Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving, Derailing, and Rerailing

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!

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 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 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.

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?):

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.

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 of the above?)

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

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

4 favorite foods
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.


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.


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

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?]

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

‘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.]

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

‘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.]

‘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

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Lunch With a Gaggle of 2nd Graders

You guys are going to be so jealous. Today, I had lunch with a gaggle of second graders. It was the "holiday lunch" at The Boy's school. I was scheduled for a conference call from 9am-4pm at work. I told them I wouldn't be there from 12-1:30 and to get over it. They got over it.

I went to The Boy's school and hunted down his class. The Boy was so excited to see me. And (I love this part), he actually hugged me and blew me a kiss in front of his WHOLE class. This is where I love his social ignorance.

I had been joking with my coworkers that I'd be back if I survived the cafeteria food. I have to tell you, the food was actually really good. I had turkey & gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans, a roll and a little piece of pumpkin cake w/ a dollop of whipped cream. Honestly, it was very good. Who'da thunk it?

I sat on the ground outside (we had 80 something degree weather today) with The Boy's class. I pretended not to care about the spiders that checked us out (I can't let kids see how much I hate bugs). At one point, I said to a few of the kids around me, "Wow, this food is pretty good. You guys are lucky to have such a great cafeteria." To which one child replied, "Oh it's not this good usually." Ha!

I love meeting a group of elementary school kids. The Boy totally didn't realize he should introduce me. And I sure wasn't going to overstep any boundaries in HIS territory by offering introductions. So I got a few, "Are you [The Boy]'s mom?" I gladly claimed my title as such. One boy looked from The Boy to me and back commenting, "Hmm...I thought you'd look like him." I was also updated on my son's scholastic activities with such comments as, "[The Boy] is really smart in our class," and "[The Boy] hums all the time."

I have to say that The Boy has a very sweet group of kids for classmates. They are all polite and kind. Many are funny. And a couple of the girls seemed rather anxious for The Boy's attention. As a typical boy, he was completely oblivious of this point. One girl got my mental nod of approval. She was smart and well spoken without being sassy. She was pretty. She had nice hair (not blond). She wasn't one of those beauty-pageant-wanna-be's. I like her. I will keep my eye on her and fend off any other unworthy hangers on.

It made me feel so good to see how perfectly The Boy fit in the social setting. I've mentioned before how kinder and 1st grade found him sadly outside the social norm. He is in the thick of it in a completely appropriate manner this year. He seems invested with almost all the kids yet isn't quite the lemming I was at his age. I like that. He initiated quite a few interactions (which is a change from last year). And he responded appropriately when kids spoke to him. He joked, talked, listened. All at totally appropriate levels. Man, that does a mom's heart good!!!

I did notice the exaggerated blinking again today. I heard a few audible tics, too. Nothing I'm too concerned about. I Googled tics last night and read an article (which I can't find at the moment to link here) on how most kids his age have tics that wax and wane anyway. So even without Tourette's in the mix, this age tends to have some twitchy moments still. So I'll mention it here due to the implied subject of my blog. But I assure you I'm not worried about it at this moment.

Lunch with The Boy's class ROCKED. I wish I could do that every day!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Seeing a Few Tics, Some Thoughts & Some Pix

Greetings Earthlings.

(Hey, before I get started - Sarakastic, go read your comments. I need you to email me.)

Seeing a Few Tics
I've been seeing a few tics with The Boy today. Actually, I noticed a couple at church this past Sunday. I can't remember what he did on Sunday. I just remember being up on stage, rehearsing some songs and looking down. I remember thinking, hmmm...his face is tic-ing. Haven't seen that in a while.

Tonight, as he watched the long awaited Sponge Bob movie, I was looking at him and saw the exaggerated blinking thing. We had our neighbors over for some of my home made chili tonight. I saw him running around with their son and noticed a few exaggerated blinks with some raised eyebrow movements as he ran. Interesting. I won't panic. I'm just sitting here trying to think if there were any stresses in his day. He didn't mention anything unusual at school. So...maybe he's just tired? Maybe it's just part of the normal waxing and waning of his tics. I'll let you know.

Either way, he's still ridiculously cute. Just kills me. I love when he smiles at me. Or when he comes around the corner going, "Mom?" as if he needs to ask me something. Then just goes, "I love you," and runs off. Man, I am storing that away to remember during his adolescence!

Some Thoughts
Can I just tell you that my home made chili rocks? I'm not bragging. I'm just telling you I've eaten it every day since I made it on Saturday. Seriously. I could eat chili every day. Except for the days that I would want to eat enchiladas.

I'm currently reading a bible study done on the book of Acts. It's a study done by my former Boston church (Trish's church). I think of it as the Cambridge Vineyard but they're now the Greater Boston Vineyard. Which begs the question if there is a lesser Boston feeling all left out.

I've blogged before about this church's concept of The 40 Days of Faith. Well, it's usually done as a whole church during the Lenten period. A very powerful thing - when prayer is approached as a unified group - all in agreement! They have this amazing guy who works up these bible studies for each year. They post them on their site and I've downloaded every one of them to my computer. And I read them as my bible time. I'm not quite to the point where I can open a bible, read an entire book and glean the myriad of information that is there - if you know historical context, geographic significance, ancient Jewish culture, Roman culture, etc. I get quite a bit more than the average bear. But not like this guy does. And he presents it in a way that doesn't bore the snot out of me. I really have trouble sticking to the daily readings. I usually want to keep reading and end up reading about 7 days worth in one sitting. If you're wanting to read the bible but feel like you might want some guidance or insights but aren't really sure how to get that? Check these studies out. I think you'll like them. I've already read the Luke & Genesis studies. I'm planning on reading the Mark study next.

Some Pix
I've been enjoying the pictures other people are sharing. I just picked a couple more to show you today for some fun. I'll show you some of my siblings.

Here is my first day home from the Babies R Us store. I mean adoption agency. Or foster home. I've always said it was my first day home from the adoption agency but it's not like they kept me in a filing cabinet or in the infant aisle filed under "3 month olds". Notice the crankypants baby. Notice the high-tech baby seat. Notice the care with which my 2 yr old Big Sis is touching my arm. Or maybe she's going, "Mommy, how do I shut her up?" Notice the joy in my Oldest Bro's eyes. He obviously realizes I will idolize him for the rest of time. He's psyched. Check out the look on Middle Bro's face. It's like, "Yup. Great. Another one."

This one I love. Big Sis loves me enough to attempt to pop my head off. If it were not such a giant melon of a head, it may have just popped off. But this is no ordinary head. That's a Fegley/Ledgerwood head. They don't come much bigger or thicker-skulled than that. My sister and I have quite a few pictures like this. And by "this" I mean, showing the disproportionate gi-normous-osity of my head. Check it: I'm three. She's almost five. My head is way bigger than hers. I have other pictures that make this point in a much more comical fashion but this is what I had at hand. I also love the disinterest I have in her adoration. I'm all, "Dude, could you let GO so I could check out this baby bottle more?" I also love the cameo of Oldest Bro and a smidge of Middle Bro's head.

Oh this is gold. GOLD I TELL YAH! This is the first day of school, 1971. Like I needed to tell you the date with THOSE clothes screamin' off the screen? I'm pretty sure mom made those matching dresses. I was rockin' that mini dress and those navy blue lace-ups. This was my first real school - first grade. We had just moved to this town in Connecticut. Middle Bro now has a son that looks almost just like that - except more contemporary. Big Sis has freaking gorgeous hair, does she not? She was long & lanky even back then. Good thing she takes such good care of me because I'd have to hate her otherwise. I just love the stupid pose I'm doing. Far be it from me to just let someone take a normal picture of me.

And there you go.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Some Pix For Your Viewing Pleasure

Thanks for all your kind words on my last post. Jane turned me on to LibraryThing. If you scroll down, you'll see that I have a list of the authors I've posted on there so far (bottom left). Feel free to go see just how much myth/fantasy/sciFi I've recalled from my fractured short-term memory. And it does crack me up that it's all mostly that and then you'll find a Tolstoy or historical reference book in there. Pretty funny. As Moanna said - I would throw Amazon off when they did the "people who bought this book also bought this..."

On to the pictures. And I apologize to any of you with narrow bandwidth or ancient dial up technology. But here we go.

As promised - pix of the Halloween costumes. The Boy is Pikachu (a Pokemon). Lil' Bro is a puppy. A sound chip in one paw barked when pressed. Too cute.

The Boy as Pikachu

Lil' Bro as a puppy

Let's see...what else? Oh here are some shots to illustrate the whole apple falling from the tree thing.

The charming Fingers In The Nostrils pose

Silly yes, but very cute, too.

Oh here's a good one. I'm impressed because this was taken from my 16th story balcony in a Boston hotel back in October. This was from my camera phone, hand held. Not too shabby. But this was the view from my hotel. It's over looking the theater district in Boston. It totally rocked. That's the financial district making up the skyline. A full moon. It was incredible. I just sat there with my sliding door open for a long time - sitting on the bed staring at this.

Full moon over Boston

Here's a shot of me. I wanted to capture one of my fun times talking to Jane on the phone. Jane, now you know just exactly how much of a dork I am.

Dork on phone

And lastly, I'll introduce you to Buddy. Buddy is Lil' Bro's favorite most specialist puppy in the world. He's actually an Old Navy plush puppy rattle. I have two tan ones like this, a pink one and a blue one. All backups in case Buddy is lost. However, Lil' Bro knows the difference. So there would be no substitutions. Just a mourning period and an adjustment to another stuffed animal. Most likely one of the other Old Navy plush rattle dogs. But Buddy rocks.

L to R: me, Buddy, Lil' Bro

There you go. Just a few shots for you.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Lofty Goal: Poorly Executed (A Meme)

I saw this meme out on Ellesappelle's & Stacy's sites. I love the meme. And - although I haven't read all of the books they mention - I got a lot of their life lessons references. I mean, with many books, you'd have had to live under a rock to not have some snippets fall into your head. And, though I have lived in many places, under a rock is not one of them.

So I'm taking on the meme. Even though I, a lowly math/physics/compSci college drop out, don't really have at all the same tastes in reading material, I'm giving it a shot. And it was a challenge. Because the books I have read? Well, I doubt anyone reading these blogs would have read them or would get the references. But I dug up a few that some of you might get.

Here we go.

Things I learned from reading.
  1. To be a total class act, do the following: Survive a public divorce from a public sports hero where he and his new musician girl thing are plastered on magazines and are made a celebrated celebrity couple. Write a book about surviving the first year of divorce and never even mention either of the two afore mentioned people.
    'Happily Ever After' by Kristin Armstrong
  2. If your livestock lives in the house with you? You'll probably wipe out more than 3/4 of an indigenous population when you land on their beaches.
    'Guns, Germs & Steel' by Jared Diamond
  3. Never eat anything bigger than your head.
    'Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head & Other Drawings' by B Kliban
  4. This is advice for anyone traveling to India, Bangladesh or any other country with man-eating tigers: If you see a live tiger? Just have your parents with you. Upon seeing them, it will immediately turn into a stuffed animal. No one has to die. It's a beautiful solution.
    'The Days Are Just Packed: A Calvin & Hobbes Collection' by Bill Watterson
  5. Don't discount a book just because the author looks like your fashion & style nemesis.
    'The Power of The Praying Wife' by Stormie O'Martian
  6. NEVER forget your towel.
    'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams
  7. Just because you can write a killer book doesn't mean it needs a follow up.
    All sequels to 'The Sword of Shannara' by Terry Brooks
  8. Don't skip the forward. You don't want to admit you thought it was real.
    'Why Cats Paint' by Heather Busch & Burton Silver
  9. I have a brick of cheese in my pants.
    'I, Gregory' by Marc Hempel

There you have it. Little gems I've picked up along the way in my pursuit of the literary lobotomy.

Barf & Jury Duty: Not A Fan

The promised photos will be posted. Some day.

I awoke on Saturday to find Lil' Bro spiking a fever pretty close to 104 F. That's always fun. So while he puttered around - at times as if his skeletal system had gone missing - we got the cousin caravan packed and on the road.

Future ex made himself useful by coming up to stay with the boys while I went shopping for my church's big reopening the next day. While in the checkout line, I got a call that The Boy had thrown up. Not the one with the fever, mind you. The other one. Great. Very promising, that.

I got home to a rather mellow set of boys. And within the hour, Lil' Bro joined the puke fest. I have to say, both boys were very brave and didn't cry. Just got it done with and then resumed their boneless existence on the couch.

Unfortunately, I did not emerge unscathed. I was lucky enough, however, to avoid the barf-a-rama. I just had "wiggly intestines", as I called it. I will spare you the details but will tell you that I'm a huge fan of Immodium. 'Nuf said.

Future ex stuck around to help comfort and attend to the boys. I have to say, that was great. It's when the kids are sick that I tend to hate being a single parent the most. So to have him chip in this way was awesome. Co-parenting in actual practice. Nice.

Since the next day (Sunday) was my church's big shindig, future ex came through again. He dragged his butt out of bed early and made it up to my house by 8am. Granted, we got to set the clocks back an hour. But still, I'm not sure I'd do that for too many people if I didn't have to. So he came up and stayed with the boys while I drove the 952 thousand pounds of food to my church (and yes, that's an exaggeration - I can't really lie about food I got for church, now can I!).

We had quite a few visitors for our church's reopening. I sang with the worship team and really felt God there. I really wish I didn't have to stand at a stationary mic. I mean, when I'm feeling it, I am feeling it. I need to move. And when you do that and your eyes are closed and you're stuck at a mic stand, you sometimes smash your mouth against the microphone or you whack the guitarist in the back as you raise your hands. I'm just sayin'.

About half of the cornucopia of food I brought was consumed. I think regulars were tentative about eating, in order to leave some for the visitors. And I think (based on my own past experience) new people who aren't used to a food service at church are hesitant to help themselves, lest they seem greedy. Or maybe that was just me once upon a time. Either way, there were enough people to have eaten all of that food. But since they all pretended to be dainty or on diets or some other silliness, we ended up forcing a lot of yummy leftovers on many of our regular members. They were all willingly forced, by the way.

I'm pretty sure there was no puke on Sunday - having trouble recalling. But Lil' Bro continued to spike high fevers. So I told both boys they would stay home the next day. Which was met with much rejoicing. Then, I suddenly realized I had jury duty on Monday! And my parents are away in Florida, selling their house. And my sister works. And most of my neighbors work. And Lil' Bro's neighbor-care has 4 kids and I can't send them THERE. In the end, I did call his caretaker and ask if she could possibly come to our house. Her hubby didn't have to work until near noon so we were hoping I'd be out of jury duty early.

This morning, my wonderful neighbor Beth - Lil' Bro's day caretaker - showed up just before 8am. Just after Lil' Bro calmly walked downstairs asking for something to drink. And while he was drinking, he informed me that, oh yah, he had thrown up in his bed - just a little. Yah. It wasn't just a little. It wasn't a huge horrid mess. But it was a mess, none the less. I had to leave it for later. Mmmmmm....hungry yet?

I'll wrap this up because I'm tired and my eyes are blurring. I got to jury duty. Sat with the rest of the cattle. Determined there were absolutely NO cute men present and therefore determined God would NOT be introducing me to my next husband at jury duty. Wondered how these women got THAT much makeup on THIS early. Noted that not one cowboy hat was in the whole place. Wrote in my travel journal. Listened to 2 MercyMe songs on my MP3 player. Listened to the court house people explain how things would go. Heard them say, "If anyone would like to claim an exemption, please come forward." Went forward with a ton of other people. Told the lady I had 2 kids under the age of 10 and can't afford to be on a jury unless they can promise me I'd be home by 5pm every day (which they can't) and got dismissed. I was home by 10:30am.

That gave me time to clean up Lil' Bro's bed and wash the sheets and make it back up again. Lil' Bro is still spiking fevers so he'll stay home tomorrow again and probably go hit the doctor's. I know it's just a virus that has to run it's course. But 3 days of high fevers has to be looked at. You just never know.

But all in all - YEAH!

God rocks. I mean, tonight, I already thanked him for my rockin' neighbors pulling it out of the hat for me - AGAIN. For the apparent cessation of puke in my house. For getting me out of jury duty quickly and legitimately. And for life in general. I just love that he sweats the little stuff. Seriously. It's very cool.

I'm so outta here.


Friday, November 02, 2007

Quick Hello

I'm trying to catch up with everyone's blogs. So keeping you up to date on mine.

Yesterday, my two gorgeous cousins - Kendra & Monica - arrived at my house. YEAH! They had a 3+ hr drive. Not so bad. Especially in Texas where - as I heard it put today - that's just a jaunt down the road. But they were in a minivan with 4 kids: one 2 months old, one 19 months old, one 4 yrs old, and one 6 yrs old (I think). And they arrived looking beautiful and cheerful. I probably would have gotten out of a similar minivan, slammed the door, declared myself off limits, and gone looking for the hard liquor. I kid.

So today, Kendra and her oldest went in to Austin to see their doctor. Monica bravely stayed home with Kendra's other two boys, her own 2 month old and my almost-4-yr-old. And she did it while looking like a beauty pageant winner. Seriously, these girls are all sorts of perfect.

I quit work a bit early when The Boy got home from school. We packed up all 6 kids and 3 adults and drove up to this HUGE play scape near my mom's new house. The kids ran around and played - braving quite a few yellow-jackets that were flying around the apparatus making us moms nervous. After an hour, we rounded them all up and ran home to grab new clothes for the 19 month old who explored a bit too close to some very slippery mud. Then we all drove to the Cracker Barrel restaurant and feasted on way too many pancakes and biscuits. Heaven!

Tonight, all 4 big boys are asleep in The Boy's room. The Boy is up in his loft bed. Lil' Bro is under the loft bed on a pallet. Kendra's oldest two are sharing my inflatable mattress. It's so cute seeing all 4 of them crammed in there. It's total cousin heaven. The other two wee ones are in their respective pack 'n' plays. The little 2 month old is actually in my walk-in closet. It's dark & quiet in there. She's been sleeping quite well in there, actually. The 19 month old is in my room. And my two cousins are sharing my big bed. I'm on a single mattress on my office floor (thus this late-night posting).

My boys have had such a great time hanging with their cousins. I love hearing their little conversations. Some are light and fun and some are all seriousness. We watched quite a long session of rock/paper/scissors between The Boy and Kendra's Oldest. We watched them all run around like maniacs, playing without a care in the world. We watched them work out sharing issues. We used quite a bit of water bathing all 5 boys tonight. It totally rocked.

I will post some pictures tomorrow. Along with this year's Halloween pix, too.

They all leave early tomorrow. Sad that I can't keep them all weekend. But at least we only live a short "jaunt down the road".