Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thoughts on the New Year

There's just something about new beginnings. Even though it's just another day, even though it's not a beginning but just a continuation, the New Year does make me feel fresh. Am I the only one who wishes I could package up the feelings and mistakes of the year behind and truly have a fresh start? If only things were that simple...

I knew this year would come. I knew this year of my life was approaching. I am feeling antsy. I am unsatisfied with myself. I am nowhere near content. I have so many changes to make within me that I don't know where to start. So, as far as resolutions go, I think I'll fore go the list of 47,382 things I need to do or change. I think I will focus this year on figuring out who I'd like to be.

It just seems the bulk of my life has been spent living around others' ideas and needs. I feel in recent years I have lost so much of myself - of my spirit - and I want to find a way to get it back. I want to do the things that matter most to me. I want to instill more value in my children's lives. I want to set a better example for my kids. I want to be a better mother. I want to make decisions for myself and stick to them. But most importantly, I need the courage and the energy to make some big changes in my life. And I am so doubtful in my competence. Isn't that horrible? Can I really be the person I imagined I would be so many years ago?

So, anyways - new beginnings. Fresh start. Wipe the slate clean. Roll up my sleeves and get busy on myself. I have a lot of work to do this year. Well, it is still next year right now, but you know what I mean.

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Our Christmas

Well, I can kind of breathe a little after a steroid shot yesterday and another round of antibiotics. So I thought it safe to post about our Christmas festivities around here.

On Christmas Eve, my personal tradition is to go to my grandmother's house. I was especially looking forward to it this year I guess mainly because I really do expect it to be her last. I just can't see her making it another year. Of course, I have said this before, and she has proven me wrong, but I just have a feeling. I was a little disappointed this year. My grandmother was really not feeling well, and she just looked so bad (and has been looking increasingly worse over the last few months). It was just hard to look around and look at her and her house and everything and realize it will never be the way it was again. Never. She will not be restored in this world to her place of health and vitality. I will never experience a turkey and dressing holiday again with her like I remember. But I was glad to be there, and I hope selfishly that we have many more of these left. But I know we don't.

When we got back home, the kids got bathed and we waited on Santa's drive by in the Alabaster firetruck. It is an annual tradition in our little town that Santa visits every neighborhood at some point in the day on Christmas Eve riding atop a city fire truck. It works out brilliantly for us as our location is typically one of the absolute last stops of the day (it was around 8:30 pm this year), and it is a great way to convince the kids it's time to go to bed. Last year was the first year they both understood what was going on, and this year was even better for Madalyn. She kept telling us all, "Merry Christmas!" Just randomly, she would call our names and tell us. It was so sweet and pure and I want to remember her spirit forever this year.

We got the kids to bed and began our duties which should have been fairly easy this year except for my little "I can't breathe" problem. But we got it all done and in the bed by 11:30 none the less. We also had specifically instructed David that he should not get out of bed until 6:30 in the morning. I even went so far as to give him my cell phone to keep in the bed so that he could monitor the time. And right on the nose, he woke us up ready to check out his stuff.

They had a ball. They had just enough. Granted, they didn't get everything they wanted, but I heard no complaints. Well, Madalyn did say, "Where is my doggie that rolls over?" But once she saw the doggie that Santa had brought her and what he could do, she was thrilled. I even double checked with her that night and she admitted that she liked him better than doggie that just rolls over. Phew.

We went to Scott's parent's house for Christmas dinner and visiting. I was pretty much miserable all day until I got home and saline flushed my nose and did some Dristan and opened the air flow. I am telling you, I am a mess right now. I have been horribly ill today, and in fact, just about an hour ago, I completely lost it with Madalyn and slammed a door and everything. Pretty ugly sight. Good thing there are no hidden cameras around here, or at least I hope there aren't. I just need some rest, and the kids don't understand. And I have no help to entertain them. Just going it alone, as usual. Things just seem a little bleak right now, but I am hoping that once I really get my feet back under me, I will perk up. I just don't think I understood how exhausted I have been until the past two days. I am utterly worn out.

But I will bounce back. I always do. I am supermom, after all. I can do everything. Everything. Even when I can't breathe, it all still gets done.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Who needs oxygen anyway?

For the past month and a half now, I have been sick. Literally. I came home from my trip to Florida ill, and though I have had the occasional day here or there that I have felt better, I have basically felt like crap the rest of the time.

I am over the strep, and now I cannot breathe. At all. Through either side of the nose. Today, I had a good day and was able to breathe through the right nostril almost all day. Now they are both clogged again and I am in desperate need of air.

There's something about when you can't breathe. You just keep trying. Try to inhale through the nostrils, no success, two seconds pass, and try again. Nope. Still can't. Repeat every two seconds.

I am at my wits end. Literally, I am hanging off the edge of my wits and trying to stay sane and manage two hyperactive children on Christmas vacation. I keep thinking, "What can I gleam from this experience? What lesson can I learn from all this feeling like crap day after day after day?" I still don't know the answer, but I am sure there is one in there. Somewhere. Maybe once the mucous clears and I am back at normal oxygen levels again I will be able to share the lesson learned. Until then, I remain irritated and on the verge of tears all the time. I must not cry, however. I think we all know that will only make the breathing issue worse.

I think I may visit the doc-in-a-box AGAIN tomorrow morning. With green stuff coming out every pore in my upper body and this congestion that just won't go away, I am ready to have some relief. Even if that means paying another co-pay and having another shot. I just want to breathe again.

I will post about our Christmas when I can inhale through both nostrils. At the same time, mind you.

Monday, December 22, 2008

In the nick of time...

Just in the nick of time, I am feeling myself again!! Boy, oh boy, what a wretched time to come down with anything. For now, the two remaining Blairs are symptom free and will hopefully remain that way. Keeping all fingers crossed for that.

Today, we visited Santa at the local mall. Of course, we waited in line for an hour and a half. In that time, my belief that there really are all kinds of people in the world was confirmed. And I mean we saw them ALL today at the mall. If I had had the guts, I would have taken photos of some of them to share. One particular family sticks out in my mind the most. Well, it was a mom and three kids - two girls and one boy. They were dressed to coordinate (of course - which there is nothing wrong with matching) and the poor little girls had the largest hair bows I have ever seen in my life. THE LARGEST. And they didn't have just one - they each had one on either side of the head. I kinda stared for a minute trying to determine if it was some sort of headband. But, no. It was large bows. On both sides. The youngest was about Madalyn's age and the bows just consumed her head. David noticed them and said to me, "That looks weird." I just pretended not to hear him so as not to have to respond. Because, I will have to agree with him. It definitely looked weird.

The people in front of me were just too funny. The mom clearly believed that her three girls were the best things in the world and that she was the next best thing because she had brought them into the world. You know the type - the mom that enjoys telling everyone around her without solicitation how close in age her kids are as though she expects and award or something. Three girls five and under. I really don't have an award to give you, ma'am. But I will give you my condolences. Not sympathy, however, because we all know how they get here and how to prevent it. And I think my kids are the best and cutest things in the world, too, but I am smart enough to know that not everyone will agree with me and want to see all their tricks and how they can wave and say, "Hey." Though it was impressive, and I smiled and seemed interested as I always do in these type situations.

And there we were - the little Blairs. My little threesome - Crazy Mama, David, and Madalyn. They were not all cutesy and matchy-matchy. David had on a green shirt and Madalyn had on a red one. Oh, and no bow today. But they both had their lists and they wanted to give them to Santa. Of course Madalyn's was insane looking, but she knew exactly what it said. "A doggy that rolls over" is the must have item this year. So I think the order has been put in for something quite similar - one that barks and walks and does other stuff. And, well, David's list has been ever changing. Like, by the minute it changes. So I really don't know what to think about him and what he wants. But I don't think he will disappointed on Christmas morning. At least, I hope not. I mean, what do you do when at three days before Christmas he is naming different stuff that is impossible to get? We'll just risk disappointment, I guess.

I don't remember ever feeling disappointed at Christmas as a child. Oh, the excitement. No school. Lots of candy and cookies and goodies. Family and friends. And stuff. New stuff. Presents. Things you just don't get to have all year 'round.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Yesterday, my throat began to hurt. By bedtime, I had the works - sore throat, fever, chills. This morning, I visited the local American Family Care, otherwise known as doc-in-a-box.

Yep. I have strep.

Thank you, David, for that early Christmas gift. I don't get it; David has had strep like four times before, and I have not gotten sick. What did I do different this time?

So, no big deal. Nothing a little shot of antibiotic won't cure. Hopefully I will be feeling better by day's end. They gave me rocephin which I know is pretty strong stuff. Now I will fret for the next several days about the well being of the other two occupants of this household.

One statement on being a mom and being sick - it really sucks. You would think that since David just had strep a few short days ago that he would remember feeling bad. But, no. He has pouted about not being able to play outside longer than he did. That's right - we came home from the doctor and the neighbor was outside, so we stayed out and played for almost an hour. Despite the fact I wasn't feeling well. Despite the fact I just wanted to curl up on the couch with a blanket. But he didn't think about any of that. All he cared about was that he didn't get to stay out until he was ready to come in. I am not saying I enjoy my children being sick, so please do not take this the wrong way, but it sure is easier when they don't feel well than when I don't feel well. Because when mama doesn't feel well, she is still expected to be mama with all the food fixing, snack getting, outside playing stuff no matter how crappy she feels. But when one of the kids isn't feeling well, they get to lay in their bed or on the couch and watch whatever they want on TV and drink all the Sprite in the house. Just doesn't seem right.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

All Partied Out

Saturday night: Adult Christmas party with Dirty Santa gift swap, lots of food, and good ole' Christmas spirits - lots o' fun for all

Today, 11:00 am: Preschool party with gingerbread men, pigs-in-a-blanket, Doritoes, and birthday cake for Baby Jesus (yes - we really do have a cake and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus at our preschool which is weird to me but I just do as I am told) - lots o' fun for the preschoolers

Today, 1:00 pm: 2nd grade party with gingerbread houses made from graham crackers, chips and dip, and plenty enough M&M's for an entire country - lots o' fun for the second graders (and Madalyn, too)

I am one exhausted party animal. I don't think I could attend or assist with another Christmas party if my life depended on it. Do not ask me to come up with an idea for a craft. Please do not ask me to bake any cookies. I do not want to see another goodie bag or ginger-anything for another year. Please.

Now that today is out of the way, hopefully I can sit back and relax and watch Christmas blur by. Oh, never mind. I have to pick up last minute gifts and run around from place to place spreading my delightful Christmas cheer with every member of every family we are any way affiliated.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Seriously, this may very well be my last post before the jolly old soul visits, because things promise to become even more hectic next week. So to all my little bloggy friends both new and old, Merry Christmas! I hope we all enjoy this wonderful time of year with our children because that seems to be where the true fun lies.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

In response...

In response to a comment left on Erika's blog after her confessions of her "dream-boy", the person from my past that I dream about is Wade. He was my biggest crush all through elementary school, he broke my heart in the ninth grade, and then his death really freaked me out (as it did most of us, I would assume). It is weird dreaming about him mostly because he is no longer alive. Sometimes in my dreams, he is alive, and I try to make sense of him being here again. Sometimes we are young again. And then sometimes, he is just there. You all know how dreams are - they are so strange and weird and don't seem to make any sense at all.

For a period of a few months, Wade was in my dreams several times a week. I know it sounds weird or creepy, but I just kept thinking it meant something but I couldn't quite put my hands on it. Around the same time, a song by Nickelback was popular and on the radio all the time - "Goodbye" is the title I think. And the song itself just reminds me so much of high school and I kept dreaming about Wade that died in high school, and it just seemed so strange. For some reason, the thought came over me that I still had notes from our little two day romance when I was in the ninth grade. I found them and looked up his mother's address and wrote to her to see if she would like to have them. Because I had held onto those notes all that time, and though they did mean something to me at some point, I guess, their importance had diminished. Since I had become a mother, I could see how the little things like just seeing his personality through a note would be priceless to her. I was glad when she responded and wanted them.

She has no idea what journey those notes had taken. My lovely ex-husband (when we were dating) found a bunch of my stuff from high school and went through it all and made me throw a ton of it away. First, I can't believe I allowed someone to tell me I needed to throw away all my memories. Second, I can't believe I married someone who would even dream of demanding the person he loved to throw away such precious things. And third, and most importantly, I refused to throw away the notes from Wade. Then factor in all the times I moved - I can count five times - and the fact that I never lost them or threw them out myself. I just never could part with them. And I am so glad I never did because I was able to give them back to the one person who would cherish them like no other - his mother.

Okay. So that was weird to talk about. But that's my deal - it's not the he was creepy, but it is creepy to dream about him. And I still dream about him from time to time. But not nearly as much as Erika dreams about Lee Fletcher....

Monday, December 15, 2008

Annual Christmas Illness

It has become an annual Christmas tradition since our exposure to the public school system - Strep throat. This year we added another element - Scarlet Fever. How nice.

I was so in denial on Saturday about the cause of David's illness. Perhaps it was all the snot that threw me off. Perhaps it was the fact he didn't have the little red dots in the back of his throat and in the roof of his mouth his doctor had pointed out to me each previous diagnosis. Perhaps I just believed that we would make it through this Christmas season (and my Christmas party) without the dreaded streptococcus infection. No such luck, indeed. David stayed home on Saturday (but I sent Madalyn on to Gammie's house) and he was asleep by 8:15. We never even knew he was here.

Last night, he started complaining about itching and I looked over his body to try to see what was going on. And there it was - little red bumps covering his whole little body. Today's throat swab revealed the culprit, and one shot in the left leg should knock it out in no time. The doctor says he can return to school on Wednesday.

So that's the deal. Another $35 at the pediatrician's office. But at least I didn't have to pay for the antibiotic. And we'll be back on the 30th to recheck those ears, you know - the ears from last week's visit. And joy of joys, we'll get their flu shots then. Well, as long as they are not sick then. And I think we all know there are no guarantees on that note.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mucus, Better Known As SNOT

We are covered in mucus around here. Pretty soon, it will envelope us all and suffocate us, I swear. It is coming out of every pore and opening of every human body in this household, and I am so disgusted with it I could scream.

I awoke to screams sounds of gagging this morning. It was David. At first, I thought, "Oh, no!! Not the dreadful stomach virus on the day of our no-kids-allowed Christmas party!!" But when I was able to asses the situation, I realized it was nothing bu mucus coming out of him. No vomit - just snot. (Are those not two of the nastiest words ever??)

I have blown my nose so many times in the past few days that it hurts to breathe through it. I have slathered it with Aquafor every chance I get, so that just means I will have a blackhead the size of a watermelon next week right underneath my nostril - and everyone knows how bad those hurt.

I think Madalyn is well and has to be the least snotty person in the house. And Scott, well, whether he is sick or not, tends to take on the symptoms of all others in the house so as not to be outdone. He doesn't pout or fret about it, but he is still a man. Men always play sick even when they are not so they don't feel left out.

So - that's the deal. We have all (well, me and David) taken our doses of Mucinex and hopefully we can get the mucus thinned and moving along.

Just thought I would share.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Little Tidbits of Info

The leaves are gone. I don't think anyone can understand the magnitude of that simple statement. THE LEAVES ARE GONE. That means so much... no more stressing out over all the leaves in the pool, no more feelings of sheer panic when I hear the wind hitting the side of the house. You just really have no idea. Thank you Lord, the leaves are gone. And that was not sarcastic by any means nor sacrilegious. I am so genuinely thankful that the leaves are all out of the trees.

Last night, anyone who knows what kind of mom I really am would have been so proud of me. I am a good mom, sure, but I wouldn't call myself the most patient with my children. Especially when it comes to doing things with them. I baked Halloween cookies one year (I think David was four) and had him ice and decorate them. Nightmare. I just can't handle that sort of thing. They make such a mess and just get too excited and I go into panic mode. But last night, I redeemed myself fully with gingerbread men. Publix sells a kit that includes four gingerbread cookies, icing, little candies, and a decorative gel tube. Pretty smart, seeing as I don't personally know any mother who has ever baked gingerbread man cookies. Anywho - I am in charge of the little preschool party next week and thought it might be a good idea for a craft. So I decided to test it out at home and see what Madalyn could do. So I pulled it all out and got it all set up, and I was so proud of myself. I never raised my voice. They listened to me. They had so much fun. And I had fun watching them enjoy themselves doing something together. I really should have taken a picture of the gingerbread men and of them doing them, but like I said, I am so not that kind of mom so I didn't think about it until after we were all done.

So today, I am baking a chicken. Like a whole chicken. I have always wanted to cook a whole chicken. Seems funny that I have cooked a 26 pound turkey but not a whole chicken. Does anyone out there realize just how cheap a chicken is? Hello - you can get the whole thing for cheaper than a pack of breasts. Mind you, you have to remove the gizzard pack from the inside, but a $4 chicken is not such a bad deal even if you have to molest it.

Tomorrow night, we have our annual Christmas party - sans children. We do Dirty Santa, eat a lot (well, I eat a lot), and, I must admit, we drink a lot, too. It is so much fun. I always fret about it and hate preparing for it, but we always have so much fun and it is just a part of our Christmas tradition now. This year, we will be mixing in some new baseball friends with old friends and car friends. It always feels weird when you start mixing it up like that, you know. You don't want one group to feel left out or jilted. So that is the only thing I might be a little anxious about. But it will be fun for all who attend. So if anyone will be over our way, feel free to drop by!! Except for my parents because you will be keeping the kids, and we certainly won't want any of them around. No offense.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Baby Girl

Baby Girl,

I know you are almost four now, and you are no baby at all, but I still call you Baby Girl, and I probably always will. Because that's just who you are to me - my sweet little baby girl. I sat and watched a disturbing report on the national news this morning. It is one I see quite frequently - a missing young woman feared dead - but today, it just struck me differently. This young woman left a bar with a man a week ago, and now it has come to light that he is a convicted sexual predator and accused for all types of inconceivable things. This young woman left with him. She trusted him. And now she is gone.

It brings me back to when you were just a few months old and a local teenage girl went missing. Same story as above - she left a bar with a boy. And she has never been found. I watched her mother weep on TV, pleading for information and the safe return of her baby girl, as I fed you a bottle. I looked at you and began to wonder what your future would hold. You will never remember that girl, but I will never forget her name - Natalie. She was young and innocent, and she was taken away.

I am so afraid for you, Baby Girl. You are growing up all too fast, and I know the day is coming that you will be able to leave the safety of your home and explore the world around you. And I am sure you will be adventurous. You will probably experiment with alcohol (though I would like to hope you would never) and you will be excited by the attentions of young men around you (though I would wish you could find that excitement through other means). This is all a part of growing up, and I know it all too well. After all, I did it all myself. And I have felt all the pain associated with those things. But I remained safe through it all. I don't know how I made it, but I did. I made some very stupid choices along the way, and some have left scars that will never heal, but for the most part, I remained safe and protected through my adolescence.

What do I pray for you, Baby Girl? What do I ask for? God cannot stop things from happening to you or anyone else. I cannot sit on you shoulder for your entire life telling you which direction to go. If I could, I would cover you with bubble wrap and invent a magnetic field to protect your every move. But I can't. And even if I could, you would never let me. I just pray that you tap into the wisdom God has given you in your heart to protect you - His little voice inside that will guide you through certain times. Listen to that feeling in the pit of your stomach. Acknowledge it. Act on it. There are so many times I wished I had. Do not be afraid to say no. Do not be afraid to hurt a man's feelings. Do not be talked into anything you really don't want to do. Just listen. Listen to that part of your heart that only you can hear. Do not doubt it. For it is the love of your God who wishes you to be safe and protected and happy in everything that you do.

With all my love,


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Afternoon at the Pediatrician

If ever I had a Christmas wish, it would most definitely be to spend an afternoon with both my kids at the pediatrician. I can think of nothing more lovely - more in the spirit of the Christmas season - than to sit in a waiting room packed FULL of hacking, coughing children wiping their noses and squalling for an hour. And then to be trapped in the little room for 45 minutes with a break dancing seven year old and a tone death (but must sing and must do it loudly) three year old. My life is now complete.

Friday afternoon, on the walk home from school, David tells me that again that day his leg had been hurting. He had complained about it that week - the leg hurt when he put pressure on it. I had chalked it up to growing pains or something, but when he told me it hurt so bad he could barely do PE, I knew it must hurt pretty bad. He is not a complainer. So when we got home, I told him to show me the area that hurt and I started feeling around on it to see if I could figure out what was going on. Cause, you know, I am a trained medical professional and all. You didn't know that? Anyway - as I am feeling around on the calf - that's what was hurting - I ran my hand across a nodule. It felt really strange - very hard and irregular shaped, and when I really felt the width of it, it just alarmed me. I immediately called the office and I was surprised that they were actually able to get me an appointment.

On Saturday evening, Madalyn woke up, beginning at 3:00 am, every hour on the hour. She couldn't be still in the bed with me. I could just tell she couldn't get comfortable. And I wrestled with her all night and barely got any sleep at all. Sunday morning, she said that her ear was hurting. First - hallelujah! We already have an appointment! Second - oh, crap! That's two copays.

$35 + $35 = $70

So, here was the official $70 diagnosis. David has what she believes to be fat neurosis. Basically, she believes (or hopes) that he had a traumatic deep tissue bruise in that area and it has left this scarring of the fatty tissue. Translation: She is not completely certain what it is, but I should watch it and if it does anything but get smaller, I am to bring him back in. I can't say that I am completely sold on the diagnosis, but I am not sure if that just isn't me worrying about it. It just feels so weird, and I can't get past that. The other half of the diagnosis is that both Madalyn's ears are grossly infected, and the way the infection looks makes her believe that we have had walking pneumonia (remember I was on death's door and Madalyn had the cough along with me but never any fever). I think it is fascinating that ear infections can look different and that was ever a person astute enough to notice that and make note of it. Anywho - antibiotics will take care of the ears, and we will have a follow-up visit on the 30th (so they can make that extra $35 before year's end - is she not old enough yet to tell me if her ear still hurts?) and at least she will be able to look at the leg again. And they will get their flu shots, which will be absolute hell, but they are long overdue and David definitely needs it with the wheezing bouts he has had in the past.

So, there you have it. My afternoon yesterday in a nutshell. Ears and legs. Always something with these kids. But I must admit, I don't know how people handle their kids being really sick. When I felt that knot in David's leg, my heart sank to my stomach. I just can't imagine it being anything serious. I don't know how parent's handle those things. I hope I never have to know. And I am grateful for the insignificant things like ear infections and bruises.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Shredded cheese, OJ, and Publix brand oatmeal cookies

You know, I love my children. I do. And I know the day is drawing nigh that I will look back on these days with loving fondness. I will wish I had little hand prints on everything and an annoying whine around every corner instead of breaking curfews and premarital sex. But the truth is that this is now, and I am so very tired of little people. Especially little ones who make messes and don't clean them up. Come to think of it, I detest people of all sizes that make messes and don't clean them up. I am not partial to size, I suppose.

Anywho - I knew that my morning would be devoted to housework today. The floors needed to be swept, mopped, or vacuumed. Madalyn's room was in dire straights. Why not clean David's room as well? I finished my tasks and headed out the back door to the bitter cold to fish leaves out of the pool. When I opened the door to come back in, I heard the guilty patter of running feet. I knew she was up to something. I found her in David's room with a bowl of shredded cheese and a spoon. Right next to her, however, was the apple I so lovingly peeled and sliced in perfectly sized pieces for her precious hands to hold. That's the snack she had asked for; if she had wanted shredded cheese in a bowl, why didn't she just say so??? In the kitchen, on my freshly swept and mopped floor was shredded cheese. Aggravating. Why in the world does she do stuff like this? It isn't like it matters in the grand scheme of the day, but when you combine all her little antics, it makes for a long, draining day. Will she ever grow out of it? I doubt. But perhaps as she gets older she will learn how to pour shredded cheese into a plastic bowl without spilling half of it on the floor. Perhaps.

So the verdict came down today in the OJ Simpson case. Fascinating stuff. The legal system in general just fascinates me, and then you add in a guy named OJ, and I just don't think you can get any better than that. I am in awe of the judge in this case, Judge Jackie Glass. She is one tough cookie. I love her presence. I love the respect she commands. I would love to be her for a day - to speak and be heard without having to raise my voice, to listen to both sides of a story and discern an outcome with wisdom. Anyway - she sentenced OJ to a minimum of 9 years with the possibility of 15. I think that was the final tally for all the twelve sentences - one for each count. Unbelievable. OJ Simpson behind bars for armed robbery. Ironic, don't you think? Which I really don't hold an opinion about his personal guilt in the murder of his ex-wife. I just know that had you polled a group of people 15 years ago and told them he would be jailed and asked them what they thought it would be for, no one would ever have said armed robbery with a host of other related charges.

Last note of the day - has this not been the most random post in the world? - I bought a bag of Publix brand iced oatmeal cookies today at, of all places, Publix. Big mistake. I give them three days - tops. They'll be gone. I have become a big fan of Publix brand. There have only been a few things I have tried that I didn't care for as much as the name brand. I'd say the biggest bargain of all would be their laundry detergent. Love it. Seriously, I think I love it better than Tide. And I had used Tide for like my whole laundering life until another tee ball mom said she loved it and that prompted me to try it. I use the Free and Clear kind, and it will get nearly anything out of our clothes. Why am I talking about this???

Oh, dear. My boring life. Blogging about LAUNDRY DETERGENT and OATMEAL COOKIES.

Someone help me. Please.

Oh, and in case you care (cause I know you all do), I am making a big pot of chili for tomorrow. Thought I should share just one more tidbit for the day...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I am a sap of a soul. I relish all things old and sentimental. Even if it has a not-so-good memory attached to it, I will still treasure a possession. I guess I am just weird like that. I have a blue topaz ring my ex-husband had made for me for my twentieth birthday, and though I will not wear it, I have never been able to part with it. It is the only piece of jewelry anyone has ever had made for me, and so it just seems special though the person that did it was a complete and utter ass in the end. Anyway - I finally put the ornaments on the tree. Madalyn was so into it this year. She wanted to do it all but the control freak in me just couldn't let her actually decorate my tree. See, the kids have a little three or four foot tree with their own ornaments, and I do let her do all of that on her own. That way she has a tree she can touch and mess with the ornaments and hopefully not find herself in trouble all Christmas long (that's the theory anyway).

Madalyn's duty was to unwrap all the ornaments and put the tissue paper away for me. She had such a big time looking at all the ornaments and me telling her who gave it to me or her brother or her. After I showed her the only ornament on the tree that I made as a child, every one there after she claimed to have made when she was a baby. It really does scare me how much like me she wants to be, and it especially shows in little instances like these. She's definitely the little mama of the house.

I thought I would share a few of my favorite ornaments on my tree. They are probably the most hideous on the entire tree, but they just mean the most to me. Isn't that funny? The angel on the left is one that my grandmother gave me when I was little. I remember my grandmother bought an ornament for me every year, usually at the Festival in the Park or at the Southern Homes and Gardens Christmas Open House. I just have all these memories of looking through ornaments and picking them out. And the year she got me the angel (who is perhaps the ugliest little angel I have ever laid eyes on - and I love angels) she gave my brothers these little football players holding footballs with their names painted on them. I just remember year after year putting those ornaments on my mother's tree and loving them mainly because our names were on them. With a name like mine, you don't get much with your name on it growing up.
The odd looking character in the middle is a bread dough ornament I made in 1982 in kindergarten. I actually think I remember making it. I can remember sitting at a table and being told to make an ornament that looks like yourself. So, in a way, this is my little self portrait - with clove eyes. I just love the ugly little thing.
And then the one on the right - the Raggedy Anne. I don't know what it is about this one. I think it reminds me of this Raggedy Anne doll my Aunt Kitty made me. It sat in my room during my entire childhood. My Aunt Kitty died when I was two, and she was always this far off fantasy in my mind. My family didn't talk about her much. I remember as a child someone would start to talk about her and my grandmother would excuse herself from the room. She would go back to her bedroom to cry (I assume). As I got older, and the pain from her sudden death in a car accident dulled a little, she got to a point that she could talk about her more and more. The ornament has nothing to do with my mother's sister, but it is just an attachment I have linked to it on my own.
There are so many others. I could tell a story about most of the ornaments on my tree. I have some given to me by friends in high school. I have some from a Christmas themed shower given to me before my first marriage. I have a ton my mom has bought for me over the years. I have a beautiful set of angels my dearest friend sent me for my birthday one year. I just love them all. If I could keep the tree up year round, I think I would. I love to be surrounded by these little special things. Because it is never the big stuff that becomes special to me - it is always the little things. The inconspicuous things. The things around me that mean the most are not the things that anyone would choose to steal if they broke into my house. So I guess I can rest easy that they are safe and sound.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's all the same...

I saw a snippet of the new documentary airing tomorrow night on MTV about Britney Spears last night on Access Hollywood or Entertainment tonight or some other smut filled show. I don't know about anyone else, but Britney Spears is fascinating to me. I watched in horror with the rest of the world as she married that fool Kevin Federline, had two babies within two years, divorced the fool, and then shaved her head. It was like watching a a cat fall from a tree - you sure didn't want to see it get hurt, but you just couldn't stand not seeing if it did. Let's face it; most of us are fascinated with celebrities. I watch all the E! True Hollywood Stories. I don't even care who it's about - the cast of the Brady Bunch, Pamela Anderson (Lee), Justin Timberlake, Scott Baio - you get it. Stars just fascinate me, especially when you get a glimpse into their life that makes you realize they have the same issues everyone else does. It sort of vindicates you as a regular person knowing that stars feel the same emotions as everyone else - loneliness, depression, anxiety, fear - and that all the money in the world can't change that.

So anyway - it appears that Brit is coming back. I assume this because every freaking time I turn on the television lately, there she is. So I caught a glimpse - an exclusive sneak preview - of the big MTV special last night and it really saddened me. She talked about her fall or breakdown or whatever it was, and she discussed how she felt now about her father controlling her life and career. She said that she was glad it was in control, but she felt almost too controlled. And she said that there is no passion, no excitement in her life. And then she teared up and said she just felt a little sad.


Welcome aboard, Britney. Welcome to life. Not that exciting on a day to day. Not a whole lot of passion. Not a whole lot of whistles and bells and lights.

So I am thinking about contacting Britney's people (or is it just person - her dad) and seeing if they will let Britney come have a sleepover. We could sit and talk about our lives a little, and then maybe she would see that being Britney Spears is slightly more glamorous and exciting than being Crazy Mama. It might make her feel better. If nothing else, maybe she could show me how to do a beautiful smokey eye and tell me all her workout secrets.

Anyway - for any of you that would like to watch - tomorrow night from 8:00 - 9:30 on MTV. I already have it set to record.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Out with the left-overs

Last night, I threw away the last of the left-overs from Thanksgiving. I have been grazing on them since Thursday - especially Scott's grandmother's famous Derby pie which is a chocolate, pecan concoction that is just too wonderful. I literally kept a plastic fork on top of the Derby pie and I ate on it all day. Saturday I was busy preparing for people to come over to watch the Iron Bowl (congrats to all the Alabama fans reading for the complete annihilation of the Auburn Tigers!!) so I ate nothing but nibbles off the pie until about 2:00 that afternoon. Even though I have been making poor choices lately, I can at least say I am not eating nearly as much as I used to. So hopefully I won't inflate like a balloon over this holiday season.

As for the decorations, I would say I am almost done. I worked all day yesterday getting things up and put away. I was up and down the attic ladder twenty times, and my legs are sore enough to prove it. All I have left to do is put ornaments on my tree upstairs and put my stuff out in the yard. But today is no day for doing anything outside as it is windy and quite cold. I have already been out to clean leaves out of the pool. I think we only have a couple of weeks left of the leaves, and I will be so glad once they are all down. I am so over sticking my hands down in forty or fifty degree water to fish leaves out of the skimmer. And then the wind blows on your cold, wet hands and it feels like they are about to break into a million pieces. So if I can just make it a couple more weeks then perhaps I will begin to remember those fun summer days in the pool instead of wanting to strategically place a bomb in the backyard and blow up the pool and all those freaking trees behind the fence that are making me crazy these days.

I think my mood is lifting a little (despite fantasies of blowing things up). This has been a tough year. Just tough all the way around. No major catastrophes, mind you, but a difficult year on my marriage. In case anyone hasn't noticed, the economy is on a lock down, and since we are commission employees in the car business, any little economic hiccup affects us. My husband already worked too much, but when things started to get tough, he tightened down even harder. Twelve hours a day, six days a week is not healthy for a marriage, I don't care who you are. And I have also struggled with his parents' situation. They separated back in the spring after several years of back and forth in their relationship. I won't get into any of the details out of general respect to them, but the whole situation has just scared me a little. Obviously my husband has many similarities with his father. How can he not? His dad has been the only example during his life of what a husband and father should be. So watching a forty year marriage pretty much crumble has been disturbing to me even though I wouldn't say I am not all that close to my in-laws.

I must admit going into this marriage I had no Cinderella fantasy about marriage. After my first - you know, the one that lasted seven months and ended with some other chick's earring in my sheets and his confession that he had been doing blow every day at work - I would say my expectations were probably pretty low, to say the least. I never dreamed it would be easy, but maybe I was stupid enough to believe that it would get easier as the years went by. You would think after nine years of marriage communication and conflict resolution would be easier. But that is not necessarily true, I have discovered, especially once you throw in a couple of kids and a mortgage. And then on top of that nine years worth of hurts and disappointments and trials and forgiveness. My marriage has been through a lot of tough times, and I have the scars and the memories of it all. So Scott and I have been talking a lot lately about what I want out of our marriage. Of course, we have talked about what he wants as well, but I am really the one who hasn't communicated the best over the years, which seems so strange as I am the one who is constantly talking. I think, perhaps, that my expectations were so low at the beginning that I never really thought about the nine years later part. I never really got that far in my mind. I don't really know if you can think that far down the road when you are the ripe old age of 23 (well, I was almost 23). I was a baby. And that baby is still growing up and changing and evolving and discovering what she wants out of life with every year that passes by.

Anyways - maybe it's time to toss out some of the other left overs in my life. I think you are always dealing with the hurts from your past. I think you are always trying to resolve them in some way. And for a while now, I really thought I had dealt with things a lot better than I really had. But my general nature is to avoid conflict and confrontation, so I tend to push things down and deny myself feelings. Oh, I have really gotten deep on this one, haven't I? If I start to refer to myself in the the third person, we will all know I have completely lost it. Whatever - all I am saying is that I am trying to be a better person. A better wife. A better mother. Just a better me. And that involves being completely honest about my feelings and needs and desires. I am sure anyone who reads this blog is probably not believing I have any trouble expressing myself. If only life had a keyboard...