formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Writer's Workshop: I Find it Interesting How "Mother" and "Bother" are Only 1 Letter Off...

It's time for the weekly writing assignment from Kathy over at Mama's Losin' It. I chose 'Things You Do That Bother Your Mother'. Because there are so friggin' many things, I opted to write them in my standard 100 Things format. Before you read the list, though, I will tell you two things... first, I love my mother. I do. Honest. Second, I hope she doesn't choose today to start reading my blog.

So... Things I Do That Bother My Mother...

1. I am me.
2. Which means I am not her.
3. And that bothers her.
4. I disagree with her.
5. About almost everything.
6. Name it.
7. Any subject.
8. Yup, we disagree about that.
9. And that, too.
10. The list is endless…
11. For one, I don’t vote Republican.
12. Of course, she doesn’t either.
13. Since she’s not a US citizen.
14. But she would vote Republican if she could.
15. Not me.
16. I say mean things about George Bush.
17. Very mean things.
18. I said worse things about Sarah Palin.
19. Which bothered her.
20. It also bothers her that I say ‘fuck’ on occasion.
21. Especially when I say it in reference to George Bush.
22. Or my brother.
23. I don’t like my brother.
24. He’s not nice.
25. My mother admits this.
26. But she likes him anyway.
27. She kind of has to.
28. I don’t have to.
29. So I don’t.
30. That bothers her.
31. It also bothers her that I don’t go to church.
32. Note that she doesn’t either.
33. But she believes.
34. I don’t.
35. She thinks I don’t believe just to piss her off.
36. That’s not the case.
37. It’s just a nice little perk.
38. I don’t let my kid take religious education classes.
39. That bothers my mother.
40. But I don’t care.
41. That bothers her even more.
42. I don’t discipline my kid enough.
43. Or I discipline my kid too much.
44. And I don’t discipline my kid the right way when I do it.
45. Yes, that means my mother's way.
46. I don’t think using physical punishment works with kids.
47. I wonder, however, if it might work on mothers...
48. I explain things to my kid.
49. Things my mother thinks she shouldn’t know.
50. You know who told me about sex when I was a kid?
51. My dad.
52. It was the worst 10 minutes of my life.
53. I remind my mother when she forgets things.
54. You’d think that would make her happy.
55. But it doesn’t.
56. I probably shouldn’t smirk when I do it.
57. She also doesn’t like it that I don’t use much salt when I cook.
58. I don’t really use salt at all.
59. I don’t like salt much.
60. She thinks that’s just wrong.
61. But I don’t have high blood pressure.
62. And she does.
63. I cook things she doesn’t like.
64. But she cooked things I didn’t like for 18 years.
65. So I think it’s fair.
66. She doesn’t like it that I don’t make my kid eat potatoes.
67. My kid doesn’t like potatoes.
68. Or rice.
69. My mom thinks that’s bad.
70. It doesn’t bother me in the least.
71. That bothers my mother.
72. I guess it should bother me.
73. I just can’t figure out why.
74. Which also bothers my mother.
75. Sometimes I drink too much.
76. That bothers her, too.
77. But I do it anyway.
78. Which bothers her more.
79. I date.
80. That actually doesn’t bother her.
81. That I don’t often date the same guy twice bothers her.
82. She thinks I’m too picky.
83. I don’t care what she thinks.
84. And that really bothers her.
85. I also don’t tell her about my dates.
86. That bothers her a lot.
87. Which is part of the reason I keep quiet.
88. It bothers her that I’d rather live in the UK than here.
89. She thinks I don’t like America.
90. That’s not the case at all.
91. I just like the UK a lot.
92. But I’m not very nationalistic.
93. Or terribly patriotic.
94. And that bothers her.
95. I don’t know why, though.
96. As she still isn’t a US citizen.
97. And she’ll likely never become one.
98. You know what her citizenship is?
99. Yup.
100. British.

Monday, December 29, 2008

On Rambling Aimlessly... Oh, and Goals, Too...

I’m blog-blocked. Again. Damn, but I hate blog-block. I can’t think of a thing to post about. Of course, I should be doing some work and not thinking about blogging anyway. I even cleaned my disgustingly messy desk yesterday so I could sit at it and work, instead of deepening the crater my ass has made in the sofa lately (laptops are grand, aren’t they?). I’ve found that when I work (also known as blogging, emailing, and tramping around the Internet) from the couch, I wind up slouching, down and to the left, until I’m in an incredibly uncomfortable position from which I have difficulty extracting myself. I don’t know why I can’t just sit up straight. Oh, and I put my feet up on the coffee table, usually with my left leg crossed over my right… then I find that my right knee locks and unlocking it is excruciatingly painful. And when I finally unlock it and cross my right leg over my left, my left knee locks. My body hates me. So working from the couch is really not good for me. If I keep it up, I’m going to look like a crippled Quasimodo.

After I cleaned my desk yesterday, I made a list of things I want to accomplish in 2009. Note that they are not resolutions. I hate resolutions. Mostly because I tend to break every single one of them about a week into the new year. I suck. So this year I’ve made a list of goals. Goals are better, I think, because you don’t feel like a complete failure if you take a detour from your path to the goal… the goal is still in sight (or you can leave a trail of breadcrumbs… or dog treats, which I always seem to have in my pockets). But falling off the resolution wagon bites.

So, back to my list. I stopped writing when I got to my 43rd goal. Since I only accomplished, oh, about 3 goals last year (and one of them was to drink a lot of wine... because it's good for the heart, you know), I got to thinking that maybe I was being just a tad overly ambitious. Anyway, one of my goals for this year is to take my work more seriously. I’ll start that on the 1st. Another goal is to improve my financial situation… which could be helped by taking my work more seriously… on the 1st (you know those resolutions at which I suck? One of them is always to procrastinate less... go figure). Another goal is to make my body hate me less… or was that for me to hate my body less? Anyway, I want to look less like a crippled Quasimodo and more like Rebecca Romijn. Oh, wait… we were talking about goals here, right? Not miracles… my bad.

I narrowed my list down to about 15 things… some of them will be easy, like taking Ryan camping over every holiday weekend between Easter and Thanksgiving (and we’re even thinking about maybe taking a camping trip to sunny climes over Christmas next year). Some will be less easy, like training Sundance to walk off-leash nearly 100% of the time. Some will be downright difficult, like losing the baby weight (shut it… like I said before, even if she is 9, she’s still my baby). But I don’t think I listed even one goal that's unattainable… with a little work and focus... which is clearly not my forte. So wish me luck! You know I’ll keep you posted on my progress (or lack thereof). Because rambling aimlessly is the best way to cure blog-block. Obviously.

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Kid is Weird, Part II...

Before I explain how my kid is weird, I should tell you that in our house, ‘weird’ has no negative connotations whatsoever. When Ryan was about 6, she called me the ‘w’ word. I asked, “Is that a bad thing?” She said, “No, Mama. I would rather you be weird like you are than be boring. You’re not boring at all!” It was at that moment I knew she was getting it. And it was cool.

I should also explain (to people who don’t have children under the age of 12 in their lives) what Webkinz are. Picture a wide array of the cutest stuffed animals you’ve ever seen… all priced at $10 or $15 each. Attached to each animal is a tag with a special, one-of-a-kind code (like a social security number). Buy the animal and you can log the code into Webkinz.com, where you then obtain a virtual version of your pet to play with online. It usually comes with its own room, which can be decorated in various themes. It’s actually a pretty cool, creative, safe, FREE (after you buy the stuffed animal, that is) website. Ryan loves it and she’s got a crapload of these critters. Here are 3 of them…Meet Stuart, Tucky, and Sweet Pea.

So, I passed by the computer this afternoon while Ryan was playing in Stuart’s virtual room.

Me: Hey, Stuart has a menorah in his room.
Ry: Uh huh.
Me: Is he Jewish?
Ry: No. He just thinks Christmas isn’t the only important holiday.
Me: Does he?
Ry: Yes. He thinks it’s important to learn about other cultures.
Me: Oh. Well, he’s right. Plus, he gets 8 more presents!
Ry (looking stern): He’s not in it for the stuff, Mommy.
Me (looking chastised): Oh. Sorry. And good for him for not being materialistic.
Ry: Tucky and Sweet Pea celebrate Kwanzaa, you know.
Me: Really? Are they black?
Ry: Mommy, do they look black?
Me: Well, no. That’s why I asked. The only people I know who celebrate Kwanzaa are black.
Ry: Well, they’re not but they feel like Stuart. They think different is good and we should learn about different cultures because they’re interesting and it helps us to understand each other.
Me: Do they? Well, you know I think different is good, too. And I think they’re all pretty cool.
Ry: Yeah, I raised them well.

It’s weird to hear your own words come back at you from the mouth of your child. It’s weirder still to hear them applied to a mouse, a cocker spaniel, and a duck. Weird… but good… very, very good. There are days when Ryan’s just completely rotten and I think I’ve got this whole ‘mother’ thing all wrong. But then there are those days… good days… when I realize my kid is weird (in the best possible way) and I’m just so grateful and proud.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Kid is Weird...

Last night, Ryan was asleep about 3 minutes after she went to bed. I remember lying awake for hours on Christmas Eve. This morning, I had to wake her up... at 7:30! No one ever had to wake me up on Christmas Day. And she made me open my present from her before she would even look at her packages. How weird (and cool) is she?

After the weirdness, we headed out to serve Christmas dinner at the community center near here. It was the first time we'd volunteered there and it was really great! There was a standing-room-only crowd and everyone was feeling festive and grateful. I was so proud of Ryan, who just jumped right in and helped out anywhere she could. She delivered pie, served up drinks, and cleared tables. Though she's a bit shy around people she doesn't know, she was friendly and chatty (even though some people were "a little scary-looking"... but she also told me she realized how important it is not to assume people will act a certain way based on how they look. Have I mentioned how proud I am of her? I'm so proud of her!). Anyway, it was a nice way to spend a day that's usually very stuff-oriented, especially for a 9-year-old.

After cleaning up at the center, we headed to the movies and saw The Tale of Despereaux, which was adapted from one of our favorite books (by Kate DiCamillo), about a mouse who believes himself a gentleman; who faces life head-on and lives with a gargantuan sense of honor and responsibility. It was wonderful and if you have little kids (or even if you don't), you have to catch it! We gorged on popcorn and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

It was a different sort of Christmas for us, but a really good one, too. We'll be heading back to the community center on Monday, to help out in the weekly soup kitchen. I've committed to going as often as possible and Ryan has offered to come with me whenever she's out of school. It sounds like a good way to start the new year!

Hope you all had a great holiday!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Long Day... Cold Day... Good Day...

I spent the day in DC with Ryan today... we checked out the newly-remodeled American History Museum (pretty cool); we ran into the Natural History Museum to quickly peruse a new ocean exhibit we've been waiting for; we watched the really balance-challenged skaters hobble their way around the fountain-cum-skating-rink in the Sculpture Garden; and we finished up at the National Christmas Tree, which was pretty. It was cold as crap, but a great day overall. Here are some photos... Loved this one of the Washington Monument. The light was great...
Oh Christmas Tree... My Christmas Elf...
Though you can't see it in this photo, if you zoom in close, there's a figure standing in the middle window, dressed in what looks like a maid's uniform. Ryan and I decided she's a ghost that haunts the White House. I hope she gives W nightmares.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Welcome Back, Mr. Sun!

Today is the Winter Solstice. Happy Winter Solstice! This is one of the days I actually like to celebrate. The tradition of welcoming back the sun feels right, especially during a time that, for me, is usually a bit dark and somewhat less-than-pleasant. This day always feels more like the beginning of a new year to me than January 1. And today, fittingly, dawned sunny and bright - much welcomed after the weeks of grey skies and gloomy weather we've been experiencing. The sky is bright blue; it's crisp and cold (but not the damp, biting kind of cold of yesterday); and the sun is shining! Yay Mr. Sun! Welcome back! I spent the morning outside with my fuzzy boy, tramping around the woods, watching the sun glint off the ever-moving waters of a mountain lake, and generally feeling happy to be alive. After lunch out with my girl, we'll be spending the afternoon doing creative, crafty things. And this evening we'll each write 3 lists...

1) Our hopes for the coming year
2) Fears, hurts, and regrets we want to let go
3) Everything we're grateful for

Then we'll start a fire in the firepit outside and burn those lists... we'll send our hopes, our fears, and our blessings out to the Universe... and we'll see what comes back to us in the next twelve months. Good things, I expect... I hope.

So, Happy Solstice to you! I hope your day looks and feels as sun-filled as mine!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ode to Christmas...

Shopping’s done
Wallet’s empty
Packages wrapped
Boxes plenty
Santa can sit
On his big old hiney
I’ve done it all
Now I’m feeling whiney
I’m sick of the carols
And Rudolph’s red nose
Of egg nog and ornaments
This holiday blows
Just one more week
And that’ll be it
‘Til then call me Grinch
As I holler Bah Hum Shit!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Writer's Workshop: Dear Santa

If you don't know about the Writer's Workshop, head over to Mama's Losin' It and check it out...

Dear Santa,

Dude. This is totally a break-up letter. We’re through. You’ve had 43 years to get it right. But year after year… W.R.O.N.G. I know you’re busy making your list and checking it twice and all, yadda yadda. I know you have all those pesky kids to see to first. What.Ever. Even when I was a kid… you got it all wrong.

Remember the year I asked for that cool, sleek 10-speed? I wanted a boy’s bike, I know, but there’s no hard and fast rule about that, is there? I wanted it to be blue and white, like my brother’s. Remember? I was very specific. Remember what I got? A girl’s bike. A yellow girl’s bike. A very bright yellow girl’s bike. Do you know what it’s like to spend your tween years riding a banana with wheels? It’s not cool, Santa. Not cool at all. And yes, I know my mom liked it better than the blue and white boy’s bike. And yes, I know she’s a scary little tyrant. But you’re Santa, for Christ’s sake. The Big Guy. You could’ve overruled her. You should've overruled her. Just like you should’ve done the time I got the bright green duck shoes instead of the nice L.L. Bean navy blue ones I asked for (you know, so I wouldn’t stand out from all the preppy princesses in my high school like Kermit the Friggin’ Frog). She liked the green ones better, too… I know. The power of VETO, Santa. You had it. You didn’t use it. Dude. Not cool.

But I forgave you for the bike. And the duck shoes. And all the other things that were similar but not quite what I (very) specifically asked for every year. But still… you failed. Remember the year I didn’t ask for anything except for my ear infection to go away so I could fly pain-free? Yes, I know you did it. And I appreciate it. But I totally didn’t ask for the yeast infection I got in its place. Do you have any idea what it’s like to have to explain to a hard-of-hearing pharmacist in another country, who doesn’t have the same regard for patient privacy as the pharmacists here, exactly what a yeast infection is? Do you know how pleasant it is to hear him holler all the way across the (very crowded) store for the clerk to bring something for vaginal itching? Well, I can tell you from experience, Santa. It’s not pleasant. Not pleasant at all.

But even if I could overlook the yellow bike and green shoes and yeast infection incidents, I can’t forget or forgive the husband incident. I know it was a tall order. I know. But Santa… Rob? Really? Really, Santa?! Rob? He was seriously the best you could do? What? You didn’t have a gimpy elf with a wall-eye and a flatulence problem lying around somewhere? Rob?! So much for the friggin’ magic of Christmas, eh? I guess I didn’t deserve my miracle on 34th Street (or Oakhurst Lane… whatever).

Do you hate me? What did I do? I was a good girl, wasn’t I? OK, yeah, I remember the Rhonda Incident, but I didn’t ask for anything that year either, did I? Or the year of the Big Lie. But I was good most of the time. I left you cookies and milk… chocolate milk, even. I left carrots and oats for the reindeer. I was never greedy. I wrote my letters in my best penmanship and checked the grammar and spelling twice. But still… you let me down. Over and over. So I’m ending our relationship. Severing ties. We’re done, Fat Boy. Kaput. Finis. Shot. Go peddle your ho ho ho's to some other schmuck. Have a nice life. Have a nice banana-riding-green-shoe-wearing-yeast-infection-scratching-Rob-marrying life. You’re off my Christmas card list, Dude. Permanently.

Love Always,

Diane

Monday, December 15, 2008

Because It's Easier Than Thinking Up a Real Post...

1. I’m still sick.
2. Being sick sucks.
3. Know what doesn’t suck?
4. Sick dreams.
5. No, I’m not a perv.
6. Mostly.
7. I mean the dreams you have when you’re sick.
8. They’re bizarre.
9. And kind of cool.
10. Like Stanley Kubrick on acid.
11. Or 3rd graders on speed.
12. Me on NyQuil.
13. Cool.
14. Not cool is coughing ‘til you see stars.
15. Or ‘til you pee.
16. The effects of natural childbirth.
17. That no one tells you about.
18. Damned No One.
19. ‘No One’ is like ‘They’.
20. Of ‘They say’ fame.
21. My mother believes everything ‘They’ say.
22. She believes nothing I say.
23. Sometimes I make up things ‘They’ say.
24. And I tell her.
25. And she repeats them back to me.
26. Weeks later.
27. Beause she can’t remember where she heard it.
28. Only that ‘They’ said it.
29. So it must be true.
30. And I laugh.
31. And laugh.
32. Yeah, I’m mean.
33. The apple didn’t fall far from that tree.
34. And yeah, I’m so going to Hell.
35. If there is a Hell.
36. I’m not so sure.
37. If there is, I’m betting it looks a lot like my brother’s house.
38. Only cleaner.
39. And more tastefully decorated.
40. I told you I was mean.
41. But truthful.
42. I always try to write the truth.
43. But I acknowledge that it’s my truth.
44. And no one else’s.
45. Why would I write someone else’s truth?
46. Duh.
47. Sometimes I write erotica.
48. It’s shockingly hard.
49. To write.
50. What were you thinking?
51. Lots of the names for genitalia make me laugh.
52. Or cringe.
53. Including the word ‘genitalia’.
54. It sounds like a varmint you should kill with a rake.
55. It’s hard to write about sex when you’re imagining killing varmints.
56. Or when you’re snorting.
57. Or wincing.
58. Wincing usually isn’t good during any sort of sex.
59. Not when you’re writing it.
60. Or reading it.
61. Or especially having it.
62. The first boy I ever had it with was the first boy I ever kissed.
63. But I didn’t do both in the same night.
64. I was 11 when I kissed him.
65. And 19 when I slept with him.
66. He was my boyfriend.
67. When I was 11.
68. Not when I was 19.
69. But I loved him.
70. Still do.
71. Just not in a naked way.
72. Anymore.
73. I’m sure his wife is relieved.
74. I’ll be relieved when the holidays are over.
75. And when they stop playing carols on the radio.
76. If I hear The Christmas Shoes one more time, I’m going to hurl.
77. Shoes.
78. At children.
79. Jesus Take the Wheel is almost as bad.
80. Ryan and I change the words.
81. Ours are really rude.
82. But very funny.
83. Yes, I’m teaching my child sacrilege.
84. And I’m cool with that.
85. Though I think what we do is more offensive to Carrie Underwood.
86. Than to Jesus.
87. I’m betting that song gets on his nerves, too.
88. WWJD?
89. Make Carrie Underwood shut the hell up.
90. That’s what he’d do.
91. If he was my kind of savior.
92. Oh, yeah.
93. Hell.
94. It’s where I’m going.
95. In a hand-basket.
96. What does that mean?
97. Anyway, I’m cool with it.
98. I already know the floor plan.
99. And the gatekeeper.
100. We’re related, after all.

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot...

OK, so you guys know that I now live in the same town in which I sort of grew up, right? I say ‘sort of’ because I moved here when I was about 10 and moved away in my very early 20’s. Though I never, ever thought I’d (ever) come back, come back I did, 20 years later, after my marriage ended. Coming ‘home’ is always a weird thing, I think, and this experience has definitely proved so for me. This place is very different than it was in many ways, but it’s still very much the same in others (which is sometimes good... sometimes not). Occasionally I’ll run into old classmates or kids I used to babysit or the parents of old friends… and I always (stupidly) expect them to look the same as they did the last time I saw them. And sometimes they do… sort of.

So, on Friday I went to the Rec Center to sign Ryan up for ski lessons. I’m standing at the desk, looking like holy hell, as I have the flu and haven’t showered. I’m not 100% sure I’d even brushed my hair (or my teeth… yeah... I know), but the ski package is a Christmas present and my neighbor told me there were only 9 spaces left, so I had to run over there quick. So, I’m holding onto the counter, trying to keep from passing out (as my temperature is about 102), when this guy comes up beside me to check in to use the gym. He gives his last name, “D****t”. It’s a very unusual name. And one I recognize immediately. I look sideways at him and realize that I’m standing next to one of the very first boys I ever loved. And by ‘loved’ I mean ‘I wrote Mr. and Mrs. Chris D****t on all my notebooks, circled by hearts and flowers, and kissed my pillow pretending it was him, and imagined going to prom and then getting married when we were old, like 25’... that kind of 'loved'. Yeah, you know it. We met at summer camp when I was 12. And he was CU-UTE. I was NO-OT. But he thought I was. And that made him even better.

I can honestly say he’s not someone I ever imagined I’d see again. And he’s still pretty cute (not CU-UTE, but that’s hard to maintain when you’re in your 40’s... and I'm hardly one to talk, given the crap-fest that was Diane that day... oh hell, lots of days). Of course, his cute factor could have been influenced by the fever-induced haze through which I was seeing the world on Friday. Not sure. Oh, and you know I was totally sick because I didn’t check out his ring finger, which I never miss. But... I might find a reason to go back to the Rec Center this Friday, around 3:30 or so… you know… just for old time’s sake. And yeah, don’t worry… I’ll be sure to brush my hair… and teeth... and wear make-up... and heels... and my skinny jeans. OK, just kidding. They'd have to be magic jeans... sigh.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

All Aboard...

So... there I was, minding my own business, trudging my slow way home from Woe Is Me Land, when I was abducted by some nasty bugger and flung aboard the S.S. Flusitania for a 3-day trek around Fever Penninsula, where temps hovered around a balmy 101 degrees. We docked in various ports of call over the next couple of days, including the infamous Saint Ill Islands (St. Cough, St. Wheeze, and St. Sneeze), and the bar was open, with NyQuil cocktails flowing freely. Even still (or maybe because of), delirium and general out-of-itness were the overall (and overwhelming) moods of the trip. We finally broke free of the Fever Penninsula around 3:30 this morning and are currently docked in What The Hell Hit Me Harbor, having a cuppa in the Weak Knee Cafe. I'm hoping to be home tomorrow, coherent and wheeze-free.

So, how was your weekend?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Programming Interrupted...

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program to bring you an announcement from the Emotional Broadcast System

Life and all its crap has gotten in the way of regular blog programming. Regular programming will resume when Life and all its crap pisses off.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Just Do It 'til You Fart...

When I was a teenager, my dad asked me to help him loosen a bolt from a pipe (my brothers weren’t home, so DIY assistance fell to me). My job was basically to provide resistance – to hold the pipe still as he used a massive wrench to loosen the bolt. Sounds easy, right? Nope… that bolt was stuck tight. I was holding the pipe as steady as I could but I wasn’t strong enough to counter his… wrenching. My dad looked at me with a rather exasperated expression and said, “Diane, just do it ‘til you fart.” Well, I burst out laughing and lost my grip on the pipe just as my dad gave it a good yank, and it shot up and damn-near broke my cheekbone.

That was my dad… he was a ‘do it ‘til you fart’ sort of person. Whatever he did, he gave it his all. And that included loving me. I could always trust that no matter how I failed; no matter what asinine thing I did; no matter what – he would love me; he would accept me (I know all parents are supposed to do that, but I also know that not all do). He was not a perfect man and sometimes he infuriated and confounded and even disappointed me, but he was still my hero. He taught me to think for myself – something I’m sure he kicked himself in the ass for at times, as from 15 on, I rarely agreed with him about anything… but I think, deep down, he was proud, too; proud that I stood up for what I thought was right, even if he thought I was wrong.

My father’s death was devastating. I knew it was coming, but knowing something and believing it are two different things. Knowing certainly didn’t make it easier to accept or handle. That I didn’t make it home in time compounded the difficulty. I was already so angry and hurt and lost and sad, but still, the part of me that likes to torture myself when I mess up had to throw some guilt on top of the emotional crap heap already smothering me. It didn’t matter that I knew in my head my dad understood why I wasn’t there; that he knew I loved him. My heart was ripped apart with grief and guilt, and it ruled my psyche for a long time after his death.

The day after he died, I sat down at his desk and started writing – logging memories frantically; terrified they would all disappear because I couldn’t see his face or hear his voice anymore. The unintentional result of my scribbling was my father’s eulogy. No one in my family thought I’d actually be able to deliver it. Hell, even I didn’t think so. I was a mess. But as I stood, all alone, in a little room next to the chapel at the funeral home, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace settle around me… in me. I believe it was my dad giving me what I needed at that moment… and I understood that it had to be me who spoke at his service; that no one else could say my words. Having me deliver the eulogy was what he would have wanted… and what I needed. It was my way to say good-bye; to honor my father in a way he would have loved. So I did it. I stood up in front of everyone, with dry eyes and a clear voice, and I told them about my hero; I showed them my dad through my eyes; through my words. I made them laugh… and cry… and I know I made him proud.

That was ten years ago. Lord, how time flies. It feels like his funeral was just last December. I didn't think I’d make it through that first year... and I’m not entirely sure how I did. It was likely because I had a new baby to take care of… and because I still felt my dad around me; I really believed he was still there. I was also sure it would get easier with time. I suppose it has. I don’t cry every day now… but I still cry. There’s still a hole in my heart… in my life… in my whole world… where my dad used to be, and time and my memories simply aren’t big enough to fill it. It gapes, wide and dark, and sometimes – the times when I want so desperately to tell him something or when I need to lean on him – that darkness just about swallows me whole.

And I don’t feel him anymore.

And that might be the worst thing of all.

I just miss him like hell.

My dad…

June 26, 1937 – December 10, 1998

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Gotta P...

Heather, my adorable, much younger bloggy sister (I’m still waiting for her mom to adopt me) recently played a ‘favorite things/letter game’ with Jenners. She had to list 10 things she loves, all beginning with the letter Z (Jenners' 4-year-old son picked Heather's letter). Heather did such a great job, I figured I’d try it, too. I let Heather pick my letter. She picked P. Heather's a Putz (how's that for a P word?). P was hard! But here you have it…

1. Pudd’nhead Wilson… but not Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson… my Pudd’nhead Wilson, also known as Ryan (also known as Pud, Fibber McGee, Booger Girl, Ryan Dork, Fartin' Martin, Turkey Lips, and the list goes on).

2. People… the people in my life (not the ones I don’t like, obviously. Yeah, you know who I’m talking about… the ones that start with the letters ‘brother’… and ‘sister-in-law’).

3. Public speaking… I know I’m weird, but I love standing up in front of a big group of people and running off at the mouth. I get to teach classes for work sometimes and it’s the best part of my job.

4. Pepsi… but only the diet kind. Nectar of the gods. OK, it’s totally not, but I’m addicted to it anyway.

5. Puppies… who doesn’t love puppies?! People with no souls, that’s who! Puppies are wonderful and cute and they have that sweet puppy breath. I love puppy breath… as long as it’s not tainted with drywall. That’s just so not sweet.

6. Paisley… the pattern, not the town in Scotland (though I like it there, too, as that’s where my dad was from). I just bought a paisley scarf and it’s bee-yoo-tee-ful!

7. Photography… whenever I travel, I always look for photography exhibits – at museums, galleries, art fairs... I dream of being able to take pictures like the ones I see in places like that (and someday, when I learn to use my camera properly, I still won't be able to do it). When I go to someone’s house for the first time, I always scope out the photos… I love to see peoples’ lives played out in images.

8. Potter… as in Harry. Love me some HP (the books, not the movies… duh).

9. Pajamas… there's nothing better than lounging around on a chilly night in my plaid flannel bottoms and ancient VA Tech sweatshirt (which is not fit for out-of-the-house wear anymore). The ultimate in comfy and cozy (though admittedly, not terribly attractive or flattering).

10. Posting… blog posting, that is. It’s fun… it’s therapeutic…it’s addictive. What’s not to love?

And now I'm phinished. Phinally.

Love Your Stuff...

One of my very best bloggy buddies, Heinous, gave me this award last week (thanks, darlin’!).


It’s all full of testosterone and man-sweat, but I like it. Before I pass it on, I’m supposed to say something nice about a man in my life and then list 6 ways in which I measure success, in life and/or as a blogger. Hmmmm…

It’s not hard for me to think of something nice to say about any of the men in my life… but because my world is filled with wonderful men, it’s hard to choose the one about whom I say it. I’m going to go with my friend Todd, though. He’s truly one of the best people I have ever known and he loves me more than I deserve (even when I act supremely unlovable). I’m so grateful to have him in my life.

The ways I measure success… hmmmm. I’m not feeling terribly successful these days, but here you go…

I feel successful...

1) ... if my daughter is healthy, happy, and doing well in general. Being a single parent is difficult and when I see signs that she is growing into the sort of person I hope she’ll be (healthy, happy, productive, caring, honest, etc), I’m encouraged and feel better about the job I’m doing.

2) ... if I’m on-track in most areas of my life and moving in the ‘right’ direction (this is where I tend to falter, much of the time, it seems).

3) ... when I get positive feedback from my work. I work at home, all alone, and do everything via email. When someone takes the time to send me a note to tell me how much they appreciate what I do, it makes me feel like it matters.

4) ... when I connect in some way with the people who read my blog; when I make someone laugh, or cry, or think about something in a new way.

5) ... if I accomplish something difficult, especially if it’s something I’ve put off because I was dreading it.

6) ... when I count my friends and the people who love me. I have the most amazing group of wonderfully insane people who support me in so many ways… I’m so lucky.

Now, I’m passing this award on to 6 bloggers – all men – whose stuff I love. Well, I love what they write (several of them are married, so I can’t love their ‘stuff’ without making their wives mad, and I don’t need that). Visit their blogs if you don’t already… you won’t be disappointed.

Oh, and you guys don’t have to do the whole rule/pass-on thing if you don’t want… just take the award with my bloggy love and know I think you totally measure up!

Lee at A Curate’s Egg – Lee’s blog is one of the first I visit every day; he’s smart, thoughtful, irreverent, and seriously funny. He doesn’t really do awards, but he deserves so many.

J Cosmo Newberry – J Cosmo is an amazing poet, which is something I admire, as I suck at poetry. He’s brilliant and hysterical – two of my favorite qualities in a man.

Andy at Wild ARS Chase – besides being my bloggy crush, Andy is just wonderful all around (though he sucks with names… ahem).

Joshlos at it’s a bloggy blog world – Another smart, funny guy, Joshlos makes me laugh and makes me think. Plus, he likes girls with dreadlocks and I think that’s cool. Not that I have dreadlocks (or want them)… I just like men who think unconventionally.

Stevyn at The Unbearable Oddness of Stevyn – I do love my Englishmen… and when they’re fantastic writers, well, all the better.

And finally, Henry at The Dog Diaries… Henry really is a dog (a miniature schnauzer, to be specific) and though I suspect it’s his mum who helps him actually type, I’m always a bit taken aback by how, when I read his posts, I’m completely sucked into his little doggie world (sort of like how when you see a ventriloquist with his dummy, you unconsciously suspend your disbelief and start to think the dummy’s actually acting independently… not that I’m saying you’re a dummy, Henry, ‘cause I’m so not!).

And that’s all I’ve got to say. For now.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Sleestak Ate George Bush...

Does anyone remember Land of the Lost, the kids' show from the mid-70's? I watched it pretty religiously... it was about a girl named Holly, who was transported, with her dad and brother (who was really cute... which was very possibly the primary reason I watched the show), through a portal to a prehistoric dimension. They spent most of their time battling dinosaurs and other creatures, including the Sleestak, these icky, lizard-men who had nasty tempers, all the while trying to find their way home. Cool, right?

Anyway, I had a dream last night and though I don't usually remember them, this one was still playing clearly in my head when I woke up. I was in the Land of the Lost, running away from the Sleestak, all alone and peeing-in-my-pants scared. I ran into a cave and who's sitting there, but George Bush... W, in the flesh, lounging around a little campfire, roasting a chicken. Instead of being happy to see another human being (yeah, OK, human being might be a bit of a stretch), I pointed my finger at him and hollered,

"YOU! What the hell are you doing here?!" (I'm really shocked I didn't swear bigger.)

He replied (sounding as smarmy as ever), "I'm just roasting my chicken."

"I'll roast your chicken," I screamed at him (I'm assuming I meant that figuratively and not literally... though I did wake up hungry), and I ran to the mouth of the cave, waving frantically at the Sleestak who were hunting for me. "He's in here! Here's your dinner!" I waved them to the cave and then ran like hell into the jungle, I presume, to wait for the screams. Sadly, I woke up before W became lizard food.

I wonder if they ate his chicken, too?

Note: Don't bother analyzing. The dream was most likely the result of a conversation I had last night with a Republican friend about evolution versus creationism and the theory of a divine plan. I contend that George Bush proves both the theory of evolution (he just got stuck half-way to human) AND the absence of a divine plan (no God, unless he's a sick S.O.B., would have planned for that dimwit to rule a kindergarten class, let alone a big chunk of the free world). Argument ends. Dream ensues.

Oh, and I've no idea where the chicken came from.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Fowl Mood

Remember when I said that my gorgeous 4-legged boy doesn't cause any chaos now? That there are no more incidents, now that he's all grown up? Yeah, well, I lied. A big, fat, honkin' lie. There was chaos this morning. There was an incident...

First, let me explain a few things about me and animals. I love them. I do. When I was younger, I worked for a vet and I volunteered at the SPCA. OK, so both jobs broke my heart and I had to quit, but I tried. Because I love animals. I've always had pets... budgies, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, dogs, etc. I can't imagine my life without some critter to buy kibble for or who sheds all over my stuff. I love them. I have wondered, however, if perhaps I might have owned a slaughterhouse in a previous life... or maybe I was a trapper... or a furrier. I don't know. But my animal Karma seriously leaves a little to be desired. There have been a few incidents in recent years... incidents involving squirrels, geese, a mad cow, a camel (yes, a camel), and a cat (click here to read my friend Mel's account of that attack)... incidents I didn't cause but in which I was maligned... mauled... smacked-down... chased. Unpleasant incidents. There was such an incident today...

I should also tell those of you who don't know, that although I love animals in general, my goodwill does not extend toward fowl. Fowl are foul. I don't know why but many fowlish sorts of creatures give me the heebie-jeebies - namely turkeys, chickens, geese, and pigeons (are pigeons technically fowl?). Now I would never do any harm (unless you count eating chicken and turkey as harming... semantics, right?) but I don't like them. Truth be told, I'm actually afraid of them. Again, I've no idea why. I should try past life regression therapy one day to find out.

Anyway, today's Karmic incident involved a goose. A Canada goose to be specific. I really don't like Canada geese. They are gigantic rats with wings... nasty, pooping, scavenging, noisy bastards. A few years ago, I had a run in with three Canada geese while rollerblading. I'm ashamed to admit they got the better of me. And they laughed about it. And I'm pretty sure I recognized one of them this morning. Nasty, pooping, scavenging, noisy bastard.

So... back to my dog. My lovely, sweet-natured, well-behaved, darling, completely chicken-shit dog. Actually, he's very brave... if he's on his leash. Before he barks or lunges at some other dog or animal at the park, he always does this little check to make sure he's attached to me. If he is, he'll bark and lunge away. If not, he glues himself to my hip and shuts up. Yeah, he's smart. So today he was on his leash. And we were walking by the pond... which was full of nasty, pooping, scavenging, noisy bastards. There were a bunch on the bank and Sundance, after doing his leash check, did his little barking-lunge, which he likes to do at the ducks to make them squawk and fly into the water (which is funny, actually). A bunch of the geese did just that. One of them did not. Clearly pissed off, he came right at my dog (and me), wings and neck extended, head down, honking his nasty, pooping, scavenging, noisy, bastard guts out at us! Sundance, ever the brave one, yelped, turned, and ran like hell, tail between his legs. Still attached to me, he jerked my arm back and I slipped on the bank, as it's all frosty, and down I went, face-first, being dragged by my terrified dog who was at the other end of his 20-foot flexi-leash. And that nasty, pooping, scavenging, noisy bastard was still coming at me! As he closed in, I buried my face in my arm, waiting for the assault. I didn't have to wait long... that bastard PECKED ME IN THE HEAD! Sundance grew some cojones at that point, and ran back toward me, barking, which scared the foul fowl and he turned and flew into the pond.

Have I mentioned that I hate fowl? I do. Oh yeah, and my dog is grounded.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Good Stuff...

So… this whole Christmas tradition thing…

First, thanks to everyone who shared their traditions and made suggestions! I came up with a few things for us to do this year – things that could possibly become traditions down the road. I’ve told Ryan about them all and she’s pretty excited… and that makes me feel kind of excited… so I’m putting my Grinchiness on hold for a little while. As of right now, our list looks like this…

1. Going to DC this weekend (if the weather holds) to visit the (finally!) reopened American History Museum (which is not Christmas-y, I know, but the place has been closed for renovation for two years and we’ve been chomping at the bit to get in there!)… possibly some ice skating at the rink near the Portrait Gallery (Ryan’s a little balance-challenged, so we’ll see how that goes)… and we’re definitely staying ‘til dark to see the National Christmas Tree

2. Snuggling on the couch one Saturday afternoon with popcorn and hot chocolate to introduce Ryan to my two favorite holiday movies – It’s A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story (I bought that one for my dad about 20 years ago because it reminded me of him and where he grew up. We watched it together every year but I haven’t seen it since he died)

3. Going to The Moonlight Holiday Festival at the local university, where we'll take a carriage ride around the university arboretum

4. Celebrating the Winter Solstice on the 21st with a hike in the mountains during the day (brrrrr) and a fire in the fire pit outside that evening (ahhhhh)

5. Serving dinner to the homeless at the community center on Christmas Day (I expected a little resistance here but Ryan’s really looking forward to it, as am I)… then heading to the movie theater to see The Tale of Despereaux (one of our favorite books that looks like it’s going to be a great movie!)

So… stuff to look forward to… good stuff… that doesn’t involve actual stuff. It doesn’t get better than that!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Writer's Workshop: Canine Chaos

I’m going to kill 2 birds with one stone today. It’s Writer’s Workshop time at Mama’s Losin’ It and I chose the prompt labeled, ‘Describe a time when your pet caused chaos.’ I’m also doing the 6th of 6th photo meme for Sam I Am, who tagged me the other day. I’m supposed to pick the 6th photo from my Flickr account AND the 6th photo from my 6th computer folder and tell you about them. Well, I don’t have a Flickr account, so I picked the 6th of the 6th from my old computer and the 6th of the 6th from my newer computer (and a few more, too). Both happen to be of Sundance, and since I’ve got to describe him and chaos… you see where I’m going with this… 2 birds…

OK, well, I couldn’t really narrow the whole chaos thing down, as Sundance’s entire first year was just one big chaotic incident (click here if you’d like to read more about that)… so I’m going to post pictures of my boy (and my girl) prior to a few of the individual incidents (there are no photos from during or after the incidents because it's hard to take pictures when your eyes are bugging out of your head and the veins in your neck are throbbing… duh).

Here he is on day-one, prior to the Tantrum Incident (also known as the Soon-to-be-Ex’s Meltdown Because He’d Said, “No more dogs!” and Diane Said, “Up yours, Soon-to-be-Ex, because you have no say anymore!” and Brought the Puppy Home Anyway Incident).

Here he is prior to the Crayon Incident (also known as the Rainbow Poop Incident).

Here he is prior to the Kitchen Wall Incident (also known as the Diane Learns How to Patch, Sand, and Paint Drywall All by Herself Incident).

Here he is prior to the Picnic Incident (also known as the Don’t Leave a Puppy and a 5-year-old Alone With a Loaded Picnic Hamper, Even for the Short Time It Takes to Walk to the Trashcan Incident).

Here he is prior to the Drop It Incident (also known as the Stop Chewing On That Hat and Drop It Right Now Before I Strangle You With Your Own Leash Incident).

Here he is prior to the Swearing Incident (also known as the Drama Queen Screams “Mommy, that damned puppy just bit my nose off!” Incident).

Here he is prior to the Barking Incident (also known as the Scare the Old Lady in the Next Car at the Rest Stop Into a Screaming Heart Attack Incident).

And here he is today. No incidents. No chaos. Just big laughs. And big love.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ouch...

We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey…
Kenji Miyazawa


I’ve mentioned that I don’t like the holidays much. This time of year is always really difficult for me and I’ll admit I’m struggling at the moment. And I’m struggling with some things that aren’t normally even issues… so instead of the good-sized whammy that usually smacks me upside my head, this one feels like a massive, ugly whammy that's kicking me in the ass, too. I’ve always been someone who sees the light at the end of the tunnel; who knows nothing lasts forever… but still, I’m just barely holding it together right now. It’ll pass, I know… and I wish I could just hibernate until it does… wouldn’t that be lovely? But, no, life doesn’t work that way, does it? So I’m trying to find some ways to embrace the pain and burn it for fuel… trying hard. You know what, though? I’d rather burn chocolate... or red wine.

Anyway, I’ve been tagged for a couple of memes and I got another great award today from Heinous. I’ll pass them on soon, I promise… after I wrestle this whammy to the ground and stomp some of the ugly out of it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Let There Be... Dark...

There is an old wives' tale that says when a lightbulb blows out, it means there's a spirit in the room. It's something to do with the spirit's energy... I guess it's supposed to be like a power surge. I don't know. I do know, however, that after my father died, my entire family blew a lot of lightbulbs. A lot. I even had an electrician come into our house to make sure we didn't have something wrong with our wiring. It was bizarre. It was also kind of cool. I felt like my dad was there with me... and I really needed that.

It happened for quite a while, too, on and off. And yes, I know everyone blows bulbs... but there were times when the occurence was a little less like an old lightbulb and a little more like a 'Ghost Hunters' episode.

When my daughter and niece (both born a few months after my father died), were about three-years-old, they found these little bicentennial American flags that used to sit in a stand on my dad's desk. I should tell you that my dad was very patriotic and he was very, very careful about the way he treated the flag. It had to be flown, folded, and discarded properly, with reverence... always. Anyway, these little flags were attached to sticks with very pointy ends and I was afraid the girls were going to poke each others' eyes out, so I took them. Because they were old and because my mother had enough old stuff cluttering up the house, I asked, "Can I just throw these away?" She said yes. Just as I was (unceremoniously) dropping them into the trash can, she turned on the light... and the bulb sparked, crackled loudly, and blew out. Those flags were out of the garbage before my mother could even say my name, and I was whispering, "Sorry, Dad" as I put them back where the girls found them!

I haven't blown any lightbulbs in a long time. And let me tell you, I wouldn't mind having to replace a couple right about now.

Yeah, It's Monday...

So, this morning, as usual, I take Sundance to the park. As usual, he picks his poop spot with painstaking care (I wonder what, exactly, constitutes a good poop spot in a dog’s eyes?). And he commences pooping. And he keeps pooping. And he keeps on keepin’ on. And after a few minutes, I realize he’s got a hanger. Crap. Literally. A big dingleberry, just hanging out of him. He looks ‘round at me with this, “Good lord, can’t you help me?” look on his face. Pitiful. Thing is, I don’t want to help. It’s icky. And it’s something no one should ever have to do… pull poop out of some other creature’s butt. Nope. It was not on my agenda this morning. But he’s waddling around, still in poop stance, a few feet forward every minute or so, clearly hoping it’s just going to drop out of him. But it’s not dropping anywhere. It’s still just a hangin’. Nice. Crap. Literally. So I bend down, holding my breath, making sure the pick-up bag is wrapped firmly around my hand, and I reach for it, up close to his butt, figuring I can separate it from his hiney pretty quickly. But it doesn’t separate. It’s still hanging. Crap. Literally. So I roll my eyes, say a swear word (or two), grab it (bag still covering my hand, mind you), and pull. And pull. And pull. The poop is attached to something… something very long (like nearly a foot long!!). I don’t know what it was and I didn’t want to look too closely (but it sort of resembled that raffia stuff you see wrapped around country crafty crap... not so literally... in Michaels). I can’t think of anything he could have eaten the past day or so that would look like that (unlike the time he ate the streamers from Ryan’s bike handlebars and I had to pull foot-long sparkly ropes of poop out of his butt for 2 days).

Anyway, that was my Monday morning. How was yours?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Was That A Speedbump?!

WARNING: Full-blown VENT coming up... leave now if you don't want to read any bitching and moaning...



See the lady in the picture? See how she's smiling? See how she just ran over her ex? I SO wanted that to be me about two hours ago. I SO did. But I had my daughter in the car and I didn't want to have to pay for the therapy she'd need after witnessing such an event. So I just drove away. BOILING. And you, my friends, are going to hear why.

My ex came up to Richmond to see his sister for Thanksgiving, so I drove Ryan down there to hang out with him for the weekend. He lives in Alabama (he moved to be with the woman he cheated on me with... and then broke up with... after cheating on her) and for the past couple of years, he's seen Ryan twice a year. Yeah. Nice. He cries all sorts of things... no money (though he makes 4x what I do), can't get away from work, etc, etc. Whatever. Ryan doesn't miss him, as he's not exactly what you'd call attentive when they are together. Don't get me wrong, he loves her. He loves her as much as he is capable of loving anyone... he's simply not that capable.

Anyway, the newest girlfriend feels he should spend more time with Ryan (DUH) so he's been making a bit of an effort. He took her to Alabama for a week in August, over her birthday. He spent a fortune on clothes for her, though he did exactly what I told him not to do (of course he did, because he always knows better than I do) and bought sizes that fit her right at that moment... sizes which she outgrew about 5 minutes after they were purchased (like I said she would). So I had to go out and replace some of the clothes that no longer fit. Yeah. Nice. Like I can afford that. SO... he knows she needs clothes now but what does he buy her this weekend? Guess. Just guess. No, you can't possibly (because none of you are morons) so I'll tell you.

He bought her a purse. OK, I know you're thinking, 'what's the big deal?' Yeah, that's what I would think, too, IF the purse came from Target or WalMart, or someplace like that. But it didn't come from any of those stores. You want to know where it came from? Of course you do. It came from...

Coach.

Coach.

My 9-year-old daughter is now the proud owner of a COACH purse. And for those of you (guys) who don't know what 'Coach' means in Purse World, it means expensive. I'm talking $150.00 kind of expensive! For a little fabric bag!! For a NINE-YEAR-OLD!! Does this make sense to ANYONE OUT THERE?! And the best part? It looks almost identical (to an untrained eye, of course) to the $10.00 bag I got at Target last spring (for myself... I certainly don't own a Coach bag!). People, she wouldn't have known the difference! She didn't even know there was such a thing as a Coach bag until this weekend!

I'm pissed. Can you tell? I'm just SO pissed. If you read my Quote of the Week and my post from yesterday, you'll completely understand why. I'm busting my ass trying make ends meet... trying to teach her that stuff isn't important... that money doesn't grow on trees... that we already have so much and we need to be helping people who have less than we do... that the time we spend together and outside in nature and doing creative things is far more important than shopping. And then he goes and buys her, a 9-year-old, a $150 purse! Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

And when I asked him about it, his response was, "It's none of your business what I spend on her." Yeah. Nice. There was a time when I thought we were at least on the same page where our daughter was concerned (if nowhere else). He has proven me wrong time and again lately, however. Guess you can see why we're not married anymore.

Oh, and though I never say anything bad about my ex to my daughter (EVER), she understood that I was not happy today. I explained that I wasn't upset with her and reiterated the things I mentioned above - the values I want her to grow up with and why I feel they're so important. She said she understood... and I think she did. And then, bless her little Coach-totin' heart, she said,

"Mommy, if you ever want to borrow my bag, you can."

Sigh. I do so love my child. And though I'd like to run over her father's moronic ass with my car, I will be forever grateful that he donated the sperm to make her. And that's about the best you'll ever get out of me where he's concerned. Thanksgiving weekend is officially OVER.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Can You Imagine?!

I spent part of today out Christmas shopping. Ick. You couldn’t pay me enough to shop on ‘Black Friday’ but I since there was something specific I wanted to buy for Herself, I thought I might catch it on a ‘leftover’ sale today. And I did… at nearly 1/3 off! Cool. I didn’t see as many people out as I expected, but those who were out were loading up their carts. At our house this Christmas, the loot pile under the tree will look significantly lighter than it has in the past. This is due to, 1) tight finances, 2) the fact that Ryan no longer believes in Santa, and 3) that I’m just completely sick of all the stuff. Every year I buy my darling, materialistic daughter all the things she desperately wants, only to find she only truly wanted them for about 5 minutes. Not this year. Bless her heart, she knows things are tight money-wise, so when she made her Christmas list, she only put 3 things on it… things she felt she couldn’t live without. OK, so she could totally live without them, but she won’t have to, because I’m a Grinch, not a Bitch (contrary to what some believe). She’ll get those 3 things and a few more… things I think she’ll really use and enjoy.

In a (very) small way, I try to combat the rampant ‘more, more, more’ mentality that abounds during the holidays. Every December, I make Ryan purge her toys and books. For every item on her Christmas list, she has to give something away to Goodwill (and Happy Meal toys don’t count). She does it quite willingly but she’s still always left with a lot of stuff. I have a lot, too, even though I purged the last 2 times I moved. I come from a family of packrats and though I try hard not to be like them, it all just accumulates somehow. And I don’t like it. I’m not materialistic by nature. My ex is… he tries to fill up the hole in his soul with stuff. I don’t do that. I don’t even like to shop! But still, I have too much. And I really, really don’t like it.

In October, Hebba at JeepGirl17 did a bunch of posts about ridding herself of all the stuff she didn’t really need. She gave away one thing every day for a month, which I thought was cool. I intended to do it in November… but I didn’t (remember my procrastination post? Yeah, that’s why). But I’ve been thinking about it. A lot. So today I was reading this article my friend Mel sent me a while ago about this guy who decided he was going to live with only 100 things for a year. In an effort to simplify his life and battle the new Black Plague called Consumerism, he isn’t going to buy anything new for a year. If he gets a gift, he’ll give himself a week to decide whether or not to take it back, re-gift it, or keep it and give something away in its place. Now he’s only counting his own personal items and not the stuff used to manage his household (he has a wife and kids), but I still think it’s ambitious. He’s counting clothes (though he lumped underwear and socks together, which seemed smart to me… that would be Me, the owner of 136 pairs of underwear). He also lumped all his books together into one item, dubbed, ‘the library’ (also smart to me… that would be Me, the owner of 11,895 books). But other that, his stuff is down to 100… stuffs. As I was reading the article, I was reminded of the main character in a book I read once… she lived with only 200 items total. I remember thinking how cool that was. I like the idea of fitting my life into a very small space or being able to carry it with me pretty easily. I like it a lot.

So, with Hebba, Mr. 100, Ms. 200, and my sincere desire to simplify my life in mind, I’m going to start paring down my stuffs. I’m not going to shoot for a particular number of items, but I will guarantee that by the end of the purge, what I keep will be only the things I use or really love.

Vernon Howard, a spiritual teacher and author, once said,

“You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.”

Can you imagine?! Yeah, I can, too.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Tradition Condition...

In my Thanksgiving post, I mentioned that I don't like Christmas. I don't. I'm a Grinch. I admit it. I'm that way for loads of reasons but don't worry, I won't bore you with all of them. I will say, however, that part of my Scroogieness is about the lack of holiday traditions in my life. My family used to observe a few but after my dad died, they were all pretty much forgotten. When Ryan was small, I tried to implement a couple for her sake. But then my marriage ended... and they were pretty much forgotten, too. So we have none.

The thing is, even though I'd be happy to completely forego Christmas every year, I feel kind of terrible that Ryan is missing out. I loved Christmas as a kid... it was a magical time... and I'd like her to love it, too, but not just for the presents. But I don't know what to do... where to start... how to re-discover the magic.

What traditions do you observe? Is there any gotta-do-it-every-year thing you do (preferably one that doesn't involve church or big family get-togethers... or the untangling of Christmas lights... or the buying of expensive gifts... or some ethnicity of which I am not a part)... anything at all you might be willing to share? Do tell...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Let Me Introduce You to My Bail Bondsman...

Ha! Just kidding. I didn't get arrested. I didn't assault anyone with a turkey leg. I pretty much didn't even speak (yes, that was difficult... thanks for asking). And I found out that you can sit across a dining room table from two people and not even look at them. Not once. It was uncomfortable and unpleasant, but I made it through. And I was never so thankful for a meal to end. And that, my friends, is what I will be recording in my gratitude journal tonight!

The Gratitude Attitude

I feel that I should really post some sort of an 'I'm thankful' bit today, full of sweetness and light... but I'm sitting here, dreading the arrival of Lucifer and his faithful minion (aka my brother and sister-in-law), and I have to admit, I'm feeling less-than-sweetness-and-light-filled. Plus, I sort of don't like the idea of Thanksgiving anyway. I know, I know. I don't like Christmas either (but that's another post entirely). No, I just think we ought to be grateful for what we've got all the time and setting aside just one day a year to acknowledge those things seems... I don't know... not quite right. I keep a gratitude journal and every day I record at least 5 things I'm thankful for. It's an amazing tool that helps me to focus on what I have rather than what I'm missing... and that's the key, I think, to real happiness. There are some days I have to just re-write my 'fall-back list' (Ryan, Sundance, my friends, my family, my job), because some days, when sweetness and light is hidden behind a big dark cloud, it's hard to see all the blessings. But they're there... always. And the clouds always part, eventually, and the light shines through. And I might just be more grateful for that than anything.

But tonight I hope to be able to write in my journal, "I didn't have to be bailed out of jail for assaulting Lucifer and/or his minion with a turkey leg." Keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ego Boost

Some mother-daughter moments just beg to be recorded for posterity...

Ry: Mommy, why do we have an unstable economy?
Me: Oh lord, Ry... couldn't you ask an easier question?
Ry: But I want to know.
Me: So do I. But it's not something I can really explain.
Ry: Yes you can. I'll understand.
Me: It's not you I'm worried about. I don't understand economics. Honestly, it's one of those subjects that makes me feel really stupid.
Ry: But you're not stupid! You're one of the smartest people I know!
Me: Awwwww, thanks, Sweetheart.
Ry: Of course, I don't know very many people. And a lot of the people I know are 9-years-old. And most of them are pretty dorky...
Me: Ry?
Ry: Yes?
Me: You can stop anytime.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Blog-O-Rooter

I'm officially blog-blocked. I've been thinking about a post for a couple of days now. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. It's the worst case of blog-block I've had since starting this little missive factory. Dunno why. I need me some Blog-O-Rooter. I figure I'll ramble a bit here to clear my head (BEWARE: Snore Alert) and maybe I'll come up with something that's actually interesting for tomorrow's post. So... since Thursday...

I went on a field trip with Ryan's class to Jamestown on Friday. We had to get up at 4:30 in the morning. It was cold. And dark. I was grumpy. I spent 7 hours total on a bus with a crapload of 4th graders and their mommies. It was loud. It was a long trip. I tried not to be too grumpy. Jamestown was simply not that interesting, though I'll admit I did learn a few things. Mostly that the white man was a big, fat, arrogant bastard back in the olden days. Oh, and my sister-in-law (wife of the brother I don't speak to anymore) was on the field trip, too. She ignored me completely. So I ignored her right back. Nice, huh? Yeah, Thanksgiving is going to be a joy here.

Speaking of... I was planning to go away for Thanksgiving. I didn't want to spend it here, in the company of the above-mentioned brother and sister-in-law. But my mom said that if she couldn't spend the holiday with ALL of us, she wouldn't spend it with ANY of us. Manipulative? You bet. Effective? Oh yeah. I wasn't going to be the reason my mom spent Turkey Day alone, so I agreed to stay. Though why she'd want to spend the day in the company of three people who can't stand each other is beyond me. And get this... she got the Pictionary game out yesterday. When I asked why, she said, "Oh, I thought we could play it on Thanksgiving!" WTF?! Methinks someone's sailin' down De-Nial River. Luckily, my ex is coming to Richmond to spend the holiday with his sister, so as soon as I finish eating, I'll be hopping in the car and driving Ryan there to meet him. She'll get spend the weekend with her dad and I have a built-in excuse to eat and run. And that, my bloggy friends, is something to be THANKFUL for!!

Something not to be so thankful for, though, is that Ryan has walking pneumonia. She's had a cold and that stupid nagging cough that lasts forEVER. I knew there was pretty much nothing we could do but wait it out but I ran her to the doc this morning, just to be sure. And I paid $50 to find out what I already knew. He wants her out, running around as much as possible, so she can cough all the crap up and out of her system. She wasn't happy to hear that, as all she wanted was something to STOP the coughing. No such luck. And you know, though I started this paragraph feeling not-so-thankful, I shouldn't have. I know all too well that she could be in much worse shape... so I'll revise my thinking... I'm very thankful that all she has is a pain-in-the-ass cough (but let me assure you, if she keeps whining about it, that's not all that's going to be wrong with her).

Oh... I started a new book last week. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. My friend Colin gave it to me for my birthday last year (thanks, Col), as I'd wanted to read it for a while. Nearly a year later, I finally got around to starting it. I actually gave a copy to my sister-in-law (the one I love, not the one I ignore) and she's reading it now. She told me she hasn't been able to put it down since she started it. I know why. It's amazing. If you haven't read it, check it out. It's about 6,000 pages long, but don't let that turn you off... it's worth it.

What else? Oh... yeah... I met someone this weekend. Someone nice. Someone funny and smart and cute, who didn't vote for McPalin (that's hard to find in these parts, believe me). And there was a little bit of kissing (she says, blushing). And it was very nice. And we're going out again on Wednesday. And that's all I'm sayin'.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Writer's Workshop... I'm Bothered...

It’s that time again – Writer’s Workshop time. Kathy over at Mama’s Losin’ It had some good prompts this week and I chose:

Something that bothered me this week…

Note: Feel free to substitute all variations of the word ‘bother’ with the appropriate variations of the word ‘horrify.’

I’ve been following the story of an 8-year-old boy in Arizona who recently killed his father and his father’s friend with a rifle. The crime appears to have been premeditated and it’s possible the boy will be indicted for murder (murder charges can be filed against anyone who has reached the age of eight in Arizona).

I’m bothered by this situation for so many reasons, not the least of which is this child’s age. He's just one year younger than my own daughter. The idea that she, or one of her little friends, could be involved in something so horrible is beyond my comprehension.

I’m bothered by the fact that the little boy has no documented behavioral issues to date, nor do the men he killed. Police and prosecutors are investigating the possibility that he was being abused and the shootings were self-defense (or retaliation).

I’m bothered by the fact that I’m actually hoping he was abused because at least it would explain how a child could do something so seemingly sinister... and hoping a child has been abused, for any reason, is a truly horrible thing.

I’m bothered that this child felt, for reasons yet to be determined, that killing two people was the best solution to whatever problem he was facing.

I’m bothered that he didn’t feel he had anyone to turn to for help or guidance.

I’m bothered that an 8-year-old had access to a gun and ammunition.

I’m bothered that any state has established a law which allows them to file murder charges against 8-year-olds; and that any state determined it might even be necessary to do so.

I’m bothered by the fact that he could be incarcerated for the next ten or twelve years; and that he might possibly deserve (under the law, anyway) to be incarcerated for the next ten or twelve years.

I’m bothered that stories of children killing other children or adults are becoming less shocking because they’re becoming more frequent.

I’m bothered that we live in a society which embraces violence in its entertainment and that many children are exposed to it early on and at alarming levels.

I’m bothered that our Constitutional right to bear arms, or rather the consistently, persistently irresponsible manner in which we administer that right, has resulted in the gun violence we see and hear about every day, and that children are often exposed to it in real life or on the news.

I’m bothered that no matter how this turns out, two people are dead at the hands of a child, and that little boy's life has been irrevocably changed in a way that no child should ever have to face.

I'm bothered. I'm horrified. And I'm just so sad.

Wordful Wednesday...

I'm brain-dead today. Runnin' on empty. I got nothin'... except a compulsion to post somethin'. Luckily, Angie over at SevEn CloWn CirCus gave me an easy out. Today is Wordful Wednesday over at her wonderful blog... where you post a picture and tell about it. Here's mine.



I had to pick Ryan up early yesterday, as she had a fever. There's some sort of crud going around her school right now and she caught it. When we got home, I gave her an ice cream cone, thinking it would help her throat a bit. It did but as the afternoon wore on, she felt progressively worse and by early evening she was crying and miserable. Though I try to avoid meds if possible, I cracked open the kiddie Motrin and once it kicked in, she felt better... a lot better (clearly). When I came into the room later, I found her sitting innocently in the chair, buried under a blanket, her face... well... see above. When I asked her if she'd had another ice cream cone (without permission), I could see the wheels turning... 'Do I lie or tell the truth? How much trouble will I get in?' I said, "Ry, I suggest you think long and hard before you answer..." Finally she admitted to sneaking into the freezer. Whew. I hate it when she lies. When I told her to go look in the mirror, she said, "Wow. I guess it's a good thing I told the truth, huh?" She has always had a knack for stating the obvious, that girl of mine.

Monday, November 17, 2008

It Sucks To Be Me...

There's a really brilliant Broadway musical called Avenue Q (pretty much Muppets for grown-ups), which I saw in London last year. One of the best numbers in it is a song called, It Sucks To Be Me. My friend Hugh and I have a 'sucks to be me' competition every now and then and had we done it tonight, I'm reasonably certain I would have won...

Ryan's teacher has this reward system in place wherein the kids get stickers for going above and beyond the call of duty in terms of behavior or citizenship. After they fill up a card, they get a prize. For her prize, Ryan always chooses to be teacher for the day (it plays to her significant bossy side). She was teacher just last week but she informed me tonight at dinner that she's already filled up another sticker card.

Me: Wow! What did you do to fill it up so quickly?
Ry: I've just been really good and today I cleaned up a big mess before Miss Masters asked.
Me: Hmmm... maybe I should give you stickers at home. Hey, for your prize you could be 'Mommy for the day'!
Ry: Good lord, NO! There's NO WAY I'd want your job!

Geez. It really must suck to be me. Sigh.

Tiny Bubbles...

Have you ever washed out your mug but not rinsed it properly, so that your next cup of tea tastes like soap? Man, I really hate it when that happens.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

To Save Sanity...

Ryan had a sleepover on Friday night. How is it that three 9-year-old girls can reach the decibel level equal to that achieved in Emirates stadium when Arsenal is winning (the loudest place I think I've ever been)? My God. On Saturday morning (as soon as the Tylenol kicked in) we headed to the park, where I encouraged (and by 'encouraged' I mean 'ordered') them to rid themselves of the energy (and the sugar, obtained by ingesting 586 marshmallows... each, toasted in the firepit Friday evening) in their sweet (and by 'sweet' I mean 'diabolical') little systems. It poured much of Friday night and into Saturday morning, so the park was damp (and by 'damp' I mean 'swamplike'). I didn't care (even though it required a complete change of clothes before lunch).

Luckily it was unseasonably warm...

They spent much time upside down... and spinning...

And looking generally windblown...

It was a pretty good time, all in all, and my sanity lived to fight another day (more or less).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bookin' It...

I got tagged for a new (to me) meme by Stevyn. When I first got it, I thought, ‘Cool! I get to list my favorite books!’ Then, when I tried to do it, I thought, ‘Shit-oh-dear! How can I possibly?!’ And I promptly had a mini-aneurysm. Oh, and to boot, I’m supposed to describe why the 4 books I chose (4 books, people… 4 out of the 11,856 on my shelves!) are “essential reads” in 30 words or less. I can’t say ‘good morning’ in 30 words or less. Shit. Oh. Dear. But I’m going to try.

Fiction: This was tough, as I read mostly fiction… and a lot of it. There are a million and one authors I love - JD Salinger, Russell Banks, Peter Robinson, Douglas Adams, Andrew Greeley, Neil Gaiman, Gregory Maguire, Alice Sebold to name a very few. And I’ve read a bunch of great books lately by people who are rapidly becoming favorite authors. So, after much debate, I’m going with:

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver – Three separate and equally engrossing stories are connected by nearly invisible, beautifully crafted threads. I identified in some way with each protagonist and I was so sad when autumn came.

Autobiography: Again, tough. I’ve read a few great ones lately including Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy. But I’m going with one of my all-time favorites:

The Color of Water by James McBride – McBride details the social and personal obstacles he overcame as a bi-racial man in America on a quest for identity and success. I read it in one captivated, emotional sitting.

Non-fiction: Crap. I’ve read loads in the past few months, mostly by Bill Bryson and David Sedaris (love them both!), and a really likable one by Anna Quindlen about my favorite city (Imagined London). But I’m choosing another book I’ve loved for a long while and have read more than once:

Underwater to Get Out of the Rain – A Love Affair With the Sea by Trevor Norton – Norton, a marine biologist, played to my long-time interest in the sea. Like Bryson in A Walk in the Woods, he beautifully blends fact with humor to explain his passion.

Any genre: Ryan and I still read together and there are dozens of amazing books on our collective list. I can’t even begin to name them all. But one of my favorites ever was the first in a fantastic trilogy (and I challenge anyone who reads the first book not to run out and buy the other two!):

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson – A prequel to the Peter Pan story, it’s full of adventure, magic, friendship, pirates and even a little romance. I would get so excited reading it, I’d forget to breathe!


I’m tagging Heinous, Mel, Protégé, Heather, Joshlos, and DistributorCapNY. Have fun guys (but if you don't want to do it, I won't be offended)!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

100x100...

This is my 100th post! I decided to think up another 100 things with which to bore you. Try not to fall asleep, OK?

1. My name was supposed to be Sharon Heather.
2. That would have made my initials SHH.
3. But I am never quiet.
4. But people often tell me to shh.
5. So maybe it would have been appropriate.
6. Sometimes I do things which are inappropriate.
7. Like laugh when I shouldn’t.
8. I got put out of church once for laughing at a kid who farted.
9. Farts make me laugh.
10. As long as I’m not the one who does it.
11. In public, anyway.
12. Then it’s not at all funny.
13. It’s very funny, however, when people fall down.
14. Or run into things.
15. I laugh.
16. Before I even find out of they’re OK.
17. And sometimes after.
18. Even if they’re not OK.
19. That’s inappropriate.
20. So I’m told.
21. I told a lie when I was 17.
22. I got grounded for 2 weeks.
23. It was a big lie.
24. It was also the only time I was ever grounded.
25. I didn’t lie to my parents again.
26. I’m not a good liar.
27. My daughter lies sometimes.
28. She gets that from her dad.
29. He’s not a good liar either.
30. But he gets an 'A' for effort.
31. And frequency.
32. Frequency was one of my favorite movies.
33. It would have been better if Gerard Butler had been in it.


34. Gerard Butler is my boyfriend.
35. In my imagination.
36. He doesn’t know I exist.
37. In reality.
38. Reality sucks.
39. I don’t watch reality TV.
40. I have enough reality in my life.
41. I don’t need anyone else’s.
42. Except for Carson Kressley’s.
43. I sometimes watch How to Look Good Naked.
44. I’d like to look good naked.
45. But not in front of Carson Kressley.
46. Because he’s gay.
47. And can’t fully appreciate my boobs.
48. My boobs look good naked.
49. My ass, not so much.
50. Looking good naked requires balance.
51. And blurry vision.
52. Gerard Butler has blurry vision.
53. In my imagination.
54. It’s been a while since anyone has seen me naked.
55. In reality.
56. Too long.
57. Way too long.
58. I own stock in Duracell.
59. Just sayin’.
60. Just sayin’ is one of my favorite sayings.
61. So is bite me.
62. I say that a lot.
63. Because I have obnoxious friends.
64. Like Mel.
65. Most of my closest friends are men.
66. Obnoxious men.
67. Like Todd.
68. And Hugh.
69. And Alan.
70. Colin is not obnoxious.
71. But I love them all.
72. Not in that naked way, though.
73. Damn.
74. I swear sometimes.
75. But not in front of my kid.
76. Usually.
77. One of my favorites is ‘shit-oh-dear.’
78. I got it from my cousin.
79. He lives in Australia.
80. I have family in every native-English-speaking nation on the planet.
81. They all put extra U’s in their words.
82. Like favourite.
83. And colour.
84. They are not good spellers.
85. I am a good speller.
86. Usually.
87. I used to struggle with the word ‘maintenance’.
88. I would spell it maintanence.
89. Then I came up with, ‘ten women named Nancy work in the maintenance department.’
90. I never spelled it wrong again.
91. I’m picky about grammar, too.
92. My daughter said ain’t.
93. Once.
94. I probably overreacted.
95. But I ain’t gonna have a kid who says ain’t.
96. Even if we do live here.
97. In Pigsknuckle, Virginia.
98. Where good grammar goes to die.
99. And ‘dressing up’ means puttin’ on clean camouflage.
100. Did I mention that Travelocity is my favorite website?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Writer's Workshop: The First Time...

It's Wednesday evening again (is it me or is time flying right now?!)... time for Kathy's Writer's Workshop over at Mama's Losin' It. If you've never participated and you find yourself stuck for a post, this is a great way to unblock!

This week I chose, The First Time...

The first time I suspected my husband was cheating, I suddenly forgot how to breathe. I ached, body and soul, in a way I had never known. And part of my heart, part of my spirit, died.

But the first time wasn’t the last time. And each time, I told myself I was wrong. I tried to convince myself I was overreacting; that he would never betray me – never hurt me in such a profound way. But still, part of me died. You see, deep down, in that place at my core – that place I don’t like to look when I know the truth will hurt – I knew. And even though I knew, I let him laugh at me and tell me I was crazy. I let him make me feel stupid for asking – for listening to my instincts, my intuition, my gut. I let him lie. And I willed myself to believe, to accept, to trust.

No matter what I tried to believe, part of me died… because I knew... because he betrayed me… because I betrayed myself. And my betrayal was far worse than his. I stopped trusting myself. I saw only my shortcomings, my failings, my weaknesses. I became less than I was. The person looking back at me from the mirror became unrecognizable. I lost me.

But hearts and spirits have extraordinary wills to live, even when they're weak and tired... and the last time eventually came. I finally stopped letting him laugh. I stopped letting him lie; letting him make me feel stupid and crazy. I stopped believing him; stopped trusting him. I started trusting myself again. Shadowy glimpses of me began to appear in the mirror. In time, the shadows took form – wavering and unsteady, but tangible. And suddenly, I remembered how to breathe.

After some time, I buried the part of myself that died. I grieved and I finally accepted the loss. I accepted that death, in all forms, is a part of life. And I realized that the heart and the spirit are astonishing, wondrous entities… they are capable of rebirth; they have an amazing ability to grow and become stronger than they were.

And then, for the first time in a long time, I set about the business of forgiving myself; of rediscovering my innate strength and worth; of becoming even more than I was before; of finding me. I set about the business of breathing. I set about the business of living.

My Girl...

This is my girl.


This morning, my girl got on my nerves. In a big way. She was disagreeable, whiny, and unpleasant. She gave me lip and attitude. I wanted to kick her butt into tomorrow, where hopefully she'd be in a better mood.

She is not always that way, thankfully (or she'd be living with her father). Sometimes (like today) I need to remind myself of that... hence the trip through my photo files. She was not acting that way when I took the above picture. It was this past July and we were at Acadia National Park in Maine, where we camped for a week, just the two of us. It was amazing. She was amazing. That water was about 50 degrees. She stayed in for over an hour, catching big waves, being swept to shore, rendered breathless by both the frigid water and the excitement of being in the place she most wanted to be at that very moment. She was fearless. She was full of life. She was loving the sea and nature and just being alive.

This is my girl. She is amazing. And I love her.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Master What?!

Someone once said, "Procrastination is like masturbation. At first it feels good, but in the end you're only screwing yourself." Truer words were never spoken. I am a Master Procrastinator. In this sense, I'm definitely not the Master of my Domain (though I really think Seinfeld got it backwards. See, I think if you DO... ummm... IT, you should be the Master... not if you don't. If you don't, you're only depriving yourself... and I don't see the point in that, and I definitely don't see where it makes you the Master of anything... except maybe Deprivation. And who wants to be the Master of Deprivation? Especially when we're talking about masturbation. Anyway, can we move on? I'm actually NOT talking about masturbation here. Geez. It IS always about sex with you, isn't it?).

AS I WAS SAYING... I'm a Master Procrastinator. Always have been. I have a vivid memory of when I was about 9, sitting on my bed on a Sunday night, scribbling furiously in a notebook. I was doing a report on all the presidents to that point, taken from (but not copied word for word!) the encyclopedia (for those of you younger bloggers, that's what we used before Wikipedia), and due first thing Monday morning. I remember feeling beyond stressed; I remember sweating it, thinking I would NEVER finish; I remember saying to myself, "I will never put anything off again."

Pffffft.

That was the start of a pattern that would become a way of life. My life. I'm doing it right now! I have 3 resumes I should be doing. But what AM I doing? This. I'm clearly doing this (keep up, people) and not resumes (the work I actually get paid to do).

Why?

I dunno. I put loads of stuff off... and not just stuff I don't like to do. I put off stuff I enjoy... stuff that's good for me. Why? I dunno. Am I lazy? Well, yeah, sort of. But I don't think that's it... not all of it anyway. I dunno.

Do you?

Are there any other Master Procrastinators out there? How about any reformed Master Procrastinators ('cause I'd really like to hear from you). Until then, however, I'm going to go make a cup of tea... get the mail... read a few blogs... send an email or two...