Sunday, December 31, 2006

I love visiting relatives

We’ve been out of town a few days visiting relatives in Opelika, AL. This is a good bunch of people who do everything they can to make you feel welcome. They feed you, they sit and talk with you, and they generally nurture you.

Monkey Boy had a big ol’ time. His favorite thing to do was to ride the golf cart. Uncle Wendell and Aunt Barbara, whom we were visiting, have 18 acres that he drove at the highest speed possible around. He loved to hit the brakes and I think he was pretending that he was a NASCAR driver. He also enjoyed visiting with his little cousin Daniel (I think this is how he spells his name). Daniel is actually his third cousin, but we don’t worry about such things. I think Monkey Boy really enjoys having a ‘blood’ connection to someone close to his own age. He is basically the only child of his generation on both sides. One his dad’s side, there are no other grandkids and on my side is my one niece who is in her 20s.

There is always so much food there. There are tins full of homemade cookies and candies everywhere and each meal could feed the Olympic Village. Its truly amazing!

I kept busy knitting. I got two baby hats done for a neighbor who is expecting a girl. I'll try to post photos in the next couple of days. It was kind of weird, pretending everything is 'normal' as we haven't told Monkey Boy about the divorce yet. He gets that exciting bit of news next week. I can't begin to tell you how much I'm dreading that.

I have decided to sponge off, I mean visit with several relatives this year. We are meeting Reggie and Gigi in Pigeon Forge in May, June we’ll go visit Nana and Pop Pop, July is the family reunion and August we may go back to Opelika to their lake house. Big times!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wishful thinking for 2007

Are you one of those people who make resolutions each year? Some years I do and some years I don’t. This year is one of the years I do. I feel a need to put some kind of organized goal setting into my currently chaotic life. So here it goes:

  • Ready for the most clichéd resolution of all time: Lose weight. I have been ‘comfort eating’ way too much lately. This has to stop. So my mom and I are going to be diet buddies. My plan is to exercise more and eat more like a vegetarian. I don’t plan to become a total vegetarian but my goal is to start by eating like one for 2 days a week to start and work myself up to 5 days a week. I know from past experience that I lose weight when I eat less meat (which tends to be fried around this part of the country) and eat more fruits and veggies.
  • Get a job as a teacher. I have concerns about this career as it requires that I deal with hordes of children. But I think with the right attitude and the possible addition of prescription tranquilizers (for me or the kids, I’m not picky) this will work for me. Plus it allows me to get a paycheck, benefits and be on Monkey Boy’s schedule.
  • Finalize my divorce. Its time for me to leave the dark side!
  • Have fun. This entails more travel, more ‘me’ time, etc.
  • Redecorate the house. I need to make it more of a ‘me’ house instead of an ‘us’ (me and the soon-to-be ex) house.

That’s the goals I’ve set for 2007. How about you?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Photog Friday - As the sun sets on 2006

This week's photograph was selected because I found it symbolic of the passing year. Hopefully this sunset is also a prediction of the coming new year, as told by the old saying:

Red sky at morning, sailor's warning,
Red sky at night, sailor's delight.

Labels:

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Perfection is highly overrated

In honor of those evil women who get everything done for the holidays and whose homes look like a Hallmark card, I have created a special list. It is a list of the things I meant to do, but didn't get done this holiday season:

  1. Give an open house party on Christmas Eve. Excuse: I'm tired.
  2. Wrap presents in a pretty and professional manner. Excuse: Do you really care how I wrap your present as long as you get one and its wrapped?
  3. Wrap all the presents. Excuse: This is specifically targeted at my friend Nancy in NC because if I had wrapped her family's presents, I wouldn't have gotten them mailed in time for Christmas since I finished knitting one of the presents on Thursday (yes, as in the Thursday before Monday's Christmas) at 4:15 and our post office closes at 5:00. So I just stuck To:/From: tags on the gifts without wrapping them. Sad, yes?
  4. Make cookies from scratch instead from a mix. Excuse: I'm tired.
  5. Buy my husband a really nice present. Excuse: Since my soon-to-be ex husband has been busted for sleeping with other women, he's lucky to get the book and sweater I bought him. Some may ask why I'm giving him presents at all. I'm really doing it for Monkey Boy so that I won't look like a Grinch in his eyes.
  6. Mail presents early. Excuse: God invented Priority Mail for a reason. I'm the reason.
  7. Put up all the Christmas decorations I have instead of just half of them. Considering the state of my life, I'm doing well to get a tree up at all, never mind decorate it. Plus, I'm tired. Notice a theme?
  8. Buy new Christmas outfit. Excuse: I keep waiting to wake up thin one morning and this hasn't happened yet.
So this is the real world. Monkey Boy will still have Christmas memories in spite of me not putting endless sets of lights in the front yard. People are still eating the cookies I made from a mix. Life will go on even if I'm not a domestic goddess. Lesson learned.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Photog Friday - Dreamy

Can you believe its already Friday? And that Monday is Christmas!? Have you and/or the little ones in your life been dreaming of Christmas morning? Monkey Boy is about to pop! Here's a little photo I shot one dreamy morning to take you into your weekend:



"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Gift of Not Giving

Don't you love friends who really get you? You don't have to pussyfoot around them. You can just be upfront with them and more times than not, you're both on the same page. Leslie is one of these friends. Check out this email exchange:

-----Original Message-----
From: The Pod
Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2006 1:23 PM
To: Leslie
Subject: Christmas question

BTW, got the package. Thanks so much. We had such a great time visiting. So here is my question: are we exchanging Christmas gifts? I'm such a wienie I have to ask.
Sharon

----- Original Message ----
From: Leslie
To: The Pod
Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2006 4:19:12 PM
Subject: RE: Christmas question

I'm good with exchanging "New Year's" presents. ;o)
I am SSSOOOO behind right now. I haven't even started shopping for Kaiden yet, I still need a couple of things for Kurt, and my grandparents won't get their pictures until January. How lame am I?

----- Original Message ----
From: The Pod
Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2006 11:39 PM
To: Leslie
Subject: Re: Christmas question

We could give the gift of not giving. That's where we use the time we would have used to shop, wrap and mail the presents to think of happy thoughts of each other!

----- Original Message ----
From: Leslie
To: The Pod
Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 7:27:30 AM
Subject: RE: Christmas question
That sounds good. Or we could buy ourselves something & say it's from the other. Example, I think you're giving me a new pair of jeans. What am I giving you? ;o)

-----Original Message-----
From: The Pod
Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 11:37 AM
To: Leslie
Subject: Re: Christmas question

You're buying me some hot rollers that I need for my new haircut. Thanks! Am I buying you jeans from that store at Northpoint?

----- Original Message ----
From: Leslie
To: The Pod
Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 1:27:30 PM
Subject: RE: Christmas question

Absolutely! Send me a pic of your new do!

Wishing You a Happy Holiday!

I know that many of you will be swamped with holiday preparations or busy traveling this weekend so Monkey Boy and I are wishing you happy holidays a little early this year.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pretty in Pink

Unless you live in the far south, your gardening season is over until March or later. Not here in the Coastal South. December is actually a gardening season onto itself. Here its when the azaleas and camilla's bloom. A dear friend of mine, Byron, gave me a camilla for my birthday last March but I hadn't been able to see what the blooms look like before now. They are glorious. He says the color is called Pink Ballerina. Thank you Byron for a truly fabulous addition to my garden!

Christmas Cat

Do you have pets? Don't you adore them? I can't imagine a home without them. My soon-to-be ex really doesn't like having pets. He doesn't hate animals. He just doesn't care for having them as part of his life. He has a particular dislike for our cat, though he was the one who gave Monkey Boy permission to get the cat when he asked for it. Miss Kitty is really a lovely animal with a quiet and shy temperament. Though she has a playful side, she is quite content to just keep you company. My soon-to-be ex always sends her out of the room and generally fusses at her for no particular reason other than he claims to be allergic to the cat. He's not. Monkey Boy and I have done experiments to prove he isn't. We've, on numerous occasions, kept the cat in the bedroom or his office all day and he doesn't have any problems. Apparently his 'allergies' only come into play when he sees the cat. Our theory is that he's allergic to anything he doesn't like, kind of like a child who says he's allergic to broccoli. Anyway, Monkey Boy and I love our cat. In the spirit of the season I'd like to share a photo and a quote with you:

“Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” ~George Eliot

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Do you remember school Christmas parties?

Do you remember the last day of school before Christmas break (now they call it Holiday break or Winter Solstice break, depending on where you live)? Today is Monkey Boy's last day of school before they break for the holidays. I was asked to volunteer to make cookies for the party and somehow said yes. The original plan was to make them last night, but after downing two thirds of a bottle of champagne, I decided that operating an oven could result in 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns! This morning I've whipped out 8 dozen cookies. Check out some of the results:

I also decided to put together a playlist for the party. I wanted it to be fun, young and slightly different. All the music came from iTunes:

Jingle Bells by Hampton the Hamster
Pokemon Christmas Bash by Pokemon - Christmas Bash
I Want an Alien for Christmas by Fountains of Wayne
12 Days of Christmas by Relient K
Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by U2
Christmas All Over Again by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town by Bruce Springsteen
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by John Mellencamp
Little Saint Nick by The Beach Boys
Feliz Navidad by José Feliciano
Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer by The Jackson 5
You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch by Boris Karloff
We're A Couple Of Misfits by Burl Ives


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Opportunity

As most of you know, I've separated from my husband. I've been literally married most of my life at the age of 43. I was married 22 years and it will probably be 23 by the time the divorce is finalized. As with most marriages, there were good parts including my wonderful son, the travel we did and the early years of our marriage. But, of course, there were the less positive part. My husband travels extensively so I spent most of my marriage alone. That seems like it should be an oxymoron, doesn't it? I use to refer to myself as semi-married; I felt like I had the worst of both being single, because I was alone so much, and of being married, because I didn't have the option of seeking out companionship (though apparently my soon-to-be ex didn't have a problem doing this). And though my soon-to-be ex can be very charming, he is also brutally critical and often distant. Everything seemed as though it had to be at his convenience. For example, It took me 7 years to get my undergraduate degree because we kept moving for his career. I'm sure he would have counterarguments, he always does, but the truth is, for most of our marriage, my world revolved around him and his world revolved around himself.

I think he believed that being 'the provider' should have been enough. It wasn't for me. And as cliched as it sounds, I often felt like I walked on eggshells around him, worrying what would set him off. He would complain that I didn't talk to him but, frankly, it was a learned defensive response. More times than not, when I talked to him about something he would launch into a tirade about what he considered to be one of my sins.

But this morning, I smiled. A lot. I was taking my morning beach walk and realized the impact of the ending of this marriage. I have possibilities. Instead of dodging bullets, I can look forward to new things. Some will suck; some will be wonderful. All will be my choice. This is a very good thing.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I'm a sunflower

I am a
Sunflower

What Flower
Are You?

Fog on the Beach

Have you ever walked on a beach when it was seriously foggy? Today I couldn't see more than 20 feet in front of me. Its the closest to feeling truly alone that most of us will ever feel. You may think you are alone at home, but then the phone rings or you turn on the radio or watch some TV and you don't really feel alone. Out on a grey-beige expanse of sand with only the muffled sound of waves, unable to see very far in any direction, you can feel alone. You can't see the other walkers because of the dense fog. The gulls and pipers have settled quietly on the sand as if echoing the mood of the fog. Its as if you are the only person on Earth. That statement makes it sound scary, but its not. To have that level of peace and quiet and solitude is a luxury that hard to come by in this day and age. So the next time you are at the beach and the fog rolls in, take a walk.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Introducing Photog Friday

I've decided to add a theme day to my blogging. I have to attribute the thought to Zig, who was kind enough to comment on another photo I posted. I'm calling it Photog Friday. Each Friday I'll post a photo that I took and include a quote, simply because I love quotes. Enjoy!

"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results. "
-Anonymous

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Nazis in Denver

Apparently the Nazi party has relocated to Denver as shown in this ridiculous story about a couple who were being fined for having a Peace sign wreath on their home. Seriously folks, its just a wreath that I'm sure they hung as a campy joke, not a symbol of Satan, as implied in the story. Part of the reason for asking the couple to take down the wreath was that the homeowners' association doesn't allow signs that are considered divisive. When did wanting peace become divisive? Remember when Christmas was fun and not a political minefield? In spite of the possibility of being fined by some lame association, I'm going to wish for peace on Earth this holiday season.
Source: RANDI PIERCE: AP / DURANGO HERALD

Deer in Headlights

I hate telling someone that I've separated from my husband. They get that 'deer in headlights' look and wonder which way to run. Should they pretend not to hear what I said? Do they ask me why? What should they do? Most apologize and most, fortunately (because I would hate it if they assumed I was the bad one), ask what he did. Then they tell me how it will all work out and how in the long run my life will be better. And even though I know this is true, its still strange to hear. So for now, I'll just make a sport of keeping my deer-like friends from running into oncoming traffic!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Welcome to my World

Just wanted to share with you a view of my beach this morning. Life is good.


Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.
- Anne Frank

Big Honkin' Wreath

Every year my BIL and SIL send us a beautiful fresh wreath for Christmas. This year's wreath is huge! Check it out:


Monday, December 11, 2006

Police Navidad

Monkey Boy had music at school today. Apparently they learned a new Christmas song and he was singing it. I had to listen to him sing 'Police Navidad' about 20 times before I realized what he was saying. I corrected him, pointing out that it was 'Feliz Navidad,' not 'Police Navidad.' For the rest of the day he sang, 'Leliz Navidad.' At least he was close! Police Navidad, ya'll!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Birthday Pup

It was Marco the Wonder Pup's 1st birthday yesterday. The celebration included 2 walks instead of the usual 1 and his favorite dinner of dry dog food, hot dog, carrots and noodles. Happy birthday Marco!

A holiday evening

I started the evening by taking Monkey Boy to the pool for swim team. Naturally, I sat there knitting. A woman commented that I was one of those patient knitters. Me, a patient knitter? I have never been known as that before! I asked what she meant. She pointed out that I knitted on 'little needles' (#8s, which to most knitters aren't small at all), she knits on huge #50 needles. She said that she could knock out a scarf in 1 hour. I dwelled on this for a while. Who would want to knit something that took only an hour? Where's the fun in that? The project then, in my opinion, is not related to the fiber arts but to crafts. If I want to craft, I work on my scrapbooks. But if I want to really create something, to invest myself into something, I knit.

After swim team, Monkey Boy and I had a holiday dinner. No, we didn't eat turkey and the trimmings. We had a burger, fries and an eggnog milkshake at Steak 'n Shake! Yummmm! After that we drove over to Jekyll Island to see the Christmas lights. I recommend that if you are in the area to check them out. They are really well done this year. Monkey Boy and I ohhed and ahhed over them. Our favorite was a series of light displays that animated a bear climbing a tree to get to honey. Very cute. We also loved the series of light displays that animated a penguin jumping off of an iceberg into the water. And the tree by the hotel was really a sight to see. As a bonus, we spotted 5 deer! Poor little Monkey Boy was asleep before we got home and now its time for me to turn in. Good night, ya'll.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Happy Birthday, Monkey Boy!

I know. I know. I'm late posting Monkey Boy's birthday photos. Such is life. I finally edited them so I'm ready to share them with you. Being 10, Monkey Boy told me that he was far too old to have an 'at home' birthday. So Monkey Boy gathered a group of friends and off we went to the that bastion of white-trash fun, the skating rink. Yes, here in the South we still have skating rinks. No, I don't mean ice skating. I mean roller rink, with neon paint on the walls and disco lights sprouting from the ceiling and children on wheels. If you haven't picked up on it, the skating rink is not my favorite place. I cringe every time they play an urban hip-hop freak song through the cheap speakers and some little Brittney Spears wanna-be wearing a t-shirt two sizes too small with 'Princess' printed on it shrieks in a country drawl, "I l-o-v-e this song!" I'm shuddering just thinking about it. Anyway, Monkey Boy and his posse had a good time which is the important thing. If you are wondering what a big time in South Georgia looks like, check it out:

Gingerbread House 2006

Each year Monkey Boy and I have an annual tradition of decorating a gingerbread house and today was the day for this year's event. I truly believe that Monkey Boy ate more candy than he put on the house! And what was I thinking? I wore a black sweater and black jeans, both of which are now smeared with white frosting! The cat keeps licking me now!

Here's the finished product:

My beautiful Monkey Boy
The weekend has had its ups and downs. I guess that's the life of a separated person. As part of that package you have to deal with crap that I don't want to go into gory detail about right now. But things like gingerbread houses seem to make life a little better.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Weekend Plans

First weekend as separated person. My semi-husband is out of town for a couple of weeks. What should Monkey Boy and I do? I'm thinking that we should decorate a gingerbread house! Monkey Boy loves to do this and spends an hour or two working on his creation. And because we will obviously need more sugar after this activity, we'll probably make M&M brownies. I need to focus on finishing up some knitted Christmas presents this week. And last but not least, I want to watch the new Superman DVD this weekend. Have fun!


Even at the early age of 6, Monkey Boy displayed his keen concentration!