Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Blitzkrieg Christmas Update

Sorry for the lack of posting. For the two of you actually reading this, that is.

The job continues to rock. I go in every day, driving down the highway saying, "Thank you for such an awesome job, God!" The people continue to be nothing but awesome. I have no illusions that they're perfect. But they rock and that's evident. So I continue training, reading, starting out some documentation. It's all good.

So after one whole week of work (and only 40 hours, mind you!), I got a 2-day work week for Christmas! Same thing for New Year's week. Only two days. I was joking with my new coworkers going, "Whew! I really NEED a vacation!"

We had Lil'Bro's big birthday party on the Friday before Christmas. We had a great turnout and he had a blast. The next day, most people were leaving or prepping for Christmas so I think we lucked out picking Friday.

Because of my new job in the city, I knew I'd never get up home in time to get the boys to the party in time. So mom picked up the cake and brought that (and the gift bags) to the party place. Then my awesome friend TJ (the one that was recently in the hospital with that scary lung infection) picked up the boys and took them to the party. I got there just in time and everything went perfectly! Thank goodness for awesome family & friends!

I've had a tummy bug all Christmas week. I never yarfed. But felt like it. It's like constant car sickness - I'm hungry but everything I look at makes me nauseated.

My awesome mom watched my boys on Mon & Tue while I worked. On Monday, Pokemon Boy ended the day hurking. He spent that night at my mom's house getting up to yarf about 5 times. Then on Tuesday, mom was driving dad to a doctor's appointment - boys in tow. Lil'Bro announced he didn't feel well and christened the back of mom's minivan. Man, talk about un-fun. She dropped dad off and took the boys home to clean them and the minivan up. Poor mom! She called my awesome neighbor, MissK, and asked her to pick dad up at the doctor. And if I haven't mentioned it before, my neighbors ROCK. She drove over and picked up my dad - no problem. Later, I thanked her and she said, "Hey, that's what we do, right? We help each other." Right on, MissK. Right on.

On the way home from Grandma's, Lil'Bro decided to wear his bucket like this:
Prompting Pokemon Boy to wear his similarly:
Both of the boys and I have been nauseated off and on the whole week. We have moments where we eat normal and then feel like punk. We went to church for Christmas Eve candle light service. I told the boys not to touch babies and to wash their hands all the time. We didn't eat much but loved the service and fellowship of our awesome church family.

Stockings and Santa gifts all set for the next morning.

We were functional enough to have Christmas. That was awesome. But during the present opening, my sinus headache turned to migraine. I caught it with meds just in time, I guess. I napped for 2 hrs while mom again watched the boys. It stayed at a dull roar for the rest of the day until about 8pm. Good times. But like I said - I was functional. Not very. But it could have been WAY worse.

The boys opening their stockings.

Mom & dad avoided the tummy bug (thank you, God!) but mom developed a sinus infection that really knocked her out. So we were all almost on empty.

Today, the boys and I went to use some of their Christmas money and/or gift cards. Then grocery shopping. When we got home, the boys played outside for a while. Now, we're all kind of low and void of color. It will pass. We're just low. Not miserable.

But even with all the pseudo-sick, we had a very relaxed and stress-free Christmas.

Oh - and I'm sick of being nauseated. So I have broken down and taken the advice of my aunt Brenda. My mom's two sisters and their kids swear by the remedy of cider vinegar for tummy bugs. When she first told me to try it, even ice water made me want to puke. So I didn't try it. But today I was tired of this. So I called her and said, "Ok...exactly what do I do?" So while my aunt played Wii, she told me to take a tablespoon of cider vinegar, mix it with a little water and swig it down. Which I did. Not as awful as I expected. I don't know if it's doing anything yet. We'll see. I'm still bloated from who knows what. It seems that any sugar/carb based anything seems to feed whatever bug this is and I bloat painfully. So I sit here typing this with a distended belly.

Ok, I'm off to watch more cartoons with my boys and then get them to bed. I still have to prep the watermelon and cantaloupe for church tomorrow.

Smooches, y'all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The New Job (A Day Late)

This should have been posted yesterday. But it was crazy and exhausting so I'm posting it today. I'm also cheating by cutting and pasting what I put on Facebook. Sue me.

Monday, Day 1:
Dudes, I hope you appreciate this. I am so friggin' tired. And sore. But very happy. I put down the iPod, got out of bed, fired up the computer and am typing this update because I can't type this much with two fingers.

I woke up at 5:15am. Unless you know me, you really can't appreciate the miracle here. I am not a morning person. I'm not sure who invented mornings. But they were mean and hateful. I got my kids up 50 minutes before they normal get up. And this, after a late (but awesome) night at church.

I dropped the boys off at day care at 6:30am. The boys weren't thrilled about it but they are troopers. They know "mom has a job" trumps "I hate early mornings".

I left the day care around 6:45am which misses the hellish rush hour. I made it downtown by 7:15am. I parked on the 8th floor of a state employee parking lot which I thought had no elevators (this will come to play later).

I got to the orientation conference room at 7:33am - way early. A really cool lady dragged me into her office saying, "Tell me who you are, where you came from and what you're going to be doing here!" She rocked. She must have had like 17 cups of coffee. She was from NYC so we bonded on the north-eastern-chicks-rock thing.

Orientation started at 8am and went to about 11am. We got a quick tour of the building which included some huge room where they were prepping a Christmas party - complete with amazing smelling BBQ!

11:30am - my new boss came to get me for lunch. And proceeds to take me to the afore mentioned really amazing smelling BBQ room. So on my first day, I got to participate in the IT Christmas party. Sweeeeeeeet!

Later, I had to register my car for the free state employee parking (woot!). So I ran up the 8 flights of stairs in the parking lot to get my registration from my car. Well, I ran up about 5 flights and then pretty much dragged myself up the last 3, gasping like the out of shape suburban mom I am.

The rest of the orientation lasted until about 4:00pm. Complete with a video outlining one of the agency's procedures. All my former Big Financial Corporation coworkers will enjoy conjuring visions of all of the "superbly acted" corporate education videos we endured. Seriously, the kids in the Peanuts cartoons can read their lines better than these. It was a hoot. It had this horrid screeching string quartet as the "incidental music". The poor instructor looked like he was going to put knitting needles through his ears. He said he has to listen to that video EVERY Monday. He's a musician and now refuses to play his own violin. HA! Anyway, made me recall many hours of corporate videos over the last 22 years.

I got to see my supply closet ala 'Office Space'. I think tomorrow, I will bring my own stapler and clutch it to my chest all day.

I don't really care. They created a space for me. I share this little supply closet with two other people. The one I met is awesome. I asked her if she was ok with me bringing in my 'Precious Moments' figurines and could she help me figure out where to place them. She laughed hard which gives me great hope.

Also, my new boss is super nice. When I would tell people who I was working for, they'd all go, "Oh he is like the nicest guy!" And apparently knows his stuff. I'm told my new PM is quick thinking, very focused and doesn't like excuses or drama (those last two are his words). I told him I just finished swimming in a shark tank. I can hack it. We'll see if I can still swim.

Everyone I met today seems really nice. I'm sure there are the usual mix of characters and personalities.

The benefits rock. Health, dental, wellness initiatives, optional life and all that stuff. The official state holidays we get off are great. Plus, they just this year started giving "early release" days on a schedule. So you can know that you'll be released after 4 hrs on, say, Dec 23rd. So you can actually PLAN something in stead of being told 3 seconds before it happens. VERY cool.

Clothes are "business casual" but on Fridays, it's "jeans and tennies". I'm quoting. I'm not sure I own "tennies" but my pink Chucks will have to suffice.

I have not been around an IT group this calm in...well...EVER. There are stress times, don't get me wrong. But not like the sweat shops most of me and my IT pals are used to. They don't like you to work OT. If you do, you get COMP TIME! What is THAT about?! I told them, I just finished working for a company that thinks working 40 hrs a week is slacking. Can you imagine? I'm in heaven.

Oh and here's a chuckle: So when I left for the day, I walked up those 8 flights of stairs again. I was dying. As I drove out of the parking lot, I pass a big sign on the wall: "ELEVATOR-->". DOH!!! one is done. It's a 12 hr day for my boys. That's my only regret. But they'll get used to it and I will make sure the weekends are family time. They're going to let me work 7:30a-4p with a 30 min lunch. I opted for 30 mins in stead of an hour so I could leave and miss the worst of the rush hour and have more time with the kids doing homework and such.

I think this is going to rock. I'll let you know.

Tue, Day 2:
I'm still loving it. I'm being introduced to a gazillion people and only remember about 3. I'm doing a lot of reading and getting overviews from people. Everyone is being extremely generous with their time. Their tools & software are a bit different but similar to what I've used before. So nothing (so far) is making me think I'm out of my element. I just want to do a really good job. This state agency is one of the best. So I want to help by adding to the "cream of the crop" thing.

The funniest adjustment for me today was returning to Windows after a year on a Mac. Outlook is way different since I last used it in...oh...when did we can that? Maybe 2002? But hey, if that's the worst of it, I'll do ok.

All in all - WOO HOO!!!

Thanks to everyone for praying for me. Thanks for all of the encouraging notes on here or in emails. Thanks for the text messages and phone calls today. I did see everyone's texts today but couldn't really justify replying ("Hi, I know it's my first day but let me just reply to my friend..."). And tonight, my bro-in-law and niece just got in so I went from work to day care to my mom & dad's house. Then I got home and tossed the boys in bed. I was in bed before 9pm. But decided to come down and type all of this for those that care for way too many details.

You all rock. I'm so lucky to have such an amazing cheering section!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Christmas Miracle for Donnie!

Back in May, I told you guys about a friend of a friend named Donnie. He's my age (so mid-40s) and has lived this long with Cystic Fibrosis. Not many people from my generation with CF made it past 20. So he's a miracle already.

Since May, Donnie's lungs have worsened. The prospect of a transplant happening in Boston was getting more and more bleak. His doctors were suggesting he head to Pittsburgh where they do many more lung transplants. So this was what everyone was gearing up for.

Prayers for Donnie were recently renewed and/or stepped up. I know in my case, I started pestering God hard-core!

This morning, I logged on to Facebook to find an update from my friend Michelle saying Donnie had been called in for a transplant and was in surgery!!! Oh my GOODNESS!!! I mean, seriously, what are the odds?!

Since this morning, his family has posted that he made it through the surgery well. I think he's off a ventilator already which is amazing. He will be in a medically induced coma for a week or so so that his new lungs can adjust.

Here's a picture his mom snapped through the glass. It makes it so real for me and - even with all the machines in there - it is the most beautiful and hopeful image!

Right now, we're all praying big time. He still has recovery and possible rejection to deal with. I have no doubt God kept him alive all this time and will carry him through this!

Michelle also very wisely reminded me that we should pray for the donor family. Here we are all out of our minds excited that Donnie is receiving these miracle lungs right before Christmas. This is wonderful news. But when we pause a minute, we remember that these miracle lungs had to come from someone who died. And right before the holidays.

I hope that donor family knows that their loved one's donation is saving a life and bringing untold joy to his whole family. I'm hoping that maybe all of the other donor's organs are also saving other people.

Such a mix of emotions when you look at the big picture. But it renews my desire to donate any of my viable parts when I pass.

Thank you God.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Job Has Been Approved! WOOT!

So I officially have a job. Well...I guess it's not official until I sign a bunch of papers with HR some time later this week. But today I received the call that the job offer was approved by all levels of approver type people and I'll be hearing from HR soon.

I cannot TELL you what a huge relief this is. This is - in my humble opinion - God rockin' a huge year of blessing. Wanna see?
  • I was laid off in January and took the summer off to hang with my kids.
  • I used my time off to hone my resume writing & figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up.
  • I only started looking for a job (for real) in August.
  • The average job search takes 4 months and mine only took a smidge over that.
  • I only used my "networking" skills twice - which all the outplacement people tell me should have been the kiss of death.
  • I applied to about 102 jobs through a myriad of different online job search engines.
  • I probably only got phone interviews for 4 of those jobs.
  • My severance lasted would have run out in this next January.
  • I've kept my house.
  • I've paid off all non-house debt.
  • I've been able to fund birthdays for two boys this year.
  • I've been able to fund a pretty decent Christmas.
  • I have been able to both tithe and give out of my surplus all year long.
  • Even when things looked bleak and my hope waned, I knew I had friends and family that would risk our friendships by letting us move in (if the worst case happened).
  • All the while, I received phone calls, emails, Facebook comments, etc., from friends, family and blogger pals telling me they were praying. Telling me it would work out. Encouraging me to never give up. I cannot TELL you how much that part mattered. If you prayed and encouraged me? I am asking God to heap huge gobs of blessings on you and your family.
I have been blessed beyond measure. I have been scared out of my mind at times. But God never left me. Even when I doubted and asked him just what the heck he was doing.

So God has rocked me a state job with some pretty cool people. And in a state agency that helps the schools. An actual job I like to do, in a city I love, for a company that I feel good about.

I'm not sure how many times I can keep saying God rocks. But he does!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I Have A Job! ...I think...

I've been a bit busy. Thanksgiving was awesome. I hosted my parents, BigSis and her TallGuy. Not having to work is the key to a stress-free Thanksgiving. Or at least it is for me.

The week before Thanksgiving week, I had an interview for a job. Like all of my other interviews, it went well. And like all of the other times, I didn't get my hopes up. I have spent the last few weeks, admitting to God that I'm terrified and full of doubt and really am wondering just what it is He's doing with this whole situation. I fluctuate between absolute faith and thinking he must be teaching me some lesson where I'll have to walk through fire. But I found that finally telling God that I'm really scared and having trouble trusting him helped. Kind of got that guilty feeling off my chest.

So for the week of Thanksgiving, I didn't worry about it.

When this past Monday rolled around, however, I had trouble motivating. I couldn't face having to apply for jobs I didn't want. I couldn't face reading through job listings going, "Oh, I've already applied for that one." So I did what any strong person would do. I climbed back in bed and hid under the covers. If I'm asleep, I can't worry or feel guilty. I ignored my constantly vibrating cell phone. And when my house phone rang, I almost didn't get up to answer it. Almost.

I answered the phone to hear the nice man who interviewed me last week. He proceeded to tell me how well I had done in the interview and subsequent test. And would I like the job? Hmmm...would I like a job...let me think about that one. I nearly screamed! Yes! I'll take it! He told me a little bit about it and could I fax him this or that. I honestly don't remember what he said because I was busy silently jumping up and down.

I called my parents. I called BigSis. I posted it on Facebook. Everyone I knew was informed within the hour.

But I may have jumped the gun.

You see, when they offer you the job, it would seem that you have the job. Not so. When they offer you the job, you have said you would like the job. Then they have to see if upper management will approve it. This is where one previous job offer tanked on me a few weeks ago. When I realized this, my heart kind of sank again. But not too horribly. God's got it. This one really does seem like it's a done deal. But until I have it in stone, I'm not counting any chickens.

Yesterday, I went in to meet with my potential future 2nd-level manager. It went well, I think. So hopefully the approval process has moved up to the two people above him. They wanted me to start this coming Monday. I'm not sure they can get the approvals and paper work done in time. But I'm operating on the assumption that, come Monday, I will be sitting in traffic, honing my road rage skills.

So...I have a job! Kinda...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Spoiler Alert!

Do not read this if you believe in Santa.

Many moons ago, The Ex and I decided that we'd let the boys believe in Santa as long as they wanted. But if they ever ask outright, we'd tell them the truth.

When Pokemon Boy was little - like somewhere around two and a half - he visited a mall with a professional Santa. A few days later, he saw another Santa. Totally different. When the man said hi in character, my little 2 yr old genius recoiled, pointed and said, "You're not Santa."

Around the age of three, he asked if Santa was real. We told him, no, he's not. He's a nice concept and it's fun to be generous and pretend. I don't really recall what we said. He was very ok with the answer. So we assumed that Christmas, we'd be Santa-free. But as Christmas rolled around, he kept asking how Santa would get in (we had no fire place). How would he find us (we had just moved to a different town). The Ex and I just shrugged and went along with his selective memory.

He was five when we moved to Texas. That year, he asked again and again we told him Santa wasn't real. That one took. But we told him how we like to pretend and still leave cookies out, etc. It didn't ruin anything for him. He still loves his stocking. He still loves his big Santa gift by the fire place.

SO...along comes Lil'Bro. As we kept the myth alive for Lil'Bro, PB would mention Santa-type things and give me a wink. My co-conspirator. Too funny.

Last week, Lil'Bro asked me, "Mom, is Santa real?" I asked, "Do you really want to know?" "Yes," he replied. PB came closer - preparing to do some damage control. "Well, honey," I began, "no. Santa is not real." Lil'Bro's face blanched. A look of pain brought his eyebrows together. A little piece of my heart broke. Oh man, look what you've done. I answered so matter-of-factly. PB had no issues either time we told him. He was like, "Hmm...interesting." Not so with Lil'Bro.

Both PB and I tried to reassure Lil'Bro that it's ok and how we can still pretend and it doesn't change any part of the holiday, etc. His pained look didn't change. I said, "Are you ok with this?" He shook his head. "I just want Santa to be real," he said in the saddest little voice. I said, "Honey, you can believe whatever you want."

A few minutes passed. Then Lil'Bro started asking PB and me questions about Santa. So apparently, he decided to discard the painful and unacceptable information. I can respect that. Sorry. I don't like that information. I'll just put that right over here [plunk] and move on.

So the week has passed with many questions about how Santa makes it all the way around the world in one night. How does he know which presents go to which house. How does he get in with no chimney.

When he's ready for the spoiler, he can ask again.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Rough Week for Pokemon Boy

Pokemon Boy is an awesome kid. He's loving, empathetic, creative and silly. Unfortunately, he inherited a double sided whammy of anger and worry. Both his father and I have had our issues with temper tantrums. Some as kids, some as adults. And we're both pretty big worriers.

This week, PB has gotten his Nintendo DS and computer put off limits for 4 days. Then two more days were added. Then he got grounded for the first time ever. For a week. He will also have to do some kind of "community service". He'll help his teacher after school on Monday for one piece of it. And for the other, I'm not sure. I'm toying with having him pick up the dog poop from a neighbor's yard.

This is just a ton to dole out in a week. At least for PB. He very rarely does things that actually require consequences beyond losing his DS for a day.

The first incident came on Monday. He was told to put away the laptop in class. When he didn't, a friend started to do it for him. The friend didn't realize that turning off the laptop just lost PB's unsaved work. PB lost his cool and pushed the friend, yelling "I wasn't done with that!" The email I got said he hit the friend. But in school, pushing or hitting, it ain't cool. So that lost the gaming screen time (DS/computer) for 4 days.

On Wednesday, he had to skip recess to make up 2 assignments that he had forgotten and left in his desk. When his teacher told him he'd have to work through recess, he had a big anger thing. It was bad enough where she had to escort him to the library for study time (he usually goes on his own with no problem). So for this one, it was two fold. We've been working on remembering to bring things to and from school. Nothing was working so a month ago, we agreed that, for each assignment or thing he forgets to bring home or take to school, he'd lose gaming time for a day. Since this was involving two assignments he left in his desk, he got the added 2 days of no gaming screen time. For pitching a fit that required his teacher to escort him to study time, he is doing the "community service" of helping her in her classroom after school on Monday. I actually think he'll have fun doing it. But he's worried about it so it fits the consequence bill for me.

Then, Friday, he told me that he had another physical altercation with a classmate. It was the classic "Hey, I was here first" thing when getting lined up. PB actually thinks he may have been wrong so he felt doubly bad about it. But he ended up shoving the classmate. And this just after we'd had a talk about this. I told him that, since we had just addressed this in the same week and the gaming loss wasn't driving it home, I grounded him for a week. In my house, laying hands on another kid in anger will not fly. You can call me wimpy or over-reactive. Knock yourself out. But in my house? Boys will be boys. Boy will NOT be little hooligans.

I watch little boys pummel each other on the playgrounds all the time. In school, too. I know teachers ignore quite a bit of it. But I also see an unspoken agreement between those boys. It's part of their play. But PB is not a pummel-player. We have never allowed anger-based hitting or pushing. I would never allow another kid to do it to either of my boys. I certainly won't wave this off when he's pushing another kid just because he can't control his frustration.

We talked a long time about how the gifted math program is stressing him out. I asked if anything else was stressing him out - waiting to see if he mentioned missing dad or my being out of work. But in his conscious mind, the advanced math is what's frustrating and stressing him out the most. I do wonder, though.

My brother-in-law, TallGuy, mentioned to BigSis that PB's recent issues with stress and anger are classic child-of-divorce stuff. I hate to admit it but I definitely think that's a factor.

Each time we've had to address any of these issues, his self-esteem has been in the toilet. Each time, he is a mess of worry. Worry about how angry I'm going to be. He told me that, every time he gets in trouble, he thinks this will be the one that makes me really really angry. He actually told me once that he wonders if each time he's bad, this will be the one that makes me stop loving him. When I started one of the discussions this week, I said something like, "PB, we need to talk about..." and he quickly added, "...that I'm a bad kid." He really has an amazingly low self image at times. And other times, his ego is off the charts. I don't really understand it but I do. If that makes any sense.

Someone recently told me he just needs to stop being so overly dramatic and move on. Yes. There are times when he's just being the drama king. But these other times - like this week - it's real. And it's deep seeded. I'm not going to ignore this and expect him to just move on. He's nine. He's in a world of stress. Even if some of it is created in his mind, it's real to him. And while I won't enable it, I won't ignore it.

I'm praying a lot. I don't have all the answers. I get good feedback from friends and family. But as anyone knows, even the best advice may not fit you perfectly. I really want God to show me exactly how to be the best mom for PB. I want PB to enjoy this advanced math opportunity. I want him to appreciate that not everyone gets this chance. I want him to know he's special without becoming arrogant. I wish he could see himself the way I see him.

This is quite rambling. Sorry.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Creative Friends: #3 In A Series

My weekly series on my creative friends requires care. Not everyone I know will appreciate my thoughts on their lives being plastered where anyone can see them. You know, like Johnny Depp is a very private guy. Hahahaha! Oh that was funny.

I figure the next pal can handle my blogging adoration:

Trish/Trish's Dishes
I'm pretty sure Trish was the first non-family member to start reading and commenting on my blog. I met Trish back in 2005 while I still lived in Boston. If you've followed my blog for a while, you know that story. I was going to link to a story about her but, after searching my blog, I realize that I write about her ALL the time.

Anyway, Trish is of a group that intimidates me. She's a Writer. She and stuff! I mean, what kind of craziness is that? She's the kind of person that can catch me using not correct grammerificationating. She knows the difference between 'effect' and 'affect'. She knows when to say "Trish and I" or "Trish and me". She can correctly use big words! These are scary people to me. I'm a former math major. A college drop out. A computer geek. I depend on spell check. I depend on hanging around with people like me who won't care when I end a sentence with a

Thankfully, Trish is as imperfect as she is awesomely talented. She is the last person to point the red correction pen at anyone. She is amused at my word makeupification.

Trish wrote a book back in 2008 called 'He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not'. I love it. I have given out probably 10 or more copies to family and friends. Quite a few people that read the copies I gave them told me how much they loved it. They could all relate. They loved her writing style. They were drawn in by her humor mixed with accessibility. I think a lot of women were able to relate to - if not all of it - parts of her story. My sister read it and then gave it to her teenage daughter to read. My niece loved it, too.

Trish just finished her 2nd book and I am eagerly awaiting its release next April. Book Anticipation rocks! And now Trish is trying her hand at a novel. Can't wait to read that one, too.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Creative Friends: I Have A Butt-Load

So I had this idea that, every Friday, I'll post something about one of my 952,000 creative friends. Especially if they have wares to sell. I'm realizing I'll never get through the list if I only feature one a week. So here are two of my Creatives from differing sides of the artistic spectrum.

Jaime Lee/Like Nailing Jello to a Wall
Jaime is one of my Awesome Blogger Chicks that I've never actually met. I don't really recall how we first connected. I think she found my blog through common pal Trish and left me some comments. We then connected on Facebook and leave each other silly comments and messages. She is beautiful, funny, inspiring and very supportive. Especially for someone who doesn't actually know me.

Jaime is a singer from my previous home city, Boston. When I first saw that, I wasn't expecting much. And let me explain that.

An Aside: Anyone from a huge music city like Boston, Austin, Nashville, L.A., NYC, etc., will understand. When you live in one of those music-centric cities, you run into every 3rd person and their brother saying, "I'm in a band!" or "I sing," or "I play [insert instrument of your choice here]." The first few hundred times I heard this, I would get all excited and be like, "Wow! Where are you playing? I want to see you!" and I was an instant fan. After sitting through painfully horrid set after painfully horrid set, I became more cautious with my fanaticism. So then, when someone told me they were a performer of any kind up in Boston, I'd be like, "Yah, you and everyone else I know." Which is mean. I doubt I actually said it. But I thought it. Also, keep in mind that I worked in a rock club for 4 years. Man, if THAT doesn't kill your love of music, I don't know what will. I saw 3 bands a night. The newbies would come off the stage as if the had just rocked the Garden. "Well? What do you think?!" To be honest, most of them didn't make an impression. If I can't recall anything you did 45 seconds after you left the stage, you have some work to do.

There were the rare gems. And many of them have moved on to cool things like performing with national touring shows like Blue Man Group or Rocky Horror or Stomp or Hannah Montana. Many are making a living creating music for sound tracks in NYC or L.A. Many are professional songwriters, producers or music managers. You'd be surprised to find out how small the world is. I guarantee you that you've heard something that one of my friends has touched.

So you can see how I'm a bit jaded when someone declares them self a musician. Then add to that the fact that I have a very unforgiving ear and am a vocal snob. Oh yah. Good times.

When I finally heard some of Jaime's songs, I was very happily blown away. She's GOOD. And not in that "but my grandma says I'm amazing" way that all those Idol wannabes are "good". She is VERY good. Like I will buy her stuff when it's available. And I am now campaigning to be her backup singer. Granted, I can't tour and I live about 1600 miles away. But still, why can't she just shift her whole life to accommodate me?!

So if you like what you hear on her MySpace link I provided above, you can download those 3 songs on her music website for free. I personally think she'd be a great addition to anyone's iPod who loves beautiful vocals.

Jane/Painted House 52
My friend Jane is like family. Like family that you can bare your soul to and expect to end up laughing. Like super close supportive loving family...that you've never met. Yes, she is another of my Awesome Blogger Chicks. We met a couple of years ago through my blog. She found my blog while looking for...I think she was looking for other moms of exceptionally awesome kids.

So Jane and I initially bonded over our boys. She has become a staple of support in my life. We talk on the phone all the time. We are good sounding boards for each other.

Jane is an artist in the physical mediums. And I say mediums - plural. She can paint. She can sew. She can refinish old furniture and make it look like something people would pay HUGE money for here in Austin. She makes gorgeous jewelry. I'm always astounded by her works. She makes it look so easy but I know I couldn't even come close!

This is an ottoman Jane recovered and painted.

If you want to see some of her current stuff for sale, she has an esty store. She is an amazing talent and I could easily see her making a living from her sales. While I'm not an art snob like I am a vocal snob, I don't like everything. I love her stuff. It's very "me". So go check it out and see if it floats your boat. Even if you don't buy anything, I bet you'll enjoy browsing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Pokemon Boy is struggling this year. His teachers, counselors and therapists use words like "genius" and "brilliant" when they talk about him. As such, he has coasted through school in years past. He could float into class, listen with half an ear and still get As and Bs.

This year, he is in the gifted program for math. He's in 4th grade. And even I (former math major) have trouble understanding his homework. Part of that is that I haven't touched geometry or algebra in over 30 years. But the concepts are hard. They require focus and his full attention.

Pokemon Boy has the ability to comprehend almost anything. But if you can't give something your full attention, you usually will not succeed 100% in that thing. That pretty much applies to life. It certainly applies to advanced math. Pokemon Boy struggles as much with staying focused as most of us struggled with calculus.

For the first time, he is in a class where he will have to listen, work to understand and struggle to get As. This is a painful adjustment for him so far. He has brought home grades that span from the 60s to 100s. Somehow, he made the A/B Honor Roll for the first semester. It has shaken his confidence to the core. He has told me he isn't smart enough to be in the gifted program. He thinks everyone else is coasting and smarter than him. He's embarrassed to tell his teacher that he's not getting everything the first time. It's heart breaking.

In 2006, when Pokemon Boy was first diagnosed with Tourette's, the psychiatrist told me that she had thought ADHD when he first bounced into the room. But after talking with him, she ruled that out and honed in on Tourette's.

His inability to stay focused is rather typical in that he can be obsessively focused on something he loves. If they could figure out how to present algebra in Pokemon terms, he'd be all over it. But if he doesn't totally love something, he is easily distracted. And by easily, I mean, he's usually mentally checked out within seconds.

It's not all defiance or poo-poo-ing subjects he doesn't like. He is more inside his head than anyone I know. He thinks. Way more than a 9 yr old needs to. As he told me recently, every thought leads to a new one. You stare at a wall and think, "I wonder if that's cinder block or cement...I wonder who figured out to make cinder blocks hollow....bricks are solid..." then you're off picturing the brick making scene in The Ten Commandments which leads to thinking about what it must be like to make costumes for Hollywood movies which jumps you over to picturing the big Hollywood sign which leads to you pondering which font those letters are which makes you think of a little alphabet train you had as a kid which makes you think how fun it would be to travel across the country in a train which makes you picture the train scene in White Christmas and how sleeper cars don't look like that any more.

That's just a real-time sample from my head (which tells you I watch too many movies). Pokemon Boy gets like that. I've watched it happen. He glazes over. I always say, "He's just not there." It's not so much that he's tuning out his surroundings. It's more that he's diving so deep into his thoughts, he can't hear the surroundings that are way up there in that fading light of the surface.

So the boy's confidence is shaken. Deeply. His teachers see it. I see it. I tell him he's smart enough. I tell him I know he can do it. We discuss techniques to help him focus. We limit screen time. And if this were his only stress, I think it would be easily overcome.

But add onto that his worry over mom not working. What it mom can't find a job? What if we lose the house? What if we have to move? How much of our stuff would we have to sell?

Then toss on to that pile all the worry about his dad. Poor dad. He's lonely. I miss him so he must miss me. I want to go live with dad for a while. But that will upset mom. And I'll miss Lil'Bro.

Et cetera ad nauseum.

Other than praying, I can't think of a thing to do to remove the pile of stress. To build up his confidence. To help him enjoy the advanced classes.

Other than praying. I say that like that's nothing. I know it's something. It's more powerful than any physical thing I could say or do. But this imperfect physical being wants to DO something. I want to take an action to solve my son's problems. I want to jump into my Wonder Woman suit and save his world.

Well, his teacher is going to confer with her colleagues to see if they have suggestions. I will probably make an appointment to get Pokemon Boy reevaluated. It's been a while since he's seen a psychiatrist. I'll work with his teachers, school counselor and play therapist.

And I'll pray.

I will never stop praying.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Braggin' On Me Big Boy-o...Again...

Today was the assembly for 4th graders. They don't get as many dog tags as kindergartners. So it was a much shorter assembly.

Pokemon Boy got an A/B Honor Roll dog tag. I'm so very proud of him. Last year, he got All-A Honor Roll all year. But this year is his first year in the gifted advanced math program. So he has had to struggle. He's brought home tests and homework with grades spanning the alphabet. I didn't think he'd get the honor role this semester due to the struggle of adjusting to the kind of effort most of us have to put into math. The years of coasting are over for him. But he's worked hard. He stepped up when he wanted to quit. This A/B Honor Roll rocks. He missed the All-A because of one B. And that was in math. Which makes sense.

My boys are a mother's dream. They make my life so awesome.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Braggin' On Me Wee Boy-o

Last spring, I was bragging about Pokemon Boy's awards from school. Well, Lil'Bro seems to be following in his footsteps.

Yesterday, I attended the kindergarten award ceremony expecting that Lil'Bro would only get the one dog tag every kinder kid gets to start them off. He got FIVE. So cool especially when you're not expecting them!

The dog tags are...
The Tiger tag - the initial tag that comes with the chain. All kinder got one.
Paw Pride - most improved - 2 per each class.
Star Student - Art - the Art teacher chose this.
Reading/Writing - knows all letters and sounds.
Math - 1 - 21 # recognition and counting to 100.

So cool.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Overheard yesterday after dinner:

Lil'Bro: "Mom, I'm still hungry. I must be having a growth spout!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Won! Woo HOO!

I was about to type that I never win anything. But I think I've won a few things here and there in my 44 years. Anytime, however, I do win something, I totally get all excited.

As my pal was wrapping up her old blog, she had a quick jewelry give away. Since I was the only comment, I won! How funny is that?! I told her not to rush and just get it to me when she could. She got it here just in time for the end of my birth-month (hee hee!). Here is a picture of me wearing it this afternoon as I watched my boys play in the gorgeous cool sunny day.

Thanks Stacy. You totally made my birth-month!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Job Hunt - Belly Intellesting

If you recall from my previous post, I had a great interview with a local company. I've been in communication with them now for two months, all told. They were working on getting me an offer for a position I really wanted. I've kept looking, however. Because, until you have the offer in your hot little hands, you ain't got nothin'. I will confess, I had been doing much more minimal work in my continued job search because most of the conversations with the company sounded very positive. It seemed a done deal.

Today, I received an email that the requisition for my position had not been approved by senior management. So no job.

It's a bit of a blow, I admit. But again, I'm very surprised by how calm I am. I'm not dancing around farting rainbows or anything. Not by any means. [Although, that would be pretty cool! But I digress.]

So here we go. It's all you, God. I'm ok with wherever you take this. Just help me be patient. And point me in the right direction.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Creative Friends: I Have A Few

This is a link to my friend's new etsy site, Cherry Baby Creations. LadyT is one of my awesome church family. I sing with her hubby when he either leads worship or plays drums on the worship team. Together, they are ridiculously talented and creative.

One of the gorgeous head bands LadyT offers:

Recently, they collaborated on their best creation yet. BabyE. She's one of the cutest babies ever. And I mean EVER. LadyT started bringing BabyE to church with very cute little head bands with bows or flowers or just patterns on them.

Now let me interject here, I have NEVER been a fan of baby head wear. Mostly because, in the 80s and 90s, they mostly consisted of elastic bands that were way too small for most baby heads and seriously dug ruts and canals into the scalps of these poor defenseless little babies. I also pretty much thought they looked awful. But that last bit is just a taste thing.

So when they started bringing BabyE around with head wear, I initially started turning up my snobby nose. Until I saw that they were made of the most soft supple material that never seemed to bother her. Plus, they were so cute on her and matched her outfits. I begrudgingly admitted to LadyT that I actually LIKED them (gasp!). [I'm still not the type to put such things on my own girls which is probably why God gave me two boys.]

I came to find that LadyT made these things for BabyE. Everyone at church started saying she should sell them and now she is! So if you know anyone who might like this, please send them her way. I really think she is making very comfortable items that will NEVER leave dents in your baby's scalp! I mean, come ON! Even *I* like them!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Birthday Presents From The Boys

Just had to show you what my boys "bought" me (with my mom's money) yesterday.

The plush Pokemon's a...let me think...oh good grief, I think I have to go Google it. I can't remember. Oh right! It's a Shaymin. Thank goodness for bookmarked Pokemon sites. And the shirt is the other present. My mom said Pokemon Boy picked out both presents and Lil'Bro agreed to them both.

So there you go. Pretty cool, huh?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy To ME!

A friend on Facebook sent me birthday sentiments, courtesy of her two year old. It said, "Happy to YOOOOU! Happy to YOOOOU!" I think that nails it.

My mom's surprise that she put up last night (see my post from yesterday) was so cool! Here's a picture. Do I love my mom or WHAT?!

I dropped the boys off at school. The migraine was gone. The tummy was still tentative. I went home and plopped on the couch. I treated myself to a PayPerView movie: X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Hugh Jackman contractually obligated to take his shirt off every three minutes? Why not!

I spent tons of time on Facebook reading a never ending cornucopia of birthday greetings. All of which were so cool. It's a quick little thing people can do. Facebook tells you the next three days' worth of birthdays for all of your connections. You just jump over and put a quick little blurb. It may seem superficial. But man, I loved it!

I got phone calls from dad, BigBroS, BigBroE, and BigSis. I got a text from my wonderful cousin.

I went to the boys' school to stuff weekly folders for Lil'Bro's class. Which means I got to see a bunch of his little pals that I adore. So cool.

I came home, went to CVS to get some double chocolate milanos. That's as big as I can go right now. My stomach is still funky today. So no big dinners. Mom came to pick up the boys. She's taking them shopping for me. Should be interesting to see what they think I need. How much money says Pokemon Boy brings home some diet pills? HA! And mom will be bringing home some dinner since I'm still a bit on the whiny sick side.

YAY for awesome birthdays filled with love and sweet words from friends and family. And yay again for my mom.

WOO HOO!! I'm FOTY-FO!!! Dig it, man.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Can't Even Tell You How Much My Mom Rocks!

Seriously: My mom rocks. Yes. We all know I feel this way. But man, when your mom is just the bomb diggity, how in the world can you ever hope to repay her?

My dad has been sick lately. It's nasty and unfun in the details so I won't post them to the general masses here. He has been sick, on meds and VERY uncomfortable for weeks now. When dad (or mom) isn't well, I keep my little family away. Not because I'm afraid I'll catch anything. But to give them their recovery space. When I'm sick, the last thing I want is to have to keep up with someone else's energetic kids!

Then I got sick over a week ago. And mine is contagious. So now I'm staying away from them for THEIR sakes. Which is a bummer for everyone because they love my boys, my boys love them and I love being around them.

Today was my 2nd venture to the doctor. I went from bad sinus congestion (ambiguous virus - one of many going around) to nasty bronchitis in a matter of 3 days. As I came home from the doc, my sinuses were giving me quite a pounding in the head. I picked up my boys and went to CVS to get my scrip filled. The headache was getting worse. But you know, it's sinus congestion and it gets painful sometimes.

By the time I returned from CVS, the headache had gone into "Hey, maybe this is a migraine" mode. I popped the migraine meds but apparently missed my window. I had barely gotten the boys' mac & cheese prepared and I was running upstairs to shove my head in the toilet. After washing up (and noticing I was completely devoid of color), I headed back down to slop the kids. As soon as I saw and smelled the food, however, it was round two. I was barely able to toss the mac & cheese in two bowls and yell to Pokemon Boy to get it on the table for him and his brother. After round two of the puke fest (complete with feeling like my head would explode with each turn of the stomach), I made it to my bed, called mom and whimpered my plea.

Mom showed up in about 10 minutes. The boys were surprised but she explained that their mom had a headache that makes her throw up and she was there to get them into bed.

I laid in bed in complete darkness with a pillow over my head asking God to protect my mom from any contagion in the house. And then I thought I heard crying. I made it into Pokemon Boy's room to find him crying. He had forgotten that tomorrow was my birthday. Therefore, he had not made/bought anything for me in time. And he was crushed. Because (as he informed us), I always get such great presents for HIM on his birthday. HE wanted to do something just as awesome for ME.

Oh man. My mom and I both talked him down for quite a while. There is just no way to explain to a 9 yr old that birthday presents or birthdays in general are less important to you when you're 44.

Pokemon Boy went to bed still sniffing and snuffling. Mom shooed me back to bed and went downstairs to "clean up a bit". For any of you who know her or her family, you realize that my kitchen is completely spotless now. I think she would have put the toys away in the living room, too, had I not come down to tell her to get back home.

She sent me off to bed and told me she was going to leave me something special to wake up to in the morning. I think she did this more for Pokemon Boy than for me. But I listened to her puttering around down here for about 30 minutes or more. I came down to post this. But I left the kitchen dark. I didn't really look because I want to leave the surprise she intended.

But man. My mom knows this house might have a virus or who knows what. And my dad is still not 100%. But when her 44 yr old baby called, she didn't even bat an eye. She high tailed it over here.

I love my parents so much. There is no way on earth I'll ever be able to repay all that she has done for me over my life time. But I can keep thanking God for them. And I can keep asking him to bless them beyond anything they can imagine. I guess all I can do is pay it forward to my boys. And my friends.

Thank you, mom. And thanks, dad, for giving up your nurse for the evening.


OH - and as an addendum! TJ texted me tonight. She will be released to go home tomorrow. That's all I know. But how cool a birthday present is THAT?!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Halloween Diversion

For those of you that don't already read my friend Beck's blog, I have a treat for you. Beck is an amazing writer and mom (I've asked her repeatedly to adopt me). For Halloween, she has been putting a dark spin on some classic children's stories. They just keep getting better and better and freakier and freakier. Here are links to her first six:

Halloween Story #1
Halloween Story #2
Halloween Story #3
Halloween Story #4
Halloween Story #5
Halloween Story #6
[Edited to add subsequent stories. I'll keep adding them here as she writes them.]
Halloween Story #7
Halloween Story #8
Halloween Story #9


Friday, October 16, 2009

More Prayers for TJ Please

I just got a text message from TJ. It just said,

"Just readmitted. More critical. Will probably be unavailable for a bit. More prayers please."

There you go, my wonderful praying friends. More prayers, please.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TJ is Home!

Just got a call from TJ. She came home from the hospital today. It sounds like all the doctors are in agreement and that she has a rare disease that she picked up from her caving. She didn't have medical terms or names for me. But she said it's rare enough where they'll have to consult with other specialists to determine the course of treatment.

So the good news is, this is not autoimmune or something deadly. She said that news was a God-send. She's home on a bunch of antibiotics and other meds. She still sounds winded but in great spirits. Her Facebook entries still have her crazy humor. So I know she's doing better!

While all of this news gives everyone relief, she is still in rough shape. I just started a cold or some such sinus thing so I can't go near her. GAH! But I can offer to bring her family stuff or to cover her duties as a school volunteer. I just want to go sit on the couch with her, though. Oh well. We said we'll have to settle for sending each other silly text messages and pictures over the phone.

Thank you ALL for your prayers. She knows she has been hugely covered through this. I'm sure that has helped. Continued prayer for her comfort and recovery are welcome. Your collective faith is amazing and I love being able to count on it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Update on TJ

Over the weekend, TJ was admitted to a local hospital. The pain and discomfort was just becoming too much to handle at home. I've talked to her a few times and her spirits are as up as can be. She has her little NetBook at the hospital and is keeping touch through email and Facebook.

Today, they are going to scope her lungs. Which means a camera down the throat and into the lungs. I have heard this is not a pleasant procedure. I have no idea what time she's having this. She may be done already for all I know.

They are hoping that the scope will give them an idea of what this is. One theory is that she picked up some kind of mold or fungus from some caving she does. Just hard to say at this point.

Thanks for all of the emails and comments for her. I will share them with her once I have a chance. Your prayers are welcome and I thank you guys for your faith and prayers for strangers. You all rock.

4:11pm update:
I called TJ's hospital room and she had just returned from the biopsy. So the scope turned into a biopsy. I don't know much more than that. But hopefully the biopsy will tell them something. She was sore and exhausted (I can't imagine!) but in good spirits.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Prayer Request

For all of my praying bloggers, please pray for my pal TJ. She's the mom of two boys that are great friends with my boys. She is one of those always-there-for-you friends. She lets me be as imperfect or goofy as I need to be. She makes me laugh until I need adult diapers and she has let me cry rivers of snot all over her t-shirt.

You get the picture.

Anyway, TJ has been coughing for a while. This week, it has progressed to extreme pain and coughing up blood. The CT scan shows hemorrhaging in her lungs. Right now, it's very early in this discovery. The doctors haven't seen this before. They don't know what it is. It's a giant question mark. She is young and usually healthy. With such extreme symptoms, you can imagine where her mind (and the minds of her loved ones) are going.

I'm praying huge. I'm asking for any prayer you all feel led to send up.

Thank you for your faith and prayers.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

...And Did I Mention My Church ROCKS?

Last Sunday, I approached one of our head pastors (our head pastors are a married couple and I adore them both). I related a particular struggle I was having that I won't bore you with here. Suffice it to say, it is a very hard thing to cut all of the myriad of connections from a 17 yr long relationship.

Both pastors Kenny & Michelle have walked this long divorce path with me. They have prayed from a distance. They have prayed right over me. They have both endured fountains of tears from me. They have cheered me on as God pulled me up onto my feet. They have loved on my boys. They are just awesome.

So I related my current struggle to Michelle. She went home and talked to Kenny. Then, today, she met me at a local coffee joint (no, not that Coffee Joint) and sat talking with me for about 3 hours. It was so nice. She is one of the Safety Zone people at my church. You know, one of the people you know you can say anything to and they totally know where you're coming from. I rarely have to worry about how something will sound. She's so open, loving and forgiving. She lets me talk. She gives me her thoughts. We exchange ideas. We jump off and on subject. And it doesn't phase either one of us.

Being a pastor is hard hard work. It's a huge sacrifice. I can't imagine how they pull it off. And yet she offered up 3 hours of her day for me today. To guide and encourage. To be my sounding board. To listen and laugh. What a wonderful wonderful way to serve.

I could write blog entries on how uniquely special so many of my church family members are to me. But today, Michelle gave me a real gift. Because who in this world ever offers up 3 hours of their time to one other person? Pretty awesome.

Yah. My church rocks.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Dumb Ol' Divorce

You know, I posted so many entries during the whole divorce thing. This was my outlet and lifeline of sorts back then. I don't post much about it these days because A) it hasn't been running my life lately, B) it's hard to keep entries from turning into an ugly bitch session and C) I don't really think about it much.

But I'm going to post this because A) it's about Pokemon Boy and B) I'm kind of looking for feedback. Bare with me. I will ramble a bit here.

And by "kind of looking for feedback", I mean, I want feedback that comes from a place of love and encouragement. If the only thoughts that come into your head are of bashing The Ex, I get that. But keep them to yourself. That's all I ask.

So a couple of weeks ago, I was standing at church having a conversation with someone about how cool it had been that The Ex had traveled all the way down here for Pokemon Boy's baptism. I guess I was commenting on the distance and didn't realize Pokemon Boy was nearby. He suddenly said, "But mom, YOU'RE the one that took us away from dad." Gah? I was really at a loss. All I said was, "Let's talk about this later." And I never got around to it.

Yesterday, we were driving home from church and Pokemon Boy asked me "Do you think it would be hard to live without your kids?" I wasn't sure where he was going with this. "I'd find it almost impossible to live without you guys," I replied. But then I asked if he meant when he got old enough, he'd move out. And he said, "No, like right now. If we didn't live with you." So I told him how I'd be incredibly sad without them and figured we were moving on to a topic of death or other tragedies. Nope. "Yah," he continued, "that must be how dad feels."

Oh boy.

It's very hard for me, this line of conversation. Right now, the boys have glorified their dad into this sad, lonely victim. I have to put on the strong face and keep everything moving. I am the present parent and disciplinarian. Therefore, I am the unfun parent. I also think that, since I am no longer moping around and lost, it might appear that I don't care about any of this. Pokemon Boy has made it clear that, when I talk about dad or the divorce, it sounds like I never loved him. Of course he has no idea of the pain I went through or the work I did with God to make it through this broken time and arrive on the other side whole and ok with being single. He doesn't understand that, when I talk about "dad", I have to put on a poker-face and use a very level voice. It doesn't hurt to talk about him any more but for years it did. I can see how my strength - when filtered through a child's sad longing for his dad - would look uncaring and calloused.

It's especially hard because, long story short, their dad chose to pursue another woman. He chose this over the hard choice of staying near and being there for his two children. I think this is the sticking point for almost every person close to this story. Since 2007, my constant prayer has been for God to put true forgiveness in my heart for The Ex and his girl thing. And God is working miracles in that department. But I tell you, the one stumbling block for me is this same issue. He chose the girl thing over his own children. Back in 2007, when he was leaving to move 2000 miles away, I said, "You will break your boys' hearts!" His only reply was that he couldn't break the girl thing's heart. I will never forget that.

So here is my boy. Deeply intelligent. Deeply feeling and sensitive. He sees his dad as lonely and sad. Because when dad visits here, he stays alone in a hotel. And every time he leaves, he cries. When the boys have video calls on the computer, there is a sadness that hangs over their dad. Because I think every time he talks to or sees them, it pulls at his heart. And it damn well should. Unfortunately, the boys see this sadness from their limited perspective and think, Oh poor dad. He's so lonely. Pokemon Boy has said to me on quite a few occasions that maybe he should live with dad for x months and then with me for that long. In my head I reply, "Over my dead cold body, honey." But my mouth usually says something lame and comforting.

During our discussion yesterday, Pokemon Boy really opened up. He keeps it bottled up because he sees how words can hurt someone. He doesn't understand the divorce but he knows I was hurt deeply. He knows daddy stopped loving me and now loves another woman. So he is very careful about what he says to me. He does not like seeing anyone hurt. And he tries very hard to never be the one that brings that hurt. I could see he was about to burst with emotion yesterday. I reassured him he can say anything to me at this point. He can talk about daddy to me, it's ok. I explained that, even if something hurts me, God will take care of it and that I'm here to listen.

Finally it all came flying out. He tried to hold back the crying because he's at that age. But oh man. It came out. Just a jumble of missing daddy. Wishing daddy could live closer. Why did he leave? Why did I let him leave? Why did I let the marriage break up? Why can't daddy come back here? The saddest of all was after that torrent broke. When he was calmer and could think a bit.

He finally confessed - and I could tell it was so hard - that even though he understood "it was mostly dad leaving us," he was still kind of mad at me, too. All I could do was assure him that it was ok to feel that. And to reaffirm that he was right. Even though ultimately daddy left the family and I couldn't stop him, it took both me and dad being imperfect to get to that point.

The one that broke my heart, though...he held it back for a long time. I don't think he wanted to speak it. When he speaks something, that admission makes it a truth. And this was something I could tell he didn't want to be a truth. He looked at me and could barely speak it out. His face was a trembling mess. "I just feel like...well...I don't have a dad."

There it is. All the phone calls and video chats in the world don't make up for a 2000 mile logistical gap. Pokemon Boy's therapist warned The Ex about this. His own family warned him about this. The reality is, you cannot be a Dad from 2000 miles away. You can love. You're still their father. But a Dad is the one who is here, sowing into the kids every day.

I called The Ex and told him as much of the conversation as I could remember. Not to throw it in his face. We both try to communicate all of these hard conversations so we both know where the kids are coming from and are on the same page for when/if it happens again.

So my dilemma is what to say to my boys. Pokemon Boy is the tough one. Lil'Bro, at 5, is the kind that just says, "I miss dad," but doesn't cry and it doesn't seem to occupy his mind often.

We're all fallible humans. I, first amongst the fallible! Our gut instinct is usually not the best option. I have had multiple people advise me in the direction of tell the boys what a jerk their dad is. "Tell them the truth! They need to know and understand it now." The person saying this meant to tell my boys an age appropriate version of the truth but with no buffering. The person saying this has been in my shoes but her ex makes mine look like a saint. She has taken this tact with her daughters. And she did not hold back much. Knowing what her ex has done, I'm not so sure she was wrong to do it. But I do wonder if her daughters will ever be able to fix a relationship with their dad. If he ever turns his life around and isn't a scary danger, will they forgive him?

I can understand this avenue. But at the same time, there's a part of it that feels wrong to me. There is something very real about shredding some one's image - whether they deserve it or not. I think about the Proverbs that talk about honoring your parents. And I remember wondering how in the world someone who has been abused or someone who has absentee addicted parents is supposed to honor their parents. My wonderful pastors suggested that, perhaps if you can't support them in tangible ways, you can honor them by not slandering them. Not smearing their name. Not waving their flags of shame for all the world to see. I think that's a wise thought.

I also wonder, if you give children the whole truth about an imperfect parent, it can scar their view of that parent forever. And if that parent later turns their life around, how does that child now find forgiveness for the parent? I just think of deep personal truths I have held all my life from childhood that are just NOW being challenged as God opens my eyes. Anger I held on to that was born of the immature perspective of a very young kid who didn't have all the information. I'm just now working on shedding some of that.

So if I slam their dad, I don't think I'm being honorable. I have to find truths to tell them. I won't sugar-coat it. But they don't need to know all the intimate horrible details.

The flip side is my human side that doesn't think it's fair that a man who has made all of these awful, hurtful decisions gets to walk away without a scratch on him. He chose to leave his children and now he's a glorified sad victim. He left them yet sits 2000 miles away saying, "Boy, I miss my kids." It's very very hard to be a good person here. There are times when I call him out and hold his feet to the fire. But those are rare. He is quite good at making his own suffering.

I don't have a lot of people around me that have dealt with divorce while really really trying to follow God. So I don't know who to go to. There are a few. And I talk to them as often as possible to get their perspective and see how they've dealt with things. I suspect there are more people who have been touched by divorce around me than I know. It's not exactly a subject lots of people like to talk about. No matter which role you had in the whole story - it's awful.

Last night, once Pokemon Boy had finally calmed down, I prayed over him. And we prayed for daddy. I have been praying for The Ex since this all began. But I hadn't done it in earshot of the boys. That is a mistake I will now rectify. I told them both that I have always prayed for daddy and now I'll make sure I do that with each of them.

Pokemon Boy turned to me and said, "Mom, I hope this never happens to anyone we know."

Amen, my little man. Amen.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Painting Ain't for Sissies

I have had little paint swatch cards hanging on walls all over my house since 2006. The Ex and I had all sorts of colors picked out for each room. We were going to hire some painters to do the whole interior. Well, it's the last quarter of 2009 and I still have little paint swatch cards hanging in all my rooms. Granted I've changed most of the colors because I can tell you, when you pick colors with someone and then he moves in with someone else, yah, you change those colors.


Today I painted my downstairs bathroom. Well, powder room. We Americans call anything with a toilet a "bathroom" which makes no sense at all. So sue me. Anyway, since 2006, I've had two dark smoky blue color swatches hanging in there, battling it out for my affections. Two days ago, I took the two swatches to the store and flipped through those paint idea brochures looking for something stunning that looked like either of my choices. I found a "bathroom" picture that was probably some studio because I doubt many people have 400 square foot bathrooms like that. Anyway, the color was perfect and close to my two contenders. I found the sample swatch and it was similar to my two but lighter. Which I think I needed. It's a small bathroom. By all means, yes, let's make it even smaller by painting it some dark blue color!!

So I annoyed the man behind the counter by having the audacity to ask him to possibly mix me up a gallon of "Bleached Denim" paint. Other people seemed to have the same audacity, what with it having a giant 10 foot sign to the effect of "Paint Supply" right over his head. I did feel bad asking him to do what he is apparently expected to do, but not much.

Sarcasm aside, I got my paint and headed home. It's a heady feeling, buying your first can of paint with which you will cover an entire (albeit small) room. Yes, I'm almost 44 and I've never painted a room. I was a renter until I was 39. None of my landlords seemed to be interested in my interior decorating ideas. And since I always liked getting my deposits back, I was happy to leave the beige walls and just make my STUFF be the color.

Today...I painted. I didn't read anything. I didn't ask anyone how to do it. I figure it should be pretty easy. The guy at the store told me that with a good brush [check] and a steady hand [], I should be able to do the edging without painter's tape. After mucking up about a foot of the door jam, yah, I went and pulled out the painters tape. And while I taped all my edges, I thought to myself, "Why would I have listened to a guy who has probably painted for the last 37 years and could edge free-hand and blind folded?!"

I have very high ceilings. Well, when you're 5'3", anything over 6 ft is "high ceilings". I'm pretty sure mine are 9 feet. And ginormous ladders in teensy powder rooms don't really help you reach the whole thing. Because ginormous ladders don't really fit around sinks and toilets. So I got almost everything painted except one big patch up top over the toilet. Pretty sad looking to have 98% done and this one glaring spot.

Don't get me wrong. I have 3 huge extension poles in my garage. Why three, I do not know. Ask The Ex. But I didn't have a roller or anything that screwed onto said extension pole. So I ran to the same store to purchase that flat edger thingy that you can mount on a pole. You know, that flat edger thingy that the 37 yr painting veteran told me I wouldn't need because of my good brush and steady hand? Yah. THAT flat edger thingy. So I got one and was thankful the 37 yr painting veteran wasn't working that night.

So my bathroom is painted. As I sit here, the bathroom fan is still going - attempting to suck out all the fumes (which aren't that bad, I'm happy to report). Everything is back in the bathroom except the ugly mirror I'm trying to replace. I love the color. I want to paint the rest of my house. But I tell you, I'm going to wait. My little swatches of color will remain hanging where they are. Because I tell you, I just painted a tiny little bathroom today and I'm dead. Beat. In pain. That is HARD work. I'm a wuss. I own my wussiness. I will be saving up to pay some 37 yr painting veteran to come paint the other rooms in my house.

Oh - I need to mention that Lil'Bro helped me paint at one point. I had a regular sized roller and a teeny 3 inch wide roller. He saw that as "his size" and insisted. So I gave him a low spot on the wall to work on. I showed him how to get paint on the roller properly and - to his credit - he did an awesome job. And stuck with it for a good 20 - 30 minutes. He really tried hard. It was so cute. He kept stopping and going, "Whew! This is hard!"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Nothing much happening today but thought I'd toss something out here.

Both boys are home sick today - the second sick day for both. We all got flu vaccines last Friday. Lil'Bro developed a low fever over the weekend and felt punky. I've assumed it's a mild reaction to the flu vaccine. And it was on top of his normal allergies. So it has kind of confused us. The combo of the runny/stuffy nose, general punky feeling and low fever sounds like flu. But I kind of think it's more like a low fever from the vaccine on top of sinus junk from allergies.

Pokemon Boy stayed home yesterday as one of his 3 hookie days I allow. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as he developed intestinal distress and a low fever in the early afternoon. Today, he's got a low fever still, but it's climbing. Other than that, he has no symptoms today. So I think his is vaccine reaction, too.

It's so hard to tell how cautious to be right now. The flu and other viruses that are running around the country are just knocking people off their feet. Everything from H1N1 to regular flu to those anonymous viruses. I think about every 4th person I'm connected to has some kind of illness in their house (or just did).

It's a nice couple of sick days. No puking. They're rather quiet because they're not 100%. Yesterday, we spent some of the day on the floor with a Hotwheels race track set up. We alternated between racing little cars and Bakugan balls. Pretty fun.

Today, Lil'Bro is drawing a comic and Pokemon Boy is working on a chapter story he's been writing (for fun) for a few days now. Lil'Bro is learning how to read/spell in school. So right now, I keep hearing him say, "How do you spell 'aaaaaah!' like you're falling?" Pokemon Boy is being very patient, assisting him with spelling for his comic book.

In other news, I'm hearing from the job I interviewed for that they're checking all my references and background. So I'm hoping that's a good sign. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high but I have to admit, they ARE up!

That's it for now.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Job Hunt

Since being laid off last January, I have luxuriously taken the summer off with my boys. But come this past August, I got down to the job hunt in earnest. I haven't talked about it much here because almost all potential employers Google every potential candidate. And while I've made things like Facebook and others private, this remains open for all the world to see. I have no doubt that most interviewers already knew I was a mom (they're not allowed to ask) and that I am divorced and that I'm a total wise ass and that I love to write run on sentences.

Yesterday, I had the best interview I've had yet. I met the potential hiring manager, two of the people under her, an IT director and the HR manager. All I can say at this point is, I love this company. And everyone I met was incredibly nice and really passionate about the company and its mission. Wow. Haven't heard that in a while!

I should have been terrified and wanting to throw up. I was absolutely calm and excited to go. I didn't break out in a horrid sweat. I didn't fumble my words. I didn't let loose with inappropriate subjects (or at least I think I didn't...). I have about 952 thousand people praying for me. So I knew the peace I had was from God.

I drove there yesterday saying, "Ok God, if this job is for me, please give me the right words and help me to present myself honestly and well. If this job is NOT for me, please just don't let me sound like an idiot!"

After the interviews, I was just stoked. I like this company even more, having met some of its people and seen its facilities. But as I got ready to leave, I told God, "Thank you for such a great interview time! This job seems so awesome and I really want it. But if this isn't the best job you have for me, I'm ok with that. Because this one rocks! So if you have something even better than this one? Yah, I'm ok with that!!!"

So we'll see what God has in store...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Baptism, Texas Style!

Today, Pokemon Boy was baptized. Man, it was SO cool on so many levels. The Ex flew in this weekend just for this baptism. My parents came. Big Sis and Tall Guy came. My neighbors that live behind us came. My little sis from Oklahoma would have been here with her whole family but they had a car break down.

Our little church had 8 people get baptized. We're small. So we don't have a baptismal in the church. So when we're ready to baptize, we pull out the horse trough. Awwww yah! That's how we roll: this is baptism Texas style!

Today was pretty amazing. The worship music was really good. The message today was really cool and very poignant. And then the baptism directly afterward. Even The Ex (a non-believer) said there was something...different. I can't remember his exact words but he said you could feel an electricity in the air. I was a giddy mom so I was feeling pretty awesome. I'm just totally stoked that God touched The Ex's heart today.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of Pokemon Boy getting baptized. [Some from The Ex. And I was wielding a point & shoot and my Blackberry Curve. So these are a mix of formats.]

Pokemon Boy was a bit dubious.

PB had to be talked into the water a bit.

Finally got him kneeling!

Pastors Kenny & Michelle get Pokemon Boy prepared.

Almost ready...

PB was nervous about being submerged.

PB is baptized!!


Pastor Kenny applauds while pastor Michelle gives him his towel.

My beautiful baptized boy!