Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Finding Motivation at the Beach

Once again I find myself at the beach.  Except this time it's pretty far north in FL where it's too cold to actually go to the beach and I'm at a work function.

As usual I moaned and groaned about this 3 days away from my "real" job with too much to do and no interest in schmoozing.

Then I shut up and listened.

And I discovered I work for a pretty cool, very successful company that might actually interest me in the long run.

I mean, I know I work for a fortune 500 company.  And I know they make money.  And I feel pretty confident in my job security.

But this week we saw numbers and heard pitches from CFO's and CLO's and CEO's about the company, the legal initiative, and what my future might look like here, particularly if I am successful in wooing the folks who hire legal support to hire me (as in house litigation) rather than continuing to hire the more expensive (and of course less awesome) outside counsel.  I realized that this in house group to which I belong has formed and grown and saved the company millions of dollars in the last few years, and that we are seen as a huge success story.  I realize that my little job in my little office in my little world is actually contributing to the greater good.  And that feels good.  I feel like I am starting to understand this company.  I'm seeing how it has been innovative over the last 5 years in order to stay profitable (even grow!) in this tough economy.

And that feels good.

Then the boss ORDERED us all to go out to lunch in our pre-assigned "mingling groups" and to drink a lot, eat a lot, and just get to know each other.  FUNNY!

As part of my new initiative to contribute more to the future of the company and not just collect  a paycheck, I drank an entire bottle of wine and made lots of jokes with my colleagues!  I'm such a good listener to the boss.

Time for a nap before dinner....


Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Old Lady in the Shoe

Once upon a time there was a mom with twins in school who was newly divorced, with a full time (and then some) job who juggled divorce stuff, kid stuff, job stuff, dating (?!) stuff and then some.

Then the twins left her and went to college.

She cried a lot.  Worked more.  Planned for when they would visit.

Then she got a new job.  Left the lonely home.  Moved to a warmer climate.  Moved in with the Perfect Captain.

She left the blogging world for a while.  then she tried to return.

But she felt like the old woman in the shoe.  Except without the children.

She visited blogs about life and chaos and kids and stuff.  And thought 'I remember when."

She read posts about kids and movies and allowances and thought "My views are so oooooold"

Am I really that old?  I am 46.  My kids are 20.

Yet somehow I feel like the old woman in the shoe.  Who once had so many children (because her kids' friends and their friends and the friends of friends seemingly ended up at my house...) she didn't know what to do.

And now?  I have so much time on my hands.  I just don't know what to do......
I find that I have lost the drive that had me running everywhere so fast, I wondered myself how I didn't spontaneously combust.  Yes I have joined a gym in an attempt to lose weight and get in shape.  Yes the Captain and I spend a LOT of time together - watching movies, hanging out on the couch talking, sailing, planning adventures.

Oh and if you ask him, we get our fair share of visitors.  (Like no room at the inn or on the floor for Christmas, overlapping winter breakers that will have 8 adults sleeping in a very small 3 bedroom house, and no news yet on spring break but last year we had 6-8 kids for a week....)

But still, in between visits, I feel like I waste so much time.  Gone from so much to do to...what to do?

anyone else understand this debacle???

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Confounded by technology...crap I am my mother

once upon a time there was  And there were templates.  And it was simple.

Then you discovered there were coded things behind the templates and you messed with the codes to change your basic template.  And if [when] you messed it all up you could "delete" and "revert'.

Then you left the blogging world for 147 years oh wait 18 months.

And you tried to blog again,.

But gmail had a new system.  And finding out just how to post a damn post became a herculean effort.

and following those blogs you used to follow?  forgetabboutit.

Not to mention messing with your design.

and after days/weeks/years/decades of spending time trying to figure it out, you accept what is, forget trying to change what you don't like and realize...

crap I am my mom.  We call the younger generation to sort out the "computer issues" and realize we just. can't. keep. up. with . technology.

Sigh.  am I alone here/????

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Seasons? We have seasons!!

People ask me all the time, "Do you miss the seasons?"


We have seasons.

For example, like the buds that first push through the ground in March up north, they start to appear here, except in October.

They come, first one by one, parking themselves in the center lane of A1A, aka Beach Road.  As October turns to November and then December, it becomes a cacophony of car carriers, convoyed down the center line, offloading the Caddies, Buicks, Lincolns, the occasional Bentley and Rolls Royce.  The trucks line up, nose to tail nose to tail, like the thousands of tulips I would see in the north in the spring, bringing to us the joys of the season.  The transportation has arrived, awaiting the flock of snow birds in their wake.

Shortly after the car carriers comes the awakening of the condos, the long covered over windows and sliders opening their eyes as the hurricane shutters go to storage.  Buildings, long silent and sleepy, awaken to the wheelchairs, walkers, and grocery carts of the snow birds.

High Season is here.

We go a little slower along A1A, the headless drivers going well below the speed limit.  But instead of impatience I thank them for the opportunity to look left and right along the beach, thankful for the sunshine, the light breeze, the top down and the birds flying overhead.  If I had been traveling my normal speed I might have missed this.

We drive downtown on a Friday night, wondering why we can't get all the way downtown.  Then we remember "HIGH SEASON." That means roads closed, a live band (FREE) downtown, dancing with our neighbors and friends, enjoying the peaceful evening, the slight chill in the air, the seasonal specials and good feelings of those on vacation.

Ah yes.  High Season.  Just one of the Seasons of South Florida.

So no, I do not miss the seasons.  I recognize a different kind of changing seasons.  And Love it just as much

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Experiments in Shell fish

For Christmas I went a little off the beaten track for Americans and made Paella.  No I'm not the least bit Spanish.  But I did live there a couple years and my daughter got off the plane from Spain 2 days before Christmas.  Plus, I rock at paella.  Spaniards have told me so.

Anyway, paella (the recipe I use, from Penelope Casas who is by far the most amazing Spanish cook/traveler I have ever found) requires all manner of fish, shellfish, chicken, pork, meat.  The recipe calls for 18 small clams and 18 mussels.

Two days before Christmas, while the Captain and I were attempting to go grocery shopping only one more time for the 11 people occupying my house for a week we went to Costco.  I was shocked to see they actually had the exact types of clams and mussels I needed.  But 18?  No I had to buy 5 pounds. Of each.  I briefly considered adding a trip to the local fish market to my already over-taxed life and decided the hell with it and bought 10 pounds of clams and mussels.

Enter the frugal, cheap Girl Next Door.  The Girl who can't throw food away, who despite being "comfortable" financially believes part of the reason she lives there is because she believes "waste not want not."

SO?  I threw the clams and mussels in the freezer for another day.

Enter Friday night.  Captain and I alone  (ALONE!) in our house.  First Friday night in ....a month?

Pour a glass of rum to share over rocks...the first alcoholic drink all week and this is a major improvement over the holidays.

Decide maybe we are hungry.  Pull out the clams.  Boil water.  Google, "Can you freeze clams and then eat them?"  Decide we can.  Chop up garlic, make garlic butter, find baguette bread in need of eating, add butter, cheese, toast.  Steam clams.  THEY OPEN!!!!!  pull out meat, drop in garlic butter mixture, grab toasted cheese bread.  Grab shared glass of rum.  Put on movie, bring food to living room.  Eat.

OMG this is awesome.  If we had planned it, it could not have tasted this good!  Score one for the Frugal girl!

Fast forward Sunday night.  Day of beach, putting away final Christmas lights, doing laundry.  Dinner?  "Hey Captain the clams worked, what about the mussels?  Get some cilantro, tomatoes, I have jalapenos, onions, get some wine, steam them.  Let's try it.  Worked for the clams!"

So I chop this and that and get it all going, buy fresh baguette bread but toast it anyway (sans cheese); make salad "just in case."

Boil mixture, put mussels in....wait.....wait.....wait.   Hmmmm they are not opening.

Well a few seem to open.

Time's up.  Pull out mussels that didn't open.

That would be 90%.

Mussels that did open?  Not sure they are technically "open."

Eat one....ewwwwwwww.  Dump the entire concoction in the trash, carry immediately outside.  Eat the salad.  Eat the bread.  Hope the one bite of mussels doesn't erupt into a more interesting evening.

SOoooooo shell fish 1  Us 1.

Good to know.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

60 Ways to Be a Martyr

I've decided I'm not the only one who should write a book.

The Ex needs to write one - "60 Ways to be a Martyr."  Yes after 6 years apart he has discovered yet another way to play the part.  But he doesn't realize I don't let him get away with it anymore.

It goes something like this:

Simple email request:  "Please send me Son's plane ticket info for his trip to Spain this semester." 

Response:  None.  ever.  (typical of 80% of the email I send him...still)

Talking to Son, Son says, "Oh yeah, I need to send you my plane info.  Dad asked me to."

I said:  WTF  (oh yes I did)
Son:  "Dad is intimidated by you I think.  I asked him why he didn't send it and he just mumbled some stuff about you, said something about me being responsible, and asked me to do it."
ME:  "BS Son.  I'm done with this.  Since you were 15 he has used every method possible to put you and your sister in the middle.  I've told him, therapists told him, family told him, friends told him DON'T DO IT.  but he does.  This is ridiculous.  We are parents together.  We at the very least have a business relationship of raising you.  If I ask for a plane reservation, there is absolutely no reason to get you involved.  I asked him because HE was supposed to do it and pay for it and I am the one with the relationship with our Spanish friends who will be picking you up, so our Spanish friends are waiting for an email from ME. [also Ex lives at the computer all day like I do and in theory the chances of getting a responsive email from Ex should be 80x greater than from a kid on semester break]   Yes you should email them, too.  But I promised to keep her in the loop and that's what I need to do.  We have the business of paying for college and expenses, I don't need you guys in the middle feeling like you're asking for something we didn't commit to.**  We made a legal commitment to get you through college and we will have to discuss that directly  - not through you."
Son:  Wow.  Ok.  I didn't know all this.
ME;  of course you didn't because I have tried to keep you out of the uncomfortable middle.
Son:  thanks.

So Yes 6 years later, he still plays the martyr.  He still puts the kids in the middle.  At least they are older now - technically adults - and yes they can and should have more responsibility in decision making and finances and "adult" things.  That doesn't mean their father can't communicate with me - especially when asked.

Like last night when I emailed, "What time exactly is daughter's surgery tomorrow?  And please call me the minute she's awake"

response - you guessed it - nothing.  I'm sure he would think in his small little head, "Why doesn't she ask Daughter."  well, I did, of course, and of course being Daughter, she didn't really know.  "Denial" she kept saying.

Email this morning from me. "WHAT TIME IS THE SURGERY.  All Daughter knew was she had to be up early.  What time is the surgery.  Please respond."

Finally an hour later (two hours after I knew they left for the hospital) he tells me "they just took her back.  Should be about an hour."

gee thanks.

And yes she is home, awake, recovering.  Thanks Son for letting me know.

**And another note, yes any time money comes up, Ex plays the "poor me" card despite the fact that he makes more money than I do, owns a bigger house, etc.  Which is precisely why I try to deal directly with him and not through the kids.  They don't need any more guilt thrown on them than he already manages.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

And I would change....nothing.

The holidays were crazy, let's just say.  Lots of people, lots and lots and lots of food, some of which decided to take up permanent residence in my already growing hips.  Way too much alcohol.  I do like the chaos of my family, the singing, the games, the noise.

But I am glad to have the peace and quiet of our house back.  Just me and the Captain.

So today for some reason as I'm driving to work, I thought, "What would I change about the Captain if I could?"

And the answer?


Is he "perfect"? - for me, yes.  Does he have faults?  Of course, but they are what make him so adorable, so The Captain.

And that made me smile, all the rest of the day.

Ironically, Son called to chat midday.  Forget that I have a job and that after 2 weeks of sleeping everyone realized they needed me NOW.  Of course I put it all aside to talk to him.  And we got to talking about his Girlfriend (GF).  She is gorgeous, intelligent, thoughtful, sweet, quick witted.  But .... but she is very, very quiet and not at all who I ever envisioned for him.  And he recognizes the things in her he would like to change.  (although he knows he cannot).  And that's when I told him....I'd change nothing about the Captain.  Not that he should give up on GF.  There are events in her life that apparently caused her to go from more outgoing person to this shy person.  But he should remember what he wants, what's important, and he should know that 1) he can't change her; 2) there is a person out there for him that he'll look at and say, "I wouldn't change a thing." 

Perhaps GF is his ultimate perfection. If she isn't, I hope he doesn't sell himself (and her) short.

Because finding the person you would not change one bit?  Priceless.