Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trunk or Treat

Boo!!!! Goblins, Transformers, Princesses... Oh My!! It was a cool and rainy, then turning cold and rainy night for our annual Trunk or Treat at FBC Statham. Though the clouds never really broke, the rain did stop for a while early in the evening. Hundreds of Halloween visitors went from (car) trunk to trunk in search of frightful treats. I do believe they get cuter (and uglier...in a Halloweenish kind of way) every year! This year The Transformers was a hot costume, along with Disney princesses, little fairies, lady bugs, ninjas, pirates, and of course the scary, gross monster faces. My own little munchkins were by far the best thing about being a Georgia fan today.

This is probably my most favorite community ministry that we have at church. Bible School is great, Awana is awesome, but this is something that the parents of the children really get into as well, as they experience it along with their children, as opposed to just dropping them off and picking them up later. The great majority of them are always so polite. (I love to hear parents teaching their children to say "Thank You"!) This year we had twenty-something cars, many of them all decked out with fall and Halloween decorations, giving out yummy treats. Someone is always there to hand out a pamphlet that highlights our children's ministries, and church information, in hopes of bringing families with no church home into our family. Before heading out for more haunting the streets of our fair little town, we invite them to come by for hot dogs and drinks. This year we cooked around 1000 hot dogs for our spooky little guests and parents. I suppose because of the weather, and wanting to finish trick or treating and get home where it was warm again, we didn't have as many takers at the hot-dog stand as we had hoped. There were lots of dogs left over, but there's a concert tomorrow night, and we'll just heat 'em up and serve 'em afterwards. My other favorite thing about this event is how the church folks, people of all ages, come together and work as a team. There were maybe 40 or so adults there, young and old alike, working in the kitchen, handing out treats in the rain, serving food, cleaning up... how much fun is that!!! I do wish the weather had been nicer, not only for those of us who worked out in the rain, but especially for the kids (and their parents) who look so forward to enjoying the tradition of going from trunk to trunk, then from house to house, in search of the treats of the season. Even so, any time we can serve Jesus, even wet, soggy, and cold, and show kindness to His children, it can't be considered anything less than successful. Happy Halloween, everyone! BOO!!

PHOTOS: {I always forget and upload my pictures in the order I want you to view them. Which means the ones I want first end up on the bottom. Oh well. And if you've already seen these on Facebook, they're the same ones, so you don't hafta look unless you just want to see our beautiful people again! Sometimes you can click on the photos to enlarge, but it never seems to work for me. Give it a try and let me know if it works.}

First up are photos of pumpkins carved by the husband of one of our former members, Shari Holland. She had these posted on her Facebook from Trunk or Treat at her church, and I just love them and asked if I could share the phots. She said it takes him several days to do these, and I can certainly see why. There were four or five different ones, but these two were my favorites. Following Shari's pumpkin pictures are photos of my grandchildren, who didn't stay to Trunk or Treat with us, but stopped by for a few minutes on the way to Whitney's dad's to meet some friends and go out haunting in Oconee County. Then you'll finally see pictures of our event! Thanks for looking!!

Leyland and Mary

Thursday, October 29, 2009

CathyB - 1, Gremlins 947,613

I'm delighted to report that I have outsmarted the gremlins. Well, maybe not outsmarted them, they are still way ahead on the scoreboard, but I found the cards. The silly gremlins hid them in a little storage box thing that I don't even recall OPENING when I was at the church, much less putting the cards in there. But alas, I found the storage thingy underneath some other supplies, and as a last resort, I checked inside. After all, it was the only place I hadn't looked. And as I said, I don't even remember opening it, so I wasn't expecting them to be there. Yipee!! The gremlins did a great job hiding them from me, but at least they're not gone forever. So you can stop checking the hiding places of your gremlins for my missing cards. My gremlins didn't mail them to your gremlins.

It was fun, crafting in my room for the first time last night. I needed to finish up the cards, so I pulled out my card table, took a seat in my comfy rocker/glider, and had all my things right at hand. I think I'll do a lot more crafting now that I have everything out here.
I had only done the outtside of the cards, so I needed something on the inside. I had a cute little rubber stamp with some trick-or-treaters that I used for the inside, and heat-embossed the image. I attached the insert to the card using ribbon with spider webs on it. A year or so ago I found a guy on e-bay who makes personalized stamps for really cheap. I chose one that says "Handmade by CathyB" with two little kitties on it. (How perfect was that?? The kitties, I mean!) I heat embossed that on the back of the card, black-on-black. Here's what the cards look like: (Maybe you can click to enlarge... sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't)

So today the cards are going out in the mail, hopefully to be receieved in time for Halloween by my special little ladies. Now it's time to start planning for their Thanksgiving and Christmas treats!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gremlins Underfoot

Once again, the gremlins are busy at The 409. Absconding with random items. They take much pleasure in causing me distress when I can’t find what I’m looking for. No item is exempt from their frivolous games. One day it’s my car keys. That’s their favorite. The next day it’s the thingy I used to poof up my hair. It might be the can opener, or my mascara. For the past several days I have searched in vain for my stud-finder. (No, not some magic tool to find me a good-lookin’ man, but the little electronic thing that locates the 2 x 4s behind my walls.) I had it a few months ago while working on a project, and now it is gone. Once it was the USB cable to connect my small printer to my laptop. Every day is a new adventure for the gremlins. Today is no exception.

Each holiday season, I try to make little treats and cards for a special group of ladies at my church. It’s an elderly, but lively bunch, and they are such a joy to me, and an inspiration to so many, both in the church and the community. I have known a few of them ever since I can remember, and have been blessed to know the others for the past several years. It all started a few years ago when I decided that every girl needs to be remembered on Valentine’s Day. That year I got a list of all the widowed or never-married “girls” in my church, and sent them all a card. It was just a tiny little project, but I had no idea the impact it would make. Each one was so thrilled to have been remembered, that I sort of unofficially adopted the idea as an ongoing project for the ladies in Mr. Tommy’s Sunday School class. These ladies are the oldest… um, let’s don’t say that, let’s say WISEST ladies in my church, and they just get a kick out of being remembered by someone as young as myself. [cough.. sputter…]

Last Friday night was Girls’ (Scrapbook) Night Out. I was so proud of myself for carrying the smallest load of supplies that I have ever carried. Just two bags. [Well, four, if you count the two huge bags of scrapbook magazines that I carried to share. Hopefully Ken got the message to put those not adopted into the yard-sale pile. Otherwise they are still on a cart in the fellowship hall… oops…] Anyway, my project de jour on Friday was to make Halloween cards for The Girls. Took me eight hours to make eight stinkin’ cards. Well, to be honest, the entire eight hours wasn’t solely dedicated to the making of cards. There was the Set Up Factor, i.e. organizing my tools of the trade, my paper, embellishments, adhesives, etc., into a workable area. (And then packing them away again when the evening was done.) This in itself is a rather time-consuming project. (Yes, my scrapbooking friends are right… I am totally anal…) There was the Socializing Element… the talking with friends, looking at their tools/paper/embellishments/adhesives, etc., examining their projects de jour. And then of course there is the Eating Factor. The Eating Factor is an ongoing part of the evening, with multiple breaks throughout, spent enjoying a snack, a bowl of Marie’s chili, a leftover Subway sandwich for dinner, and a nice cup o’ Joe. The most daunting part of the project, though, is the Design Factor. I had in my mind exactly how I wanted to design the cards, I had all the paper, cutting tools, etc. needed to create the card. Well, wouldn’t you know it… the picture I had in my mind was nothing like the finished product. So it was back to the drawing board. Much time was spent with my elbows propped on the table, face resting in my palms, looking over my stash with glazed eyes. Finally I decided on a design, and spent a large amount of time at Debbie’s Cricut, cutting out haunted houses, ghosts and bats. I Cuttlebugged and embossed backgrounds of pumpkins on vines. All that was left was to assemble the cards and add a few sparkles (girl’s gotta have some bling) and the cards were complete. I packed up my small stash of stuff, cleaned up my mess and was home by midnight. All in all, it was quite a successful evening, and I was relatively happy with my creation, even if it didn’t end up like I had originally designed it in my head.

This morning, I searched through my desk drawer, rifling through all the receipts, writing instruments, one-armed glasses that I just can’t bring myself to throw away, various and sundry office supplies and gum wrappers, and finally located my postal stamps. Time to get those babies in the mail. I’m ready. Just need to put a few finishing touches on the cards during my lunch break, stuff them in the envelopes, and have them out in my mailbox in time for the postman to pick up this afternoon.

Now where did I put those cards? I’m sure I put them in the plastic bin that has all my fall embellishments. Nope.. not in there. Not stuck in between the stack of paper I used either. Not in the tote bag used to transport all my stuff. Whitney climbed in the attic to double check the tote bag for me. They are nowhere to be found. My cards are gone. They have totally disappeared. The gremlins must have liked them and wanted to send them out to their gremlin friends. You know, the ones that live in YOUR house. So be on the lookout for a hand-made Halloween card signed by The Gremlins at The 409.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Pitter Patter Of Little Feet

No doubt, you expect this post to be about the pitter-pattering of my sweet grandbabies’ feet. And believe, me, that is a sweet sound. But for the past several days, the pitter-pattering I’ve been hearing is not from within the walls of my home, rather the roof over my head. The noise is coming, not from sweet baby feet, but from little tiny squirrel feet. You’d think they could romp effortlessly over the shingles without much noise. Evidently, the squirrels who live at The 409, are as avid eaters as we human occupants. Fat little boogers, they must be, to make such a racket. Yesterday I had to retrieve something from my car, and as I walked back inside, I noticed one of the varmints perched precariously at the edge of the roof, scavenging the gutter for treasured acorns. There are thousands of acorns on the ground. I wonder if the soggy ones in the gutter have a better flavor. Gourmet acorns, if you will. They must be pretty yummylicious, because the little fella kept diggin’ around for the longest time. Squirrels are actually cute little critters, and I rather enjoy watching them play. They chase each other across the yard and through the branches of trees, leaping from limb to limb. Though their antics seem a bit dangerous, I’ve never seen one hit the ground. They always manage to grab hold of a limb and live to play another day. I never particularly minded having them around, but a few summers ago, I bought myself some nice Spanish-moss-lined wire hanging flower basket thingies. And some high-priced Wave petunias to go inside them. Just gotta love those drooping, bountiful blooms. And of course only the best of potting soil would do. I was so excited to hang them on the front porch of my new (to me) house. They were beautiful!! “Were” being the operative word here. Once the squirrels discovered my freshly planted flowers, in the freshly purchased Miracle Gro potting soil, they decided to throw a squirrel party. Not only did they bury their winter treats in my hanging baskets, they took dirt baths in them. Have you ever seen a squirrel take a dirt bath? Here’s a visual for you: They begin by digging a little hole in the dirt, then diving nose first into the hole. Somehow using their furry little arms and legs, they then curl themselves into a ball and roll over and over in the dirt. My Miracle Gro dirt. Scattering it all over my front porch. My poor Wave petunias were the true casualties of this party, left to wither on the porch, in the bushes, or stubbornly hanging on for dear life inside the basket. It was a hanging basket massacre. I was livid. My neighbor Alex laughed and laughed. He had watched me carefully measure the soil and color-coordinate the petunias, and meticulously seat them in the baskets… and warned me about the squirrels. “No”, I assured him, “The squirrels won’t be able to get to my baskets.” Well. I guess he got the last laugh after all. Squirrels are mystical, magical creatures, they are, and like a mouse or a snake, can get anywhere their little squirrely hearts want to go. And this time they wanted to get in my baskets. I straightaway went to the store and bought some stuff called Critter Gone, or something of that nature. Hmph. Just a box of glorified moth balls is all that was. Works pretty good though, as long as one doesn’t mind one’s beautiful flowers smelling like moth balls. But back to the squirrels at hand… I’m sure these must be the ancestors of the flower-basket squirrels, intent on punishing me for putting a stop to the mutilation of the aforementioned baskets. This current family of squirrels is enjoying the crisp fall weather, cavorting about in my yard from tree to tree, and just doing what squirrels do. Their favorite place to play, though, is on my rooftop, scampering about sounding like a herd of cattle. Honestly, if it were Christmas time, I’d think it was “the prancing and pawing of each little hoof” that I am hearing. Oh well… I guess a little squirrel fun isn’t too bad. At least they sleep at night, and at least they’re just on the roof, and not in the attic. Ummm… Alex, you DID put those screens over my attic vents, didn’t you???

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Garden Snakes Can Be Dangerous!

Snakes also known as Garter Snakes (Thamnophissirtalis ) can be dangerous. Yes, grass snakes, not rattlesnakes. Here's why.A couple in Sweetwater , Texas , had a lot of potted plants. During a recent cold spell, the wife was bringing a lot of them Indoors to protect them from a possible freeze. It turned out that a little green garden grass snake was hidden in one of the plants. When it had warmed up, it slithered out and the wife saw it go under the sofa. She let out a very loud scream. The husband (who was taking a shower) ran out into the living room naked to see what the problem was. She told him there was a snake under the sofa. He got down on the floor on his hands and knees to look for it.. About that time the family dog came And cold-nosed him on the behind. He thought the snake had bitten him, so he screamed and fell over on the floor. His wife thought he had had a heart attack, so she covered him up, told him to lie still and called an ambulance. The attendants rushed in, would not listen to his protests, loaded him on the stretcher, and started carrying him out. About that time, the snake came out from under the sofa and the Emergency Medical Technician saw it and dropped his end of the stretcher. That's when the man broke his leg and why he is still in the hospital. The wife still had the problem of the snake in the house, so she called on a neighbor who volunteered to capture the snake. He armed himself with a rolled-up newspaper and began poking under the couch. Soon he decided it was gone and told the woman, who sat down on the sofa in relief. But while relaxing, her hand dangled in between the cushions, where she felt the snake wriggling around. She screamed and fainted, the snake rushed back under the sofa. The neighbor man, seeing her lying there passed out, tried to use CPR to revive her. The neighbor's wife, who had just returned from shopping at the grocery store, saw her husband's mouth on the woman's mouth and slammed her husband in the back of the head with a bag of canned goods, knocking him out and cutting his scalp to a point where it needed stitches. The noise woke the woman from her dead faint and she saw her neighbor lying on the floor with his wife bending over him, so she assumed that the snake had bitten him. She went to the kitchen and got a small bottle of whiskey, and began pouring it down the man's throat. By now, the police had arrived. Breathe here...They saw the unconscious man, smelled the whiskey, and assumed that a drunken fight had occurred. They were about to arrest them all, when the women tried to explain how it all happened over a little garden snake! The police called an ambulance, which took away the neighbor and his sobbing wife. Now, the little snake again crawled out from under the sofa and one of the policemen drew his gun and fired at it. He missed the snake and hit the leg of the end table. The table fell over, the lamp on it shattered and, as the bulb broke, it started a fire in the drapes. The other policeman tried to beat out the flames, and fell through the window into the yard on top of the family dog who, startled, jumped up and raced into the street, where an oncoming car swerved to avoid it and smashed into the parked police car. Meanwhile, neighbors saw the burning drapes and called in the fire department. The firemen had started raising the fire ladder when they were halfway down the street. The rising ladder tore out the overhead wires, put out the power, and disconnected the telephones in a ten-square city block area (but they did get the house fire out). Time passed! Both men were discharged from the hospital, the house was repaired, the dog came home, the police acquired a new car and all was right with their world. A while later they were watching TV and the weatherman announced a cold snap for that night. The wife asked her husband if he thought they should bring in their plants for the night. And that's when he got up, packed his bags and left her.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kudos to the White House Pool

Despite the continued efforts of the White House to discredit the FOX News Network as a legitimate source of news, it seems to be backfiring. You know the old saying "any advertisement, even bad advertisement, is good advertisement". I think smart folks everywhere surely must be realizing... if the Obama administration is so tore up over what's going on at FOX, they must be reporting things that Obama doesn't want us to know. Ya know? If they were a "nothing" network, nobody would be worrying about them. You hear no White House objections to CNN and MSNBC.... liberal-oriented networks. The fact that our President is sitting on his keester, (or "asslin around" as my Uncle Gene says) about getting reinforcement troops into Afghanistan, while in the midst of pushing hotly debated Obamacare, yet allows his administration to become embroiled in a school-yard equivalent of name calling and finger pointing at a constitutionally-protected entity... well that shows me that my friends at FOX are on to something. Finally, an NBC anchorwoman point-blank asked him:
GUTHRIE: So you think it's appropriate for the White House to say what is and what is not a news organization?
BARACK OBAMA: I think the American people are a lot more interested in what we're doing to create jobs or how we're handling the situation in Afghanistan.
GUTHRIE: Fair enough, but your advisers raised this issue.
OBAMA: Well, no, I think that what our advisers have simply said is that we are going to take media as it comes. And if media is operating basically as a talk-radio format, then that's one thing, and if it's operating as a news outlet, then that's another. But it's not something I'm losing a lot of sleep over.

Huh???? PULEEEZE. If he's not losing sleep over it, why is he willing to take the flack about allowing it to happen in the first place? You gotta bet that somebody is losing some serious sleep over the fact that a "talk show radio format" network is powerful enough to result in billions of dollars of funding being revoked from ACORN, the resignation of one of Obama's czars, and bringing to light many, many other dispicable activities occuring daily over on Pennsylvania Avenue. And though I am a fairly new FOX watcher, I believe that their watch-dog format didn't just start during the Obama campaign. I've heard many negative comments about former Republican administrations as well. I think they gave Bush a pretty hard time too.

Do you know who controls the airways? The Federal Government does. That's what the FCC is. They can shut a station down in more ways than one. So it's no wonder that the main stream networks don't want to get on "the enemy list" of the Administration. Regardless of the protection offered by the constitution, they must tread carefully and promote a positive spin. I've long said the media runs this country, and Big Brother runs the media. And now they're trying to run FOX all the way outta town. (Smells a little bit like media censorship to me!)

Network television is a very competitive industry. Don't believe me... check out Sweeps Week. The network news shows are no different. It seems, though, that most reporters have a code of ethics that they share, regardless of which network signs their paychecks. A brotherhood, if you will. There's something called the White House Pool of network reporters that consists of five networks. Today the White House announced that the "pay czar", Ken Feinberg, would grant an interview with the pool. All were invited to attend except FOX News. Hmmm... another playground tactic. You know what happened then? As competetive as networks are, the other pool members banded together and said No. If the WH wouldn't let FOX be a part of it, then none of them would participate. The White House relented and allowed FOX. So for that I say Kudos to White House Pool of news reporters. You could have gloated, and gone ahead and got your story, but you did the right thing. Maybe you secretly wish YOUR boss would let YOU do stories like they do on FOX!! Anyway. Good for you. Way to band together, and stand up for and demand freedom of press.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Orphans Of God

Songs In My Head. For as long as I can remember, music has been a great influence in my life. As a teenager, many hours were spent in my room weeping to the strains of a sad song when my heart was broken, dancing with abandon when feeling happy, or doing my homework with the radio turned down low. It was impossible to drive anywhere without the radio blaring in the car. My mom had this really groovy console stereo system with an 8-track player and an LP turntable in it that we loved to crank up. Whenever she was in a bad mood, I’d go load up the turntable with Sonny James, Charlie Pride, Ray Price, Tammy Wynette… and sing at the top of my lungs. Before long, I’d see my mom’s foot tappin’, and pretty soon she’d be singin' too, and forget all about why she was grumpy. At least until the albums were finished playing. Late in the day, when the weather was nice, as a bribe to let me play my music (or “racket”, as they called it), I would offer to wash the dinner dishes if mom and dad would go outside in the yard. (okay, so I was the dumb one for thinking I was the winner here…. Haha) I have always had a stereo within my reach, either in my bedroom, my car, or my living room. Chores were always done with more vim and vigor if I had some good funky music filling the house. My tastes range from classical to classic rock. Somewhere between those two genre preferences, you’ll find old-timey gospel, Christian rock, contemporary Christian, Christmas instrumentals, some hard rock n’ roll, a smattering of country, 70s-80s pop/rock. And I love me some Departure! What you won’t find is rap, very little blues, absolutely NO swing, no hip-hop. Maybe one or two metal songs will find their way into my playlist, but none of the screaming death-metal stuff that is popular nowadays. For the past few years, my poor music collection has, for the most part, gone untouched. When Whitney and her family moved in, I packed up all but a small collection of my favorite CDs. I know that when I unpack the boxes I’ll be like a kid at Christmas, so happy to see my old friends! Because of a crazy work schedule for the past several years, and now having little ones underfoot, it’s a rare occasion when I turn up the volume and jam to good music at home any more. And for some strange reason, I find myself preferring silence while I am driving as opposed to jammin’ in my car. Isn’t it funny how things change as we age. Not to say that I enjoy music any less… not at all, it just doesn’t seem as crucial to me as food and drink like it once did. Of all the collection of music that I have, it continues to amaze me (and often distresses me) that the Songs In My Head… you know the ones that loop through your brain for hours on end… are not those that bring me such joy. It is songs like “We’re your best friends… The Backyardigans”… “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family”… or “D-D-D-Dora, D-D-D-Dora” and then all the songs that go along with the little videos. Dora, Barney, The Backyardigans, The Veggie Tales, etc. I can sing the theme songs for nearly all the channel 8 children’s shows.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. The fact that these shows and songs are on my TV pretty much 18 hours of the day can only mean one thing, and that is that my precious grandbabies live in my house. That I would not change. (Well, maybe under the right circumstances I would change it, but I enjoy having them here SOOO much…) It would be nice, though, if my brain could have something else circulating through the neurons and nerve synapses other than “ta-ra-ra-boon-de-yay” (what kind of stupid song is that anyway???)

Today as I was working, Dora, Barney, Pablo, Larry the Cucumber, Caillou, and a myriad of other characters flowing freely through my head, I decided enough is enough. I went to my other computer, opened my playlist to put on some “work music”, namely selections by Il Divo. I like to listen to that while I work, because the words are in different languages that I can’t understand. If I understand the words, I want to sing along. That doesn’t bode well when transcribing someone’s medical reports. I’m sure they don’t want their operative note to read “oh my love, my darling, I’ve hungered for your touch, a long, lonely time….” So it’s best that I stick with music that I can’t sing along with.

While at my Il Divo playlist, I saw my non-working playlist, and decided my brain needed a break from work, and clicked on the first song, called Orphans of God. Let me tell you about this song. I sing with a group of girls at church sometimes, and we try to find fresh, unique selections. Someone got the track for this song by Avalon. Last year when I was decorating for Leyland’s birthday party, I was alone, and had the track with me. I put it on the CD player while I was working, and absolutely fell in love with the MUSIC portion of the number. Without the words, I was able to hear the beautiful, rich, full chords of the instruments, and after a while, it was as though I could just “feel” the music in me. Does that ever happen to you?? It was my new favorite song. Later, when I had the sheet music with the words on it, I was blown away. This is the most perfect song ever. I don’t know of even one person who can’t identify with this. Well, maybe an agnostic or an atheist, but I can’t see how anyone who is even a tiny bit of a believer of God, anyone who can and will acknowledge His grace and His love, couldn’t be moved by the words to this song. When I saw it there in my playlist, I just had to have me an Avalon “fix” and listen. I listened several times. It is so uplifting, so encouraging to know that no matter how we have fallen, no matter how unloved or unwanted or weary we are, that He is there. People have differing levels of relationships with God, but no matter where you are, it is the perfect song. I hope you will click on this link and take a listen for yourself. Lyrics below, but if possible, listen also so you can “feel” the music. It adds so much to the words. I so needed this reminder today, and I’m so glad that I took a moment to listen.
Orphans of God
Who here among us has not been broken
Who here among us is without guilt or pain
So oft abandoned by our transgressions
If such a thing as grace exists
Then grace was made for lives like this

There are no strangers, there are no outcasts
There are no orphans of God
So many fallen but hallelujah!
There are no orphans of God.

Come ye unwanted and find affection
Come all ye weary, come and lay down your head
Come ye unworthy, you are my brother
If such a thing as grace exists
Then grace was made for lives like this

There are no strangers
There are no outcasts
There are no orphans of God
So many fallen, but hallelujah!
There are no orphans of God

Oh blessed Father look down upon us
We are your children we need your love
We run before your throne of mercy
And seek your face to rise above
There are no strangers….
Amen, and amen!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Other Birthday

Today is my "other" birthday. For 32 years, due to a typo on my driver's license when I turned 16, my "official/unofficial" birthday was 10-18-58. For those of you born after the technology age, you might be surprised to learn that the DMV operated differently back in the olden days. You were issued a temporary paper license, and waited several weeks for the much-coveted plastic version that officially registered you as driver in training. No such thing as punching a few buttons and getting your spiffy new plastic license in the blink of an eye. No... we waited endless days and weeks for its arrival. And couldn't wait to show all our friends!! In those days getting your "Learner's License" was the highlight of every 15-year-old kid, and we were worse than children at Christmas. There were only certain days of the month that the patrol officers would come to Winder, so you couldn't just run down there any day of the week to do it. When the appointed day came, our parents must lay aside whatever tasks were before them to ensure that we made it to the courthouse. With our hearts pounding in our chests, we filled out the application, and whatever else was required, showed our birth certificate, and oblivious to the panic and trepidation in our parents' eyes, celebrated our rite of passage as though it was the grandest thing ever. The (temporary) mother lode of independence, if you will.

A year or so later, after many hours of navigating the roads of our small town for practice (a feat which resulted in many grey haired moments for our moms, and many lectures from our dads), we set out for the loftiest prize of all... the permanent mother lode of independence.... the license that would allow us to drive ALONE, without nervous moms and high-strung dads in the car with us. What a moment! Though we were cocky and confident that we were invincible and could hold our own with any NASCAR driver on the circuit, I imagine that if we all confessed, we were scared out of our britches when the time came to actually turn the key and head out of our driveway. We didn't give one thought to our moms and dads at home praying, crying, worrying incessantly about us until we returned home. (An emotion with which we now, as parents ourselves, can identify as we watched our own kids drive away that first time!)

After impatiently checking the post-office box daily for several weeks, the ecstatic moment at long last had arrived. My beautiful, treasured, plastic-encased license to drive was finally in my eager little hands! While poring over the front of it, I noticed that my birthdate had been typed incorrectly. I was horrified!!! While only five days off, I was still distraught that the DMV had made me five days younger than I actually was. When you're 16, every day of life experience counts, and I didn't want to be cheated out of any of my days! My mom consoled me tirelessly, and finally convinced me that it didn't really matter to a hill o' beans, and we'd just get it fixed when it was time for renewal. Well..... even back in the olden days, nothing is easy with the government. The DMV wouldn't budge. Without a birth certificate, they absolutely wouldn't give me back my five days. By then, I was over the trauma, and conceded that maybe it really wasn't the end of the world, and I'd just bring my birth certificate next time. If your life is anything like ours, you probably guessed by now, that I never did get the birth certificate to the DMV. We always forgot about it until time to go for renewal, which was always an inopportune time to get to the bank safety-deposit box to retrieve said birth certificate. So for years, my official birthdate was 10-18-58. It totally became less of an issue as I got older, except for sometimes restaurants will give you a free meal or cake and ice cream on your birthday, but other than that it was no biggie, and I went for 32 years with the incorrect DOB on my license.

During one of my recent moves/house-rearranging projects, I came across an old scrapbook containing memorabilia from my teen years. You know the sort, cheerleading letters, movie stubs, prom invitations, and the like. What fun it was to peruse through the faded pages and take a trip down memory lane. Imagine my delight to find those original paper licenses, both for my learner's permit and my permanent license! It was then that I had a light-bulb moment.... surely if I took both of these "documents" to my next renewal, the DMV would have no choice but to change the date. After all, it was their typo. Typos is my business. (haha) My evaluation depends on at least 98% accuracy (which does NOT, I might add, carry over to my blog posts.... I'm just sayin'.....), so I figured they should be responsible for their typo and not expect me to bear the burden of proof of my actual birth date.
Shortly after Leyland was born, and after her first hospitalization, I was pulled over by a motorcycle cop for not having my tag renewed. Knowing what he was stopping me for, I was so proud of myself to reach into the dash and pull out my tag sticker, and explain to the officer that I was a brand new grandma, and the sweet little pumpkin had just been released from the hospital. I had purchased my tag in a timely fashion, just in all the hooplah that was my life, I had failed to apply the sticker to my tag. The officer was not impressed. I think he was upset because I actually did have my sticker. He looked at me with those mean policeman eyes, and without cracking a smile told me that my license had expired. I just grinned sweetly and said "You're kidding". "No, ma'am, I'm not kidding." The date was November 1. My birthday is October 13. Okay, so my license had expired, and my tag sticker wasn't applied. And he had absolutely no pity on me regarding my distress over my sick grandbaby. As I exited the vehicle to apply my tag sticker, Mr. Glaring Policeman, was busy writing me a ticket for an expired license. .....sigh..... At least I had a current insurance and registration cards. He probably would have handcuffed me and taken me to jail. The meanie.
Now forced to go to the DMV for license renewal, I took the brittle, faded license papers with me. The associate behind the counter looked at me as though I had brought her the Dead Sea Scrolls. She didn't even know what it was. I explained to her that back in the days of the Pony Express and shortly after the invention of the light bulb, that we had a waiting period for our license and, yes, these were legally accepted forms of identification that permitted us to navigate a motor vehicle on all roads, dirt and paved. I explained the discrepancy in the dates, and with all my charm and sweetness, finally convinced her that it was a DMV error, and my birth certificate was located in a safety deposit box far, far away (well, Winder would be far, far away from the DMV Office in Athens if you didn't HAVE a license, and had to walk.....). After showing my antiquated papers to her equally-amazed colleagues, she/they finally agreed that my new license could finally proclaim my correct DOB. Hallelujah. However there was a catch. They had to issue the license in my maiden name. Not just my last name, but the entire name. I told them my legal name is Cathy, and it would be confusing to have my entire name on there. She wouldn't give an inch. She gave me a cockamamie story about Homeland Security requiring our official govt-issued identification be exactly as whatever legal documentation we have to prove otherwise. In my case, for that particular day, it was my original licenses. I suppose this would mean that instead of my birth certificate, I would have needed to provide divorce papers and a court amendment. Good grief. So. In essence, I have traded in the correct date of birth for a license that now calls me Linda Catherine Watkins Bennett. Oh well. At least I got my five days back. Happy "other" birthday to me. I'm sure there will be cake and presents.