April 29, 2013

Just as I was feeling all smug and boastful....really Man-Child? REALLY?

Here I was, sitting pretty, thinking that Man-Child would be home for the summer in about two weeks.  That he'd successfully navigated, on his own, his first year of college very well.

And yes, I admit it...I was smug.

Until today.

When I was informed that he, apparently, somehow, oh gee - don't know how that happened! doesn't have all the credits needed to call his freshman year done.

The ONE major thing I took away from Parent Orientation (way, way, way back when; i.e., last year about this time) was that the student needed to confer with the Student Adviser constantly regarding his schedule.  I tried my darnedest to impart this knowledge to him.

Apparently, I failed.

He, of course, informs me that it "will all be straightened out tomorrow."

HOW?   How is the credit - that he doesn't have -going to "magically" appear on his transcript tomorrow?  And do you know what happens if it doesn't?

Then he will not be able to enroll as a "full time" student next year.  Which means that he can't live on campus.  Which means....well, I don't really know what that means since I haven't had the time to sit down and actually process it all yet.

This kid is doing his damnedest to make me go completely gray overnight...and he's succeeding.

April 23, 2013

It was just a little thing....but then, in my mind, those little things tend to escalate.

It shouldn't have bothered me as much as it has.  But, sometimes, I just can't help myself....and that is how I found myself mourning for the future.

I was reading an article online today.  By someone who is presumably a "journalist."  Someone who went to school and graduated with a degree for writing.  Someone who has worked through the ranks to become a "published" author, of sorts.

And then, as I was reading, I noticed it.  This person used "undo" (definition - verb: to untie, loosen or unfasten. Noun - cancel or reverse) instead of "undue" (definition - adjective: unwarranted or inappropriate).

And I heard English teachers around the world weeping.


Sure, sure, spell-check would have never flagged that - since they are both real words - but these words have two, totally different meanings!  How could this have passed by the journalist, the editor and whomever (although, I must admit the whole whom/who one is still a struggle for me - and odds are good, I went with the wrong word here) else it had to go through to land on that page for me to find it?

I admit I may be a little crazed in this department.  And while I realize that there are certain words that are the most misused (can you say - there, their, they're?  Or - your, you're? Or even lose and loose? Or, the classic, to, two, and too?) in the English language - but these two?  This bugged me so much, that not only did I dwell on it (and the demise of the world as we know it) all day, I even contemplated commenting and pointing it out (despite the fact that I can't stand "those" people-so instead, I blogged about it!).

C'mon.  If you are going to write for a living (i.e., get PAID for it) understand your craft; is that too much to ask?

Mistakes like this are the harbinger of doomsday - the apocalypse, if you will - of the English language.  If the writers stop caring about the differences between "undo" and "undue" than what is next?!

Before you know it there will chaos and mayhem!  Words will be bandied about willy-nilly with not a care in the world for their definitions.  Punctuation, which is already speeding downhill, will become extinct.

And those of us left who actually care about such things, will be forced to read incoherent sentences that will drive us mad...until we reach the point that we no longer read.

And before you know it, civilization will have come full circle and we will be grunting and pointing trying to make ourselves understood.

Until somebody gets the bright idea to "create" a language.  One filled with definitions, rules and punctuation.   And the vicious cycle will start all over again.

And, as is Murphy's Law, I go on a rant about the English language and I have a typo in the rant.  Of course. *sigh*  On the plus side, I don't get paid to write...so I've got that for an excuse; as lame as it may be.  

April 21, 2013

Living by the seat of your pants....and yeah, dorm life isn't my cup of tea

As you all know, hell froze over a few days ago and I went to visit Man-Child and, as you may recall, he actually asked me to stay over; thus "hell freezing over."

When Saturday morning dawned, a little later than normal since I found myself up later than usual watching the news of the capture, I had pretty much determined that it would be a day trip.

Until I got there.  The look on his face when he realized I hadn't planned on staying broke my heart.  In spite of protestations that I didn't have any pajamas, a toothbrush, a comb or any of my *stuff;* his puppy-dog eyes melted my resolve and I agreed to stay.  (It must have been a moment of insanity, because really?  Do you have ANY idea what I looked like when I headed home this morning???)

Man-Child is a wonderful host (he gets that from me, doncha know?) and showed me a fabulous time.  A time that included roller skating.  Do you have ANY idea how long it's been since I've been on skates?!  Before I agreed to go, I asked him if he knew where the nearest hospital was - just in case.  He laughed, silly boy, doesn't he know that advancing years makes for brittle bones?

It took a bit, but I finally found my "sea legs" again and was cruising along in no time.  Of course, we hadn't really thought it out....early Saturday afternoon means multiple birthday parties for small children....which, of course, meant THOUSANDS of small people were littering the floor which had us doing our best not to mow them down.

And for the most part, we were successful.  And just as I was thinking I (and many small children) would make it out of the roller rink alive and unscathed, Man-Child careened into me and down we went, into what must have been a SPECTACULAR fall since another woman came whooshing up to see if we were alright.  Man-Child told her we were fine but that he'd just taken out his mother.  He claims it was an accident, but I have my doubts as it seemed that I spent the majority of the time on the floor avoiding him more so than the little ones.

After this activity, we decided it might be safer to watch a movie until dinner.  We rented Django Unchained.  I had heard that this was a good movie, but really didn't know what it was about.  So as the opening credits were rolling, I was worried when he looked at me and said, "You know, I heard that if you can get past the racism and the bloody violence, this is a really good movie."

And he was right.  It was a good movie.  But it's a hard movie to watch considering that it was a movie about slavery.  And the violence?  Yeah, that was an understatement.

But the actors all brought their "A" games and despite it all, I really enjoyed the movie.

After the movie, we met up with his room-mate (who happened to be staying at his parents house this weekend, which is why I happened to be able to stay the night) for a late dinner.  I really enjoyed spending time with these two - they are funny and it's good to see that Man-Child has such a nice kid for a room-mate, I can see why they've decided to room together again next year.

After dinner, we settled in for the night.  And along about then is when I discovered, dorm-life is not for me.

Up until that time, the dorm had been pretty quiet every time we were in it.  But about the time, I had settled in and was thinking about sleep, the place became alive.  There were feet pounding up and down the hall.  Shouts and bellowing.  Doors slamming. Radios and televisions blaring.  And then, it became EXTREMELY apparent that having your room directly across from the communal bathroom (he's in an all-boy dorm) is NOT a good thing.  Mainly because, as we all know, bathrooms tend to echo.

Apparently, some kid had over-indulged "food poisoning" (don't kill my innocence here, people) and was ill for quite some time during the night.

Needless to say, I had a hard time drifting off.

But despite it all, I had a good night's sleep, albeit a very short one, and was up early.  Like very early.  Like, I was contemplating sneaking out and calling Man-Child later to say goodbye, early.

But I couldn't do that.  So I decided to "whisper" a good bye to him.  Well, apparently, his roommate doesn't wake him every morning with a whispered "Hey, buddy-bear? I'm going to get going."

I figured this out by the way he came flying out of bed in a panic as I peeked up at the top bunk, near his face, and said those exact words.

Once our heart palpitations calmed down, he decided that before I could leave, I needed to feed him breakfast.  You know, so he could go back to the dorm and go back to sleep.

Minus the heart palpitations and the wretchedness that went on in the middle of the night, I'd call this visit a success.  But next time?  I'm bringing my own pillows.  And my own *stuff.*

April 19, 2013

Hell has frozen over....

Yesterday, I received this text....

Until I received the answer....

Apparently, he's just hungry...but at least he's smart enough to put the "Because I miss yall" [sic] first.

I never said I raised a dumb child.  No, he's smart this one.

As I have obviously agreed to go (how could I not; particularly with everything that is going on?  I really need to hug my boy right about now), he then went a bit further.  Much further than I EVER expected from my reticent child; when he followed up with a phone call today - wherein he asked me to stay over - in his dorm! - AND maybe meet some of his friends.

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Usually, when I'm asked for a visit, it's just for the day - mainly to treat him to a lunch out - and then I am sent merrily on my way. Nicely, of course, but still....

While it remains to be seen as to whether I'll stay the night, you can be SURE I'll take him up on the offer of meeting his friends.

Although my friend, Kathryn, has given me EXPLICIT instructions on how not to embarrass him....

I'm sure I'll fail...somehow.  How could I not?  I AM a mom after all.

April 17, 2013

You are beautiful

Have you seen the latest in Dove's campaign for Real Beauty?  No?  Well, here you go - watch this...you are welcome.

I first saw this on MSN.com and it made me cry.  Now granted, I was still shell-shocked from the Boston tragedy; but still.  Telling isn't it?  What most women think of themselves.

I shudder to think what my portrait might have come out looking like.  Because I know that when I look in the mirror, or give any thought to what I look like, I immediately focus on the negative much more than I do on the positive.  My chin is too sharp, my legs are too short, I could stand to lose a few pounds, and on and on and on.

Is it any wonder we think this way when mainstream media is constantly force feeding us with images of impossibly perfect women - most of whom are airbrushed, photo-shopped creations of someone else's idea of perfection?

What is also apparent is how much words stick with us - even if they weren't said with malice.  "My mom told me I had a big jaw," these words were spoken by a woman maybe in her 40's - and this is something that has stuck with her all these years.  Not that she had beautiful cheekbones or eyes - but that she had a big jaw; which she perceived to be a flaw.

But most telling of all was hearing what the people had to say, when asked to describe the person they'd met.  Not once, did they mention the jaw, the protruding chin, the round face, the freckles...or any of the perceived flaws.

And then, the reveal - where the two different portraits are shown.  And that's the part that really got to me - their reaction to how they saw themselves versus how someone else - a neutral party - saw them.

According to Wikipedia; Dove launched this Real Beauty campaign in 2004 and the guiding principle is to celebrate the differences in all women and to inspire confidence in women.

And I say, "Bravo, Dove."

I don't know what it's going to take for women to accept themselves; to celebrate their own beauty; to change that inner dialogue that most of us have in our heads.  But this is a start.

Once again, this is NOT a sponsored post - just my own thoughts.

April 16, 2013

Maybe I AM a Pollyanna after all....you know, way down deep inside where no one can see.

My first impulse (regarding a blog post) after hearing about the horrific event in Boston was to post about how angry I was and how this shit CANNOT keep happening.

I typed it out and everything but before I could hit "publish" I heard that teeny-tiny voice inside that said, "wait."  And, for once, I listened.  And I went to bed.  In tears.

And, of course, today dawned - as it always does - in a mad rush to get up, get dressed and get out the door.  And so my post waited.

As I went about my day, I was bombarded with stories of heroes.  Stories of people opening up their homes and hearts to strangers.  Stories of love and compassion.  Stories of "paying it forward."

And then I remembered.  My first inkling that something was going on was when my son called me.  He was the one that alerted me to the horror and then he said, "I just called to say I love you."

And though I am still angry that this kind of thing continues to happen - because how could we, as a population, not be angry - I am reminded; over and over and OVER again that the good in this world far outweighs the bad.  And that we, as parents, teach our children.

We teach them love, empathy, compassion, peace and hope.  And as we are simultaneously teaching them these very core principles we are sending out rippling effects into the world. And that - well; that just goes to show that good trumps evil every time.

So while we mourn yet another tragedy, hug your family and friends. And, above all, show them that despite everything, love conquers all.

Because it does.  It really, really does.

April 10, 2013

A tip...just in case you ever need to know how to replace the flap/seal thingie on your shower door. You're welcome

For what it's worth, that bit about being almost 100% yesterday?  Total lie.  Today I feel like I am at death's door.

At any rate, this past weekend my husband FINALLY finished fixing our shower.  As I may have mentioned before, we have been displaced from our shower for oh...about FIVE MONTHS now....but who's counting?

Before he declared it "done" he decided that the flap/seal thingie at the bottom of the shower door needed to be replaced.  Fine.

So I sent him off to Home Depot in search of the said flap/seal thingie.  And they told him he needed to go to a plumbing supply warehouse.  I declared that this was ridiculous and insane.  And then sent him to Lowe's.  Obviously, he must have used the proper description there (flap/seal thingie) because they knew exactly what he was talking about, sold it to him and sent him home where he immediately took the thing upstairs to install it.

Twenty minutes later, I came upstairs to fold some laundry (I know!  Who would have imagined that I'd actually be folding laundry on the same day that I washed it?  Miracles, people, they do happen occasionally) only to be called into the bathroom to help.

According to Hubby I am "better at the tedious stuff" - which basically means that I have the following attitude toward projects - I will get the project done one way or another and I don't care how long it takes because, dammit!  Are you kidding me?  You are an inanimate object and you will bend to my desire.


No, I don't have issues with obsessive behavior...much.

Anyway, apparently he was not having much luck threading the flap/seal thingie into the door.  So I took a shot at it.  And the flap/seal thingie was coated in something slimy.

According to Hubby, the guy at Lowe's told him to be sure to "soap it up" prior to threading.  Well, while this may sound like fine advice; it isn't.  Because once you soap that bit of plastic up there is no way on God's green earth that you are going to be able to hold on to it long enough to thread it through anything, much less through a shower door, while in the awkward position of laying on the floor.

So we struggled for a bit.  And took a break.

When we re-grouped and prepared to once again tackle the project, Hubby came up with brilliant idea of wiping off the soap and using Pam spray.  I stopped him from spraying the flap/seal thingie and directed him to use the spray on the door itself.

And it worked!  Although, I must admit, it was still a two person job, what with one of us pulling and the other one guiding the plastic which had a tendency to jump the track (and maybe we had the help of a pair of vise grips wrapped in rubber) and it still took far more time than one would ever expect to spend on such a trivial project.  And I may have been sprayed directly in the face with the Pam - much to Hubby's amusement and my disgust. But it got done.

So there you have it.  If you ever have a need to replace the flap/seal thingie on your shower door, now you know.  Skip the soaping up the plastic bit and go straight for the Pam on the track.

And?  I am one happy bunny to finally, finally be able to use my own shower again.

Next up?  Re-grouting/caulking Man-Child's shower....and knowing my husband this means that as long as I'm alive, I'll never be able have a shower that I can call my own without having to share it with Man-Child.


April 9, 2013

The back deck is back in business.

Ever since last weekend the weather has been perfect here in the Carolina's.  And I mean perfect.  Too bad I was on the receiving end of a cold this past weekend and that I have a pesky thing called a "job" which have both interfered with me enjoying the weather as much as I should have.

But here I am, feeling almost 100%, back where I belong...on the back deck, enjoying the weather while reading blogs and otherwise cruising along the Information Super Highway (aka, the 'Net).

I love Spring.  Particularly, since we've moved here; it just seems more evident than it did back home.  When I left the house this morning I noticed that the Eastern Red Bud trees were just about ready to pop; only to come home this evening and discover that they are just about in full bloom.

Of course, Spring also brings ferocious allergies....but we won't worry about that just now.

For now, we will just enjoy the birds singing, the sun, the warm weather and all the beauty that is about ready to "spring" forward.

My phlox....which never fails to make me smile

The tulips that were a surprise, since I forgot I planted them, ignore the weeds...I haven't gotten around to them yet.

The azaleas which are just beginning to bud.

The.....whatever this is (I can never remember) but it's so soft  and spreads like wildfire - let's just ignore the leaves and dead stuff, shall we?
The Rose of Sharon that is just beginning to think about blooming.
So, if we ignore all the weeds, leaves and dead stuff that needs to be removed - it looks like Spring is here.  And, despite the onset of allergies any day now, I'm am one happy camper.

How's it looking in your neck of the woods?

April 3, 2013

Strangers on the internet....

Sorry.  I didn't mean to leave some vague, random post hanging out there so long; like I did with my last one, but real life has been extra busy lately; what with Easter and all.  And driving back and forth to pick up and deposit Man-Child, cleaning the house, and hosting dinner.  Yeah, it's been busy.

But here's the deal.  My blog died.  

Seriously. It was gone. Kaput. Fini. Over and out.

I'm not quite sure how it happened, but it did.  Oh wait, upon introspection, I DO remember....

It seems that I received a tweet from someone asking why my blog didn't accept email subscriptions.  It also seems that I received this tweet rather late in the evening.  It also seems that I, in my infinite wisdom, thought that was an easy fix.

Turns out it wasn't.  Because in one fell swoop, I not only knocked out my blog but also completely knocked out my Feedburner.  (Don't ask.  I don't know).

The kicker?  I had NO idea that I'd killed my blog.  So I went along, happily, creating a few random posts.  

And then waited.  *crickets*

Oh sure, I know I'm not a big blogger and I don't expect tons of replies.  Or pageviews.  But I've come to expect a few.  And I'm totally fine with that.  Really.

But to get nothing?  That set off a few alarms in my head.  So I did what any insane rational person would do.  I tweeted my frustration.  Only, apparently, I was very vague.  So I got nothing in return.

I Googled.  Nothing.

For DAYS, I pushed buttons.  I turned things off and on.  Nothing.

I was ready to cry, have a funeral and bury my blog.  It was INVISIBLE!  Which, as we all know, means it was as good as dead.

And then, I finally sent out a cry for help on Twitter - a very explicit cry.  And I received a response.  From a total stranger.  A person I'd never even seen anywhere on the interwebs.  How he found my cry for help, I'll never know, but he found it AND, even better, he answered one of my questions.

Over the course of an hour or so, this very, very patient man walked me through the process of fixing some of what I had broken.

I was beyond ecstatic.

But then, after a day - hence the random shout out asking if anybody could see me - I realized the blog still seemed to be invisible.  Rather than bothering the very nice person who had helped me before, I posted my next question on a help forum.  Usually I don't bother with these types of forums because they can be very "clique-y."  So you can imagine my surprise when I received a reply rather quickly.

You can further imagine that I may have blown kisses at the person with the reply.  Because of his simple suggestion the blog was no longer invisible!

We all know that there are bad people out there (my husband is CONVINCED that you all are out to kill, maim, kidnap or otherwise cause us irreparable harm - forgive him.  He doesn't know you like I do).  There are trolls, con artists, scammers and the like.

But there are also some very nice people out there.  People like you.  People like the two folks who took the time out of their day to stop and help a stranger with her blog.  A blog that they aren't invested in.  A blog that to them is pretty much invisible anyway.  

They saw someone in need and because they could help - they did.

And those two acts of kindness touched my heart.  And maybe, just maybe, restored a little bit of my faith in humanity.  And THAT is what the internet is all about, people.  Reaching out, helping, lifting up and being friends.  

The twitter guy?  That is none other than Phil Hollows (@phollows).  The other guy?  Unfortunately, he didn't seem to have a real name, handle, blog, etc. so he will remain a mystery to us all.

So thank you Phil and mystery guy.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Because it's people like you that make the world go 'round and the internet the fabulous place that it is; despite all the crazies.

I still don't know whether or not my blog will accept email subscriptions - and I'm okay with that.  For now.  Because right now, I'm too afraid to touch anything under the words "Settings."