Category Archives: Family

Not-So-Newlyweds: Our First Pet

In all fairness to the fish lovers out there, Lola is not our first pet. However, in my husband’s classification system, a “pet” has four legs and fur. So Lola, our cat of two months, is the first to fit the bill. I’ve never been a cat person, but when I saw this picture in my e-mail with the question, “Does anyone need a cat?,” I immediately fell in love and forwarded the message to Luke to see what he thought.

Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey…want a cat?

Luke: Sure!

Me: We would have to buy some stuff and do research on, you know, how to grow a cat.

Luke: Wait, are you serious about this?

After some deliberation, we decided to take the plunge, and after a few phone calls, we were set as the adoptive parents. We made arrangements to pick up our new pet on a Saturday afternoon. Friday night, we trekked to Petco to gather supplies. We chose a litter box and scoop, water and food dish, and food that stated it would help her not get hairballs. If we weren’t apprehensive enough about hairballs and hair in general, the gentleman checking us out warned us that our new kitty might be too nervous to eat, and the new food might make her sick, and had we checked on her shots because we didn’t want her to get heartworms, etc., etc., etc. We left with mixed feelings about what we were getting into until we got her home. Continue reading Not-So-Newlyweds: Our First Pet

The Tale of Two Gingers and Two Frenchmen: Semantics and Secondary Growth

From the back of the line inside a trendy, suburban Starbucks, I had a vantage point to observe the scene and plenty of time to do it.

A young couple stood face to face in front of me. His cream colored sweater emitted the scent of a spicy cologne. Her soft, strawberry-blond curls were tousled and the front of the locks around her face were anchored into place with a bobby pin or two.

DeusXFlorida - Starbucks photo

Photo by DeusXFlorida – via Flickr, some rights reserved.

His shiny clean face smiled intermittently toward her soft, honey tinged and translucent face, sans any hint of makeup.

My brain classified tha=eir appearances as a “Ginger” and a “Frenchman.”  His lightly tinted olive skin and black hair were shiny, too, with freshly applied hair product topping off this perfectly trimmed cut.

Her manner was genteel; his was suave, but matter-of-fact.  My gaze left their image long before their gaze would leave each other.

As I looked toward the table section, I spied a deja vu.  Same coloring, but drastically rearranged.

In the corner table by the shelves full of coffee products for sale sat a Ginger and a Frenchman.  She was tiny and her legs dangled from her chair while her neck strained to reach the tip of a straw poking from her orange juice container.  Her honey shaded, translucent face was kissed completely with a soft dusting of freckles.

She guided her tiny index finger over a reserve of crumbs on the table, then pressed it down over the morsels until they attached.  Once in place, the crumbs were brought to her mouth and sucked off her finger with a giggle as she directed a sideways glance at her Frenchman father. Continue reading The Tale of Two Gingers and Two Frenchmen: Semantics and Secondary Growth

Losing Two: Kim Tiderman’s Story

I wrestled with whether or not to write this particular post. The only reason I’ve moved forward, I’ve decided, is because the Red Dirt Chronicles community is so much larger than any one of our contributors’ individual circle of acquaintances. Therefore I thought this post and video could be helpful to someone, somewhere.

Four years ago I received a call from my parents.  They asked me, “Has Drew called you about Kim Tiderman’s family?”  I had no idea what they were talking about and had to ask what he meant.  Evidently, my daughter’s boyfriend at the time (he’s now my son-in-law) had family members who were killed in a car accident by a drunk driver and they were sharing the news.  My father was an elder in Kim’s church and he received the news through those channels.

Ugh…this was so hard.

It was an extremely difficult time that rocked Kim’s family and the whole Tuttle community.  And although I was on the periphery, it was hard for me to watch the pain experienced by Kim’s family members and loved ones.

It’s been four years since that wreck, and Kim recently told her story on a faith-based TV station.  I thought she did a good job, and I thought that if someone had recently experienced a tragedy, it might be helpful to share something of this story.

And, if you are one of those who needs to hear this story because you’ve endured a great loss, then I’m really sorry about that too.



To the Father of Hannah, Who Posted the FB Note: “To My Parents”

Last night an acquaintance of mine posted this video on his Facebook page.  He had retrieved it from Reddit and was heralding the dad’s actions.  Then another acquaintance of mine chimed in and sent a rally cry through her post in favor of the dad as well.

Then I watched that video which was cheered on by two of my Facebook connections…and was filled up with an overabundance of sobering thoughts, one of which was, “Okay, this puppy is going viral I’ll bet.  It will be in the headlines tomorrow.”

And it was.  On the front page of Yahoo’s news stories, the disappointed father of Hannah was featured with a story detailing the contents of the video.  I was still processing quite a few aspects of the particular situation when I ate lunch with two of my colleagues, both of whom were male, both of whom own guns, both of whom were family scientists (one’s research specialization area is adolescents and family) and who both had an opinion about the video.

They liked the idea of a father using the same medium as the daughter to communicate a message to her.  They did not agree with the father’s tactics of sarcasm, one-uppance, shooting the laptop with eight rounds from him and “one from the mother.”  Then the subject changed, and I continued to process the situation through this evening.

So tonight I’m ready to write to the father of Hannah who posted the “To My Parents” note on her Facebook. I’m done with my processing, but I’m sure he’s not close to being done…and I’m thinking about their family.

Here is my letter to you, dad…

Dear father of Hannah:

I watched the video you posted for others to see and thought about you, your wife and Hannah today.  I talked to some friends about your struggle and I read a couple of newspaper articles covering the “news” of your video getting widespread attention.

I would imagine that things are really weird around your house right now.  You’re probably getting quite a few media calls, Hannah is probably getting quite a few media calls too, and I would imagine that your life changed more than you could have imagined since last night.  That’s a big consequence for the decision to make and post your video response to Hannah.  I hope you all are okay through the hulabaloo, because after it dies down you all will have some healing to do. 

How do I know that?  Because of what you wrote, not because of what you said on your video.  Here’s what I’m referring to in case the message is a little lost in all this chaos:

“Today was probably the most disappointing day of my life as a father and I don’t know how to correct the situation.”

Coming from a father who just shot his daughter’s laptop with nine rounds from his .45 caliber handgun, that’s a really open, honest, vulnerable and very real statement.  In an odd way, I’ll bet Hannah could write a good portion of that message as well.  She may not know how to correct the situation either. Continue reading To the Father of Hannah, Who Posted the FB Note: “To My Parents”

The Importance of Showing Up

You can say a lot of things about my brother in law Joe. He makes a mean pot of homemade chili. As evidenced by my son Kyle’s peals of laughter, he does a spot on impression of King Kong in the inflatable wrestling ring. He also makes the funniest tooth fairy I’ve ever seen. But Joe was blessed in another way, too, that may be evidenced only by those who have found themselves really in need of a friend. Joe understands the importance of showing up.

You probably have a friend like Joe. At least, I hope you do. If you had surgery and needed someone to drive you home, he’d be the one in the waiting room who would eventually bring the car around, drive you home, help you up the steps, fluff up your pillows, and make sure you were OK before he went home. Of all the things I can say about Joe, the biggest compliment I can pay him is that I know if I ever really needed him, he would be there for me. And he would probably be the last to leave. I can’t really think of a major event that has occurred in my life since I have known Joe where he hasn’t been there. I know that I can always count on him and that is a rare quality these days. Thanks, Joe!

I am so fortunate to have many great friends and a wonderful family. I think of all of the times people have shown up for me. I remember when my dad was really sick and all of the friends and family who spent countless hours with us at the hospital over seven months. It wasn’t so much that they kept us entertained. They didn’t have to always know exactly the right thing to say. They didn’t have to say anything. It just meant so much that they were there, just sitting in the same room, watching TV with us to give us something else to think to talk about for a few minutes. It was a welcome distraction. Sometimes just a kind look or a warm hand on your shoulder can make all the difference to remind you that you aren’t alone.

As I look back on my life so far I see mental snapshots of both good times and bad. Continue reading The Importance of Showing Up