Insert witty title here

So, um, have you noticed that I'm not doing well at blogging lately? I'm not the world's best writer and it takes me forever to come up with an idea of what to go on about and then I have to actually remove the idea from my brain and move it to my fingers so it can be disposed of on this here little blog.

My days have been filled with not exercising as much as I'd like and stressing about Derick leaving me and the holidays and a bunch of random stuff that I shouldn't even worry about. So by the time I sit at a computer all I really want to do is read other people's well written blogs and leave unwitty like comments.

In the spirit of being even more lame I fully intend on using bullets. In no particular order...

  • Derick and I fly out on the 30Th which is exactly 7 days from today. He's been un-enrolled from the school here and enrolled at his new school in Maryland. He's started a massive cleaning effort of his room because I refuse to let him leave me for possibly ever and leave his room looking like it could qualify for a disaster zone and smelling equally gross. I cried for days over him leaving to live with his dad and I'm sure I will cry some more tears but for now I'm focusing on the positive.
  • On to the positive. I'm potentially going to get to meet a few people that I've known via the Internets for years so I'm excited about that. I also might get to see another blogger that I haven't seen since BlogHer.
  • I made the vegan cornbread stuffing that was made for the Foo Fighters on Top Chef a few weeks ago. Let's just say that I may have eaten 1/2 of if in one sitting it was that good. (The recipe is worded wrong if anyone feels the need to make this, and you SHOULD. It should say something simple like '6 vegan cornbread muffins'. Also, I used my favorite vegan cornbread recipe and it worked like a dream.)
  • Speaking of cooking. I made the tastiest oatmeal pumpkin cookies last night. Derick had a friend spending the night last night and when I got up this morning I discovered they had eaten 2 dozen of them all by themselves. I intend on making these again and mailing them to Derick.
  • Oh! More cooking. OK, it wasn't really cooking, but it did involve cookie sheets and a microwave and chocolate. My lovely friend, Danielle, helped me make dozens of peanut butter cups. Unfortunately I ate all of mine in less than 2 days. Make these and then tell me what you think.
  • I know it's the holidays and I'm "supposed" to be buying for others but I was all done with the others so I bought some goodies for me. This top looks much better on me than the model, I think. I got it in this plum color and black. I just fell in love with this Nine West bag in Nero. It's been hard to find well made, non-leather bags and I just love this one. I just couldn't resist getting this one too in the Nero color.
  • I still love my iPhone. I think I've told everyone that it's the best relationship I've ever had. Unlike most of the men I've dated (or been married to) it's reliable, it never lets me down and it never talks back.
  • Jackson is quite possible the most spoiled almost 2-year-old I've ever known. For Christmas he's getting a tricycle, a swing set, a slide, TONS of toys and clothes, an Elmo Live and I'm sure many other things I don't know about. I stopped buying him stuff when I heard what the Grandparents were getting him.
  • After this holiday, Derick will have ANOTHER gaming system that he desperately NEEDS. (His words, obviously.) My children never want for anything and I'm not sure if that's a good thing.
  • I think I won't be asking my cleaning lady to come back. Every time she leaves she makes me feel like I'm living in squalor. There's a reason I pay you! And it's no so you can make me feel bad. Hell, I even clean before she comes!
  • I'm not looking forward to tax season. We are short one person this year and that means that I will have to make up for it or everyone will suffer. I intended to not work as much so I could spend more time at home with Jackson but now that won't happen and I'm really bummed about it.
  • I finally got my entire bedding set for my bedroom makeover. I think I've found the paint I will be using and I'd love to get Flor tiles for the rug. It's still a work in progress, but it's coming along nicely.
  • And finally. Last night I didn't sleep well because my dog, Emma, decided that she could only sleep if she was curled into the tightest little ball and taking up my side of the bed. I swear she was slowly pushing me off the bed to get to my pillow.


Who needs a matching tree? Not me.

A lot of people decorate their Christmas trees in themes. Red/green themes, Charlie Brown themes, pink/black themes, candy cane themes, etc... I think it's such a cute idea but I could never do it with my Christmas tree. My tree is a cornucopia of mismatched ornaments that span over 30 years. None of them go together and some are missing pieces. There are ornaments I can't remember where they came from and others I have vivid memories of their origins. I have a few favorite ornaments that make me smile every time I unwrap them from their protective encasing every Christmas. It feels like the holiday season when I see these.

It's a bit fuzzy, I know. Ignore my lack of photography skillz. They are obviously lacking. I love how Derick has his hands shoved into his armpits.

Ah Strawberry Shortcake! Maybe my mom can shed some light on this ornament. It's obviously handmade and not a mass produced ornament. I just love her. I used to have all sorts of Strawberry Shortcake things when I was a kid. I specifically remember having a stuffed doll that smelled like strawberries. I'm sure I was inhaling some toxic chemical that has hampered my logical thinking in my later years, but boy did I love that doll.

One of my new favorites. I just adore personalized ornaments and I was thrilled when I got this one that commemorates Jackson's birthday. The resemblance is there, too. He's a little chubby kid like this snowman.

This ornament is so delicate and lovely. Derick's first Christmas was celebrated in 1995 and to mark that occasion my mom got him this gorgeous Wedgwood ornament. It's decorated on both sides and it's just so lovely. I look forward to Derick inheriting this to hang on his tree someday.

It's tough to see but the date on this ornament says "1977". This is my very first ornament. It's seen some wear over the years but it's held up quite nicely. I love this ornament so much.

My oriental Santa. I don't know why, but his eyes remind me of oriental eyes. I just love this Santa. This dates from the mid 80's.

I remember, amazingly, when I got this ornament. I was a teenager and it was one of my last Christmas' that I didn't have to drive to my parent's house. My mom gave this to me as my first ornament to keep and take with me someday. Why McDonald's french fries, I don't know. But I think it's cute.

Derick on a role of toilet paper! It's seen some tough times but this is an cardboard tube with batting and glitter over the top. His hands were traced and glued to the sides and he has a shiny pipe cleaner over the picture of his head to make an angel. Love!

Another Wedgwood ornament. It has no particular significance other than I think it's precious.

Who doesn't love a disco ball for an ornament?

It's not an ornament but I treasure these. Santa's boots that my mom made. On the bottom of one of the boots it says "LR 68". My mom's initials from 1968. When I grabbed these from the box a few weeks ago, I handed them to Derick and told him to pretend that these were the holy grail and be extra SUPER careful with them. (My Christmas card stack is in the background.)

Who needs a fancy stocking? Not when I have my old felt one from when I was a kid.

And finally, one of my Christmas cards (made by my sweet friend Abbie). Happy holidays everyone, whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or nothing at all. May your season be bright and full of love.


Family and friends and big changes.

When I was pregnant with Jackson I found a group of lovely women who were pregnant also, with their babies due around the same time. Over the last few years we've supported each other through deaths, births, love lost and found, new home purchases, job losses and recipe success'. We share the mundane and the mighty with each other. We share pictures and the stories of our lives. We mail each other cards and make the occasional phone call and sometimes even pay each other a visit. I've had the pleasure of meeting many of these women face to face and meeting their families and they've met mine. In just a few short weeks I hope to meet two more mommas from my mom's online group and I'm excited and nervous and hopeful that they will accept me and help to comfort me in my time of need. I'll be in Maryland for a few days and I never thought I'd ever be going there and I'll be needing all the support I can get.

You see, my teenager, Derick, has decided to move in with his dad. Since his dad lives over 1,000 miles away I'm completely heartbroken and will need all the support I can get. One of my few silver linings will be those mommas that I will get to meet while I'm far away from home. While I'm obsessing over the fact that I won't be able to turn the corner into the living room and see my oldest son lounging on the sofa wrapped in his ugly, but soft brown blanket that used to be his Great Grandpa's, I know that I can get a hug or two and a few laughs to carry me through.

I've had my son for the better part of his 13 years and I know there comes a time when a son needs his dad and vice versa, I just didn't think that time would come so soon. The need is there for a change and this change will be the best thing, I hope.

I have fears and worries and unnecessary scenarios that run through my head. I worry that my youngest son will forget his older brother. I worry that I'll never have both my boys at home, where they belong, together permanently and not just during a mandatory 2 week visit. I worry that my oldest son will never come home again for good. That he will choose his dad over me forever. See? Unnecessary worries. My head and heart are at war right now and I'm working on making them cooperate and make peace with each other. But man, it sure is tough.

I'm so fortunate to have the parents I do during this time. The support they've shown (and always have shown) carries me through the dark fog. The reason I'm able to take my son to his dad is because of the generosity of my mom and dad. If you ever need a set of caring, loving, generous parents I might consider loaning them out for a short time. They really are my rock. And I hope that in some small way that I am my oldest son's rock. I hope. Even if I am a distant rock.


Online Dating distasters

No, I'm not dating. I have no hopes to be anytime soon, but I was talking about online dating with Kristin last week and lamenting about some of my online dating disasters. She's venturing out there in the land of the Internet to find love and I've done that too with zero success. But it sure makes for some good stories. Here are my top three worst online dating adventures.

I met a charming man in downtown Fort Worth to have dinner at a local bar/restaurant. He drove a really nice car, was exceedingly handsome and had a really good job. He was a little older than me but I overlooked it because he was just so sweet. I still remember the shoes I wore that night, baby pink, kitten heel, sling back shoes. I still have them in my closet. Anyway, this man was polite and seemed to be someone I could really spend some serious time with. We sat down to dinner and made small talk about our jobs and children (he had none) and our pets. He asked if I wanted to see a picture of his dog and of course I said yes. He pulled his wallet out of his back pocket and showed me a picture that he carried with him at all times. I remember thinking how sweet it was that he loved his dog so much. That shows character, to me. After I said all the right things about his cute pup I gave him the picture back and I wrongly assumed the picture would be placed back into his wallet and we'd move on to other things. He gently placed this picture of his beloved dog on the table and proceeded to talk to the picture during our entire dinner conversation.

Crazy dog guy: "Oh, little princess, you are sooooooooo cute! Who's daddy's girl? You're daddy's girl!"

Me: ????

Needless to say I never went out with him or his dog again.


The next disaster date actually took time to turn into a disaster. I had been on three dates with this man, he had met my family and my son. I'd even made out with him twice. (Hey, no judging!) I found him attractive and a good dad to his two children from what he'd told me. He had a fairly good job in a good field and I was hopeful that our relationship was growing. We had made plans to go on a 4Th date and I was really looking forward to it. The 4Th date's a big deal, right? Hours before we were to meet I got a phone call from him:

Dude, who's an idiot: Hey, I've got to cancel for tonight, I need to meet Mary.

Me: Huh? Mary?

DWAI: Yea, Mary Jane, we have a date.

Me: Who's Mary Jane?

DWAI: You know. Mary Jane.

Me: Wait. You mean like pot? You are cancelling our date to get pot?

DWAI: Don't judge me, you don't even know me.

Me: Later, jackass.

The next day I got an e-mail from him that said that I shouldn't judge him just because he has children and smoked a little pot now and then. I wrote him back and told him it was OK, I didn't mind getting cancelled on in place of getting DRUGS.


And now for my last online dating disaster. I swear, people, I cannot even make this shit up if I tried.

I'd talked to "Jeff" a few time on the phone to hammer out the details of our first date. It annoyed me that I was always on speaker phone when I talked to him, but I didn't make that my deal breaker because that would be a petty reason. We decided to meet in downtown Fort Worth to get dinner and head over to the Bass Performance hall to see a musical that was playing. I'm cultured enough to agree to that and I was looking forward to it. As I made my way down the long city block Jeff called me on my cell phone and asked if I was almost there and I told him I was about to cross such-and-such street and I'd be there in just a minute. He told me he was at the same intersection but across the street from me. I took inventory of the people across the street to check him out at a distance first. I saw a man in a wheelchair, another man walking briskly in the wrong direction and a woman waiting to cross the street. I was sure Jeff was confused, or maybe I was, as to where we were supposed to meet. That was until the man in the wheelchair smiled a big smile at me and called out my name. I crossed the street, still dumbfounded and I decided that I would proceed with my date. It was the least I could do, or so I thought. I had no idea that I'd be cutting his food into tiny pieces, or pouring his drink into a special cup that he could use. I didn't realize that we would get handicapped seating for our show or that it would dawn on me midway through the show that he never needed to go to the restroom. He was a quadriplegic (due to a childhood accident) and failed to tell me. Now I knew why I was always on speaker phone and it annoyed me that I'd be lied to by omission. As kind and interesting he was I just couldn't fathom caring for someone the way he needed to be cared for. I had a 5-year-old at the time. He was supremely angry when I told him I just couldn't date him. As if.

Jeff was my last online dating experience and will likely be my last. I fully intend on meeting someone in person at a local drug free rally for cat lovers who don't carry photos of their cats with them.

Oh, also, these were my top three dating disasters. But also, they were my ONLY online dating experiences. I have awful luck apparently.

I'd love to hear your online dating disasters. Please tell me I'm not the only one.


It's good to be Queen

Exercise has always been one of those things that I know I should do but I've never really been motivated to do it. Sure I've joined my share of gyms and purchased a decent amount of workout gear. I've made the effort to exercise for a week or two and then life always seems to get in the way. Or maybe I get in my own way. That's probably more like it. We are our own worst enemies, aren't we?

Something shifted a few months ago and I stopped getting in my own way. I stopped making excuses for why I couldn't get the exercise I knew I needed. I still have days when I lace up my shoes a little slower than usual and I sometimes still reduce the speed on the treadmill even though I know I am capable of much more. But most days I work out everyday. I started running not long ago and the first time I ran I made it a quarter of a mile before I thought I might pass out. Just last Sunday I ran almost 2 and a half miles and I probably could have kept going if I wouldn't have needed to be somewhere.

The first time I ran an entire mile without stopping tears actually came to my eyes because I had done it! Even in high school gym I walked after barely an eighth of a mile. It just wasn't important to me then. It's still not the act of running itself that's important, it the act of pushing myself and taking care of the only body I have. I only get this one shot to take care of this body that takes care of me and I want it to last a long long time.

Yesterday I was rewarded for all the hard work and perseverance I've put forth. At my gym the person who comes to workout the most in each month is crowned "Queen of the Gym". Last night I was give a dozen roses, a certificate for a free one hour massage, 2 free personal training sessions and my name prominently displayed on my very own locker. In the middle of my workout I was taken to the front of the gym, made to wear a tiara and a feather boa while it was announced to the whole place that I was the Queen. My friend, Debi, even brought her camera to take pictures because I think she knew what a big deal it was for me.

Sure, it sounds hokey to some, but it was positive proof that my hard work is paying off. When the gym owner told me I had made it this month I swelled with pride and I proved to myself that I could do it, all it took was a little pushing myself out of my own way.



My parents are sort of extravagant with the new fangled technology things they get. My mom got a digital camera when they were fairly new and spent a small fortune. My dad has a thing for these new blue ray players now. I'm still not entirely sure what a blue ray player is besides to play a movie. I have been known to splurge on new technology from time to time, too. I remember my first DVD player, it cost me well over $200. The one in my living room now? DVD/VCR combo that cost maybe $50.

The one item I just cannot justify spending money on right now is a wall mounted plasma television. Boy how I drool when I see them and I just want to sell my first born (and second if need be) to obtain such a non bulky piece of technology. The price is what keeps me far far away from children's black market. (And also maybe the love of my children.)

But, people, guess what. I will be getting a wall mounted plasma television on my very own living room wall any day now! As I said just a few paragraphs ago, the parental unit loves the new fancy technology so they are replacing there barely 3 years old plasma television with a fancier, larger television. I have no idea the size, 40 inches? 36? It's doesn't matter because I love that television. I look forward to seeing it hang on the wall in all it's (FREE!!!) glory.

Here's my dilemma, though. I am getting rid of the television that I currently have which means that the stand that the television sits on must go to. My DVR box, DVD/VCR and tuner will have no home. And since I'm on a budget I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a piece of furniture. Since it won't even hold a television it's only requirement is that it must look nice and hold the above items.

As I was searching for a style I liked I found my dream cabinet/used to be a dresser.

This is the before picture.

And after. It's glorious, no?

I realize it's not for everyone, but it's definitely for me. I just love how the old is new again and it's just so lovely. I'm pretty sure I've convinced my dad to help me do this project. I'm on the hunt for a cheap solid wood dresser/buffet to convert into an awesome media cabinet. I love the gorgeous shade of blue and who knows, I might use a similar color. I'm not a dumpster diver, but maybe now would be a good time to start?


These go to eleven*

My son, Jackson, is very loud. REALLY LOUD. So loud that the caps lock doesn't do him justice. He's found his vocal cords and is intent on breaking them in, mostly when we are at the grocery store or praying before Thanksgiving dinner.

I almost abandoned my grocery cart the other day because he was yelling "RAPES, RAPES!!" as loud as he could. You see, he hasn't gotten down the 'g' sound so grapes turn into rapes and it's all quite embarrassing. Even more so because people within 1,000 feet can clearly hear his every word.

Sure, the people smile and chuckle and give me a knowing look as if to say, "I'm a mom (or dad), I remember. No need to blush". Even so, my face turns a lovely shade of horrified and I pick up the pace a little faster to hurry and get back into the comfort of the car so then at least the talking loudly will be contained somewhat.

Honestly I never really paid much attention to my youngest offspring's exceptionally exceptional lung capacity until a friend pointed it out. I just chalked it up to being a toddler quickly approaching the terrible two's. And now I can't help but notice. Every time I would try and figure out where he got to be so loud I just couldn't think of anything that made any sense. Until I really stopped be ridiculous and knew exactly where he got his pipes from.

My family, well, we are a loud bunch of people. My immediate family is very small but if you could only hear us and not see us you'd think we had 100 people all crammed into a room. We talk loud, we talk over each other, we argue about stupid things, there's always someone farting or burping and always someone (my mother) being horrified (loudly of course) at every get together.

When I was younger I would turn that same shade of horrified when I went out with my family because lordy, do they have to be so loud? Does someone always have to laugh full on belly laughs at a joke and call attention to us? Really, did I have to endure another loud evening? I received a few knowing glaces from other teenagers and younger people in those days. They must have felt my pain. I can only assume that my children will someday be embarrassed at the level of loudness we have.

I have a loud family and a loud kid and now that I'm old enough to get over myself I realize that I, too, am loud. I talk to much and too fast and about things that don't make any sense. I laugh when someone farts at the dinner table and I start the stupid arguments and I think I've even yelled in the grocery store to my oldest son. I often have full on belly laughs complete with throwing my head back and laughing louder than your average human being. And boy do I love it. I wouldn't trade my loud kid or family for the most demure, quite, respectful family on the planet. Bring on the loud, I say.


*Gold star if you know where this quote came from.


The intention was there

I wrote this longish post about what I was thankful for last week and I intended on tweaking it and adding to it because it was embarrassingly short considering all the things I am really thankful for and then, well, life got in the way. OK, really having an iPhone got in the way. My brother did something to my phone called "jail breaking" and well now I have a TON more things I can do and I just couldn't stop for a minute to post my latest blog. Lame, I'm aware. But I just can't stop!


This year for Black Friday I choose to wake up at 8am and instead of shopping for things no one probably even wanted I participated in a "turkey burner" that my gym hosted. One of the instructors (my favorite one) did a 3 hour class that you could do all of or part of. I jumped in at 9:30 and last the rest of the 2 hours. I am still sore from the ass kicking but it was so fun.

Speaking of exercise. I weighed myself the other day and I've gained 4 pounds in a month. WHAT THE HELL PEOPLE. I have only missed 3 days of working out in that month and yes I know, muscle weighs more than fat, but this is so annoying. Yes my jeans fit better and I'm pretty sure I've lost some inches, but it sure would be nice if the scale would reflect this. I go in for my once a month measurements sometime this week and I'm liable to go mental if the inches haven't gone down.


Tax season starts in about 1 1/2 months and every year I dread it. But this year I don't think I will dread it as much. I'm going to make it a point to find time to exercise and keep up my workout routine as best I can and also make the extra effort to be home in the evenings as much as possible to do mommy things for my boys. As of now there will be one less person working at our office so I'm not exactly sure how that will work but I determined to not lose my life so I can make a few extra dollars. Not that the extra dollars aren't important, but I think I do OK even when I'm not killing myself working all day everyday.


Tonight I intend on lugging the tree and ornaments from the attic and decking the halls. I'm not quite in the Christmas spirit yet, but my delightfully colorful neighborhood tells me otherwise. I suppose I will also listen to some Christmas music also. My favorite Christmas music is the old vinyl record of Alvin and The Chipmunks, it's a classic and it makes me laugh. I also might open the container of soy eggnog that I got a few weeks ago, I may need to get some rum today, though. Or whatever you put in eggnog.


Here's to a safe and happy holiday season to everyone. May all your wishes come true and may you and your be safe and happy.