Thursday, January 31, 2008

Does It Come In Threes Or Do We Just Look For It?

Yesterday, my future ex-father-in-law had surgery to remove a mass from his abdomen. It was big. He's lost something close to 60 pounds in the last 6 or so months. He can't really eat well. Even with all of those signs, I still had a gut feeling that it wasn't cancer. My gut was wrong.

I know people fight this and win all the time these days. I did the whole cheerleader thing for the future ex as he cried on the phone to me. But it freaks me out. This man has been a huge part of my life since 1991. I alternately love him to death or want to scream at him. We push each others buttons. Sometimes it's funny. Other times it's stormy. But he's family. For a while.

That part of divorce sucks. As opposed to all those other lovely little aspects of divorce, you ask? Ha. But losing large chunks of family - I hate that.

So I sit here kind of in this limbo land. I'm legally still part of the family. Emotionally, that entire family still keeps the threads intact. For now. But in reality, I'm on the periphery now. Where as, were this 2 years ago, I would be figuring out how to get my little family up there or planning some sort of rescue of...I don't know who. I can't stand being disconnected.

Oh well. For now, I'm still connected. I call my mother-in-law. I even called my father-in-law. He sounded glad for it. We at least cleared the air between us. And I'll pray him through this whether I'm legally his daughter-in-law or not.

Today, I almost deleted an email from my aunt. She sends a gazillion forwarded jokes and dire warnings and things that are almost always debunked on Snopes. We all have that person, right? Well, I was about to delete it but I noticed there was no "FW:" or "RE:" in the subject line. So an original email from her is usually worth the read. Today was...I don't even know how to describe it.

My older cousin is probably all of about...oh...45? 46? We'll call him Troubled Cuz. Yesterday, he died in a house fire. The family doesn't have all the details yet. But the ones that are there bring more questions than answers. There's just no way this was an accidental death in a house fire. I mean, we're all in shock and in reactionary mode so who knows. But the police are investigating the weird twists and turns. I can't even share the details here. But it's the kind of stuff you couldn't WRITE if you wanted to. Jerry Springer would probably say it's over the top.

So we don't know if it's some bizarre accident, murder or an even more impossible suicide. Troubled Cuz has led a rough life. And I have to admit that news of his death would not exactly come as a surprise. But I guess it's the WAY in which he died. And the current mystery. And I just die for his parents and surviving sister.


So I was joking with myself (as I am wont to do). Two major emotional bombs. Where's the third? They always come in threes. Although, when I think that about celebrity deaths, there's always some last minute forth or fifth one that blows that whole theory. But for the few hours that there were only three? The theory is proven! So I laughed to myself thinking I'll only get two and the theory will be blown, yet again.

Ha. No such luck.

Again, I can't put details out here on the small chance that future ex has a lawyer who Google's his clients' foes. But future ex just called. And dropped a bomb on me that has resurrected all of my anger and a good deal of my pain. I'm so angry for my boys' sakes. And selfishly, I'm angry for me. Suffice to say, if future ex moves 2000 miles away any time soon...oh...say...MAY - again, I'm just saying "if" - then I lose the every other weekend break. Not that I like my kids to be away from me. But when you're doing 24/7 mom, alone, you start to look forward to at least ONE night or day alone. But mostly...IF something like that were to happen...I'm so angry that my boys won't have the security of proximity.

I'm not ready to agree with the myriad of souls that say it's better for them if he leaves. I think kids do best with both of their parents within spitting distance.

Blah blah blah. I'm IMing my wonderful friend from Boston who also had the misfortune of marrying a drummer that ain't so grand in the husbanding department. She is very good at giving me perspective. She reminded me that God's brought me through the gutting already. This is just removing a few stitches. In other words, suck it up girlfriend. God's got you!

Anyway. Those are the three things that just hit me yesterday and today. Messed up on all different levels. For one and two, all I can do is pray. For three? I'll rant a little more and then all I can do is pray and trust that this is part of God's answer to a good year's worth of prayer.

God's got my back. I'm sure he can overcome a little more of my rage.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

As New As Good!

Lil' Bro's sheriff's star broke a few days ago. It's been sitting on the table next to my bed waiting for me to remember that I promised to glue it. It's not fixable. I'm waiting for him to forget it so I can toss it. Yes. I'm that mom.

Well, today, he walked in my room, picked it up, smashed the two pieces together and announced, "There! It's as new as good!" He held up his victorious repair job and it promptly fell apart. But man, "It's as new as good" is my new catch phrase. I wish I could have captured it on audio. So freaking cute.

I tried to take a picture of him holding up the "fixed" star but my camera batteries died. So in stead, here is a shot from Sunday's bath. He took my comb into the bath and I slicked him out.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Because I Know How Well You All Humor Me

I have no energy for deep thoughts. Nor the half empty ones I regularly purge here. Seems Pokemon Boy and I have a rather tenacious bug in our GI tracts. His is almost gone and he'll return to school tomorrow. Mine renewed with vigor - presumably due to the chili mix in a jar I so loved. I will leave your over active imaginations to conjure whatever visuals they will.

Thought I'd post a few pix I took the other day as I got all dolled up to go have lunch with my friend Kay. My boss asked, "Are you wearing MAKEUP?!" Yes. You don't have lunch with the backup singer of Disney royalty without donning makeup. However, I did not apply Texas portions. I used my much more demure Boston portions. I thought I'd share pix of me looking and feeling good in stead of showing you how I look and feel today.

I took these while sitting in my big garden tub. I wanted no flash and the light in the tub was perfect.

See? Subtle makeup.

I feel retarded shooting myself. So I resort to faces like this...

...and this

But had to end with a nice sweet shot.

There you go. Me on a good day.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm Full of Chili and My Big Scary Music Thang

I have no major subject today. But I missed you all and had to come say hi. HI! So I'll just give you the topics rattling around me empty noggin.

I et me too much chili. (Spell check is gonna love my "type in whatever silly accent you hear in your head" mood!) After being harassed by the cute chef at my grocery store for having the audacity to call my chili "chili", I decided to go back and buy the Texas Two Step Chili in a jar and give it a whirl. I made it the Texas way - just meat. But then I rebelled. I threw in one can of black beans just as a "nyah nyah" to those two native Texans. It rocked. I can't even PRETEND to suck in my gut. (nnnnguh!)

I am one of God's premier cheerleaders for his people down here on Earth. I am the first one to encourage people to trust God and step out in faith. Step into the chasm! He'll catch you! Take the leap! He'll be there! You'll be amazed what will happen if you just take the chance and trust God! I am also one of God's premiere "Do what I say, not what I do," people. Here is a very long winded story that explains why (you were expecting brevity?):

God has been putting certain concepts, ideas and/or visions in my head for years. I remember the first time it happened, I think I was either just finishing up high school or was in my college hell. I don't recall. But home base was Connecticut with my parents and I attended their big huge Assemblies of God church. One Sunday, I was listening to the sermon and I had this picture in my head of me speaking to a similar sized crowd. Which - in that church - meant huge. In my mental scenario, I was walking up into the congregation with a microphone in my hands and talking. But it was like I was talking TO them - making eye contact and engaging as many people individually as I could. And I was very animated and excited about whatever I was talking about. I remember getting a very excited feeling in my stomach. That's about it. I did nothing with that because I'm a singer and what would a singer be doing speaking to a group? That just goes against common sense. So I told my mom about it and dismissed it.

Mom never did. But I imagine that a mom with a daughter who was on the fence about whether she should just throw all her energy into the wonderful world of smoking pot or if she should actually do something to help God get his message out there...yah, I'm thinking my little vision might have latched very deeply into her heart.

Over the years, I sang a lot. I sang in college. More than I went to classes. This might explain my negative GPA and suspension from said college. I'll have to think about it. I sang in all the wonderfully seedy nightclubs in Boston. Which explains the resulting nodules on my vocal chords. I sang in rock theater in Boston. Which explains why there is a constant movie sound track running through my head to punctuate my day. It also explains a lot more but we don't have time for that here. But singing rocked. It defined me for many people. It still does. Thankfully, it's in my nice smoke-free, letch-free, puke-free (most days) church.

Anyway, in 2005, when I started going to Trish's wonderful church, God started poking me again. I would sit there listening to pastor Dave, enthralled. But as he spoke - and I really was listening and absorbing everything - I had the weirdest experiences. I would hear other topics running through my head. Almost like things he said were triggering lecture topics in my own head. Sometimes they were related to what he was saying. But other times, they seemed totally random and nonsequitor. It was almost as if the excitement of listening to pastor Dave inspired my mind to start thinking...if *I* were a speaker, this would be an excellent topic for me to tackle and in this way! I'd start thinking of outlines for the subject. I'd start thinking of examples from my own life that could pepper the talk. I'd start hearing inflections, timing, jokes. It really was rather disconcerting.

I chalked it up to pastor Dave being such an engaging and entertaining speaker and didn't really think much about it.

Later in 2005, I moved to Texas. And my new pastor Barry was a wonderful and inspiring speaker. But totally in a different way than the frenetic pastor Dave. It's rather like comparing...well...something really fast and manic to something slow and smooth. So you can imagine my surprise when my little internal lecture series returned while listening to pastor Barry.

But these little experiences were so real and vivid, I thought, ok, what is going on here? Am I such an egomaniac that I can't even listen to someone else speak without thinking about how I'd do it...but better?! But no. That wasn't it. I'm still not sure why God is showing me that stuff periodically. But he is.

The other thing that started happening when I got here to Texas and started really throwing myself into God (as opposed to the "pressing into God" they told me to do - ha!), I started having visions, if you will, of this music project. I'd be at church listening to the worship band. Or I'd be listening to KLOVE in the car or while working. Or I'd put on an album (sorry - "CD"). Certain songs would almost stop me in my tracks. I would hear a full on arrangement with multiple voices and a full beefed up band. I would actually SEE stage productions of certain songs. I would see where everyone would be. I'd see entire light shows that accented the song and a group performance. Honestly, it makes me feel crazy sometimes.

This has been going on consistently since arriving in Texas. Which begs the question, what are these people putting in the public water system?

During my little life diversion of 2007 that I like to call, "How NOT To End A Marriage", this took a little break as I feel like God was doing some hard core one-on-one ministering. Almost every song in 2007 took on special meaning and helped heal me. I should, at some point, do a whole post on which songs dragged my butt through it all. But that's for another day.

Since the holidays, God has graced me with a strength, a peace, an excitement and a sense of anticipation. I am not sure what for. But I'm starting to think it's for this music project. Because the images in my head that accompany songs I'm hearing? They're getting to epic proportions. They were so intense on the plane to Boston, I started sketching in the back of my Sudoku book. I started sketching stage layouts for different sized venues. I started writing songs that seemed to just hit me between the eyes with these visions. I started putting together a list of the instrumentation I'm seeing.

I think that I'm supposed to be alone in 2008. And by alone, I mean, not obsessing over stupid men. Or not-stupid men. Or ANY men. I think God needs me to have some alone time to get straight with him and to do this project. And if I'm totally wrong, he'll let me know.

So yah. Sounds like I'm on the road to this great project, right? Yah. You'd think. Well, all the visions in the world won't budge me out of my nice, warm safety zone. I have a list as tall as me as to why this will never work. Why I can't possibly pull this off. And it starts with things like...oh...I HAVE NO CLUE HOW TO PUT THIS TOGETHER!!! I have a vision and a voice. That's it. And in all honesty, my visions have never had me up there singing. They have me leading the chorus.

So before the holidays, I told God, ok, after the holidays, I'll start this. Then after the holidays I'm not sure what I was waiting for. Maybe a sign. Maybe I was waiting for some random stranger to walk up and say, "God told me to give you this giant rehearsal space for free." Or something along those lines. My baked ham from heaven, Trish. As baked hams, large suitcases full of cash and free rehearsal spaces were not exactly forthcoming, I didn't do much. I kept thinking about it and "planning" in my head. Kind of like, looking over at God, pointing and winking as if saying, "Yup...I'm still on it God. Don't you worry!"


Well, I figured if I talk to enough people about it, someone will offer something that will get the ball rolling. That someone was my pal Susan up in Boston. And she offered a good swift kick in the arse. Susan is married to a phenomenal Boston drummer that went international for a while. He also co founded this killer act in Boston called Concussion Ensemble. This video doesn't capture the absolute electricity of their live performance. But it's 3 drummers across the front, a huge percussion setup across the back and two guitars & a bass snug between the whole mess. It is the most incredible live show I've ever been to!

Susan is also a singer and actress and huge comedic personality. When I told her about my vision and what I thought I wanted to pull off, she was sold. If she was some crazy rich lady, she would have funded the whole thing on the spot. She heard my excitement. She heard my passion. She could see how I want this to point to God and not me (which is a first in my singing career, I must say). And she agrees with me that this must be something God wants me to do. Then she pestered me as to why I wasn't doing this or this or this or that. Yes. A good kick in the arse, is she.

The other friend I told about this is Darcy out in Portland, Oregon. She's a producer and event planner out there who woke up one day thinking, "I'm going to start a chorus." Mind you, she's never sung in her life. But start it she did. And she pulled together an amazing array of musicians and singers. And she planned huge events for them and The Dahoo Chorus built a name for themselves. They got rather huge out there. And this from a girl who never did music in her life!

So Susan pestered me to call Darcy and revisit the idea. Which I did last night. I hung up with Darcy after receiving the benefit of her experiences (both positive and negative). And she is researching this grant that could plop $10K in my lap with which to fund God's music thing here. I had planned on just getting everyone sucked into the passion of the vision and doing it for free. That's how I operated for years in Boston. But here could be a chance to actually hire some professional help that would make this thing pretty impressive and allow for maximum impact.

I'm scared to death. That huge list of why this can never work? It's still in the back of my mind. But Darcy reminded me, God gave me a vision and a voice. All I can do is take baby steps and see where GOD takes this. It won't go anywhere by my efforts. It will go somewhere by my stepping out in faith and seeing where God takes it. But I'd much rather stay in my comfy little safety zone. Why can't I just leave big scary projects to people much more suited to tackle them? Huh?

I've asked God to start putting people in my path. Obviously he already has with Susan & Darcy. I have one email out to someone that I think could really help me pull this off. If I were doing this in Boston, I'd have the entire production already cast and I'd have choreographers & costume designers, to boot. But I'm here. And I will start by tapping the talent in my church. And then reaching out to the few tendrils I have outside of that.

And we'll see where God takes this thing. And I'll start practicing what I preach.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

...And I'm WORTH It!

As I was accommodating my addiction this evening (ie - all things cyber), I suddenly had a hankering to dye my hair. So I called my friend Tex, put him on speaker and chatted with him as I died my hair jet black. You won't really be able to tell the difference. The pix all make my hair look black. Or more black. Or a bit less black. It all looks the same on this blog. But I'll post pictures anyway. Because I'm Loreal. And I'm worth it.

This is a shot just after I dried it. It looked way better in the mirror than this shot shows.

Why don't I look amazingly thin, gorgeous and hot like the chick on the box? I mean, doesn't this box pretty much promise that I'll look just like HER? Maybe it's the shirt...

I am vexed with the false advertising.

My new dye job.

And there you have it. This is what I do when I'm bored (I really need to get out more). And Tex will be glad to know that I didn't end up burning off all my hair. We lost track of time a wee bit and I left the dye on for more like 45 minutes in stead of 20. HA!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Texans Define Chili and Lunch w/ Kay

Two items today. So settle down for a longish one (as if that's anything new).

TEXANS DEFINE CHILI (apparently for the rest of us)
Now, as a Texas transplant, I will forever be on the outside of a few things. As soon as you say you've moved here from somewhere else, you get that knowing look and some version of "Oh. You're not from here." It can be annoying. It can also excuse me from some obvious faux pas I have committed.

The latest was to admit in front of two apparent native Texans that I make very good "chili". Mind you, I did this with full knowledge that most Texans define chili as this meat-laden, tomato-based stew with a base of cumin and other spices. It rarely has beans. As I was informed by one of the chefs at my local gigantic and overly huge grocery store (with a headset microphone to share my humiliation with anyone within a 1 mile radius), in Texas there's chili and then there's beans. I get this. And I don't care what you call it. When I make chili, people come running. And many of those people are native Texans. I have made converts to my chili from Boston to Austin. You can call it beans. I don't care. It's still chili. It doesn't have meat because I perfected the recipe when I was "po". Meat was a luxury I didn't have back then. It doesn't have some meat substitute because in my world? If you're gonna have meat, have MEAT. If you're not going to have meat, don't dress up some soy product and call it something with some pithy meat-like name.

The ribbing I received from these native Texans was good natured and sweet. But there was an underlying smugness about it that rubbed me the wrong way. Being a San Fran native, raised in New England by south westerners, I know all too well how regional biases work. So when I meet this smug kind of "I've lived here all my life and you are a transient interloper", I get it. But I also have to repress the urge to toss out some of my own smugness that centers around the portability and flexibility that I see in my own life of having moved around and lived in many different regions of the east coast and the southwest. There is a certain sadness I feel for some people who have never stepped out of their tiny little self-imposed geographical radius. Not all of them. But the ones who meet outsiders with disdain and/or fear. Those I feel sorry for.

Anyway, the exchange was interesting and strange enough for me to post about here. Texans are a prouder than usual bunch. And I'm hip to that. But as a girl who has lived in San Fran, San Jose, CT, MA, NY, NC and TX, I feel my more rounded "American" pride trumps their limited one-state pride. (insert image of me sticking my tongue out here)

And I forgive them. And that chef is still totally adorable and cute.

Last night, I was online at a rather odd time. As I was about to walk away, an IM window popped up from my friend who is on the road with - of all things - the Hannah Montana/Mylie Cyrus 'Best of Both Worlds' tour. Normally, I wouldn't even know what that was. But having kids who watch WAY too much Disney channel, I am all too familiar with the singer, her show and the tour. But also, she is one of the few child performers that I actually respect. The girl has pipes. I don't praise singers lightly. I am hugely judgemental when it comes to vocalists. She's got the goods.

My friend Kay is a rocker from my Boston days. She was in a rockin' band called Letters To Cleo. My band Rag Iron opened up for them at least once. Possibly twice. Can't recall. She played Mary in Boston Rock Opera's production of Jesus Christ Superstar in the most successful line up done by that theater group. I was Simeon Zealots in that production. We were in a few other BRO shows together, too. She is a doll. She is a very generous and gracious performer. She befriended all of us in that group and we all adore her (unless there is someone out there that has some dark and terrible tale of which I am unaware).

Kay married her guitarist, USAMike. I married my drummer. I think you're all familiar with how mine went. But back in the day, we got our families together a few times and got all gooby over how cute her daughter was with Pokemon Boy (her girl is 1 yr older than Pokemon Boy). Her son was born a year before Lil' Bro. So we entered motherhood together which was fun.

Her family moved out to L.A. to pursue music out there. I am so happy that they have both made a living from music. She is a singer/songwriter and music manager. He is a guitarist and producer. They are fabulous and I live a music life vicariously through them.

Kay has been writing stuff for Disney for a while. That 'My Friends Tigger & Pooh' show was her pitch to Disney. And that's her singing the title song and incidental music. A few months ago, she told me she's been pumping out songs for Disney. Specifically a song for a Care Bears movie and some stuff for Hannah Montana. I teased her about it but man, that's the way to do it. If you're gonna be a song machine, be the song machine for Disney!

About 3 months ago, she was tapped to go on tour with Hannah Montana as a backing vocalist. She (and the rest of the band & dancers) are heavily featured in the whole show. She has been having a blast. I am so freaking proud of her success (as if I had anything to do with it!).

The tour took her to San Antonio and Dallas but not Austin. Until last night! (Yes, long winded account but I'm finally to the part where it involves me). So the Hannah Montana tour got extended and they added an Austin show. Which means she was here for today with nothing to do but listen to my silly stories.

We met up at her hotel and had lunch there. I regaled her with stories of my Boston trip. I told her about the BRO party she missed and how we had all toasted her. I sent her love from all of the people there and gave her messages from a specific few. I made her laugh and practically scream with a few of my stories. We caught up. I got her up to date on the whole stupid divorce thing. We caught up on our respective kids. We talked about her wonderful hubby. It was just AWESOME. Just totally a couple of girls chatting and laughing. And in some cases, I made her laugh so hard, she literally doubled over and stomped her feet. It's a gift.

She took me out back and gave me a tour of the tour bus. I have never been on a real life tour bus and it was so cool. Yes I'm a fan and a geek. I wanted to stow away. If I were childless, I might have tried it. There were some compartments in the back I might have fit in with a little effort. HA!
It was SUCH a blast. It was just another refreshing confirmation from God that he has surrounded me with the most wonderful and far reaching group of friends and family.

So there you go folks. Six degrees of separation puts you only 3 people away from Mylie Cyrus. Chew on THAT.

Oh and Kay - I got home and told Pokemon Boy that I had lunch with you. He thought I said that we were GOING to have lunch with you. He got ALL excited that he was going to see you. When I explained that it had already happened, he said, "Tell her to go back in time and make it DINNER!" I asked, "You mean so you can go, too?" "Yes," he answered, indignantly. So yah, I should have pulled him from school and brought him. But then, you would have missed those stories you liked the best!

And for the rest of my blog friends, I put a few more pictures on my last two posts. Didn't have them ready when I published them. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Annnnnnnd...I'm Home.

Home again. How very odd to step from six days of the pick-up-and-go life style into the mommy world again. I got home about half an hour before Pokemon Boy got home from school. Opening the door to that smiling face just about burst my heart! When we picked up Lil' Bro from preschool, I thought I might get a running leap into my arms. But he stood up, looked at me and asked, "Mommy, why are you wearing THAT shirt?" Yes, good to see you, too, my love.

So I'm home, deep in the cradle of love. It's awesome. It could have been awesomer had future ex not insisted on discussing legalities while I was a captive audience in a moving vehicle. It was fun. I tried to exit said vehicle while it was still moving. There was screaming and yelling. Oh yes. Great fun. Quite the shift from the tender care I just endured from pretty much the whole of Boston. Good to be home.

But we're all good, future ex and I. God keeps my blood pressure from exploding my brain and I have a reminder to call my lawyer tomorrow. But we put away the hatchets and were able to speak civilly later in the day. Divorce really is a beautiful thing. And by beautiful, I mean giant mound of decaying flesh. 'Nuff said.

But let's see...when last we left our heroine, she was going to venture out and see about five different friends on her last full day in Boston. Yah. That was pretty ambitious. Especially considering I was moving about as fast as a chick who had just been sick for the better part of a week. After blogging to you good souls, I called friend number one: Tex, you up? You wanna hit breakfast? No? Too tired. Got it. That actually works for me so now I'm down to just juggling four people. Call to friend number two: Valdez, you wanna hit some lunch or something? What? Don't want to just hang for such a short time? Hit you next time I'm up. Good no problem. Down to three people to juggle. Friend number three: You just bought enough food to cook at home for two and you really need the couple time? Got it. No problem.

So I called my former roommate, KimmyJo. She was on her way out to western Mass when I informed her she was the lucky winner of a day out with ME. Fortunately, she is not insulted at being call number four. She turns around, drives about 25 minutes and picks me up. We drove out to a ski resort in western Mass that she wanted to check out. Mind you, I have never skied and will never ski in my whole life. So I found this picture rather humorous. You know, a shot of me after having just come off the slopes.

But it was so cool to see all that snow and all those people skiing or snowboarding.

KimmyJo has been yet another life line of mine since my college dropout days. She was my roommate when my birth-mom found me. She was my roommate when I was fired as an R.A. and kicked out of school for 2 weeks. She was at my wedding. She was one of the first at the hospital when Pokemon Boy was born. She adores my boys, my parents, Big Sis and The Tall Guy. She even still loves my future ex but wants to slap him upside the head. We have been there for each other and have waded through the mire together on several occasions. So we reconnected, filled in all the gaps in our respective stories. All in all, it was about a six hour excursion. On the way back to the city, she randomly called one of our other college buddies. So we unceremoniously dropped in on a very gracious Andrea and her family. We reconnected with her for about an hour and a half and it was just relaxed and familial. What a day.

KimmyJo got me back to the hotel in time to take one of my favorite friends out for a very fancy dinner. That crush I mentioned yesterday. He has been one of the few men I have confided in during this whole divorce thing. We've been friends since...let me do the math...well, for about 18 years, I guess. Something like that. So we went out for a killer steak dinner at this amazing place near my hotel. And we sat there talking forever. I put everything out on the table. I just felt like I needed to explain my beliefs, my feelings, my insecurities, apologize for a few of my actions, blah blah blah. The funny thing is, he already knew most of it - except for my beliefs. But it was just good to have to admit a lot of it to him. Get it all out in the open where we could poke at it or just leave it alone. He is an amazingly wise and gracious friend. And I only felt uncomfortable for about 5 minutes preceding my whole intro into it. As for explaining my beliefs, it was very cool. When I started into it, I didn't want to sound like some wimpy apologetic Jesus freak. I mean, even though I AM a Jesus freak, I'm not wimpy and I'm certainly not apologetic. But I sure can sound that way when I'm talking to people who know me and know the old me. So inside I said, ok God, you gotta do the talking here because I'll just make it all sound really stupid. So I just started telling him how I was around 2005, how I found that church in Cambridge through my cousin, how I went thinking it was all going to be stupid, how I went to that class and all the leaders seemed like preppies or Abercrombie & Fitch models or Lord & Taylor ladies or snooty writers that drop $7 words. And that I pegged all the people in the class as people I would NEVER have anything in common with. I explained how they showed me stuff in the bible, showed how it might have looked in their lives and then told me to try to figure it out in my own life. Nothing force-fed. No wagging fingers in my face. No judgement. I told him that even when I pressed them to spoon feed me some answers, they never did. I told him how God walked me through the cesspool of 2007 and never left my side. How it wasn't ME that was so strong last year but God. And how I love my church so much it freaks me out. It was just amazing how it all just came pouring out.

After I finished, I kind of thought he'd finish up his Australian lamb chops, wipe his lips, tell me it's been grand and leave rather quickly. In stead, we had a very engaging exchange about it. He asked questions that weren't humoring me. He asked questions that challenged. He gave his own opinions. I tried SO hard, Trish. You would have been proud. The old me would have just countered everything at every turn - given the polished answers I've heard my whole life. But in stead, I tried to remember how you, Paul, Marc & Gwen would let us all challenge and ask and discuss and mull things over and you would just keep pointing to God. Just gently answer with how things have happened in your own lives. It was a very cool talk. We talked for hours. Not just about that. But about just everything I wanted to talk about and then more. Very much back to our old friendship style. It rocked.

So I got to finish my visit with - truth be told - the guy I had planned the whole trip around anyway. And on a very good note.

And I'm back home and not pining. I actually miss everyone pretty equally. But I'm having fun posting pictures on MySpace and FaceBook and sending silly emails and messages.

God rocks.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Good Gravy, What a Good Weekend!!!

I told you sickness wouldn't keep me down. No amount of puking, nose blowing, coughing or anything else was going to keep me from seeing all of my wonderful friends.

My plans on Friday were canned as you saw. But I slept late on Saturday and felt a bit better. I jumped on the T (subway) and headed out to my old haunts near B.U. I spent the better part of Saturday afternoon visiting my wonderful friends that run stores & diners in that area. They all saw Pokemon Boy born and raised to about the age of 3. Some of them kept seeing him even after we moved away. So that was very cool. The owners of my favorite diner (and makers of the best pancakes this side of the Pecos) hadn't heard about the demise of my marriage. So that was sad news to pass on. I think it helped for them to see me in my current energized state and not in the weepy snotty mess of a few months ago.

I got to see my wonderful friend Tex (not his real name and pretty funny considering where I now live). We hung out and exchanged old stories. Then we sat there just emptying the closet of everything we could dig up. For some reason, we can tell each other anything. So we dumped on each other and it was refreshingly cathartic. Plus, he's just a very interesting and fun guy.

After that, I hailed a cab to run over to the other side of the river. Months of anticipation had gone into the plans for this evening. I haven't seen my friends from Boston Rock Opera days in years. Literally. I probably hadn't seen most of them for a year or two (or more) even when I was still living in Boston. So I had put together a gathering of a rather short list of them. My criteria was, have I talked to you in the last year - if so, you were invited. I just didn't want to have to fake the niceties of talking to people I hadn't kept in communication with. I also didn't want to have to retell the marriage implosion story over and over. Or maybe it was that I wouldn't have to tell it over and over because the peripheral people don't really want to know? I have no idea. But I kept it to a small list of people I've been in contact with over the last year or two. It ended up being about 12-15 of us? Can't really count. I don't have enough fingers.

I don't know if you've ever been to a gathering of musicians and/or theater people. It's not like any other gathering of people I've ever been part of. There is something very goofy going on with these types of people. We instantly revert back to our 8 yr old senses of humor. And we have no problem just letting go and laughing until our vocal cords are shredded. I needed a full night of just pure unbridled stupid laughter like that. And I have needed that for SOOOO long. Man! We were just dorks. It was beautiful. All of our MySpace pages are full of references to private jokes born of that night that probably aren't even funny. But we don't care. It fueled our hysteria and it will continue to do so until we are beating it dead on the ground. Such is the madness of our ilk.

At one point, I figured it must be getting close to midnight. I checked the clock to see it was 2:30am. And I had to get up for church in the morning!!! I don't stay up that late any more. I'm a suburban MOM, for the love of Pete!

So I cabbed it back to my hotel and spent a totally restless hour or so in my bed until I finally passed out around 4:30am. When the alarm went off around 9:30am, I thought, yah, this is absolutely the way to kick my illness. Not. But I wasn't going to miss my old church service. No way.

I jumped back on the T (subway again) and headed out to the area where we last lived before moving to Texas. The beautiful Alicia and Kristen picked me up at the T station and off we went to church. Now, I was a bit worried that Kristen's first experience with my old church wouldn't be stellar. I was praying for the head pastor to speak and the main worship band to play. That's the killer combination. We got there and saw that the head pastor was not scheduled to speak and I was bummed. We went and got bagels and drinks and met up with the effervescent Trish and her wonderful hubby. When we went into service, we were pleasantly surprised to see the head pastor DID speak. YEAH God! This guy is one of the most engaging and interesting speakers I've ever heard. And that hadn't changed since 2005. The worship team was not the A team but they were good and God uses the music no matter who performs it. So why was I worrying?

So pastor Dave introduces today's topic. Dating. We all had to laugh. They're all married and now I'm on the brink of having to enter the dating world again soon. So I thought in my head, "Ok God. Funny." But let me tell you, you didn't need to be single to get something from this lesson. Honestly, I was blown away by how God just notched the arrow and POW! right between my eyes! After the sermon, during the first worship song, I was standing there just going, "Wow God. You are AMAZING!" Blew my mind. Not only did the lesson really give me some insight into my own failed dating and marriage scenario. But it also put into perspective a little crush I've been having since last October. And by "little" I mean, pretending it's little while it actually has consumed a HUGE part of my heart. You women know what I mean. But I've been praying about this particular guy and I know it can't possibly go ANYwhere. And I tell God that. But still, I keep leaving the door open to it and trying to pursue it. Yes. I am human. Hear me squeak. So yesterday, God just highlighted all of the red flags he had already posted all around me that I was pretending weren't there. It really was quite humorous. I love the way God doesn't just slam me to the ground with painful lightening bolts. The lesson I got yesterday really was quite funny to me. But really quite serious.

So during the ending worship songs, there was this one I LOVE. And I was trying to just belt it out. I had to stop mid belt because the sheer hugeness of God's little tap on the shoulder and the beauty of the song just got me. And as I've mentioned before, I'm not a pretty crier and I can't sing when crying. I just let it all go. Lost it. My wonderful Trish very quietly bent down and then stuffed about 5 tissues into my hand. Bless you Trish.

After church, I sat with my wonderful girly entourage and told them about my epiphany. Twas good to get it off my chest and confide in wonderful people.

The rest of the day was spent at Alicia's house. Her hubby Art was there. Kristen, A and R all showed up soon after and then it was an event! Alicia cooked the afternoon away for us all. I actually ate a huge meal of ham, wonderful mashed potatoes and green beans. I even ate dessert! So I guess we can assume my stomach is all better.

Alicia drove me back to my hotel where we sat in the car and I vented a bit about life (and by "life", I mean my divorce). She has been one of my dearest friends forever, it seems. She has had to hold me up through quite a bit of this. I love her and Kristen so much for that. And Trish, too. I don't know what I would do without the pillars of friendship God has given me.

Anyway, today, I woke up late. I took a long shower. I posted pix on MySpace. I'm blogging now. I'll finish up and head back out to the B.U. area for breakfast (gotta have those pancakes now that my tummy will accept them). I'll visit with a few more friends I didn't get to see and then head back to the hotel area for dinner with another wonderful friend. Then, hopefully it's early to bed and early to catch my plane tomorrow.

I am so incredibly lucky. Not only did I have a blast. But God gave me a very gentle and humorous lesson. Very clear. Yes, another neon sign that I was trying to pretend I didn't see. Why he is this patient with me, I will never know.

Y'all rock. I will be back in the land of smiling people that actually make eye contact soon. Hope I haven't digressed to my cold introverted no-eye-contact self too much by then.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Ain't NUTHIN' Gonna Get Me Down!

Still in Boston. Still lovin' it. But sad about two things:
1) Jane can't come. Wah!
2) I got sick today. Double wah!

However, #2 makes it abundantly clear that it's a good thing #1 happened. I mean, yah Jane, come to Boston and nurse me to health while I puke and blow my nose. Good times. Good times.

But I'm still hopeful that this will pass quickly and I will be able to romp with friends tomorrow. I had to bail on hanging with an old friend tonight. I'm thinking my choice is really a service to him. This is not the kind of love one wants to share. Nope.

Here are a few pictures so you can experience Boston with me.

Here is one from yesterday during the day. My view off my balcony during the day is just as awesome as the night view!

Here is a view of my best friend from 5:30am today. That nice cold tile floor actually felt good. I am hoping to not reacquaint myself with Mr. Barfitorium any more today but my stomach is still deciding.

Here are more of my favorite things I acquired this afternoon after a quick stop at CVS.

And here is me being a big whiny baby in my wonderful hotel bed.

I refuse to let this get me down. Well, obviously, I'm down. But I slept a few hours already and plan to sleep in tomorrow. And then I will attack Boston with a fresh new vigor! And a fresh new box of Kleenex. And hopefully without a fresh new barf bag.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Annnnnnnd I'm HERE!

WOOOOO HOOOOO!!! Check out the view from my 17th story balcony!!! Jane, I can't wait for you to see this! It ROCKS!

The real big tall one is the Hancock Tower. I work right across from there. The one just to the left of it is actually just as tall but further away. That's the Prudential Center. Feels like home.

Right now, I'm going to head down to that lit area in the foreground and get some GRUB!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Boston Bound!

Tomorrow, I head up to Boston for 2 days of business and the 4 days of fun! I'll have the laptop with me and plan to do some blogging. But my days and nights booked up fast. I haven't seen many people on my last few trips as I was still too fresh and raw from the implosion of my marriage. But now I'm ready to see people. Well, most of them. I'm keeping the contact to people that really matter in my life.

I will get to see Kristen and her wonderful family. I'll see Trish and her fabulous hubby. And the biggest bonus is that Jane will join me on the weekend and she'll get to meet them, too! Along with a few other assorted and sundry friends of mine.

I cannot wait - I have been so excited about this trip for so long! But yesterday and today I'm oddly anxious. The raging sinus headache that is literally throbbing through my head and neck isn't helping any. But I think the anxiety stems from the fact that I'm leaving my boys for a total of six days. And that I've had to reach out to quite a few people to cover their care. Normally, it would just be my mom. But this time I asked future ex to step up. As their dad, he really should be the first stop for child care. So he's going to come stay with them and commute to his job. Which means neighbors and my mom will get the boys after school until he can get back from work. They're all being wonderful about it. But it has seemingly made me rather anxious. Just hoping it all goes smoothly.

I think most parents (and especially moms) have trouble leaving their kids and just enjoying the break. The mom part never shuts off. And since their dad hasn't been around them for large amounts of time...I am wondering just how rusty his patience might be.

Well, I can't keep worrying. I actually think most of the anxiety is gone and it's this dang headache that's really doing me in at the moment. I've gotten all the bills paid, the child care is all set, the house is stocked with food and the upstairs is clean. Still have to get the downstairs looking less like a toy bomb went off. Still have to get that last load of laundry finished, get a few things over to my mom for safe keeping, and then pack. Oh, and finish lining up people to cover food service at church. I'm so glad you reminded me!!

If this headache wasn't the center of my universe at the moment, I'd tell you just how excited I am that I'm heading up to the relatively frozen tundra of my old home town. I will get to see my coworkers in person again. One of my favorite friends is picking me up at the airport and will go with me to get dinner. I will have lunch with my old work pals and dinner with my current work pals on Thursday. Friday, I will be hanging out with another friend of mine that I haven't seen in a couple of years. Saturday, Jane will get a small posse picking her up at the airport - ok, there will just be two of us. But still - that can be a posse, right? That night we'll visit with a bunch of my old rock theater friends. Sunday we'll visit my awesome former church - Trish's current church. And then we'll go hang with Kristen and our other friends that have been my lifelines and rocks through the last decade or so. YEAH!!!

I really am not conveying the true depths of my thrillosity over this trip. If you could see my face, you would SEE the headache.

I will go now. I am not forming much goodness here. Gah. I will try to post while in Boston.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Night Lite...

This one is for Jane. She totally cracked me up with her post today. Mostly because I have those SAME glasses (thanks to Pokemon Boy). And I took this picture in them just to make myself and Pokemon Boy laugh. Then, for my church Christmas party, I blew it up, framed it and wrapped it for the White Elephant gift exchange. My friend ended up "stealing" it from someone (and he was very glad she did). She actually WANTED this!!

In Boston, we call this "wikkid retahdid"

There you go Jane. We are WAY too much alike!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Funeral

On Tuesday, I took about 4 hrs off from work to attend a neighbor's funeral. Around the corner live a woman, her husband and her sister. I'll call the woman Connecticut Yankee and her sister will be Sweet Sister.

I don't even remember how I met CT Yankee and Sweet Sis. It may have been in my initial pie delivery from my little red wagon in 2005. But meet them I did. And we hit it off immediately. CT Yankee and I very quickly made the New England connection. But then we made the Connecticut connection. I grew up mostly in CT. And I grew up about 20 minutes from where she grew up. Actually, she was born and raised in the next town over - the town in which I had my first job as a prep cook (oh the glamor!). Sweet Sis was incredibly sweet and just a lovely woman so I have gone out of my way to run down the stairs and call out a greeting at the door if I see them walking their dogs.

One time...I think it was in 2006, Sweet Sis was walking her little dog with one of her grand nieces (CT Yankee moved here to be near her daughter & 3 granddaughters). I was on a neighbor's porch when I heard a commotion. I turned around to see Sweet Sis down on the sidewalk and her grand niece trying to help her up. I went running over and asked if I could call an ambulance or go get her sister. She didn't want me to do either. But she was having a hard time getting up. I had always noticed her being a bit unsteady and had incorrectly assumed she was a stroke survivor. She actually had Parkinson's. Anyway, her grand niece and I got her up and she was able to make it home. I never mentioned that again and hoped it hadn't embarrassed her.

On Christmas day, I was in the driveway with Big Sis and Tall Guy saying goodbye. CT Yankee, her hubby and Sweet Sis all came walking by with Christmas cards in hand. They hand delivered one to me and met my Big Sis and Tall Guy. We exchanged pleasantries and I hugged the two sisters. They walked away continuing their walk back home around the block.

A couple of days later, I saw CT Yankee walking the dogs. I ran outside to say hello. When I did, she gave me awful news. It appears that when they had returned to their house on Christmas day, Sweet Sis had a massive stroke. She was taken to a hospital in Austin.

She ended up being paralyzed. She lost sight in one eye and partially in the other. She couldn't speak and they said she never would again. She could hear. But aside from that, she was locked in. Trapped in her own body. It was just too horrible to imagine.

I prayed hard. And I prayed the hard prayers. I asked God to please do what was best for Sweet Sis. And to comfort CT Yankee and her family. I had an idea what the best might be but wasn't sure what God had planned.

Last Friday, I was coming home from a daytime appointment. I saw CT Yankee and her hubby getting in their car. The time of day worried me as I knew they'd normally be with Sweet Sis. I drove over and asked for an update. Hubby had to tell me. CT Yankee couldn't even say it. Sweet Sis had passed about 2 hours earlier. It was painful to hear. But God is good. He didn't let her linger too long.

When I got the email with the date and time of the funeral, there was no doubt in my mind that I'd go. And I'm so glad I went. CT Yankee and Sweet Sis were transplants to Texas like me. They haven't been here all that long so don't have a large network here. CT Yankee has a daughter and her family around the corner. And one son about 90 minutes away. The other children all live in California, I believe. So only the local family was able to come. A coworker of CT Yankee was able to come. And me.

At the viewing, I got to hear stories and watch a DVD of old pictures. I found out that Sweet Sis had never married. Never even dated. She had opted in stead to care for her ailing mother. Later, she cared for another sister that eventually died in her 50s. They had also lost a brother when he was 52. Sweet Sis had spent her life in service of those that she loved the most. It just filled my heart to know that. It made so much sense of the sweet demeanor I had encountered. She was just the most amazingly gentle and loving woman.

I also learned that her unsteadiness had been from Parkinson's, not a stroke. CT Yankee told us all a cute story. Their pug, Max, loved to sit up on Sweet Sis' lap. All 26 pounds of him! Because of her Parkinson's, her hand would shake. Max loved this because he just thought she was always petting him! I just love that story.

CT Yankee also told me that Sweet Sis had indeed told them about her fall and my assisting her. It had meant a great deal to her. I'm glad I was able to do that one small thing for her. She also told me that I had been the last person to hug Sweet Sis. I cannot tell you how wonderful that made me feel. I feel very blessed to know that.

You know, years ago, I had sworn off funerals and the like. I cited some half baked story about how my own father's death had put me off of them. Not really true but most people left me alone when I waved that flag. I just couldn't handle them. I didn't like the morbidity I presumed it all represented. I didn't like to be reminded of death. I didn't like the doom and gloom. What a silly git.

Over the years, I've realized that it ain't about me. I now understand that I am there to pay homage to that person. Not because that person needs it. What do they care? It's for those that remain behind. Those that are missing that person terribly. It's to show the survivors that your loved one MATTERED. Your loved one made a difference in some one's life. Your loved one made this world a little better for being here. I honor the dead to help the living. I actually felt it was my honor to be there for Sweet Sis and her family.

And I'm so glad I got to see that DVD of family pictures. I got to see Sweet Sis as a young woman, smiling and happy. And I honored her family. They are people worth that effort.

I will miss Sweet Sis. I will make sure to watch out for her little sister while she's gone.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Eagle Has Landed...I Repeat: The Eagle Has Landed!

That's what I said when I called my sister in NY to tell her that dad was home. She didn't think it was funny either. You want good humor - check the dairy aisle. was released from l'hopital today (that's French for "place where everyone is wikkid sweet to you even while they poke & prod you, the food is good and they have comfy beds"). His white blood cell count was good and his chest sounded clear. Mom wasn't there, apparently, when the doctor declared the emancipation proclamation. I think she (and a few other family members) is a wee bit concerned that he still has some periodic coughing. But having talked to my sister-in-law-slash-nurse and knowing the insurance business, they kept him as long as they could. They dosed him up with one last bag o' antibiotics via IV and released him with a 7-day prescription for oral antibiotics. So yes, we would love your prayers! Thank you so much for offering.

I will update you more when there is more to update about. For now, I will sign off as this particular posting is rather fraught with too much wise-guy-ness.

And now, let's go see how much spell check hates all my made up words.

Monday, January 07, 2008

I've Got Some Good News and Some Bad News...

First the bad (but not too bad)...

I sent an email yesterday to a lot of you. But for those of you not on my email list, dad is back in the hospital. He went in early yesterday (Sunday). They feel it's pneumonia. He just has this incredible cough that wracks his whole body and leaves him intensely weak. Big Sis, Tall Guy and I visited him last night. He wasn't able to talk much as talking triggered the bad coughing. He found a position sitting up in a chair, leaning forward that seemed to alleviate the coughing mostly. But certainly not the most comfy position for someone exhausted from no sleep due to coughing.

Mom says he's better today - but to me, "better" is a relative term. I don't feel like he's out of the woods yet but he was able to talk to me on the phone with minimal coughing this morning. He sounded like he felt better, though. So the docs have told us to expect him to stay longer this time around.

I have to tell you, my pastor told me that he's starting to take dad's hospitalizations personally. These last two have happened on either Sunday morning or Saturday night. Our church definitely misses my parents when they don't show up! I sure do thank God for the way my church has adopted my parents as their own.

And now the good (or the cute)...

Today was Lil' Bro's first day of any kind of formal preschool. They just built a brand new day care and preschool center in our development. It's one of those real awesome ones that actually has a curriculum for the kids. They will play, obviously. But they also learn sign language, Spanish, math, and reading, among other things. The place just ROCKS. I love it. They provide a hot lunch for the kids every day. Even breakfast if you get there early enough. They'll take the kids from 6:30am to 6:30pm. Amazing. A cool bonus is that Lil' Bro's previous day care person (my neighbor around the corner) is a teacher there now! So he'll know someone there already.

Future ex drove up this morning to be there for the first day of school. So we all hopped in the car and drove him the maybe 1/3 mile down to the school. We dropped him off and he looked a wee bit tentative. He's not used to environments like that. Many of the other kids obviously were. But there were no tears or anything like that. We left to do some paperwork in the lobby. They have this huge flat screen TV there with all of the classroom monitors on there. Every room has a camera. So we got to watch Lil' Bro putter around. We could tell he was fine so we left. As we walked by the window to his room, we saw him standing there with a big police helmet on, smiling. So I think he's doing fine.

Here are some cute pictures from this morning:

Lil' Bro is ready to go!
(Note the puppy shirt - he loves puppies)

Pokemon Boy and Lil' Bro

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Boys and Me

Pokemon Boy is here making sure I don't go back to calling him "The Boy". My typing police!

I just snapped a couple of cute pictures of the boys and me. I'm horrified by how this picture shows every freckle and sun spot. What happened to my perfectly creamy skin of my 20s? Oh well. I will have good skin vicariously through my boys.

Here we are:

Here is Pokemon Boy giving the hugest smile he could muster.

Here is Lil' Bro being adorable.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

In With The New

Thanks to my wonderful Big Sis and Her Ridiculously Tall Hubby, I have new bedding. Granted, I still have to get rid of the old bed. But it's a start.

For Christmas, Big Sis & Tall Guy gave me a comforter/sham/bed skirt set. When she got here and saw my room again, she told me she didn't think it fit with what I had started. So she provided the Target gift receipt. Today, I went and exchanged it. I got a gorgeous quilt with matching shams. My mom will be happy to note that the quilt is long enough to hide the box springs. I was telling her earlier today that I'm not a bed skirt kind of person. They seem awfully girly to me. She told me we'd have to see if my box springs showed. I think she was going to get those box springs covered if it killed her. So they are covered. And no bed skirt for me. YEAH!!

I love my bedding. It's very grown up for me. It's a departure from the 20-something decore I've clung to for the last few decades. I still want to get a few more throw pillows to fill it out. And I have to eventually replace the whole bed and get some curtains and general furniture in my room. But that can all wait until the stupid divorce is all finalized and all the physical possessions are actually handed out.

So for now, here is a before and after shot of my bed. Ignore any of the mess I wasn't able to crop out. Just focus on the bed and the metal sculpture over the head of the bed.