Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Doing it better in 2012

I was thinking about my year and realized there were quite a few times that I chose to sit on the sideline and phone it in.  Meaning, instead of getting involved and participating, I watch others have fun or do things.  Or if I did participate, I did the absolute minimum.

For 2012, my resolution is to be an active participant in my life.  Stop taking short cuts.  Really get involved in the world around me.  It’s almost like I have been in a cocoon for most of 2011.  I think the most alive I was this past year was our vacation to Disney, the wedding and the honeymoon.  For the rest of it I have pretty much coasted.

What brings about this change is my daughter asking me fifty times if she could do this, that and the other and all I kept saying was no.  I wanted to sit on my butt and do nothing.  Then I realized, she will only be little for so long.  Soon she won’t even want to do anything with me because I will no longer be cool – in her eyes anyways.  I have to get off my duff and start living again.

I thought more about this and realize there are many areas of my life where I have phoned it in this year.  Between work, family and life I have allowed myself to think I have too much going on when in reality I am sitting back and watching it go by.  Maybe that’s why I feel so tired all of the time?  Have you ever noticed how much more energy you have when you are out doing things than if you are sitting on the couch watching the TV?

I will admit that an entire summer of over 100 degree days without much of a break is enough to make anyone want to stay indoors, but that also meant that we didn’t get outside and ride bikes, blow bubbles or play hopscotch.  We did go to the pool pretty regularly, but even that was done in short spurts and anything over an hour meant you were baked, boiled or steamed.  The water was like stepping into the bath tub so even that wasn’t much of a relief.

So, my first step in the right direction is turning off the TV, getting the bikes dusted off and the tires aired up and hitting the pavement.  It is going to be in the 60’s almost every day this week and we need to be outdoors as much as possible! 

My second step is to do it better and do it right.  If I am going to participate in something, participate all of the way and not just do enough to get by.  I know that is vague, but it means so many things to me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Silent Night and a few days...

We had a pretty peaceful Christmas weekend at our house.  My Mom came over Friday afternoon and we had dinner and celebration with just us girls (minus my Step-Daughter).  My daughter was very well behaved and only asked 50 times when we were going to open presents.  When The Husband came home, we did another round of gifting and had some more fun.

Somehow Santa got confused and brought us some extra presents on Saturday morning. We were very excited as that meant the American Girl did not have to travel to Grammie’s without a new outfit.  I even got some new Christmas socks as all of mine are about finished.  YEA Santa!

Next I deposited the daughter with her dad and off they went to go visit Grammie.  The silence was almost deafening.  It didn’t last long because right after the drop off I drove to the other side of the world and picked up the Step-Daughter.  We had supper and celebration with her dad that evening and were only interrupted twice by her mother asking where she was (the first time) and when she was coming home (the second time).  That’s what happens when she doesn’t have to work and the wine starts flowing. 

Even with those interruptions it was still a wonderful evening.  I got a new Kindle Fire and am still figuring out how everything works.  I am not a Gadget-Head so it will be a few weeks before I know about all of the cool stuff it does.  Hubby got a tuned piano so he played a few songs for us that luckily did not require any singing to go along with them!

Christmas day we celebrated with some other friends that were also without their children this year.  It was so strange to spend an evening with adult conversation that did not require repeated instructions not to touch this and that and when we were ready to leave, no whining about how much longer we should really stay. 

I will have to admit that by Monday mid-morning, all of the stockings, ribbons and bows were neatly tucked back away for another year in the closet.  That was the only time that we did not have any children around and we were both home.  I thought about waiting until next weekend, but I really need a day of R & R so decided on this weekend instead.  The yard lights are still out and will stay for a few more days.

All in all everyone was pleased with their lot this year.  We scaled down so there weren’t as many packages and bags, but instead got a few things of higher quality and didn’t get a single complaint.  It seems that the more, More, MORE attitude comes as a direct result of us over shopping and over gifting.  Everyone got something nice and we didn’t break the bank to do it.  YEA!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What does Christmas really mean...?

Everywhere I hear people talking about what they are getting their children, their spouses and their families.  They stress over whether or not Jimmy will like his train or if Susie will like her doll.  So much time and effort is spent trying to find that perfect gift that everyone forgets what Christmas is all about.

To me, Christmas is about loving our friends, family and neighbors. Doing all that we can to help out where needed and making our time available to each other to share in the joy of God’s gift to us.  Not letting ourselves get worked up over how many gifts we have purchased for each person, rather asking ourselves – am I giving them a gift that has meaning?  If not, it is just stuff and we all have enough stuff already!

God gave us the ultimate gift, His Son.  There is nothing else that any of us could give to one another that even remotely would equal that precious gift.  I have a daughter, would I be willing to give her to the world?  No way!  Well, at least not at the moment...

As you can see I wrestle with the commercialization of the holiday.  This year I was horrified when the stores began putting up the decorations in the stores before Halloween was even over.  My mailbox has been swamped with sale ads and fliers of every shape and size.  My e-mail has been inundated daily with coupons, discounts and additional advertisements.  I can't even turn on the TV without getting blasted with commercials.

My daughter began hitting me up in September with ideas of what I could get her for Christmas.  Every time a commercial comes on she says “Ooo-ooo, I want THAT for Christmas”.  I have a feeling she will be disappointed this year.  I purposely have not gone overboard with gifts for her and I have instructed her Dad and my mother not to do so either.  It seems she has been developing a greedy streak that has been of our own making.  We love to see her face light up when she gets new things, so we have created a monster.  Now she wants more, More, MORE!!!

I have also turned the focus on what we can do for others.  Cleaning out the closets and the toy boxes, what can we share with those that have nothing?  Many of these items are in new condition with minimal wear and tear.  What a special thing for someone that has nothing at all?!  This also helps to make room for all of the new stuff that I know we will be getting this year regardless!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Oops! I forgot, again and again and again...

Some days I wonder if  maybe I might have the early onset of Alzheimer's. I have been forgetting things at an alarming rate.  Single handedly I have forgotten three events for the Christmas weekend.

  1. Friday night I scheduled a Christmas celebration for my mother, daughter, stepdaughter and myself - Stepdaughter is with her mother Friday night and guess what - I knew that...
  2. At Thanksgiving we made plans to celebrate our Christmas meal at a friend's house - I scheduled dinner at my house with my mother for the same day and even the same time. I hope she likes eating alone....
  3. Next Monday we have a play date scheduled with two of my daughter's friends - I scheduled a lunch for us with my mother.  I hope she likes GattiTown...
I do notice a common thread here.  These are all events that I have planned that include my mother.  The worst part is that when faced with the double bookings, the light bulb comes on and I know that I knew about those other events.  Do I intentionally block these things out or is it purely due to having too many things to do and not enough time to do them?

I did find out today that my mother has Sjorgren's (Show-grens) Syndrome.  This is an autoimmune disease that while not life threatening, is also not curable.  She is taking it pretty well.  It mainly affects the ability to produce saliva, tears, etc. and as long as the medication for it is taken regularly, it is pretty harmless.  It does reduce her immune system and makes her more susceptible to Lymphoma so she will have to watch out for that.  All I know is that she and I are both ready for her to feel a lot better and to stop having so many medical problems.  She is hardly in her 60's and is already on her way to requiring full time care.  Which sucks on many, many levels.

Anyways, I have now added the Google Calendar to my phone and am putting in every event that I think is even partially important... 

Brush teeth - check
Go to bathroom - check
Shower - check
Put on clothes - check, check, check...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Long Live The Queen...

I really think our new puppy knows who exactly is in charge in our home, besides her that is.  While she terrorizes The Midget (my daughter – I call her that because she is so tall for her age) and attempts to eat the toes off of The Husband, she is so sweet and calm with me I wonder if she is even the same dog.  Yes, I have received an ankle lick or two, but when I make that ‘eh-eh’ noise at her, she stops, almost immediately and then heads off to make war with the others.

Chloe wants a cracker
She will sit on the Husband’s shoulder like a parrot and lick his head like he is a giant ice cream cone.  I am sure it has to do with him having a shaved head, but for some reason she thinks he needs a bath.  Left unstopped, she will continue until she falls asleep.  It is pretty funny.  Well to me it is.  If it were my head, I may have taught her how to fly by now. 
:-D
The Midget

The Midget forgets that she is twelve billion times taller than the puppy and will start screaming when the tiny, three pound puppy tries to jump on her.  This is HER puppy too.  If it weren’t so sad it would be downright funny.

The step-daughter, the Princess of Literal, has even decided that my decision making ability is a step higher than her father’s because she asks my permission to do anything, even when he sitting right there.  I think it is hilarious.

The good news is that the Husband does not seem put out or even slightly annoyed by any of this.  He is pretty good natured about having his toes attacked by Kujo and even volunteers to do his part in helping to raise our little angel.  I will have to say if this unchecked deference to my rule continues, we may have a Monarchy on our hands…  Long Live The Queen.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What was I thinking...

There are always going to be people in life that bite off more than they can chew. I fall into that category whole heartedly.  Somehow, I always manage to figure out a way to make it all work out and sometimes it works out in spite of my mismanagment ;-). 

We adopted a shiny, new puppy over the weekend.  She is 8 weeks old and a Toy Fox Terrier.  She is absolutely the cutest little thing I have ever seen - well, besides my daughter and that's different.  She loves to sit in your lap, give kisses and pee on the carpet.  Well, two out of three aren't too bad.  LOL!  She will get better at the potty training and eventually we can add something nicer to say about that part.

With work so hectic right now, the holidays fast approaching and a five year old that thinks life is incredibly unfair, I am not sure why I thought now would be the right time to add the responsibility of a puppy to the mix.  The daughter played with the puppy for all of about five minutes and now she is my responsibility.  I knew that would happen going in, but I still had high hopes that it would last longer. 

Add to the list that the husband has been out of town for work all last week and had to go back out for most of this week.  It sucks to be the low man on the totem pole for all of us. 

Friday night we went to the tree lighting ceremony at my daughter's school for Literacy Night.  They did NOT light the tree as there were not any lights on it - DOH, and the school website had posted that we could make cards for the soldiers that are oversees.  Literacy huh?  Oversees?  Are these soldiers overseeing our handiwork for the soldiers overseas or what?  I did get a bit of a giggle out of that, but then was saddened because these are the people that are responsible for learning my kids an edumacatn.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wait your turn...

If you were in line at the bank, grocery store, post office, pretty much anywhere, you would never expect to see someone walk into the building and step in line in front of you.  Why then, as drivers, do people think it is okay to cut in line?  Just because you are in your car, doesn't mean that you are immune to the rules of society.  No, your time is NOT more important than mine and zipping past all of the other cars to throw your blinker on right before you practically run me off the road does not make it okay.

Once upon a time it would be okay for someone to not realize that they had to get over.  Maybe it was your first time driving that particular way and suddenly you find yourself in the right turn lane, but you don't want to go right. You look to the left to see if anyone is coming then try to safely make your way over.  If not, you go ahead and turn right to go around the block and try it again.

Now, people will purposely cut into your lane without so much as a blinker and expect you to yield.  This morning I almost lost it.  I had several cars try to get in my lane while I was in it.  The lane that I had already waited 10 minutes in to get to where I was.  They zipped past all of the other cars behind me and decided I was the sucker that was going to let them in.  Guess what?  They were SO VERY WRONG.  I did not let them in.  I held my ground and almost got a white stripe down the side of my very red car. 

Lots of gesturing later, the person behind me let them in.  I was furious!  Stand strong, don't let these bad mannered drivers win.  Every work day I go through this dance to get to my office.  Every work day there are multiple people that believe their time is more important than mine.  Every work day I mutter to myself that they are very lucky I don't own any type of gun because the tire shop down the street would be pretty busy.

I really try not to let this get to me. I try so hard not to have road rage, to not let those bad mannered drivers get the best of me, but more and more people have decided that this is the RIGHT way to drive. They are entitled to my space, even though I am still IN IT!  Don't be surprised if you see a news story tomorrow about the woman who blocked the freeway off ramp not allowing anyone to pass while hysterically screaming at everyone from on top of her car.  That just might be me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The downfall of a blogger...

I have noticed this same trend amongst some of the other bloggers out there.  When we have a burning platform or something exciting to announce, we are anxious to share with our blogger hoods.  When life is rolling along like a quiet river, it is not so easy to come up with new ways to connect to your friends.  I originally started blogging so that I had somewhere to write down the crap that was swamping me.  Between Nonna and the ex and the myriad of other stress factors I had in my life, I really needed an outlet.

Now, I am happily rolling down the stream.  Yes, Nonna is still a nut case and the ex is still a low life, but I am no longer wrapped up in those things.  Having this outlet has really helped me.  Who needs a therapist?  LOL!

That being said, I have been busy lately.  I have been traveling for work, seeing new cities and having a lot of fun being married.  The new household situation has become the norm and we are all playing nicely together.  That is all of us except the dryer which has decided that it will now loudly protest being used.  What is the point of a dryer if you can't use it? 

I hope everyone else is rolling along the stream merrily, merrily, merrily...

Friday, November 4, 2011

What do you do for others?

On a daily basis, I run through the gambit of what I need to do for myself, my daughter, my family, but seldom do I worry if I am doing enough for others outside of that immediate group. "I am too busy" I tell myself.  "I have so much going on, how could I possibly take on more" is another favorite of mine.  Then I ponder those "special" people in our lives that somehow always manage to do more.  They do for their families, they do for their friends AND they still manage to find time to do for others.  Strangers, neighbors, community members, each group gets some time from them.  You will recognize these people as the ones that always have time to chat for a few minutes as you are going in or out of the house or when you happen to run into them at the grocery store.  They are the providers of the baked goods to the family that just had a crisis, they are the hands that help after a tragedy and they are the hands that clap at our successes.

I tend to focus on the immediate.  What do I need to get done for me and my family today, this week, this month. Beyond that I can't be bothered. Why make those plans when I don't even have time to consider what I have to do now.  Then next month rolls around and I find that everyone else is just as busy as I am, but do I learn from my mistake and plan ahead?  No, I again get wrapped up in myself and what I need to do for now.

The funniest part of this is that I have never been a procrastinator.  I have always been a planner, looking ahead onto the horizon of what comes next.  Somehow in the last year I have become someone living just for the now.  If someone asks me about the future I get flustered and brush them off.  How will I know what I am doing then? It is still so far away.

At least now I have realized where I have ended up and can steer my ship back towards the horizon rather than continue to sail in the doldrums! 

What have you done for someone else recently?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Like a roller coaster...

Yesterday I rolled out of bed and grumbled…I am not and never have been a morning person. Then I launched myself into the mindless task of getting myself and my five year old ready for the day. Out the door we went, off to school and work.

Work was pretty non-eventful. I even had a decent day. I got a lot accomplished, everyone was nice to me today and I felt good about what I had been able to contribute. Then the downhill part of the roller coaster began.

I had to leave work at 4:30 to be to the elementary school by 5:30 to pick up frozen cookie dough, pretzels and cheesecakes that had been purchased for a fundraiser by my coworkers and friends. I have pretty strong feelings about these activities so this started me on a rant…

Why the hell do I have to pimp out my kid to my coworkers to sell crap for the school? Where are my tax dollars going? What will they get from the $1 they make doing this fundraiser? I would gladly just give them $50 to keep from having to sell their crap. Not only do I have to guilt everyone into purchasing a $16 box of cookie dough, but then I have to collect the money, pick up the crap and bring it back to work. Of course that is AFTER I have had to rearrange everything in my freezer to hold these items overnight so they don’t thaw out. I had to throw out that kidney I was saving for a future surgery.

The school gives us one week notice that the only day the crap is there to pick up is on the 25th and it has to be picked up no later than 5:30. I live out in the sticks. Nobody lives close enough to the school to make that happen unless they are a SAHM or SAHD. I guess because the PTA arranged this and most of them are SAHM’s they think 5:30 should be plenty of time. I’m just saying…

Gosh, I am sounding a little bitter here….

Then I pick up my beautiful child from her after school program. I hug her tight and kiss her little smiling face.

The roller coaster has headed up the next hill.

We walk out the door and I ask her about her day and she tells me how great everything was. We get in the car, I close the door then I open her backpack. It felt a lot heavier than it should so I was curious about what was in there. In it I find her boots, with the toes completely torn up on the front. The same boots I just paid to have new heels put on because she tore those up. The same boots I told her to be extremely careful with because I had just paid to have the previous injuries to them repaired.

And the roller coaster plummets…

“At least I got a green today Mom” she says. I told her that was a damn good thing because I was pretty ticked off about the boots and a yellow would have been pretty disastrous for her.

Off to the grocery store we go to purchase food for dinner. She is uncharacteristically well behaved and isn’t asking for anything until we are about to leave the store. “Mommy, you didn’t buy me ANYTHING at the store today. Not even a chocolate bar and my feelings are hurt”. I asked her if she thought her actions today were those of a child that deserved a chocolate bar to which she responded with a very sullen “No”. Then she went on to admonish me for still being angry about the boots. “They are just boots” she said. Just boots? JUST BOOTS? I realize at this point that the best way to win is not to play. If I get into it with her, it will end very badly, so I silently walk to the car, put the groceries in the car and drive home. When we get home she asks if I am still mad about the boots. I tell her it is in her best interest to not bring them up again…

My dinner guests arrive, we enjoy our meal, they leave and I start getting things ready for the next day. I open the backpack again and take out the binder to see if we have any homework and then I see her behavior paper. Yellow. She got a G. D. yellow. My mind flashes back to our conversation in the car. “At least I got a green today Mom”. The little shit lied to me about the green. Not only did she get a yellow, the third one in two weeks, but she lied to me about it as well. She’s only five I remind myself before I roar loud enough at her to rip her head off.

I sat her down and asked her why she thought it was okay to lie to me. Did she think I wouldn’t find out? Mom always finds out. She always knows the truth, that’s what mom’s do. We have been grounded from the TV and all video related products for the next two days. The reason I say “we” is because I won’t be watching TV or anything like that for the next two days either.

I wonder to myself if I let my emotions get the better of me. Did she lie to me because she knew how disappointed I would be to see another yellow on her paper? Did she lie because she didn’t want to get in trouble? Do I make it okay for her to fail in our home? These are all questions that I have been pondering today.

Overall, she is a really good kid. She isn’t really being a bad kid at school; she just has a hard time putting something away that she wants to play with. I think she is pretty much like every other five year old that wants to play until they drop. How do I keep myself from blowing up when I see that she wasn’t perfectly behaved at school that day? How do I help her understand that her poor behavior affects the other children in her class? I don’t know, I just pray that isn’t a tunnel I see up ahead…

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blogger Help

I want to change the gmail account associated with my blog, but it says I have to create a new blog to do that. Is that true?

Oh Fernando...

After getting married, a woman goes through all sorts of adventures for all of the different requirements to change her name. She has to wait in lines at the government offices and thinks that is a huge pain in the rear, UNTIL…

Try changing the name on your bank account. No, not your credit cards, those are easy, just takes a quick phone call. Your honest to goodness checking, savings, bank account.

Banker: Hello ma’am, how may I assist you today?
Me: I just got married and need to change the last name on my account. Here is a copy of my marriage license.
Banker: Have you changed your social security card and driver’s license?
Me: Yes, just this week. Here is a copy of the receipts with my new name clearly printed on them.
Banker: I’m sorry ma’am, but we have to have the ACTUAL cards with your new information on them before we can accept them.
Me: Well, I had to show them my marriage license to get these changed in the first place so why do I even need the others to prove my name has been changed? Shouldn’t my marriage license be enough?
Banker: You would think so, wouldn’t you, but sadly no. You have to have the actual cards before I can change the name. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
Me (through gritted teeth): Nope, I think I had better leave now.

I mumbled and cussed under my breath all of the way to the car.

Weeks later armed with the ACTUAL driver’s license and social security cards with my new name clearly printed on them I go back to the bank.

Banker: Hello ma’am, how may I assist you today?
Me: I need to change the last name on my account.
Banker: Is this due to a marriage or a divorce?
Me: Which is easier?
Banker: Umm…?
Me: I’m just kidding, due to a marriage.
Banker: Congratulations on your marriage. Do you have your marriage license with you?
Me: No, but I have my new driver’s license and social security cards with my new name on them.
Banker: I’m sorry, but I can’t change the account unless I have the marriage license.
Me: You are kidding, right?
Banker: No, why?

So I explain to him what I had been told the first time and that I had to have the marriage license to get my new driver’s license and social security card in the first place, etc… He was apologetic but said he couldn’t do anything without the marriage license. I think he could tell that he was about to end up in a body bag in my trunk because he lowered his voice.

Banker: I’m not supposed to do this, but I will make a copy of your cards and if you can e-mail me a copy of your marriage license tomorrow, I will change the account.
Me: Really?
Banker: It is the least I can do.

Whew! Fernando lived up to his promise and my account is finally changed. My credit card on the other hand required a 2 minute phone call…have a nice day!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What color are you going to be today?

When I was a kid, parents only got involved with behavior at school if it was really bad. There wasn’t a status chart send home every day saying whether you were good or not. Only if you were really acting up did it ever get on your report card or escalated to the next level.

When my daughter started preschool, there were three color levels available to let the parents know what type of day the child had.

Green = Good
Yellow = Poor
Red = Parent intervention required

At the end of the week, if all greens were received, the child would get to select a small prize from the pirate chest. This seemed to work pretty well and there were very few times that we ever saw a yellow on the behavior chart. Especially as yellow not only meant no prize at the end of the week, it also meant no allowance for the week either. The kids had to be pretty bad to get a yellow so it was considered a serious offense.

Now that my daughter is in Kindergarten, the school has five color levels to indicate behavior.

Green = Good
Yellow = Required multiple requests for compliance
Blue = Loss of privileges
Orange = Call to parents
Red = Sent to Principal’s office

The second week of Kindergarten we got our first yellow. She had to be asked several times to pay attention in class and stop visiting with her neighbor. (Big surprise, I know! I got in trouble for that ALL of the time when I was a kid.) Both her dad and I talked to her about how important it was to pay attention in class and that we didn’t want to see any more yellows. She also lost her allowance for the week. There were some minor tears over the monetary loss, but nothing serious. We didn’t have any issues for another month and then yesterday, another yellow.

We were sitting on the sofa and she suddenly got very quiet. Her eyes began to tear up as she said to me “Mommy, I have to tell you something.” Based on the sudden change in her mood and the seriousness of her tone I prepared myself for something awful. Then I heard, “I got a yellow at school today”. This was immediately followed by some serious sobbing. She was crying so hard she was almost hysterical. It took me at least five minutes to get her calmed down enough so that she could tell me what happened. Evidently the teacher had to ask her more than once to complete an activity as the first time she wasn’t listening.

I held her tightly for a few minutes more just to calm her down and told her that while I don’t want the teacher to have to ask her to do something multiple times, getting a yellow isn’t so bad that she has to cry about it. We finally got the crying to subside, but it really hit me hard.

Have we gone so far with color coding our children’s behavior that a yellow means devastation? How many times did I get in trouble in class for not listening, talking when the teacher was instructing, etc…? A BUNCH! What I didn’t get was a note sent home to my parents every day telling them how my behavior was. The teacher took my overall behavior for the class and listed it on my progress reports that were sent out three times during the year. Overall, I was a good kid. Overall, I did well in class. Overall, I got good grades and was smart. Yes, I am sure I had days that the teacher would have liked to wring my neck, but luckily for all of us there were more good days than bad.

I am trying to decide what to do with this process. Do I call the teacher and explain to him just how upset my daughter gets over the yellow? I don’t want him to overlook her behavior if it is less than stellar. If I change the rules at home and a yellow doesn’t mean loss of allowance would that tell her that yellow is okay and only when she is really bad she gets punished?

I want her to learn to be a good student. Pay attention in class, don’t be disruptive and try her hardest to do her best. Is color coding really the best way to encourage our children to do this?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

For my friends...

I was thinking about the many various friends I have made through the years and it occurred to me that not one of my friends is alike with the exception that I like them. Each one of them is precious to me and I wouldn’t trade them for the world, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how I ended up being friends with such different people.

I don’t talk to them every day. I don’t call them on the phone regularly. I don’t even e-mail them consistently. What I am good at though is dropping into their lives from time to time to say hi and I’m thinking about you.

I would spend time with each and every one of them every day if I could. If there were enough time to chat it up on the phone or e-mail consistently, I would be all over it. The great part of having these people as my friends is that they don’t care that I don’t call, write or show up every day because like me, they have lives too that take them away to their many responsibilities.

In my early 20’s when going out was all I ever did, I saw my friends on a weekly basis. We talked on the phone in between and had all sorts of adventures. Slowly, each of us got married and stop hanging out or calling nearly as often. Sadly, I did lose contact with some of those friends, but I won’t count them out for good.

I recently got a friend request from my best friend from my childhood. We were best friends until we had to move apart from each other in the 9th grade and even then we tried to keep in touch as often as possible until I finally lost track of her. We talked on the phone for almost an hour and it was as if we had just talked yesterday. My heart was full when I hung up the phone because I knew that we still loved each other in the sisterhood that is friendship.

I think often about each one of my dear friends whether I am still in touch with them or not. I hope the best for them all and yearn to have the time and energy to make a bigger effort to stay current with what is going on in their lives. Meanwhile I will continue following their posts whether it be Blog, Facebook or e-mail and be here for them when they need me.

I love you my friend…

Monday, October 17, 2011

The 5K

I have heard it said that the journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step. Well, last Saturday I felt like I had completed all 1,000 of those miles in one day. We started with the 5K walk for Susan G. Komen. By “we” I mean me, FH and my daughter who is 5.

The walk started off well. Everyone was happy, energetic and excited to be a part of the big event. Almost 30,000 people were milling about and the walk got off to a very slow start. About a mile into the walk, people were more spread out and the walking got a little easier. Then we hit the half way point and the whining began. “My feet hurt, I’m bored, I’m tired” are the comments from several around us. My daughter sensed the opportunity to put in her two cents as well, so I had to teach her a life lesson.

Me: Do you know why we are here?
Her: Yes, to walk for the people with cancer.
Me: Do you know how sick those people are and that they can’t walk with us here today?
Her: You mean really sick, like throwing up and everything?
Me: Yes, throwing up, can’t get out of bed. It would be like when you had the stomach flu but about a hundred times worse.
Her: Worse than throwing up spaghetti out your nose?
Me: Yes, way worse than that. (I had to try really hard not to break out laughing at that one)
Her: I guess I can walk some more if it means those people will get better.

I am very proud of my daughter for making this journey. I am even prouder that she spent the last mile and a half of our walk asking me all about what happens to people when they have cancer. Needless to say this walk made a bigger impact on her this year than it did last year. I think it made a bigger impact on me as well.

Now, I won’t lie and say there wasn’t any more complaining from our camp about sore feet, tired backs and weary legs, but there certainly weren't any further requests to stop walking.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I love Halloween!

For years I have been telling myself and everyone else that Christmas is my favorite holiday. This year, I have finally admitted that it is really Halloween. I now own almost as many decorations for the spooky spectacular as I do for the winter wonder.

What is it about Halloween that appeals to me? I guess it would have to be the mystery behind the mask. As a kid I remember going from door to door begging to be tricked or treated, wondering who was behind each costume I passed. It was a great sense of community and family to be out at night, greeted by neighbors who were excited to see our creativity as we knocked on the door.

As I got older, it became less safe to send the kids from door to door. Soon, nobody was out at all. It was a very sad day when I finally gave up on the adventure of trick or treating. Then I became old enough to frequent the Halloween parties. Those were so much fun with the fake fog, bloody eyeball ice cubes for the drinks and brain dip for the chips. It never ceases to amaze me how a simple grape can be turned into a corpse’s eyeball or a bowl of spaghetti into brain matter.

When I moved into my current neighborhood, the wonder of Halloween was again rejuvenated in my soul. You see, in our little community, people go from door to door with their children. Families sit outside at the sidewalk with their yards all decorated and large bowls of candy to be passed out to the spooks and specters. Who are those fairies behind the sparkly face paint? Who are the goblins and ghosts flitting all about? We even have a family that grills hot dogs for all to enjoy.

Yes, I love Halloween, even more than Christmas!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Writer's Block...

Looks like I am stuck with writer’s block again. I have tried several times to write something meaningful, inspiring or just plain funny, but nothing… I guess the well has run dry, temporarily. I am sure the well of creativity will come back to me again. Meanwhile I will enjoy everyone else’s wonderful posts.


Well, there is one funny thing to share with you. We now have the angel of death and the grim reaper hanging in our front window over our door with a sign that says “Just Married”. LOL!!









Monday, October 3, 2011

The Name Change Game

Check, check, check…

I have gotten so used to managing check lists for the wedding that I am doing them in my sleep. Unfortunately I can never find that notepad when I wake up in the morning. LOL!

For anyone that has done the name change game, you know how many places you have to change you name before it is official…

First there are the big ones like the Social Security Administration and the Driver’s License Bureau. Then it is the bank, credit cards, doctors, dentist, car, bills, work, auto signatures for all e-mail accounts including the one on my phone…

Next it is all of the places that you shop online – and I shop online a LOT.

Guys have it so easy. They say “I do” then go back to life as usual. Yes, they have to remember to put the seat down on the toilet and to pick up their dirty clothes off the floor, but that’s the easy part.

At least I have a great guy that makes it all worthwhile. Thanks Honey!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wedded Bliss



I won't bore you with a long, drawn out version of the events of this past week. Instead I will give this to you in a nutshell.



I am now married! FH is now Final Hubs instead of Future Hubs and we had a fairy tale wedding come true. We got married at a golf resort here in the DFW area and it was fabulous. We had good friends and beloved family by our sides and I wouldn't change a minute of it. My Ex even showed up to support his daughter and help her understand that he is still her Dad no matter what. I thought that took a lot of guts and showed how much he really loves his daughter.


After the wedding, we made a stop back at home to revel in our fabulous gifts from our wacky friends. I did receive a miniature version of Beyonce and had to explain to family and friends why this was a treasured gift rather than one that was misguided or tacky. B Jr. is now happily residing in my front flower bed and welcomes us home each day!!


Next we headed out to Napa, CA to a B&B for two days. We wined and dined and wined some more. The hotel was fabulous and we took in all of the sights we could see. There were a few wineries that I know I want to go back to. The Robinson Family winery is a must see as well as the Truchard Family vineyard as well. If you make sit out that way, I highly recommend the smaller, family run vineyards over the larger chains. They are just more interesting and you get to meet the people involved.


After Napa, we went to San Francisco where I quickly discovered everything is either on top of a hill or up a flight of stairs. I now have buns of steel. I climbed more hills and stairs than I ever thought possible. We had some more great food, met some more friends for dinner and of course did the Alcatraz tour. It was amazing. I never realized that the guards lived on the island with their families. Incredibly interesting and must see if you are ever out that way.


I will have to say that the people of Napa and San Francisco were wonderful. They were helpful and polite, friendly and caring. They gave great recommendations and stellar directions.


Now I am back home doing my mountain of laundry. If you see a pile moving, please dig in as I am sure to be under it somewhere!!




Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oh turd...

In.
Out.
In.
Out.
In…thump.

That was my head hitting the desk. My brain has gone so into overload that I can’t even put together a rational thought. Thank goodness for spell check or this whole post would be full of turds.

Sheesh, I didn’t even spell that one right. Terds? Nope. Isn’t the word turd in the dictionary? Oh Maude, you are being such a turd these days.

Of course I had to go look it up.

Turd
noun Slang: Vulgar .
1. a piece of excrement.
2. a mean, contemptible person.

At least my brain remembers what a turd is.

Getting the last details ready for the big day. I am getting married on Saturday and feel like I pretty much have everything under control. The brain death isn’t even due to stress. I has to do with thinking and rethinking about every detail I have already thought about. I’ve got this under control, we are ready, rock on!

Why can’t I stop thinking about this stuff? Because it is ingrained in my character. It is who I am. I do this about everything, why should this be any different. At the end of the wedding, we will be married and none of the decorations, food or cake will change that. My dear Maid of Honor has pointed this out to me on more than one occasion. I think she is about ready to choke me with her bare hands.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's MY Party...

I had a witch melting, flying monkey type of weekend. I managed to piss off my mother yet again, which is not hard to do at all. It was as simple as trying to change some dinner plans to include an extra person. Normally this would be fine, except the extra person is my fiancĂ©. For some reason, she just can’t bring herself to accept him into our group.

Growing up, Mom and I had this imaginary party in our minds and as we met new people, we would classify them based on whether or not we would invite them to this party. Not everybody makes the cut. It takes a special kind of person. Funny, witty, charming, are just a few of the required characteristics. Not everyone at this party has to be attractive as in looks, but everyone must be attractive in spirit.

Somewhere along the way, Mom has stopped inviting people to her party. She has locked the door, turned off the music and turned down the lights. Nobody gets in and she sits there in the dark, wondering where her joy has gone. The only time her eyes light up is when she sees her granddaughter.

How do we get to a place where our world is so narrow? When is our party too full to allow new people a chance to participate? Do we allow the unfortunate actions of one or two guests to spoil the party for everyone? Or do we strive to keep those doors open, the music jamming and the lights flashing as long as we can or until the cops show up?

We did manage to work out our differences, for now, but this weekend it is MY party and I will be having cake!

Monday, September 12, 2011

No time for Nonsense...

I started to write about Nonna Nonsense for this Monday, but I have decided that life is too short to dwell on her drama. I am taking back my sanity and refusing her the right to even make me think twice about her issues.

I have a wedding to finish planning for. In 12 more days and I become a Mrs. I’m pretty freaked out right now to say the least.

Everything is ready. Everything is done. Or is it? What am I forgetting?

I am sure to have forgotten to schedule XX to happen.

What XX is? I have no idea. I just know that nagging in the back of my mind is something that I haven’t done yet. There’s no way I could be completely ready. Maybe after FH and I go to get our marriage license on Wednesday I will feel like my job is more complete. Who knows?

Until then I am going to continue to have dreams about being at the zoo when the lions get out, being at the shopping mall when a flood breaks loose or my favorite, sitting on the beach watching a beautiful sunrise with a tidal wave appearing out of nowhere to drown me.

Goody…

Friday, September 9, 2011

For Julianna...Chapter 6 & 7

I had to finish up the part of the story that I am prepared to tell at this time. It has a happy ending so I know you will all be happy to find out what happens.

Chapter 6 – Growing Up

Alice did well at her new home...at first. She felt like she fit in somewhere. She was part of a family. She was valued as a person. Then slowly, she began to feel like maybe this all wasn’t really real. Little by little her boyfriend’s family became less friendly. Little by little they stopped paying attention to her. She felt as if she were becoming part of the furniture. Even Steve was treating her like she was an old hat because he saw her every day. This wasn’t turning on the way she had envisioned at all. Things were the same here as they were at home. Everyone asked something of her, but no one was giving anything in return. She was the hired help and her pay was room and board.

How could she get out of this mess she had created for herself? It would mean breaking up with Steve. It would mean groveling to her mother, if she would even talk to her. What to do, what to do? Each day the dread in the pit of her stomach grew heavier until she felt as if she may not be able to ever get up again. Finally Alice knew what she had to do. She swallowed her pride, picked up the phone and called her mom.

“Um, hi…Mom…um, how are you?” she said. Mom returned a curt reply and Alice knew she was sunk. She would really have to figure out how to make things okay again. She decided to start slow and work her way up. Acting as if this were just a friendly call to say hello. That lasted about five minutes before Mom said “Are you ready to come home now?” Alice began to cry. She sobbed into the phone how sorry she was for leaving and could she please come back home. Mom answered “I’ll be there shortly” and hung up the phone.

That car ride was the longest ride of her life. Mom didn’t say anything at all the entire way home. Alice didn’t even know how to break the ice or cut through the tension. When they got home, Mom pulled into the drive way and let Alice have it. “How dare you leave me” she began. This baffled Alice a little, but she was too afraid to say anything. Mom kept going on and on about how disappointed she was in Alice’s behavior and why couldn’t she see how she was hurting her family.

After about an hour, Mom finally stopped lecturing and turned to Alice. “Alice, you know I love you more than anything in the world, right?” Alice wasn’t sure how to answer. If she told Mom that she felt like her only purpose there was to take care of her mother, it wouldn’t go well, so Alice smiled weakly and said “yeah Mom, I love you too and I’m sorry”.

Things went back to normal pretty quickly, but every few weeks Mom would bring out the old wound of Alice’s betrayal and examine it again, with Alice, for hours. She would lecture again about how it hurt her and how abandoned she felt with Alice gone. There was nobody there and she was all alone. As soon as she knew Mom was winding down, Alice would slip away with an excuse about the bathroom or laundry or anything she could find to get away from where she was.

Finally the big day came and Alice was graduating high school. She had a job and a plan to make it on her own as quickly as she could. Before the snow fell at Christmas she was making her own home in an apartment. It was so small that it didn’t even really have a bedroom. They called it an efficiency. The only thing that was efficient about it was that it was so small it took hardly any time to clean. The carpets were dingy and threadbare, she had lawn chairs for furniture, but she didn’t care, she was on her own.

Mom would come by weekly to inspect how Alice was doing. She always managed some sort of dig about how Alice’s apartment was arranged. “Don’t you think that chair should go over there instead” or “why don’t you put the glasses in the other cupboard by the dishwasher?” Mom could never just come by to visit with Alice. It was always an offer for Alice to come back home.

Alice would hold her tongue until she felt as if she would bite it off and then the next fight would come. “Why won’t you leave me alone?” “Why isn’t anything I do ever right or good enough?” Alice didn’t realize it until many years later that Mom was scared and drowning. Without Alice, who was she? What was she supposed to do now? For years this dance played on and nobody was ever in the lead yet there was never anybody willing to follow either.

Chapter 7 – Finding her way

It was Christmas time. Alice and her mom had managed to go a few months without any fighting. Maybe this would be a turning point for their relationship. Maybe they could get through the holidays without any tears. Sadly, this was anything but the truth. Mom called Alice on Christmas morning to tell her that she wouldn’t be coming over. It seems that Alice didn’t appreciate her so she was going to stay away so she wouldn’t have to be ignored or endure Alice’s abuse.

Alice stood there with her mouth open for a long while. What Mom had said was true, but it was the exact opposite. Alice had endured years of being abused and ignored by her mother. No more. Alice didn’t call Mom back that day. She didn’t call her the next day either. Day after day the silence went on and Alice began to feel liberated. The weekend rolled around and Alice didn’t have to call Mom to synchronize their plans. She could do whatever she wanted. It.Was.Awesome!

She realized then that she had allowed her mother to control her life for so long, that she wasn’t sure how to really live it alone. Little by little she gathered her strength and like a baby bird, really stepped out of the nest on her own to fly for the first time. Fly she did and she was really good at it.

Eventually Mom called Alice again to check on her. It was a awkward call to say the least. Alice just let her hang on the line. She didn’t apologize. She didn’t make the first move or take the first step. Mom continued on about how she had been feeling down because the holidays were here and she was all alone. Alice just let her vent. Let her get it all out without saying really much of anything. She didn’t try to fix her mom or resolve the issues. She just listened.

An amazing thing happed then. Mom finished her conversation without yelling at Alice. She resolved her own hurt feelings and they were on speaking terms again. It was like a miracle. This opened a new door between Alice and her mom. A door to a grown up relationship that promised to be different than the relationship they’d had in the past. Alice walked through that door with a smile on her face and a song in her heart. She would finally have a real relationship with her mother.

Chapter 5 - Breaking Free

Junior High rolled into Senior High and with each passing year, Alice took on more responsibilities from her mother. She got a job, started buying her own clothes and even gave Mom money to help with the groceries. In between all of these things, she even found time to start liking boys. Only she didn’t like the type of boys that were the kind to treat a girl right. The bad boys were the ones that caught her eye.
Her first love was tall, dark and handsome. He had an old Cadillac that he had beefed up the engine on and he liked to drive it really fast. She loved the speed. She would roll down the window and let the wind whip her hair all around so that she looked like a banshee by the time they got anywhere. Steve didn’t mind. He liked the tousled look.

While Alice and Steve were busy being young and wild, there were other guys that tried without success to woo Alice away from Steve. These guys were reliable, dependable, came from good homes and were B-O-R-I-N-G! She didn’t want anything to do with any of them. She wasn’t going to be the type of girl that settled down, squeezed out a bunch of babies and wasted away at home while her husband did whatever he wanted. She saw what that did to her mother and she wasn’t having any part of it.

Steve wooed her with his talks about where they would go and what they would do when high school was over. They would travel, see the world, be carefree. All of the things that Alice thought she wanted.

One day her Mom came in to have a talk with Alice. It seems that she didn’t like for her to spend so much time with a guy like Steve. Mom went on and on about the perils of dating that kind of guy and where it would end up. Alice argued with her mom. How could SHE know what would happen with Steve? He was a great guy and would never do all of the things Mom said he would.

Mom didn’t give up after that one talk. Each week she confronted Alice with another talk. Each week she foretold of the perils that were waiting around the corner. Alice started avoiding her mother. Working later and spending more time with Steve. Exactly the opposite effect that her mother was hoping for.

She was spending so much time with Steve, he asked if she would consider moving in with him and his family. Especially as Alice’s mother was being so unreasonable and confrontational. Steve’s parents knew of Alice’s history and her troubles and thinking they could provide a more stable environment for her, they offered as well for Alice to come live with them. She decided that if everyone thought that was the right thing to do, then that must be the right thing to do.

That weekend Alice confronted her mother. She was tired of doing all of the work, tired of providing for her mother and tired of having all of the responsibilities. She didn’t give her Mom time to even put up a fight. Out the door she went with her few meager belongings. Away into Steve’s waiting car and whisked off into the night.

Alice knew it would break her mother’s heart, but she just couldn’t stay anymore. She felt so liberated, so free. For a fleeting moment she felt like a deer staring at an oncoming car, but that passed quickly.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chapter IV - The Hair Cut

Time passed and Alice became accustomed to the pattern of her new world. Mom was working full time now, so many of the daily activities fell to Alice for attention. Cleaning, laundry, cooking, all of the things that her Mom had defined herself as a wife with were left in Alice’s lap as if it were a present.

“Now that you’re old enough Alice, you can help me with these tasks” her Mom would say. Alice tried not to complain, but when she had to stay inside to make sure the wash got finished while her friends were screaming up and down the block on their bicycles, it became harder and harder not to feel badly that she couldn’t join them.

Lots of girls Alice’s age were learning how to help with the household duties, so Alice knew that at least in this situation, she was normal, but when helping turned into sole responsibility for all of these chores, she knew that wasn’t normal. Alice did her best to keep up with everything. She knew how hard Mom worked during the day and how tired she was when she got home. Every little bit helped so she each day she did as much as she could.

The roles in their family became very different then. Mom went to work and was the bread winner of the family. Alice went to school during the day and played the role of the wife after school and in the evenings. Many times she would have a hot meal on the table when Mom got home from work. She lived for those fleeting smiles that her mother would give her when she arrived home to find the house clean and dinner on the table. “You are such a good girl” Mom would say. “What would I do without you?”

Things became more familiar in her visits with her Dad as well. Every other weekend, like clockwork. Dad would come pick her up and take her back to his house. She would spend the weekend doing chores at Dad’s house too. Chores like pulling weeds and sorting screws, mindless work that was geared towards keeping her quiet and out of the way. Dad paid her for her work, a quarter per pail for weeds and two quarters for a coffee can of sorted screws. She didn’t mind much as it seemed to make the time pass faster.

Spring gave way to Summer, then Summer to Fall and Alice was unusually glad to be back in school. She was going into the sixth grade this year and just knew everything would be different. Better somehow. Mom even promised to trim her hair for her before the first day of school to make sure she looked her best.

The trim started out great. Mom whizzed around with her scissors, making all of the right cuts while humming to herself. This was the happiest Alice had seen her in quite awhile. All of a sudden the humming stopped and Mom said “Uh-oh, Hmmm…I think I need to even this spot out, just a bit over here”. Alice froze in place. She didn’t want to move a muscle. She didn’t want to distract her Mom from fixing the tiny error in the hair cut. Little by little, Mom trimmed away and was “just making it even over here” until Alice couldn’t stand it anymore.

All of her precious, long hair that she had brushed and brushed for hours until it was as shiny as gold was there, lying on the floor. She was left with what could hardly even be called a Bob. It was uneven in the back, in the front, on the sides. She looked like a boy. As she stared into the mirror above the sink, giant tears slid down her face. Gone were here dreams of the new school year being better than ever. She was horrified, knowing that tomorrow she would have to go to school and face all of the friends she hadn’t seen since the Spring. Horrified at the laughter and finger pointing that she knew would come.

Mom came into the bathroom behind her, with tears in her eyes. Apologizing over and over. “If I only had the money to take you to get your hair cut, this would never have happened” she said. Alice knew there wasn’t any money for a hair cut. There wasn’t any money for new shoes or new clothes or new anything at all. Then Mom began to cry. Real tears of sorrow and heartbreak for what she couldn’t give to Alice. She laid all of her worries and troubles out on the table where Alice could see every ugly truth. Every bill that wasn’t paid, every debt that was owed, every broken thing that couldn’t be fixed.

Alice wasn’t sure what to do with all of this information. How could she be so shallow as to worry about what her hair looked like when Mom had troubles like these? She put her arms around her Mom and told her not to worry. “Things always have a way of working themselves out.” And they did. She went to school the next day and nobody laughed or pointed at her. The few people that did notice said how cute her hair looked in the pixie cut she had and why hadn’t they thought to do that with their hair.

The relief was immense. She smiled the rest of the day. The rest of the week in fact. It was all going to be fine and this year was really going to be different. Better. Fabulous.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chapter III - The Birthday Fail

Chapter III – The Birthday Fail

After awhile, Alice got used to the routine. She even managed to make a few friends in Daddy’s neighborhood. One weekend she got an invitation to a birthday party from one of her new friends. It was for a Saturday that she would be visiting Daddy so she was sure he would let her go. She read the invitation over and over in disbelief that her name was clearly printed on it and not Claire’s. Not that Claire would have been interested in going to a 9 year old’s birthday party. How beneath her that invitation would have been.

Without a second thought, Alice went into the house to ask Daddy if she could go to the birthday party. It was more of a formality for her to ask as she was sure that Daddy would say yes, but ask away she did. Daddy turned to look at her with a scowl on his face and said “Absolutely not”.

Alice stepped back just out of arms reach. She knew when Daddy’s face made that scowl, it was certain danger to ask questions, but she reached down deep inside of her and said “May I ask why you said no?” Daddy laid down the guilt trip on her. Stating that he only got to see her every other weekend and that she was there to see him, not to make friends.

Alice did her best not to cry. She quietly said “okay Daddy” and left the room. Her little heart was broken yet again. She knew that Daddy didn’t really want to see her when she came to visit. He spent his entire weekend in the basement working on one project or another. She wasn’t even allowed down there while he was working because she might ruin what he was working on. She knew this was her punishment for causing him the inconvenience of child support and driving back and forth to get her every other weekend.

Alice spent the rest of the weekend quietly tucked away in the corner of the formal living room with her nose in a book. She always wondered why they had a formal living room when it was always empty. There was never any furniture in that room as long as Daddy lived there. It was the one place she could go that nobody would ever bother to go look for her.

When the day of the big party came, Alice lied and said she had a stomach ache and that’s why she couldn’t go to the party. She didn’t want anyone to know that Daddy had said no. She especially didn’t want anyone to know why he said no. She distanced herself from these new friends after that. It wouldn’t be right for anyone else to invite her to anything when she knew she could never return the favor.

She also knew that she would never really fit in with these friends anyways. They all had Mommies and Daddies together in one home. She couldn't even remember with fondness when her Mom and Dad were at home together because it always meant the yelling and door slamming was not far behind. Nope, she would never be the one to encourage them to get back together.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chapter II - Claire

Sorry to leave everyone hanging. I made a promise to myself to stay off the computer this weekend and it looks like I did a pretty decent job.

Chapter II - Claire

By the end of the Summer Daddy started having Alice over for visits. He was living with some friends in their basement. It was dark, damp and cold down there, but Daddy never complained. Alice was pretty sure it was because he never went down there except to sleep and by then he was always too drunk to notice. Alice liked going to visit Daddy because his friends had a little girl almost her age and they would play together for hours.

Then Daddy met someone else.

To Alice It seemed like overnight that Daddy was getting married to Sandra and had started his whole life over. Just like that. Alice tried very hard to get her new stepmom to like her. She smiled and was polite and tried to helpful. Unfortunately she was so nervous that she often made things worse. She dropped things, spilled things and broke things so often that Sandra finally asked her to stop helping. That broke Alice’s smile and again she tried to become as small and hidden as possible.

Every other weekend Alice dreaded the trip to see Daddy. She didn’t understand why she had to go. Sandra clearly didn’t want her there and Daddy ignored her while she was there. He would start out happy to see her. He would even talk to her for a few minutes in the car, but by the time they got to the house, the conversation would end.

She tried to entertain herself as best she could. She would read the few books she owned until the covers fell off and then daydream that she too was riding her horse across the prairie with the wind in her face and the sun on her back. Or that she was fighting against all odds to overcome some evil villain or national threat. Entire weekends would go by that she had her nose buried in a book. Then she would look up and it was time to go home again.

Home, for Alice, was never Daddy’s house. Sandra made that very clear to her. She was the “other woman’s” child and Sandra only put up with her being there because the divorce agreement stated that Daddy had to take Alice every other weekend. Sandra had her own daughter, Claire, who was the apple of her eye and both made it clear to Alice that she was only to be tolerated.

Oh how Alice wished that Claire would like her. Would want to play with her or even just to share her toys with her. Unfortunately, this was not to be as Claire despised Alice. Claire had to share her room and her bed with Alice when she came to visit. Clair would complain about how this injustice had been forced upon her. Why should SHE have to share her bed with what was probably a bed wetter and at the very least annoying?

Clair was five years older than Alice and was everything that Alice wasn’t. She had long, thick hair that fell in waves. Alice had thin, stringy hair that hung like straw. Claire was athletic and graceful while Alice was gangly and clumsy. Alice so wanted to be like Claire that she would pretend to be Claire when she was at home. She would imitate Claire’s smile, her walk, even her laugh hoping to make herself feel just a little better about not actually being Claire.

All of this acting like Claire only made Mommy angry. She would yell at Alice and chide her for acting like an idiot. “Be Alice or go to your room” she would say. Alice spent a lot of time in her room, pretending to be anyone but herself.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Chapter I – The Perfect Summer

My good friend Stephanie (http://thestephanieconnection.blogspot.com) has been posting some completely fantastic stories and I just couldn't help but search myself and ask myself what my story was. Amazingly enough, it took only a matter of moments for me to start my story. I knew exactly where it would begin and the names of the characters popped into my head.

Here for your reading pleasure is Chapter I. I have no idea how many chapters this story will have to share because when it stops flowing out of my like water, I will put it away for awhile.

Chapter I – The Perfect Summer

Alice was just starting summer break between Kindergarten and First Grade when she heard the slamming of the front door. Mommy and Daddy were fighting again and this time it seemed that Daddy wasn’t coming back. Only he did come back, just long enough to grab a few pots and pans out of the cupboard so he could “cook some soup for dinner” he said. Then he left for good.

She should have cried then. She should have said ‘Daddy, don’t leave me’, but the truth is that Daddy was never there anyways and with him gone, hopefully Mommy would yell less. How could you miss what you didn’t have or didn’t know you were supposed to miss?

Mommy was always so tired. She got up before the sun, made the breakfast, made the beds and cleaned the house. Every single day she cleaned the house. You could almost tell what time of day it was by when the vacuum cleaner came on. You knew it was time to get out of the house when you heard that vacuum. If you didn’t, the chores were handed out. Dust this, pick up that, put that away. Always in that frantic voice as if there were never enough time to get it all done.

Alice wondered, get WHAT done? If you dust and vacuum every day, how could there be any dust to remove or any dirt to vacuum in less than 24 hours? But every day Mommy did what every “good” housewife did and had the house clean, kids clean and supper waiting on the table for Daddy who always seemed to be working late or in a meeting.

The table was set and supper was on it promptly at 6:00 every night. Not 5:59 and not 6:01, but 6:00 on the dot. We would wait for what seemed like hours for Daddy to come home. By the time the call came in, supper was usually cold, but we ate it anyways. “Sorry kids, Daddy has a big meeting in the morning and says we should start without him” Mommy would say to us. We knew the moment he didn’t walk in the door right at 6:00 that he wouldn’t be joining us for dinner. It was all or nothing with Daddy.

Why couldn’t Daddy be there once to see Mommy’s smile fade from her face? Why couldn’t Daddy see that she had fretted all day that she wasn’t a good enough wife and that’s why he didn’t want to come home? Alice was only 6, but she saw it and knew.

After Daddy left, Mommy went through quite a change. She just stopped. She stopped cleaning, she stopped cooking and she stopped making the beds. Mostly she stayed in her room and hid from the world. Alice could hear her crying softly in her room during the day. Sometimes at night Mommy would cry loudly enough that it would wake Alice up. Alice wondered what to do. Should she go in and comfort her Mommy or put the pillow over her head and go back to sleep?
Finally Alice had to do SOMETHING. She quietly pulled back the covers and climbed out of bed. She crept into Mommy’s room and quietly whispered “Mommy, are you okay?” At this point Mommy really burst into tears and scared Alice so badly that she ran back to her room and hid in her closet. You see Mommy thought that she was careful enough that Alice didn’t know that she was unhappy.

But Alice knew.

Alice wondered if Mommy was unhappy because she was left taking care of her. Did she wish that Daddy had taken Alice with him when she left? Why didn’t Daddy take her with him when he left? Did Daddy not want her either?

Lot’s of unanswered questions in her mind left her unable to sleep for many nights. Nobody noticed the dark circles growing under her eyes. Nobody saw that her clothes were now loose because she was hardly eating anything. Nobody realized that she didn’t smile or laugh anymore.

It was at least three months after Daddy left before Alice saw him again. He offered no explanations or words of encouragement. He hardly talked to her at all. She didn’t know what to say to him either, but it seemed like telling him that she missed him would be the right thing, even if it was a lie.

Oh yes, Alice had learned how to lie. Brilliantly some might say. People would ask “how are you today” and Alice would lie and say she was fine, good, dandy even. “Are you enjoying your summer Alice?” “Oh yes, we are all having so much fun” she would say. “This has been the best summer ever…”

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gone and forgotten...

I picked up my daughter from after school care yesterday and her backpack felt a little light, but I wasn't really thinking about it until we got in the car and drove off. When we got home, I looked into the backpack so I could check her folder to see what "our" homework was for the night. The trouble begins when there is NOT a folder in her backpack.

Me: Honey, where's your folder from school?
Her: Um, I don't know...
Me: When did you have it last?
Her: Um, I don't remember...
Me: Did you have it when you left school today?
Her: Of course Mo-om (eyes rolling)
Me: Did you have it when you were on the bus today?
Her: Yes, I had it on the bus then I took it out of my back pack
Me: On the bus?
Her: Yes
Me: Did you leave your folder on the bus?
Her: No, of course not (more eye rolling)
Me: Stop rolling your eyes at me or I am going to smack you in the side of the head and see if I get the jackpot
Her: Well, I had the folder when I got off the bus so of course I didn't leave it on the bus

At this point I am starting to get frustrated. She clearly remembers when she had the folder last, yet we are going through the motions here. So my foot starts tapping.

Me: Dear, we are trying to trace your steps here to see if we can remember where your folder is. Do you remember where you left your folder yet?
Her: No
Me: Okay, let's keep going then...did you have your folder when you got to KC (after school care)?
Her: Yes, my teacher was helping me with my homework
Me: When she was done helping you, where did you put your folder?
Her: On the floor
Me: Do you remember seeing the folder again after that?
Her: No, I think I left it on the floor. Do you think they will throw it away?
Me: Probably not, hopefully they will put it in your cubby at school.
Her: They are going to throw it away, I won't have my folder anymore.

Now the crying starts...

I try my best to comfort her and tell her the folder is probably at school and we will find it in the morning. No, we can't go tonight because they are closed. Sorry Baby... Now instead of being mad at her I am trying to get her to stop crying. About 10 minutes later, I realized that she totally worked me.

We found the folder at day care this morning. In her cubby, ready to go. Crisis resolved...Whew!

Normally I would chalk this one up as over and done, but then it hits me...we aren't even finished with the second week of school yet. How am I going to survive 9 months of lost folders, forgotten homework and papers that should have been signed yesterday? I have heard the other parents lament over these things for years and secretly I wondered what the big whoop was. They should keep a closer eye on stuff. How did they let it get so out of control?

Now I realize...I am just like all of the other parents out there...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Beautiful Baby

My beautiful baby, fresh from my womb with a soft cry that makes me go tender inside

My beautiful baby, cooing so sweetly, closes her eyes and sleeps so deeply

My beautiful toddler, ever so cautious, learning the world around her

My beautiful toddler, learning her words, so anxious to tell me everything

My beautiful child, discovering the world around her, trying new things

My beautiful child, fearless, courageous, striving out into the world to make her mark

My beautiful child, it's 3:00 a.m. in the morning, unless you want me to take you out of this world, stop poking me!!!

I had you going there, didn't I? I was reflecting on how my darling girl has grown so much over the past 5 years. I adore her with all of my heart, but the past few weeks she has taken to waking me up, every school night between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. She tip toes into the room so quietly and stands by my bedside like a silent stalker. I can feel her right before she takes that finger and poke, poke, poke..."Mommy, I can't sleep" she whispers. Like a zombie I walk her into the living room, put some blankets and pillows on the sofa and kiss her back to sleep.

Last night I even threatened her with her allowance - Don't get out of bed, don't wake me up, stay in your own bed or no allowance this week.

3:00 a.m. "Mommy, I tried and tried and tried to stay in my room but just couldn't sleep anymore. You can have my allowance if I can sleep down here on the couch".

So forlorn...

So sad...

I didn't have the heart to take her allowance from her, but I won't tell her that until the end of the week. Let her worry about it just a little. See if she will stay in bed tonight to redeem herself. Odds are not good for me!

I miss snuggling with my little Angel that snores like a truck driver and punches like Ali in her sleep. Sort of...

Monday, August 29, 2011

No Nonsense Nonna...

I can honestly report that Nonna did not do or say anything worthy of writing about over the weekend. Her general attitude of gloom and doom over the upcoming nuptials is still an under laying theme, but her overall behavior has been acceptable.

The daughter absolutely loves school. Her first week of Kindergarten was a huge success and she has learned how to successfully walk on Marshmallow toes. Too cute. Now, if I could convince her that sleeping in her own bed the entire night is something a Kindergartner should do, we will be on the road to success.

Marked off a great number of "To Do" items on the wedding list. We got our rings, picked out some songs to be played at the wedding. That is a lot harder than it sounds. You want something meaningful and romantic, but not sappy. I think we did okay, but I am sure there will be an eye or two that rolls.

We even reclaimed the Dining room from the man boxes. I have high hopes that the garage will come along nicely this week. I may have to fake an emergency where I need access to the sprinkler as an excuse to at least stack the boxes up in an orderly fashion so I can get my car back in the garage. If it hadn't been over 100 degrees for weeks on end, I would be a bit pushier about the boxes, but you can't stay out there for more than 30 minutes without seriously getting dehydrated.

Trying to keep my right ear from exploding for now. My allergies are in full swing and I just can't get that ear unplugged. It is driving me crazy!!

That's all I have to report on the western front....

Oh, wait, one more thing. Evidently the mother of my future step daughter forgot to tell FH that daughter starts soccer practice tomorrow night. Her soccer gear is at our house...now FH will have to drive the gear over to daughter first thing in the morning. DOH! I would say, first practice, don't worry about it, but he wants her to start off on the right foot. Neither the daughter nor her mother seems to have any concern over putting someone else out due to their lack of planning.

What's the old adage...failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part!

Friday, August 26, 2011

ME!

How many of us live our lives wondering and worrying about things that will affect us? Do you get up each day and wonder, what's going to happen to ME today? Or do you roll out of bed and wing it?

I have the misfortune of being surrounded by several people that worry only about how everything affects them. They never stop to consider that maybe things just happen sometimes. Accidents happen and activities sometimes have unforeseen outcomes. It is called life.

I have a tendency to be a bit of a Pollyanna. I start each day with the belief that the day will go well and I will be relatively happy. I don't worry about who is going to cut me off in traffic on the way to work nor do I worry about a meteor falling out of the sky and landing on my head. Yet, I am continually reminded that there are people who really do this. They wake up and wonder, what awful thing is going to happen to ME today?

On one hand, I truly feel sorry for these people. How horrible it must be to begin each day with dread. Wondering when that moment will come that will ruin their day. How many wonderful things did they miss worrying about things that are out of their control?

Then on the other hand, I want to kick them in the tushy buns and tell them to get over themselves. The world does not revolve around any one person. The "bad-happenings gremlin" is NOT camped directly outside their door nor does he have the assignment to follow them around and make bad things happen to them.

I have learned not to try to change these people. If you attempt to get them to see things differently, their misery becomes your fault. Like you personally called the guy in traffic ahead of them and said - "hey buddy, swerve around that pot hole at the last minute so that XX won't see it and gets a flat tire when they hit it. Won't that be a hoot?"

It is a choice that we make every day. Am I going to find the good in today OR am I going to find the bad in today. You will typically find what you are looking for.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Hand Twin



Julianna from Surviving Boys is my hand twin. Click on the link to see today's post.

How weird is that? Even down to the silver and white...

Just goes to show that we both have great taste and great hands!














Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fired!!

What would you do if you could fire your family?

Really, I mean give your two week notice and then go apply for a new family. Wouldn't that be cool?

I have a brother that doesn't talk to me, a step-sister that I barely know, an alcoholic Dad with a co-dependent step-mom and a mother that won't STOP talking to me.

The only one I would keep is my daughter, because there is still hope for her...

Maybe I should put them all in a room and lock the door. That way nobody else is exposed to them...

Monday, August 22, 2011

The almost good, very bad, rotten day...

Today started off very nicely. Daughter was with her dad so I got to sleep in a little, but the peace did not last long. It seems that the brand new shoes I sent with her for her first day of school were too small. No more ordering shoes online!

I voiced my complaints about the shoes and her dad started profusely apologizing. I never can understand why he does that. It's not HIS fault the shoes were too small...or was it? Hmmm...maybe there's a way I can pin it on him after all. Anyways, it ticks me off when he goes on and on about how horrible it all is and whatever can we possibly do to fix it. Grrr...

Next was meeting them at school for our daughter's first day of Kindergarten. I am both proud and immensely sad that she waved us off only moments after her arrival. She was already making new friends and didn't want us to take any more pictures or cramp her style. I sniffled all of the way to the car.

I made it to work and the day went relatively well. I had a great lunch at one of my favorite places with two of my favorite people. I know, I'm lucky I get to work with great people. After lunch, I figured I better call Nonna and give her the update about Kindergarten. Why do I do this to myself? I called her. I asked for it. I got it. After 15 minutes of her rambling about what was wrong with the world I was finally able to explain that I was still at work and had to go.

She called me back 5 minutes later on my cell phone. (Which was stuck in the bottom of my purse. Which was right next to my half full cup of coffee from this morning. Which spilled all over my desk and my lap. Which still stinks from the milk that was in the coffee.) Only to tell me that she had picked up a few things from the thrift store for her grand baby to keep at her dad's house. Oh goody, more crap she doesn't need....

Work went downhill from there with a program we are working on deciding to do things it isn't supposed to and not do things it is supposed to and our programmer is on vacation today. I will give her credit for working part of the morning on her day off to let us know what was ready to test, but after that she has disappeared.

Tomorrow will be better, but for now I am just grumpy, grouchy, cranky, moody and overall in a bad mood. Now I get to go pick up my sparkling daughter from her after school program and put on my fake, smiley face to ask her how her first day was. I am sure after hearing a few minutes of her adventures, my fake smile will turn into a real smile and I will get some great hugs to complete the day.

Once the princess goes to sleep, I get to snuggle up with the King and enjoy some pampering. He has already promised a back rub to put the mood back to the good side. Ahhh...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Nonnna Nonsense Friday...

I am starting this post on Friday because I have so many things I'm not sure I can hold out until Monday...

As my daughter and I were leaving for our cruise to the Bahamas, I get an e-mail from Nonna stating that during our trip would be a perfect time for me to talk to my daughter about what inappropriate touching is, etc... I sat in my seat at the airport with my mouth open for about five minutes. A fly just about landed on my tongue mistaking it for a landing strip so I had to close my mouth.

When my daughter was about four, she and a couple of the other girls at her day care got in trouble for showing each other their panties. It was harmless, but I thought it was a good opportunity to talk with her about what was appropriate and what wasn't. Through the months I have mentioned other things about what is okay and what isn't, all in context of events going on around us. Why on earth would I say to her "Honey, we are going on a great adventure. If anyone touches your stuff inappropriately on this trip, let me know". Come on now... Who lets their five year old out of their sight on a cruise anyways? Not this mom!

Next we found out the new teacher is Mr. Teacher and not Miss Teacher, Nonna went straight to worrying about if Mr. Teacher was going to molest my daughter. They actually have more than one male teacher at my school so evidently that means that the school condones molestation of small children. Really...did you know that? Now I have to home school!! In the same e-mail she had to also ask me what FH wants for Christmas. Like I am even thinking about Christmas at this point. :-D

This morning I got an e-mail asking me what I would do if FH turned out like the Ex. My first question was 'what do you know that I don't'? She quickly assured me it was completely hypothetical. In return I had to ask her what she would do if a giant rubber duck knocked on her door. She was confused, angry even. Why would I ask her something so outlandish. I told her 'Exactly, you never know what you would do in a hypothetical situation until it becomes real'. She did NOT get my point.

I hate playing the game of "What If". How can you plan for every possible tragedy on the planet? Let's just worry about today, shall we?