Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Poochy Parka Parade

Baby it's coooold outside. Too cold for one spoiled, adorable yet bratty little Stinky Butt.

What to do about that?
"Hellllllooooo have you checked this out? Am I adorable or what?"

" You Lookin at ME?!"

"Excuse me, are you just going to stand there and take photos or can I actually go OUTSIDE now?!"
Yes, I have sunk to the level of buying clothes for my Granddog.....I can only imagine what I will do for the [hopefully] eventual - as in the vast vast future - grandchildren....

Friday, December 26, 2008

The day after the day after christmas

Ok so technically today is the day after Christmas, but the kids and I decided Christmas Eve would be christmas#1 b/c they hate getting up early christmas, rushing through presents then rushing over to dad's then rushing over to Aunt's (ok so rushing over to Aunt's to be with favorite cousins is their favorite part. I admit).

So after much gnashing of teeth we agreed to have Santa come at 2pm christmas eve. Much fun was had by all and when I'm back home I might post photos but right now I'm in the backyard in Ft lauderdale "working" (i was reviewing transcripts and exhibits up til 20 minutes ago and getting ready for trial, I love wireless access and laptops....) and it's 80 degrees and sunny. but I digress....

Daughter totally loved loved loved her new camera. She didn't ask for anything, "That way I won't be disappointed if I just like whatever you get me." But when she opened it, she said, "YOU WERE LISTENING!" Yeah I'm perceptive like that. And it's blue. I didn't tell her the Captain did all the research and helped me pick it out b/c she prefers to pretend the Captain doesn't exist. Maybe some day we'll tell her. Until then she is a very happy girl.

4 days before Christmas I was told that the Guitar Hero IV world rock band gift that Son wanted wanted wanted and I bought after thanksgiving? yeah he changed his mind. Too Bad. So I engineered a scavenger hunt and we (daughter and I) made him search all over the house/garage looking for clues which led to clues which led to the big ass box. At least we had fun giving him the present he may or may not want. He's famous for this tactic so I was not phased by this. Daughter and I had a blast rocking out to the game. turns out I missed my calling as Drummer and Daughter, well, singing shouldn't be in her career choices...

Kids came through with excellent and funny presents for me. We enjoyed Church together, delivered our "christmas eve" boxes from the church to people who had to work christmas eve and said, "Thanks for working tonight we are thinking of you" (a church tradition) then we had a lobster dinner, went over to friends' house to cheer him up for breaking his leg in 2 places and getting a titanium rod put in 2 weeks before christmas. Fun fun fun. Christmas morning santa brought stockings and we had a hugomungous breakfast. The kids left, I cried, I paid some bills, sent some emails for work, then rallied, got on a plane, celebrated christmas #2 with the Captain and his boys, had a great dinner with turkey and everything! Boys who can cook!! and now well, I'm getting ready for trial in the sun.

Life is very good!

No I didn't send christmas cards to anyone. Not even my parents - I found their card on my desk yesterday. Duh. I'm thinking of sending Valentines' cards instead. Life should be slowing down right about then.....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Sometimes hitting your teenagers over the head is an effective method of communication. Not literally hitting them over the head.....although perhaps that would work, too. But my Christmas Wish? Yeah, it worked....

I managed to return from Chicago early, in time to take Daughter to her flute lesson and see....cleanliness. Order. Caring. Wow. Oh and smell the Burnt attempt at Chex party mix...heh-heh.

Daughter seems to have heard the message loudly and clearly. Both her comforters were washed and clean. The basement vacuumed...including the couch. no junk downstairs. Neatness. Orderliness. Wow. Apparently Son didn't get much in on the act. I'm still waiting for a miracle in his room. But there IS a WRAPPED present for ME from HIM under the tree. That is a first. So yeah, wow. (Do I have to bring up the whole Mother's Day thing again?!)

Apparently the Twins ALSO decided to take it upon themselves to use the ingredients I had gathered for the Family Chex Party Mix and tried to make it themselves and try to help me with one of the few surviving family traditions. They did well until it came to the whole "temperature" thing. Then there was a miscommunication and 250 degrees for 1 hour became 375 degrees for 1 hour. The house still smells like burnt Chex Mix 2 days later. Hey, they tried. AND they cleaned up ALL the mess.

Daughter offered to take the dough that I managed to throw together over the weekend and get started on Grandma Faison's cutout cookies. Those cookies are an absolute MUST in my family or Christmas officially has not arrived. I am convinced there is NO christmas without them. So come hell or high water or trial or NO sleep, they will get made. Every Year. It's at least a 3 day project: 1 day for the dough (it has to sit); one day to roll out a couple hundred honey/sugar cookies, one day to decorate. Whereas I am out of time to remake the dough, does it surprise anyone that I declined her offer to bake the cookies until I am able to be home and surpervise? Think Chex Mix people. Yeah, I didn't think so.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Freezing my Butt off and not finding Christmas here either...

Back in Chicago for a hearing. It's MINUS 29 DEGREES PEOPLE. MINUS. Even PLUS 29 degrees is cold. I have my hotel room up to 74 but the cold air is drafting in by the window and I'm still cold. I am wearing tights and socks and two shirts and a sweater. *** And I am still cold. How do people actually LIVE here? The blessing: we were not delayed in the flight and landed with only mild skidding across the runway sideways as the 40 MPH gusts blew that airplane around like a candy wrapper in a hurricane.

Tomorrow I get to wake up and walk a couple blocks to the courthouse - it's supposed to be a balmy 11 degrees. I think I'll wear shorts.

Meanwhile back at Casa de Next Door, I left the kids a note. Little Stinky had some surgery to remove the girly parts, so I knew Daughter and Son would be back and forth for pills and treats and such. Plus they just run back and forth all the time. Leaving the doors unlocked and the lights on and the place a mess. And they wonder how I know they've been there?

The kids have been asking me what I want for Christmas. I am a believer in presents for Christmas. They don't have to be expensive. In fact, I prefer them not to be. But they should be personal and thoughtful. I am so easy. I love smelly bath gels and funky artsy earrings. I love warm, fuzzy socks. All simple things to get mom. But they keep asking. And Son probably won't manage to put something under the tree again this year anyway. Which is another annoying story, but I digress. SO I left them a note that went something like this:

"What I Want for Christmas, by Mom"

What I want for Christmas is Help and Respect.
I have invested in expensive furniture and pretty/handsome bedding and decorator pillows for your rooms. You have asked for and helped me decorate your rooms. But the comforters are on the floor, the furniture is never dusted, the rooms are a disaster. I would like you to CLEAN your rooms and respect the time and energy that went into decorating them. Dust your furniture. Make your beds. Keep the junk off the floors. Respect the time and energy that we put into making your room a nice place to be.
We have created what could be a really cool teen hangout in the basement. But there is GARBAGE on the new TV cabinet, garbage under the couches, junk all over the floors. There is no respect for the home theater or the pool table or the new furniture. Clean up the basement. Vacuum the rug and the furniture. Respect the hard earned money I invested in the basement so that you could have a nice place to bring your friends.
You are 16 years old. I am a single, working mother. When you make yourselves a sandwich or cook something, clean it up. Throw away the wrappers, wipe up the crumbs, put away the food. Don't leave it out for me to come home after a long day and clean up your messes.
I would like to know that you respect our HOME and you respect the amount of time and energy it takes to make this HOUSE into a HOME. I need your help kids. And I need your respect. That's what I want for Christmas.

Yeah, with Ex moving away, things are going to need to change. So I thought I'd give this a shot. Before the split, they were required to do a lot more chores than they do now. Ex finds it simpler and more efficient to do things himself (he is Felix of the Odd Couple-Mr. NeatNick) and does not require the kids to do simple things like make their lunches. I think kids need chores and responsibility. Which is hard to enforce every other week. The good news - while my parents were here "babysitting" mom said the kids were very proactive at cooking, cleaning, doing trash collection and pitching in. Whew. At least they remember how. Now if they can just do it for MOM!

So yeah between work and kids and The News of the Move, I am having trouble finding Christmas. I am reading lovely posts over at BlogthisMom and the Hulagirl that are helping move me in the right direction....4 days left to find it.

*** edited to add: ha ha I just went back and read this. I'm wearing pants, too, people. Just in case anyone caught this...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Things you never really thought would happen but hoped they would

Tonight was Daughter's county concert. The orchestra we drive across county every wednesday for rehearsals. The one she's usually late to b/c we can't get there at that hour of the rush hour. I was blessed to meet the director and the president/organizer, both lovely women who devote so much to these young musicians. I guess good things happen when you volunteer - you get back stage! And I only had to volunteer until all the musicians were unpacked and ready to rehearse - then I got to go find a seat. Everyone's happy.

So I go upstairs to get my allotted ticket - knowing that Ex would show up eventually for the other. As luck would have it we showed up at the table simultaneously and avoided confusion for the poor ticket-passer-outer. And then it happened. We stood together and had a pleasant conversation. He made jokes. We shared things about the kids. We figured out schedules. He said he's moving to Florida.

Yes, I know we went through this once before. And he said he wasn't. But the economy and all. He's moving to Florida. As soon as January. Right after my trial.

And then it was time to find a seat. And I said, "Do you want to sit together or would you prefer not to?" And he said, "Oh we can sit together."

For people who are new, this is no small event. This is the man who runs inside the house if I come outside with the dogs. This is the man who won't come outside if I am already outside. This is the man who pretends I do not exist. Having a conversation with me. Sitting next to me at Daughter's concert. Inviting me out to dinner with him and Daughter after the show.


I think it has a lot to do with his decision to move to Florida. There will be many changes. Changes in custody, changes financially. Changes in everysinglething.

Oh and the title of the post? No I didn't hope he'd move to Florida. But yes, I did hope that someday we'd have a pleasant conversation and be able to attend events together in peace. I told him tonight I think it was good for Daughter to see us sitting together.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thoughts that will send me straight to Hell and other random musings

Tonight, sitting in my kids' high school band concert, watching the female conductor from behind, I started giggling. And knew I was going to hell. Straight for it. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

The kids' bands are pretty talented and I love concert night. The less experienced bands play short pieces that are entertaining and educational. And the conductor? She jiggles. There is no other way to describe it. She always wears black polyester pants that leave little to the imagination. I know exactly what her underwear looks like. And how big her thighs are. And she's really not that big. It's just she has apparently never heard of Spanks. And yes I'll take that ticket to hell right now.

Apparently my travel Karma has expired. Perhaps it was paying it forward for the bad thoughts I would have about the band instructor. But I lost my bags on the way to Oklahoma (or, Delta decided that 1.5 hours pre-flight was just enough time to get them on the wrong plane) and went to Wal-mart at midnight in an ice storm so that I could buy dress pants to meet the client. I never ever travel in jeans. Something possessed me to Sunday. Never again.

Then our star witness, the one I went to Oklahoma to meet, couldn't meet me b/c he was in the hospital - since Friday. No one thought to alert the lawyers. So I waited til he came in Wednesday. Turns out he's fine. Just didn't want to see the lawyers I guess.

Oh and our other witness? Major surgery. Unavailable until well after trial. Still figuring that one out.

There are other details of my trip to Oklahoma that are not ready for publication but that made my trip difficult. Oh but if you ever go to Tulsa? Stay at the Ambassador hotel - the city's best kept secret. Totally wonderful. Fabulous restaurant. My room was a suite. Lovely people. The housekeeper called me when she found my checkbook. I loved it. Then I tried to leave Oklahoma. HA. Delta, the wonderful airline that couldn't put my bag ON the right plane, couldn't get us out of Tulsa. So they put us on American. To Dallas. Because yeah, Dallas is on the way home from Oklahoma to DC. And then we sat in Dallas for an extra 30 minutes added on to our 2.5 hour layover. I was supposed to be home by 9pm. I finally found my bed at 1:30 a.m. Karma. For giggling about the jiggling. See you in Hell.

Friday, December 12, 2008

We wanna Wii to weeee weee weee all the way home...

Over at Magpie Musings she's giving away a Wii Fit. The challenge? write a story of why you deserve the Wii Fit. Here Wii gooooo.....

Wii here in Casa de Next Door endeavor to be athletes. At 8 I was the first girl on the little league boys' baseball team - "farm league." And when they needed a sub in the "minors" one age up? I volunteered. As wii crossed the field to the game, the coach asked me, "What's your name son?"
I calmly answered, "Mary Ellen."
[ Pause....wait for it.... ]
Coach: "MARY ELLEN?! You never said you were a girl!"
ME: "You never asked."
I played the greatest game of my life, batted 1000, stole 3 bases. My mother made me quit little league the next year. "Those boys throw that ball too hard." I discovered soccer...

In high school I played field hockey [no high school soccer team for girls], basketball, ran indoor and outdoor track, joined the indoor weight club (all 105 pounds of me). When I got shin splints and couldn't run, I joined the Hogs and threw the shot put (all 105 pounds of me). Wii had a blast.

In college I joined the first ever Womens' Soccer team at my University. Wii crushed teams with our indurance - Wii had no skills b/c wii had no field on which to practice. Wii ranked below the high school prep boys in field priority. So Wii ran for 2 hours every day waiting for a field to open up. In the off season Wii practiced with the coaches' old chums from high school on indoor gym floors - the coaches were Boys who checked us into the bleachers and took no mercy. All 105 pounds of us. Wii had fun.

Throughout the last 20 years I've endeavored to remain somewhat "fit." My family carries diabetes genes (we own that gene pool), heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. It's all about fitness to win this fight. I managed to marry into an equally awful cesspool of genes, so my kids are pretty much doomed, and their father has no fitness sense and does not follow my guidelines for the kids. When they are in his house, they have different rules. But here in Casa de NextDoor, Wii have tried to train them from a young age to eat heart healthy. Wii used to run and play soccer and jump on a trampoline. Wii used to snowboard and water ski. Wii tried to stay fit. Together.

Until mamma collided with a goalie in her adult league game and wiped out her knee in June. I can't run far before it aches. I have seen a doctor and tried PT. I have given up my 10 mile competitions. Wii think mama and her joints are getting old. Mama has packed on 15 pounds and gone up a dress size. Son has tried to get Mama back out onto the road running and doesn't understand why some bodies get to a certain age and don't bounce back. Daughter wants to know why Mama can't play soccer with her any more, why Mama can't share her clothes anymore, and why mama is having trouble fitting into her dress for the big Christmas Ball. Mama is wondering if this is the beginning of the end of fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Mama never had willpower. I've never met a bag of chips I didn't like. I enjoy a big, fat juicy steak; cheese fries used to be my friend. I have combatted weight with exercise. (My kids eat way healthier than I!) But now that I can't exercise, I am struggling to redefine myself. And I am losing.

Oh and gyms and clubs and stuff? I'm a single mom working a full time job. There's this one thing called TIME and this other thing called MONEY.

Enter Wii Fit. A new idea at getting fit. In the privacy of my own home. On my time. Late at night, early in the morning, in between depositions and documents and flute lessons and driving lessons. AND a way wii can play together and encourage each other to get fit and stay fit. A way to reconnect with my teenagers who will be leaving me all too soon for college. A way to reunite with clothes I have shoved to the back of the closet. A way to stem the tide of the cesspool I call Genes.

Wii hope to see a Wii here, reaaaaally soon...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

HR the ultimate authority on my medical prescriptions

Apparently those folks in HR went to medical school and know exactly which prescriptions are best for me. I kid you not. That's pretty much what my insurance company told me. And if I want my prescription covered by some silly ol' insurance policy then I have to go to HR and ask them to please put it on the list. And if they feel like it, they can. Really. I'm not making this up.

Yesterday I finally had the long-awaited medical follow-up wherein I learned that I don't have cancer but I do have some pesky but common female-getting-older issues. TMI for my male friends so I'll stop there. Suffice it to say my Doctor prescribed some pills. Brand name. She warned me there is a Generic equivalent but that it wasn't the same and was missing, for my issues, a key ingredient, and thus she wanted me on the brand name.

Red flag - red flag - red flag - "Danger Will Robinson." Prescribe a brand name and try to get insurance to pay? Ha ha ha. So I called my insurance company to check before I did anything stupid like listen to my doctor and fill the prescription.

Turns out for a mere $45 copay for the "third tier drug" (aka "unfavored" b/c it's a brand with a generic equivalent) plus the difference between the generic and the brand = a mere $120 a month for my new drug.

But wait, can't the doctor write an exception notice or something to the insurance company and explain why the generic equivalent is a mere equivalent and not going to work for me? nooooooo.

If I want the brand name drug, I need to take myself down to HR, locate the person responsible for choosing our plan, and share with her/him the intimate details of my medical health and history and why I need this particular pill and why he/she should add it to "the list."

Does my medical company understand the difference between a generic equivalent and a generic equal? Apparently they don't care. There is no mechanism to override the approved drugs on HR's list choosen by those HR folks with an apparent medical degree.** My doctor does not know what's best for me medically. According to Insurance Company, only HR does.

So my response to the insurance company? "I don't think I'll fill this prescription. Instead, I'll go to the doctor Every Single Month, pay my co-pay of $25 and let you pick up the other $175+ while the doctor monitors my ailments and explains why the drug she prescribed would make me feel better and see you next month (and give me a free sample)." Somehow I think paying for my silly drug would be cheaper for them. And my snarky comment might've put me in the red on "kindness" points....

**This is not a diss on HR people. I understand that they have a job and guidelines and are likely quite knowledgeable about the statistics and choose drugs based on the good of the people in the company as a whole as balanced against costs. and the fact that my insurance company does not have an override mechanism is not my HR's fault. But the result from my silly insurance company's policy is that my HR person's choices trump my Doctor's recommendations. and THAT is the target of this rant. Believe me I love my HR people.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Armrest Struggle and Other Flying Etiquette

Normally when traveling I manage to snag a window seat on planes (my preference) and if some unlucky late arriver has to sit in the middle, I give them space. Meaning I relinquish the armrest. I think it's the consolation prize for getting stuck in the middle. Besides, I have one over by the wall. So the one in the middle between us? I won't even arm-wrestle you for it. I concede.

But my foot space? That's my space folks. You really need to keep your feet in front of you. Not all over by my bags so that after takeoff I can't get to my little briefcase.

And my space begins where the armrest ends. Can you please keep your coat and your arms and your shoulders in your space? (Which I've already said includes the armrest). And no dozing on my shoulder. Nosirreee.

Just a little flying etiquette from the person over here trying to be kind...

And Chitown? I didn't mean to diss Chicago - I love chicago, but not when it's 7 degrees and snowing and we have to wait for the snow to clear for the plane to land that we were supposed to take home 2 hours ago...and then we have to sit on the runway in line for the de-icing trucks. Nosiree not likin' that weather. Give me chicago in the spring or summer or even fall. But not now....

Monday, December 8, 2008

How my bloggy friends are having crazy experiences while my kids try to kill me...

Sometimes when I think my life is a little crazy, I read my bloggy friends and realize my life is totally lame. Over in Japan Debbie is planning a kickass party. Out west katydidnot is having the usual fricks and clandestined trips to the doctor with unsuspecting kids and Suzy is putting up her tree and telling us stories. Just for starters.

Meanwhile at Casa de Next Door? I am knee deep getting ready for trial, traveling every other day (Ft lauderdale, yeah. Chicago. Ugh. Oklahoma - not sure how I feel about that one yet). wondering when if ever I am going to Christmas shop (apparently Black Friday was the one and only opportunity...who knew. OH wait the internet! Right!) and trying oh so trying to maintain my "Random Acts of Kindness" balance.

And how's that going?

Well, the kids decided, without knowing about my new resolve, to put me in the hole by 2,698 points when they got into a "tussle" [Son's word] and Daughter put her fist through the back window. By the Grace of God no one was hurt, not even the 3 puppies (why yes I did have DRD again last week - she's actually growing on me) when Daughter claimed to have vacuumed up the shattered glass but when I came home an hour later it was still scattered all along the baseboards and large chunks were found out in the hall. By the Grace of God I did not lose it.

Amazingly, my determination at Kindness prevented me from ripping off their heads and spitting down their necks. Yes, in a past life I just might have done that. But Valium Mom listened patiently first to Son and then to Daughter (individually while the other was banished from room) and passed no judgment. AND, I didn't yell or cuss or otherwise lose patience when I came home and crunched glass and called for Daughter to get her butt downstairs and finish cleaning up and she got all pissy and somehow that was MY FAULT. And then Valium mom made a nice dinner of ham and sweet potatoes and salad and said, "Let's sit down and discuss this and determine what the consequences of this should be." I started the meal as we often do - with a prayer. This one was about giving us patience and love and helping us to appreciate God's gifts to us. And then, it happened. They started laughing while I was praying. And my resolve to be all Random Acts Kindness??? Buh-Bye. Having arrived at well beyond ripping off heads at that point, I got up, put my dinner on the counter -um well I might have thrown it on the counter - and left. I went upstairs and started packing. And resolved never to speak to the urchins again.

And what was the tussle all about? who was going to finish bringing the recycle bin up from the curb. It went a little deeper into "he tries to run her life" and "she does things on her own schedule." But really folks. The RECYCLE BIN? Our driveway is 2 carlengths. Maybe.

And then I left them.

OK so it was a preplanned weekend and Ex had the kids. But still it was so satisfactory to pretend I was packing and leaving them all spontaneous-like and letting someone else deal with their teenage moments. Can someone out there give me a "BadMom"? Yeah, thanks.

Despite the Urchins' best efforts to sabotage my Random Kindness, I think I'm pretty much in the black. I gave up my seat on my flight back last night and let everyone else go in front of me and waited 40 mintues for them to rebook me b/c the poor lady behind the ticketcounter was going nuts while everyone shouted "Me first me first." And I smiled as the girl at the parking lot overcharged me the wrong amount and had me get out of the car in the freezing rain and go inside to the office to fix it. True I was coming off 3 days sailing in the Miami-Keys area, so I was feeling mighty relaxed and happy. But the old me would've been much more impatient. Inside I was still a little impatient. But I'm beginning to like this new, less-impatient me. OH I still yelled at my boss today when he wasn't understanding that my plane was leaving and no I couldn't get on a conference call and do just one more thing for him. And I sniped off my assistant's head when, despite her clearly knowing that I was racing the clock and asked her to do 2 very specific tasks, one of which included not giving me back the edits I just handed her handed me back the edits I just gave her. Hmmm. She's too darned fast and I should've been grateful, not pissy. I apologized.

So How are your Random Acts working out?!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December is random Acts Month

Tis the Season, falalalala and all that as Lucy says in Peanuts.

Driving around yesterday finishing up some shopping for our Angel Tree project I alternated between feeling happy about the unknown child who would hopefully have a brighter Christmas day because of our company's project and being annoyed with rude people who cut you off in traffic and cut in front of you in line. The former good feelings belong in December. The latter bad feelings do not. So what to do about it?

I have declared December my personal "random acts of kindness" month. Along the lines of those of you who did the daily blog posting in November, I vow to practice daily random-ish acts of kindness. They can be biggish like sponsoring a child for Christmas or volunteering for social goodness, or they can be smallish like extending extra patience and kindness to the insurance company on the phone when you are the fourth person I've spoken to and you insist you are still not the right person and pass me off yet again. AND if I lose my cool, get annoyed with other drivers or shoppers or co-workers [do I have to include my kids? Yeah I probably do], well, that cancels out the kindness. The goal: each day to tip the scales in favor of kindness.

Yes I know I know, we should do this every day of our lives. But I don't. For those of you who know me personally, you know I move at "240," I have a short temper, and I have no patience.

So I am taking advantage of my general glee and feelings of good cheer that surface this time of year. I love Christmas. I love the good cheer, the abundant ways there are to help other people, the joy on other people's faces when you do something for them. I love the happy music, the fond memories, the joy of knowing I am blessed with an awesome family and fabulous friends. I am thankful for my faith that gives reason for the season beyond rank commercialism. I love the parties with friends and family and the opportunity to visit with people and say, "Hey I'm thinking of you, and I think you're special."

And maybe, just maybe, if I can allow each day's goodness to outweigh each day's badness, then perhaps after 31 days, this practice will become a "habit" that will continue in 2009 and beyond.

For some of you, this personal challenge would be no challenge at all. But for me, this is a Very. Big. Challenge. A challenge, however, more worthwhile than anything I've tackled in a long time.

Care to join me? Leave a comment, post this button on your site, link back. (I don't know how to do all the fancy stuff with buttons and links. I created this "button" on powerpoint and then grouped it into a photo. that's as high tech as I get people.) And let the Joy Begin.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I thought Lawyers didn't knit....

Once upon a time, I wrote why Lawyers Don't Knit. Or why they shouldn't. Or why this lawyer shouldn't knit. After a few "fun fur" scarves and a lot of anxiety, I gave it up. I also gave up commuting on the metro, which was my prime knitting time.

So how is it I find myself in the front seat of the car every morning working on this:

Except mine is about 1/2 that long, all purple and um, not quite so perfect (I'm too lazy to take my own photos, upload them, and paste them in. Hello anyone listening out there who wants to get me a new, simple digital camera for Christmas? Anyone? Anyone at all?? Sigh, I'll buy one myself.....)

Yep she's at it again. Daughter had the bright idea to make scarves for her friends for Christmas. Oh but Daughter doesn't really knit. Daughter dragged me, kicking and screaming to knitting circle at church We took knitting up together at church but she never really practiced. And I learned to knit, much to my shock and amazement (remember Michael's is my personal, living hell people). Soooo, we went off to Michael's this weekend - where they sell this

which is the only sane reason I can find for going.... and we bought Daughter yarn in various colors for scarves for her friends. Lots of different colors. Lots of friends. Then my mouth overtook my sanity and I said, "Would you like me to help you?" Remember this is my fickle "love-you-now-hate-you-in-5-minutes" teenage Daughter. So the chance to play the hero? Yep, I took it. And she is soooo happy that I am willing to help her. Even if she is an unusually harsh critic and examines my every want it perfect or you want it done? You can't have both this time baby. I'm a Lawyer who shouldn't knit....

Edited to add: the kids are driving while I am knitting - believe me, i can't knit and drive. ....and I messed up so badly I had to take it in to work to my LAA [legal administrative assistant] who not only is the best assistant in the world, she is also a champion knitter. Somehow she managed to save about 1/2 my work - yep it was that bad....sigh

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I've got Gadgets and Gizmos Aplenty

I've got whozits and whatzits galore. Thingamabobs? I've got 20....

OK So who can name that movie/song in 3 notes??

I have a confession. I have become a total gadget geek. One major purchase and one other major experience today, and I am sunk.

I used to be a normal human being who did things the old fashioned way - by hand. I mashed my potatoes by hand. I sew by hand (ok ok I don't know how to use a machine and all I can do is sew buttons, but still, it makes a nice story....). But this weekend? I have gone all gadget-Rambo.

First, Daughter and I went out on Black Friday at 545 am. Oh yes We did. I didn't even know why we were going. I think just because she wanted to and she was going because I wanted to. But it turned into a good trip. We came up with ideas for the grandparents in Penny's, laughed a ton over silly stuff, got a lot of great bargains, and enjoyed each other's company. Oh yeah and we bought ourselves some new duds.

Then we went to Circuit city on the way home where they had the iRobot Roomba on sale. I've been eyeing these babies for months. I actually did some investigation into the company and the technology last year for something work related and was duly impressed by my discoveries. But hundreds of dollars for a little scurrying vacuum that takes 45 minutes to do what I can do in 7 minutes? Hmmmm. But as time is getting more scarce and the doghair is multiplying in triplet now, I am thinking otherwise. And then I see it. The "5th generation" model for a whopping $100 less than anywhere else even close - even $115 less than Kohl's 4a.m. earlybird sale. It's clearly screaming my name. So I buy it. Turns out they mismarked the little robotbaby. But the cashier agreed I had the right model per the printout on the shelf and gave it to me for the silly price. Nirvana

It does work - cleaned my living room of all traces of dog hair. While I sat on the phone and chatted and watched it. (um wait aren't I supposed to be doing something more productive with my time? Well I had to watch it the first time to make sure it did it right).

Then today Son and I went grocery shopping and I remembered the portable scanners. What's that you say? Load bags into your cart, grab a scanner, scan and bag as you go, plug the scanner in at the end, get a grand total, swipe your credit card and exit the store in 37 seconds? Yep. Just like that. AND I got an extra $6 off my purchases for using the scanner. I kid you not. Son and I had a ball with the thing. And when we changed our mind on a purchase and put something back? No sweat. Easy to delete an item. Produce? No problem - weigh, spit out sticker, scan. Badabing badaboom. I am in love. I am going grocery shopping tomorrow just to play with the scanner again.

I think I need to call the Geek Squad....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Milestones Memories and Miracles

Another Holiday. The passing of time. Holidays gone by merging wildly into one another. Thanksgiving of my youth: the year I decreed that if the girls made dinner and cooked all day, the boys should NOT get to sit around and watch football while we cleaned up, and the family agreed.... a holiday tradition is borne. The Holidays of my teenage years, centered around the oldest running high school girls' flag football game on Wednesday and the high school boys' football game on Thursday morning: dad running the lines, brother as drum major, me in the band or on the field playing ball, depends on the year... all good times. The holidays of college, coming back to Homecoming and meeting up with friends, comparing notes, puffing out chests, embellishing college tales, eyeing each other with a dash of angst, a smidgen of longing, a dollop of heartache. The holidays of my early marriage, me anxious to get in the car and zoom up the highway to football and food and family, him dragging and complaining that I packed too much. Again. The holidays of my children, Thanksgivings in Spain or South Carolina or Maryland, with his family or no family, but always blessed with good food and good friends; Last Year my first Holiday Alone as the kids stayed with Dad and I trekked north once again to my family, reunited with friends and parties and games and good times while adjusting to the New Life. And this year. Yet another rebirth. Another anxious and excited time. Cajoling the children to hurry pack pack pack. We're going HOME. Realizing I forgot to have the oil changed and hoping the truck will be fine til we get there. Packing sweaters. Packing for dogs. Packing for cold. Making lists of food to buy for pies when we get there because I forgot to shop. What have I been doing this week anyway??? calls with the nieces and nephews and plans to go out, to play, to game, to enjoy each other's company. To be HOME in my parents' house, again blessed to be surrounded by family, friends, dogs, memories. Giving thanks for the many blessings. Giving thanks for new memories...


A multitude of feelings.....

Sometimes it's a feeling so deep, a desire unspeakable, the desire to be held in someone's arms.

Othertimes it's the inescapable chains that bind, the angst that no amount of wiggling can loosen, the feeling of being held back.

Then there's the look, the stare of another, whether it's the TSA man walking down the line of passengers and looking each in the eye, or the gaze from the green-eyed, dark skinned young man as he rings up your purchase, it's that eye-locking gaze and the feeling you are held spell-bound for that instant.

A new puppy, yours or another's, and the feeling overcomes you as your eye captures that soft, fluffy, downy new fur, the pouty face, the floppy ears, the waggly tail, and you just know he needs to be held.

The relief and gratitude as you sprint away from security towards the gate, as you realize that the plane has been held just for you.

One word. Many feelings.

Thanks San Diego Momma for this Prompt Tuesday!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Redefining Dreams

"Life is what happens while you're making other plans."

That's one of my fall-back quotes from college days. Still true every day of my life.

This weekend, while down in Florida with the Captain, playing dominoes with my Pirate friends and having lots of good laughs, it comes up that a certain house is for sale. Deco Dave, our Jamaican/New Zealand friend is in town. Deco Dave (who I'm pretty sure is my long lost brother, we have an amazing relationship like that) has a gorgeous house in the Grove that he kept despite moving out of the country. I love the location, the house, the guest house out back, the tree HOUSE with marble flooring, everything about Davy's house (ok ok it's worth well over a million so yeah, it has some "amenities.") Mostly I love the neighborhood - walking distance to town and the marina, lovely address with lots of Pirate friends in the neighborhood. Turns out the house for sale used to be the Captain's house - before his then wife decided it wasn't a place to raise kids and made him sell it and move across the state. Sigh. A few years later, Deco Davy's brother bought it and lived there for a number of years. Pirate neighborhood indeed.

I suddenly got the craziest ideas of buying the house. Ideally, I'd buy the house in 1.5 years, when my house is being sold and I have equity and all that. But the house is for sale now and at bargain basement prices. We start scheming and doing crazy math and coming up with creative financing plans. To be neighbors with DecoDave? priceless.

Next day Captain and I went to see the house (listed by another Pirate friend who gave us the code for entrance). The yard is perfect - lots of room for Queen Bee and Stinky to run, and already fenced in. Amazingly, much of the work the Captain did on the house is still in evidence 15 years later - clearly he has a good and careful hand for such improvements. And the latest owner revamped the entire (tiny) kitchen in very good taste. The windows have the original lead panes of 100 years ago. It already survived Hurricane Andrew back in '92, so we know it's hardy. Hardwood floors throughout. Nifty pass-throughs from the bedroom to the kitchen where the Captain's kids used to peek out and say, "We'd like cheeseburgers fries and a coke" while the Captain and his wife were making dinner 15 years ago. Much charm. My corner hutch would fit nicely in the dining room, as would the buffet and dining room table....

But as I walked around the house, it didn't feel like my next house. I have been toying with moving to Florida in 1.5 years. Where? I don't know - probably east coast, probably miami-ish. On the water? In a house? In a condo? I don't know.

At least now I know where I won't live. I realized this 100 year old house, while full of charm and in a great neighborhood, isn't me. I don't have the skills of the Captain to fix the many things that are likely to go wrong. [and NO the Captain and I won't be living together] I don't have the time or energy to "take back" much of the overgrown vines and plants in the way I would want to to make it My yard. I don't have the energy to revamp the bathrooms that haven't been redone since probably the 50's.

And so the Dream is redefined or maybe just given some definition.

At least now I know that I think it will be a house - I can't imagine not having at least a small yard. And it will be newer with a master bathroom and walk in closet like I've always wanted. And a decent sized kitchen. And a garage. And the charm of the neighborhood in the Grove where the Pirates live.

Where? I still don't know. But where not, well, I guess knowing that is some progress?

Friday, November 21, 2008

What a Wicked Week

Resorting to Random Posting that isn't even very funny or entertaining....but I'm way behind and leaving town again...

  • Ex drops an email bomb that gee, he might move to Florida like, next week and how would I feel about that and I'd just handle the kids and all right ? Which led to an actual telephone conversation (we only communicate by email) in which he decided that maybe he'd think about moving a little more. Oh but first he asked the kids if they might like to move to Florida with him. And then my head exploded....fortunately, they laughed at him so I didn't really have to do much about that except say, "Interesting that you would've asked THEM before discussing the idea with ME. But then I should expect as much." Nuf Said

  • Put on my big girl suit again (twice in a month!) and got to argue in Court again! That might sound weird, but in my legal field we don't get to court much and when we do, usually the Partners get the fun. And it's always great when the Judge starts the hearing by saying to the other side, "Now they [me] don't have a real high bar here. And I think they pretty much meet their burden. So what do you have to say about that?" Yeah it was a good day. Winning is fun.

  • Had all THREE dogs to myself Wednesday night - the night before the big hearing (above) - kids were on a school retreat, Ex out of town. Queen Bee always sleeps in my bed and, well, Stinky does if she's around. So I couldn't very well leave Dumb Runaway Dog (DRD) out now, could I? So 3 dogs in bed. With me. And a bone that DRD smuggled in. And at 2 a.m. they apparently got the call to go DANCING b/c DRD and Stinky started bouncing and dancing in the bed. Just for the hell of it. 2 a.m. Queen Bee? Slept through it all....

  • Spent 2 hours trying to log on to my work computer this morning. TWO HOURS WITH the help of Tech Support (katydidnot - I think I need to borrow your BF!) The problem? A problem with my "Network profile" which should have been discovered in the first 15 seconds of my first call.....I even said, "Have you checked my profile?" (Yeah I have profile issues. Imagine that). Grrrrr.

  • So now that I've lost all the time I should've been working, I'm blogging. Yep. Life is like that.

  • Getting on a plane to go SOUTH to see the Captain tonight. Didn't hide the luggage from the kids like I usually do (they go back to Dad's tonight).

Son said, "Where you going?"

me "Florida."

SON: "Captain?"

Me: "YEP"

Son: "That's weird. you're too old to date. [snort]"

while Daughter's conversation went like this: "Where you going?" Me: Florida .......

Daughter? Anything? Anything at all? Oh pretending I don't exist. Ok. Thanks.

  • Daughter broke up with the BF - after almost 11 months. He is also Son's best Friend. And she didn't tell me until days later when I asked if she were still mad at him. It bothered me when she wouldn't tell me why she was mad at him - gone is the child who tells me everything. Now it takes 2 days to tell me he's history? Sigh. I guess she really is 16 isn't she? I guess I should be thankful for the 15 years of unending conversation and stop being a DQ.
  • And last BUT MOST CERTAINLY NOT LEAST THANK YOU BLOGGY (and bloggy/real-world) FRIENDS The response to this post below was amazing. I was feeling pretty stupid and now, well, I feel normal. Just the other day, I took a survey at 5 minutes for mom and they asked, "Why do you blog?" and my instant response, "Sanity and finding out that how I feel just might be 'normal.'" Once again, you all have come through. Thanks!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Fatal Flaw - being a Melter

Imagine this


Yep that's pretty much it.

I have a fatal flaw (just one you ask? Oh I'm sure there are more)

My most annoying (personally i.e. to me) fatal flaw: I'm a melter.

Now you might think I'm a strong girl. I live alone. I have 2 fab 16 YO twins, I am climbing the partner ladder in a big firm, I teach Sunday School and volunteer in the kids' school, I do pro bono legal work. Yep, all around strong chick.


And then today happens.

The medical appointment I've waited 4 weeks for and called about every week to see if there's a cancellation so that I can slide in earlier? CANCELED

And when rescheduling I find out that the test I am so eagerly awaiting? Well that will happen on the SECOND appointment, not the first. Yep a follow-up.

My insurance is changing with the life change and I have no idea of any of this medical stuff is covered b/c I can't understand our benefits write up. (and I'm supposed to be a lawyer).

A GIANT zit is growing on my chin. Wait not giant. GINORMOUS. Did I mention I'm (maybe)seeing BF this weekend?

The trip to see BF in Fla? BF is now on call and I might have to cover SOCCER.

SIS inLaw calls in for backups over the weekend. When I don't have the kids. Either I get a driver for Daughter to soccer tournament or cancel trip to take her myself so that Sis In Law can have a weekend off (a much deserved weekend)

Female parts go haywire - (any more is TMI trust me)

Brief that should be filed by noon is still being played with by partners at 6pm....

FIL calls for ride to get car and you can't say no b/c he always helps you out.

Pretty much all of the above hit within 15 minutes today.

And what did I do? Attack with a plan? NO

focus and organize the things I can change? NO

Sit at my desk and melt? YES PICK ME PICK ME

I totally folded. It's like life is hanging on by a thread. And when any one of the pieces doesn't fall into place, the whole damned thing comes crashing down. I closed my door and cried. I mentally broke up with BF. I canceled all trips for the next 40 years of my life. I mentally quit my job and then remembered the mortgage payments.

Time lapsed 30 seconds.

Text BF and plead emotional breakdown. And admit my silly meltdown and he just said he understood. Sigh.

Apologize to secretary for biting her head off.

Give up on partner filing brief and leave office to help Dad with car.

Call Dr.s and figure out where to go from here, minimizing more waiting time.

But on ride home remember that my first reaction? TOTAL MELTDOWN.

And I am ashamed. And I wonder, do other people react like this? Or am I just a

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thems my Bitches

Hey Don't Blame me -that's what Daughter Said!

Yes they were all sitting on her. Even DRD (on the right) was being cute. I admit it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another First in my World of New Firsts

Standing at the Neighborhood Wine & Dine party - an annual event that usually draws nearly 100 people - talking to some neighbors and new friends, enjoying some wine, stuffing our faces with good food, when along comes the Hostess. She leans over and discreetly whispers in my ear, "Just so you know, [Ex] is here." One second of shock, then a smile and a "Great! I'm glad he came." The Hostess seemed relieved with my response. And I pondered what this all meant.

We have a few "annual" parties in the neighborhood. This one is particularly awesome, but others are also lots of fun. For the past year, the neighbors have invited us both and let us figure out what to do. I think some of them thought that we were civil to each other. I generally RSVP'd YES but he never RSVP'd and he would not go to the party. His loss. I told the neighbors there was no reason on my side of things that we couldn't both be there.

I wasn't expecting him at this one - he didn't RSVP as of the other day (they used Evite, so you can see who is invited, who said yes, no, maybe. Per usual he hadn't responded). I thought he should go - they are very much his friends, but hey, his issues not mine.

The layout of the house and the size of the party was such that he could stay "downstairs" and I could be upstairs and he could successfully avoid me. But maybe he didn't know my sister, Middle Child, was in town....

Standing in the kitchen an hour or so later, I looked down toward the "downstairs" (only 5 stairs so you can easily see) and there she is. Middle Child is talking to Ex. The man who wrote a short, curt "you are out of my life" note to my parents last Christmas and returned their Christmas gift is talking to my sister. I have no doubt who initiated that conversation.

I am no wall flower. I think that has been pretty well established on these pages. But Middle Child? Next to her I am not just a wall flower, I am a wilted wall flower. I was hopelessly curious about their conversation but pretended not to notice. Eventually I did make my way downstairs (hell, if he wanted to segregate himself, he could. But there were folks down there I wanted to visit and I wasn't going to let him cage me in!). He retreated and eventually left. And Middle Child casually said, "Oh I had a nice conversation with Ex. Have you seen his hands from the fire?** I told him he was an idiot for not getting medical attention." Yep, that's my sister all right.

Much later in the evening, as sister and I weaved our way up the street (I'm pretty sure we walked twice as far as we needed to if we had only walked a straight line), she poured it all out. How she told him she loved him and gave him a hug. And he hugged her back and said the same. She was sober or at least near-so when she talked to him. As was he. And today as I drove her to the train station she said she was shocked at the civil conversation and warm feelings, particularly after last year's note to the parents and his clear message that he did not want to speak to anyone in my family ever again.

I can't explain any of it. Perhaps the finality of Friday will allow him to begin to move on. Perhaps he just didn't want to miss the best party of the year and figured there would be enough people there that he could pretty much avoid me. [me yes, my sister, no] Perhaps he just wanted to get out of his house for a few hours.

Whatever the reason, it is yet another step in a new direction. Hopefully in a more positive direction. I still have my doubts that we could ever be friends, at least any time soon. He made that clear recently in a long note he sent. But maybe some day, when we're at one of our kid's weddings, we will smile and talk and tell stories of how this grown up child now getting married used to do the darndest things as a kid. And we'll laugh together. Just Maybe.

**Ex was doing laundry Friday when an electrical fire broke out behind the washer/dryer the outlet box. Dumb Runaway Dog finally earned her keep by barking like a mad dog until he came to see about the commotion. He pulled out one of the appliances, reached into the fire and ripped the cord out of the wall. Then he put out the fire. The electrical connection and appliances were nearly 40 years old. I am thankful he was home and DRD saved the house and him. I am not surprised Ex will not seek medical attention but will keep going. I could fill at least a week's worth of posts about him doing similar things....

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Hair, New Life

Yes Yes people you were all right - and Carol P, you were the closest with Pink Hair (and I'm seriously considering your PINK HOUSE idea....just kidding).

Dennis talked me into THIS: (Yes I am aware the photos are blurry - self timing camera issues)

Yes after 42 years of blonde (give or take a few years of misguided natural brown), I am now a REDHEAD. It's a little bit too red, but it should tone down in time. Or I'll get it adjusted. The cut is adorable (not the greatest photos, but I do love the cut). It's not real short. I am not a short haired girl, but shorter than it was.
I say free of each other because I think he was as ready as I was to move on. The saddest part of the whole hearing was having his Dad on the witness stand (crazy state law that you have to have a witness corroborate that you've lived apart and haven't had sex with each other for the last 12 months. LIKE HE WOULD KNOW?!). Anyway, the question, "Do you think there's any chance for reconciliation?" (A required question). And Dad looked at me and looked at him and sadly said, "Unfortunately, no." I have no regrets in the decision to end this except to the extent it breaks certain family member's hearts. BUT Daughter has told me that her relationship with her father is much better since the divorce. I tried to tell him 16 months ago that the reason we needed to do this and not wait any longer was the kids were turning nasty toward the opposite-sex parent, but he denied it and said I was wrong. Gee, VINDICATED again. Daughter will never tell him this, but at least I know it was the right thing to do not only for me but also for the kids.
So tonight the GIRLS are coming over. My sissie is on a train coming down to see me as I type this. We are going to crank up the Margarator and have a kick ass time. Girls Night Out Indeed. The only thing that could make it perfect would be to have all my bloggy friends/bitches with me!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

When the Comments are Better than the Post

Many times here Next Door the visitors and friends are way funnier than the Girl ever could be. Just like in real life. When I posted THIS below, the comments didn't let me down.

I think the winner is cousin JO with this: (I actually snorted at #3. I kid You Not):
1. Ate an entire Large pizza with everything and gained 8 lbs.
2. Got engaged. [note from Girl Next Door - almost as bad as Suzy's Shower Comment, but not quite]
3. Offed a certain dog.

Very Close runners up are Persnickety Ticker with this:
My imagination has wandered into the territory of getting rid of evidence related to the F*tard...

And the Feisty Irish Wench with this:
Oh doesn't involve cadavers does it?

And Suzy? I almost crashed my car reading your comment - no baby showers ever. Never ever. Bite Your Tongue.

I will give you more of a clue, but I can't tell you until after tomorrow morning.

It has something to do with THIS MAN

And the Girl who USED to look like THIS:

Any guesses??

Another "What Have I Done?"

Um, well, there was no post yesterday. Because I am still getting over the shock of what I have done. And I'm still not sure how or when to post it. Or what I'm going to do about it. I think I need to fix it.

Even my secretary said, in shocked disbelief, "What have you DONE?!"

So until I decide how to deal with it, you'll just have to guess....

OH and MOM? don't get yourself crazy - you already know about this.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What's with all the Minty Stuff?

In the beginning there was this:

and maybe This:

And for ice cream lovers, of course there was This

But recently, everywhere I look there is this

Or This

And then yesterday, when I was helping myself to the office candy in the candy dishes, what the heck is THIS

And then it struck me. You are all trying to get the sensation. But you will never. I repeat never. Be this

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed this minty wanna-be sensation??

are they trying to give me fresh breathe and chocolate all at the same time?
And who are they kidding?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Memory Monday Halloween Sweet 16

Another "recent" memory for Memory Monday...
Date: October 31, 2008
PLACE: Casa De Girl Next Door
Present: Girl, Daughter, Son, Grandparents and about 30+ Friends
Occasion: Sweet 16 Halloween Party
After over a month of buying out every dollar store in creation, creating homemade decorations and giveaways from this House of Hell (scroll down to rant on Michael's....), kissing the feet of my Mother the Angel who baked the two cakes so that I could decorate them, allowing sleepovers on school nights so that the decorating could commence a day early. It Finally Arrived. The Birthday Party.

(The cakes my Mommy made and I decorated....)

Stinky the baby puppy dog (renamed for anonymity from here-to-forward - her real name is not stinky but trust me, she is a stinker!) took to growling at everyone including her own Owner Daughter b/c I wouldn't let her be put down. Oh no. Too much food and balloons and things to Eat and Die From:

Stinky is a Punkin!

Stinky Biting on Queen Bee's Angel Wings. Because Queen Bee Truly is the Angel Among Us...

Kids came and went under the watchful Eye of the Mom Who Knows all but sometimes chooses to pretend not to.

They ate food as fast as I could bring it out (no not Pizza but Tailgate rolls and lasagna!), played games, watched movies, and generally made me laugh.

Nice take on the Joker Character...

They greeted my parents with a firm handshake and a How Do You Do. These kids raised right and knowing that Mama GND would kick their butts if they forgot their manners.....

Grandpa gets into the Decorating.
The parents came and hang with me off and on through the night, lamenting and enjoying at the same time the passing of 16 years.

About 10 sweet kids slept over, so it was pancakes and strawberries (and coffee!!!) for 12 the next morning before soccer practice.

My Daughter, and her BFF's, both my "other daughters." Great kids....sigh.and my secret Boyfriend on the calendar in the back (a gift from Daughter....)

And Daughter and Son had it all cleaned up before my Brother and sis-in-law arrived at 2pm for the Next Night's events.
Yep For Real - I do love my kids. Happy Birthday Kids.

Daughter and the BFF as Batman and Batgirl. Too Cute for Words....

Sadly the only photo I got of Son being "Austin Powers." He was truly hilarious. Only a video would've done him justice anyway. He's one of those "voice dudes" who can impersonate anyone. He cracks me up every day, never mind Halloween!!

I didn't get Gram and her cake, just the cakes.

And the basement with the cauldrons and lights and spiders on the walls and spooky things everywhere? Nope didn't get a photo of those...sorry..... (OH I really am a Bad Photo Mom) But if you look in the background of Son's photo you do see some of the skeleton garland and such...

But TT did get the witches brooms lighting up the front walk (there were 4 in total)

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Well, as many of my bloggy faithfuls, from the Bitches to the moms to my Florida Gang know, Ex found the blog. I knew it was only a matter of time, but I honestly never knew what I'd do when he did. So, I put it on invite only and shut it down.

But determined man that he is to hang on to me and my life, despite his protestations and his "get out of my life and you don't exist" attitude towards me, seems he very much is interested in what I have to say and who I have to say it to. Not content with one night of 2 1/2 hours of reading, he has resorted to cache versions. And then Ex found all my bloggy friends and all the places I've posted from Mrs. G to We Make Three to Suzy. And More.

And you know what I realized? LET HIM. I've said it before and I'll say it again: This is my Bloggy and I'll Blog if I want to.

Many of my supporters and virtual friends and not-so-virtual friends have pointed out, "Maybe he'll finally figure out a little something about you." You know what? I. Don't. Care if he does. It's not about him.

It's all about ME. My Life. I've said it since my very first post, before I went public, that this is about ME and MY journey. It's not a place to bash him, although that sometimes happens when I feel He Deserves it. And it's also a place where I say good things about him.

But I digress.

It's about ME. So The Girl Next Door is BACK and HERE TO STAY. And boy, does she have a lot to say now. I have been quiet for a whole week while I traveled and worked and then dealt with HIM.

If he wants to stay the voyeur and look into my life? Go ahead. Kind of like when he moved out but left the cybernanny on MY home computer and continued to read MY emails and track MY life. He doesn't seem to get it that this is MY life. Not his. And I don't answer to him anymore.

Just another reason why I am vindicated. And know that I am exactly where I should be.

So to all my readers, expect a post every day this week, because I am waaaaaaay behind!

But for now I have to unpack and unwind and get ready for KIDS! My favorite time of the week ;-)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Going Out Of Town

The Girl Next Door is going out of town to a conference in NYC for a few days. So the post on the "Sweet 16" will have to wait - yes I got a few photos and the kids had a great time. Only 10 slept over so that was do-able.

The post on the High School Band Fundraiser "We're going to Disney" Charity Auction on Saturday will have to wait. Why yes I did snag a great purse and some other items. And danced the polka with my brother while the Jazz band played; and danced a waltz with my dad. That was so cool.

The post on the 364 things your teenagers should be able to do for themselves but can't seem to remember 5 minutes from now will have to wait.

The post on why I am so glad I do not have 3 dogs and which one would make a nice rug will have to wait....

Going to the Big Apple! See you later this week....

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thanks DyFUNctional Mom! I've been "BOO'd"

It's like this:

There's rule on this, but I'm filing motions and getting ready to have 50 16 year olds show up for a party tonight and trying to get my parents over to my in-law's for a visit and maybe make a pie before then b/c My MIL loves apple pie and can't make it anymore. I'm thinking I'm out of time, but hey you never know....

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday Keester Update

I am happy to report that the scale continues to move down in the right direction. Yippeee! I am hoping to continue to behave despite a house full of good food, party food, cake cake cake I love cake gimmee gimmee cake and ice cream (those evil Christmas people have the Peppermint ice cream out already and it's only OCTOBER how am I supposed to resist that, huh?) and I must eat candy corn while it is available. Sigh. This diet stuff is not easy.

I did play 90 minutes of soccer again on Sunday, but once again that is all that I did. When will I ever get back on my treadmill in earnest? I do not know.

The next 2 weeks will be full of dinners and travels and junk. If I can just not gain any weight, that will be a blessing.

Mom and Dad are here, and Mom says I don't look like I gained any weight. Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE my mother? Yeah, she Rocks. Hard. Oh and if she thought I was chubby, yes she would tell me. Honestly? I think my hair was so bad today she couldn't focus on anything else. My mom is one of those 50's original girls who always always has perfect hair. Always. I swear she wakes up with perfect hair. Sadly, none of her three daughters quite measures up....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Good the Bad and the Bitchy

Only Tuesday but it feels like Friday - lots of goings on here in Casa De Next Door with the Big Sweet Sixteen/Halloween party Friday night! Tonight we cleaned, vacuumed, dusted (!), washed floors, decorated, and generally made the place presentable for the Grandparents who are arriving tomorrow. So that's the Good.

The Bad: Woke up with a stomach-achy fluey kind of thingy and felt like throwing up all day. Apparently this is going around the office. My Secretary was up all night with it. Yum. So I went home early. Leaving behind a LOT of work. So that's the Bad.

And then I get home to not 1 dog, not 2 dogs, but 3 THREE Dogs. What's this? Dumb Runaway Dog (DRD) is at my house again? I know Ex is going away next week and I had to jump through hoops and ask my Parents to stay so that we could both be away at the same time, but huh? Tonight? Night-before-the-Parents-arrive here? WHy??? And Son says, "Oh Dad's going to Korea tomorrow - so we're keeping DRD." Huh? out of the country? Tomorrow? I have an extra dog through the weekend when I have not only my parents and 50 kids but my brother and sister-in-law? Does this strike anyone as a little too much? No asking, just letting the kids spring it on me without so much as a heads up? When he knew darn well that my parents were coming and that I was having a party for the kids Friday and that my brother & wife are coming for the weekend? And that is the Bitchy. Yep, I was preeeeeety ticked off that he would just assume I would keep HIS DOG through all this.

Well of course I will. It's the Kids' dog too. But IT's Not My Dog! NO It Isn't. So I sent a rather nasty email to Ex about going out of the country and how letting me know might be a good thing - you know, in case of emergency with the kids I'll know he's not generally available. And You Know, courtesy to give me heads up if I'm going to watch YOUR dog in MY house. OH yes I did. I threw it at him.

So Am I a bitch? Too much over the top? No big deal that he's dumping his dog on me?

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I cannot believe that 16 years ago, I gave birth to the two most perfect children in the they are through the years. (Can you count the matching outfits?! At least they do NOT have rhyming or alliterative first names)

Christmas 1992 - 7 weeks

Back in the Day when Grandmother made us all dress up for Christmas dinner. Those poor baby necks look just slightly uncomfortable....those are 2 tired parents....

University Reunion with Mom - 7 months old 1993

I was the only classmate at my 5th year college reunion with babies. And you were too cute for words, needless to say....

Christmas 1993 - 14 months

Still waiting for Son's hair to come in - while Mom was still sporting her 80's do in the 90's....

Christmas 1994 - 2 years old

Yet another year of matching outfits at 2. How fun and easy it was to dress you back then

I told all about this in a post below...

First Day of School - 4YO - Spain

I remember the days in Spain where the children dressed so beautifully every day. And every morning Daughter would come out and say in her tiny little voice, "Brother Am I beautiful?" And Son would answer in all sincerity, "Oh you are so beautiful. Am I handsome?" and Daughter would answer with equal conviction, "OH yes, you are soooo handsome." and off to school we all walked, hand in hand.

Easter 1997 4 1/2 Spain
Why yes that IS a boy's shirt with a peter pan collar and embroidery on the front. The Boys in Spain dressed very nicely.

Disney June 1997 - 4 1/2 years

The children who saw every single Disney movie in spanish and English were sooooo excited to go to Disney that Daughter, jumping around on the plane, slashed Daddy's cornea with the "flight emergency card" before we even took off. Daddy spent the 4 day "vacation" in and out of emergency clinics and in the dark hotel room while I tooled around Disney, by myself, with 2 very excited 4 YO's. We had fun and made due. Signs of futures to come? Who knew..

The Season that Started it all - 1998
She gave up t-ball, picked up soccer, and has never looked back...

The Hippy Hop Kindergarten 1998

Yep we were cool hippy dudes. Used the self-timer in the camera so they could later appreciate the lengths their mom would go to for "theme parties." I love my kids!

Easter 1999

No I don't know how much their uncle bribed them to get them to pose for this....

Cousin's Wedding October 1999 - 7 years old

The Jr. Bridesmaid and Ring Bearer of the wedding, you stole the show...

Mom's Law School Graduation 2001
Hat Head on Mom never felt so good....

State Champs - 2003 - 11 Years old
Mr. Tough guy, center on the Pop Warner State Championship Football Team. What a year.

Last Day 7th Grade - 2005

Losing the baby-faces and becoming teenagers...

The 8th Grade Dance Spring 2006

That's his "girlfriend" (was) on the left and his Sister on the right in yellow. The Ex-girlfriend was then and is still Daughter's best friend!

First Day of School SJC 9th Grade - 2006 nearly 14 YO

Son had to run next door and ask Pop how to tie a tie, Daughter lamented the skirt, the itchy shirt, the socks. We read the rule book so many times on proper attire. Clearly that stuff is just for Freshmen (see, e.g. Junior Year first day)!!!!

The Regimental Ball (it's a military school folks) Freshmen year 2006

Ah yes, sometimes we can still get them all dressed up. This was Son's first lesson in "men get a new $30 tie, girls get a new $200 dress. That's fair." Son wore the same suit to Reg that he had worn to Homecoming just 6 weeks earlier. But did anyone notice? Probably not. Change the shirt, change the tie = new suit. Daughter, however, did not wear her Homecoming Dress (a $20 bargain at Filene's basement and a short cocktail dress) to the Reg Ball. Oh no, for that we had to go to the Jessica McClintock Store. Uh-huh yes we did...and she snagged the dress right down the front at the dance, thereby ensuring it would be worn exactly once....sigh....

First Day 10th Grade 2006

The Grandparents' 50th Anniversary Cruise June 2007

Yes, Perspective is everything. For them, "the best time of our life." For me, "the cruise from hell" just 4 days before the Beginning of the End. So why did I go? For moments like the one, right here. The Grandparents with their 5 beloved grandchildren. Just 7 months later Mother would fall down the stairs and our lives would all change forever. But for one perfect moment, all was right and beautiful with the world....and that was worth pasting on a smile and sharing a room with a man who hated me. (BTW, Daughter is on the far right in Yellow.)

Christmas Baking 2007 - 15 YO

Daughter and her new Puppy Lorelai July 2008

That smile says it all.

First Day of School Junior Year 2008

Illegal shoes on Boy, untucked shirt on Girl, Son's collar not buttoned, tie loose, illegal socks under illegal pants. ...sigh....They have Upperclassmen Attitude for sure.

Happy Sweet 16 my dear, sweet children. May life continue to bless you. I wish you enough....