Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top 10 photos for 2009 +1 (because I can't count)

With so many end of the year/decade list of memorable moments of 2009 being shared on this last day of the year, I decided to do one of my own. I present to you, my top 10 favorite photos taken this year (of the ~1000 I took this year).

From the Eating Disorder Candlelight Vigil

The Choice

Matthew's exuberance
And one more....

I love this little nose!

Hope you have a safe New Year's Eve and a blessed New Year!

No photos may be used without my permission.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What's the Word? Part 2: The Unveiling

Today's the day! I'm so excited! I get to unveil my word and set my intention for the new year!

So....are you ready? I know I am. 2010, for me, will be all about.....FOCUS.

FOCUS will mean a great deal to me this year. My adult, as a mom, years have been a little bit of a blur – through sleepless nights in the beginning, to the multitude of jobs a Mom is expected to fill, it was easy and important to lose focus on myself. While the kiddos will remain central to my life, they are both old enough (13 and 8) to do lots more things on their own (with guidance and supervision, of course), which means I can focus the lens of my life a bit to sharpen myself in the picture. I will focus on what made me who I am, what my interests are and what is important to my well-being.

I’ll be FOCUSing on my relationship with my guy, Bob. Sadly, this is the one thing that is the first to be set aside when I get too busy, and surprisingly, the one thing I can count on to be what sets me straight on my priorities. He’s a gem, a rare find – kind, loving to me and the kids, always there for me, and yet manly and cool. Yeah, he’s going to get more of the focus this year.

FOCUS will help me stop wasting precious time on stuff that doesn’t help me to be who I want to be. FOCUS will keep me on track to getting my healthy body back.
FOCUS will help me SIMPLIFY, RENEW, and REBUILD, among other things.

I uncovered a few FOCUSed quotes to use this year. This first one gets at what I'm aiming for:
Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.
--Denis Waitley

So, that’s why I chose FOCUS.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What's the Word?, Part 1

Poised on the edge of a new year, a new decade, I’ve been challenged to come up with a word, something of my own personal theme for 2010. This is a tradition of my friends Leanne, Peggy and Laura that I’ve been invited to participate in this year. Leanne and Peggy will be unveiling their words tomorrow as well.

From my understanding, it’s to be my guiding force for the new year. Much better than a resolution, it’s not likely to be broken once the thrill of the promise of the new year is gone. I envision it as the wrapping paper on my life in the upcoming year. Not to be taken lightly, I tried on a few words before I settled on my final choice.
I initially thought SIMPLIFY would be right for me. Over the years, my home has taken on the weight of many interests, hobbies and projects. It’s really time to let some of them go, like my teaching materials and my collection of jars I was planning to decorate some day. That word would help me get to what was important, what was worth my time and energy. Releasing these projects will give me renewed energy to spend on things that matter to me now.

I also thought, RENEW or REBUILD, would be a good one for me. In 2009, thanks to social networking, I renewed old friendships and began to remember who I was, once upon a time. I remembered the dreams I’d had, the goals I’d set, the person I thought I’d be and I really wanted to rebuild some of those dreams. I really am the same person at heart; you just have to dig through some of the debris of my broken dreams to get to her. Thus, REBUILD would have been a good choice.

I finally zeroed in on the right word for me. The one word that immediately made sense after it popped in my head. The one that takes all of these runners up words and ties a bow on the wrapping paper, to continue that analogy.
So, since this post is already getting too long, I've decided to keep you in suspense just one more day.
Tomorrow, I'll unveil my word......see you then.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Deck the Halls with Kitty Chaos!

Wow, time flies. Every time I think of writing here, I find another thing to do, or my computer is so slow, it’s time for bed before I get a chance to write.
The good news is, the computer situation has been worked out…a newer, faster model is being set up for me soon---I’m really excited! My computer has served us well for the past 7 years and is going to spend her retirement playing games and doing homework with my kids. No more trudging through the Internet for the old gal. Enjoy your retirement HP Media Center! I’m not going to be able to use the slow computer excuse for much longer.
Since we last chatted, there has been an update on the ornament situation. You’ll recall I used some glue to repair a few beloved ornaments a few weeks back. Well, 2 Fridays ago, when I came home from work, I found the cats had Decked the Halls with Kitty Chaos! This came on the heels of the cats knocking over the Advent calendar and helping my dog, Jack, to enjoy day 23, the same week. Here’s our Advent calendar:

When Friday came along, things got a little feistier, it seems. Since I wasn’t there to see it, I imagine it went something like this.

1. Mom leaves the house.
2. Jack gets off the chair and sniffs Dmitry.

3. Dmitry gets feisty and smacks Jack in the head.
4. There is some running up and down the stairs.
5. Jack and Dmitry crash land on Melanie, who has been watching, bored, from the table.


6. Melanie freaks out and runs into the living room, where the Christmas tree stands, as yet, undisturbed.
7. Dmitry does some maneuvers ala the Matrix and crashes into my jester Santa. One casualty.

8. Dmitry, knowing all his good deeds up to this point will be forgotten because of the beheaded Santa, runs into the tree, dislodging several ornaments, including James Dean, who ends up, face down in the carpet.
9. There is some kitty “I’m telling” meowing.
10. Everyone goes back to sleep.

Or, this is what could have happened:

1. Dmitry is bored. He is enticed by the pretty, glittery ornaments and plays a game to see how many he can knock off before I get home.

Naughty Kitty

Like I said, I can’t be too sure what happened. You be the judge, I’ll go get the glue.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Spreading the Christmas Cheer One Card at a Time

The cards are written, personal notes inscribed, they are addressed, stamped....and sitting on my desk! Darn, I missed the mail!!!

This is the first batch of Christmas Cards I've sent out in 5 years. I don't think a lot of my friends or family have my address - I get NO cards anymore. That's what happens when you move a bunch of times and don't send out your cards!

This year, I've vowed to be on top of this activity, now rendered quaint in these days of emails and texts. Also, the first time I've had stamps in my possession in a year! If you don't get a card.....I don't have your address....:)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Goodwill Christmas

This year Christmas, our long time friends, Debbie and Melissa, along with my sister and I got together on December 5th for our third annual Christmas get together. We have known each other since we were VERY little kids, and our moms are also good friends. When we were young, we used to go to their house on Christmas Eve, before we went by my Grandparents house. Now, they live too far away to imagine doing that, hence, we have created our new traditions. The first year was by my house, then by Debbie’s and this year, Melissa’s. Next up is Jeanne’s turn—we are going from oldest to youngest – oh, my, I’m the oldest! (by 11 days). We only exchange between Deb’s family and mine, and Melissa’s to Jeanne’s.

This year, we added a new twist—gifts to each other (Deb/Cindi, Jeanne/Mel) could only come from Goodwill, be under $10, and would have to be proudly used or displayed for one year. I have to say, this was the best year ever! I got a tree ($7), a “lovely” table runner ($1.49), and lights for the tree ($2). Deb signed me up for Club Goodwill, so the table runner was actually free! Deb got a Joliet ashtray, lighthouse snowglobe, dolphin statue and a clam shaped purple chip and dip bowl. Melissa got a potato shaped serving dish, a Friends tray, a friend plaque, cactus flower cheese spreaders, and Texas salt and pepper shakers. Jeanne got a Merry Chirstmoose sign, a carafe with warming tray that works with a tea light candle, a wire cage tree, a picture of a purple motorcycle, 4 duplicate VCR tapes with “Nightmare” in the title, and an oak tissue paper holder.

I can’t wait for next year when the men of the couples join in and we all have to wear bad holiday sweaters. Good times and we helped support the Goodwill mission. Not bad.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Episode 11/29: In Which my Kitchen Table Becomes an Ornament Infirmary

We put the Christmas decorations up yesterday. Well, I put everything out except the ornaments, which I left for the kiddos. This is the part they like best, going through the box of ornaments, finding the ones with their names and dates, the tissue paper wreaths they've made for me, we even have a requisite macaroni ornament that Matt made. You know the drill. This year, though, we had a little emergency. The ornament box took a tumble in the garage sometime around June and although most ornaments were guarded by the heavy plastic box, some "shifting" must have occured. Well, a little more than "shifting", there were a few decapitations (Simba and the sweet bunny Mom from Ana's Baby's First Christmas ornament), a broken Starbucks ornament (gasp!), Tramp is missing an ear, and Snow White had been knocked off her swing. Lucy left the Peanuts gang and spent some time traveling the ornament box, until I performed "Ornament Surgery".

We set up a triage unit on the table, covered with the Michael's sales paper (seemed fitting), I pulled out my trusty Aleene's Clear Glue Gel and got to work restoring the little plastic and porcelain memories.

Being the expert that I am at repairing things (I am a single mom, you know - I'm the only repair elf in the house), I made quick work of it.

Success!!! Simba reigns proudly, Lucy skates with the rest of the Peanuts gang (photo not shown), Tramp can hear, and Snow White innocently swings once again (we have to put her far from the carmel apple ornaments on the tree...she likes apples, you know). As for the Starbucks cup, well, I wouldn't trust it to hold any liquid because a few little pieces weren't recovered, but at least it holds its shape again.

I'm the Mom, I have glue and I know how to use it!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Grateful: The Musical

I've been listening to this song by John Bucchino for years. It's on his album, Grateful: The Songs of John Bucchino and is appropriately called, "Grateful". Here are the lyrics, and a link to listen to the song. Have a blessed week!

I've got a roof over my head
I've got a warm place to sleep
Some nights I lie awake counting gifts
Instead of counting sheep

I've got a heart that can hold love
I've got a mind that can think
There may be times when I lose the light
And let my spirits sink

But I can't stay depressed
When I remeber how I'm blessed

Grateful, grateful
Truly grateful I am
Grateful, grateful
Truly blessed
And duly grateful

In a city of strangers
I've got a family of friends
No matter what rocks and brambles fill the way
I know that they will stay in the end

I feel a hand holding my hand
It's not a hand you can see
But on the road to the promised land
This hand will shepherd me

Through delight and despair
Holding tight and always there

Grateful, grateful
Truly grateful I am
Grateful, grateful
Truly blessed
And duly grateful

It's not that I don't want a lot
Or hope for more, or dream of more
But giving thanks for what I've got
Makes me so much happier than keeping score

In a world that can bring pain
I will still take each chance
For I believe that whatever the terrain
Our feet can learn to dance

Whatever stone life may sling
We can moan or we can sing

Grateful, grateful
Truly grateful I am
Grateful, grateful
Truly blessed
And duly grateful

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Christmas Wish List.....a first draft

Yes, it's the middle of November, but I'm following the trend of "Early Christmas" that all the stores seem to follow. Think of it as a way to be ahead of the game and to take advantage of all the fabulous sales, though, I don't think that will really be an issue with this list. I've been accused of a Scrooge already this year, so is

My Christmas Wish List
1. I would like a red, fuzzy, V-neck sweater that fits well and makes me look 2 sizes smaller.
2. Peace on Earth
3. I would like the gal who serves me my coffee to take the metal out of her face before she goes to work. It grosses me out.
4. I would like "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" to be universally banned this year. Better yet, a time machine so I can distract and prevent the punk who wrote the song from penning this Christmas "Classic". Think about it.
5. I would like my kids to truly love the gifts I pick for them and to understand that "Santa" is not going for volume, but rather substance this year.
6. I would like to come home from work one day and find that someone has reorganized and refurnished my house. That would be really cool.
7. I'd like a date with my sweet guy, Bob. All by ourselves. Without either of us being or getting sick. Yeah, I'd like that.
8. I'd like a friend who can sew.
9. I'd like everyone to remember why we celebrate Christmas.
10. A nap.

So, that's it for now. My Christmas list so far. Bah. Humbug.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Good Morning, and Thank You

Just a few quick thank you's this morning.....

Thank you, Comcast, for not shutting off my email when I dropped you for DirectTV.
Thank you to my nephew Nick, who served me breakfast in bed this morning as a thank you for letting him spend the night last night and play video games.
Thank you, Peggy, for nudging me to update my blog yesterday.
Thanks to my guy, Bob, for everything. Truly blessed.
Thanks to my dad for the cute, but off-color joke - I love when something makes my dad, a quiet soul, laugh.
I'm sure the dog rescue folks would also thank my sister, the unofficial Dog Whisperer of Joliet, for fostering Jetta (the dogs who appear in this post are 3 of 4 of sis's dogs: Maxie, Libbi, and Rocky). I have my books and she has her dogs.....
Thanks to my followers who commented with their support of my Crusade of Thanks.

And once again, thanks for listening.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thank You is a Magic Word, drive-thru person

                                                                          "A Thankful Heart" by Morgan Weistling
I'm surprised I'm saying this, but I think November is my favorite month of the year. I know I've officially "grown up" now that I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For me, it's a very spiritual time of the year--not religious, but spiritual.

Last week, in church, our young priest, Father Nate, made me think, .......again. It was All Saints Day, but he wanted us to remember, we are all called to be saints. Particularly, what stuck with me, was his question: If you aren't out there being the best that you can be, then what ARE you doing? Hmmm.....making me think.....

So I thought about it - am I being the best I can be? Well, maybe not, I've got my flaws, but I'm trying. This month, I've challenged myself to put positive out into the world, and since it's November, my goal is first, to be thankful, but also to share my kind words with others, and to listen with understanding and do what I can to help.

This week I really paid attention to how people are with one another.  Less like a spy, more like an anthropolgist. I was surprised at what I observed.

My first plan was to encourage my Facebook friends to say "Thank You" and to give some compliments. Some nice words shared, but all in all, not the "change the world" movement I was dreaming of. Snarky folks, my friends....a few of them even thanked themselves. Not quite what I was going for. Oh well, plan B.

Plan B was all on me, well, sort of. I decided to thank strangers. I do this all the time, but this week, I made sure people heard my sincerity, rather than a programmed "Thank You" reaction. I thanked the girl who makes my coffee in the morning (and I'm sure my co-workers would thank her as well...I NEED my coffee), the bagger at the grocery store (who, really does a harder job than the checker...thank this kid and you'll get a range of responses from "Uh, yea, thanks, I mean, you're welcome" to "Uh huh" to an unintelligible grunt to a genuine "you're welcome"), and the kid at the drive thru window who takes my money, gives me change and hands me my food without ever acknowledging my presence. This drives me absolutely crazy! I'm not even sure who to blame for this "kid" (kid being used loosely--can be an age, this one)--parents, schools, or the manager, for not correcting these poor manners, this poor service. This person is my real audience, not my witty Facebook friends (unless they work in a drive thru and don't acknowlege customers). I've found myself, on more than one occassion, saying "you're welcome and have a good day too" to this person without their lead-in "Thank You". They look at you like you are nuts then, but I felt just a little bit better after doing it.

So, I'll keep at it. Maybe someone will join me, and if not, that's ok. I'm not deluded to think I can change the way we interact with each other, and maybe, if it wasn't Novemeber, I might not have been so aware of "thank you". Father Nate as if I was being the best I can be. My answer is still, "I'm trying".

Thank you kindly for listening/reading.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Unlikely Friends....a mini love fest....

So, I've shared my thoughts about some new and old friends recently and today I was thinking about unlikely friends. While I was at the retreat, the speaker talked of 2 children, a Muslim and a Jew, playing together with no understanding of the trouble between their people. The message was "Hate is learned". Well, currently nothing in my life is quite so serious as the idea of those children playing, and I can't really say I hate anyone. So, how did this message apply to me? I thought about it for a while and, after a particularly uplifting email from a friend, I was able to come up with a couple of unlikely friends in my life. I'll share a few here.

The first friend that comes to mind is my best friend, my sister, Jeanne. Who knew that brat who stole my mommy and daddy when I was 4 and threw a glass of orange juice at me when we were kids would turn out to be the same person who keeps me grounded, is always there when I need her, and keeps all my secrets. Even if she wants me to get rid of all my books, I still love her.

The next unlikely friend is the wife of my former husband, affectionately known to all as "Stepmom". While I'm certain it's quite odd to like your ex-husband's wife, I think it might be just a bit odder to count her among your closest friends. There is no nasty talk of the father of my children between us, oh no.  Just the kind of friend who is always willing to lend an ear, cheer you up when you're down, and ready to jump in to help you at a moment's notice. Sure, it took us a while to get here, but I couldn't have made it through this past year without her. She's a true gem.

I also still like my former mother-in-law (liking your mother-in-law is supposedly odd) and I have a couple of friends in the sales department at work (Gasp! Shhhh, don't tell, I've made friends with the enemy :))

Not earth shattering, I know. Probably not even that interesting, and most certainly, all been said before, but it made me think.  I'm sure that we meet people for a reason, whether they float into your life mid-way or stand by our side for all of it, or join you for a while before going on their way, we can't make it without them. I've shared with you my thoughts on the uncertainly of life - remember about eating dessert? How about telling the people you love how much they mean to you. Have you told your friends, likely and unlikey, how grateful you are to have them as a friend?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Sunny Side of the Street

So, I've been trying to focus more on the positive lately. I can so very easily sliip to the dark side when I get overwhelmed, like I have been for the past few weeks. This weekend, I've had a couple experiences that have kept me looking to the bright side.

First - I'm taking an online class to help me embrace the things I'm grateful for. One assignment, a classic, is to list 100 things for which I am grateful. Simple assignment - so important. I'm up to 30 on my list right now and I keep it by my bedside to add to as I get ready to go to bed and recharge my batteries. Since it's a scrapbooking class, I'll add my 100 things to a 2 page spread to keep in one of my albums.

Second - I've reconnected with a dear friend who has helped me renew my spirit and reminded me of who I had set out to become, before all the pressures of everyday took over and planted themselves firmly on my shouders. She's also shared her friend and sister with me, which means I now have 3 more lovely people in my life who share my love of scrapbooking and telling the stories that make up our lives.

And finally, I spent today at a women's retreat with my mom, sister, and my daughter, learning and refelecting on life as viewed through the filter of the Spirituality of The Wizard of Oz, as presented by Friar Johnpaul Cafiero, OPM, of which I hope to share what I've learned in future posts. Not that this will turn into a sermon or anything, but I can't help but be moved by some of the ideas presented as the ideas are universal, regardless of your beliefs.

So, that's what I've got today. I'm round out my weekend of reflection by spended some time focused on the 2 blessing I count first on my list, Ana and Matt. Peace be with you, and have a great weekend.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Life is Short....Eat Dessert....and grab some tissue.

Hankie alert
Earlier this year, I lost a dear friend and colleague. It was sudden, and I didn't find out about it until I had logged into my Facebook account, which is ironic because in the last email I got from my friend, he clearly stated "I wouldn't be caught dead on Facebook". I'm still not sure what to make of that, but had it not been for Facebook, I wouldn't have known why he hadn't returned my last email.

Now, I don't want to be sad or depressing here, really. (Although, this is the first time I've written about my friend's passing, it may not be the last. I've, sadly, lost 2 friends, suddenly, this year.)  I want to share with you how I honor, in my small way, the memory of someone who has just passed away. It's simple, sure, but it helps me get past that initial sad stage. I eat dessert.

Now, I know we're supposed to be healthy in our food choices. I've spent years dieting and denying. Passing up dessert is the sure sign I'm on the dieting kick again.  But I've come to believe that passing up the sweet things in life, just because you think you should, was not part of the plan. I don't want to be morbid here, but what if? What if there's no cheesecake in Heaven? What if they don't stock hot fudge? What if there are no marshmallows for your hot chocolate? What did you miss here? What would you miss there? For me, it's dessert.

So, please, have dessert -- to celebrate, to mourn, or for no reason at all. Even if it's just a bite.

And for Frank, thanks for the years of laughter, support, friendship, grammar rules, and, finally, the Apple Crostada. 

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Books, My Shelves: a "So That's Why" special episode

So, I'm sitting here this morning, looking at the 2 bookcases in my bedroom and wondering, "Why?". Why do I have all these books? Why did they enchant me so as to plunk down the debit card so I could give them a home on one of my 5 bookshelves (which doesn't count the ones in the kids' bedrooms)? Why haven't I found time to read them? Some people can tell time in their lives by the friends or lovers they've had, or a song on the radio that takes them back to an era in their life. I can also tell time by my books. Time for a "So, that's why" moment.

There are entire sections on my shelves from the various stages of teaching: student teaching (tons of books on theory and also classroom ideas on every subject imaginable, as well as novels that I intended to have in my classroom), the short stints as a substitute teacher, when I worked with students with learning differences, and when I taught at the college level (books on writing and grammar, art books from the time I taught Intro to Fine Arts, Psychology books (Oliver Sachs and Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).

There are sections of my "Optimistic Mommy" phase, when I wanted to start a mommy-daughter book club - books on how to do that and the books I wanted to read with my daughter (um, sadly, didn't get too far with that, although she loves to read and that was the ultimate goal).

The philosophical era when I thought I'd read all the classics that I should have read before: Camus, Wharton, Miller, Austen, all nestle together with my book on 100 Banned Books.

The time after that, when I gave up and read chick lit and "pampering yourself" books, exclusively.

Books from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon from when my son was a wee bairn (they are set in Scotland) and I would read while he rested in my arms.

Books my mom shared with me. Guilty pleasures. Short books that should be long: Simplify Your Life with Kids, for example. And long books that should be short: Seeing Me Naked by Lisa Palmer (just kidding, couldn't resist that title).

An amazing array of Organizing books, close to 25, of which I've read hmmmm 2? I should have stuck with Marcia Ramsland and Peter Walsh, because their books had the most impact on me when I read them. But, uh, nothing seems to have sunk in because my house and my life is in utter chaos - I think I'll organize them next, into a nice versatile basket they may or may not have suggested I buy, and which is now filled with Ninetendo boxes and scarves? Time to read or re-read those books.

Books that make me go - huh? Really? I bought that? (See The Seinfield Chronicles, and Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell) That group is now in a shopping bag on the way to The Frugal Muse (noted in an earlier post), if you are interested, but I warn you, you may look at them years from now and ask yourself the same questions.

There are other subsections of book categories around here, to be sure, but these seem the most important to me to share right now. Since I've also been saying, "I didn't know I had this book", several times this morning, I'm going to take a look to see what I might what to move up on my imaginary reading list. Or maybe write down that list. I also see how some of my writing books may come back into use soon, with the blogging and scrapbooking I do, and the fact that my daughter is on the school Newspaper and Yearbook this year (also, a very good writer, that girl!). Maybe she'll want one of those books to cuddle up with .... uh, yeah, what 13 year-old girl doesn't want to cuddle up with her mom's grammar books? I need to get a grip....maybe some parenting books.....?

So, that's why I have so many, many, many books in my house. My goal continues to be to actually read or re-read these books that mean so much to me, and eliminate those that don't. Those castaways, who have spent some time with me will go off to a new home on someone elses shelves. And I'll have space on my shelves for the next era of my life, whatever that may be.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Sun Burns or How I Spent My Sunday in a Football Stadium for 7 hours

As I sit here, once again sunburned, I'm prompted to share a few things I've learned this weekend.

The correlation of sitting in the sun without sunblock on and getting a sunburn, continues to elude me. I consider myself to be an educated woman, however, this fact proves that degrees don't mean a person is smart. I enjoyed being at the football stadium to support my niece and nephew for 7 glorious hours, on a very beautiful sunny day, though I may look like leather in my later years (just saying).

Corelle dishes can break when you are trying to convince me you have had enough to eat (Matthew, I'm talking to you here, son. Don't hold up the plate to show me, k?)

Another thing I learned is that I am too old to sit on the lawn at a concert and fully enjoy myself. Once upon a time, not that long ago, I would have enjoyed the open air and comaraderie of my fellow music fans. Of course, I would also have been drunk and nothing other than the music and my friends would have mattered to me. I would have trudged up the hill without losing my breath and rolling my eyes at the young'uns running up and down. I wouldn't have given much thought to the teenagers around me and their pot smoking. Makes me not want to allow my children to go to concerts. Ever. Unless Donny Osmond goes on tour.

Here's another, deeper thought. When someone belongs in your life, they will be there. When you just can't bear it without them any more, and whether it's just a memory that pops into your head at the right time, or the right "one" appears when you least expected it or a person who maybe wasn't in the same "place" in their life that you were shows back up and makes you feel like yourself again, life has a funny way of working things out. Not always, sometimes, you wonder what you ever had in common with some people you called your friends. But if that person was truly meant to be in your life, they will continue to touch some part of it, forever. (This is happening to me a lot lately, and that's a very good thing.)

Every day is worth waking up for.

Chocolate is the ultimate bonding experience. And scrapbooking. For me. Maybe not you, but for me they are.

I can't eat pizza anymore.

And finally, there's always a catch, isn't there, TCF Bank. Can't wait for my $18 mandatory checks for my Totally FREE checking account.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

In a few moments on a Saturday morning

In a few moments on a Saturday morning,....
  • the rest of the house will wake up and there will be places to go, mouths to feed, and a dog to take out.
  • I'll need to choose one of the many projects I have started and commit some time to completing it.
  • some small corner of my house will become clean again, laundry started, dishes washed, and toilets scrubbed.
  • I will realize that the grass needs to be cut before the neighbors start complaining.
  • the cats will crash into the wall because their play has become more spirited.
  • the TV will go on, and Spongebob will be drowning out the quiet hum of the air conditioner in its last day of use (hopefully) for the summer.
  • my coffee will be ready.
  • I will realize that all I wanted to accomplish in this day can never be done.
  • I will sigh, and begin to do the best I can with this day I've been given.
But for now, I'll savor these last few moments of quiet, when all I need to do is be thankful for this day and these moments, since every moment is my life lived.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

5 Reasons Why my Cat Dmitry is Crazy.....

I thought having a kitten would be fun, certainly a new experience, but as I get to know Dmitry, my 4 month old Russian Blue kitten, I've grown to think I might have a crazy cat on my hands. (My friend, Scott, summed it up best by saying, "He's kind of a jerk". - true).

1. There is no such thing as peaceful sleep in my house anymore. I wake up every morning around 4 am to Dmitry licking my eyelids. Now, I'm not sure what is so tasty on my eyelids, but the morning cannot start without this creepy bath.
2. Dmitry runs like he's late for a train when he sees me go into the bathroom. As I unroll the toilet paper, he never fails to grab it out of my hands. This must be the warm up to the "unroll all the toilet paper in all 3 bathrooms" game he plays while I'm at work.
3. Awww....cute kitty does figure 8's between my legs while I'm getting dressed......OUCH!! Damn it! Not cute!
4. Then, I hear Matt screaming at "Meat" as he's affectionately known. Seems attack cat is guarding the stairs and won't let Matt go down. I must escort Matt past the cat.
5. Dangerous kitty game: try to eat the dog's food while the dog is eating. Jack the dog is tall and has a raised food bowl. Meat perches himself on Jack's bowl and tries to eat the dogs food. Good, patient Jack has not killed Dmitry yet.

So, for now, those are my 5 reasons.....I'm sure I'll come up with more, but I have to go see what just crashed in the other room.....

Bus 2, Mom 1 and How I Spent My Allowance....

We caught Ana's bus this morning....! Yay!

Kids are hanging out with their lovely Stepmom this evening so I went to my happy place - the used bookstore - The Frugal Muse. I've become allergic to paying full price for, my sister would KILL me!

My new books:
Generation T- 108 ways to transform a T-shirt ($5.98) - for Ana, my little fashionista!
Unforgettable Color ($.93) - for Ana
The Not So Big Life ($.93) - for me, I've wanted to read this one, but not for $24.
Nantucket Nights, Elin Hilderbrand ($4.98) - for me, because I wanted to read her other book, The Castaways and that was full price.
Teen Makeup ($.93) - for Ana
Dead Until Dark, Charlaine Harris ($5.98 brand new...$2 cheaper than regular price) - for me, because my mom is reading her other series and even though I don't watch True Blood, I hear it's a good series.
Home, Julie Andrews autobio ($6.98 - hardcover) I jumped up and down inside because I found this one....wanted to read it since it came out!

So, now that my sister is going to kill me, I will pledge to read my books before I buy another one. Really, Jeanne, I will. After I finish Garden Spells!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Queen of the Universe

Rather normal day - missed Ana's bus again...need to call them...they cannot continue to be 7 minutes early without getting a piece of my mind.

Stepmom bought Ana's ridiculously expensive calculator....last of the school supplies to be checked off the list.

Matt really knows how to melt my heart. Tonight, he told me he likes to be with me because he feels different when I'm around. Says it's because I'm a mom and I'm special to him. The other day he was singing a made up song with the lyric "Mom is in my heart". I thought being the mom of a daughter was the best...clothes, shopping, makeup, late night chats....but being Matt's mom makes me feel like Queen of the Universe.

Although, how cynical am I that I'm ready for him to ask me to buy him a new DS game?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rotten commercials

I feel like I shouldn't have to explain to my son why one would need Vagisil, but advertisers and the people who sell ad space on TV seem to feel otherwise.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Oh geez!

Thinking our cat might be preggers. Darn that little Dmitry!

Update: Totally not pregnant! Seems she's just a little fluffier from eating her kitten brothers food. Dodged that bullet!

New Beginnings!

First day of school. The kids have been excited about this day for about a week and a half--me, all summer. My baby, Matt's in 3rd grade....not sure when that happened....and Ana is in 8th.

Usual morning -- Ana's up and ready, Matt's still in bed. Bellies fed, teeth brushed, shoes on...trudge out to the tree in the front yard for first day pics.....seems they've done this before. Pose for Mom. Let's go.

Ana's got a new bus stop. Hmmm. Watch Ana wait with other kids. I think, if I had made her wear a dress on her first day of school, there would have been a huge fight. Watch (from many car lengths away so as not to look like I'm watching) Ana get on the bus. Watch Ana get off the bus. Huh. Seems the bus driver wasn't supposed to pick them up on that corner. Have to ask her about that.

Still have an hour until Matt's supposed to be at his school. Drive to McDonald's - get standard breakfast (yogurt parfait and coffee). Sit at Matt's school. Watch other kids line up. Matt accuses me of getting him a purple backpack. Tell him it's blue. Nod when he realizes it's blue.

Discover my kid is the kid who tells the other kids they are lucky they didn't get "insert teacher name here". He finds kids he knows. Chuckle to myself that people still call him "Mattman". I stand with other parents who have to go into work late today. Third grade teachers come out and shake hands with each kid. After meeting his teacher, Matt turns to me and smiles, "That's my teacher. I think she's going to be a good one!" Relieved and excited, Matt heads back to his friends. I've been dispatched. I can go. I hope he's right.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Best Day Ever! but I should have listened to my sister.

Yesterday, showed a lot of promise to be a pretty good day. I was back from my business trip, the kids didn't have any activities to be carted to, and it was warm for the first time, it seemed, in the whole summer.

My nephew and niece, Nick and Sam, were fishing in a "derby" by my parents, and we were going to watch. Ana's dad called in the morning saying he needed to borrow her - she was getting sushi, her favorite date with her dad. Matt and I had our stimulating Anakin flowers conversation.

To my surprise, Matt decided to fish too. As soon as his line was in, there was a fish on the end. Was he excited! There was a wonderful breeze by the water...barely felt warm at all. I haven't been outside all summer, didn't think about the sun too much...I spent more thoughts on taking pictures of the kids and fish, watching the clouds, and feeling the earth under my back as I lay on the ground.

After fishing, Ana rejoined us and we went in the pool. I hadn't been in the pool all summer - even Matt commented that he thought I didn't go swimming enough. I love the weightless effect the water has on my body. I played with the kids and had the best time! I swear, I put on my sunscreen. Later, we had a great dinner with my parents, and watched Mama Mia! twice.

In retrospect, I hear my sister saying as we were putting on the sunscreen, that she didn't "trust" it. Hmmm. Should have listened to her. Today, I look like a scary red clown. I have creepy tan lines around my eyes where my sunglasses were. My skin is tight and I've slathered on so much aloe I'm kind of sticky. However, I still think it was the perfect summer day, for me.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Matt and the Anakin Flowers

So, Matt and I have deep conversations all the time. I usually try to relate the content to something he understands. So today we were talking about how we need to pull some weeds around our house. I explained that we have a responsibility to take care of our home, and that's one of the things we could do to make it look nicer. That lead to a discussion about why there are weeds in the first place.
Matt: Why are they even weeds?
Me: Well, weeds are kind of like flowers that got out of hand and grow too fast until they take over the whole place. They are like flowers with a dark side.
Matt: I get it, they are like Anakin flowers. Anakin, in case you are not a Star Wars fan, is Anakin Skywalker, or who Darth Vader is before he goes over to the "dark side".
Made sense to Matt. Made sense to me.