Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Different Kind of Christmas Poem

I don't normally do this, but this one grabbed me today. My brother sent this poem - I don't know who wrote it or the origination, but I think it's worth repeating. It made me cry and remember to give thanks for those who are not with their families this year or any year.

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest, My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white, Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe, Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep, Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem, So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near, But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear, And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night, A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old, Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled, Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear, "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve, You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift, Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.

To the window that danced with a warm fire's light Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line, That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me, I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam', And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while, But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag, The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone, Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet, I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another, Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all, To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

" So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright, Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least, "Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done, For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret, "Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone, To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead, To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust, That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Personal Gifts from my Credit Card??

OK perhaps I like to shop too much. Or perhaps times are tough and credit cards have to compete.

Today I came home to a large package from LLBean. I was certain I had not ordered anything from LLBean. At least not in the last couple of weeks. It was a big box. So I decided someone sent me a present and opened it. Inside was a gorgeous, live wreath for the front door. And a note. From My Credit Card Company...."Thank you for being a loyal LL Bean customer this year." Seriously?

Do you have to ask why I love LLBean?

The wreath smells so good. I feel a little guilty that I'm not going to be around much more these holidays to enjoy it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Life Would Suck Without You

There's a cute song by Kelly Clarkson called "My Life Would Suck without You." The kids and I love it for many reasons. It's about a twisted relationship but in the end the girl realizes they belong together. The Chorus is just funny.

I think this will take you to the video if you want to get a feel for it:

Kelly Clarkson You Tube

So this morning Daughter is driving me to the metro to drop me off for work - yes tables are turned and they chauffer me around! - anyway, she giggles and says, "I bought this on iTunes last night." and plays the song.

So as I get out of the car in the middle of the street, she smiles at me and mouths "My Life Would Suck Without You."

back at you baby.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

that's when i knew it was time to go home

Standing in the elevator at work, which requires a security badge in order to make it function, I swipe my badge, push the button, but my floor refuses to light up. I go through this exercise two more times, starting to curse at the "broken" elevator. And that's when I realized I was already on the 6th floor and I needed to go to 8. I forgot where I was and where I was going. Apparently I am no longer able to bill 30 hours by Tuesday and still function as a human being....

So I went home. And couldn't sleep. it figures.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

ALMOST the biggest most embarrasing Faux Pas!

I signed on to be a mentor to a first year law student at my law school. Because, yeah, I'm not already working more than full time (and being paid part time) and I have time for this!

Well hopefully I will have time, just not this week.

But anyway, I signed up and my Mentee immediately emailed me, so I agreed to meet before 3 weeks passed.

My mentee's name? Abteen. I got a resume. Looked at it. (impressive). Looking forward to meeting this nice, young lady and hopefully find some way to help/encourage her.

I was running late (woot there is a surprise). We had exchanged cell phone numbers so I called her.

And a man answered. Huh?

Yep, Abteen is a boy. Oops. Glad I called so that my shock and awe was over the phone and not written all over my face. Not that I can't be a mentor for a boy. I just assumed it was a girl. I don't know why. Oops again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Skinny and Bitchy or Fat and Happy?

It seems that is my choice lately - skinny and bitchy or fat and happy.

Warning Warning this post may be TMI for you! Don't say I didn't warn you - although I doubt I can come up with great code-rhymes like BlogthisMom

About a year ago I started having an internal thermometer meltdown issue. You know, one minute you're cold (used to be me, all the time) the next minute you're sweating bullets. Hmmm. I'm in my early 40's. Really, at my age? I asked my sisters who said, "REALLY."


So on my visit to my Girly Doctor, I mentioned this, along with my bitchiness (not all of it can be blamed on the Ex). And my teariness. (ditto). So she said, "Try the Pill." Huh? At my age? Dangers? etc etc? We discussed it and she said, "Try it." So I did.

And? Internal Thermometer FIXED! Temperament BETTER! Tears WHEN APPROPRIATE! Woot!

Fast forward 6 months. Inexplicable weight gain? 10 pounds.

Fast forward 9 months. Inexplicable weight gain? 15 pounds.

Remember, I was running (up til the Knee Thing) about 20 - 30 miles a week. Hmmm.

So, a month ago, I tossed the pills.

Weight loss? (without running b/c of Knee thing) 9 pounds and counting.

Internal Thermometer? Totally broken. Tears? Daily. Bitchiness? Oh you don't want to know, but I pretty much had to put a "Beware of Rabid dog" warning sign on my office door.....

I know I know, I should go back to the Dr, get a second opinion, consult a specialist. really? When. I am bad. about. doctors. I hate them. I don't have time.

So which would you choose? fat and happy or skinny and bitchy? [keep in mind my 25 year high school reunion is in 1 month!!] And no you can't choose "Go to a dr." Which I might. No I won't. Yes I will. Ok maybe.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Corazon, Mi Corazon!" Coming From the Next Room

I'm working from home today, kids are home on a senior day off while the other underclassmen take PSAT's. Daughter is supposed to be writing her college application "personal statement" essay that is due TOMORROW. (Yes a bit early I know)

I'm listening to her sing and dance around her room. When suddenly it dawns on me - SHE'S SINGING IN SPANISH. Now this shouldn't surprise me. She's going to major in Spanish.

But as I sit here and listen to her singing - rapidly - in Spanish with a gorgeous spanish accent, it dawns on me deep down - my child is Fluent in Spanish. And this thrills me.

I have always wanted to be fluent in Spanish or any foreign language. We lived in Spain for 2 years and although I can "Communicate" I would not call me fluent. I don't really think in Spanish.

But my Daughter? Clearly does. She was amazing when we went so Spain this summer. But somehow the singing (effortlessly) and dancing around her room, trying to get in the right frame of mind to convince her dream school that she is worthy (and YES she is worthy! Just ask her Mom!), well, it seems like a lifetime of hoping and planning and disciplining and learning and playing and growing and experiencing - they are truly all coming together. And that makes everything so right, so worth all the effort, the pain, the struggles.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Heard Around the House

ME: [in my bedroom Screaming] Sh*! Damn and hell that HURT!!!!


ME: Yes Damn and Shi# and Frick OUCH OUCH OUCH

[exit Stinky Butt scurrying under the bed to escape the screaming Grammy]

SON: [yelling through my bedroom door] What did you DO?

ME: Smacked my foot into the doorway and twisted my knee - MY HURT KNEE frick frick frick!!

SON: Whaaat? How did you do that?


SON: Oh, yeah. Right.

------- ----------------------------------------------------

[SCENE: morning before school starts - Daughter having been ready 20 minutes as usual, waiting for Son to show up from Next Door to leave for school in my car]

DAUGHTER: Grrrr we are so late YOU are Driving - I am NOT getting the speeding ticket

SON: [dragging feet and generally going as hit snail pace] NO I don't want to drive I'm tired. Plus you weren't really ready, mom just handed you a check for tonight's flute lesson. So I was ready first.

DAUGHTER: NO we were killing time waiting for you - YOU ARE DRIVING.

SON: Oh I forgot a jacket...[snail snail snail up the stairs]

DAUGHTER: [in the driver's seat fuming after backing the car out of garage to attempt to hurry him up]

SON: What are you doing? I'm driving!

DAUGHTER: NO you are late, I'm driving get in.

MOM: [WT*?] Buh-bye kiddies - always nice to see you [waving as they back out of the driveway]

MOM: Have you studied for the SAT test yet? {you know the one you asked to retake b/c you didn't study the first time and you know you could do a lot better and really want to go to Dartmouth?!}

SON: I have off school two days next week - I'll study then.

MOM: Those days off are AFTER the test - your test is this Saturday.

SON: Oh yeah right. No I guess not....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


It's been 2 years since he moved out.

It's been 13 years since he said, "I don't love you. I don't think I ever did."

It's been 23 years since it hasn't been about Him.

And now, finally, it's going to be about Me. At least, that's what one of the leaders told me.

I have decided to join a group at church called "Rebuilding." It's about getting over the divorce and rebuilding my life.

Some of you may find this strange - after all, I have a lovely life, great kids, supportive family, and a fabulous boyfriend.

What you don't know is that I am the Great Pretender. Truly. And all is not well in Casa de Next Door. In fact, some days all is down-right not-right.

And I've decided that these feelings are silly - the feelings of failure, of anger, of sadness, of a lost life. My family tells me so. My friends tell me so. My bloggy friends often tell me so.

So now I will take a journey for me - to explore my feelings, to explore the past, to refocus my goals and to let go of the Ex. [Hmmm I sense a New Blog Title...] Let go of past dreams. Let go of anger. So much anger. Lots of anger. Just let it go. And rebuild Me.

I'm nervous - I like pretending that it's all ok. I like floating along one day after the other seeming to have direction. I like my witty, sarcastic self. I'm a bit afraid to dig deep into this Divorced Girl-Next-Door because, well, I'm thinking it's pretty shallow in here. And I have some filling in to do.

I'm thankful for the Group, for the friends I've already made in just 2 weeks. I'm thankful for the support of the Group and the Family. I'm thankful for the Captain who is not afraid of what I might find on the other side of Rebuilding.

And his lack of fear? Makes me more fearful. Of course that doesn't make sense. Unless you're me.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Define Valium: Mother of Teenage Boy

Lately there have been lots of struggles around here - aside from the usual work, anger, exhaustion, jealousy that come from being a single parent living next door to your ex.

Lately, the Son has developed ATTITUDE and a sense of injustice.

First, for new or lost readers, know that overall, I have amazing kids. My nearly 17 YO twins are near perfect. They have very good grades, are college bound, help out in Sunday School, play sports, play musical instruments, love their grandparents. And Talk to their mother.

BUT yeah the big BUTT as teenagers are wont to do, they think they know better than I do about what is Fair and Just for them.

So Son calls Friday night to inform me he's hanging with Best Friend (fine) going downtown (fine) and coming back home at 2am (NOT FINE NOT NOT NOT NOT ). When I freak out about His assumption that he gets to go into the city until 2am, he hits me with"But I'm a good kid. I don't do bad things. Let me stay."

I hit him back with "I know you're a good kid and one of the reasons you're a good kid is b/c we try to minimize situations where you could make poor choices." And he laughs out loud. Ok I know there are many times he could make poor choices every day and he chooses not to do so. But this? Pushing the envelope.

DC until 2 a.m. with college kids? at 16? NO NO NO NO NO.

He knows I am downtown with his Sister at the Army Running expo. He knows I'm not in a position to yank his butt home. But he underestimates my ability to lay down the law by phone. [He and Friend learned that putting the best friend on the phone to advocate will not stop the steady stream of butt-chewing spewing forth from my mouth.] He underestimates the passion of my convictions (Really Son, Really? After all these years?). So .... I.....

yes I did...

I called the Ex to get his opinion. Because I thought nothing would break through the "injustice of it all" barrier for Son like a united front from warring Parents-who-are-exes.

How did I know Ex would agree with me? I wasn't certain but I was pretty sure. Despite the Divorce, I actually know Ex and his position on many things pretty well. Sure enough, Ex said, "No way no way no way. Get his butt home NOW."

I called Son back and gave him the whole united front attack. Apparently I underestimated my Son's determination.

Ultimately, I had to play the "I'm the parent and I said so" card. I hate playing that card. Although I realized - and told Son - "the reason I have to play this card is because I am the parent and you don't always know what's good for you. That's why I'm here and I'm in charge - to help you make the good decisions. If I didn't need to play this card we wouldn't even be having this argument because you would have made the right choice for yourself [being home at a reasonable hour] before ever calling me."


We all had to get up at 630 a.m to go to daughter's soccer game. Well, Son didn't HAVE to go but he wanted to go. (watch a bunch of attractive, smart 16-17 YO girls run around in shorts? Hells Yeah). Much to my amazement, Son continued to explain why he should have been allowed to go last night. Including the fact that although he would have had access to a 21 YO wrist band and all-you-can-drink bar drinks for $5, he would not have taken advantage of this. In his twisted mind, this makes it ok for him to go.

And that? Is why I need Valium. And why my doctor wouldn't dream of giving me even 1 tiny pill....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Now I've Had The Time Of My Life

Tonight Son found a rerun of Dirty Dancin' on Cable. He confessed he had never seen it. I confess I reduced myself quickly to the status of "blubbering idiot" as soon as I started watching.

It's not just that Patrick Swayze is dead. Yea, that will make me cry. After all, I grew up on P.S. movies - and drooled over all of them. Ok ok I admit my sisters and I watched the ending of Dirty Dancin' 26 times one night. Yes I typed that right 26. So what? We would have easily hit 100 if the men had not insisted we were burning the tape....

And Roadhouse. and the Outsiders. and Ghost.

see Dirty Dancin came out around 1987. When I was in love. right before I got married. In fact, we toyed with having "She's like the Wind" as our First Dance. And so despite everything -my Rebuilding classes, my Boyfriend, my growth - it doesn't matter. I see patrick Swayze, I hear the music, and I am instantly back in 1987 when I was loved. When the future was wide open.

Back in 1987 I was going to be married to a Prince. I was going to have beautiful babies and train them up in the way that they should go. (Yes that's Ephesians). I was going to dance at their weddings with their Father and sit on a rocking chair on our front porch.

Then well, it all went to hell. And here I am 20+ years later. Patrick is dead. The Ex Is, well, the Ex.

And I? Watch Dirty dancin' and cry. incessently. For everything. For Patrick. For lost love. For people who can't dance. for Cancer. For a lost way of life. For well, I don't know. All Things Lost.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I know I know Like I Should Post

I should Post. Really I should Because this past week has been a lifetime of insanity. And so? I don't post.

First, last weekend (sept 11-13) was a joyful celebration with the Captain in Charleston of what? MY BIRTHDAY. once we FINALLY got there (delayed flights, weather, evil airlines and a DRIVE from Atlanta to charleston, go ahead google that one) well, it was great. I received my FIRST BLUE BOX. Blue box? why yes, Tiffanys. And the best thing? It wasn't some stupid beautiful bauble. It was an adorable meaningful bauble that captured something we do for each other everyday, every text, every email and that? Made it a THOUGHTFUL bauble. From Tiffanys. So I wear it every day. (OK it says "XOXO" on a heart locket bracelet figure it out)

AND I got to tour my daughter's future university. Because? College of Charleston is her first choice. Statistically she will get in. And so although she visited it with her dad, I wanted to see it for my self. And fell in love I did. Yes. So now I can see Daughter there. I briefly looked at real estate and thought about moving there myself. What a wonderful weekend.

Then Tuesday. Soccer. Indoor. a slow motion tragedy. Let's just say that I am wearing a brace, not walking well, sidelined for 6 weeks and hoping for no surgery.

Wednesday my birthday. a day of doctors and MRIs and not feeling very good. Kids making me breakfast in bed (I love them!) and dinner in bed (I hate my knee!) and lots of phone calls

Thursday I get sick from visiting the doctors offices. Thursday night i get a fever. and a cold and hate this birthday week.

Friday I wait for the kids to get home. I turn down offers of dancing (as if) and bands and all the things grown up Next Door Girl wants to do as wait for the kids to get home.;

So I should post. really I should. But my life? is boring. and sad.

Next week!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Be Careful before you Jump

I saw this headline on my blackberry before arriving at work - all I could see was the headline and the first few lines of the story. And I was really angry:

Obama Brainwashes Vulnerable Children's Minds: Ann Woolner

It's a report about Obama's visit to an Atlanta school. Whatever he was going to say to those kids he's the President. Who wouldn't cheer?

When I got to work, I quickly clicked the link for the whole story. The first few paragraphs had me drafting a nasty response in my head. Boy was this "woman" going to get a piece of my mind.

Then I kept reading.

I'm not sure I like her style or the way she began. But it got my attention! And, ultimately, my applause.

See for yourself!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Why Yes I AM walking funny !!

Thanks for noticing, my gait is a little off today. And yes you might think I'm waddling. And NO I am NOT pregnant.

So why the silly stride? Yesterday my bruddy [that's brother + buddy = bruddy....] Flash and I did THIS!

Yeah that's right, we ran the Va Beach 1/2 marathon together! Now some of you may know that I have indeed run a marathon (my photos)...the Marine Corps Marathon (my story)... nearly 3 years ago. 3 years? That's a long time when you are..ahem..over 40.
My bruddy has been facing some 40+ health challenges - you know, weight, blood pressure, getting old and I-still-want-to-eat-like-I'm-17 crap. So about a year ago he started "running." As in, around the block. Because that? Was all he could do.
Fast forward about 9 months and he says, "I'm running the Va Beach 1/2 marathon."
Me: "WTF?"
Him: "YEP Running it."
So we start talking about training. And of course being the A.D.D. master and a busy man, he gets side tracked. And he starts all, "I can't run it. I won't be ready. Blah blah blah." So I say, "No really, all you have to do is X and Y and Z and you are so there. You have come so far. JUST DO IT."
And he says, "Want to run with me?" and in a moment of insanity or - nay - in complete clarity - I say, "SURE!" I go online, fork over the WHOPPING registration fee (damned those bands better be worth it! And I want a cool t-shirt, not another ugly one like my other races!) and do it.
About 4 weeks ago, Bruddy hurts his back. Badly. And stops running. For 3 weeks.
About 4 weeks ago, I break or severly injure my Big Toe and...keep running b/c I am an idiot.
So I show up to Va Beach, not really having trained well. I expect him to tell me his back hurts and he can't run. Instead? He says, "Well I ran 6 miles the other day. So let's do this thing."
And I'm thinking, "6 miles? You ran only 6? And you're going to Run 13.1? Well....ok" But I don't say anything. Because this is his dream. And if he thinks he can do it? I'll drag his butt over that finish line.
So Saturday we get up early and go to the race expo and pick up our numbers and shirts. And we buy the place out of t-shirts that are funny. Like this one for me:

Yes, indeed, it also says "Does this shirt make my butt look FAST" on the backside of the tshirt. How funny is that??

he bought a number of shirts like "This seemed like a good idea 3 months ago" and "The older I get the faster I was."

We spend the day drinking Gatorade and water - and we shared a beer (or two) at one of the beach concerts. Hey we had to carb up!

5a.m. came early. We got up, bageled and bananed ourselves, drank some cytomax running crap and off we went. Names on shirts for cheering crowd purposes. Psyched to the max. I played him my psyched tape on the way over: "Feels like Today" by Rascall Flatts, "How Bad do you want it" by Tim McGraw, "Make a Man out of You" from Mulan and "ready to run" by Dixie Chicks (from the Runaway Bride Movie). He laughed and got psyched.

We took off strong - averaged under 10 minutes the first 6 miles. But he knows 8 miles is his personal wall because of some health issues. So at 6 we walked a couple "poles" and had some sports beans and salted/sugared/carbed up. And ran some more. We walked/ran for a while. Then the cramps started for him. We stopped and stretched. And rubbed. And ran some more. I told stories and laughed with him.

We hit the bridge after mile 11 and sang from the christmas movie, "Put one foot in front of the soon you'll be walkin cross the floo--oo--ooor! Put one foot in front of the other... ba-da-ba-da-bump ,...and soon you'll be walkin out the door!"' Everyone laughed.

Mile 12 was hard. Really hard. I got worried. He didn't look so good. He had cramps you could see in his thigh and his calves. I asked him, "You ok?" and he said, "Yep let's do it." And still we went on.

At Mile 13 I was crazed. We had our names on our shirts and people were shouting, "Go Greg Go Mellie Go Greg Go Mellie." IT was crazy!! We were still jogging! He grabbed my hand and we crossed that finish line hand in hand, wooting and so psyched. The announcer lady saw us coming and said, "Here come Greg and Mellie!!" WOOT!

And so today? My legs are a bit tight. My calves are sore and I'm limping a bit. But my Brother? He ran 13.1 miles yesterday. This from a man who couldn't run 1/2 mile just a year ago.

Yes, PICTURES from his Wife when she gets a chance to email them!

Brother, I am proud of you! Really proud! Love YOU!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Still Blindsided even 2 years later (or 13 depends on how you count it)

The other day I was sitting out front in the grass, under the gorgeous September Sunshine, enjoying my wireless connection and doing research for a brief. Lovely all around - I could hear lawn mowers from a neighbor's yard, Stinky Butt was busy chasing bugs around, Queen Bee lounging in the shade of the japanese maple, crickets chirping and birds singing - a picture perfect day.

I laid back on the blanket for a moment and was struck with the most bizarre thought - what if Ex walked over with two glasses of champagne and offered one, with a soft kiss?

Now this is bizarre for lots of reasons:
  1. Ex has no clue how much I love champagne as I discovered it "after";
  2. Ex is at work;
  3. I lost any desire to Kiss Ex years ago;
  4. I am generally and almost totally glad to be rid of Ex;
  5. Contrary to someone-close-to-me's thoughts, I stopped loving Ex ages ago.

So where does this come from? And how does it manage to bring tears to my eyes in 3.2 seconds?

And I don't know that answer. Perhaps because I still hate being divorced - not that I want to be married to Ex (or to anyone in particular) but I am still saddened that my marriage ended in divorce. That's not how I was raised, that's not how I dreamed things would go, that's not how things are in my neighborhood or among most of my friends. And so as I sit in my neighborhood among the beautiful homes and acres of yards and flowers and families, I feel the failure. And I think how lovely it would be not to be divorced.

I hate filling out forms that ask marital status and hate checking off the box "Divorced."

I hate looking for colleges as a single parent.

I hate having a great reference for a divorce attorney based on personal experience.

I hate when people ask how come I don't wear a ring.

I hate referring to my kids' father as "my kids' father."

I hate saying, "My former in-laws."

All this despite the fact that he asked me for a divorce 13 years ago. Despite the fact that I am managing life, finances, fun all by myself. Despite the fact that he made me miserable and we made the kids miserable and I made him miserable. Despite the fact that at least once a month something happens which screams, "VINDICATED."

I wish it had worked out so that we could have liked each other.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wireless Isn't Always a Good Thing

Sometimes I'm slow on the uptake. Really. Like having wireless in my house when Verizon brought the new FIos router. Except it took 16 months and a visit from my engineer/nephew to tell me, "Hey Aunt Mellie, you know you have wireless right? You don't need to plug in your laptop. The code's right here on the side of this box."

After swallowing my shame and embarrassment, I embraced the wireless. Imagine, working at the kitchen table! Working in the basement! Working in my bed!

Huh? Did I just say working in my bed? Yeah. I did. Because I don't have enough billable hours in my life so now I work everywhere.

Except it's not all as sinister as it sounds. Take today for example. It's mid-morning. I am "working" from home. In My Bed. In my pink Wal-mart Eeyore faded pj's, with Stinky Butt curled up next to me, Queen Bee snoring at my feet, and Son moaning from his room every 45 minutes or so about his stomach ache.

Oh did I say I was working? Perhaps I'm blogging.

Back to work now. Really.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Excuse me, but I Have 21 more Days coming to me and I want them Dammit!

I know I know, we're greedy in June. June hits and I say, "Summer is here!" Even though officially I'm supposed to wait until June 22. (or something like that). Of course it helps the my kids are done with school at the end of May. So maybe I encroach on summer a bit in June. But seriously, it's only September 1st people and I have 21 more days of summer. So why did I wake up this morning to cold?? Summer means warm and warm is NOT 70's. Oh no. Warm is 80's - just feeling good around 85 and 90 is even better. So who flipped the darned switch 21 days early? Hmmmmmmmmm?

It's bad enough I had to go grocery shopping last night and actually plan and think about what we would eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I love summer - summer with teenagers means calling them sometime after 9am to wake them up. Reminding them to eat something healthy (reminding them to just eat? oh that, they remember). Seeing if you can get a chore or two out of them. And dinner? Well, if they're home then we grill something out or grab some of this and some of that whenever we feel like it. No homework - at least not every night - and they're old enough to figure out those summer project due-dates. And then, if they're home, watching a movie or playing a game. [Why Yes, my teenagers do still play with me! When they're not mocking me....]

Yesterday's grocery trip was all "Breakfast: fruit, bacon[first day of school treat only], pancakes; Lunch: cheese, meat, bread, fruits, drinks, after school snack-on-the-go before cross country and healthy dinner" Takes all the fun out of grocery shopping when you have to be all organized and planning-like.

Tonight will be all "do you have your uniforms, and school supplies, and set your alarms and pack your cross country bags and go to bed early." Or maybe just maybe we'll go see that Summer movie we've been talking about and haven't yet seen, just one more night....

But the thermostat? It had better be back at 85, at least until after Labor Day! Please?!

Monday, August 31, 2009

I Love TSA

Travelling to Florida Friday, going to meet the Captain. I am on a plane oh, about 2x a month it seems. So the security thing? No brainer. [unlike the sweet older lady today who apparently hasn't heard you can't bring bottled water or any liquids over 3.4 ounces through security. She didn't see the 48 signs, hear the 16 announcements, or read a newspaper in the last 3 years since that rule was implemented...]

I get pulled at BWI for what seems a random detailed check. OK no problem, I have time, they're doing their job. So I stand in this funky machine while they take some kind of something - I later decide it was some kind of xray and someone is sitting remotely reviewing it.

Now remember I'm going to see the Captain. So I'm wearing leeeetle white capris, with no pockets, rather nicely fitting if you know what I mean. And a very little sweater cut rather low "my eyes blue" that gets its fair share of, um attention. Sleeveless. And beaded flip flops.

In other words, not a lot of places to hide anything.

So I point to my two bags and random junk on the xray belt and say, "Do you need me to identify my stuff so you can review it?" And Mr. TSA says, "Oh no, just hang here a minute and you'll be done." Then I hear a voice on his radio and he responds, "No - no pockets. Those are buttons." and he smiles and says, "you're free to go."

SO what, I was hiding plastic explosives in my buttons? Perhaps a file in my bra?

I giggled all the way to Florida where I shared my story with the Captain who took one look at my outfit and said, "Oh yeah, you're really hiding a LOT in there!"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The New Pulitzer Winner....

Finally, something worth blogging about.

A colleague sent this link to me today. No kidding, someone actually used a cut-out bear on a news report. Because, yeah, that made the story more believable. Please watch this through - yes that's the reporter running across the yard behind the cutout bear. And look carefully as it "climbs the tree." Are we kindergartners? Oh wait, even they wouldn't believe this.....

The New Pulitzer

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Treatise On Warranties and Verbal Guarantees

Are you really stopping to read this? What a boring title. Either you are really bored or a devoted follower. Because I am pretty sure I have none of the latter, trust me, there are more exciting things to do with your life than read a treatise.

Oh but who am I to judge, so read on....

(Yeah I lied, I'm not smart enough to write a treatise anyway)

Back when I got suckered convinced to buy my little blue EOS toy along with the sensible Honda Pilot for the kids (what, I never told the story of buying two cars in one day?)

I also got suckered convinced to buy a "scratch and dent" warranty along with it. For a mere $800 I was "guaranteed" 4 years of door ding and annoying scratch coverage - Bent Rims? Not a problem, new rims delivered. Scrape the side backing out of the garage? No worries, it's covered. Someone park a little too close? Yeah we fix that.

Fast forward 20 months. Right rear wheel-well/fender seems to have a "garage" scrape. No I did not do it but she-who-shall-remain-nameless knows who did.... There are a couple door-dings. The rear has a Parking Scrape from someone who got a little too friendly one Saturday night. Time to invest time for a repair.

Gee, what a surprise, the used car dealer where I bought my cars is out of business in this economy. Not to worry, a call to the 800-number on the warranty and they send a repair man to my house. OH yeah, this is good.

OK maybe not so good. Seems my cute little EOS is a whole lot of plastic. Plastic bumpers that wrap from wheel to wheel. And gee, guess what the warranty doesn't cover? If you guessed bumpers give yourself 5 points.

Fortunately, the lovely young man who came to fix my car is capable, customer-service oriented and, apparently, terrified of lawyers. And he's smart. First he fixed 372 scratches and door-dings I didn't realize I had. Magic? I think so. Something about compound and buffers and perhaps some voo-doo. The car was smokin' oh all except for the large scrape on the right rear fender. Helloo can we say verbal guarantee? Promises? Detrimental reliance? Unjust Enrichment? Consumer Protection Act? FTC? Pissed-off hormonal red-head? (hell one of those has to work, right?)

Guess who is coming back Monday with some Factory/Dealer match paint and a few tricks up his sleeve to fix the little - ahem - scuff mark on the fender?

I love a smart and scared subcontractor with a sense of justice....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

TRYING to Notice things Like A Lunar Eclipse

While not blogging this summer I have been focusing on other things. Repositioning my mind, my spirit.

Yes stopping to smell the Roses.

Cleaning out Clutter and Closets and Crap.

(Note to all and Google and etc, I Borrowed this Google Image of Clutter, my house is not yet that bad....)

And so Tonight the Captain said, "Lunar Eclipse." Because the Captain is all stars and moons and pays attention to stuff like that. He was going to take his local crew for a moonlight sail to watch the eclipse. I was happy for him but yes a little blue because I wanted to be there not here. But Oh well. So I followed Captain's Orders and googled "lunar eclipse time washington DC" and all variations thereof, but could not figure out what time I could see the eclipse.

(Ok ok I swiped this one, too, from Google)

Then I had a brain storm, Go Outside and Look for the Moon.

And I saw clouds.

OH well, I'd rather be here anyway.....

Monday, August 3, 2009

They Call This Security

After a year of walking past the kiosks every few weeks in the Airport, I finally succumbed to a Southwest Visa card - looks like I will continue to need to fly south ;-)

Tonight I made the obligatory call to activate the card. Surprisingly, a human answered the phone! In activating the card, I gave a password - let's say "SMITH." So 13 seconds later I said, "Can I change the email address on the card because I gave an incorrect address when I signed up." And the lovely young man with a clipped English/Indian accent, dutifully reading from his script said, "I will need you to verify your password in order to change that information."

Huh? You mean the password I just made up 15.5 seconds ago? OK. I'm pretty sure I remember - it's SMITH. Yep, everything's secure. I'm me - still.

And so it goes....

Monday, July 6, 2009

And Then we were in Navalmoral

I wrote this from Spain but it never posted. So here it is, a little late......

I admit it may not look like much. It is but a small town in the countryside of Spain. Population 17,500. The town dates wayyyy back, like most towns in Spain probably do. It is an important "way point" for travelers both north and south as well as east west. But for me? Coming into this town? It was so much more.....
As we approached the town, I had very strange feelings. Things looked a little different, but mostly I recognized them. Part of me was the girl who left 12 years ago, the girl who was rejected, unloved, facing divorce with 2 small 4 year old kids and no job or career. The Girl who thought Spain would be a great job opportunity for the Ex and a fun opportunity for the family. It was those things but it was also the end of the Relationship (ok so it took 11 more years to really do the deed, but Spain? Was the End). It was in Spain where he first told me he didn't love me. It was Spain where we sat at the table and divided our stuff. Spain where we fought the most. Spain where I tried to be so many things and failed at all of them.

But this was a new person entering an old town. I am not the Girl who left; I am the Woman who is returning to share an adventure with her teenagers. And as we got closer to our old friends' new house (God Bless GPS) there was nothing but excitement.

OK we are a little older, a little heavier, but the smiles? Just as big. And the laughter? Even grander. It was so exciting to see their new, finished house; the house they dreamed of when we lived in Spain and indeed, the house they started building when we were there. Every knook and cranny was full of beauty and thought. Tinin did most of it himself - three floors of living, the bottom floor a large room for living during the summer when it's 110 degrees (there is no air conditioning in Spain), the middle floor a complete apartment for his parents, the top floor a 4 bedroom apartment for his family. It is truly magnificant.

Mila and I spent an afternoon, just the two of us, enjoying the bottom floor, drinking diet coke and talking about the old times, the times since the old times, the future times. And yes we did this all in Spanish. She is a wonderful teacher and very patient with me. Talking with her helped me to let go of the girl I was 12 years ago. And she shared with me something so direct, so Mila, it let me close the book on the old, bad Spanish memories. We didn't really talk much about Ken and me - she was not the least bit surprised by the divorce and she could sense that I had moved past it. But we were talking about her and Tinin and life in general. And she said this - both in English and Spanish to make sure I "got it." Mila is a very direct person. She holds nothing back. And she is very smart and very opinionated in a way that is endearing because she doesn't belittle your point of view, she just let's you know she has one of her own. She said, "Here's what I think of your relationship with Ken. This is what we all thought: he was the kind of guy who wanted to have a beautiful wife to take out when he went out. And when he got home from work, you are there taking care of the kids and the house and better have dinner on the table. And he doesn't want to hear what you have to say. He doesn't appreciate you. You were a Thing to him. Am I right?" And I said, "Well he wasn't that bad really. He has a lot of good qualities." And she just looked at me like, "Yeah right." And she said, "you know, we never really liked him...."
And isn't that sad? Because he could be a really nice guy. But somehow they saw what I refused to see back then. And so, little by little, I can let things go. And instead enjoy today. This is what today brings:

Here the nearly-grown face of the lovely 4 year old child we left 12 years ago and last saw last summer when she came to the states. She is beautiful, funny, gracious, loving. The kids were so excited to see her again.

And here? The "new" edition to the family - an exceedingly bright, energetic young lady,10 years old. She is a fabulous Spanish teacher and has the natural ability to pronounce English words correctly.

Tomorrow we leave this family and go off on more adventures in Spain. The kids will ultimately return to stay with our friends for a couple more weeks, but I must go home and get back to work. I am truly sad to leave this place. I feel like there's so much more I want to do. It has been amazing to wander the streets and revisit old shops and people I knew so long ago. It has been interesting to show the kids where they went to school and where we lived. They remember almost nothing.

This time instead of tears and fears of the future, I take with me good memories, possibilities, futures. Tinin and Mila have an amazing relationship. They have created for themselves a wonderful life in this tiny, somewhat remote Spanish town. They have faced challenges together and overcome them. When he comes home from work, he gives her a real hello kiss. When we are wandering around sightseeing and they have a moment alone, they take the opportunity to embrace and enjoy each other. They tease each other at home and love each other completely. It is something so rare and something I have spent much time contemplating. And it has enlightened me. I now know why I am compelled to move to Florida.

My life in Washington is a machine. I work my butt off when I don't have the kids and tire my brain out when I do have the kids trying to juggle everything. I don't live life so much as I survive life. But life doesn't have to be this way. I am hoping that a life change will allow me to experience life, not just survive it. Oh Florida is not Spain. There won't be guaranteed socialistic employment. There won't be long siestas and 6 hour work days. There won't be sleeping until noon and wandering the streets until after midnight (Ok maybe we can do this sometimes). But perhaps I can find a balance. Perhaps I can find a place where the people are happier, the living is more open, the life a tad slower. Perhaps I can live life and experience every day instead of being glad when the day is over and I can retreat to my bed.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Treading Water

Many of you may be wondering if this Blog is still active - that's a good question.

Last week some things rocked my world - tragic accidents, loss of people who shaped much of my childhood, a friend losing her husband in a car accident, big changes at work.

So I wrote nothing.

And I went sailing.

I spent the weekend lazing about in the Bay, talking about life, getting a little too much sun, and drinking champagne. It was so perfect.

And now I am contemplating lots of things, not the least of which is, "Do I have time for this blog?"

My Blog friends have been an amazing source of support, entertainment, comfort and encouragement over the last 14 months. At the moment I am overwhelmed with work, life, and contemplations to put it out there in the blog. Plus, knowing Ken reads this, sometimes I am not ready to share my personal thoughts with him. He insists on trespassing in my life. I could make this blog private, but choose not to do that either.

So my faithful bloggy buddies, for the moment I am not sure where this is going. And I miss reading all your blogs, too. Truth be told, I just haven't had time.

Thanks to all for your concern, your emails, your support. I hope to post some this coming weekend when I am looking forward to a little "ME" time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fascinated by Blood and Gore

Back from vacation but that will have to wait.

Yesterday tragedy struck in D.C. I was fortunate not to be involved. Thus far it appears none of my family or friends were involved. The morning commute has been crippled as fire, police, city and Metro officials try to sort out the disaster and try to figure out what caused the worst accident in Metro's 33 year history.

So much we take for granted. I used to ride that red line every day. Once the kids started driving to school, I stopped taking metro and instead let them practice driving to school then continued on my way with the car to work. I had decided that in the fall, I would go back to metro, having the kids drop me off as they pass on their way to school. Metro is fast, less expensive than driving and parking at work, "green," and normally, predictable. Yesterday changed all that.

But what irks me the most? People. Blood thirsty, gore-fascinated people. Rubberneckers. Gawkers. I almost ran a few over last night in my annoyance.

Last night I left work a little early to get to my summer soccer game. I am managing the team this summer and so have to pay refs and get people organized. I figured it would be good to arrive at least 5 minutes early rather than the quick slide into the game we usually do.

As I approached an overpass, I noticed helicopters circling overhead. 3 or 4 firetrucks had zoomed past. Police cars were coming from all directions. Clearly something bad was happening up ahead.

Then came the media trucks, zooming around everyone like they were entitled to. I noticed the Crowd, the Commoners, and pedestrians all abandoning their cars on the overpass and the surrounding areas so that they could rush to the side of the bridge with their cell phone cameras to have a look and get a photo. WTF.

I still didn't know what had happened. I had the news on but nothing had come over yet. Then an alert came in on the blackberry about a Metro train crash. And it dawned on me that the majority of the people creating a traffic jam on the overpass, impeding the progress of the myriad of rescue vehicles who might actually be able to help the people trapped below, were simply rubberneckers trying to get a view of the gore.

I was and obviously still am appalled. If I thought I could help, I would have stopped to help. But I realized my car would only add to the mess, keeping more fire trucks and rescue vehicles from getting to the scene of the accident. Instead I tried to keep an eye out for approaching rescue trucks to let them pass while trying to vacate the area and reduce congestion.

Now I understand why police directing traffic around an accident get so annoyed.

The latest count is 7 dead (down from the 9 originally thought) and 2 in critical condition, 72 taken to the hospital. I prayed for the families involved, for the people injured and for those who experienced the trauma of the accident. And I prayed for wisdom for the stupid people who didn't know enough to stop gawking and get out of the way.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

And They are Off

A certain Daughter was ready to go more than a week ahead of time. Here's the list she made and checked off. She is so organized! Now Son? He was still deciding what to wear as we were getting in the car for the airport.... (well not really but almost)

I have not seen two teenagers so excited in a very long time. Even the airport in Madrid required us to stop, enjoy the scenery and take some photos. I will say that the Madrid airport has changed a LOT in 12 years. The architecture is pretty awesome. So Son started his Picasso thing and started with photos of the airport...The beams change color as you go down the airport. It was very cool. And the ceiling has a unique wave to it.

We took a cab to our hotel, then I took the metro back to the airport to get a bag we forgot (ok maybe somebody packed too much stuff), and then finally? We went sight seeing. Everywhere we went the kids were so excited. Every experience was/is so new! While I went back to the airport, they walked over to the Retiro Park alone. They immediately encountered other Spanish students who wanted to talk to them in English. Then some Asian folks came up and said, "Hi How are you" in very heavily accented English. The kids thought it was funny that people could pick them out as Americans. Um DUH You have blonde hair, blue eyes and flip flops. It's a Dead Give Away....

The Plaza Mayor in Madrid - I took this same photo of the kids' Grandparents about 13 years ago. A strange De Ja Vu moment....

Plaza Mayor is filled with Disney Characters who make balloons and want your money. Or want your Daughter. Everywhere we went, men and boys made eyes at Daughter. Hell one just went up to her and told her she was the love of his life. Imagine his surprise when I came up behind him and said (in Spanish) "I am the MOTHER...." So when Pooh started making eyes at Daughter, Son decided to attack back with a big Hug. It was hilarious.

We also took a tour the the Royal Palace in Madrid. The tour is about an hour shorter than 12 years ago - now you only get to see the main floor, not the bedrooms and the crypt. But still? It was amazing. The best part? The kids enjoying every minute. When I thought about this trip all year, before I ever knew if I could pull it off, I thought about what the kids would enjoy. I really wasn't sure - I figured they'd love the food and some of the sights and definitely going to see old friends. But beyond that? I wasn't sure. But my kids have amazed me. They oohed and awed at every little thing. They totally absorbed every thing the tour guide said in the palace. We spent a lot of time looking at every jar in the pharmacy, every sword in the armory. They keep saying, "This is so awesome!"
And as I was walking down the street emailing their Dad to let him know we were ok, I almost emailed him, "Wish you were here." Because in truth? I had hoped that we would be friends by now. I thought about how much he would enjoy watching his kids rediscover Spain. And I am sorry for him and for them that I am the only one who gets to experience this with them. But that? Is not my fault.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Random Thoughts for While I Am Away

The saturday before leaving on the Big Vaca, daughter had her soccer party. These are mostly high school Juniors - alas one senior who is leaving the girls after many years (the league is by age). The senior was co-captain. Her co-captain wrote her a poem and read it to the team. It was short and cute and I wish I could remember it all, but I do remember bits.. "you're the salt to my're the filling in my pie." it was totally adorable about how they rounded each other out as Captains.

And Daughter? Is one of the new Captains for this, their FareWell Year (it is a traveling club team, not the school team).

Monday, June 8, 2009

Adios Amigos

Sunday night 12:12 a.m. Or Is This Monday?
  • Garmin updated with Spanish Maps? CHECK
  • Checked in to flights? CHECK
  • Kids packed? Check - more or less
  • Mom Packed? Check sort of
  • Lawn mower while we are away arranged? CHECK
  • Mail stopped? CHECK
  • Flower waterer hired? CHECK
  • Global cell phones activated? CHECK
  • Hotels and Car Booked? CHECKED FINALLY!!!! (last night 3 a.m.)
  • etc etc etc? Mostly checked.

We still have some errands to run tomorrow. And I'd like to finish editing a brief tonight. What's that you say, it's after midnight? Well no, it's after 6am where we're going, time to get up and start a new day!

Oh and my last soccer game of the season? Killer! We won with no major injuries, just a scraped up ankle. And an awesome Assist. Nice way to end a season.

On my list of Things To Do Tomorrow? Get the team signed up for the Summer Session. First game? The day after I get back.....

So No Blogging for a while bloggy friends - off to Spain for 2 weeks! Woot!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Did Anyone Notice My Awesome Shrubs?

No No No not the pretty girl with the adorable doggies, look behind her. What do you see?
Well, to appreciate what you see, you could go find out the history of when they were merely sticks..AKA The Big Lawn Project in 102 degrees on July 4th....
If that's too much, just look below. That's what they looked like less than 2 years go.

Yeah, I'm proud of my pretty pink bushes! And yes, if you cut azaleas back to the sticks, they WILL grow back beautifully!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Gutsy Deer

Apparently I live in the woods, not 8 miles outside of Washington DC in a 40+ Year Old neighborhood. And Dogs? What about them? Apparently deer eat dogs? Or are otherwise not afraid.
yes this was taken from my home office window, where the deer lay about 50 feet away. gorgeous. And now? I have to go out and reapply "Deer Away" to my hosta before they are All Gone Again.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Seniors? really? Or "And Then I Cried All The Way To Work"

When the Kids were a tiny baby, I used to put on Aladdin's "A whole new world" and dance around the house with them. Two Tiny New babies and a whole world of possibilities. Even then I would tear up, knowing that they would grow so fast. But the possiblities? So Endless.

As they grew, I tried to enjoy every moment. Honestly I never wished for them to go back and be small again. As they outgrew baby toys, bath seats, potty chairs, training wheels, bed rails, I chucked it all as fast as I could. I did save 1 crib for that "someday grandchild." But otherwise? Most of it is all gone, on to another family who hopefully used what we no longer needed.

And as they grew, I started taking photos - the First and Last day of school photos. A Must. even when they were 3 in Spain, we took photos. When they were small it was exciting for them. the Middle school years were tough ones - grimacing, grumbling awkward kids, Son trying hard to be taller than Daughter, who had him by 3 inches. How embarassing.

And Every Year? On the First and Last Day of School? I cried. I am excited for them, happy they are growing and learning. Blessed to have wonderful, healthy, outgoing, dynamic kids. But still? I cry.

So Friday after I took their photos and waved them good-bye as they drove themselves to school, I put on Disney's Aladdin soundtrack, sang, "I can show you the world, take you wonder by wonder, over sideways and under on a magic carpet ride. " And? Yep. Cried. Like a baby.

And I hope for them they have seen some of the wonders of the world. Have I given them glimpses of a Magic Carpet Ride? Have I been a good mom? At least sometimes? And I think of the times I yelled at them, or spanked them, or denied them something that really wouldn't have made a difference, or a game I missed, or a concert. Have I been the Mom I thought I could be back in the days of dancing on the lake to Aladdin?
And then I remember the things we've learned, taught, experienced together. The laughter, the joys, the sharing, and I know I've been a pretty good mom. And they are learning and growing and turning into wonderful adults. Not perfect, no none of us are perfect. And how boring would that be anyway?

But my babies can't possibly be Seniors In High School. Or Can they? See for yourself....

Friday, May 29, 2009

When Warts are Life Threatening Emergencies

If you are a 16 YO girl with a wart on your knee and are leaving for Spain for 5 weeks to hang with other teens, a wart is indeed a matter of life and death. This particular wart could ruin your entire future as you know it.

If you are a pediatrician, a wart on the knee could be approached with any number of treatments, all of which will eventually possibly remove the wart.

If you are a 16 YO girl who spent every other week in a dermatologist for 4 months trying to get the warts burned off your feet, only to have them grow back exponentially increased with a vengence, you do NOT want your knee wart burned off. You want it cut off. TODAY.

If you are a dematologist, you do not have any appointments for the next 374 days for a simple thing like a wart on a knee. Call back next year. thank you.

If you are a Mom with a precious Daughter who needs a Wart removed TODAY, you will find a way....

enter cell phones and bull sh**. Picture this:

Mother and Daughter, cell phones in hand, list of dermatologists recommended by Pediatrician in Hand, standing in Pediatrician hallway, dialing frantically for someone with an opening so that the Pediatrician can write the referral.
DAUGHTER: What do I say?
MOM: First, you tell them you're calling from the Pediatrician's office with a referral and do they take XYZ insurance. If YES, then you say you have a young woman with a history of wart issues, with a wart on the knee that is causing pain when walking. Said girl is leaving the country for the summer and needs it removed before leaving........
DAUGHTER: I'm only going to spain for 5 weeks.
MOM: No you are going "for the summer." How do you define summer after all?

DAUGHTER: It doesn't hurt when I walk.
MOM: YES IT DOES. Now call. And be convincing.

After 10 calls I opt for an appointment in 3 days where I have to pay out of pocket. What price harmony and pleasure for my daughter?
After 12 calls Daughter gets a positive hit In-Network for 5 days out. Book that, make note to cancel if get something else first.
After 15 calls Mom gets a direct hit In-Network for next day! High Fives all around.

Next day, Mother/Daughter team heads to Dermatologist.
Dermatologist is already aiming his Freezer Concoction when we stop him short. I try to explain, Daughter says, "Let me take this one mom." She explains her Wart History. She appeals to his Father-of-teenager-understanding. She looks him in the eye and says, "JUST CUT IT OFF."
Dr. looks at Mom with eyebrows raised.
Mom says, "She's the boss. Oh and she's the toughest kid you'll ever know."

Dr. does as asked. 3/4 of the way through, as Daughter has flinched not a millimeter, Dr. looks at mom and says, "Oh by the way, you weren't kidding. She's one tough cookie."

And before it was done? She insisted on looking, despite his warnings to the contrary.

The knee is blissfully wart free. And Scar free much to the amazement of the Dr. who was skeptical about cutting it off her knee.

And Daughter? Is even more psyched for her trip to Spain. As if that were even possible.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Person you call whose Life Sucks more than Yours

Sometimes when I know I'm feeling melancholy and blue about nothing that should matter, when I have trouble counting my blessings, I call someone I can count on to have a suckier life than mine. Kind of like a Suck-It-Up Slap in the Face.

Sadly that person? Is often my Brother. Now on the Life Sucks Scale-o-meter, his life isn't horribly terrible. He has a very loving wife. He has a lazy adorable 18 YO Son. He has a ginormous nosey loving extended family. He has a job. But all those things? They're just slightly off-kilter. The Son, who is adorable and brilliant and loving, lives with his conniving, manipulative, self-centered Mother, a woman who does not value truth or hard work or responsibility. Therefore, my brilliant nephew may or may not graduate high school next week. Why? He hasn't turned in his homework assignments. Is he allowed to play lacrosse and spend weekends with his girlfriend while carrying a 24% (yes I said 24%) in a class he could pass 1/2 asleep? Yep. And does his Mother lie to his father about this stuff? Yep. (My brother lives, sadly, 3000 miles away - another lie told that moved the Son away).

His job? A tough one in a tough economy- SALES. People routinely blow him off, he drives for days to make sales, he comes home tired and exhausted and doesn't get stuff done around the house. And he faces constant quota pressure among other things. His salary has taken a hit I believe - meanwhile his Ex-Wife is raking in more child support than ever because of some crazy Texas law and it really aggravates him. Not that he won't support his Son - somehow despite the thousands of dollars sent every month, the Boy shows up for the summer with no clothes that fit so they immediately have to go shopping. It's complicated and trust me, it stinks to be my Brother on this one.

And so today when I was feeling blah - been boo-hooing about the end of the school year and the kids getting older instead of looking forward to our trip to Spain. Boo-hooing about all the crap in my house that I need to de-clutter and think about moving next year instead of being thankful I have more than I need. Boo-hooing about potentially leaving a job I love to go off to some southern land instead of thanking God I have a great job I love. Yeah I called Brother. And in 5 minutes? Was thankful again to be me.

**edited to add: I do NOT just call him for these reasons - I totally adore my brother and think he has amazing qualities - for example he's a kick-butt musician and composer and there are many times I wish I could be him. But sometimes, like today, I'm glad I'm NOT!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Prom Trumps All

I had lunch with Jenn and managed to catch up briefly with Kate and Cheri, but then headed home to be with Daughter for her big day. And as much as I missed out on some conference meetings, had to rearrange major work issues, and canceled Jenn's party, there was no place on Earth I wanted to be more.

Let the "getting Ready" begin. And the STOP TAKING MY PICTURE COMPLAINTS begin, too.

Friend E begins the Hair preparations....

A little while later, we're still messing with various Hair ideas. Still Griping about Photos. But friend N is happy to give a big smile.

Friend J steps in to help with a bracelet. still Grousing about photos. Still snapping away anyway....
Ah finally we are ready - and waiting for the Boy to Arrive who is stuck in traffic on the Friday of Memorial day Weekend... SO I get the bright idea for a Mother/Daughter photo. And she even smiles for me. I forgot to suck it in....

FINALLY the Boy arrives. We go through the boutonniere pinning, the corsage exchange. And FINALLY FINALLY we get some pretty smiles. No Grousing. Boys.

And then. the Girls who made it all happen. With the Happy Couple.

Prom Night. Our Very First. I have to go cry now....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Goin' Where the Weather Suits my Clothes

once again I haven't fallen to some evil plot - just having a hell of a time here with the Captain, Friends, Family.

And tomorrow? Headed out to SAN DIEGO! Yes I am going to a conference, going to do a little moving and shaking and when that is done? Going to Hang with my Bitches!! Yep lunch with Cheri and Kate. And then Friday? Jenn is going to put up with me for Two WHOLE Days and is treating me to some awesome meeting of elephants at the Zoo. I am so ridiculously excited. She's going to wonder why she ever agreed to meet anyone in real life she's only met through blogging. Me? I have to go look through my shoes for the best pair to meet the Bitches! I should probably just go shopping....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Morning Drive

A glimpse into my morning. Why? Because it makes me laugh.

Daughter driving. Me riding shotgun putting on makeup. "V" (also 16) playing dj with her IPOD. We started with the theme to Pokemon. No I am not making this up. Pokemon.

Then a song from Twilight written by paramour. Next the doobie brothers "listen to the music." All on one ipod. All chosen by one child. Meanwhile Son quizzes V with her SAT words - one I had to admit I had never heard "oevre" couldn't even pronounce it. Meaning? "complete works of an artist." OK I have learned something new today.

And the grand finale? "Crazy" by Brittany Spears plays loudly with Son doing a dance in the back seat. Oh wait, time for one more. "Africa. "

No I am not making this up. I can't imagine crazier stuff than real life.

Welcome to my morning. I will miss this next year when they drive alone....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Days Gone By and PROM

Daughter is getting ready for her first prom. A couple weeks ago we went shopping. We shopped and shopped and schlepped and shopped - unsuccessfully. And then we shopped some more. And just when we gave up? Daughter spotted a store full of long gowns. and EUREKA! A gown. A gorgeous, elegant, powder blue strapless gown with beading and a white underlay (hell I know NOTHING about fashion, but it has some white stuff under the blue skirt that you can see).

Elegant? Yes elegant. Not slutty. Not hip-hoppy. Elegant the way a prom lady should look, at least in this old-fashioned-mother's eyes.

Another shopping trip to find shoes. Well a couple shopping trips. First she wanted white shoes. But no one has white shoes. So I convinced her she wants silver shoes. Because silver goes way better than white plus I already have the perfect silver evening bag to match. So we found gorgeous strappy silver sandals. And they are adorable.

So we took the shoes and the dress to the tailor to try on for the dress to be altered. For 3 million dollars the dress will fit perfectly. mama where are you when I need you??!! and why didn't you teach me to sew?

And after the trip to the alternations lady? I dragged out my old photo albums and showed Daughter photos of me and my first prom.

My first dress? Nearly the exact same color powder blue. long. elegant. nearly strapless except for the little straps to keep it up b/c me? I had no boobs like Daughter has gorgeous boobs. My boyfriend? Totally dorky. the memories? Priceless.

We giggled over the boys, the styles, the tuxes, and? she liked my dress!!!

And then? After she left, I went through other albums. Found photos of other boys, and then - first photos of Ex.

And I realized? My feelings for Ex are pretty much the same as the feelings for my first prom date, my second prom date, my third prom date, my college boyfriends: all boys I knew once. That's all.

OK so I have a few more photos of Ex than I do of the rest of the Boys of my Past. But still? He's just a boy. A Boy I knew once.

And that? Feels good.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

And that's when I knew it was Bad

Playing along with Prompt Tuesday - and on Tuesday no Less! Well Shake Me Out and Call Me A Miracle.... For Rules of the Game see the Awesome non-PMSing San Diego Momma....

It is supposed to start with the following and be a 10 minute brain dump. I think I did it, but maybe too many words? (250) I can't count after all...

“What are you doing here?” I hadn’t thought to knock.

Aaron raised his head from the table. His eyes wouldn’t meet mine. “We need to talk.”

Talk? What's this Talk? my Brother never says more than 3 words to me. And he Never Comes Here. Ok Never's an exaggeration. Hardly Ever. So Why is he sitting at my Sister's table at this hour and - ready to "talk."

"OK So we're both here - you been here long?" What else could I say?

"Long enough," he said. Long enough for WHAT? Oh right. This is my Brother. Wait for it. Wait for it.

So I tried it his way. I pulled out the beautifully appointed mahogany kitchen chair at the high polished table (who but my Sister could pull this off? And unexpectedly at this late hour? And where is she?), sat down and waited for Him to Speak.

Then Finally, "She needs help." She - who she? My sister? my Mother? My sister-in-law? His cat? What?

"I'm sorry Bro, I'm not quite following you." Simple. Direct. To the point. And killing me, sitting here all jazzed up, brain at 240, mouth shut down to a school zone speed limit....

"Stacy." Ah at last a name. My sister. WTF? She needs help? Has he looked around here? This is my nirvana. I've always wished I could be my sister.

"Don't you ever wonder where the money comes from? How she does all this? How she has the energy for it all?" Duh Bro her husband is the leading podiatrist in the city. I think I know where the money comes from. And Stacy was always energetic.

"Still not following you Bro'" God bless me for not adding "WTF" in my out loud voice.

"I found these hiding in the toilet last time I was here a few months ago. Since then I've been watching her. Wipe that look off your face. I know you're clueless hon, but they're uppers. And she's dealing. And now? We need to talk."

Monday, May 11, 2009

When the Days and Nights are Backwards

A funny thing happened during trial - my days and nights became all days and now I can't find my nights.

I can't sleep. At least not when I'm supposed to.

Last night I bopped around the house alone (kids began their stint with Ex) and did laundry until 130 a.m. I kept telling myself to GO TO BED. I knew I had to get up at 530ish which became 6ish which became 630shitish-my-hair-is-a-disaster-and-I-have-a-big-meeting-today. But I just wasn't sleepy last night.

Even after a kickass weekend. Saturday we gardened and cleaned and ate out and went shopping and should be all tired right? Nope watched old movies til 230 a.m.

Up at 7 a.m. with the dogs, who decided rolling in Deer Poop would be a fun Mother's Day present. So before teaching Sunday School I got to bathe 2 dogs and then try to dry and brush them. Stinky? 2 minutes total all the way around. Queen Bee? I should still be brushing her. And the bathroom floor? Looked tan instead. Could not see the black tile, I kid you not. Thankfully the 16YO's finally woke up and quickly vacuumed for me.

the Rest of Mother's day was awesome - Daughter had a soccer game, I had a soccer game. I have learned to score and win and play my ass off without hurting it. This is a major accomplishment!

so when I got home at 10 pm from my game? Wasn't I tired after 4 hours of sleep the night before and a lot of "running" around? Apparently not.

So today? I fell asleep as soon as I got home from work at 5pm. And slept until 9pm. And now? I'm wide awake. Doing the project I should have done today. Oh wait, I think I'm blogging actually instead of working. Meaning tomorrow? Will be another day of 4 hours of sleep.

How do I get my nights back where they belong??!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What Torture is This now?

Women suffer it all (in no particular order other than random): waxing, teasing, plucking, scrubbing, mud baths, depilatories, child birth, sloughing, peeling, dyes, straightening, curling, ironing, injections, and now....


Because we haven't come up with enough ways to be - um - handled? Mauled? Abused?

And you can get it done right out in the open at the mall kiosk. Yeah. That's where I like to have my personal grooming done. Right where everyone can watch. Do the nose hairs while you're at it ok?

Am I alone here or does anyone else find this slightly offensive??

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

At least the Shoes were Killer

Sometimes you just have to take comfort knowing that when all else goes down the toilet, at least you were wearing killer shoes and looking good.

After 6 days of Trial - one extra day because the sewer system in the great city of Baltimore collapsed and created havoc on the city for a week, shutting down all hotels, eateries and the Court for 1 day - we got a jury verdict. And it wasn't good. At least not for my side.

It's hard to put in 300 hours in 1 month, fall in love with your client (no not like that, I mean these are just really good, awesome people), get a rapport going with your DreamTeam and, well, the law or the jury instructions or the people or whatever, they Just. Didn't. Get. It. Were we surprised? Not really. We knew going in that this might be a tough one. Yet on another hand, we looked at it and said, "DUH - this is so simple!" But I guess it wasn't.

On the bright side? I snuck out Sunday and did power shopping. Found a carribean blue skirt suit that is, well, sharp. A little loud. But is my favorite blue color. And then. The Crowning moment. I found these:

After the trial while standing in the Courtroom waiting for the Deputy to return exhibits, the other side (all 5 of them) said, "By the way, we've all noticed and we have to tell you. Those are great shoes."

A little later, standing in front of the courthouse waiting for our car, we see Juror #1, a young, well-dressed woman who accessorizes beautifully. She asks to talk to us. I'm excited, thinking she's going to share what went on in the jury room (we can't approach them but they can ask us if they want). I explain that while I can't question her, she is free to talk to me. So she asks, "Where did you get those shoes?!"

And so? Maybe the verdict on our legal issue wasn't favorable, but the verdict on my Shoes? Pure Victory....

***Edited to add: Inquiring Minds want to know. I bought the shoes at Aldo. No not Prada. Who has that kind of money??!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

And the Winner Is........

Three Peas in a Pod totally nailed it - dead on. How many hours/days of diet cokes? 1.5 days. Now to be fair, Tuesday started at 8 a.m. and ended after midnight. Wednesday started at 8a.m. I took the photo at noon.

When I left the office for trial Friday, my shelf overflowth.

Yes, I drink too many diet cokes. The associate in charge of stocking our "war room" bought 2 cases. I told him it was a good start.....

I am off to trial for real now. No more playing hooky. I'll be back Friday to tell you how it went. And to Mail Sue her book!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I've Got a New Girlfriend.....

Normally I am not a gadget person. If they'd just make a darned cell phone that would last, I'd be fine.

You know, one that when left out in the rain for 3 days would continue to function.

So when Son left his out in the rain for 3 days, we had a situation. (he likes to test the waterproof-ability of electronics. So far Ipods and Cellphones? Not so waterproof....)

Amazingly Ex and I both told him the same thing, "I'm not paying for a new one...."

Lots of hours on the phone with VerizonWireless (who, by the way, are totally awesome. I heart Verizonwireless) and I discover I can get a crackberry practically free (I think it was $50) and my work picks up the email tab, my phone bill is otherwise unchanged, I no longer have to carry around the work-issued gigundo crackberry AND my phone, and besides, SHE'S ADORABLE!


Remember, I have a Pink Thing...

So Cheri? You can have your iPhone Boyfriend. Me, I like my new girlfriend...PinkBerry...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Someone's Working Long Hours....

[The photo above is blurry but I like that you can see my view of DC! And yes those are my bocce trophies from the firm tournament...]

That's my windowledge where I collect diet cokes until I take the long 20 foot walk down the corridor to the pantry where the recycle bin is. So how many days - or hours - of diet cokes do you think that represents? Hmmm? And for those of you who know me - those are only the ones consumed in my office . The 5.a.m. and 7:30a.m. on my way to work ones aren't there, nor the on-my-way-home ones....

Go ahead. Guess. The answer will scare you....

what - a prize? you want a prize??? ok ok winner gets my book I'm reading that I won from Mama Milton...Angry Conversations With God

This book totally rocks my socks.

So drop a comment and a guess and please oh jeez leave me an email so I know where to contact the winner.

Contest closes.....ummmm....Saturday April 25 9 a.m. EDT.....

Best Google Search Ever to Land Here

"married lady next door got nice big titties" That just cracked me up. His/her search landed some doozys. But he/she chose my blog to read from the results. Funny!

Most people just google "next door 2 my ex." [really Ken just bookmark the site - or even Better, become a follower! It's so much easier!] every once in a while there will be some random google search. But this one, for some reason, just totally cracked me up. Who googles like that??!! did he think he'd find a photo of his neighbor on the website?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I looked down and thought Frick I better not have a meeting today.

Day 2 of Back to School, back to kids, back to Life - oh but I'm still in 16-hour-a-day-Pretrial Mode.

I have finally convinced the 16 YEAR OLDS to make their own lunches. Whaddaya know they can do dishes and even - gasp - make breakfast. So I'm getting help there. It's crunch time people and I need a team effort.

I awoke early this morning, took Queen Bee and Stinky out, made time for my 10 minute trainer - oh BTW in which he lies b/c they stop that little 10 minute clock every time they change moves, so it's really closer to 12 minutes plus warm up and hey I need 20 minutes to do my 10 minute training. But I digress...

After showering, listening to radio, hear Big Accident on our normal route - oh and we are out of gas in the car and it was raining too hard to go get gas last night. Frick Frick Frick.

Hurry up, yell to children to hurry up, grab an outfit. Do I have a meeting today? Don't remember - better wear at least a semi-suit. [we have "dress your day" - I can wear fairly casual business clothes or a suit, depending. On Fridays it's jeans or capris in the summer. Unless I have a meeting. Who plans meetings on Fridays? Not me]

Grab my old standby Talbots purple silk suit. Not really PURPLE but kind of deep purply blueish. Properly muted as only Talbots would. White shell? Naaah that's boring. Hey there's an old shell I never wear - has some purple in it, a little muted green, some grey a little black. Perfect. Throw it on. Realize I can't find my hair straightener - maybe it's at work. Hurry Hurry run run. Finish packing lunches (what? they need checking - yep they forgot the fruit) and do Son's breakfast to go. Get in car a couple minutes earlier than normal, which is about 10 minutes later than we should have.

Get the kids to school on time - small miracle - get in the driver's seat (kids do the driving to school) look down at myself in the now sunlight and realize FRICK I DO NOT MATCH. Not even a little. The purple in the shell? A bright lilacky purple that in no way can even be in the same color family as my suit. You know how when colors are in the same family but not right they're worse than say, wearing Green and orange? Yeah. It's like that.

And I mentally run through my day and think, "Please God Don't let me have a meeting today."

And then I wonder how awake my Daughter was this morning - you know, the one driving? the one who is quick to tell me how terrible I look? Did she really not NOTICE this ensemble before we left the house?!

Note to self: Keep white shell on back of office door, just in case....