Tuesday, August 31, 2010

my list

in my last post i gave you homework (list 16 big events in your life). so far there are some pretty interesting lists. i've been working on my list off and on. seems like there are so many more things than 16. i thought about good and bad things--all of which have played a role in making me who i am today. i decided to make this list only about good things.

16 big events

1. Moved to Germany for my last three years of high school.
(Moving around as an army brat couldn't help but influence my life, but this move in particular had the biggest impact on me.)

2. Meeting the guy who became the hubs when I first got to Germany.
(Granted meeting your future spouse is important, but aside from being the hubs he has been the one person I have been able to trust and count on consistently since I was 15.)

3. Visiting Paris (w/ the guy who became the hubs) and London (w/ a friend & her family)
(Experiences like these opened my mind to so many things. Seeing the Louve, Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, etc. all the sights and smells and colors I still remember to this day.)

4. Having mind-expanding art and English teachers in high school
(I credit my art teacher w/ opening me up as an artists, though I've not really done much w/ it since college. She taught me to appreciate art and inspired my love of museums. My English teachers further solidified my love for writing/reading.)

5. Going to college
(It's cliche to say but it broadened my horizons.)

6. Getting my first dog that was all mine and not a family pet
(Chloe was the runt of a beagle litter. My first baby. She moved w/ me when I moved in w/ the hubs and lived with us until the ripe old age of 12.)

7. Accepting the guy who became the hubs' ultimatum.
(We hadn't "dated" for a few years but he said we needed to get back together or severe all ties.)

8. Getting my first editorial job w/ a real magazine
(I worked in customer service for a magazine before getting my editorial "break" and I still remember the day when the editor asked me if I wanted to come work for him.)

9. Marrying the hubs and going to the beach for our honeymoon
(Although our getting married was no surprise, the beach honeymoon turned out to be such a big deal for us. We still visit the same restaurant when we go now. It has become an important, yet not frequent enough, get away for us.)

10. Giving birth to the girl
(Obviously giving birth to your first kid is a big deal, but, we'd tried for 5 yrs. I was convinced I'd never have a baby and was actually almost 5 months along before we knew.)

11. Becoming an editor for the first time
(As much as I say (now) titles don't matter, I felt pretty cocky the first time I got that title.)

12. Giving birth to the boy
(It was so much easier the second time around, even though it wasn't something we were trying for. No health issues like w/ the girl, just the ability to bask in his birth.)

13. Buying our house and moving out of the trailer
(Our first house (which we're still in); it was stressful and exciting. Living here has made a big difference in our lives, good and bad; it has inspired our love of gardening and spending time outside.)

14. Taking the kids to the beach for the first time
(The boy was maybe 3-4 and the girl was 5-6. That was back when they still liked each other : ) It was incredible to see them in an environment we both love.)

15. Losing my job
(This is very much something that would also top the bad list, but, there have also been good things about this trip. Certainly being able to spend so much time w/ my kids (more so than I'd ever done before) has been the biggest good thing about being unemployed.)

16. Taking my first mother/daughter trip w/ the girl
(I'd gone on an over-night school field trip w/ her, but our beach trip this spring, just the two of us, made me feel so close to her.)

since my last post i've turned 42 and have caught a bug of some sort. possibly sinus.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


the girl had an interesting homework assignment tonight. name 16 big events in your life. it was interesting to read her list. it included her infant illness, getting her first cat, moving from the trailer to the house, getting rid of that cat and getting the cat she has now, getting her first phone, the death of her grandma and more. it was so insightful to see what she considered important.

i could zip through 16 big events in my life in a heartbeat, but i really want to give this list some thought before i share it with you.

a little while ago someone i've come to think of as a kindred spirit in many ways had a contest on her blog and i wpn a a box of incredible treasures. only's contest was about paying it forward, so i'm paying it forward with a contest of my own. your homework? list 16 big events in your life (either in a comment here or on your blog). next thursday, sept. 2 i will pick a winner and send you a box of treasures. the treasures inside will depend on the winner. my treasure box included some very cool penguin items, among other things. what does it take to win? i won't know until i see the lists. maybe it will be something on your list that makes me lol or touches me deeply or stuns and amazes me. i don't know.

so...off with you now...go do your homework : )

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

...hear that? it's silence!

the kids went back to school today. i will refrain from getting all emotional and blathering to you, once again, about how this is a milestone year for us as the girl is in her last yr of middle school and the boy (my BABY) is in his last year of elementary. i didn't cry this morning. i did get a little choked up and moist eyed, but did not actually bawl.

i have been relishing in the silence that has been gone these last three months. the tv has not been on today. there is no shrieking (the girl loves shrieking). i do miss them though. and, i'm well aware that this was probably the last full summer i will have spent w/ them. sniff sniff.

i will brag, and not gripe, that i am almost slammed w/ freelance work right now. it is bits and pieces from 3-4 different places, but it adds up. i am ever so thankful. i feel productive. i am nearly giddy w/ it. i am DOING something, besides chauffeuring and cleaning and doing laundry.

also, yesterday and today, though overcast and a bit misty w/ rain, have been fall-like days. i LOVE fall. fall and spring are tied for my favorite season. fall brings a sense of buckling down and getting something done, being productive, being cozy. i love it.

so, fall, the silence, the work---add up to a happy girl.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

my sweet love

the person who has probably made the most difference in my life was born 45 years ago today. odd, though i always knew we'd spend our lives together (yes, even when we weren't officially dating i knew he'd be part of my life) and that we'd grow old together, i didn't actually picture us as old. not that 45 is old of course. i'm too close to that age myself to consider it old.

we met about a month before he turned 18 and i turned 15. 27 years we've known each other. he is the most complex person i've ever known, though if you just casually know him you might not suspect that. he was the typical "rebel/bad boy" when i met him and he's held on to that attitude. he's cocky. he's a smart ass. he is smart in ways that i'm still discovering. despite his rough, fuck you exterior, he is one of the most caring, tender people i know. i think he surprised us both with his parenting abilities. i assumed i'd be the better parent since i'd been around kids/babies all my life, but, turns out he is much better at it.

he is very analytical, and while sometimes that drives me nuts, it's part of who he is. he has his quirks, and i love him all the more for them. he is not perfect, i know that, but then again, who is? his hair is not the deep auburn it was when i met him (it is now salt & pepper and still sexy). there are a few more lines on his forehead, but honestly, he had worry lines on his forehead even at 18. he still carries himself w/ that bad boy swagger and there are moments when he and the boy are walking side-by-side, totally unaware that they are near mirror images of each other.

happy birthday to my best friend. i love you.

Friday, August 20, 2010

i never learned to juggle

i have 2-3 freelance jobs right now and, while i'm totally digging the idea of contributing money to the bottom line (other than the unemployment) i have not figured out how to juggle working on said projects w/ having the kids around. it is different when they are in school and i can work until 2pm totally uninterrupted. today a good chunk of the middle of the day was devoted to this freelancing thing. the boy was off at a friend's house and the girl was here, wandering in to the kitchen every 30 minutes or so asking if i was done. or sitting across from me and looking at me. or saying, i know you're working and all but....

i have also discovered that w/out an office to go to where my day is outlined (from the hours of 9-5 i am in work mode) i have a hard time segregating work from non-work. for example, if i check my email and there is a work related thing in there i will read it, respond and/or work on the work or be thinking about the work if i'm not.

any tips for those of you out there who have done/are doing this and have figured out how to make it work?

i cannot believe my kids go back to school this coming wednesday. part of me is glad (for the above reason) but another part of me realizes that when i find a job (and i will) these last two summers will probably be the last i have w/ my kids like that.

a former co-worker is starting this project and she's soliciting me and several other writers to possibly work on it. so far it is in the planning stages, but essentially the idea is to offer businesses/retailers/etc. our services as bloggers (like ghost writing). i like the idea but as i said, it is in the early stages. anywho--she asked everyone for their pics, bios, links to published work etc. when i was looking through the other people's bios many of them tout themselves as experts in xyz field. one in particular has roughly the same work experience i do, minus about 5 yrs, and she touts herself as an expert. i don't consider myself an expert in anything. how do people do that?

i love getting every last drop of something out of a container. it is almost like a mission for me. shampoo and conditioner bottles? bring it on. my kids can have 3-4 different bottles in their bathroom and claim they are empty. oh, i disagree. i can easily get another week's worth of product out of those containers. i am the same w/ dish soap (and any liquid soap), stuff in cans, etc. however, i cannot use liquid laundry detergent because i feel like i'm not getting everything out of there. strange no?

for the life of me i cannot properly whistle. the boy says i make a funny face when i try.

i think perhaps, besides getting work done peacefully, i might also start having more sex once the kids go back to school. having them home 24/7 has put a damper on nooners.

i am still reading two books (heart shaped box by joe hill and eat, pray, love). i am pacing myself on the latter because i was becoming a bit too obsessed about it. like thinking we needed to move to italy obsessed. like wondering how the fuck people actually get a gig writing a book and get paid to spend a year traveling to three different countries. sort of like that girl who blogged about julia child and got a book/movie deal. why the hell can't i fall into a piece of that?

speaking of blogging. i have been brooding over the idea of doing a public blog, like w/ my name on it and everything. more and more employers are asking if i have a website or blog, etc. in my head i'm screaming, uh, dude, i've been doing this for 5-6 years now, yeah, i know how. but then that would open up a whole can of worms i have no desire to open. but the more i think about the prospect the more i realize that i'm pretty much a wuss and would worry about putting my name on a blog. i mean because people might disagree w/ me. or heckle me. etc. or not read me. at least with this blog i have a handful of loyal (though quiet as of late) readers and i use it as an emotional waste dump.

the other night i caught the last 45 mins or so of purple rain. omg. it quite possibly could be labeled one of the worst movies ever, but the parts where prince performed were worth sitting through the other crap. i'm at least 20 years older than i was the first time i saw it and i still sat there and thought--dayum...he's sexy. sexy in a skinny boy/androgynous sort of way. and, i don't think he ever received the recognition he deserved for his work.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

we had joy we had fun

yesterday was one of the most perfect days we've had in a long time. the hubs took yesterday and today off--his first vacation days this summer. we'd been trying to think of something to do with the kids that was fun, more than going bowling or to the movies, since we didn't get to go to the beach or out of town this summer.

we drove two hours to the nc mountains to this old western-type "town" that has a steam locomotive, rides, gem mining and petting zoo. the price was about the same as to the local big amusement park, which is something the kids would also love, but we'd never been to this particular place before. the local big amusement park meant waiting at least an hour to ride one run, hot sun, crazy prices for stuff, etc. i thought this other place would be more fun--and i was right.

part of the drive up and back was along the blue ridge parkway, and, while the kids don't necessarily care about the scenery, the hubs and i loved it. christmas tree farms, mountains, just gorgeous. it was warm, but still noticeably cooler than here at home.

we rode a steam engine, twice. we got to ride almost a dozen rides, a lot. no standing in line. the ride times themselves even seemed longer. there was a chair lift to take you to the top of the mountain where there were more rides, gem mining and a petting zoo. the whole time i just couldn't believe how much fun we were having. how much fun the kids were having. and they said so. several times. we all had a blast. the kids were good. they didn't bicker. we all laughed. we enjoyed the scenery. reveled at the fun. i am in love with yesterday.

it was one of those days that you want to wrap up in a blanket and relive over and over again. such memories we made. it was a truly priceless day and i can't quit yammering about it : )

we all want to go again. my friend big t has been telling me for years that we should go there, i should have listened to her before. but really, regardless--everything came together and made the day perfect. driving home down the parkway it drizzled a little bit, i love rain anyway, but rain in the mountains? simply amazing. grand. fantastic. we got home around 8pm and we were all worn out, a little sunburned, though not so much that we're hurting.

today we just chilled out mostly, went out for lunch and that's about it. hard to top a day like yesterday. it made me so happy, to see my family enjoying themselves, being happy, living life. god, i just think i will explode w/ how great it was : )

Friday, August 13, 2010

this is why my brain hurts

this week has been...full. the first two days were tree removal-squirrel rescue stuff. throughout the week i have had freelance work. i am incredibly grateful for freelance work. however, trying to write/edit/be creative while the kids are sitting around bored and errands need running and meals cooked and a house needs cleaned is harder than you'd think. i have not mastered this particular juggling feat just yet.

and, this particular freelance job is not my norm. my friend big t sent one of her friends to me--the friend needs help putting together a newsletter. i fluffed and edited her copy w/out a problem. piecing together a newsletter template? yeah, graphic i am not. template savvy i am not. right about now i would love to gouge my eyes out w/ this thing.

but there is more. i've been hinting about how the hubs has been pushing me to decide exactly what kind of relationship i need to have w/ my parents to be able to live with myself. essentially he is incredibly worried that if/when something were to happen to them that i would forever be riddled w/ regrets and guilt, regardless of how i feel right this very moment. even though he was not arguing w/ his mom or brother when they died, he is still so full of remorse and regret over things he didn't do, time he didn't spend. he does not want this for me.

we have had this conversation off and on a lot over the last few months. i am still not able to answer his question of what i want/expect/envision from them. frankly, i've enjoyed these months of no contact/drama.

about a week ago my mom initiated contact by sending the kids cards w/ some money. there was money for them to blow and then money they were to give to us to spend on school stuff. that night the kids called and thanked her for their blow money and then the hubs talked to her. he said we were returning the school supply money. (we'd already gone school shopping and plus, we didn't want their money) she said don't. they talked. i won't bore you w/ the play by play but she basically said that as much as she wants to see the grandkids she wants relationships w/ her kids too. the hubs said that whatever relationship she and i ever decided to have is up to us but that he is done.

nudge nudge nudge from the hubs. i tried to write an email to my mom. i did a few drafts. none of them sounded right. probably because even now i do not know what i want, i only know what i don't want. i don't want them up my ass. i do not want her to think we are now bffs. i do not want to hang out with them. the only thing i am sure of is that we cannot rehash what has happened. we have done that too many times in the past and nothing ever comes of it. nothing gets resolved.

then mom emailed to see if she could take the kids to lunch and next thing i know i have said that the kids and i would go to lunch w/ her. and we did. today. it was fine. i told her ahead of time that none of our issues were to be discussed. that we were basically starting from square one. we'd each have to deal w/ our feelings/lingering issues/emotions on our own.

this evening the hubs asked me if i felt better. i can honestly say...no. i don't feel relieved or hopeful. i am not anticipating any new-found wonderful relationship. we had lunch. i am not not talking to her any more. but, i also did not accept the family invitation to dinner on sunday. too much too soon. i still do not know what will happen, how this will impact holiday celebrations, etc.

we went to lunch. that's it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

the highs and lows of nature

hey there! i have so many things to tell you but i'll start with the tree.

last thursday night we had a storm. nothing really out of the ordinary or remarkable, just a storm. friday the hubs went to work. i did some freelance work and then took the kids bowling. when we came home the huge bradford pear in our front yard was split in two and part of it was on the house. the tips of it were on the house. it covered bushes and part of the front porch and the tree tops were on the house.

the hubs came home, i called our homeowners insurance, etc. they told me to take pictures, have the tree removed and an adjuster would follow up (he'll be here this afternoon). yesterday the tree guy i had called a few months ago to give us an estimate on the tree out back that is covering the septic tank came out and gave us an estimate on the fallen tree. we decided to do both trees (he gave us a discount) and be done w/ it.
he and his crew showed up at 7am yesterday. yes, it is an ungodly hour to start a woodchipper and chainsaws, but it's about the only way to avoid the heat of the day and get any work done. they took the fallen tree down, chipped it up, etc. and moved on to the back tree.

there is a squirrel's nest in the back tree. we'd seen it. been watching the squirrel all year, much like we did w/ the robins in the spring. we had no idea it was the second nesting season for squirrels. it was amazing to watch trees being felled. i've never really watched it close up before. lots of work. lots of knowing just how to cut a limb. when the last limb came down the nest came down and mama squirrel's back was broken. i sobbed. we heard babies squeaking, loudly. omg. poor mama started crawling away, pulling her back legs. it was the most heart wrenching thing i've ever seen. the tree guys moved the nest, still unsure of how many babies there were, into a neighbor's tree so our dogs wouldn't get them. mama crawled into the neighbor's yard and died at the base of the tree by her nest. it was horrible. awful. i started trying to call around to wildlife rescuers.

the girl, whose bedroom window was inches away from the fallen tree in the front yard, slept through almost all of this. the woodchipper was outside her window and she slept through it. when she did get up and discovered the squirrel baby situation she went .....ah...batshit crazy is a good description. by this time i'd reached one rescuer and left a message w/ them. i was waiting for a call back. the girl wanted to do SOMETHING. help the babies. do SOMETHING. i had no idea what to do. the hubs had been here most of the time, watching the felling, and the squirrel situation. he eventually had to go to work. the girl fumed and glared. i was sick. really just wanted to curl into a bawl and sleep. the girl was persistant. she googled how to care for orphaned baby squirrels, much like she did with the baby birds this spring.
she got a cardboard box and an old blanket and put the three babies in it to keep warm. even though it felt like elebenty billion degrees outside, they were shivering. no hair. their eyes were still closed. she gave them water through a medicine dropper. finally, later in the afternoon a rehabber (that's what they call themselves) called me back and said she'd be happy to rescue the squirrels. she's been doing it for 14 years. she has an outdoor enclosure and already has three other babies she's caring for. she explained that this summer batch of babies usually stays in the nest w/ the mom until spring so she would winter over the babies and release them back into the wild come spring. whew.

two boys, one girl, they're about 3 weeks old

we met her w/ the box of squirrels and turned them over to her. the girl was beaming. she was so proud, as she should be. it is not that the hubs and i didn't want to help, but honestly i had no idea what to do other than make phone calls. the girl is a doer. she is persistant. she apologized for being so hateful and ugly earlier, before we put the squirrels in the box.

it still breaks my heart to think of the mama squirrel. the hubs got her out of the neighbor's yard and buried her.

i miss our backyard tree. we still have tons of trees out there, but.....the yard has a different feel to it now. i miss our tree.

we will have to do some reworking of the yard. the dog kennel was under that tree. i didn't realize just how much shade it provided. the tree guy said it was probably 30+yrs old, older than the house. seems shortsited for a builder to put a septic tank so close to such a tree.

we'll miss this tree. that's the dog kennel under the tree, our house is out of the shot to the left, the checkerboard pavers are at the edge of our patio.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

hot and sticky

...and not in any good way. the humidity is driving me insane. seriously makes me want to move to alaska.

things have been a bit hectic i suppose. my freelance work has picked up this week and that is all well and good but limits my ability to do anything w/ the kids. the same kids who are bored out of their minds. the boy has gone over to a friend's house and the girl is lying on the couch reading. she hasn't seen a friend all summer long--but that is a whole post unto itself.

the hubs is back on this kick about what i'm going to do about my folks. i find it touching and admirable that his goal in this is that i not have regrets if/when something happens to them and i haven't reconciled w/ them. knowing how he feels about them and what he thinks of them and how he could go the rest of his life w/out seeing/speaking to them and at the same time realizing that if i did the same i would regret it once they were gone amazes me.

i grasp what he is saying. i even understand that i probably would have regrets if something happened and i hadn't found peace before then. last night i sat down and tried to compose an email to my mom. it sounded flat and heartless. i don't know how to say what i want to say w/out sounding that way. i don't think we need to discuss any of the issues any more--we've tried that time and time again over the years and it never works or changes anything and everyone just ends up venting. it changes nothing. i don't know what type of relationship i want w/ them. i know i do not want to spend a lot of time w/ them. i know that i will have my guard up. i know that i don't trust them or like them.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

screaming in my head

omfg. this morning i am working on some freelance jobs. i have told my children i am working on some WORK. i have done this before. you would think a 13 yr old and a 10 yr old would realize that when someone looks intense and is typing and working that they would keep their distance.

but nooooooooo. i am sitting w/ my laptop at the kitchen table. the girl has the hubs' laptop right beside me and every five minutes she says, hey, listen to this. OMG really??? the boy keeps asking what we are going to do today. uh, hello. i am WORKING. i am doing something to make money. leave me alone for just a bit please!

kids up your ass is not conducive to working. also, trying to quit smoking is not conducive to writing. holy hell. i didn't have one cigarette yesterday. not one. i just had one 30 minutes ago.

there are other things going on, but i'm not in the best blogging frame of mind right now. the luau we had saturday went really well, at least i think so. i think people had fun. it had rained and was overcast all day but it quit raining long enough in the evening/night for the hubs to light his beloved tiki torches and for us to hang out outside a little. the kids swam. adult beverages were consumed. my kitchen floor was stickier than fly paper the next morning. soooo gross. i assume it was from the spilled adult beverages.