December 29, 2010

How is it that no one has pointed out the obvious to me?

As I may have mentioned a few posts back, I've been wandering aimlessly through this vacation.

Nothing is getting accomplished and I've been bored.

Last night it hit me.


And, as we all know, with me being a person who needs to have things to do that means I need lists.  I just don't know what came over me that I completely forgot to make a list.

So last night I made a list of things that I want to accomplish.  Now being that vacation will be coming to a close on Monday, it is not an ambitious list - just a few little things that I want/need to get done before then.

Things that, while in the big picture don't seem to mean much, will make me happy that they are complete.

Although, the more I think on it, the more I want to call a do-over.

Do you think the powers at be will let me start my vacation over?  No?  Yeah, I didn't think so either.

Oh, and Symdaddy?  What the hell is rugby?  Is that a football-like game where the players are crazy and don't wear padding??  I couldn't bear to watch if he wasn't wearing padding.....

December 28, 2010

Sometimes you actually do win - so you share the results

A long, long time ago (at the beginning of December) I entered a give-away.  I know! Me?  I never enter give-aways.  Usually.

But my dear friend, Nova, at Cherished By Me was giving away a SmileBox Premium Package for a year.  Have you ever played around with Smilebox?  Even the free version is addictive.

I'm not a photographer.  At all.  This fact has been documented far and wide.  But I see all the pictures around the blog-o-sphere and it makes me want to take better pictures.

When Nova hosted this give-away, I remembered how much I enjoyed playing around with the free version.  So, I thought - why not?  I entered.  And then promptly forgot all about it.  Because I never win anything.  Ever.

Then I saw a random tweet from Nova.  Asking if I'd seen the winners.  I hadn't.  So clicked over and discovered.....OMG! I'd won!  I was SOOOOO excited.

Then I received the email with the special code.  And I kind of ignored it.  Not on purpose, mind.  I received it on my Blackberry, while on the run.  I saved it to look at later when I was on the computer.  Then kind of forgot about it.  Because Christmas and all it's craziness ensued.

Today, I found it again.  And downloaded it.  Then proceeded to spend at least two and a half hours playing with it.

And without further ado . . . the result.

Click to play this Smilebox greeting
Create your own greeting - Powered by Smilebox
Greeting card made with Smilebox

Thank you once again, Nova.  I love it!  I will definitely be picking up my camera more often - just so I can play with Smilebox.

December 26, 2010

Stream of Consciousness.....

Somebody please remind me if I ever build, or buy, another house to make sure that there is at least one room on the ground floor that has a door.  Besides the bathroom, that is.

This house has an open floor plan downstairs.  And most of the time that is great.

But after you've been trapped in the house for two days - it's not so great.

After two days - you really don't want to look at, or talk to, the people you live with anymore.  No matter how much you might love them.

Christmas dawned with the onset of snow.  YAY!  Snow on Christmas day is a magical thing.

Until late afternoon.  And you have no plans to visit with your friends as you usually do.  Then it's not so great.

Then?  Then, the snow keeps falling.

And the next day?  Why, it's still falling.  Now you are beginning to hate snow.  Very much.  Yeah, that whole enchantment thing you had going with winter when you first moved here about 13 years ago?  It is soooo gone!  Now?  Now, you are ready to move back to Texas - be damned the heat and humidity.  At least there is air conditioning and NO SNOW (for the most part) in Texas.

You realize in the deep recesses of your brain that your fellow bloggers who live in places like Minnesota, Utah, New York and Canada would laugh at the snow you are currently cursing.  But they don't realize that we don't deal with snow well.  We live in the "South."  That means that the 4 to 6 inches that we received means we are "snowed in."  With the very same folks that you love so very much - but really can't stand the sight of any more.

Finally, you are able to get out for an hour or so - because the good folks at the Department of Transportation were on the ball (this time).  They were ready for this "storm."  You run out the door with glee.

But then you come home.  And guess what?

The Giants game has just started.  And guess what else?

They aren't doing well.  And the two fans - that you love so very much - are having total meltdowns.

And then?  That open floorplan that sounded like such a great idea?  Is no longer such a great idea.

December 24, 2010

Wishing You A Merry Christmas - in my usual long, rambling fashion

My Christmas Wish List is long and varied (world peace, a robust economy, hitting the lottery, that people will learn to use their traffic signals, etc.....) and I expect that Santa probably won't be able to pull it off this year for me; especially so late in the game.  I mean we are at the eleventh hour and here I am, just now writing my list.

As most of you already know, I've been on vacation since the 15th and will continue to be on vacation until the 3rd.

I'm going nuts over here.

Usually, when I'm on my Christmas vacation some of my time is filled with preparing for a party that we usually give.  We elected not to have it this year - so that left a huge pocket of time.  I wisely used that time to buy and wrap presents.  So I've been done for about a week now.

I do find it curious that we've not been invited to any holiday gatherings this year.  I have talked to a few people, who repeatedly tell me they want to get together.  I have responded with "Sounds good! Let's."  Only to hear nothing from them.  Apparently, we are expected to do all the entertaining.  Hmmph!

Once Christmas is over I also usually have various projects around the house that I plan on completing.

So far, this year, I don't have any.  Well, I take that back; I have a few in mind but either they cost lots of money or I just don't have the desire to do them.  

So basically, I've been wandering around aimlessly lately.  Quite bored.  Which makes me think that retirement might be pure hell for me - if I ever get to it.  

One would think being home with the two guys I would at least get some blog fodder from some of their antics.  They are falling down on the job because they've given me nothing.

Well, they probably would have - but it seems that we've all been going in our own directions this past week.  Now that Man-Child isn't held captive as a passenger in my car (where all the best conversations take place) it seems that I am spending quite a bit of time alone.

Normally, a hermit would relish this - but even a hermit can only take so much alone time.

At any rate, on to the purpose of this post.....

“The light of the Christmas star to you, The warmth of home and hearth to you, The cheer and good will of friends to you, The hope of a childlike heart to you, The joy of a thousand angels to you, The love of the Son and God’s peace to you.”  -- an Irish Blessing

May your eggnog have just the right amount of rum, may your turkey be moist and your gravy lump-free!

Much joy, peace and love for each of you and your families this Christmas.

December 19, 2010

The Fine Art of Trying to Schedule Time Together With Friends - it should totally involve wine, lots and lots of wine

This whole weekend has been an exercise in frustration.

But rather than bore you with all the minutiae that has driven me crazy over the past two days (traffic, crowds, more traffic) I thought I would share this nugget of wisdom with you instead.

"When you attempt to set up a girl's date so that your friends can exchange small gifts, catch up with each other and escape from their families for a few hours - don't make it complicated."

My dear, darling friend whom I love to pieces is doing her absolute damnedest to drive me completely insane.

First, there was the round of emails asking if we all wanted to get together.  We did.  Then there was the next round of emails asking when would be good.  Everyone replied any time except for the 16th and the 18th.  Instead of picking a date - there was another round of emails.  Finally, I replied that I was good for any date at all - SOMEBODY pick a date.  I figured it was better left in their hands to choose - since I don't have small children and I'm on vacation.  Finally a date and time was chosen - Sunday (today).

Then came the phone calls.  One tells me that she can't do it at the initial time because of an unexpected funeral - totally understandable.  So I call the first friend (the one who is trying to drive me crazy) we discuss and she suggests moving it to Monday.  Fine, I call second friend back she tells me that while she could do Monday - she would prefer to keep it on Sunday - just later in the evening - because of her husband's work schedule.  Fine.  I call first friend back - she waffles a little, but in the end is fine with it.  I call second friend back to let her know that we are set for Sunday (tonight) and that yes, she can borrow that dressy jacket for the party she was going to last night.

In between all the phone calls, I am attempting to find gas gift cards (did you even know they had these?  I didn't - what a great gift idea for the very poor teen driver in your life) which isn't as easy as driving to your nearest gas station; just so you know.  I ended up driving all over town trying to find gas cards for the most convenient gas stations in Man-Child's route to school.  After visiting 5 different stations - I finally found them. Yay!  I have a feeling these will be the best gift under the tree.

Upon arriving home, I immediately begin to regale Hubby with all the details of finding the gas cards and the drama centered around trying to schedule our girl's date.  His eyes immediately glazed over.

But apparently, some of it must have filtered into his brain because this morning he asked if we ever got the details straightened out for today.  I told him that we had.  Then I laughed and said, "But it's early yet.  First friend still has time to cancel."  We both laughed and went on our merry ways.

About 2:00 pm I receive a call from the first friend.  You see where this is going, right?

She cancelled.  She can't do it tonight.

Her reasons?  Very thin.  Very, VERY  thin.

Knowing her the way I do, I can honestly say I am not surprised.  But at the same time; she's lucky I love her so - otherwise I might have to smack her.

December 15, 2010

I'm SOOOOOO embarrassed...

You know that "wonderful" kid that I talk about all the time?

The one that your children can only aspire to be?

Yeah, THAT one.  Man-Child.

He has TOTALLY disgraced the family.


He has detention on Saturday.


His infraction?

Chewing gum.

I do NOT know where I went wrong with this kid, y'all.  Seriously.

Was I not strict enough?  Too strict??

I need advice - it is apparent that this kid is headed straight to the Big House and it's all my fault!

December 10, 2010

Torture and self-doubt. Surely, I'm not the only one?

“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often”  --Mark Twain
Is it just me that seems to have a problem speaking up about certain things?

I often think, particularly in a work environment, that how well I do my job should speak for itself.  And that, when opportunities arise, that my work ethic (which is AWESOME, if I do say so myself) should stand alone.

This is, unfortunately, never the case.  When opportunities arise – I have to fight my natural inclination to sit back and see what happens.  I have to force myself to speak on my own behalf.

In the time leading up to me actually saying something – I will worry myself sick.  This has, at least so far in my life, been an exercise in futility as usually, my outstanding (if I do say so myself) work ethic coupled with my speaking up works in my favor; far better than sitting back to see what happens ever does.

I mentioned some time back that my favorite colleague would be retiring this month.  What is to become of her position has been up in the air and cause for MUCH speculation (some of the rumors actually had me laughing out loud - they were that far fetched).

While technically not a promotion – it really kind of is – at least in perception.  Which, when posted on your resume looks pretty darn good – even if not reflected in the paycheck.

Considering that I have seniority and that fabulous work ethic – I assumed that I would be asked to fill her shoes.  And I was – kind of.  But never directly.  (Yeah – that’s the way the Big Guy works sometimes)

And then, things kind of spiraled into crazy-land (which seems to be the norm around here - because really?  What is the point of actually saying what you mean?)

Finally, I spoke up.  Kind of.  

I ended up emailing the Big Guy – only because unexpectedly he wasn’t here today and I knew I had to get this topic out in the open before I take off next Wednesday for the rest of the year (and yeah, I breathed a sigh of relief - because I'm a chicken and it's easier to email than go face to face sometimes). 

I mean – this really needs to be resolved ASAP - otherwise who knows what kind of insanity I will return to on the 3rd?

To say I worked myself into a state before hitting the send button is an understatement of epic proportions.  But, I finally screwed up my courage and hit send on the email.

To my utter relief (and to be honest – surprise) he emailed me back immediately saying that we will talk on Monday and that he was very open to my suggestion.

Now?  Now, I can breathe.  At least until Monday.

My question is this - why do I make it so hard on myself?  It really shouldn't be that hard to say, "Hey, this is what I think should happen and here is why" and then whatever happens, happens.  But I will have said my piece.

Am I the only one who puts myself through this kind of torture and self-doubt?

Upon reflection though - I realize I do this about EVERYTHING.  Even this blog.  Do you know how long I debated with myself about posting this?  *sigh*  One of these days, I might grow up.  But I doubt it.

December 7, 2010

I am woman; hear me roar. Apparently, that means I can (and will) take care of it all!

After staring at our naked Christmas tree for the past few several days - I finally got the decorations on it last night.  If you want to call it decorated.  It's not right.  I realized after looking at it for an hour or two - it was missing the usual bows, flower and bead picks; etc.  After taking a trip to the garage to look for the boxes holding these missing items - I decided the tree was done.

Hubby, being the ever helpful husband that he is, "straightened" the garage up a couple of months back.  I should have realized what this meant and put a stop to it immediately.  Since the shed STILL isn't done (yes, the one that I painted back in April!  But to be fair - since Hubby lost his job that project kinda went on the back burner) the garage is a total hellhole (I'm not kidding - I won't even take a picture because it's so bad - I'm too embarrassed).  But when it was "arranged" just so then I knew where everything was and could get to it.  After Hubby got done with it - there are boxes piled on top of boxes and everything is stacked at least three boxes deep and have heavy lawn equipment parked in front of it.  So in order to get to the boxes holding those critical Christmas tree accouterments I would basically need to drag everything out of the garage.  It's not happening.  So the tree - and the rest of the decorating for the house - is done.  We have the tree and the stockings.  Nothing else is needed this year.

Feeling that something was accomplished and that I was moving forward on my list of To-Do's; I then received the news that my nieces would be stopping for lunch or dinner this Saturday (they aren't quite sure what time they'll be here - yeah - it's always fun for the hostess to not have a clue when her guests are arriving) as they drive through on the way up north.  This is actually cause for jubilation - since they will be the first family to visit - but this weekend is one that I have a LOT to get done.  But, as they are just stopping for a few hours - it should be fine.

Until - as I was typing this post - I overheard Hubby on the phone - it sounds like he is trying to make plans for this "dine and dash" visit to turn into a weekend trip.  We WILL be having a chat about this as soon as he gets off the phone (and I get off the computer) - there just isn't time for a whole weekend of entertaining.  Unlike him, I have a lot that NEEDS to be done before Monday.  (Hmmm, he must have felt a cold shiver of dread up his spine as he just abruptly walked out of the room to finish his phone conversation.)

To round things out - Man-Child is having some kind of allergic reaction.  To what we don't know.  He had to come home early from school yesterday due to what I was told was "hives."  The things covering this child's face aren't "just" hives - they are hives from hell.  I can barely look at him - I just want to cry.  It looks so painful.  His entire face - and parts of his body - are covered in huge, red, angry-looking blotches.  Needless to say, I went into total mothering mode and began feeding him Benadryl.  It did absolutely nothing for him.  This morning it was worse.  So Hubby took him to the doctor.  All they can tell us is that it is an allergic reaction (gee I knew that and I don't even have a medical degree!) and gave him some steroids.

And this is where it becomes apparent that a father (even a concerned and involved one) is NOT a mother.  I came home from work and Man-Child's face looked even worse, if possible.  I asked him when he'd taken the first dose of the medicine.  . . . . . .

He hadn't taken any!

When asked why, he said that he was supposed to take three on the first day - and he couldn't figure out the the when's and how's, etc.  So he figured he'd wait until in the morning!  Meanwhile he is suffering (apparently he itches and it hurts when he touches any part of his face) unbearably (I'm sure this crazy, sub-freezing weather isn't helping any).  Why his father didn't INSIST that he start the medication immediately is completely beyond me.

Apparently, it is also my job to be the medication dispenser.  So I made Man-Child take one and laid out the times that he should take the remaining tablets for today and will set up his schedule for tomorrow.

Now, I need to go - because there is still some laundry to be dealt with, gifts to be wrapped, cleaning to be done. . . . . . the list is endless.

December 3, 2010

Life of Pi

by Yann Martel
This is another book that I probably would not have read had it not been suggested to me by friends.
Although, it got off to a slow start, in my opinion, I did end up thoroughly enjoying this story.
The book is about a boy named Pi who is the son of a zookeeper and has an exceptional love for God in all forms.  He practices Hindu, Christianity and Islam; much to the outrage of the leaders of each faith.
But the meat of the story begins when Pi and his family, along with some zoo animals, emigrate to North America aboard a cargo ship.
Unfortunately, the boat sinks and the only survivors are Pi, a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra and a Bengal tiger.
As you might imagine, soon there is only Pi and the tiger left in the lifeboat.  Pi must then rely on his knowledge and wits to stay alive until he is rescued – 227 days after the ship sank.
I have to admit, I kept thinking about this book – particularly the ending – long after I read it.  Which is quite unusual for me – usually I finish one, toss it aside and begin on the next.
So if you want a book that will make you appreciate that fiction sometimes makes a better story than the reality - this is the book for you.

December 2, 2010

Not too much has been going on over here....

Really.  It's been quiet here in my little corner.  It's been quiet because I've been trying to be more "there" for my family lately.  You know, disconnecting myself from the computer and spending time with them - especially since it's been brought to my attention that Man-Child will be leaving the nest very soon (in about 20 months or so to be exact!).

Yeah - that's not going to well.

Lately, immediately after dinner, Man-Child bolts upstairs to deal with some important texts/phone calls.  Apparently, there is a girl. (gasp!)  They aren't "dating" yet but have recently upgraded from texting only to actually talking on the phone.  It's only a matter of time.  (and by the way, I have very little info on this girl - I'm working on it.  Waterboarding is my next means of extracting information) 

So with Man-Child out of the way it would seem that Hubby and I would spend some quality time together.

Yeah - that's not going so well either.

After dinner, the tv gets turned on, I settle into the couch with a book to read if there is nothing on and he settles into his chair to watch whatever it is that catches his interest.

For about 10 minutes.  Then he's asleep.

I'm beginning to wonder why I bother.

November 24, 2010

Will he EVER learn???

It's been almost 20 years.  You think he'd have me figured out by now.

He hasn't.

I have had a bad day (for no particular reason.  Ladies, you understand, I'm sure).  I come home.  I'm pissy.  He asks what is wrong - and I tell him.  I tell him vehemently of all the things that went wrong today (there may or may not have been some slamming of things around - just to get my point across, you understand).  All I get is, "It'll be all right" from across the room.  Then he pipes in with, "Well, tomorrow will make you feel better."  And then I begin to cry.  Not a lot - just a bit.  Because I'm in a foul mood and just a tiny bit stressed.

AND, can someone please explain to me how having a houseful of people is supposed to make me feel better?  Although I do love these friends and their children dearly - please tell me how having my friend (who may or may not be going through a divorce) with her three boy children (who can be extremely wild) and her mother (who brings a whole 'nother set of issues with her) and my other friends (who have two really small children) is supposed to calm me down and keep me sane?  On Thanksgiving?

And while I don't have to do the majority of the cooking (thank GOD!) - I am supposed to come up with the desserts; which can someone else please tell me how I am supposed to do that when the Chef (Hubby) is downright SELFISH with the kitchen and the ovens?  And all this is supposed to calm me down!

No.  None of that will calm me down and make me feel better.  You know what would?  A hug.

That's it.  Nothing complicated.  Just a hug.

I've told him this repeatedly through the years.  But, apparently, upset women and tears must frighten the beejesus out of him.

So now that I've spilled it to you - without all the gory details and the smeared mascara on display - I feel better.

Enough to go to battle for an oven or two.  So that we can have desserts after dinner tomorrow.  And it will be great (especially if there is enough wine - and there will be, I will make sure of that).

So if I don't get around to see you before - have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sorry I've been dumping on you guys so much lately.  You've all been wonderful.  I count each and everyone of you as a blessing when I give thanks and will do so doubly tomorrow!  Mwah!!

November 20, 2010

Year of Wonders

As I sat down to write this post, I realized I haven't done a review since August!  Not that I haven't been reading - I have.  I just haven't read anything FABULOUS.

The book I'm going to tell you about today is a departure from my usual reads.  It's a historical novel.  Occasionally, I will read historical novels - but generally they don't catch my eye when I'm looking for something to read.  But on the recommendation of a friend I read this one.

by Geraldine Brooks

This novel is based on what happened when the bubonic plague struck Eyam, a small English village, in 1665. In an interview with Ms. Brooks it comes to light that there isn't much of a written record about that happened that year - not enough to create a non-fiction book.  So her imagination took over.

Imagine, if you will, living back then - when the medical field was primitive at best.  Living in a small village that has been hit by the plague.  Imagine the terror - never knowing who would die next.  Very few people who contracted the plague survived.

As was the way - the village was centered around the church; which meant that the rector was a powerful leader.  When he suggested that the town should quarantine itself to keep from spreading the disease - most of the town agreed.

Word was sent to the surrounding towns and a system was set in place where the villagers could receive goods and pay for them without any contact.  It was called the Boundary Stone.  In this stone they dug out holes and filled them with vinegar.  Then they would put coins inside the holes - they believed that the vinegar would cleanse the money - and leave a list of staples that were needed.  When the villagers from Eyam left the stone - then the merchant from the other town would come to collect the lists and the money and to drop off supplies.  This was the only "contact" they had with the outside world for an entire year.

As you can imagine people began to go a bit crazy.  People were dying left and right.  It was possible to fall ill in the morning and be dead by evening.  Whole families were wiped out.

Some people were convinced that this was a punishment sent by God and felt that they must atone for their sins.  Others claimed it was the work of witchcraft.

Others became extremely greedy and opportunistic. Taking advantage of their neighbor's plights.

While this book tells the story of the plague - there is also a story of great friendship.  This thread of the story shows us what we can become if we have someone in our lives who believes in us.

The book is 308 pages long but is a fairly quick read as the author has done a great job fleshing out the characters and tells the story in a way that encourages you to read a bit more to see what happens next.

All in all it was a very good book.  I didn't care for the ending - but I can understand why the author felt that was the way to end it.

November 15, 2010

I'm having a nervous breakdown....seriously.

Hello!  And welcome to your ringside seat whereupon you get to witness me have a complete and total meltdown.
It’s that wonderful time of year again – where I begin to stress over holiday stuff.  Why?  I don’t know – most of it I could do in my sleep.  But if I don’t stress – then where is the tradition?
This year – to add to the fun – we’ve had Man-Child take the test for his driver’s license; Junior Year Parent Night and work issues.  All within a week of each other.  Yay!
Although, the very prospect of sending my one and only child off – in a car; by himself; on the INTERSTATE to school every day is enough to make my head spin and my stomach nauseous - but still, I could deal.
Junior Year Parent Night – (for the uninitiated – JYPN is when the school has a meeting with the parents of the Junior class to tell them about the processes and timelines of what needs to be done prior to the Senior year to prepare for college.  Who knew that so much would need to be done this year?!?  The most laughable part was the way they kept reiterating that we shouldn’t do all the work for them – yeah, right.  Like any self-respecting 16 year old is going to take it upon himself to look up financial assistance, fill out forms and work on their resume and various applications without any nagging  "help") could also probably be dealt with without too much trauma.  But this meeting did slam home the fact that pretty soon my nest will be empty.
And the work stuff?  Well, let's just say that I’m sick of office politics and managers who can’t make a decision without a Magic 8 ball.  All I want to do is come to work – do my job and cash my check.  I don’t need or want to be embroiled in all this other crap.  For the most part, I love my job - but right now?  Right now, I just don't need all this drama. I’m hoping it all comes out in the wash soon without involving me any more than necessary.
In and of themselves, I could probably deal with each one okay.
But – something else has been going on.  Something I just couldn’t put my finger on.  
And then it hit me.  Not only is Thanksgiving NEXT WEEK – which in turn, kicks off the official “holiday season” – but this week we’ve hit the 6 month mark of unemployment.
Needless to say, this realization caused me to begin to hyperventilate.
Despite all my protestations that “everything will be fine” and “we will be okay” and blah, blah, blah and here let me sprinkle some fairy dust on it and all will be well – today it hit me.  Unemployment is due to run out soon.  

And no matter that Hubby’s idea for a business venture is a good one – there have been no bites.  And no matter how much I tweak and fine tune that resume and no matter how many contacts Hubby has – the fact of the matter is there aren’t any jobs out there to send the damn resume to any way.
And when all this came bubbling to the surface – I found myself in my car at lunch sobbing.

Not that sobbing ever really fixes anything.  And to top it off?  It didn’t even make me feel better and I had red eyes when I came back to the office.  They probably think I’m having  “liquid lunches” now.
I think what has me so wigged out – is that there isn’t anything I can do to “fix” the problem.  I can’t make jobs magically appear out of thin air for Hubby to apply to or clients to fall from the sky for his business venture.
I hesitate to even share my distress with Hubby – because he is the worrier.  If he sees that I’m wigging out – how much will that freak him out?   Like he doesn't have enough to deal with without me throwing gasoline on the fire?  I hate to dump on to you – because you all have your own issues to deal with and frankly, I’m generally a pretty private person.  So odds are good that this post will be deleted before it ever gets published.  But then, what is the point of spilling my guts?  I will still end up holding on to all the worry.  That huge rock sitting in my tummy will still be there.  What, then was the point of this blog - which I started just to get all this stuff out of my head?
Since I haven’t taken much vacation time this year – I have thirteen days that I must schedule before the end of the year – or I’ll lose it all.  So this means that I will be home for 2 ½ weeks at the end of the year – with a couple of other days thrown in before then.  I can already tell you that all this time at home together will just drive up my stress level – I just know it.  How can it not?
Because of all this added stress and drama – I have made a momentous decision.  
This year, I will not be sending out Christmas cards. 
(I can hear you all gasping collectively)
I mean it.  Not one.  I spend far too much time and money in doing so every year.  And although I do generally enjoying doing them this year I just don’t have it in me to do it.  To be honest – right now, I don’t have it in me to do any of the holiday stuff.  The things I’ve done so far have been done out of obligation and necessity.

We won't be doing the annual party either - which is a no-brainer.  We just can't.  So at the very least, that's two stressors off my list.

I KNOW in my head and my heart that everything will be okay - one way or another.  But right now?  Right now, I'm just a tad overwhelmed.

November 11, 2010

Because some have a positive effect on others daily

I am not a teacher - and I NEVER could be one.

Oh yes, I love little people and love to cuddle and play with them.  But to stand in a classroom full of them and demand order?  To expect them to actually learn something that I could teach?  From other people's children?  Children that I can't ground, guilt or nag into submission?

It's laughable.  I don't have that kind of patience or fortitude.

It takes a strong and special person to be a teacher.

I saw this video over at VodkaMom's site (that for the life of me I can't get to "fit" where it's supposed to!  Apparently, I need an HTML teacher.....).

And it made me tear up.

It made me remember all the fabulous teachers that my son has had - it made me remember some of the fabulous teachers that I've had.  These men and women touch our children's lives daily.  They help us to shape and mold the people that our children are going to be.  These people help foster a love of learning in our children that will carry them through life.

So if you have a wonderful teacher in your life - go give them a hug.  And thank them for doing this most important job.

And then?  Then, thank God that I never went into teaching.

November 9, 2010

You have to have a lot of confidence to pull this off

Being in the midst of all things football here - this has to be, without a doubt, the best sneak play I've ever seen!

If it weren't for the fact that it's all over the news for our opponents to see, I would think it would be a great play for our guys to use at our first playoff game this week.  Those little guy's coaches are pretty clever - and that one kid is as cool as a cucumber to pull that one off.  I love the way the other team just watches him - not realizing what is happening.

For those that need a little explanation: the guy with the ball is acting like a foul has been called on the other team.  A foul usually means that the ball is moved back on the side of the field of the team receiving the foul - which puts the ball further away from their goal line and closer to the opponents.  The boy's acting like he's marking off yardage on a foul against the other team.  Good Lord!  I just realized that all this football stuff is actually seeping into my brain somehow!

November 6, 2010

It's the biggest secret we've ever tried to pull off....

I've mentioned before what a good kid I have - especially considering he's a teen. (Yes, I am knocking on wood furiously over here because I know that could change with the blink of an eye).  I figure this is my repayment for the fact that he never, ever slept as a baby AND had colic.  Needless to say, for the first year or so of his life, I was insane.  Because I'm not kidding or exaggerating when I say - he NEVER SLEPT!!

You may also recall that Man-Child recently celebrated his 16th birthday and is going to take his driving test this coming Friday.

So, being the uber awesome mom that I am, a long while back I asked my car guy (the guy who works on my car) to keep his eye out for a really good, safe and cheap car for Man-Child.  And he came up with one.  When this guy tells me that a little old lady has been driving the car, I can believe it.  When he then tells me that he's been doing the maintenance on this car and knows the history then I know that it's a good car.  And, bonus points, it doesn't look too much like an old lady car.  When he told me the price, I almost fell over because it seemed to good to be true.

Hubby and I had actually shelved the idea of getting him a car since Hubby isn't working.  But between the price of the car, the fact that Man-Child is such a good kid and hasn't gotten into any trouble (that we know of, anyway), he's kept his grades WAY, WAY up this year,  and the fact that once Hubby either gets a job or this business takes off he will need a way to get around (did I mention the price of the car is a total steal?) we decided to at least go look at it and see what we thought.

The whole thing has been insane as we had decided to keep it a secret.  We went to go look at the car two Thursdays ago.  I figured I would take off from work an hour early - we'd go look at it and we'd be home before Man-Child.  Man-Child is NEVER home from football practice before 6:30 pm.  Never.  So we had plenty of time.

As we were standing there talking to our car guy (who is also a personal friend) my phone rings.  And who should it be?  Man-Child.  At 5:30 pm!  Apparently, school let out early (yes, I get bad mom of the year for not knowing his schedule) so practice had naturally ended early.  I lied and told him we'd gone to grab a bite to eat.  Luckily, he didn't pick up on the fact that I don't usually even get home until 5:30 pm.

After discussing it, in snatched whispers, we decided that we would do it.  So on that Saturday, we somehow ditched Man-Child long enough to meet up and pay for the car and pick up the title.  Hubby was to go to the DMV on that Monday to have the title switched.

Another snag in our plan.  That Monday after Halloween was a Holy Day of Obligation.  My son goes to a Catholic school.  School was closed (my God is this kid ever in school???) again.  So Hubby devised some way to ditch the kid again - at this point it's a miracle he didn't develop a complex and start wondering why we didn't want to spend any time with him.

Now, as we all know visiting the DMV is it's own special hell on earth.  Hubby forgot the cardinal rule at the DMV.  They only take checks or cash and you are not allowed to question that policy.  Guess what he did not have?  Cash or checks.  Guess what he got for questioning the policy?  Nasty looks and snotty remarks.  He had to give it up and go back the next day.

It was my thought that we keep the car secret until Man-Child actually got his license.  But Hubby knows me far too well and knew that there was no way I could keep my mouth shut - so he put his foot down.

It's been very hard - because I am one of those people who buys a gift and then gets so excited that I can't wait until Christmas to give it.

On Wednesday, Man-Child received his grades (all A's; remember?) and I was raving about what a great job he had done - when he pipes up with "Since I got all A's do I get a car?" (joking, of course).  After a quick beat, I made a joke back.

We had decided that today was the day.  This morning, Hubby and I woke up very early and crept out of the house to go pick up the car.  We wanted to get it back here before Man-Child woke up.  We were successful!

The plan was to have Hubby go outside to do something.  I was to follow and then call back into the house that we needed Man-Child's help and then viola there would be the car and I would get the perfect picture.

But as with life - things didn't go according to plan.  Hubby went outside and before I could get out there Man-Child had followed him.  His reasoning - Dad was going somewhere - maybe he could tag along and get breakfast - it's all about food with this boy.  So he got to see the car and I didn't get to see his initial reaction.  I almost cried.

But - he is overjoyed.  And totally surprised.  He keeps repeating over and over, "I had NO idea!" and walking around with the biggest smile on his face.

And now?  Now he has the biggest reason in the world to pass that test on the first try.

November 3, 2010

Making the grades

Hello!!!  I'm here (see me waving?)!

I've not fallen off the face of the earth, contrary to popular belief.

I've things to say - but I'm in limbo over here.  I'm just waiting for a few things to resolve themselves.  Some I may be able to blog about; others I won't (only because it's work crap and nothing you'd really be interested in). I figure I'd rather wait and present you with the "finished" product on some of this and I don't want to jinx myself on the other part.  (and before you ask - no, it has nothing to do with the job search or business start up for Hubby, unfortunately).

Since I am here though, I will brag just a little bit if you don't mind.  Man-Child received his report card today - the first one of his junior year.  Can you guess why I'm bragging?  (Why can't I download ANY pictures today? Just pretend you see a picture of a report card here.)

Yes, yes, I know lot's of kids get all A's.  But y'all this is HUGE!  Man-Child hasn't done this since 4th grade, y'all.  Seriously.  And not because he couldn't get all A's - he just wouldn't.  He had this thing about not turning in his homework.  It seriously drove me bananas.  He would ace the tests, make beautiful grades for classwork and participation - but the homework (or lack of it) would bring his grades way, way down.

It drove me crazy!!  We tried everything.  Bribery.  Threats.  Punishments.  Begging.  Pleading.  Lecturing.  Everything.  Nothing worked.

Oh, his grades weren't anything to be ashamed of - but we knew he was not reaching his full potential.

We started to see a turn around in this trend when he started high school.  But Spanish was holding him back.  He just couldn't get it enough to pull an A in that class (and I don't blame him, I couldn't even pass Spanish, much less get an A in it).  But two years of a foreign language is a requirement for graduation.

But this year?  This very important year (where grades get sent to colleges) he is (so far) pulling down a 4.0 GPA.  And this mom couldn't be happier.

Hopefully, this trend will continue - because he is finally reaching his full potential.

October 29, 2010

Want to see me freak out???

Then you should have been here last night, as I was contemplating going to bed and just checking Twitter before doing so.

When I saw a tweet from Kathryn.

@gigirambles Sweetie! It's not's Google Chrome. WTF??

along with this picture

I almost immediately began to hyperventilate.  What was going on?  How could this be happening?  HOW IS GIGI'S RAMBLINGS HOSTING MALWARE??????

This was completely unacceptable!  Impossible.

Of course, I jumped online and, with the help of Kathryn, began researching what could have happened and how to fix it ASAP!

Did you know that Blogger/Google has "Webmaster tools?"  I didn't.  I'm still not sure how they work or what all they do.....all I know is that I was inundated with information that was next to impossible to decipher - especially since my cold medicine had begun to kick in about an hour into it (yes, the cold is still hanging on somehow....).

I finally had to admit defeat and head to bed - praying the whole time that I would wake up and all would be well - that it had been some kind of horrible nightmare.

It wasn't.  I woke up and spent far more than my usual, alloted thirty minutes of computer and coffee time before work trying to fix it.  In a last ditch effort, I dumped my beloved template.  I had remembered reading something last night that mentioned the site that hosts my template.  And miracle of miracles - that fixed it.

Apparently, the site that hosts the template was hacked.  Who would have thought?

So that, my friends, is the long winded explanation of why things look a bit different - and will probably continue to evolve as I try to find something else to my liking.  If you happen to notice something is missing please let me know as the switch was just a quick one - so I don't know if I caught everything I needed to catch before switching.

A very special thank you to Kathryn for alerting me to the problem and going to such lengths to help me try and fix it.  This is why I love blog-land!

And once again, I have to question why people feel such a need to do bad things - like stealing credit card numbers and hacking into websites.  If you are going to put that much effort into something - do something legal and worthwhile; because seriously?  There IS a special place in hell for people who put others through so much torture.  Especially when all they want to do is go to bed - or get up and enjoy their coffee.

October 28, 2010

A little bit of this and a little bit of that.....

I have so many little bits just floating around....not enough to make a real post but just enough that I need to clear out of my mind to make room for more little bits.

First, is this......

Seriously?!  These have been around for a few years now.  And to be honest, it's a little irritating.  Mainly, because they are usually in "prime" parking spaces and because how come we didn't have these when mine was small?  I had to wrangle him all the way up from the bottom of the parking lot (uphill both ways!) - taking care that he didn't get run over until I could get him in the store and buckled into a cart.  Sheesh!!  You younger moms have it soooooo easy.

What with Halloween being around the corner and all - it should come as no surprise that I was totally freaked out today.  I jumped in the car at lunch, pulled up to the parking lot exit and just happened to glance down only to discover the world's largest spider sitting in my lap leering at me.  Needless to say, I screamed and swatted the thing away.  The world's largest spider is now lurking in my car somewhere - most likely pretty upset at me.  So of course I spent the entire drive to and from lunch - and on my way home this evening, keeping an eye on all the shadows in my car (what road?) and feeling like there was something crawling on me.  I may never drive that car again.    And here I was worried about snakes crawling out of the air conditioner vent after watching the news this summer - clearly I need to be more concerned about this spider who surely has revenge on his mind after being swatted.

In other news, one of my beloved colleagues has announced her retirement at the end of the year.  I am heart-broken.  She is one of the few sane ones and I love her dearly.  Life at work will not be the same without her.  So what that she has been with the company for about thirty years - how can she leave me like this?!  I have expressed my displeasure - it doesn't seem to faze her one bit.  I have informed her that she can't possibly leave me with all the crazy people - again, she doesn't seem to care.  She seems to think that we will keep in touch - I know better.  I know how those retirees are - I've seen the commercials.  They are out living the high life while us desk jockeys spend our days slaving away.

I've decided my only recourse is to kidnap her.

So, if you aren't busy next weekend.......I might need a little help - since I don't think she'll come with me willingly......

October 24, 2010

Perhaps I should just un-invite them

Hubby came to me the other morning and blurted out this rather random question (why yes, we do speak a lot of random in this house - although he claims it's usually just me.  But you and I know better.  Oh okay, you are right - it's usually me) "You know where we ought to move to when we retire?"

My first thought was "Retire? When will that ever happen given the current state of life?" But instead, I piped up with, "The beach!" Because that is where I would truly like to live - well, at least during the majority of the year but not during hurricane season.

He said, "No." (of course.  We are going to have a real problem when it comes to retiring, I can already see).  "Las Vegas."

Now given that this is a man who is not a gambler of any type and the fact that he hates heat this one surprised me.

I know that he figures if we lived somewhere "fun," and "glitzy" and is a "destination" that we might actually get family (specifically his family) to come and visit occasionally. (Although, in my mind the beach meets all those requirements.....)

We live exactly at the half-way point between family up north and family down south - but yet, we've had very few visits from family - despite the fact that the family seems to visit each other up north and down south fairly often.  The icing on this cake?  My brother-in-law's youngest daughter is now in college right across the state line - about an hour and a half from here.  Despite the drives down to settle her in or to visit - we've yet to see anyone - even though you pretty much have to drive through North Carolina in order to reach South Carolina.

For the most part the family seems to like us whenever we visit (because yes, we are expected to do all the visiting) so we can't quite figure out why they don't come here.  Anyone that has come for a visit is given the royal treatment and goes home exclaiming what a wonderful time they've had and how hospitable we are.

Hubby's mother has been to visit maybe once.  She kind of gets a pass as she is older and can't be expected to make the nine hour drive.  She doesn't like to fly - although she's been known to fly to Florida several times - much to my annoyance.  I mean seriously.  It's under an hour to fly here versus however long it takes to fly to Florida.

Hubby's sister has been a few times - after we guilted her into it.  She makes the trip from Florida up north at least once a year.  Her argument for not stopping?  It was 45 minutes out of their way.  Seriously???  Once we guilted her into it - they would stop for an overnight visit.  Staying only about 12 hours before heading out to spend a week or two up north - and never stopping on the way back.  She hasn't been back since we asked her not to stop 3 years ago because we had just moved that weekend and weren't prepared for company - we didn't have any of the beds set up or had even begun the process of sorting out the boxes.

Hubby's brother?  Has never visited.  Ever.  This, I think, is what hurts Hubby the most as they are close.  Brother - has no excuses.  Especially now that his daughter is so close.  Hell, he wouldn't even have to come here - just tell us that he is in South Carolina and we would drive down to meet him.  But yet, this same brother is constantly badgering us to come up for a visit.

Even when I was planning a huge (and I mean HUGE) bash for Hubby's 50th and personally invited them - not a one showed up - much less gave a decent excuse.  This I know, hurt him deeply.

I love Hubby's family, I really do.  They are wonderful people - except for this.  Not only is my husband deprived of his family - my son is also deprived as he has not had the opportunity to get to know his aunt and uncle or his cousins.

It's not like we smell funny.  We don't (I've checked).  We have plenty of room for visitors.  We make people feel welcome.  We don't live in a backwater area - there is plenty to do here if you don't want to actually visit with us and would rather see the sights.  It is the most baffling thing.

We've invited them repeatedly.  I've made pointed comments - so many, in fact, that Hubby has asked me to refrain - as it makes him uncomfortable.   But, apparently doesn't make the family uncomfortable enough in my opinion.

So when I asked why Las Vegas - he responded "So every time someone asks to come visit - we could say we are too busy for them."

The hurt shines through.

October 21, 2010

Boys are worthless when it comes to picking out a shoe

Occasionally, the thought will cross my mind when I think it might be a good idea to have had a girl-child.  You know, one to help me decide which shoe would be the better shoe to complement whatever outfit I may be wearing.

Because I have to tell you - the guys just don't cut it.

First off - they both have a tendency to roll their eyes and groan whenever I ask, "Which shoe?"  And if one happens to hear me ask the other - well, then that one goes into hiding because he knows that he will be asked next.

What they both fail to realize is that 9 times out of 10, I don't need a second (or third) opinion.  Usually, I'm quite capable of deciding what shoe "makes" the outfit.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I need a little help.  And the way they react, you'd think I was asking them to poke out their eyes with a pointy stick.

Such was the case this morning.  I needed help deciding between the patent loafer or the beautiful pump.

I snagged Man-Child and after telling me that this was a waste of time and I always went opposite of what he said - the pump was his choice (although we all know he just picked one so he could be set free).

After he scurried away, I heard Hubby coming up the stairs.  When he appeared, I asked him.  After complaining that he was late, he chose the patent loafer, of course.

I still wasn't sure.  I was leaning toward the pump though.

Then I remembered.  Today was fire drill day.  Great.  Clomping up and down four flights of stairs.  So the pump was out . . . . but that great pair of ballerina flats hiding in the closet was calling my name.

So it was a la Audrey Hepburn that I skipped off to work - apparently, I didn't need either of their opinions after all.

Thank you all so much for your sweet comments on the last post.  My dad is fine - he just has a tendency to hide things from me until after the fact; which never fails to drive me crazy.

October 18, 2010

Have You Ever??

Have you ever played along with Momma's Have You Ever series? I always mean to and then I get distracted (oh, shiny!)

It's that time again my friends. Time to ask others if they have ever done/thought/wanted/had/watched the same stuff as you so you can feel like you are not alone in this big, crazy world.

In other words, it is time to humour Momma and join in on the fun so we can all feel good about ourselves and not so strange.

Have you ever called your aunt to wish her a belated Happy Birthday only to hold the phone away from your head, looking at it incredulously and say "WTH?!"  when she informs you of a death in the family . . . that happened SIX months ago?

Have you ever been totally flabbergasted when she then says, "Oh?  Didn't I tell you?" and then goes on to say, "Hmmm, maybe I should have called your dad too."

Have you ever then turned around to call your dad to tell him of the news only to then be informed that he's been ill - but never bothered to let you know - even though he knows after the last incident that you want to be informed about his health?

Have you ever then retrieved the voice mail that came in while you were on the phone with your dad only to be informed that your friend's mom has just be diagnosed with Alzheimer's?

Have you ever then decided that you don't know if you'll ever talk on the phone again?

Have you ever decided (again) that your entire family - with the exception of yourself, of course - is crazy - because, seriously - how could no one even think to call me?!  *sigh*

October 17, 2010

It is his turn (no matter how sleepy I might be)

I slept in this morning.  Really, really slept in - till 10:00 am.

I haven't done that in years.

Lest you think it was because I spent a long night of partying and debauchery - let me set the record straight.  That wasn't the case.

It was a long night all right.  But one spent at home, snuggled up in my jammies, suffering from a nasty cold and fighting valiantly to stay awake.

Man-Child was out with his buddies last night, which was all well and good.  It is his turn to be out with friends having a grand time while his ancient (in his mind) parents stay home.

The problem is I had just yesterday had the "conversation" with Man-Child about never getting into a car with someone who has been drinking - or worse.  That he is to call me to come and get him - no questions asked (well, at least until morning).  So with this conversation fresh in my mind - I knew that I had to stay awake - just in case.  Because I knew that should I fall asleep and the phone were to ring I'd never hear it as I sleep like the dead - especially if I were to take cold medicine as was my plan.  Besides, as Man-Child is slowly venturing into life beyond our walls, I want him to know that someone will be waiting up for him when he gets home; something I didn't have.

At one point during my vigil Hubby told me to go to bed and that he would wait up.  If only.  Not two minutes after uttering these words, I look over and he is fast asleep on the couch.  I knew I couldn't trust that man.

So with very heavy eyelids, I cruised around the internet for a bit and watched some television - which pretty much confirms to me that there isn't much worth watching - and waited and waited - wondering if 8:30 pm was much too early to expect him to come home on a Saturday night (according to both Hubby and Man-Child it is!) (I kid - but just barely).

Finally, around midnight, the boy came home - happy to have been released, for a few hours, of hanging out with the parents on a Saturday night - and more importantly, safe.

And with that, this vigilant mom took two Ny-Quils and headed off to bed - where she slept the sleep of the truly doped up.

And this morning?  After talking to Man-Child and hearing how much fun he had - I suppose I can say that it was worth it.  It is his turn after all.