Monday, December 31, 2007

Dad Is Home and Happy New Year

Dad just got home a while ago. The blood cultures are not back yet so we still don't know what is causing the fevers. But he was doing well enough to allow him to go home with some antibiotics. He sure is happy to see the new year in from his own comfy chair! I just dropped off two burgers from their favorite spot. So hopefully, they will have a nice mellow ringing in.

I am home with my two gorgeous boys. I would prefer this quiet night in with my boys to any kind of party. I spoke to Jane earlier today and she has similar plans with her daughter. I hope that, however you choose to celebrate the arrival of this new year, it is exactly what you want and it's filled with laughter and fun.

Here is to an amazing 2008. Can't wait to see what it brings. Bring it on, God! I'm ready!!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Dad and a Meme

MY DAD:
I got home from the ER a little while ago. It's not as bad as it sounds. In this case, the ER was the only doc available. Dad has a cold. The last two days, he's spiked high fevers and had really bad chills. He said he's never had chills like this in his life. They exhaust him.

Tonight, he had horrible chills and was up above 103 F. The on call nurse said protocol for his age is for him to be seen within 4 hrs. So mom called me to tell me they'd be taking him to the ER near me. I was in my PJs just poking around on MySpace and about to do my blog walk. So I put on jeans, went to Starbucks, got coffee for mom and me and headed to the ER. I beat them there. So I got the paperwork started and waited. Mom drove dad up to the ER door. I got him in the wheel chair and in the ER while she parked. The nurses were saying stuff like, "Well, you liked it here so much you decided to come back!"

I stayed with mom & dad until about 11pm. I wasn't doing much good just sitting there making bad jokes. He wasn't feeling great and my jokes weren't helping any. When I left, they had pulled blood & urine, taken his blood sugar, done an EKG & chest xray. So they were trying to determine the cause of the high fevers. I imagine they kept him over night. I called my oldest brother to let him know. We'll alert the rest of the family if we need to. But I think for now, he's ok. Poor guy just wants to sleep in his own bed.

I'll update as I know more. Your prayers are always welcome.

AND NOW THE MEME:
This was a general tag from Angela. And it looks cute so I'll take it. It is a year end re-cap. In this meme, the tagee is to post the first line, of the first post for each month of the year.

January
So my cousin Kendra just poked me last night (via family email) and reminded me that I haven't posted anything here in a while.

February
I've been tagged by my favorite new author Trish.

March
The Boy is six.

April
This is a few months old.

May
Well, it's been 2 weeks since the whole thing officially blew up in my face.

June
Ok - this one cracks me up.

July
You know, I don't even know what to think of THIS little development.

August
I've been annoyed how life has derailed my original intent of this blog.

September
Two words: Intestinal. Virus.

Rocktober
I just got home from my business trip to NJ and Boston.

November
I'm trying to catch up with every one's blogs.

December
Dudes & dudettes, I proudly announce that I am the mother of an almost-4-yr old that has been out of diapers and/or pull-ups for a whole WEEK now.

I tag anyone who wants to do this.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Few Pix For You

I finally downloaded all the pictures from my camera. I haven't been taking much with it because I knew I couldn't download them (home PC is behaving badly). Most of the pix you've seen lately are from my cell phone.

Let's see what I can find here.

Oct. 26th - a belated birthday cake from my neighborhood Chick Nite girls. A varying group of us gather at my house on those Fridays where future ex has the boys. They surprised me on this particular night. I have to just say here how much my neighbors rock. If you recall, I had prayed long and hard for good neighbors. All I wanted were quiet people who weren't flicking cigarettes into my yard or peeing on my lawn. What I have gotten is a huge support group and some really awesome friends. God rocks.


Oct 31st - the Pokemon pumpkin I attempted for Pokemon Boy. It's a Piplup. Look it up because I don't get it, either. I had to make my own pattern as there were no carving patterns for any Pokemon that I was able to find.


...and here is the puppy pumpkin I attempted for Lil' Bro. He wanted me to make "Buddy" - his Old Navy plush dog rattle. Again, this was a pattern I made myself. It didn't really photograph well. I did the best I could. I wasn't thrilled with it but he loved it. I guess that's all that matters.


Nov 3rd - Lil' Bro came down with a weird fever thing. The first hint was how he fell asleep on the ottoman in the middle of a TV show. He slept like this for probably 30 minutes or more. Note the lack of concern on Pokemon Boy's face in the background.


Nov 17th - I kept Lil' Bro up too late, apparently. Pokemon Boy informed me that I might need to put Lil' Bro to bed. I asked why he thought that. He directed me to the back of the couch. This is what I found - the back view. Note that he's sleeping on top of a large metal model Nascar.


...and here is the front view. Fast asleep on his "Buddy" dog. I cannot tell you how much this face slays me. I wish you could see the whole view of him sprawled out amongst all of the toys. It really was quite a testament to my Mother of the Year skills.


Dec 22nd - Lil' Bro had his 4th birthday fun at one of those inflatable places in town. Pokemon Boy, Neighbor Boy and Neighbor Girl all joined him for the jumping fun. Here they are posing for me. Bunch of goobers!


...here is Pokemon Boy doing his best to look not jealous of all the presents and attention Lil' Bro was getting that day. I just think this is a cute shot of the both of them.


Dec 24th - Christmas Eve - Here is a shot of the fireplace after my Ridiculously Tall Bro-In-Law finished assembling the wheelie car thingies. Big Sis helped me stuff the boys' stockings. Mine had 2 things of chocolate in it. The 4th stocking had toys for the dogs. Wanda, do you see your print up there on the mantle? Don't worry - it's slated to be properly framed and hung. I promise!


...and here is how the front room looked with all of the presents placed under and around the tree. I just love my tree. And Big Sis helped me drag all the presents from my room down to the tree. She rocks, if I haven't mentioned that already.


Dec 25th - Christmas Day - There are tons of shots of the boys opening their glut. But this one just defines them. We had to take a lengthy break in the opening of presents at one point. Both boys had opened books. So we had to stop while they read their books. I love that they didn't chuck them across the room in disgust. Like I probably would have. HA!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After

The Boy...oh sorry...Pokemon Boy commented yesterday that he was worried about today. You know, the day after. I was surprised that a 7 yr old would grasp the concept of how much of a bummer the day after Christmas can be. But yah, he knew that, compared to the endless cornucopia of presents he and Lil' Bro experienced yesterday, today could very well seem like the end of the world.

I don't have that problem. Christmas rocked. I loved being with my parents, Big Sis and her Ridiculously Tall Hubby. Oh, and with their dog (my nephew), Sid. Not to mention my little dachshund friend, Kali - who I am watching for my wonderful church friends while they travel. So we had a full house of loving family and two wee dogs. How fun is that?

Big Sis and her Tall Hubby stayed over Christmas Eve. Her Tall Hubby assembled the two ride on toys from Santa (one for Pokemon Boy and one for Lil' Bro). [I have asked God to hugely bless him for doing that. That assembly was totally weighing on me for weeks. And I just never got to it.] We got everything all placed under the tree and by the fire place and were in bed by midnight. That's a record compared to years past. Again, that is due to the expert assembling skills of Tall Bro-In-Law.

Lil' Bro woke me at 6am - he was wet. So we changed him and I pulled him into bed. He slept for another hour. And by "slept", I mean he tossed and turned and played with his favorite stuffed dog. Finally, he could take it no longer and started to leave my room. I told him to go get in bed with his brother - hoping to buy myself another hour of sleep. Yah. Good luck with that. 7:26am, they were both in my room about to burst. I figured Big Sis and Tall Bro-In-Law needed the joy of being woken early on Christmas morning by their nephews. Away I sent them. But Big Sis and Tall Guy are made of sturdier stuff than I. They did not awaken - only pulled covers over their heads. So the boys, both dogs and I went down stairs.

The boys ran into the tree room and gave the perfect oohs and ahs. I directed them to the living room to see the ride ons by the fire place. Lil' Bro goes, "Ooooooh!...What IS it?!" Too funny. Big Sis and Tall Guy came down pretty soon afterwards. The boys had already dumped out their stockings and were playing with the loot. We made a big scrambled egg breakfast with bacon & two kinds of sausage. I had mini-scones from my local grocery bake shop that are to DIE for. Big Sis made the coffee. It was awesome.

Mom & dad came at the end of breakfast. And we all started opening presents. And by "we", I mean mostly Pokemon Boy and Lil' Bro. We adults had a few for each other. But let's face it. It's a day for kids. And it's more fun to watch them overload on joy.

My boys have no idea how blessed they are. They have no clue that they have more than the normal number of grandparents. They have no clue that most people don't have like 947 aunts & uncles. And this year - I think due to my "circumstances" - everyone seemed to make extra sure to send a little something. I seriously need to hold a garage sale or something.

In the afternoon, future ex came to pick them up for his time with them. This is where divorce benefits the kids. Two sets of stockings. Two sets of present opening. It truly is a day of glut for them. Ahhhh...enjoy it now, boys. Enjoy it now.

Today, we had Neighbor Boy with us as his mom had to work - even though I tried to convince her to play hooky with us. That depression Pokemon Boy was worried about? Never hit. Neighbor Boy is the same age as Pokemon Boy and equally obsessed with all things Pokemon. And he and Lil' Bro play so well together, too. He's like a 3rd brother in our family. So they had a blast. Then, toward the end of the day, the FedEx Penske rental truck [I can only assume they are swamped with holiday backlog and had to actually rent trucks to assist in the delivering] pulled up and delivered a huge box from my birth mom. So we got to open all of those tonight. It was really unexpected. And was filled with tons of stuff for ME! She told me that I had mentioned a while ago that I won't have anything under the tree on Christmas day. Future ex and I used to spoil each other rotten on Christmas. So I figured I'd have one thing under the tree - one thing that I bought myself! She heard that and said, no way! And boom, there it is. A box full of fun and sundry items. Only a few were labeled. She told us all to just open them and share them all. Lil' Bro opened a box of sports bras ("Mommy...I didn't WANT sports bras!"). Pokemon Boy opened a box with 6 bikini undies in them ("Oh I've wanted these my WHOLE LIFE!" quipped he). It was such a sweet thing for her to do. It really made today even more fun than it already was.

So Christmas has been great this year. A bit funky due to the fractured family. I never thought I'd be doing the whole kid sharing thing. But we did it this first year and survived.

I have to admit that I had asked God to help me really feel the spirit on Christmas. It is really really hard to pull my head from that proverbial arse of self involvement. Fortunately, God is stronger than my own imperfections. What with being the creator of all things and all.

I am having one of those wonderful days that God seems to bless me with of late. I am filled with this excitement. This anticipation. Like, something big is coming. And I can't WAIT to see what it is. I don't know if it's going to be some new project I'll tackle. Maybe it's some new friends. Maybe it's a new guy. I don't really feel like it's the guy yet. But something big is coming. It's like waiting for Christmas day when you're little. Isn't that weird? I love this feeling. I almost don't want whatever it is to get here. I rather like this excitement. But it's from God so I'm sure I'll be glad when it finally does get here.

Merry Day After Christmas, everyone!

*I will post pictures soon. I'm just way too lazy to go downstairs to get the camera and cables. I know. I'm pathetic.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Eve, Y'All!

Message from MySpace:
Here's a bulletin I just posted on my MySpace site (it doesn't show up on my public profile - just goes to all of my "friends" to whom I am connected) where I am connected to more of my secular world than my God world. I decided not to water down my message with "Happy Holidays" like I would have in the past. I was inspired by #7 in Moanna's Christmas Hoopla post the other day.

Merry Christmas y'all

Sorry for the politically incorrect subject line but it's what I celebrate so I hope it's happy for YOU.

I pray that God touch each and every one of you with the real spirit of the season. With most of 2007 behind me, I am looking back and actually not cringing. Let me tell you, the point is not lost on me that God has surrounded me with the most beautiful group of miscreants that love and support me on a lot of different levels.

Thanks to every single one of you for making me smile this year. I ask that God bless every single one of you in some significant way. I mean, ASIDE from knowing me (haha!).

Love you all...L.y.n.e.t.t.e

Message from BloggerLand:
I really meant my post above. I am constantly blown away by how God keeps providing support for me. 2007 has severely sucked on many levels. But the interesting thing is, when I look back? That's not the overwhelming sentiment. The overwhelming feeling is absolute wonder at how many people God brought into my life. How many little financial windfalls God tossed my way. How God has been building a REAL community in my neighborhood - not just a group of nice people who smile at each other. How God has connected me so deeply with so many people at my church. How God brought my parents safely here to be my major support.

I don't know why this should all fascinate me. I mean, as a believer in God, his desire to bless us all and his miracles, shouldn't all of this just be another day at the office? I have to think that every time I am surprised by God's perfect timing on something, he must be up there just chuckling and shaking his head. You have to think he's thinking, "My dear one, why does this surprise you?" (In my mind, God always calls me very sweet little endearments in stead of "Hey bone-head" or the like.)

Last night the boys went to their father's. So I slept in today. Which should thrill me. But I woke up thinking, ok I slept in - woopty-doo. I'd rather have my boys here waking me up early. However, as I started puttering around, I thought, yah, I can take this. And by "this", I meant the whole divorce situation. Because you know, in the long run, no one died. There are much worse things to endure in this world. And I would take this crappy story over those on any given day.

I'll give you one more little miracle that God just did. And yes, it surprised me. It shouldn't have. But it did.

On Thursday, my wonderful friend and his wife stopped by. We'll call them Realtor Dude and Gorgeous Realtor Wife. He helped me find this wonderful house. Over the last 2 years, I have referred three other couples to them that resulted in sales. So anyway, they hand delivered a Christmas card to me which I found very sweet. When they left, I walked in the house opening the card. Inside was the sweetest note thanking me for everything I've done for them. And a check. A check with a one and 3 zeros. I don't know about you but I don't have friends or family that can casually toss around that kind of money. And I know he didn't "casually" toss it. But I stood in my entry way with my hand over my mouth going, "OH!" for about 3 minutes. He called later to make sure I wasn't going to try to slip it back under his door or anything. So I told him I graciously accept it and thanked him over and over. He made me promise to spend it on me and the boys (the unspoken part being, "don't give a penny of it to future ex"). He even said, "Hey, save it for lawyer fees."

Well funny he said that. Because on Friday, I got the counter proposal from future ex's lawyer. Let me put it this way: I will need every extra penny for lawyer fees. Because the pure fantasy of what future ex is asking for is insanity. I think the only way for me to get the moral issues considered is for this to go to court. I have been trying to avoid that. But his lawyer is thinking in pure legalese. To get someone to consider what my compensation should be for what was done to me? I will need one of those wonderful southern "good ol' boy" judges to hear my case.

I'll tell you, as I read the counter proposal, I felt my blood pressure rise. I felt sick. So I immediately just started praying. I said something like, God, you have to take this. You have to handle this. Because if I respond based on my emotions right now? I'll get just as stupid as he has gotten - just on the other end of the spectrum. So I have turned it all over to God. The divorce terms, the lawyer fees, my anger, my feelings of vengeance (again!), my feelings of betrayal and hurt. The whole enchilada. God's got it. And how do I know? Because he sent me an extra $1000 the day before I got the lawyer's letter.

God's got my back. I will not forget that. I woke up asking him to take away the doldrums and to fill my heart with the real purpose of this season.

I am SO loved. I have SO many friends. I have SUCH wonderful neighbors. I have the most AMAZING church. I have the most BEAUTIFUL boys. I have the BEST parents. Hey, I have more than TWO parents! I have the most fantabulous sister who will be here today. I have like 8 gazillion siblings that all love me (well, all but one - ha!). I have a new niece. I have a warm house. I have a pantry and fridge FULL to the gills. I have presents to give everyone.

The stupid evil one can bring it all on, man. Because God has built me a fortress. And he has manned it with TONS of people. And my God is stronger than any stupidity satan can come up with.

Merry Christmas everyone. God, bless every single person that reads my silliness today. Bless all of my Awesome Blogger Chicks in a way that is impossible to deny is from You. Just heap huge gobs of blessings on all of my blogger friends, my family and everyone who has supported me this year. Amen.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Christmas Hoopla

I was just tagged by the Lovely Angela. I love memes and I love Christmas. So therefore, I love this "hoopla"! It goes like this:

1. List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas.
2. Please refer to it as a ‘hoopla’ and not the dreaded ‘m’-word…
3. You have to tag specific people when you’re done. No “if you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged” stuff is allowed. The number of people you tag is really up to you — but the more, the merrier to get this ‘hoopla’ circulating through the blogosphere.
4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it! Let’s involve as many people as possible!
5. Please give Andrea some link-love as the “Hoopla-Creator!

Here are my twelve random things..

1. Alistair Sim is the only Scrooge. I'll watch some of the others but the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol with him is the only one that doesn't annoy me.

2. The scene where George keeps Mr. Gower from poisoning someone in It's A Wonderful Life? Seriously. I die weeping. I cannot tell you how much that scene just SLAYS me. Just thinking about it can get me weeping. Talk about redemption. Phew!

3. My stocking as a child was red with white trim and had a white angel on the front. My name was in gold under the angel. I'm pretty sure my mom or her mom (Muzzy) made it. I always found the angel image rather amusing.

4. My first dad (who died when I was 11) had a birthday 2 days after Christmas. I always thought that totally rocked. I never asked him what HE thought.

5. I thought my in-laws were insane as they made everyone wait until Christmas NIGHT to open gifts. Have you ever hung out in a house with 3 little kids who are being made to wait until that NIGHT to open their gifts? It's madness I tell you. Madness. When I finally started working some of my own traditions in with theirs? That was the first one I attacked.

6. My mom used to make home made cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. I still think they were the best things EVER.

7. We used to open up our Muz & Pop gifts (mom's parents) on Christmas Eve. For many years, they were homemade slippers from Muz. We knew they would be and couldn't wait to put them on.

8. In 2003, I spent Christmas in the post-partum "spa" in Boston's Beth Israel. It was probably the single most relaxing Christmas I've ever had. I left the baby (Lil' Bro) in the nursery unless he needed me. I slept whenever I could. I watched a ton of documentaries on Jesus, Mary and all things related to Christmas. I totally didn't want to go home.

9. I have an extensive collection of Christmas CDs. One tradition is to buy a new one every year. Come to think of it...I'm not sure I bought one for this year. Yet!

10. I get very annoyed at the seeming necessity most popular musicians feel to "jazz up" or "funk up" or "rock out on" traditional Christmas songs. Honestly, some songs just stand on their own in their original form. Do you really think that putting your "original stamp" on a song will replace the traditional Gene Autry or Barbara Streisand or Bing Crosby or Nat King Cole versions in our hearts? I don't mind a new arrangement or someone new singing it. But I can't take all the vocal acrobats that have to totally Patti LaBelle every single note. Or the new verses people seem to think we need. Or those who subscribe to the belief that ever song must have a bridge so they add one. Drives me bonkers.

11. I love doing anonymous kindnesses for strangers. Especially around this time of year.

12. My kids both asked if Santa was real. I told them the truth. They both exercised their selective memory and are behaving as if he does.

Well, I'm annoyed by the rule saying I have to tag specific people. Because in all honestly, I want to see this done by all of the Awesome Blogger Chicks on my blog walk. But if I must name them each, here goes...
- [Darlene was already tagged by Angela but I want to see hers]
- Ukranian Diva (maybe this will get her blogging again!)
- [Wanda was already tagged by Angela, too, but I want to see hers]
- Sarakastic
- Moanna
- Kristen
- Becks
- My cousin Kendra
- Ellesappelle
- My cousin Monica
- JenKneeBee
- Jane (clean up the sailor talk - it's Christmas, for the love of Pete!)
- [Angela already did hers and tagged me so go read it]
- Trish The Dish
- Stacy

There. I did it. Links and all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Wonderful The Boy...Oh, Excuse Me...Pokemon Boy!

I just got The Boy's school pictures back today. Due to fiascoes beyond my control, I did not get the disc with the digital image on it. So you'll all have to deal with a scan of the 8x10. But this is my wonderful The Boy. My second grader (how did that happen?). The one who made me a mom. One of the most beautiful souls ever to grace this earth. Obviously, the other would belong to Lil' Bro. At some point, I plan to have a portrait of the two of them. But until then, here is The Boy. Wait. The Boy just read this and asked, "Didn't you ever say that you're going to start calling me 'Pokemon Boy'?" I did promise that to him a while back when he saw his tag as "The Boy" here. So I stand corrected. Here is Pokemon Boy:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tics, A Rant and A Meme

TICS:
Interestingly enough, the holiday stress doesn't seem to be getting to me this year. At least, my conscious self tells me that. I wonder if my subconscious would give a different answer. I'm wondering this because I've noticed the return of some of The Boy's facial tics. Nothing major but the fact that they're there is noticeable simply because he has been sans tics for so long. Is it second hand stress? Is it the approaching holiday vacation? Is it the TS starting to take a stronger hold as he gets older? In all honesty, I'm not that worried about it. But having just revisited my post from this time last year about how his tics increased in the presence of stress, it just makes me wonder. [And Maureen, if you're visiting again, I love your comments on that post and would love to chat w/ you more. Feel free to email me via the link in my profile!]

I've just noticed in this past week, quite a few facial tics returning. Exaggerated blinking but not as bad as previous times. A few facial movements that seem to go with his blinking. Again, nothing horribly obvious. But I see it. With my dad's hospitalization and a few late nights due to Christmas festivities, who knows. Maybe it's just that. We'll see.

A RANT:
I'll keep it short. Because if I don't, this will become a 5 page tome. But here is my gripe about future ex. And keep in mind that this comes on the heels of weeks of getting along wonderfully with him.

Winter break, the kids get 2 weeks and 2 days off. I was able to take one week plus 1 day vacation. The other week would hopefully see the boys with their dad. I'd prefer to have them with me but time with their dad is important, fair, and also legally suggested. The divorce decree (no matter what details we are hammering out) is pretty unchanged and clear about that. Most major holidays will be split. Well, a few weeks ago, future ex informed me he couldn't take them as he couldn't get the time off from work. No problem. They'll stay with me and have to be bored while I work. But they'll be safe and not stuck in some weird day care where they don't know anyone. I'm fine with that. So is future ex.

Fast forward to a couple of days ago. Future ex informs me he will be taking that 2nd week of the winter break to visit his girl thing up in her state. He couldn't get time off to take his boys. But apparently his work was ok with him taking it off to have a week with his girl thing in a totally different state than his boys. 'Nuff said.

I have mercilessly ridden his butt on this subject. Most other infractions, I say my piece and leave it be. Not this one. This is anti everything he ever believed in. So I have not relented on pointing out this really big bone-head dad move. He's feeling pretty rotten about it. But not rotten enough to cancel his flight. And in my book? That's the only action that will redeem any part of him to me.

If I ever get a boyfriend and start dissing my boys? You all better smack me upside the head until I stop being stupid.

And I'm done. Now on to more fun things:

A MEME:
I found this meme on Stacy's site. I adore Stacy and try to do anything she does. I want to be her when I grow up. Here 'tis:

Two Men I’d Love to Date (if they were single)
1. A Clive Owen look-a-like that plays and sings in a worship band in a really kick-ass spirit filled church. Know any?
2. Same as above but with a Christian Bale look-a-like. (And yes, I’m aware of the ridiculousness of the details in my fantasy wishes.)

Two Things I Am Wearing Right Now
1. A purple ‘Keep Austin Weird’ t-shirt.
2. Jeans.

Two Things I Would Want in a Relationship
1. A man.
2. A Christian man (see answers to first item).

Two of My Favorite Things to do
1. Play/hang with my kids.
2. Singing God songs.

Two Things I Want Very Badly At the Moment
1. To be madly in reciprocal love (I added that ‘reciprocal’ after realizing that, without it, it indicates a situation where I might be the only one in love. Been there. Done that.)
2. Someone to clean my house regularly for a cheap price. Oh wait…I meant world peace. Yah. World peace.

Two Things I Did Recently
1. Ate one of the 3 huge enchiladas my neighbor’s hubby made & she brought me tonight. I’m going to see about paying him to make them for me every single night. This means I will inevitably be a size 24 very soon.
2. Prayed over my sons.

Two Things I Ate Today
1. Way too many M&Ms.
2. PB&J with Lil’ Bro for lunch.

Two People I Most Recently Talked To
Aside from my boys?
1. My mom.
2. Future ex.

Two Things I’m Doing Tomorrow
1. Updating those use cases if it kills me. (Ah, the glamor...)
2. Trying to avoid having to do production DB2 updates for the users. But will end up doing them. (...the glamor never ceases...)

Two Longest Car Rides
1. Connecticut to Texas/New Mexico almost every summer as a kid. So that’s way more than two.
2. Boston to Roanoke, VA in 2004.

Two Favorite Holidays
1. Christmas.
2. It’s a tie between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

Two Favorite Beverages
1. Fresh home-made lemonade - not too sweet, please.
2. Any decadent mixture of espresso, chocolate and dairy.

Two Things About Me, Things You May Not Have Known
Like there’s anything I haven’t already told you? Let me think. Think think think think think…hmmm. Wow. I’m boring.
1. Ok, I have only one kidney.
2. When I was little, I prayed nightly to wake up and be a boy. God, in his wisdom, just gave me a little extra testosterone and kept me female. Thank you, God!

Two Places I Have Lived
1. Boston, Massachusetts
2. Austin, Texas
Yes, I have a thing for places that rhyme with "_ostin".

Two of My Favorite Foods
1. Mexican – and of this genre, give me enchiladas any day.
2. Breakfast – and of this genre, pancakes, hands down.

Two Places I’d Rather Be Right Now
As long as my boys were with me...
1. Cornwall, England, or
2. Somewhere with butt-loads of snow.

Two People I’m Tagging
1. Anyone
2. Everyone

Monday, December 17, 2007

I Don't Know Nothin' 'Bout Birthin' No Babies!

...which is a good thing since it was my half-sister doin' the birthin'. I just sit one state down and take all the credit when my niece is born.

So wooooo HOO!!! My "little" sister (10 yrs younger than me and probably just as tall as me) just had her 3rd little girl. She was born very easily (as easily as anyone can be born, I presume), about 4 hours after they broke my sister's waters. The labor was easy - again, as easy as labor can be. The father reported that the baby came flying out. I thought he was exaggerating until my sister confirmed the flight.

So I'm an aunt. Again. I just had to use a calculator to figure it but I believe this is niece and/or nephew number 18 of a collectible series. Collect them all! Trade with your friends! There's a 19th - the son of Anger Boy - the half brother that refuses to claim me as a sister. His loss. But in my real world of being a really forgetful aunt? I have 18 now.

I'm told she has lots of dark hair (like me). She has a great set of lungs (like me). She's wikkid cute (again...like ME). And she cries like a big ol' baby. Which she is. So that's forgivable. And also like me.

I can't wait to get up there to see her. She's in Oklahoma. You know, "up north".

Anyway, just wanted to share that good bit of news with you guys.

Dad continues to do well. I'm trying to stay away for a while to give him a break from a house full of chaotic family. He needs rest. Something I rarely provide when showing up with my two little tornadic boys.

Thanks for all of the wonderful emails and comments. Y'all rock!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dad is Home...Again

Since I didn't post since Thursday, that is good news. I never made it over to see dad on Friday. Since he was stable, I just worked all day to make up for the days I took off early to see him.

Saturday, the docs felt he was ok enough to head home. Big Sis, her Impossibly Tall Hubby and I went to the hospital to help mom get dad and all of his stuff home. We got dad home and ready to nap. Big Sis and Tall Guy stayed with dad while mom & I ran to get his prescription (and a quick few Christmas gifts for my boys).

When we got home, dad had gotten about an hour nap. We all hung out for a while until dad decided he wanted to go out for dinner! So we went to our favorite fast burger joint, Whataburger. TOO funny!

Today, mom & dad stayed home from church. I fielded questions and well wishes from everyone at church. My parents sure have worked their way into the hearts of everyone there! Mom said she and dad got some well needed rest. Dad is having trouble with a wound healing. The pressure bandage they had to put on the incision where they started the catheter - that wasn't healing well as his skin is so thin. It really tore up when they removed it. So today, they had to let it air out a while as he napped.

So dad is home. And we are so glad. My boys want to get over there to see their grandpa. They had visited on Saturday for a short bit before he went home. They had great fun pushing the buttons on dad's hospital bed. And, lest you think I have unruly monsters for kids, my DAD showed them how to work it! The Boy was fascinated with the heart monitor. He would stand there going, "Grandpa, your heart rate is 69.....now it's 72...." Grandma had to explain every number and every line on there to him. So that was a fun visit.

I am trying to get dad interested in getting LifeLine - that little thing you wear around your neck or on your wrist to push in case of emergencies? I have to say that most people hate admitting they need that kind of assistance. I'm sure I will be just as stubborn when I need it. So he is resistant and believes he'll always be able to get to a phone to call 911. The problem is, we've had two examples this week of his resistance to even tell my mom when he needs to get to the hospital. He's not exactly timely with his information. I'm tempted to just get it for him, use my key to their house and let the guy in to install it and say, "There. It's there. Too bad. Get over it!" But knowing him, he'd take it off in the shower or leave it by the bed. He's a stubborn man. I must get that from him. I'm doomed.

Well, keep prayers going up that he'll see the wisdom in getting LifeLine. I know many people who have had it and it gives them a peace of mind. Keep prayers going that God can break through his stubborn streak in order to get him quick care. I just want my mom to feel free to leave the house - without wondering what she'll find when she returns. That's not a fun way to live.

Love you all...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dad Back in the Hospital

Mom called me close to noon today to say she was taking dad back to the ER. He was having chest pain that 3 nitro pills didn't totally get rid of.

By the time I got to the ER (pretty quickly), they had dad in a room, hooked up and all sorts of monitored. We got to chat with the manager of the cardio unit there for a while as they explained things to mom. Basically, with this heart episode, the choice of whether to do a heart catheter or not was made for him. We heard the cardiac doc tell dad, "You have to have this done." We also found out that dad's electro-cardio doctor (I'm murdering the real terms here) is the top of the top. The whole group in the ER sang his praises. And they also told us that the cardio doc that was treating dad was cream of the crop, too. Apparently, this new hospital has been busy stealing the best cardio staff from other facilities. So dad is in the best place possible around here! Thank you God!!!

They prepped him for the heart cath and took dad (with us trailing behind) to the cath lab. They put us in the waiting room saying it would be about 45 mins to an hour later. That was noonish. Around 2:30, we thought we should start poking someone. The doc came out a bit later (almost 3:00) to update us. It had really taken that long. It took a whole hour just to feed the catheter in there. His age and a strange branching of the arteries made it slow going. As you age, your arteries start twisting and turning. So it takes a while to get it in there.

Once they got into the heart, they found the blockage in the area that had showed up in earlier tests. They found it almost completely blocked - at dad's age, it's calcium deposits. It was the distal (sp?) artery - one of the lower ones. They put the balloon in there to open it up and then put in two stints. So the flow was restored. The doc told us that dad isn't out of the woods yet. Meaning, this isn't some instant cure to aging. He made sure to explain that this kind of heart blockage is just what happens with age in most people. It's what they used to call hardening of the arteries. And if you think about all of his medical issues, he's doing pretty darned well for 80 years! He will be on plaxil (sp?) for 6 months and they'll continue on the cumaden (sp?) indefinitely. He'll be closely monitored probably from now on. I'm sure the docs will be figuring out the long term game plan over this next day or so. Right now they want to see how he does in this next 24 hrs.

Dad told us in the hallway outside the cath lab, "I feel SO much better." He was pretty doped up but kept his humor up. He introduced one doc to me saying, "This is my daughter the stand up comic." So he was obviously feeling better.

They let mom & me accompany him up to the ICU unit but we had to wait in the family waiting room for a bit. They had dad in a huge "luxury suite" as I call it. It's the one right across from the nurse's station so I was glad for that. He can't bend at the waist due to the incision for the catheter feed. Oh yah - one problem due to his age and blood thinners is that the bleeding at the incision didn't stop as quickly as they'd like. So he has a special bandaging there. And thus the no-bending thing. So they inclined his whole bed in order to allow him to drink & eat a bit. That was tough because he still wasn't fully inclined. It's so hard to swallow like that. So the nurse told him no eating/drinking unless she was in the room with him.

I left him around 4:30, I think? I couldn't really do much but get in the way and crack bad jokes. So I went to grab my boys from my wonderful neighbors who had kept them after school for me. I told mom to update me with any news. I intend to go back tomorrow to see his new regular room. I think Big Sis will be coming up tomorrow, too. So we'll make sure the family is well represented.

I have to tell you, dad is getting amazing care. All of my neighbors and church are asking what they can do. He & mom are well supported out here.

God rocks. Even in the crappy stuff.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Update on PapaSan

I went to the hospital this morning to hang with mom & dad. I got there some time after 8am. Dad looked not so happy. He was on meds that knocked him out a bit. But he also looked visibly uncomfortable. He wasn't allowed to take anything by mouth so was really parched. That's never fun.

Eventually, they got him an IV drip for his "drink". He was having back pain and some chest pain. So they got nitro in him. They scheduled him for a cat scan to check for an aneurysm (those often cause back pain).

Wait! Mom just called and the cat scan is negative!!! NO ANEURYSM! Woo-hoo!!! God totally rocks. Wow - you guys are getting this as breaking news! I haven't even had time to call my sibs with this news. Sweet.

So this means it's more something with the heart. And means a heart catheter tomorrow. He'll stay over night again.

When I was there today, the doc was telling mom & dad that he hadn't had a full on heart attack. They think he might have been on his way to having one. But because he got to the hospital quick enough and got the right meds quickly, it stopped whatever was starting. So if it had been a heart attack, it was stopped. Can I tell you how awesome it is that this hospital just opened right here? Because they were a good 10 minute drive from the next available hospital. Can you say "God Rocks"? I can.

Bottom line is, when I left today, he looked markedly better - the nitro having alleviated some of his pain & discomfort. He'll hopefully enjoy a nice pampered (albeit poked & prodded) rest today. And maybe he'll head home tomorrow.

The nurses & doctors at this brand spankin' new hospital are awesome. Very nice. Mom & dad seem very happy with his care. And if they're happy? I'm happy.

Thank you all for your prayers. My mom said she felt such a peace last night. And obviously the healing is coming, too.

Love you all...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Please Pray for Dad

Mom called tonight - just after I had gotten home from shopping. She said, "Dad and I are testing out the ER in the new hospital." Initially I thought, ok, they're touring the ER...cool. Then I realized she wasn't joking.

They were returning home from shopping when dad had chest pain that radiated down his arm. Not good for an 80 yr young man with a pace maker. Not good for ANYone, for that matter. Fortunately, they've just opened up a great hospital spitting distance from my house. Which means it's a 10 minute drive from mom & dad's house. But I think they were close to it so they went to the ER. Mom feels they got great attention and care.

Right now, they don't know what's going on with his chest. They don't want to diagnose until they know more. So they will keep him overnight to run blood tests every 4 hours. We'll know more in the AM.

I have called all of my siblings and my mom's sister. Got the family and church prayer chains going. I even posted a prayer request on my MySpace site. I'll take any prayer out there right now.

My dad rocks. I have a gut feeling that God intends to keep him around here for a while because he's a major player in the healthy male role model department for my boys. And I'm still a mess who needs rescuing. HA!

Anyway, I know I have a huge group of prayer warriors out here so I'm tapping into that.

Love to you all...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Ladies' Tea and Dianty Ol' ME

My church has an annual Ladies' Christmas Tea. The first year I joined the church (2005), I turned my too-cool-for-anything nose up at the thought. I mean puh-LEEZE! Have you MET me? I am so not the ladies tea type. You just have no idea. If it's dainty or in any way girly, I usually sneer at it and then kick it just for good measure. Girly = weak. And while I am human like everyone else and have weaknesses, let me tell you, I was never going to show the world any weakness that might be mistaken for "girly".


After getting to know all the women at my church (and let me tell you, we have some girly girls there!), I realized that hanging out with them in any venue or forum just might be ok. I loved them all in small group or at church. And even the girly girls were absolutely rockin'. And they certainly weren't weak! Some of the girliest girls in my church have weathered stuff that would make some big truck drivin' men cry like...well...girls. So as my attitude shifted, I thought, well, when the tea rolls around in 2006 maybe - just maybe - I'll give it a whirl. And whirl I did. My sister and best friend from my 'hood accompanied me. I certainly wasn't going to take on a bunch of girly girls at tea without some backup. So me and my posse went to the tea and it TOTALLY rocked. Let me tell you, I sat there thinking, ok, next year, I'm totally hosting a table!


Now let me tell you what my church does. Each woman hosts a table (Rosie is brave enough to host TWO). If there is a theme, you decorate accordingly. Now, I wasn't expecting much. It was going to be at our "church" (ie - the cafeteria of the elementary school we meet in), after all. How grand can that get? The answer? Pretty darn grand! The ladies and a ton of volunteers covered the walls from floor to ceiling in blue material. They strung lights across the ceiling. They decorated the stage front with wreaths, garland and lights. And then there were the tables. My goodness! Each lady had a 60" table. And these ladies should be set decorators for Martha Stewart!! I walked in and thought, um...where'd the cafeteria go??? We all sit and are served tea by all the men in our church. A caterer provides very dainty finger foods - like little sandwiches with no crust. Somehow, crust must be low-brow. But I like the no-crust sammiches. It was just...cool! And girly. Girly and cool? Is that possible? Apparently so.


I'm pretty sure I accosted our pastor's wife and a few others in charge and told them, "I want to host a table next year!" And I did.


In 2007, the theme was "And God so love the world." So we each picked a country and decorated our table accordingly. I picked the Philippines because my birth-father's family is from there and I figured it would have all sorts of exotic and different customs for Christmas. Well, I was a bit wrong on that. It's a mostly Catholic country so their traditions were disappointingly just like ours. A few differences were the use of paper lanterns and paper stars. Which the Japanese and Chinese tables would probably have, too. But I didn't care. So I researched the Philippines more and realized that most of the items I might decorate with would be either Chinese, Japanese, Spanish or American in nature. It was originally populated by the same people from the Asian mainland that populated places like Japan, Easter Island and Hawaii. Then it was occupied or controlled by Spain, Japan, the US and probably more. So my table was going to be a melting pot. No problem.


My center piece was a vase holding an American & Philippine flag and a tall cylindrical paper lantern. I'll find pictures of that later. My place settings consisted of an off-white plate (rather American looking) and a Chinese tea cup and saucer. Then I had a Japanese paper fan and chopsticks (thanks to Beth who had extras at her China table). It was tied together with blue napkins my mom sewed just for the occasion. I had little tea lights at the top of each plate. And a little felt red heart ornament near the plate. The ladies were allowed to take home everything but the big plate, the silverware, and the napkins. I gave them each little paper gift bags in which to carry their loot.


Here is a picture of my place setting taken by my wonderful friend Summer (who blew us all away with her Japanese table with a centerpiece that towered over even the tallest men in the room!).



My mom and sister came. Two neighbors weren't able to make it at the last minute so that was a bummer. I remember wishing Jane could have been there. And thinking that Trish would get a hoot out of how into it I was! I think next year you all should fly in for the tea!!! Ha!


I told the organizers that they need to get a venue for next year that had cathedral ceilings. Because my center piece will be 28 feet high. Got that Summer???! (I kid)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Diapers and a Christmas Meme

DIAPERS:
Dudes & dudettes, I proudly announce that I am the mother of an almost-4-yr old that has been out of diapers and/or pull-ups for a whole WEEK now. Including BED TIME. With all of the extra money I'll have on hand from not buying diapers, I have decided to build a full scale replica of the Taj Mahal in my back yard. Or maybe I'll just pay some bills. I'm not sure.

But those of you who have ever changed 952,047 diapers know how huge this is. I am thrilled beyond belief. And how easy it was when he just decided. No drama. He does both pee and poo in the potty. The Boy was cool with pee for a couple of years. The poo part came with huge drama and I'm sure he'll be in counseling when he's 32 because of it.

I. Am. Diaper. FREE.

(And there was much rejoicing.)


A CHRISTMAS MEME:
I'd like to return to the blogging world with a fun little meme sent to me by my wonderful friend Erin. So to kick off my official mental entrance into the holiday season, here 'tis:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Both - usually depends on what I have on hand and what I'm wrapping. But I love wrapping with ribbon and all that jazz. Bags are usually a last resort.

2. Real tree or Artificial?
Fake but wikkid gorgeous & real looking. Now you know my dirty little secret.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Yesterday but only because it had been set up and used in church. My pastor's mom had taken all the time and effort to assemble it and fluff all the branches - why waste all that work?

4. When do you take the tree down the tree?
I play that by ear. In all honesty, I'd love to have one up all year round. Maybe the ornaments would become the Christmas part but leave the lit tree up all year. That would be fun. Anyway, The Boy just asked if we could leave it up past New Years. Which is fine with me. So probably some time just after New Years.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Love it! I have half a bottle in the fridge as we type. If it wouldn't balloon me back up to my old fat jeans in 2 weeks, I'd be drinking it all season long.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Oh I have no idea. Probably most of them. My mom didn't get us all 9,000 presents each like I do for my kids. So I usually really flipped out over whatever she got me.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Not a fan. They tend to seem smarmy to me. And the little figuring of Jesus tends to cross a line for me. I have no problem with other people having them. I mean, the funny thing is, this one person I know that has one? She flipped out over a painting of Jesus I used to have in my home. The whole graven image thing, you know? But every year, she pulls out her nativity scene. Complete with the northern European, white Anglo holy family. Gotta love that. And...soap box is gone.

8. Hardest person to buy for?
If I'm buying for someone, I know them well. I don't buy for casual acquaintances. I have way too many siblings & nieces & nephews to be spending on outside people.

9. Easiest person to buy for?
The Boy. If it's Pokemon, he'll love it. Well, THIS year. But almost every year he's obsessed with one thing or another. So he tends to make it easy for me.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail. This year, I don't know if I'll get to it. People might be getting a Valentines card from me and the boys in 2008. We'll see.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Um....nothing stands out. But getting clothes in the style of the giver's taste and NOT yours, that isn't fun if they're completely not in your realm of sensibilities.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Only one? Are you kidding me? That list could be a whole other meme in and of itself! The ones that come to mind quickly are:
- It's A Wonderful Life
- White Christmas
- A Christmas Carol (with Alistair, no other version matters)
- Elf

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Absolutely. But never if it's sentimental or I can tell the giving of it meant something to the giver.

14. What is your favorite thing/things to eat at Christmas?
I think you should really ask what WON'T I eat at Christmas! Much shorter list.

15. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Clear.

16. Favorite Christmas song?
Oh Holy Night - traditional version. Keep all the stupid over singing newbies OFF that one!!!

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
I hate traveling around any major holiday. I stay home.

18. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
You know Dasher and Dancer
And Prancer and Vixen,
Comet and Cupid
And Donner and Blitzen.
But do you recall
The most famous reindeer of all?
Rudolph! - I have to sing it to remember it. Every time I do that in my head, I here Gene Autry singing it. And when I was little, there was a country song about Shadrack the black reindeer. Can't recall it, though.

19. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
We usually exchange ornaments on Christmas Eve. Then all the rest in the morning.

20. Most annoying thing about this time of year:
People that totally miss the point and stress out thinking they have to make it like some kind of ├╝ber Martha Stewart event that will be photographed and featured in some high-end home & garden magazine. Honestly people, get a GRIP!

21. Favorite ornament theme or color?
I like all of them. They all tend to have a story or memory for me.

22. Favorite thing for Christmas dinner?
Um...food? Yah, I'm pretty partial to FOOD for Christmas dinner. Beyond that, I'm not really all that picky.

23. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Nothing. I'm good. I just want my boys to have fun.

24. Who will you tag for this meme?
Well, I want to see the responses from all my Awesome Blogger Chicks. So I don't care. Take it if you want to. Or don't. I will shed no tears either way.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving, Derailing, and Rerailing

Thanksgiving:
My thanksgiving could have been very weird this year. It was my first thanksgiving without my future ex since 1991. I was worried I'd be mopey. No way. I had a rockin' thanksgiving!

I made brisket, turkey breast and ham. I had potatoes, carrots & onions in the crock pot w/ the brisket so those were awesome. My gravies were home made from the drippings and they were spot ON, man. I made pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, and 2 chocolate chess pies. Mom brought the green jello salad (yum!) and sweet potato casserole. Big Sis brought the green bean casserole, rolls & other breads. I made stuffing and some carrots in butter & brown sugar. Seriously, we could have fed all of you guys along with us. I had my parents, my sis & her hubby, my boys and two neighbors. It was so relaxed and totally mellow. I didn't have any stress of trying to be Martha Stewart. When you come to my house for a meal, you can expect awesome food and my house in whatever state it happens to be in at the time. Stress free holidays are what I'm all about.

I was so happy to be able to host this holiday. And to have the means to buy the food. To have the house in which to host everyone. To have friends and family that actually wanted to come. It was just FUN. I don't think there was any stress anywhere to be found. It rocked!

Derailing:
So, after thanksgiving, I had a wonderful Friday off with my boys. Just puttering and doing whatever came to mind whenever we thought of it. Another very relaxed day. I LOVE being around my boys. They are just silly and fun and make me stupid amounts of happy.

On Saturday, I think, Lil' Bro innocently said something that rather derailed me from my "I'm so strong and can handle anything" mood. He has been sick since the holiday - not too horrible but fevery and GI trouble from both ends. At one point, he was coughing and I said, "You ok, bud?" He looked very serious and said, "I dying, mommy," to which I replied, "Oh NO!" He quickly assured me, "I just kidding - I'm not dying." I told him, "Oh good because I would be SO sad. I would just cry and cry." Then he said, "If daddy died...[girl thing] would be sad." I was just like...um...ok...what do I say here? So I said, "Yes. We'd all be sad." Lil' Bro said, "No, daddy doesn't love you any more. He loves [girl thing]. [Girl thing] would be sad."

Now, I have to tell you, I get that he's just stating things as he sees them. I get that. But the reality of it was like a knife to the heart. It was just such a succinct statement of how things are and it's a subject that is very hard to think about - let alone hear it stated so matter-of-factly by your almost-4-yr old.

One of the hardest things for me to deal with at this moment is how I have been unceremoniously dethroned from my place of honor. I was figuratively ripped from my throne and thrown to the ground. As I lay there going, "OW! That hurt!" future ex was stepping on me in order to place his new queen up on MY throne - with MY scepter and crown! While my children watched. And everyone else, for that matter. That's rather how it feels. It is amazingly hard for me to have gone from beloved partner, wife & mother - the place of honor for 16 years - to suddenly being the annoying other woman. That instant shift that took place at the hands of future ex just blows my mind no matter how I try to reconcile it in my mind.

So to have my wee man just make that statement...it was more than I could handle. It did derail me for a couple of days. I can't really say I hit depression. But I had that sick pit in my stomach for a couple of days. I was sad and grumpy. I was mad. And I had to wrestle with those awful feelings of vengeance again.

The only good thing about times like these is that it forces me to turn to God. I wish I had posted about this during my bad feelings. Because when I post after I've wrestled with it and God has helped heal my heart? Well, it seems so...easy. I wish I was able to post all my hurt and anger and ugly side. I just feel like writing about it after God has picked me up makes me seem much more heroic than I am. I mean, I was MAD. I was angry. I felt VERY sorry for myself. I wasn't thinking pretty nice Christian thoughts. I had to turn it all over to God - which I didn't want to do. Just sometimes, I want to be mean. I wish I could say all of those things that run through my head to future ex. I wish I could be ugly - trying to hurt him as much as he's hurt me. But I wouldn't be able to. It would just backfire on me. Or it would make me feel like an ass. So I begrudgingly turn over all my negative feelings to God. And he takes them.

But that was a bit disconcerting to wrestle with. Guh.

Rerailing:
During those derailed times, it always feels like it will never end. It will always be like this. I start to wonder if I will ever fully recover from the dissolution of my marriage. I have no idea why I always let myself lean toward that thinking. Because God ALWAYS comes through.

I had kept all of this yicky stuff to myself. I feel like I have been a needy mess for 11 months. My friends and family must be SO sick of hearing about my pain. I mean, I'M sick of hearing and thinking about my divorce. So I can't imagine how my support system must feel. So I kept it to myself. And for my personality? That's poison.

At church on Sunday, I didn't sing. Which always bums me out a bit. It's rather become a piece of my survival. I love singing. It's cathartic for me. So I didn't sing and sat out in the congregation. But that actually seemed nice. I got to sit with my family for once. I sat there just behind Lil' Bro. And during worship, one of my friends came over and said, "I think [Lil' Bro] threw up." Lil' Bro was just sitting there all dum-dee-dum-dee-dum. But sure enough, there was a puddle of puke under his chair. So this wonderful friend sent me off to clean up Lil' Bro while he cleaned my son's puke. How awesome is that?

The sermon rocked - as usual. The fellowship with my friends was amazing. The kids at church just lifted my spirits. It was awesome.

Yesterday, one of my best friends at church - the music director's wife - she emailed me to see how I've been. She hadn't really heard much from me lately and wanted to check in. How cool is that? I told her how I was thinking people might be sick of hearing about my troubles and she poo-poo'd that for the nonsense it is. So I told her all about my derailing and how I wrestle with loneliness. And how the feelings can all come back and how I just want to be in love again, etc. At one point, I think I wrote "Did a lot of praying last night. Poor God. I don't know how he stands it." Her reply to that just totally made me laugh out loud. She wrote back, "Yeah, I bet the God who had to figure out how to create the world is totally overwhelmed by all your prayers. Maybe you should let up a bit." Hahahaha! I love friends that can just totally smack you upside the head in such a sweet and funny way.

And then tonight, I chatted with my wonderful sweet friend in Boston. I've mentioned him before. He's one of the few men I have leaned on during this - he's part of my safety zone. I was telling him how I'm just so sick of this up and down crap. I'm just ready to be 100% strong and OVER this whole thing. He's going through his own post-break-up so he gets it. He nailed it on the head when he said it's like two steps forward and one step back. But the two steps forward feel SO good. You feel so happy and so strong. And so when you hit that one step back, it just hurts all that much more because you thought things were getting so much better.

God has surrounded me with such wonderful people. I really wonder how people survive life without support. Thank you, God. Thank you for sending your people to be your loving arms, your shoulder to cry on, your ears, your words, your love. Bless them all, God. Because they are honoring you so well. Amen.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thankfulosity - A Wee Bit Late

I meant to post a thankful entry before Thanksgiving. Alas, I was too busy trying to reacquaint my house with cleaning. So here are some random things for which I am thankful (not bad grammar for a math major & college drop-out, eh?):

GOD -
No, I'm not trying to win brownie points for judgement day here. I'm thinking that God is number one here because he has carried my sorry butt through 2007. This is a year that could have broken me. The dissolution of my marriage was almost my undoing. But God positioned me in the right neighborhood, in the right town, in the right church. He surrounded me with people who have already walked this path and could really empathize and advise. He showed me the true meaning of "Abba, father!" He broke down all the walls I had kept up - even with him. As I've posted before, he stood with me - neck deep in the cess pool. He never once left me. He never once let go of my hand. He never once gave me reason to believe he wouldn't get me through it. He conquered all of my doubt, my self-loathing, my feelings of vengeance, the pain of betrayal, my loneliness, my anger, my pain, my fear. All of the people who have walked this path before have told me that I am on the fast track - God is fast forwarding me through the worst of it. And that is very specific answer to a very specific prayer for exactly that. God has answered so many of my prayers this year in very tangible ways. And in some very shocking timing. Which makes me anticipate with a real excitement all of the ones as yet unanswered.

Mom & Dad -
I honestly do not know how I would have survived those first 7 weeks if my mom & dad hadn't put their lives on hold to come rescue me. Mom flew out here and lived with me for 7 weeks. She basically stepped in and carried my household and kids while I barely functioned in a zombie-like state. Dad sacrificed having his wife with him for 7 weeks. At the end of this time period, he drove all the way from Florida up to Virginia - ALONE - to start getting the VA house ready to sell. I'll toss in another praise to God here in that he found a buyer for their house in the 11th hour - when the market was worse than soft. My parents pulled up stakes and bought a house in my development - basically in order to rescue me. And I am so incredibly grateful to them for that. It has been a miraculous blessing to me. It has terrified me at times. Someone pulls up their whole life and moves to your area to rescue you? That's a big responsibility. I feel like, if I do one thing wrong, they'll regret their decision. I told that to my mom and she just laughed. Because she is mom. And moms don't just walk away from their kids - sacrificial move or not. Mom & Dad rock.

Big Sis & Her Ridiculously Tall Husband -
Big Sis has always been my ice breaker in life. She has always done everything first. She has gone ahead, cutting a path through the jungle with her machete. Then I just traipse right in all la-dee-da - so easy because she did all the prep work for me. She is the main reason I chose this part of the country back in 2005. And I am so thankful to live near her. She is the most amazing, generous & devoted aunt to my boys. And Her Ridiculously Tall Husband is the most patient, present and giving uncle I've ever seen. That man will play Hi-Ho Cherry-O, Candyland, trains and some made up Pokemon games with my boys until they pass out. My boys adore Big Sis and The Tall Dude. I do, too. They are also fiercely protective of me. That kind of unconditional love and support has been invaluable to me through my whole life. But this year, especially.

My Coworkers & Having a Job -
I've posted before about how awesome my coworkers are. I don't know what I would have done without them this year. I can see how major life disasters can derail you enough where you could lose your job. Because of my wonderfully supportive coworkers and managers, I still have my job. So I'm thankful for every single one of them. And I am hugely thankful that I have a good job. Especially being a newly single mom. I am one of the rare mothers that will be financially stable after her divorce. And not because of some settlement. But because God has blessed me with a good stable job.

My KIDS -
Their position in this list obviously means diddly. They were almost first but God really had a lock on that position. HA! They are both strong, healthy, intelligent, loving, sweet, ornery, contrary, joy-filled and oh so cute. On Thanksgiving morning, I awoke to have Lil' Bro standing at my bedside asking to cuddle. So I pulled him into bed. Then The Boy asked if he could get in, too. So at one point, I was laying under my big comforter with Lil' Bro and his stuffed dog on one side and The Boy on the other. They both kept snuggling closer and closer. I remember thinking, "Yah, THIS is how Thanksgiving should be started!!!" Pure heaven. They are the most amazing joy in my life. They teach me so much. They make me laugh. They hold me accountable in that brutally honest way young kids have. Every night, I thank God for them. And my words of thanks just sound so puny compared to the huge amounts of love I have for them. Sometimes I think of how I adore my kids to the point of bursting. Then I try to wrap my head around the fact that God loves each and every single person on this planet even MORE passionately than that. I really can't grasp that. I try. But just can't. Man oh man. I am so ridiculously blessed with those two gorgeous little men.

A Strange Kind of Freedom -
This is a weird one. I don't mean to sound morbid or trite here. But I have realized a certain level of freedom lately. I am free to be me and make choices based on what I want or what my boys want. That's a weird thing when you're used to considering someone else's feelings for 16 years. I bought a whole bunch of Christian CDs recently and felt so happy doing it. I was never stopped from doing that before. Not directly. But I always felt it would elicit a certain amount of covert eye-rolling from the future ex. But I bought a bunch and played them all as soon as they got here. And didn't worry about keeping the volume low. It was pretty cool. As I made my way through the new Super Target here today, I realized the same thing about buying items for the house. I could buy what I liked. I bought a few things today that were completely MY choices. I know it sounds silly. But it was very interesting to just satisfy my desires today. I told my sister that I won't want to date again because then I'll have to go back to caring about someone else's opinion. HA! But mostly, I have the freedom to follow God all I want. And I feel like I have invited God to reign in this house. And he stays. He doesn't have to leave and then be invited back. He is king of this house. And he knows he is welcome and wanted by everyone in it. I think that's a really cool thing. And on a lighter note - let me tell you, having a big bed and bathroom all to yourself? Yah, I have gotten quite used to that. Like I told Big Sis today, I'm going to be hard pressed to share with someone else some day. Hahahaha!

Food and Other Necessities -
You know, I listened to this food drive on KLOVE this past week. They were asking people to donate to shelters - a very small amount of money would feed like 20 people for Thanksgiving. And they were interviewing people who had recovered their lives from homelessness, drug addiction, etc. Each of them had started their return journey with a meal at a shelter. I was so blown away by a lot of their stories. And here I am, a newly single mom - able to buy a brisket, turkey breast and ham from Whole Foods - not just some generic items from my local grocer. It still boggles my mind that - in this country of plenty - there are homeless people. And I'm not just talking about the self destructive people who don't want to do honest work for honest wages. God has blessed me incredibly with a beautiful house, plenty of clothes, more than enough toys for my kids, all sorts of extras. I always have food on my shelves (no matter how many times I poke around the kitchen thinking, "There's nothing to eat!"). I do NOT take it for granted. I totally understand how blessed I am. And how fragile this life is. How easily that could end with one natural disaster, one act of war, one lost job, one anything.

Friends -
A long time ago, when I was a bouncer in that night club back in Boston (so this was back in the early 90s), I asked God for something very specific. I had a relationship with God. I talked to him ALL the time. I prayed even while in that club. I often prayed for him to help when things got ugly there. But I didn't trust people who claimed to follow him. Christians had failed me. They had shown their ugly side. They had shown they were full of crap. They were hypocritical, selfish, judgemental idiots. Just like me. I didn't need that in my life. I trusted God. And he is all I needed. But I really wanted to find other people like me. Other people that loved God and believed in him. I wanted to find people that I could relate to, that were fun, that enjoyed the same things in life as I did. I had begun to believe that it was impossible to find God-people that could be loving, truly patient, fun, interesting, cool, intelligent. So I prayed quite often - and over a couple of years - that God would surround me with his people. I believe my prayer went something like, "God, please send me your people. Your real people." And when I said it, I meant the people who really tried to follow God's word and way. The ones who weren't perfect and could admit it, but tried really hard to follow God. They weren't judgemental - or if they were, they tried hard to overcome it. They were real and loving and fallible. In my mind, I have always called them God-people. I'm sure you all have examples in your life of people who really represent God or what Jesus taught us. There is something different about them. But that's what I wanted in my life. I asked God to bring them into my life - surround me with his people. And he'd have to bring them into my life. I certainly wasn't going to go join some church! And God did it. In very specific ways where I knew these people were from God. The first one was the guy who played Jesus in our production of Jesus Christ Superstar. He was a rather well-known rock singer - huge in Japan and pretty big in the US. I pre-pegged him as an ego maniacal jerk. Because I'm a God-person and love to do snap judgements on people I know nothing about. He turned out to be one of the most sincere and humble people I know. We both joined the cast with the caveat that we would pull out of the production if we thought it was becoming irreverent. I found that out about him much later. We both slowly realized that we both really loved God and this play was much more than just some off-off-off-Broadway thing. That was the first God-person that God put in my path after that prayer. Since then, he has put them in my work place, my apartment buildings, they've owned diners I've frequented, he's put them in my blog walk (IE - many of you), he has made them one-time random encounters with strangers, he has filled a church in Cambridge and Austin with them, he sprinkled them all through my new neighborhood. It just blows my mind how he has never stopped fulfilling that request. And I hope he never does. I now make that same prayer for my two boys. And believe it or not, I have prayed that same thing for the future ex. Before all of this divorce stuff and since. It is one of the best tools God has - his true people. You start meeting enough of them and it can undo many years of cynicism and mistrust.

I'm Actually Thankful -
I could go on and on for things I'm thankful for. Isn't that amazing? I mean, when I think of the year I've had, I realize how easy it would be for me to just wallow in the self-pity. How easy would it be for me to just lean on the anger and become that bitter griping harpy? So when I spent this past week all excited and really thankful, filled with joy and happiness...I realized that God is walking me through this mess. He has lifted me up out of the cess pool. The big deep ugly cess pool is behind me now. I'm not quite out of the woods yet. But at least I'm out of that cess pool. And God is still walking next to me. Never leaving. His hand is still outstretched - ready to catch me. He has turned my heart so that I spend most of my time feeling joy - that anticipation of the ultimate good that I know he has for me. I think that's a miracle right there - the fact that I'm able to be thankful.

Thank you God. You rock. I love you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pretty Boring Confessions

Ok, in the interest of holding myself accountable to my wonderful ABCs and the hand full of family/friend lurkers (I prefer to pretend only nice, sane people read my blog), I will confess my rather boring failing today. It bugged me enough to remain on the tip of my brain all weekend. So I'll tell you about it.

I have a personality trait that is, at times, a great boon and, at other times, a horrid tool in the meddling hands of my insecurity. I have the ability to shift gears on a dime. By this I mean, I can adjust my attitude, demeanor, language, body language, etc., to match those of almost anyone else. I tend to draw the line when I encounter someone that upsets me, makes my skin crawl or commits crimes on a regular basis. But in my day to day in life, I meet generally nice people. And I tend to shift into their gear - often without even realizing it.

This is a boon when I am trying to greet new people at my church. Or when I see someone standing alone in a crowded social situation. Or when people at work are in contention. I am - to borrow a joke from SNL - a unificator. I like to make people feel at ease. I like them to be comfortable. If I can sense what will help with that, I oblige. So yah, it can be a gift. It has helped me in many situations.

In high school, this ability wasn't honed very well. And I was a mass of insecurity and low self esteem (yes, welcome to "Being a Teenage Girl"). So this ability usually manifested as a way to make people like me. It was probably more of a silent begging for people to like me. It also meant that I would morph into anything I believed they would like or think "cool" or who knows what. Unfortunately for me, some of my more observant friends dubbed me 'The Chameleon' because of this. Even more unfortunate was the fact that one of these observant "friends" was a cartoonist and I - The Chameleon - ended up being a regular character. The desperately insecure me loved that I was part of the cartoon. The much smaller me that actually had some pride left hated it. This memory still had the power to unravel me until a few years ago. Interesting that I just remembered that.

So where is this all going, you ask? Good question. They probably should have really dubbed me 'The Rambler'.

This morphing trait has stayed with me. In the last decade or two, I have been able to use my super powers for the good of mankind. I'm a social freak. I can't stand when anyone is left out. I can't stand unresolved conflict. I can't stand communication gaps. I am The Unificator!

But here and there, I still run into situations where I feel insecure. I don't know why. And if you could see some of the situations, you'd say, "But L.y.n.e.t.t.e, those people like you already. Why do you feel the need to impress them?" That part could be the topic of a 3 day conference, to be sure. But the fact remains, I still have this problem of needing to impress or needing approval. Often, I want this approval from people that are not exactly 100% aligned with what is most important to me.

The most recent manifestation of the dark side of my trait came this past Friday. I didn't have the kids and that meant it was my neighborhood Ladies' Nite Out - or Chick Nite, as I like to call it. It was 3 of my awesome neighbors, one mom of a classmate of The Boy, and one neighbor's coworker. Just six moms getting a break in a totally safe environment. No rules. No pretension. Just sitting around, eating snacks, drinking some wine, beer and/or coffee, chatting about nothing in particular. Lots of laughter. Totally totally safe. And no reason I need to impress. They're already my friends.

But I found myself reverting to my kind of tough act. That's the only way I can describe it. It's the defensive me. The group of ladies are lots of fun. And language was free. Some colorful, some not. But I found myself throwing around the stories that I knew would get the reactions. The ones that would get the "Really? You did THAT?" kind of reactions. Or throwing around my sailor talk. Not that I have a problem with that. But lately, it's not really me. Not like that. I don't know why I felt the need. I wonder if it was because I was the oldest one there. Or because I'm scared, being the only single one there. Or because I'm scared of being alone - reverting back to the knee-jerk reaction of desperately wanting them to like me so I won't feel so alone.

I'm sitting here thinking about this because that's the first time I tried to put the "why" to it. I bet it's a combination of all three of those things and probably more. Don't want to become the suburban soccer mom that I already am. Don't want to fit into the overweight stereotype of my area. Don't want to admit I might have become dull after all my years of being so "exciting" and "colorful" in the music scene. Which, if memory serves, really wasn't all that great anyway which was why I didn't pursue it more.

I think it just reminded me of an old me that I thought had died back in 2005 - when I realigned my life back onto a path seeking God. For the last 2 years, I thought I was rock solid with God. Nothing could derail me. I think I've been more freaked by the reality of that not always being a sure thing. I mean, God is the sure thing. But me - the human - I'm not a sure thing. And recently, I was majorly derailed by - of all things - a major crush. I was totally wigged out by my inability to focus on God during that time. It scared me to death. It passed. But with much effort on my part to rip my focus from this person and put it back on God (and many phone calls to Jane in stead of that guy!). And let me tell you, to do that, I had to release this person from my heart. I didn't want to. I had lots of conversations with God that went something like, "But God, why can't HE be the next one you have for me?!!!" And I knew why. But I just didn't want to be alone. I don't like not being in love. I don't like not feeling loved romantically. I KNOW God should be the end-all, be-all for me. And ultimately, he is. But I'm human and I have those stupid human moments where, dammit, I want a man. And I want to feel worthy of his attention. And I want him to pursue ME. And I want to see effort made to get my attention. And I want to be in love again. With a human. I want to have that excited woogy feeling when I think about this person. I want to anticipate the next time I'll get to see him. I want to get all excited when he texts me. I want to burst into a huge smile when I see an email from him. But I gave it up to God. Begrudgingly.

And let me tell you...God is really really really sensitive. He didn't just rip the crush from my heart. He slowly turned my heart back to Him. He slowly pointed out a few things like it was not the right time. I'm still a mess. He lives too far away. Our lifestyles are just too different. He's much too young for what I need. And the number one thing I've been crowing about since future ex blew my heart out of my rib cage: he's not a Christian.

So God got me refocused. But The Chameleon still lurks there. Still clutching at my insecurities. Waiting for that time when I'm not paying attention. All the more reason to stay focused on God. All the more reason to surround myself with my God-friends.

I know I'll be 100% again some day. Some day, this whole divorce thing will be completely in the past - chronologically, legally, emotionally. But I think I'm still weak and vulnerable yet. It will take a while. So I will stubbornly cling to God. The nice thing is, his hand is always stretched out toward me. Makes it much easier. All I have to do is turn back toward him and - boom! - there it is.

That was a bit more rambling and disorganized than I had intended. It was definitely a stream of consciousness. Took on a life of its own. I think I actually figured a thing or two out here.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Fun Meme While I Ponder Sharing Secrets

I pilfered this fun meme from Moanna. I tag all my ABCs (Awesome Blogger Chicks). I may or may not post some deep dark secrets later. I tend to like holding myself accountable in this forum. Especially since you all are such great supporters and tend to forgive my human imperfections quicker than I do.

Here is the meme from Moanna's page (and I have to say it's hard to limit my answers to only 4. Maybe we should redo this meme with "20" replacing all the 4's. HA!):

4 jobs I have had
Prep Cook (people loved my biscuits)
Bouncer (people loved my attitude)
Collection Services Analyst (people loved my bad punk fashion)
Programmer (people love...um...all of the above?)

4 places I have lived
SanFran/SanJose, California
Raleigh, North Carolina
Boston, Massachusetts
Austin, Texas

4 places I have holidayed
Jamaica
London/Cornwall (in one trip)
Texas/NewMexico (in one trip)
SanFran/Wine Country (in one trip)

4 favorite foods
Enchiladas
Stuffed Shells or anything like it
Chocolate _________ (almost anything can fit in that blank)
My Brisket - which I'm making on Thanksgiving!!!

4 places I'd rather be (*my personal caveat is my kids are either with me or it's a given that they're ok and I return to them quickly)
SanFran & surrounding areas with my birth-mom's family (fitting in a jaunt to see Wanda, Darlene & Angela)
Philly with Jane
Where JenKneeBee takes all those pictures in Colorado
Canada in the summer and I would totally beg Beck to cook for me

Ok. I'll let you know if I'm feeling confessional later.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Strange Movies That Make Me Cry

And by strange, I don't mean the movie is strange. I mean that it's strange that THIS particular movie would make me cry.

Cars. Yes. You heard me. I said 'Cars', as in the Disney/Pixar animated movie. About cars. Hence the pithy title. If you've never watched it, rent it. No, BUY it. It's that good. The animation is still the best there is - in my humble opinion. The story is adorable. The characters are endearing and will get under your skin (like Luigi & Guido).

I have seen this movie about 952 times, thanks to Lil' Bro. And I have to tell you, even when I'm not watching it and just within ear or eye shot, there are 2 scenes that can still make me cry.

1) The final race when Lightening McQueen suddenly hears Doc Hudson's voice in his headset and realizes all his friends from Radiator Springs have come to be his pit crew. Yes. I'm a dork. But I'm telling you, I choke up.

2) The final race when Chick has totalled The King. Lightening stops inches short of the finish line and victory in order to back up and push the wrecked The King over the finish line. Redemption in animated cars. Amazing.

I'll also tell you that I have actually jumped out of my seat and cheered when Guido does his incredible pit stop in the final race. When the mustaches fall off of Chick's crew, I pee myself laughing.

So there you have it. One of my many guilty secrets. There are tons of movies that make me cry. The Color Purple, A Room With A View, White Christmas, Scrooge. But those are all supposed to make you cry.

I'm the idiot scaring all the little kids at the matinee because I'm crying over a high-tech cartoon.

Nice.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Shufflin' Life Soundtrack Meme

I don't usually post twice in one day. But my baby sister sent me this one on MySpace. I wanted to do Allie's life soundtrack but I just couldn't pick the songs. So this meme lets your MP3 player's shuffle setting do it for you. Some of these were oddly spot on. Others fell flat. I think Trish did this one before. I know I've seen it from someone in my blog walk.

IF YOUR LIFE WAS A MOVIE, WHAT WOULD THE SOUNDTRACK BE?

So, here's how it works:

1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool!


Opening Credits:
‘House of God’ - MercyMe
[Perfect.]

First Day At School:
‘Tis Of Thee’ – Ani DiFranco
[Ha! Not quite the pledge of allegiance we knew as kids!]

Falling In Love:
‘(Waltz Me) Once Again Around The Dance Floor’ – kd lang
[Wow. That one worked.]

Fight Song:
‘1000 Miles’ – Mark Schultz
[This would actually make no sense. Unless I was fighting with luuuuuv, man!]

Breaking Up:
‘3 Small Words’ – Kay Hanley
[Who knew the Josie & the Pussycats soundtrack would be so poignant?]

Prom:
‘A Case of You’ – Joni Mitchell
[Doesn't quite fit my prom scenarios. But it'll work.]

Life:
‘A Change Would Do You Good’ – Sheryl Crow
[HA! You're not just whistlin' Dixie, man. God is working on this one, I can tell you THAT.]

Mental Breakdown:
‘A Home’ – Dixie Chicks
[Eh...not so much. I'm not having a mental breakdown over imagining the home that could have been with someone who left me. I guarantee you that, thank you very much.]

Driving:
‘A Lucky Guy’ – Rickie Lee Jones
[Not exactly what I would consider a driving song.]

Flashback:
‘A Moment Like This’ – Kelly Clarkson
[This could work in a sappy, over dramatic way. And since that's what I'm all about...]

Getting Back Together:
‘A Thousand Miles From Nowhere’ – Dwight Yokum
[If by 'getting back together', they meant 'I'm lonely because you left me'? Yah, this could work. Not.]

Wedding:
‘All of You’ – Ella Fitzgerald
[Yup. That about pegs how happy and deluded I was on this day.]

Birth of Child:
‘Always’ – Patsy Cline
[Oh yah. This totally works - "I'll be loving you always. With a love that's true - always." Yup.]

Final Battle:
‘Am I The Only One (Who’s Ever Felt This Way)' – Maria McKee
[Well, I hope not! This song aches over a breakup. I'd like my final battle to be much stronger. My final battle will see me kicking some serious butt. Or saving the world. With pies. Yah. I like that.]

Death Scene:
‘Amazing Grace’ – Ani DiFranco
[Well that was cool. And I especially love this version.]

Funeral Song:
‘Angel’ – Sarah McLachlan
[This would make people bawl. I don't want a funeral that morose. We need to find some hopeful upbeat songs here! I expect you all to throw a big huge PAHDEE!!!]

Rememberance Song:
‘Angel With a Lariat’ – kd lang
[A bit odd but you could make it fit, in a stretch.]

End Credits:
‘Anthem’ - SuperChick
[Perfect.]