Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wahoo!! I'm out of here!

Tomorrow I leave for Boone, NC to go to a knitting retreat. Party! I'm so excited to see my friends from Michigan. I haven't seen them in a couple of years. I may or may not be online. I'll try to check in and let you know how's it's going.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Perceptions

It fascinates me that some people feel that one thing is tied to their personal happiness. A perfect example of this is a woman who worked for me when I owned a training company in Chicago. She was nice enough, but was in her 30s and desperate to get married (foolish mortal). She was one of those people who never made it past the 1st or 2nd date. Her belief was that if she lost weight (she was 15 pounds overweight, max) and got to her 'perfect' weight (whatever that is) her Prince Charming would find her. She really believed this. She told me this one night when we went out for drinks and for a moment all I could do was look at her with my "are you serious?" look. Upon realizing that she was serious I asked her why she thought this. She told me that men didn't want her because she had cellulite. Wow. I informed her that she needed to think of cellulite as the toll men paid to see her naked. And as for the bigger picture, any man that said, "Baby, I don't want to have sex with you because you have cottage cheese thighs." is a man to run from. Quickly.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Tacky Pants

Monkey Boy is one of those kids who will literally go up a size in a week. One week the pants fit, the next week they don't. Same thing with shoes. A couple of years ago during one of these growth spurts, Monkey Boy told me he needed tacky pants. Tacky pants? Why would my little, Southern preppy boy be asking for tacky pants? Then it came to me, he wanted khaki pants. All was right with my world again.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

My Beach

Since Ellie Bee, Stick Knits and liv have been dropping hints that they are going to be moving in with me any day now, I thought I would post of picture of the beach nearest to my house. This is about 100 yards from my front door and was taken yesterday morning.


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To My Friends in the North

Just wanted ya'll to know that the Canadian Geese have basically evacuated the island over the past 2 days. These things are seriously loud!!! Thought that you would want to know they got the signal that Spring is on the way!

"Cool" Dads

I am sick and tired of divorced Dads trying to be 'cool.' Ellie Bee's post got me really thinking about this. Her son was over at his dad's place and because he didn't feel like going to school 'cool dad' didn't make him. My soon-to-be ex is like this. He lets Monkey Boy stay up until 1:00 in the morning watching over the top violent horror movies. Or lets him eat a candy bar for breakfast. Or not eat breakfast at all. Want to spend the entire freakin' day in your underwear playing video games and eating whatever snack foods you can forage for in the kitchen? Not a problem. Because he is 'Cool Dad.'

He's not like that mean 'Not Cool Mom' who makes him do his homework, walk on the beach, eat real food so that he's not constipated for days, and go to bed at a normal time so he doesn't have dark circles under his eyes and the pallor of a zombie. Why do they think buying a child whatever he wants, letting a child watch whatever he wants and generally letting a child do whatever he wants is cool? And yet, this same idiot wants to take credit for the child's successes: success at the sport that 'Uncool Mom' relentlessly made him attend practices for, success at school even though he doesn't know his child's teacher's name, success at anything that might reflect positively on him in other people's eyes. Why don't they step up and act like a grown-up and realize their job isn't to be 'cool' but to build the foundation for a child's life as a happy, well-grounded, successful adult? Wait a minute. If these men acted like adults, we wouldn't have divorced them. I've seemed to have answered my own tirade. Never mind.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Must...Sleep...Soon

Ya'll know how much I love Monkey Boy, but I have a suspicion that he is trying to kill me really, really, really slowly by not letting me sleep. The first part of the week was sleepless due to strep. Last night was sleepless due to snake.

Around 4am this morning I was awoken by someone kicking me in the shins over and over again. I'm sure normal women would have woken up with a scream, fearing that they were being attacked. I just whined, 'Stop kicking me. Leave me alone.' Monkey Boy said that he heard a 'ssssssssssssss.' Crap. "Are you sure you heard that noise?" "Oh, yes, Mom, I'm sure. I think it was a snake."

It isn't outside the realm of possibility that a snake was in the house. We live next to a pond and I've seen them in the yard. And I did have some of the doors open during the day because it was so warm yesterday. Crap. On the other hand, it was 4 o'clock in the morning. What snake would be rude enough to bother me at that ungodly hour?

Monkey Boy would not go to sleep until I had thoroughly inspected the room. I had to strip the covers off of the bed, look under all the furniture and check the closets -- did I mention it was 4 in the morning? I asked him if he was sure that he heard a 'ssssssssssssssss.' He informed me that he had been dreaming about snakes and maybe it was in his dreams. Seriously, I'm not making this up. He, of course, went right back to sleep and I laid awake wondering if it was a real snake or a dream snake. At this point I have no snake sightings to report. However, a sleep-deprived, slightly deranged woman has been sighted in my mirror.

Photog Friday - Decide


The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want.
- Ben Stein

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Outside Looking In

I've mentioned my gorgeous friend Joe in previous posts. He is the one owns the publishing firm of Brubaker & Ford in London. Joe is an amazingly perceptive person and gave me this bit of insight as to why he knew years ago that my soon-to-be ex was wrong for me: he didn't know how I took my coffee.

We were at Joe's house and soon-to-be ex was putting on a show of being the caring, charming husband and getting me a cup of coffee. (By the way, have you noticed that many charming men become total jackasses when they don't have an audience?) He asked me how I took my coffee. At this point in time we had been married almost 20 years and you have to realize that I am a coffee whore. I move from coffee shop to coffee shop. I love coffee. Anyone who hangs around me for more than two days will know how I take my coffee. The girl at the coffee shop doesn't know my name, but starts my coffee order as soon as she sees my big red Excursion pull into the parking lot. Soon-to-be ex's best friend can tell you how I take my coffee. Most of this island can tell you how I take my coffee, but my husband couldn't. Enough said.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Son the Doctor

Monkey Boy is one of those kids that you never know what is going to come out of his mouth. For example, there was the time that he announced that he was going to be a doctor. My son, the doctor! This was a moment of Mommy pride, but then I realized that this was my kid we were talking about. So I asked, "Why do you want to be a doctor?" He responded with this priceless bit of wisdom: "So that I can get paid to see people naked." Great.

I shared this story with out family doctor who has exudes all the joy and humor of dry toast, and he says, without missing a beat, "It's not all that its cracked up to be!" Now Monkey Boy wants to be a FBI agent like the cute guy on 'Bones.'

Here's Monkey Boy dressed up as a scientist in a photo taken a couple of years ago. What will this child turn out to be?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Strep: Night 2 - Night of the Wicked Fever

Last night was not fun. Monkey Boy's fever reached 104. 2 degrees even with Advil and Motrin. I was scared to death. I didn't go to sleep in spite of being worn out because I was afraid he'd have a convulsion or something with the fever. I got all of his clothes off him and kept cold washcloths on him (which, by the way, he slept through), trying to get the fever down. Finally at around 11:30pm his fever went down to 102.1. By midnight it was down to 100.9. And it kept going down. Wahoo! I got to finally go to sleep. I woke back up at 6am and took his temp: 98.6!

Side-note: On top of dealing with the fever, I had to deal with soon-to-be ex. He kept calling and announced at 10pm that he was flying in the next day. Why, I asked, what could you do that I'm not doing? He said: "Maybe he's not getting better because I'm not there. My being there will make him better." Seriously, WTF? Does he have god-like powers that I'm not aware of? Of course once he heard Monkey Boy was doing better, he decided to go to a hockey game instead of coming to spread his mysterious power here. Whatever.

Addition to original post: I've mentioned that Monkey Boy talks in his sleep. He just said, "I get sickie sick when I'm sick." Either I need a magic decoder ring for this or it is too profound for me to understand in my sleepless stupor!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Strep: Night 1

Monkey Boy didn't have a very good night and therefore Mommy didn't have a good night. Monkey Boy slept with me last night and he talks in his sleep when he has a fever. Around 6:00am he woke up coughing with led to gagging which led to . . . you know. So after cleaning up and getting Monkey Boy cooled down with drugs and cool washcloths, I tried to go back to sleep. Monkey Boy couldn't go back to sleep so Mommy couldn't go back to sleep. He started playing on his computer and watching TV in my room around 7am. Yawn. Then just when I was ready to fall asleep, soon-to-be ex called to check on Monkey Boy. A little after 9:00 I gave up and got up. I ran downstairs to let the dog out and start coffee. Came back upstairs to a pouty child and explained that Mommy had to have a shower to function today. When I finished my shower I checked on Monkey Boy. One guess as to where he was: curled up in the bed I had just made, fast asleep!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Strep's in the House

After spending 2 hours at the urgent care center, I got the news: Monkey Boy has strep and is highly contagious AND can't go back to school until Thursday. [Insert sounds of me softly sobbing.] Monkey Boy actually jumped up and did a cheer which ended with an exuberant tushie dance, much to the doctor's amusment. Shoot me now.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fire and Flood

I'm going to backtrack my week a bit today. Last Tuesday night (actually is was Wednesday morning but keep reading) the phone rang at 2:00 am. I am of the age that when the phone rings at 2:00 in the morning the first thing that goes through my head is "OMG, someone has died!" No, it was the evil soon-to-be ex (I'll call him Satan for the rest of the post. It's my little pet name for him) calling me from Vegas which he apparently hasn't figured out is in another freakin' time zone! He promptly announces that our Michigan house is on fire. Crap. He got a call from our security monitoring service saying they were sending fire trucks out there. I have a love/hate relationship with this house. It is a truly beautiful house that is on 2 acres of wooded land located between Detroit and Ann Arbor. An architect built it for himself and it is a soft contemporary that has a very Zen feel to it. This said, I don't know why Satan bought the house. He was renting a 3 BR place in a great area and Monkey Boy and I were moving up so for some reason he bought a house - outside of Detroit - one of the worst housing markets in the US. Whatever. To top it off, if he had put it on the market when I asked him to, it would have sold. But he kept saying that he might want to keep it. Well he's stuck with it now because he put it on the market after 3 automotive plants closed in the area.

After hanging up, I started thinking about the best case scenarios for the fire. There's #1, the security system was acting up again and sent out a false alarm. Then there's option #2, which is the place burns to the ground. Why would I be OK with option #2? Because one of the reasons that my divorce is taking so long is because Satan needs to sell this house to afford the divorce. If it burns to the ground, the insurance would pay it off.

Surprisingly, I can't go to sleep after this phone call, which is just fine because he calls again at 4:30am. The house isn't on fire, its flooded. We have temperature sensors on our alarm system and when the internal temp hits 35 degrees (the furnace broke), the alarm contacts the monitoring service. The less than bright girl working at the monitoring service interpreted the notification as fire instead of low temp. But it worked out OK because the drop in temp caused the pipe to burst, so at least the fire dept. turned off the water to the house.

Satan tells me during this phone call that someone had suggested that he turn the water off to the house and winterize it. I asked why he didn't do this. His answer: because it was warm when they told him to do it and he didn't think it would need it. Wow. This is why I called my mom and asked her to be my alibi if I shot him. If you are worried, he's still alive. So in one night, I was told about a fire and flood. All I need is a plague of locust to round the night out.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Bridge to Terabithia: Semi-spoiler

If you haven't read the book, Bridge to Terabithia, like me, and are planning to go see the movie [Stop now if you don't want to know anything about the movie. Turn back. Run from this post!] . . . it's sad. Really, really sad. Lots of Kleenex kind of sad. I feel compelled to warn you because it totally blindsided me and the other to mommies that took our kids to the movie. The kids were fine but we, the mommies, were sobbing loudly. I'm not saying that it's a bad movie. It's actually beautifully done. I just wasn't in the mood for a gut-wrenching movie. You have been warned.

Photog Friday - Turbulance

Turbulence is life force. It is opportunity. Let's love turbulence and use it for change. - Ramsay Clark

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Heartfelt Baking

Whew! I'm glad that V Day is over. It seems like I baked and baked and baked some more. I didn't bake this much for Christmas! It started with Monkey Boy's Valentine Market Project. His Gifted class hosts a Valentine's market to teach them about economics. They have to make something, calculate profit and market it with a poster. Monkey Boy and his best friend, Artist Boy, decided to make brownies and cookies. Have you ever tried to get two 10 year old boys to focus on anything?! Add Artist Boy's adorable little sister to the mix and you have a circus. To top it off, I have a really small kitchen, about the size of one in a typical NY apartment's kitchen. This is ironic because I cook a lot and never use caterers for parties, which I do about 4 times a year. I once prepared food for 75 in this tiny kitchen. One of my decorator friends and I have noted that the larger and more ornate the kitchen, the less likely it is that the owner actually cooks. He has installed kitchens for clients that are 20 x 40 and cost $100,000 into people's homes that can't even make toast. I have almost no counter top space so the washer and dryer, the coffee table and the dining room table become my counter space when I need it.
But I digress. All the kids wanted to be included in the cooking process which is challenging when making bake goods from a mix! So one child added the eggs, one child added the oil and the other added the water. Then one child would stir and then the next child would stir and so on. Finally the brownies and cookies were in the oven. We decorated them with Valentine sprinkles and wrapped them in plastic wrap.
Next task: Creating the poster. This involved a long, tedious discussion of what should go on the poster. Monkey Boy wanted monsters eating cookies, Artist Boy wanted to draw pictures of the cookies and brownies and his little sister voted for unicorns in pink. I suggested hearts. This was met with disdain from the male children. Hearts! Gross! I pointed out that it would be quick and they then could resume their earlier activity of pounding each other with plastic swords. They went with hearts. We quickly cut out hearts of various sizes out of construction paper and wrote pricing on them. After the initial battle of who was in charge of the glue bottle, which was resolved by finding a second glue bottle, the task was complete.

Yesterday, to continue the baking theme, I made a red velvet cake. This is a traditional Southern cake that is really a chocolate cake that has an obscene amount of red food coloring added, giving it a rich, red color. It's topped off with a cream cheese frosting. This is Monkey Boy's favorite cake. This is not a fun cake to make or clean up after because of the red food coloring. Get this stuff under your nails and you look like you've murder someone and didn't a good job of washing up after the deed. But the cake was just what Monkey Boy wanted, so it was worth it. And being a good dieter, I haven't eaten a brownie, cookie or piece of cake. Go me!


I love you Monkey Boy!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Sending warm, happy hugs to my family and friends!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My Mom

My mom is great. This morning I called her and said, "If I kill my husband you'll be my alibi, right?" Does my mom ask questions or in any way make a comment about this statement? No. She says, without hesitation, "Yes!" I love my mom!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Habit

After 22 years, marriage is a hard habit to break. It’s hard to break the mindset. Its hard to break the routine. I’m use to buy certain groceries, pick certain things at the store, have a certain routine based on the evil soon-to-be ex’s wants, demands, etc. I don’t have that now. I don’t have the mental baggage that goes with marriage. It feels so strange.

I don’t want to date. The thought of dating makes me ill. The last time I went on a date, ‘Miami Vice’ was on and Aids hadn’t been identified; they thought that gay men were getting feline leukemia from their cats! But I find myself looking at those awful dating sites every once in a while. Why? Not because I want someone to care for me. It’s because I miss having someone to care for and about. It’s a rather large hole in my psyche. I know I’ll get past it, but with the pending Vday coming up it’s hard to avoid right now.

Sticks

I have a 10-year-old son and I'm endlessly fascinated by the way boys play. It's so different from the way girls play. For example, take that necessary piece of equipment required by boys for effective play: the stick. Boys love sticks. Girls don't. I'm not saying that girls won't play with sticks, but it's different. They play with them because the boy they are playing with is using a stick. Or they may grab a stick to draw in the sand. But they don't have an intrinsic love of the stick. Boys do.

Boys need a stick to poke things on the ground or each other. They become swords or magic staffs or baseball bats. A boy cannot walk past a stick without checking it out. And, as I learned last weekend, boys can't walk for long distances without a stick. I'm not sure why, but this was confirmed by the 43 year-old, 2 10 year-olds and the 4 year-old male children I was with over the weekend. I was perfectly capable of traversing the walking paths without a stick but the 4 males I was with could not wander more than 15 feet from the house without a stick!

Mr. T (in the orange hat) and Monkey Boy display their hiking sticks which were used later that night to poke at a bonfire.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Photog Friday - Change

Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. - Carol Burnett

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Stupid

(Mom, if you are reading this you may want to stop now. This post may make you cry and I don't want you to cry.)

The following post is basically lifted from a comment I made on lu's blog, Building a Room:

I'm in such a strange place and all I really want to do is run away. I don't want to deal with my life. I don't want to be mature. I want to curl up in a ball on the couch. I'm exiting out of a 22 year marriage and feel so much rage, anger, pain and sadness. My least favorite thing that I'm feeling is stupid. Stupid for not accepting who and what he was years ago; stupid for not seeing his betrayal sooner; stupid for allowing myself to be hurt like this; stupid for trusting someone who had already broken my trust before; stupid for putting the blinders on and hoping for the 'best'. I realize that on one side I'm being hard on myself, but I can't stop feeling this way.

Because of these negative emotions swallowing me, I do find I clutch at moments. I use moments of happiness, peace or just plain calm as my anchors. I didn't previously know how to do this. I can see a simple thing like a fat, happy squirrel or smell a fire in someone's fireplace while I'm taking my walk and my soul reaches out and places it inside me like a treasure. It may sound lame, but I’m having to go with anything that works right now.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Redefining the Feminist

Lately there has been quite a bit discussion about whether the feminist movement has been a positive thing and if it enhanced the lives of women as a whole. I'm part of one of the first generations to have lived their entire lives in this feminist culture.

It seems to me that the slant of the movement has been horribly mangled. We've gone from wanting to be 'valued' to not even valuing ourselves and our bodies. Younger women are said to be part of a 'stripper' culture that glorifies casual sex and a totally lack of modesty. Think about it, what types of things are plastered all over the TV: Brittey Spears not wearing panties and videos like 'Girls Gone Wild?' (Here's an irony, these girls made a man very rich.) I'm not saying that everyone is like this. I'm just saying that our society is at fault for glorifying this behavior.

I was talking a male friend about the feminist movement over the weekend. We came to the conclusion that the problem was with the focus of the movement is that they equated equality to being able to do the things that were identified as being previously for men: working outside of the home, equal pay, etc. While I'm not against these concepts and certainly believe that if a woman chooses to work outside of the home she should have all of the same opportunities and benefits that a man would have in the same position. But my criticism of the feminist movement is that they should have promoted the traditional role of the woman as wife, mother, homemaker as being just as important as that of income provider. Taking care of the home (i.e. making a house a home), fixing meals (and making them a integral part of the family dynamic), and being the primary caregiver of the children are profoundly important to the success of a family. It is just as important as a paycheck. Truly teaching men and women to value this is how women should have been empowered. This is the flaw of the feminist movement. The message should not have been: "I need to be equal to a man to powerful." It should have been "I am a woman who is the center of the family. I am already powerful."

Friday, February 02, 2007

Otherworld Weather

I was born in the 60s. I have memories that include moon walks, Skylab, shuttle launches and the first photos of Mar's landscape. I really thought that we would have a colony on the moon by the time I was 'grown up.' (I loved the old TV show Space: 1999 and had a huge crush on Nick Tate!) And I'm still waiting for the transporter technology they showed on Star Trek to become reality so that I can get a decent cup of Starbuck's without driving for an hour! But what I never thought about was getting weather reports from other parts of the galaxy. Today I saw a report for one of Saturn's moon, Titan. Apparently there's a cloud about half the size of the U.S. over the Titan's north pole. How cool is it that we know that?

Sleepy

I have been sleeping way too much lately. I can't decide if its because of the weather (It finally got above 50 degrees on Thursday only to rain the whole day!) or because I'm feeling a tad depressed. I'm in denial of any form of depression and I've never responded to depression before by sleeping so I'm thinking that its a winter hibernation thing. I really want to feel motivated to move off of the couch, but that's not happening much. I did sign Monkey Boy up for spring soccer yesterday and I completed my application to take the teacher certification exam in Middle School Math, so I did accomplish something this week. And I have been studying for the test. Of course I do the stuff I consider to be the bare minimum required to survive: wash dishes, wash clothes, feed the child and the dog and the cat, etc. But no major project is going on, though I did spend half a day moving soon-to-be evil ex's stuff to 'his' side of the garage. I don't my stuff to get 'cooties' from his! I'm so mature!

Photog Friday - Sweet Dreams


Dreams are necessary to life. - Anais Nin

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Mama is Running Away from Home!

I'm running away from home! Well, just for a long weekend. The first weekend in March I'm going to a knitting retreat in Boone, NC. I can't wait!!! I'm meeting two friends from the Detroit 'burbs and one from Chicago there. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas!! To prepare for the retreat, I'm knitting a tote that I'll felt. I started it yesterday and its going really fast. I'll try to post photos of it over the weekend. I'm knitting it with yarn from KnitPicks. I'm knitting the tote using their Wool of the Andes, which is 100% Peruvian Wool. This is really nice yarn and nice to work with. I picked the colors of Maple Syrup, Chambray and Stream to work into a striping pattern. I'm motivated to do this because one of the girls that I'm meeting at the retreat, Jodi, knits like a fiend and cranks out very cool felted totes, so I want to have one to bring and show her!