see this in the computer system and say, “Lady, you’re delusional!  You and I both know that you are not going to make the time to read this book!  Extension denied!  With a big thud of the stamper on the card in the back of the book (Well, there are no more stampers or cards in the back of the book as everything is now electronic, but it would certainly make for a more dramatic effect).  A hush would fall over the library, everyone would turn from their board backed periodicals (okay, their Facebook pages on the library computers) to stare at the woman who simply could not find the time to be happy.  Shamefully, I would exit the library with nothing to show for the humiliation except for my daughter’s two Clifford books that I could dramatically reenact if called upon, having painfully read and reread.

There were all sorts of projects and plans that simply never happened.  For example, I was going to organize all my daughter’s pictures and make several collage canvases and baby books by her first birthday Never happened as we are now at age three.  The shadow boxes of newborn keepsakes still adorn my dining room table, a project that at least got started.

I’m not going to say that happiness is what happens when you’re busy making other plans, because that is too cliché.  Maybe the lesson here is that the very essence of happiness cannot be turned into a project or captured in a DIY book.  That my happiness today was my daughter snuggling in my lap for a few minutes or my son looking up at me from his crib, smiling and holding up his arms, waiting for me to pick him up from his nap.  At least that’s what I’ll tell that judgmental librarian when I return the unread Happiness Project book next week….

Till next month!

 

 

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Happiness on hold and other DIY mommy projects

By Andrea Hagan

 

My kids and I love visiting the library.  As an adult, you get to relive those great childhood memories of your library, excited to pick a few new books to take home.  I allow my daughter to check out two books at a time; otherwise, we’d wind up losing them.  She went through a stage where it was great fun to place items in various locations throughout the house (Mom’s hairbrush shoved in the onion bin in the pantry, check!  Mom’s bra tied around lion’s neck, check!  Mom’s wedding ring under the trampoline, check!)

I like to check out a few books too, usually cookbooks.  While perusing the cooking section, I stumbled up “The Happiness Project,” a book that had obviously been mishelved (Can’t blame my daughter, she was in the stroller at the time…).  This is an older book I vaguely remember hearing about back when I had the time to read one book a week, ie before children.  I decide to check it out.  Why not?  What mom couldn’t use a little more happiness? 

Fast forward three months later.  I am exactly on page three, having renewed this book a total of four times.  I’m almost embarrassed to attempt a fifth renewal, afraid the librarian will see this in the computer system and say, “Lady, you’re delusional!  You and I both know that you are not going to make the time to read this book!  Extension denied!  With a big thud of the stamper on the card in the back of the book (Well, there are no more stampers or cards in the back of the book as everything is now electronic, but it would certainly make for a more dramatic effect).  A hush would fall over the library, everyone would turn from their board backed periodicals (okay, their Facebook pages on the library computers) to stare at the woman who simply could not find the time to be happy.  Shamefully, I would exit the library with nothing to show for the humiliation except for my daughter’s two Clifford books that I could dramatically reenact if called upon, having painfully read and reread. 

There were all sorts of projects and plans that simply never happened.  For example, I was going to organize all my daughter’s pictures and make several collage canvases and baby books by her first birthday Never happened as we are now at age three.  The shadow boxes of newborn keepsakes still adorn my dining room table, a project that at least got started.

I’m not going to say that happiness is what happens when you’re busy making other plans, because that is too cliché.  Maybe the lesson here is that the very essence of happiness cannot be turned into a project or captured in a DIY book.  That my happiness today was my daughter snuggling in my lap for a few minutes or my son looking up at me from his crib, smiling and holding up his arms, waiting for me to pick him up from his nap.  At least that’s what I’ll tell that judgmental librarian when I return the unread Happiness Project book next week….

 

Till next month!

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A Leaky Gut, a Cronut and the Little Engine that Could

 

By Andrea Hagan

 

I have a leaky gut caused by systematic Candida. Sounds gross, right? Before you say TMI and stop reading, just know that we all have yeast and other bacteria in our gut and it’s actually a very good thing.  Until it becomes a very bad thing.

I decided to take charge of my health when I was pregnant with my son. I switched to a Paleo lifestyle, cutting out gluten and most processed foods and dairy; eating organic whenever possible; and limiting chemical exposure (cleaning products, shampoos, makeup, etc.).  To the casual observer I looked perfectly healthy, but I felt absolutely terrible the majority of the time. I had chronic unexplained stomach pains, other digestive issues and pain and inflammation in various parts of my body.  Not to mention the seemingly unexplained flair ups of my autoimmune disease alopecia areata.

After a few months of following a Paleo lifestyle, many of my symptoms disappeared and I thought I’d found the answer.  And then the other shoe dropped (doesn’t it always?).  I got a vicious case of breastfeeding mastitis when my son was two months old, leading to a mega dose of antibiotics. No big deal, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, while antibiotics do their job in killing an infection, they also kill good bacteria too, and that’s when the gut flora can get out of balance.  The medical profession is just now realizing the importance of gut health; with about 70 percent of our immune system residing there, one can understand why a healthy gut is so important.

Looking back now I see that it probably wasn’t just the one infection and one round of antibiotics that caused my cascade of health problems.  It was a lifetime of willy nilly antibiotic use.  It was not eating enough vegetables (Yes, your mother was right to nag!).  It was fast food and Coke.  It was pizza and beer on Friday night.  It was drinking chemical laden water from chemical laden plastic bottles.  It was too much stress.  It was too much sugar.  It was the cumulative effect of not taking care of my body for many years, and now it was time to pay the piper.

I finally went to a functional medicine specialist and after a series of tests, the conclusion was gut dysbiosis of the small intestines. My good guys were low in number and the bad guys had set up shop in my small intestines via my gut permeability, hence the term leaky gut.  The bad guys being primarily Candida, which explained the excruciating breastfeeding pain and thrush diaper rashes that both my children just couldn’t shake, along with a laundry list of other Candida related may lays: food allergies; migraines; body aches and pains; chronic fatigue; a mystery face rash; brain fog; random nose bleeds, the list goes on and on.

My supplement regiment went from a multivitamin to an entire alternative medicine cabinet full of herbs and vitamins dedicated to gut healing (along with other holistic protocol measures that really are TMI…).  I started on a strict autoimmune elimination diet, removing nuts, seeds, all dairy, nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, spices, etc), and all sugar, with the goal being to figure out which foods were causing reactions and eliminating those to allow my body to heal.   It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, both mentally and physically.  It’s also as boring and monotonous as it sounds.  Anytime I’m at an event/family gathering, food is going to be the focus.  We’re in the South, for goodness’ sake!  And inevitably, I’ll be asked 20 different times by 20 different people why I’m not eating, and my honest reply that “Candida has destroyed my gut villi, set up shop in various parts of my body and is systematically destroying my health” really isn’t pleasant dinner conversation!  It’s honestly easier to just stay home.

I was seeing slight improvement in my symptoms until a vacation and that damn cronut. You remember the cronut craze? A croissant and doughnut had a love child, the cronut. The sad thing is that I didn’t even eat the cronot. Let me explain. My family and I were at a farmer’s market, a veritable smorgasbord of baked goodies and fried delicacies. I’m still on my super boring healing foods regiment when I spot the cronout. I white knuckle it right on by and instead go for an acai fruit bowl, another food craze of the moment. Sure the acai fruit bowl was good, especially to someone that had been abstaining from fruit, but what I really wanted was that cronout. And old diet for weight loss habits die hard. So, I wind up later in the evening hiding in the bedroom gorging on my husband’s jumbo bag of peanut M &Ms (don’t judge!), and peanut M & Ms were never that great to begin with!  Had I simply eaten that cronut the sky would not have fallen and I would still have been on my path to healing instead of taking the crazed detour of eating a jumbo bag of mediocre candy with a migraine to follow, just to add insult to injury!

Confession is good for the soul, but what is good for the gut?  All I know is that I want to be able to fully enjoy my wonderful children, so I will take the attitude of the Little Engine that Could, my daughter’s favorite book of the moment: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can heal my leaky gut!  Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be riding a train, enjoying a delicious cronut without looking like I ran head long into a hornet’s nest, chanting “I thought I could, I thought I could.”  I’ll pass on the peanut M&Ms, though.

Till next month!

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Don’t wash your baby’s head with brandy

…and other pearls of motherly wisdom

By Andrea Hagan

 

Break out the high ball glasses, it’s time for motherly advice circa England, 1878!

While recently on vacation, I stumbled upon a funky gift shop with a great selection of odd ball merchandise.  A little pocket sized reference book “Don’ts for Mothers” caught my eye.  Intrigued by the title, I flipped through and read the introduction/admonishment: this book “ought not to be listlessly read, merely as a novel or as any other piece of fiction[. . . .]” Oh contraire, no listless reading here!  I immediately headed for the checkout line when I landed on this tidbit – “Don’t feel it necessary to wash your infant’s head with brandy.”  A brandy bath?  Now, bathtub gin I’ve heard of, but I’m unfamiliar with brandy as part of your child’s hair care routine. What other maternal knowledge has been lost to antiquity?!  Let’s read on and find out, shall we?

 

On Potty training:
“Don’t allow a babe’s clothes to become wet with urine.  Children can be taught cleanliness, by putting a vessel under their lap when there is a sign of evacuation and will soon be not content to do without it.  This practice may begun at five or six weeks.”
FIVE OR SIX WEEKS!  This idea is actually big in the crunchy community.  Alicia Silverstone is a big proponent of “elimination communication” or just watching closely and holding baby over the potty before you think he or she is about go.  While I’m a somewhat crunchy mommy, I just never got into this, diapers just seemed easier. Although now with a two and a half year old daughter who flat out refuses to use her potty, I can see the appeal of beginning the training earlier, when “NO” has yet to enter the vocabulary!

 

On dealing with the crushing disappointment of failing to give your husband a male heir:
“Don’t be disappointed when you learn that “it” is a girl and not a boy.  Don’t let that disappointment tinge your treatment of your girls.  A girl is every bit as important to this world as a boy.”
Just take a page from Kim Kardashian’s play book and when at first you first don’t succeed, (allegedly, per US Weekly, and if you can’t trust US Weekly for truth in reporting then who can you trust I ask?) spend big bucks with IVF and gender selection to ensure you give Kayne a boy and keep that gravy train a going!

 

On dressing your child:

“Don’t talk about dress but be careful always to have your own dress neat and well-fitted . . . . By these means, children will form the habit of dressing well.”

Hum, I don’t think the sweats that I’ve worn for two days in a row passes muster.  Okay, I know I own pants that require the use of a belt somewhere around here….

 

On decorating the nursery:

“Don’t hang the nursery walls with paintings of bad quality.  The horrid daubs and bad engravings that usually disfigure nursery walls are enough to ruin the taste of a child.”

Ah, words to live by.  What, you don’t have an original Picasso above your baby’s crib?  Well, I just hope you can live with yourself knowing that you’ve singlehandedly ruined your child’s artistic palate.  Although if your horrid nursery daubs keep your child from growing up and majoring in Art History in college, then maybe this one should be a “do” instead of a “don’t.”

 

On Discipline:

“Don’t punish a child too harshly.  A punishment should always be as mild as it can be.  Small children may be sent to bed without supper or tied to an arm-chair, or sent out of the room and forbidden to return.”

Can someone say referral to the Department of Children’s Services?

 

On raising a high spirited daughter:

“Don’t be afraid if your daughter should acquire masculine habits, or rough manners.  As growing children they should have free use of their limbs and are likely to be the most graceful and healthy in adulthood.”

Thank goodness!  I often feel that I’m in a cage match with Ronda Rousey, AKA my toddler daughter, whether it be trying to change her clothes, brush her teeth, or her best MMA move, the lap sitting that turns into wallowing that then turns into her elbow being thrust into my pick a body part – sternum, chin, stomach, breast, etc.  All I know is that her baby brother’s gonna have to acquire “rough manners” pretty quickly if he wants to survive in this household.

 

And my personal favorite:
“Don’t permit a youth to play the flute, blow the bugle or any other wind instrument.  It is injurious to health; the lungs and windpipe are brought into unnatural action by them.”
How many youth must suffer before we act?  I say this category must be expanded to include the piccolo, horn and trombone.  Woodwind instrumental injury is an avoidable injury.  We need a Sarah McLachlan PSA ASAP!  Although I’m not sure Sarah is a woodwind musician.  Scratch that, let’s go with Kenny G., that easy listening elevator music, maybe he’s playing his saxophone in the elevator and because he’s so focused on said wind instrument, his lustrous hair gets caught in the elevator door, leading to his untimely demise.  Now, that’d get your attention more than those angel eyed dog and cat commercials ever could!

 

As I finish the “Don’ts” and my glass of Brandy, I realize that many years from now we’ll look back on the “don’ts” that today’s experts have come up with and laugh at the absurdity.  The bottom line?  Follow your motherly instincts and do the best job you can.  Now that’s a toast (or a bath?), so drink (or bathe) up!
Hope all the Mommies out there had a wonderful Mother’s day, till next month!

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Estate Sale – Morbid Curiosity and Curiosities

By Andrea Hagan

I became obsessed with estate sales when I was pregnant with my second child.  I’m still not exactly sure why.  Maybe it was the nesting thing that a lot of women talk about.  My family and I had moved across town to a larger home to accommodate our growing brood and there was a lot of blank walls to fill with art work, knick knacks to display, furnishings to furnish.  I became a woman on a mission to get the house in order before the baby came.

It is a bit ironic that when I was about to give birth to another life, I really got interested in estate sales.  They are really quite morbid, if you think about it.  Someone has died.  You don’t know that person from Adam and yet you are riffling through their collection of toothpick holders and creepy clown décor.  Who was this person?  Why did they have a collection of toothpick holders and creepy clown décor?  (And for the record, all clown décor is creepy!)

It’s fascinating going to these sales, especially rifling through what I call the time capsule homes.  I went to one memorable estate sale here in town and it was like stepping onto the set of the Brady Bunch – green carpet, faux wood paneling, pink toilets, you get the picture.  So many questions!  Did the deceased just really like the décor, or hope that retro would come back into fashion?  Did he or she have children that nagged about updating the place?

More importantly, why did he or she have a large collection of mouse figurines and an original oil painting of a monkey wearing a jacket and hat and playing a tambourine?  Or maybe the better question is why I am looking through that weird collection of mouse figurines and seriously considering buying the monkey painting?  (I still half way regret not buying that painting; it was so bad that it was almost good!).  And this gets me to thinking, if strangers were going through my house, would they wonder who I was and why I have an excessive number of place mats, for example?

I’ve become quite the estate sale aficionado.  First, caution must be exercised as an estate sale is not always an estate sale.  People are playing fast and loose with the term, luring you in only to discover that it’s really just a yard sale.  I feel prey to this not too long ago, getting suckered into an “estate sale” advertised in the paper as such, only to get to the house and see yard sale tables set up in the driveway.  That ain’t an estate sale, people!  Second, you’ve got to get there early.  Apparently I’m not the only person who’s weirdly obsessed with them, although I am always the youngest.   From retired lookie loos to professional pickers, there is serious competition on first dibs.  Third, if you love something but not the “I just can’t live without it love,” wait for it.  Items are usually discounted on the second day.

My favorite finds? My daughter’s rocking chair, because every child needs a rocking chair just their size.  I also snagged my fine china at a sale here in town.  Granted, I’ve never actually used it, because who wants to hand wash fine china, but by golly I got a great deal on it, and isn’t that what’s important?!

I’m also always on the lookout for art work.  I found a great set of Alice in Wonderland oil paintings for my daughter’s room and a Noah’s ark painting for my son’s.  I just hope the monkey playing the tambourine found a good home.  Who knows, maybe it’s prominently displayed over the mouse figurines, and the circle of life goes on.

——

Please post comments! I’d love to hear about your estate sale finds!  Or better yet, the most bizarre curiosities you’ve come across!  Please, please, please, somebody tell me you are the current owner of the monkey painting and post a picture!

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Angel Doodlings

By Andrea Hagan

I was recently at Dr. Norma Jean Fischer’s office, waiting for my chiropractic appointment.  All her patient rooms are filled with angels – figurines, paintings, even a drawing of an angel from a young patient.  This little child’s doodle got me to thinking about my mom.  A little over a year ago, she passed away suddenly of a brain aneurysm.  My mother collected angels, although she didn’t have as big a collection as Dr. Fischer’s.

Last March, I got a call from my dad that mom was in the hospital on life support (he didn’t want to tell me over the phone that mom was dead).  Like everyone else, I was in complete shock.  My mom was the healthiest, most active 68 year old that I knew.  I had just seen my mom the weekend before, nothing out of the ordinary.   My husband drove us to the Cookeville hospital, and I prayed the entire way that she would be fine, but I knew deep down that she was already gone.

That evening at the hospital was a blur.  A bad ice storm was coming and so my husband and I decided to head home around ten that evening.  I walked back numbly to my car and climbed in the passenger seat.   My car was filthy, a combo of slush and brine from the salt trucks’ work on I-40.  I glanced out my window as my husband started the car.  It looked like a child had been doodling on my foggy, dirty window.  From my inverted vantage point, the drawing looked like an angel flying, and underneath the letter “R”.  My mom’s name was Rowena.

I went into the garage the next morning to get a better look at mom’s angel and R, but both were gone.   I was 34 weeks pregnant and I think my mom was trying to tell me that everything was going to be just fine.  And she was right, my pregnancy and birth went smoothly, and baby Ensley is perfect.

As I write this, I’m looking at some of my mom’s angels that now sit on my desk.  A part of me wishes that I would have taken a picture of mom’s angel and R, but maybe the point of angel doodling is that you just believe, no “proof” necessary.

Please share your own “angel doodle” experiences.  Until next month, in which I promise to return to snarky commentary on motherhood!

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