Perspective For Mothers in the Trenches

For goodness sake, all “healthy persons” on Earth have struggles striving be a the very best parent they can be.  And if anyone tells you it’s easy and they and their kids are perfect, they are fooling themselves.  Think of this:

Even Princess Kate, in her palace and People magazine covers has been hovering over a toilet in anguish from time to time for her family.  It’s a gold 24 karat toilet, but that’s just minutia.”  Ha!

Here is a wonderful link for Mothers just hanging in there as best they can and deserving an “attah-girl”:

http://www.scissortailsilk.com/2014/08/08/to-the-momma-hanging-on-by-a-thread/

A Polish Texan Explained…

Panna Maria, TexasWe Polish-Americans who are the very direct descendants of the First Polish Immigrants to come to the US are a proud bunch. People are surprised to hear that in 1854 the 1st Polish people to come to America to STAY came to Panna Maria, TEXAS and not Chicago or any other Yankee place…

Here is a short cheat sheet on us and our customs.

Follow me, if you can on this first and for most to help you distinguish — Texas Poles from Yankee Poles:
If you are a Texas Pole, when you first meet a Yankee Pole – they will try to impress you by saying that they just “loved the Pierogi’s that their Grandma used to make for them in Chicago”.   In response, you just nod and smile, because you have no idea WHAT that is…
You, in turn, will try to impress them by telling them that you used to date one of Bishop Yanta’s nephews – In response, they too just nod and smile, because they have no idea WHO that is…

Your knowledge of the Polish language is limited to
– One greeting – Jak się masz?
– Some Naughty words – ex. dupa, maupa dupa
– A Naughty phrase – Jak sie vieshe
– Counting up to 5: Yeddin, Vah, Shre, Steady, Pienche
– A Drinking toast – Nastrovia!

You know how to dance ALL of the following: the Two-Step, Waltz, Polka, Cotton Eyed Joe, and the Schottish.

Your Wedding had the following elements:

  • Your Wedding Mass had to be held on a Saturday after 3:00 or all your guests would be mad because it didn’t count for Sunday
  • You had to invite everyone within the entire county so as to not offend anyone.  Weddings are up upwards to 1000 people, but could be held at only $7 a person total.
  • You had your wedding reception in a Parish Dance Hall
  • Your Bridal Party sold shots to your guests to make money for you and kept count by passing out ribbons or stickers for guests to place on their lapel or dress. (sometimes while in full view of the sheriff dept. security)
  • You knew to stay away from the flirtier older guys if they had more than 3 ribbons/stickers on their clothes.
  • You sold shots as a wedding party person and you drank more shots that others paid for you to drink than you’ve ever drank in your life.
  • Your relatives extorted money from your guests for you by singing the folk song – ‘Dietche Dietche’  (Translated: “Diaper, Diaper” – A Polish Folk Song complete with metal aluminum stock pot and ceramic plate for lid to shake in all your guests ‘personal space’)
  • You served good BBQ Brisquette and Sausage with all the fixin’s buffet style
  • You knew the wedding dance was about to start because your male guests started moving tables out-of-the-way and started sweeping sawdust around the dance floor
  • You started your wedding dance with the ‘Grand March’
  • Your main beverage came in kegs and you floated several of them

Your Mom wants at least one of her kids to NOT get married but become a priest or nun.

Your Mom may have yelled at you for dressing rather immodestly by saying: “You are NOT dressed like the Blessed Virgin Mary!!!!”.  Hahahaha!  This rather catty Polish girl used to say behind her back: “Yea, but Mary wore a light blue burkah.  That doesn’t fit the times!”

When you told your Grandma that you were dating someone, the first two things she asked in this order were: “Is he Polish?” and “Is he Catholic?”

You own at least one shot-gun and it’s mainly for dove hunting and you fish in “Tanks”.  Ponds are in story books.

Your older relatives have a strong devotion to the Saints, the Blessed Virgin, the Pope (meaning the REAL one – John Paul II), and the Democratic Party.

Your Grandma has a shrine somewhere in her house complete with votive candles, Holy Water, a Rosary, Prayer Cards, Novenas, Scapula and at least one of the following forms of art- “The Sacred Heart of Jesus” picture with eyes that follow you around the room, “Our Lady of Czestochowa”, “Our Lady of Fatima” or the “Infant of Prague” .

Insight: My Mom used to bring the Infant of Prague home once a year to clean it.  She didn’t know this, but when she went to the grocery store, we’d feel the need to take its crown off, touch its embroidered coat and wish we could pick it up and play with it without going an extra few months into purgatory.  We never picked it up, at least I didn’t.

There is also a picture of the REAL Pope (JPII) – somewhere in the house.  *Bonus: I touched his grave in the Vatican crypt this last month.  Was wonderful.

You collect “prayer cards” from funerals and Priest ordinations and from a priest who goes the extra mile (like my BFF does) having them available at Reconciliation (aka Confession) Services.

Your parents have at least one Crucifix with the Corpus on it mounted on a wall in their house with palms tucked behind it.

Your church’s main fundraiser each year is a Parish Picnic or a Turkey Shoot.

The word kielbasa means something to you. And you’ve bought wedding ring kielbasa.

Buying store-bought generic sausage is beneath you. Your favorite brands are either Pollacks’s or Wiatrek’s.

The names Kosciusko, Moczygemba, Dworaczyk, Dzuik, et.al.- roll off your tongue quite easily. *You would NEVER pronounce Kusciusko -‘Kahs – E – ahs-kO” as Oprah calls it…

You aren’t fully sure of the entire story behind the founding of the U.S., but you know the WHOLE STORY of the very FAMOUS Polish migration to the U.S. on Dec. 24, 1854 and…

Fr. Leopold Moczygemba is your founding Father.  The Germans in New Braunsfels, TX were flourishing, so he hoped to do the same for his own kindred.

Your ancestors did not merely come to the US in a straight shot across the Atlantic to gain entry via Ellis Island in NY.

Your initial families came via a 60+ day sailboat ride in steerage to Galveston, TX.  Then rented carts and/or walked 158 miles to Indianola, TX. to gain entry into the US.  Then, embarked on another 108 MILES north to their new home in Panna Maria.

Our Moses…

You may have never been to Poland, but if you do decide to visit, you know to go with the great travel guide Fr. Frank Kurzaj to ensure the royal treatment while there.

Now with the Eagle Ford oil boom, Dads no longer dream for their daughters to marry Ivy-leaguers, they want them to marry Janyseks. 🙂

Book Review: “The Mysterious Painting”

A Book Review: “The Mysterious Painting” by both Author and Illustrator Molly X

I was recently honored by a young neighbor to read/review a book (or three) for her.    I put the books aside in a very special place to read when I was truly ready to give them the important and meaningful attention they deserved.  So, now with all the Holiday hoop-lah over, I’m better able to enjoy them and give my thorough review and recommendation.  *In the interest of child safety, I will not divulge her real name here in such a public forum.

Diamond

“The Mysterious Painting” is a first attempt at serious writing for our very young author.  It is in my opinion, an early example of a great American Literary Talent in the making.   With much insight and an apt ability to tell a story beyond her years, the author is shown to be a driven, good communicator and quite intelligent in her attempt.   The plot twists and emotional roller coaster ride taken by our heroine, Lilly kept me on the edge of my seat.  As Lilly suddenly finds herself thrown into having to navigate her way through a heist from an important art gallery, its most important piece of art and it’s surprise connection back to her – It is a story told in a masterfully woven plot that will leave the reader wanting more.

The “Note From Author” in itself, is inciteful and a very good thing for us all to reflect on as we enter the New Year.  So, I will end my review by giving it to you in its entirety:

“As a beginning writer I feel like I’m not   as talented as I could be when I’m older and I know more things.  I bet that who ever is reading this note will become a great author if they want to be.  I feel like anything or anybody in the world could be amazing at what there good at!  If It’s either Tennis, Football, Soccer, Cheerleading, Gymnastics, Basketball, Skiing, Baseball, Running, Biking, Swimming, or Golf you are still very talented!  No matter what you’re sport is don’t let anybody or anything push you away from it ever!”

Courtroom Hair: The #1 Reason Not to Commit a Crime Ladies!

I was reading the Dallas Morning News today and came across a story about a plea deal reached by Shannon Richardson.  She was a bit part actress tuRicin Letters-Texasrned lunatic.  She sent ricin laced letters to the President and others in an attempt to get back at her estranged husband for filing for divorce.   A case that shows that in-fact it is true — “Health hath no fury like a woman scorned (especially someone who is a bubble off)”…

Now, I’ve heard that capital punishment IS used to deter crime.  But, I have to say that what really caught my moral attention was not the crime and punishment but Richardson’s courtroom hair!  My knee-jerk reaction at seeing her current courtroom picture explaining was: “Oh my GOSH, now that is a good reason for me to not go to jail in its self!  Thank you very much.  And, if I did find myself in such a situation, I’d make a quick plea deal too do get out of the public eye ASAP!”

Before Ricin "Incident"Richardson’s beautiful red tresses at the beginning of the case had grown out maybe about 6 inches.  Apparently, they don’t allow you to color your hair in jail.  I mean, why would they?  But, this is just not a good look for me or anyone.  It got me to thinking about other cases I’ve read about in the past.  A big case that immediately came to mind was the Darla Routier case.  Darlie's Courtroom HAIR, I mean trial...No amount of argument could get me past the root issue going on there.  I’m sure I couldn’t even serve on the jury:

“Your honor.  I have to be completely honest with you.  I just can’t serve on this jury.  I’m sort of into hair.  I’m a girl like that.  I think that seeing the defendant’s roots day in and day out would be too big of a distraction for me to truly be able to listen to either side of the story in this case.  I hope you understand.” 

I wonder what the judge’s reply would be… Not to be sexist, but It may actually depend on if the judge were a man or a woman… The judge may find that she may have to recuse herself, as well…  Or him, if he’s dapper at all…

Our Monkeys…

I’d like to formally introduce Lucky and Nicco – my Christmas Monkeys. monkey

After many years of traveling world wide and performing in their popular Christmas Minstrel Show, they retired in Dallas 10 years ago to live with our family via Z Gallerie. They enjoy scaring children that come to our house (mainly our youngest daughter Maddie …)

During the off season when Christmas is over, they live in an undisclosed metropolitan area where they funnel money through their old world cuisine restaurant…

Skunk Drama Leads to Hiring a Hitman

This last year, we put in lush perennial flower gardens in our backyard and added them to our front yard beds, as well.  They’ve become a haven for hummingbirds, butterflies, bumblebees, dragonflies and rabbits.  We have a lot of rabbits here where we live.  I don’t mind them because they seem to only eat our weeds, thankfully.  I like to think of them as our very own full-time gardeners.  Late spring, we noticed a burrow hole under one of the AC units on the west side of our house.  This area has 3 units and is covered by a large hedge to hide the equipment.  We were pretty sure it was the rabbits moving in because we see a lot of them.

One late night a few weeks later, Rylie (our female Yorkie) had to go the bathroom at 3:00 a.m., so I took her out.  (This rarely happens.)  Out of the cPepe Le Pew times 6!orner of my sleepy eye, I saw a faint shadow with a bushy black tail.  I thought I was seeing things, so I dismissed it.   But, a few nights later, Mark had to do the same again with Rylie and sure enough, he did see in his words, a Cute Little Baby Skunk in our backyard.  This worried me, because I didn’t want Rylie to get bitten, but even more so – SPRAYED.  I can’t imagine how to begin to get that smell out of a Yorkie’s lush coif.   I had hoped that the skunk we saw was the lone ranger and just passing through.

A few days later, I trimmed up the front yard flower beds and this included that hedge by the AC units.  I was on a small 2-step ladder with electric trimmers working away on all sides including the back behind the hedge for 2 hours even on my knees raking out leaves from the bottom and so on.  That same evening at dusk, I received a frantic phone call from my neighbor saying that she had just seen a Momma Skunk with at least 5 baby skunks walking out from that AC unit/hedge in single file along the house as if going on a fun field trip to our front yard!   That was too close a call on my part and I freaked out – Getting rabies, etc. from yard work?  Really?!

The country boy in Mark wanted to take care of the situation himself and asked me to go buy a skunk trap at Tractor City.  I was reluctant on so many levels, wondering the following:

  • How’s Mark going to deal with trapping and not getting sprayed himself?  I had visions of him going to a meeting with a Wall Street Stock Analyst at work the next day reeking and there being a big, white, skunk elephant in the room
  • Where is he going to take them once he traps them?  To the country getting caught for trespassing… He would have probably taken them to the girls locker room if he was still in high school as he seriously did this with a possum when he was a teenager.
  • And, if he brings a gun out, will the neighbors alert the local Police SWAT team that a crazy man is waiving a gun around in the neighborhood?…
  • Also, he had back surgery a few weeks before this and was Vicodined up so much that he wasn’t quite his coherent self to do basic things around the house much less Skunk Extraction.

Reluctantly, I went to Tractor City, bought a cage and got on Facebook knowing surely that my Karnes City friends and family must have experience in this area.  🙂  I did get a lot of good advice.  One of Mark’s classmates said that skunks just love bacon grease and that is what “his own mother uses”.  Hm.  I was also told by my Dad to just quietly sneak up behind the cage with a tarp in front of me and completely cover the cage and I wouldn’t have a problem as “he does it all the time”.  Another – Hm.

So, Mark and I cooked up some bacon – put it in some tin foil in the back of the cage, got an old tarp ready in the garage and set the cage outside the AC units on our driveway.  The next morning, Mark got up at dawn and went out just in time to see torn up foil everywhere – an un-sprung trap and a nocturnal skunk going back into the AC area for his daily rest, but not before stopping to look back and aggressively rearing up his tail as if to say: “Get us more bacon damn it!”

I knew we needed to up our game, so I called our County’s Animal Control division.  They said it was too hot in the summer to deal with this type of thing and they gave me the name of a good Animal Extraction Company that they even use: Trutech.  I called and made an appointment.  An adorable young man came out.  He, as with all technicians in this company hold college degrees in Wildlife Management and he had recently graduated from Texas A&M – a plus on our part. Trutech

We talked Skunks.  I asked him how much right off the bat…  Now, if a person doesn’t just come out and tell you the cost, but says “okay, but first let me tell you what this is going to entail” – you know to just hold on because it is probably going to be pricey.

So, the plan was this: We would sign a contract with him to hire him out as our Skunk Hitman.  He said he couldn’t let them live because the State of Texas would not allow for it – turns out that they can’t be vaccinated for rabies…  He would come out for up to 10 to 14 days…  He’d place traps at the entrance to every burrow – which turned out to be a Plush, 3 Bedroom Condo, as they had made beds under every AC unit.  Once they are were all trapped and “discarded”.  I’m guessing in a river with little cement shoes, he would double check to make sure they were all gone… He would then fill up the holes with Sakrete to ensure  that their friends/extended family don’t follow them as if by time-share to the Williams’ house…

The cost?  $600 or $100 per critter!  Mark said any redneck from our area would love to make $600 doing what he would be doing every Saturday night, anyway.  Spotlightin’ creatures, deer no, really creatures for sport and cash… A dream job!  My hair dresser said, “Pay the man!!!”  He once had a lab get sprayed and before he could catch him, he ruined his master bedroom comforter and a number of area rugs, trying to get the smell off himself.  That certainly put the price tag in better perspective for me.

Anyway, everyday, the tech came out and texted me a picture of his catch.  One day he caught 2 for one.  They were so cute, I felt mildly bad – but just mildly.  Skunk

Just so you know, here is what I learned that the experts do:

They place theedging small traps which are wrapped completely in a Black Trash Bag cut up and taped to all sides except the front panel to make them blacked out, for ease of removal and to keep the animals calm and cozy…  They also place little movable everyday used flower bed panels on either side of the cages from the entrance of each burrow to herd them directly into the cage like an airport ramp to an airplane…  He said they don’t really need food, but if he thinks it may help – he uses Cheetos.  I shrieked and asked what their favorite was: “Crunchy or Puffy!?!!!”  As I’m a crunchy Cheetos lover and think puffys are for whimps (Mark likes puffy)… 🙂  The hitman laughed and said it really didn’t matter, however I’ll never think of Cheetos the same way again.

In a week, we were skunk free and I learned the fine art of skunk trapping not that I’d ever do it, but at least I can pass this $600 advice on to you… Let me know how it goes.