Friday, December 21, 2012

Another Other Side of a Year

Once upon a Blog I posted THIS.  Indeed a year and a half ago I wondered about things like this:

  Next year is sure to be rather momentous for all of us.  I can only hope that a year from now, I am again celebrating our strong bonds and our accomplishments!
Most of that post was about the kids - how they had changed after a year of college - their bonds, our bonds.  And I was contemplating the big move to Florida - would we survive as a family unit?

Now I am at the other side of a year and I think perhaps some of you are wondering how things are going. (Thank you Chitown Girl for hanging in there and checking in, even when I didn't respond....)

A little over a year ago when we all started contemplating Christmas plans for 2011, I was again stressing, terrified, stewing.  OK OK I was overanalyizing and obsessing (happy mom?!).  Would the kids feel comfortable in the "new" house?  How would they do when the Captain's kids came for Christmas?  How would they intermingle with the Captain's family?  Would it feel like Christmas?  Would they come....and would they ever come back.

I wrote the kids both a long email about the upcoming holidays 2011.  I laid it all out for them - how I felt about them, how important they were, but how I had to get on with my life, too.

They responded in a way that shocked me, but honestly it should not have.  They responded with love, with caring, and with a little bit of the Family Sarcasm, "Really mom?  You stress too much.  We love you.  We love the Captain.  It's all good."

The holidays were wonderful.  We took them sailing for New Year's Eve and Son, who has been sailing since 2 years old said, "This is the BEST sailing ever!"  Yes, the Captain is a bit more of a free spirit on the boat than my old family and I have to say, sailing is a lot of fun.

Spring break came, and so did the kids.  Lots of them.  Our tiny 3 bedroom beach house had 8 college kids (well mostly just 6, but one night we had some extras).  They shared one bathroom, did the towels, did the grocery shopping, shaped up one night when I ranted about the mess I was tired of coming home to after a long day at work, and generally we had a BLAST.
Fast forward to summer and where did Daughter opt to live?  In Sunny Florida with me!  Yes it was hard for her - her friends were in MD, she was lonely.  But she got a great job, her friends came to visit, we had a blow out week(s) of celebration when her brother, his girlfriend, and his best friend came for almost 2 weeks right before she went to spend the semester abroad.
Son then opted NOT to go back to school.  And where does he live?  Why right here with me in sunny Florida!  Yes he is bored many times.  But he found a job, has saved a signficant amount of money (no one to go play and party with!) and he has gotten his stuff together to go study abroad next semester just like Sister!!
This year the holidays again are at my house.  Their dad is a bit of a Grinch so they say.  And this year Son declared, "this Christmas is going to be the best ever.  It won't be all, 'Hey nice house Captain and nice to meet your son,' it will be 'Hey Forr Good to see you again I missed you!' and jokes and shopping with the Captain.  Great times mom!" 
Just days after Christmas, Daughter and Son will leave for dad's house.  I will see Daughter sometime in January to deliver the car she uses (she flies to his house, he drives her to school).  I will see Daughter in the spring for the annual Bridge Run.  Son will be off to Spain and I'm not sure when I'll see him.  They have both decided to take summer classes - he to catch up, she to add a couple more languages to her life (4 is not enough?!). 
The old me would have sweated the future, "When will I see them again?  Do they love me?  Do they regret this move?"  The new me knows unequivocally that my children and I share a very special, very strong bond.  We will weather any storm together.  And even if they live 1/2 way around the world, our hearts will always be together.
Yes indeed the other side of another year is looking very bright.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Don't Tell Me How To Grieve

We all have our own way of handling grief, responding to tragedy.  Don't tell me how to do it.

I am upset about Sandy Hook as is most of the world** and certainly most of the US.  I'm sad for the kids, for the parents, for the teachers, for the community. 

My way to handle grief is outrage.  My way to handle grief - after grieving for Columbine, Aurura, after living through the sniper shootings (yes that was my nieghborhood - my Ex was at that grocery store shopping the night it all began), this time I am doing more than crying.  This time I am outraged to the point of looking for ways to make a difference.  I want CHANGE.

No, I am not "taking advantage" of the grief to put forward my "political agenda."  I'm not defiling the graves of those innocent angels with my "political rhetoric."

Did you know some of the families of Newton hopped in their cars and drove to DC to voice their opinions about gun control?  Apparently I'm not the only one who is actively battling her grief.

So don't tell me NOT to post my opinion on facebook, or not to say/do anything "right now."  Don't tell me, "Now is not the time."  Maybe now is not the time for you.  And if it's not the time for you, I won't email you, talk to you, post to you about my grief and my concern.

Unlike you, I will respect that you will handle your grief in your way.

Let me handle mine in my way.

**I say "most of the world" because honestly, my daughter is in Spain right now living with a family and studying abroad.  The family is well educated, hosts exchange students regularly and has been very, very good to my daughter.  Their response to this tragedy?  "What's the big deal?  This is what happens in America.  It's how you treat each other."   

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Obesity Conspiracy

 There is definitely a conspiracy to make America fat and it includes the vending machine at work.  No, not just that we have a vending machine, but the prices of what's inside.  Recently I've noticed that they have started to include healthier snacks like popped chips and baked chips. 

 But tell me WHY oh WHY are these $1.00

And the very same size of THESE: 50 cents??

I think they're trying to make us fatter so we'll buy the cheaper chips!

And don't even GO THERE as to why I'm at the vending machine.  I ate my fat free cottage cheese and my edememe.  But I ran 4 miles (in 37 minutes thankyouverymuch) and walked another 1 with the dogs this morning and dammit I'M HUNGRY.

So I got the baked ones which, fortunately, left me no money to buy a second bag.

Wait maybe that's why they're more expensive, only buying one bag.....

naaaaaaah would've been more fun to buy 2.


Back to the gym.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Remembering Why I Made this Decision

Today I was walking to Court.  Sun Shining.  Birds singing?  Perhaps.  I didn't have an important role, but I was going to Federal Court as opposed to the State Court where I usually practice these days.

The walk reminded me of a place I was almost 6 years ago, when I first walked into Federal Court in South Florida.  I remember walking to Court in January, 80 degrees, hot in my suit.  Thinking about the cold back "home," I wondered why I didn't live in Florida, too?  The client, a Florida transplant, said, "I don't know why.  I love it here."

In that short conversation he planted a seed.  That seed twisted, turned, found a nice warm home in the soil and grew.  As it burst through the soil to the daylight, it gained strength, became fertilized, and took on its own true life.

That growing seed met the Captain, who watered, nurtured, and coaxed the seed to find its own true life.

As witnessed today, that question, perhaps rhetorical but answered nonetheless, became reality.

And I stopped in the street, looked up at the Court, and smiled to myself.

Happy to be where I am.  Grateful as you cannot begin to comprehend that I am where I am, with the people in my life this day who bless me beyond what I could possibly ever hope to have asked.  And so grateful to the many many friends and family who encouraged me to dive into this unexpected, daring and rewarding adventure. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Passive Aggressive Love Letters November (Linky?)

My friend over at How to Survive Life In the Suburbs is sponsoring a monthly linky where we all share our "Passive Aggressive Love Letters" - things we'd like to tell people but don't, so we write a letter and then never send it.  Why?  If you have to ask that question, you've never tried it.  Heck I think most of my early blogging was one giant letter to the Ex!!  (of course he eventually read them when he found my blog which totally cracked me up until it didn't!)

Anywhoo, I thought I would join in.  Try to get writing on a more regular basis.  And feel part of the blogging community once again.  Of course, this will require me to figure out how to link myself!  Whatevs.

Dear Aggressive Driver,

Why yes I did see you in my rearview mirror on my way to work today.  And I also saw the elderly gentleman in front of me going verrrry slowly.  I know you also saw the driver in front of me who was going reallllllly slowly.  I know you saw him because you attempted to zoom around all of us entirely too fast, without the use of a signal and with your "ME FIRST" attitude.  And I know that you know that I saw him, too, because just before you attempted your swerve move, I put on my signal and started to move into the left lane.  Thus we both moved into the left lane at the same time - you behind me.  I had plenty of room for the maneuver and you saw it coming.  So why the honking and yelling and hand motions for the next 1/2 mile down the road?  Because you didn't get in front of me, too?  Me, the person ultimately going straight, passing the loooong line of cars turning left onto the highway - the line you had to get into?  Yeah, allowing me to safely pass the elderly gentleman really slowed you down.  NOT.

Share the road babe.  We all have places to be.  Let's get there safely ok?

I Can Handle the Elderly, it's the obnoxious I want to run over

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Another Thanksgiving Dilemma

Once upon a time I [thought] I had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving and was in a dilemma.  That one worked out just fine, as things usually do.

This year, all the sudden it appears to be Thanksgiving again!!  I don't know how this happened, but somehow spending 2 weeks in Spain in October have tossed my internal calendar overboard, and I can't grasp that Christmas is just around the Corner, and Thanksgiving is about to run me over.

I [wrongly] assumed that we would head up to the Captain's mother's for Thanksgiving.  His brother and family live up there and that's what his family tends to do.  Hmmm.  But apparently brother and family are headed out of town, Mom wants to serve dinner at her church for homeless people.  I have no desire to cook a dinner - and I hate turkey anyway - with all the trimmings for 3 people (Yes Son is home until Christmas).  Yes I asked the Captain to ask Mom down here, and we would even pick her up, but either that didn't happen or she really wants to volunteer at the church.

I would like to see Mom, and am trying to get the Captain to inquire as to whether the Church needs us to help, too?  That would be a cool thing to do and Son agrees.  Captain has another brother - single - and we need to figure out his expectations.

Captain also has a grown son who is local who might be looking for a meal (with his girlfriend/housemate). 

Meanwhile, I have company here from out of town today, another to pick up at the airport tomorrow, another coming in Friday, company this weekend expecting to go sailing on a boat who's galley and refrigeration system are currently all over the patio being repair/painted, so I can't really think about next week.


So what are you doing for Thanksgiving? 

Monday, November 12, 2012

I Have become My Neighbor

When I was a kid, the family across the street had a very observant mother.  She always knew when we came home, who was there, and even if we were celebrating a special family dinner in the dining room which overlooked the street.

When I moved into my house in Maryland where I lived until last year's move, the kids were 6.  A lovely lady/family lived across the street.  Her kids were mostly grown.  She often commented on how she loved to watch the "comings and goings" at our house.  AKA the constant chaos of moms and kids on the go.  When we divorced, I kept the house, and I was always comfortable knowing that my neighbor was keeping a very watchful eye on things at my house.  OK well mostly I was comfortable with that.

Now, I am the older lady who lives across the street, with grown children off at college (more or less) and I delight in watching the "comings and goings" of the family across the street.  They have 2 teenage girls and a darling, energetic 9 year old boy who can usually be seen running wildly and gleefully around the yard/neighborhood.  I know precisely when they are leaving for school every morning, because just like my Son at that age, they have to yell and scream and then just start backing out the driveway before he finally gets his act together and gets in the car.  I accept packages for them from FedEx, offer advice (when asked) about teenagers and computers and privacy and such.  But mostly I watch the comings and goings and the chaos I once knew.

And I realized, I am my neighbor.  I am that older woman with no kids living across the street.  And it made me a little sad. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My First National Election in Florida....

I was so excited to vote in Florida- finally my vote would "count."  In Maryland where I lived it was decidely democratic so it really didn't matter if I voted.  But in Florida we were a "swing state" so I was determined to wait out the lines no matter what - plus of course there are the important local elections in which some of my new friends were running.

Silly me - "my vote counts."  LMAO.  They had already called the election for Obama and people in Miami were STILL in line waiting to vote.  Rumor has it the last voter voted at 1am.  Yeah for you for sticking it out!!

And quite frankly it's a good thing they didn't need Florida.  Oye vey the stories and things I have seen.

How do they vote in Florida? 
  1. Wait in line for 15 minutes or 8 hours or something in between;
  2. Show Driver's license (isn't that unconstitutional?!);
  3. Get GIANT voting cards, mine was 4 pages double sided (aka 8 pages);
  4. Go to "Privacy Booth" to fill out cards by filling in circles with black pen;
  5. "Privacy Booth" is not large enough to put cards side by side, so shuffle shuffle flip shuffle, try like hell to locate the page numbers, find said tiny page numbers in upper right hand corner that I can't read without my cheaters which I didn't bring, try to figure out if you've filled in all the squares on the 8 proposed amendments and ridiculous (unconstitutional??) "confirmation" of state supreme court judges;  recheck your work 3 times;
  6. Go wait in line for "scanner" which will read your card and count your vote and lock up your card after it reads it for safekeeping;
  7. Get a sticker and go home.
Apparently a coworker was trying to vote when the scanner broke, so the voter police (one person alone) opened the scanner and took out the cards without anyone else monitoring and no accountability.  What? 

Other voter tallies and voter cards mysteriously disappeared when counts went from 2000 to 1000 (cards vs. scanner counts) in early voting.

So yeah if you were depending on Florida it would've been another 34 days of fighting in courts.  Thank God the rest of the nation figured out how to vote and get it all counted and such.

BUT I VOTED.  Hope you did, too.  If your candidate didn't win, regardless "we" have a President.  I vowed my support for whichever candidate won before the verdict came in, and I hope we can all get behind this President this time.  Fighting each other clearly didn't work the first 4 years.

God Bless America and THANK YOU to the millions of men and women who have sacrificed their time (and some of them their lives) to give me this right to vote.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Turning over (another) new leaf....

Helllllloooo out there.  Yes I am the absentee blogger.   Not to be confused with an absentee voter.  But I did vote in person today (in Florida - in Broward county - will it count?  that's another post....)

As you know, I have lived in paradise for a year now.  Truly paradise.  The Captain continues to be amazing.  We have an amazing time living together, talking, sailing, laughing, entertaining an endless stream of visiting family, friends and children (and I was afraid the kids wouldn't come!! Silly me).

But along with this happiness has come an unwanted 15 pounds, an unhealthy partying lifestyle, and a lack of attention to my health.

I rationalized the first 5 pounds.

I denied the second 5 pounds.

It's the third 5 pounds that caused me to buy some new clothes.

And finally, the Captain, seeing my sadness with myself and unable to face it by myself, joined forces with me this weekend and we BOTH committed to a healthier lifestyle.

Yeah, we've done this a few (half-hearted) times over the last year.  But today?  I put my MONEY where my MOUTH is (oh and a cupcake but wait, I can explain....)

Today for the first time in my life, as a 20 year soccer athlete and marathon runner, I joined a gym AND hired a personal trainer.  I almost fainted at the cost, which promptly led them to show me a much more reasonable program.  Then came the body measurements.  Talk about humiliating.  I told him "JUST WRITE IT IN THE BOOK, I do NOT want to hear them out loud."  They'll take them every month to chart progress.  Accountability.

1 year.

Lose 15 pounds.

Lose 5% BMI.

Get back into the clothes that fit.

Rock the Shamrock 1/2 Marathon with my Brother for his 50th in March 2013

Shock my classmates at my 25th college reunion in June 2013.

Smile on my 47th birthday next September when I am back to my healthy lifestyle, avoiding the high cholesterol, heart disease genes just waiting for me to eat that cupcake.

OH right that um the cupcake ... it's like this - my personal trainer and I talked food - briefly. I know more about calories, good fat, bad fat, carbs, proteins, what when how and why than a dietitian (ok almost more).  But DOING it is another thing.  SOOOO he said, "Just avoid the white carbs - there are good carbs."  So as a farewell to those bad white carbs I love so much, I finally gave in and ate one of the cupcakes I brought in today to celebrate our American Rights.

Adios chubby!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Only a Lawyer Could Get Lost Going to Court

You may or may not know that I am severely directionally challenged.

Today I was on the other side of the law - the Juror.  Called to Jury Duty.

The instructions said arrive at 7:45.  Right.  I happen to know nothing happens in that Courthouse (or any courthouse) that involves juries before 9am.  Last time I got called to Jury Duty and actually showed up at the "appointed" time I sat for 90 minutes waiting.  So I figured I'd get there around 8ish.

I left a little later than anticipated.  So 8 would be a hustle.

But around 8 I was approaching the courthouse.  Or So I Thought.

I turned a block early to catch the better parking (forget what the jury instructions said about parking.  Amateurs.).  I looked for the parking garage I knew behind the Courthouse.  No Parking Garage.  No Courthouse.  Huh?

Drove around and around and around a few block for 10 minutes.  WTF  did they move the Courthouse?!  OK I've only been to this one once because I practice all over the state, but seriously?  I've been downtown dozens of times at an opposing lawyer's office who is right behind the courthouse....OMG he's right behind the FEDERAL courthouse and I need the STATE courthouse.  I am an idiot.  And totally blanking on where the state courthouse is.

Finally I start to panic at 8:10 and pop up the GPS.  Oh my holy hell I'm 4 blocks off and have to cross the damn bridge I've been avoiding because I thought for SURE it was on this side of the bridge.  I forget a parking garage all together, dump it at a meter out front and run in at 8:15.

I get to the Jury room, literally hundreds of people are there, sitting in the dark, staring at the dumb girl coming in 1/2 hour late, and getting all kinds of instructions.  That I'm missing.  But really? I think I know what I'm supposed to do.

So the really nice (not kidding) woman from the clerk's office asks me about my parking ticket validation.  I say, "Oh I'm at a meter."  And a look of horror crosses her face as she informs me a meter won't do as I'll likely be there ALL DAY.  Then I have to admit.  "OK I'm a lawyer, totally directionally challenged and couldn't find the juror parking garage."

So she hands me THIS:

And there it is, in giant letters and arrows, how to go around the block and magically find the juror parking garage.  At least I'm not the first person who couldn't find the juror lot.

But this kind lady takes it one step further.  She points to the windows, orients me behind the map in the proper geographic position and says, "HERE is where we are, HERE is where your car is HERE is where the garage is."  GO!

Only a lawyer like me could get lost going to the Courthouse.

And of course I spent the whole day there and did not get picked for a jury.  Which I would have LOVED.  Hell I didn't even get as far as a jury PANEL.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Back And Ranting! Tragedies All Around

I doubt there's anyone out there still reading, but the events of this past week have awakened my need to write...and to rant. I can't promise I'll stay, but I'm thinking writing is a good thing for me so maybe I will!

I cannot imagine a single American who hasn't been touched by the Colorado Tragedy.  I find myself scouring the online news for information about every single victim, especially those killed.  I want them to be remembered, I want their names and their accomplishments to live on forever.  I hope they never, ever print another word about the purported "Human" who did this.  Don't care about him, don't want to give him a second of any kind of "fame."  But the people involved?  They need recognition.  And rememberance.

And so, I read, and click, and watch, and cry.

And then, I see it.  Stories of CHILDREN at the movie.  No, I have not seen the movie.  But I have seen other Batman movies.  And they are violent.  And they are rated PG-13.  That's right PG-13

Why in the HELL would someone think it is appropriate to take a 4 year old or a 6 year old to a violent PG-13 movie?  Never mind the MIDNIGHT showing?

I think back to the last movie I did see in the theater (I rarely go - too cheap to pay all that money to fall asleep....).  The Captain and I saw Hunger Games.  We had read all the books.  I didn't really want to see the movie - the books were far too violent for me and gave me nightmares, despite the fact that yes I did think they were relatively good books (obviously - I read all 3 in 5 days).  But my large family convinced me the movie was well done and "not that violent."


Not that violent?  Kids getting killed left and right?  OK so maybe they don't actually show the kid getting killed.  See kids running.  See kid getting chased.  See attacker carrying large, sharp object.  See kid on ground not moving with blood everywhere.

That's not violent?

OK but I'm an adult who went to the PG-13 movie.

Someone explain to me what could possibly be right about 5 and 8 year old little boys going to a movie like that????  I about ripped their Dad's head off and reported him for child abuse, but the Captain steered me clear of such a confrontation.  (Besides, such actual violence would have been even worse for the kids).

Apparently too many parents lack any kind of judgment.  And therefore I propose that not only do movies have rating restrictions, but also that the restrictions apply without parental override.  Well, ok, maybe moderate override.  Such as, "PG-13, under 13 not admitted without parent, under 10 not admitted under any circumstances."  Same goes for R movies. 

Children are like a fine paella, cooking and maturing, adding ingredients at the right time.  If you just dump everything in all at the same time, they won't turn out right.  You have to prepare them for some of the ingredients and add them when they are ready to receive them.

I think I just have to stay away from movies.  Because the next time I see an inappropriately young child at a movie like that, I WILL confront the parent.  And probably get arrested.