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

Monday, December 28, 2009

Coming Right Up...

I got an email from a lovely bloggy friend last night that said, "Have you died?"

Nope. I haven't. I'm alive and well... pleased the holidays are nearly over and regrouping before the new year begins and life returns to some semblance of 'normal' (such as it is). I've actually been trying to come up with something to post about... but I've got nothin'. And you know what that means, don't you?

Stunningly mundane, coming right up!

Did everyone have a nice Christmas (if you celebrate it)? Ours was pretty OK. It was smaller (with regard to the number of gifts) than in years past, but that's quite a good thing, I think. I was required to be more creative than normal when choosing Ryan's gifts and I wound up picking things she really, truly wanted and loved. I didn't get even one whiff of disappointment (which was really good, as I'd have had to whack her). And I'd heard somewhere that if funds are limited, it's best to choose a gift that's an 'experience' or 'event' over one that's just 'stuff'. So, since funds were limited, I went that route and got tickets for Wicked, which Ryan's been dying to see for the past three years. For those who don't know, it's a musical based on Gregory Maguire's book, about how the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda (of Wizard of Oz fame... duh) became mortal enemies (did you know they were college roommates?). We're seeing it in Richmond in March and we're both pretty excited.

Other than that, we're still slogging through left-over snow here. It's finally melting and Sundance and I got to the park this morning for the first time since two feet got dumped on Pigsknuckle. It's pretty messy, let me tell you, but my boy was beyond excited and I was happy to just watch him run (and try to keep myself vertical on the ice floes).

And speaking of running, I just committed to doing a half-marathon this summer. I debated on doing one in April but I thought that might just be too soon (I don't want to, you know, die in the middle of it). I figure I'll be ready after eight months of training (and one of the Booby Walks under my belt). I'm pretty excited about it and am hoping to talk my friend Emmy into joining me. And Ryan and I are doing a 5K together in April. Our New Year's Eve 5K is looming... though there might be some snow/rain that day... we'll see.

I'm sorting out some plans for next year... plans and goals. I'll likely bore you with all of that soon enough. Yeah, I hear you cheering (and by 'cheering', I mean 'groaning').

But that's all for now, folks! I'll make my way 'round Blogland tonight to catch up with everyone! XOXO

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Thought Wisdom Came With Age...

Marilyn Monroe once said, "A wise girl kisses but doesn’t love, listens but doesn’t believe, and leaves before she is left."

Yeah.

I'm so not wise.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It Cracked Me Up...

You guys know I'm not a big fan of Christmas music but I heard this great, funny song on the radio the other day and wanted to share it. You have to watch the video all the way through... the last bit is great!

Crack-me-up-Christmas-carol

Monday, December 14, 2009

Focus on the Positive...

Today is one of those days when, no matter how hard I try, the worry and frustration over things I cannot quickly change just kicks my butt. So, in an effort to keep the negative at bay, I'm focusing on the positive and, as such, I thought I'd do a 'Things I Love' post. They just make me happy. So, here are ten things I love and would truly hate to live my life without...

My friends... I call them my 'chosen family' for a reason. Lord, but they keep me going when things are really tough. They catch me when I fall and support me in ways I'm sure I don't deserve. I love them all.


London... I've said it before and I'll say it again... I just love that place.


Wine... red wine, to be specific... Merlot and Pinot Noir, to be even more specific... with friends, always.


I'm not sure I love running yet... I used to and I want to again, so I'm working on it. I do know I love the feeling I have when I'm finished running, so that's something!


Days like these...


And nights like these...


Everyone knows I love books in general and I really loved this book in particular! It was easily my favorite this year. I think it's beyond cool when you find a story that makes you wish the people in it were real... and that you were living next door to them and sharing in their lives!


The sea... always the sea. Any sea, any coast, any country...


Travel... put me in a plane (train or automobile) going almost anywhere and I'm happy! (And hey, look where the little plane is pointed toward! :)


Ahem. Enough said...


Mostly I love that I finally figured out (after a year and a half), that if I load pictures into Blogger backwards (i.e. last one first), I don't have to do all that tedious dragging. Sometimes I'm so smart (and quick), it astonishes even me!

Hope your day is filled with things you love! XOXO

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Eyes! My Eyes!

I think I've probably mentioned how I don't shop at WalMart.

Correction: I won't shop at WalMart. Ever.

There are lots of reasons for my boycott (which has been in effect for about a dozen years now) and I won't go into grand detail, but you should know I call that wonderful corporation, 'The Evil Empire'. I hate everything about them, from the way they come into small communities and completely decimate the local retail markets; to the way they claim to bring jobs to depressed areas but then pay their employees so little and keep the vast majority at part-time (to avoid paying for benefits and insurance); I hate their employee relations practices; I hate how sub-standard their brand products are; I hate their sub-sub-standard service (which is understandable, given the appalling employee relations practices I mentioned before); I hate how they are striving to (and gloat publicly about), not compete fairly in a free market, but annihilate their competition by what I consider shady marketing practices; and I hate the way Americans flock to their stores in droves, just to save a few dollars, and in doing so, make an absolutely crap corporation even stronger. I am concerned, truly, that before too long, there will simply be nowhere else for a large number of Americans to shop. And if that happens? I will be pissed off.

OK, so I guess I did go into detail. Sorry. And if you happen to be a WalMart employee and you love your company and your job, well, I'm happy for you. But I can tell you that you won't change my mind about how I feel, so don't even try. I refuse to support the store in any way. My mother gets aggravated with me because I will spend $20 a week more in groceries (when I really cannot afford to do so) in order to avoid entering The Evil Empire (where she shops, mind you). But I don't care. I'd rather spend money I can't afford to spend than support a store I think should be run out of business. And that's fully my prerogative.

And? I found yet another reason not to shop at The Evil Empire last night. My friend Emmy posted something about a website on her Facebook page... a website I'd never heard of. So I had to go look. I have four words for you...

My eyes! My eyes!

I'm going to post the link below. Some of you may know about it already. Some of you will find it funny. Some of you will find it disgusting. Some of you, if you're like me, will be fascinated and horrified, sort of like when you pass a terrible car accident on the road... you don't want to look because you know what you're going to see will be gruesome, but you just can't help yourself. And, if you're like me, you'll need to wash your eyes out... with bleach... when you're finished looking.

To those non-Americans who might peruse the website I'm going to link, please, please, PLEASE do not assume that the majority of us are like this. We are not! Granted, there are more of us like this than I care to acknowledge... but I am certain it's not the majority. God, I hope it's not the majority! No, it's not the majority. Damn it.

OK, are you ready?

The website is People of Walmart... prepare yourself for what you are about to see...

Oh, and be sure to read the captions under the photos...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Hate This Day...

It’s December 10th. I hate this day. I think I’ll probably hate it forever, though I don’t want to. I know it’s just a date on a calendar, really, and should be no better or worse than any other. And every year I think, maybe this year it won’t hurt so much. Maybe this year I’ll forget to hate this day. But it hasn’t happened yet. And I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that a hundred and eleven years from now, I’ll still hate it.

Last year I explained why and those of you who have been around a while might have read that post. I’ve copied it here, as I’m not sure there’s more I can say. And honestly? Nothing has changed…

Just Do It ‘til You Fart (Orginally posted December 9, 2008)

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

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Snuffle... Sniff...

Fighting off some sort of winter ick at the moment. Likely the same ick Ryan had at the end of last week. Not feeling perfectly horrible... just nicely horrible. Back when the ick's been banished... XO

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pigsknuckle in White...

So, the weatherman didn't lie after all! We've gotten a load of snow so far and it's still coming down. I took my boy to the park this morning, along with my camera, and then Ryan and I walked downtown, again with the camera, to go to the library and have lunch. Below are some of the pictures I took of lovely Pigsknuckle under a blanket of white...

Here are a few at Pigsknuckle Park... the bridge (where I saw the otter!)...


The pond...


One of the ducks I mentioned in yesterday's post, enjoying his Jacuzzi...


My sweet, gorgeous Boy...


Downtown Pigsknuckle... this is the old courthouse on the square (the new one isn't nearly so pretty)...


Just a cool old building, also on the square, and the 'spring house' in the lower right corner...


My girl, also on the square :)...


Pretty, huh? Everything's pretty when it's covered in snow, I guess. Hope your weekend's as lovely!! XOXO

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Miscellany...

Happy Friday, my bloggy loves! I don't have anything important to say so I figured I'd fill your screen with a mish-mash of miscellany from the stunningly mundane happenings that make up my life. Whoo hoo! ;)

Ryan's home sick today (and yesterday). It's nothing serious... a bit of a temp, a lot of snot, a little cough. Yesterday she said to me, "I hate being sick. I get a really bad taste in my mouth... and this time it has substance." I snorted and got all grossed out at the same time. She's got a way with words, that kid I love.

It's really a wonder everyone and their brothers aren't sick right now, given the games Mother Nature has been playing. We've gone from frigid monsoon-like weather to spring-like days and back to the grey chill again. It's so aggravating. The weatherman says there could be snow in the weekend forecast. I don't really believe it but I suppose anything is possible. We shall see...

At the park this morning I saw six deer... it was way cool. I also saw a beautiful heron (with the wingspan of a friggin' pterodactyl! It scared the crap out of me when it flew right overhead!). But the best part of my park treks this week has been these two ducks in the pond. The pond has two things at opposite ends that force air or water (I'm not sure which) to the pond's surface. They're sort of like fountains but they don't spray into the air. Does that make sense? I don't really know what they're for... to keep the water moving? Anyway, the pond is filled with those awful, stupid, nasty Canada geese and a couple of ducks. Most of the park ducks swim in the creek, leaving the pond to the geese, but these two have taken up residence right over the forced air/water thingies. It cracks me up, as I think it must feel like a Jacuzzi! That, or the water's warm right there. But they never move. I actually wondered if they might be dead but I figured if they were, they'd eventually drift to the side or center of the pond. Anyway, they make me laugh every morning, so I thought I'd share. Lucky you!

Let's see... what else? Oh, I got word this morning that the Republican is coming to see me when he's on leave from Afghanistan in January. I'm pretty excited, really, as he's been gone since June and I miss his conservative old self. OK, so I don't actually miss the conservative part but the rest of him is pretty nice.

I'll get to see someone else I miss in two weeks, which I'm pretty excited about. I'm going to Charlotte to see Mel and we're heading to our annual Winter Solstice creativity/writing workshop with our wonderful writing coach, Maureen. It's one of the best parts of my year. Ryan's coming with, not to attend the workshop, but to see her dad for the first time in over a year. I'm not sure she's terribly excited about that, but she's looking forward to seeing her Godmommy, for sure.

That's about it, I guess. I warned you this would be a stunningly mundane post. Oh, wait, I also have to tell you that I've found a little bit of Christmas spirit! I know, you're shocked, aren't you? So am I, honestly. I've been a confirmed Grinch-Scrooge for years now, but this year... well, this year the generosity and love and support I've felt from the people who love me has been nothing short of completely overwhelming. It's changed my outlook all around. I guess that's what you non-heathens might call a Christmas miracle. What.Ever. ;) All I know is I'm happy and it's all good.

Hope you all have a great weekend!!! I'll let you know if it snows... XOXO

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bursting With Pride...

My kid is so great. I mean, there are days when I want to kick her butt into tomorrow, but overall, I'm pretty blessed. She's so smart and creative and goal-oriented. Her grades are exceptional; she works hard at whatever task she takes on; she's funny and articulate; she's developing compassion and empathy (though that bit is slow-going, I'll admit); and she's already pretty socially liberal. Hell, she even keeps her room clean (she's actually a little obsessive-compulsive about that, though not quite to Monica Geller standards, so I've decided to skip therapy thus far). Some of those qualities come from me... some from her dad (I told you guys he has some good traits)... some come from her 'Godmommy' (or so her Godmommy says... that's Mel, by the way, who likes to claim responsibility for all my child's positive traits)... and some are all hers (that cleaning thing? Yeah... no one knows where the hell that one came from).

You might be wondering about the reason for my brag-fest. Well, remember the 'Beauty Is' poem she wrote for the contest at school? This morning she received a 2nd place award for it! She was so proud of herself because the literature category was judged by a college professor "who probably knows his stuff." She got all sorts of prizes at a breakfast this morning, brought in from Panera Bread for the winners, several of whom are her friends. I was so proud of her.

And you know how I said she was goal-oriented? Well, at our recent GoGirlGo! meetings, Ironwoman has had the girls running two miles. Though we'd like them to do it without stopping, lots of the girls walk quite a bit. It's somewhat disappointing because we really feel they aren't always putting forth their best effort. Well, the other day, instead of two miles, Ryan decided she was going to push herself and do three... which she did... without having to walk at all. And she did it again yesterday. Again, I was so proud to see her set a goal and then really work hard to achieve it.

She's a good kid, my little fart blossom. And I love her so. And when I feel the urge to burst with pride, I do it, 'cause I totally know that day when I'm going to want to kick her butt into tomorrow is coming... 'cause she is Ryan after all...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wrong Again...

Not long ago, a workman mistook me for my mother’s granddaughter. My mom was quite put out (understandably) but I was quite tickled (in fact, I think I even snorted with actual glee). I chalked it up to, 1) the fact that my mother looks and feels considerably older than she is and, 2) that I look and feel considerably younger than I am.

Yeah.

Wrong again.

Turns out?

I wasn’t so much youthful-looking as I was, well, fat.

Turns out?

Fat fills out wrinkles.

Turns out?

When said fat is lost, wrinkles appear.

Like magic.

Black magic.

So, now I’m thinner… and older-looking!

Pfffttttt.

I call, “NO FAIR!

Damn it.

Sigh.

So, does anyone know a good wrinkle-filler-outer (you know, other than me ingesting 4,000 calories a day for the next couple of months)?

I’m just trying to avoid renting the sand-blaster.

Let me know.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six...

Just an easy-peasy countdown post today. It was fun... try it! And you can change it around or add your own categories...

TEN things I’m thankful for...

1. Ryan – that she’s happy, healthy, smart, and independent
2. My friends and family (insane though they may be)
3. Rainy days (and sunny days)
4. My gorgeous, 4-legged, fuzzy boy
5. Weight Watchers
6. Good health
7. Blue Bunny chocolate-raspberry ice cream bars
8. Sex
9. Good books
10. This past year of change, growth, difficulties, joy, and new perspective

NINE things I do every day...

1. Wheeze my way around the park several times
2. Tell my daughter I love her
3. Drink milk
4. Check my email (2,563 times)
5. Hug my dog
6. Daydream
7. Worry
8. Laugh
9. Talk to someone I love via IM or email or my blog or Facebook

EIGHT things I find attractive in a guy...

1. Intelligence
2. A sense of humor
3. A creative streak
4. Honesty and straightforwardness
5. A socially liberal/conscious attitude
6. A great smile
7. A sense of adventure
8. Complete and utter devotion to me! (Duh)

SEVEN things I enjoy doing...

1. Writing
2. Reading
3. Swimming
4. Camping
5. Blogging
6. Traveling
7. Walking/Running

SIX things on my ‘to do’ list for 2010...

1. Take a cardio kick-boxing class
2. Run a 10K
3. Do 2 breast cancer walks with my gorgeous peeps
4. Get a new job with Weight Watchers
5. Give up diet soda for good
6. Turn my non-existent finances into existent ones

FIVE places I want to visit...

1. The Galapagos Islands
2. Australia
3. New Zealand
4. The Scandinavian countries (especially Denmark)
5. Alaska

FOUR things that drive me nuts...

1. Litterbugs
2. People who don’t scoop their dog’s poop
3. When someone leaves the empty toilet paper roll on the thingy
4. Arrogant, closed-minded people (especially when it's me!)

THREE smells I like...

1. Cookies or bread baking
2. Laundry drying
3. Bars in the morning… that stale boozy/smoky smell (it’s weird, I know)

TWO things I find difficult...

1. Forgiving myself
2. Math

ONE thing I want...

1. To feel fulfilled in every area of my life (that's not too much to ask for, right? ;)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To Forgive... Divine?

Gandhi once said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Until fairly recently, I’m not sure I believed that. But I believe it now.

I’ve told you guys that I’ve been attending ‘Divorce Care’ meetings every week, right? It’s a support group for people who have gone or are going through divorce. Some of the group members are still hoping to save their marriages; some know they’re gone and are now trying to figure out how to grieve, let go, and bounce back. Five years out from my split, I didn’t feel I needed any sort of support, but when my neighbor suggested I might get something out of it, I thought I might give it a try. Then I looked over the workbook he had for the class and realized it was a faith-based program. I reminded him that I’m a heathen but he said it really wasn’t too God/religion-oriented, so I agreed to go.

Turns out? My neighbor lied just a wee bit. But it's cool, as the group leader is just wonderful and she has fully accepted my non-Christian presence. She’s incredibly respectful of my views and, of course, I always try to be respectful, too. The people in the group, who are also wonderful, vary from devout to not-so-sure-what-to-think, so I don’t feel too out of place. And while God and religion enter our discussions, the focus is really on just getting through the tangle of feelings that results when a marriage ends.

Each class begins with a video about the topic for the week – topics like loss, financial issues, helping your kids through divorce, new relationships, single sexuality (and let me tell you, when I found out God only wants us to have sex within the confines of marriage, I was ever so glad to be a heathen!), etc. The videos are very faith-oriented, which is understandable, as the program was produced by a church organization. Mostly it’s OK but I get a little peeved at times, as the people in them tend to make blanket statements like, “Without Christ in your life, you simply cannot heal.” Pfffffttttt. Utter arrogance.

What I’ve found out by participating in this group is that I have healed. And I’ve done it beautifully. And though I did it without the ‘benefit’ of Christ or religion or faith in anyone or anything except myself and the notion that things would get better (which is what always has, still does, and forever will get me through), I have done or do nearly everything the people who developed the program think I should be doing (with the exception of, you know, praying to God, and that whole ‘no pre-marital sex’ thing… 'cause that totally isn’t gonna happen, people). It’s all made me feel pretty good, pretty healthy, and pretty happy.

Last week’s discussion was on forgiveness. And I have to admit that five, four, even three years ago, that was one area where I was struggling. But when I wrote my post for Kathy’s Writer’s Workshop the other day, on the moment I knew my marriage was over, and someone asked me how you heal from that sort of betrayal, it hit me like a brick that the answer is...

Forgiveness

The idea of forgiving my ex, however, was incomprehensible to me for a long time. See, I had a few notions about the whole process that turns out? Were wrong.

I thought the person who had perpetrated the wrongdoing had to ask for forgiveness.

Wrong.

I thought the wrongdoer had to apologize first (I certainly wanted the wrongdoer to apologize first!).

Wrong.

I thought by forgiving, I was condoning the wrongdoer’s behavior.

Wrong.

I thought by forgiving, I was opening myself up to being hurt again.

Wrong.

What I realized over time was that forgiveness is actually an incredibly selfish act (or as the lovely Pauline pointed out in my comments section, a 'self-conscious' act, as 'selfish' has negative connotations). And it was one I needed to get familiar with if I was ever going to move past the hurt and anger and on with my life. I realized that forgiveness isn’t really even about the wrongdoer. After all, my anger and inability to forgive wasn’t hurting him. He was living his life, doing what he wanted. He honestly didn’t care whether I forgave him or not (and indeed, I didn’t even tell him when I did it). It was all about me and the negativity I was feeling, and I just had to do it… in my own head and my own heart. I found out that forgiveness is about release… it allowed me to let go of the anger, the pain, and the hurt and move into a better place.

When I forgave him, everything changed. I found strength I didn’t know I had. I felt hope again. Don’t get me wrong… I still had a lot of work to do on myself in order to heal completely (and forgiving myself for all my failings was - and remains - part of that never-ending work), but I could finally take the anger out of the healing process… and that made everything so much easier.

What I didn’t realize was that forgiveness is an on-going process, especially when you’re still tied to the wrongdoer (for all friggin’ eternity). You see, I forgave him for the betrayal – for ending our marriage in an incredibly painful and callous way – but I’ve found myself having to forgive him on a regular basis for lots of other things; for being a completely absentee father; for not paying his child support for nearly a year because he’s been out of work (and yeah, I know that’s not completely his fault, but we’re talking close to $10,000, people, and that’s put a world of hurt on me that I’m having trouble seeing my way out of at the moment, a month before the wallet-suck we call ‘Christmas’); for putting our child in situations where I’ve had to explain the nearly-unexplainable (like why he might have gotten re-married without even telling her); for all manner of things.

The best part, though? Ryan has benefited and, indeed, she seems to just 'get it'. While I have never (nor will I ever) bad-mouthed my ex in any way (well, to Ryan, anyway), I am honest with her. I told her recently that her dad is who he is. He has his good qualities and his bad qualities, the same as everyone. He loves her as much as he’s capable of loving anyone, but he might never be able to connect with her (or anyone else) the way she might like. That he has a hole in his soul which no one but him can repair and until he realizes that, he won’t change. And she has two choices… she can forgive him his shortcomings and accept who he is (the same as she does with me)… or she can cut him out of her life. She gave it some thought (she’s the thoughtful sort, that child of mine) and she decided she’d forgive him and she’d love him because he’s her dad. But she also easily admits she doesn’t know him and she’ll never expect or look to him for the support she gets from me. I hate that it has to be that way but if it does, I think she has a pretty healthy outlook.

So, we’re good. We’re healing nicely, thank you very much. And it’s all because of a little thing called ‘forgiveness’. I don't know if it's divine but I know it's a good thing. And I know Gandhi was right. She’s a tough cookie, my little cookie. And so am I. And we’re gonna be just fine.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mirror Mirror On the Wall...

I had a bad dream last night. Well, it was more disturbing than bad, really. Well, no... it was bad. But before I tell you about it, I have a question for you... you know how you can see someone (usually a woman) dressed or made-up in a way that is completely inappropriate for her body type or age and you think, 'My eyes! My eyes!' Heh heh. Just kidding. Sort of. No really, you think, 'Good lord, doesn't she have a mirror?! Can't she see what I see?!'

Yeah. I used to do that.

Then? I found out that mirrors lie. They do.

Last summer, the Republican and I went to this place here called The Frontier Culture Museum. It's cool, really... working farms that depict what life was like during various periods in US history. I think I've told you that the Republican is a photographer, right? He's actually a forensic photographer now but he's made a living for a long time taking pictures of lots of stuff and lots of people. He's good. Anyway, The Frontier Culture Museum is a great place to take pictures and that's what we did. I took pictures of the houses and flowers and farm animals (the sheep and lambs especially, as I love me some wool!). What I didn't know was that while I was taking pictures of those things, the Republican was taking pictures of me.

Lovely.

See, I don't like having my picture taken. I never have. Well, so I'm told, anyway (it's entirely possible that my parents made that up to explain why there are 4,512 pictures of my older brother and only 2 of me... whatever). Regardless, I don't like it now and do my very best to stay on the other side of the camera. If I have to be photographed, though, I prefer pictures that don't capture all of me, or ones that have someone else standing in front of me, and I always have to stand a certain way, to minimize the... well, just to minimize. But when I don't know the pictures are being taken? Gulp.

So, after we got back to the Republican's house, he loaded all his pictures onto his computer and we were looking at them. Imagine my surprise (and by 'surprise', I mean 'horror') when I saw images of me, taken from all angles, without any sort of camouflage or posing. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say I felt ill. At first I wondered who that fat woman was... and then, after I realized it was me, I wondered what the hell was wrong with my mirror! How had I not seen all that... all that... ME?!

I joined Weight Watchers very soon after. And I've never looked back. I can't, as the pictures still make me feel sick. I had the Republican send them to me, as we're supposed to have a 'before' picture for WW... but I don't know that I'll ever be able to print one of them out and look at it without wanting to hurl.

So, back to my dream. I'd had a picture taken of me and I was excited to see it, as I've lost about 632 pounds so far, but when I got it? My face was still fat! In fact, I had the whole pelican neck thing going on... you know, where your chin disappears into your neck and your face becomes this big, bloated blobby thing and you look like Jabba the Hutt. The weird thing, though? My face, even at my worst, never looked liked that. It definitely got rounder but I always had a chin (or two) and a neck... and they were always separate. So it was disturbing and bad and I woke up all worried that I really hadn't lost the weight I thought I had.

But my mirror told me otherwise.

Whew.

But...

Mirrors lie.

Well, crap.

I guess I'd better have someone take a picture.

Gulp.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Have a Confession to Make...

Remember how I said I was avoiding pie on turkey day because I'm watching my calories?

Yeah.

Well, I sort of lied.

That's not why I won't be eating my normal share of yummy pumpkin goodness this year.

No.

The honest-to-goodness reason?

I found out where pumpkin pie really comes from.

And because I love you all, I thought I'd let you in on the secret...



You're skipping it this year, too, aren't you? Yup. I don't blame you one bit.

Friday, November 20, 2009

It's Friday... Wheeeeeee!

Wheeeeeeee! I really like writing that (simple things...). And after yesterday's post, which was more, 'Ugggggggh,' I figured a 'Wheeeeeeee!' was in order. And? I just like writing it. I'm pretty sure I'd sound like a dork if I said it out loud. Of course, I spent this morning talking to Ryan in my Professor Dolittle voice (not to be confused with Dr. Dolittle, please), which sounds a whole lot like Daffy Duck (and isn't complete without the spittle spray), so I'm thinking the dork-factor probably isn't much of an issue, huh? When she was really little, Ryan used to laugh and laugh when I did one of my voices (there are many... I have to let them out of my head every now and then... for air... it's stuffy in there, you know). Now she just rolls her eyes, shakes her head, and giggles when she thinks I'm not looking... but I'm always looking... 'cause I'm a mom and I have eyes in the back of my head. Ooooh... funny story...

When we first moved here (when Ryan was 6), we had a house with a big fireplace in the living room. It had a glass 'screen' and at night, if you were sitting on the loveseat, you could see everything behind you reflected in the glass. Well, I've always told Ryan I have eyes in the back of my head... so one night, when she was supposed to be in bed, I noticed movement in the glass and I watched her, without lifting my head from my book, creeping ever so quietly down the hall. What she was doing, I've no idea, but when I hollered, without even looking up, "Get back to bed, you," the look on her face was priceless! She stopped dead in her tracks, turned, and bolted back down the hall. The next day, she spent a fair amount of time running her fingers through my hair, searching for those eyes... :)

Anyway, it's Friday! Wheeeeeeeeee! I don't know why I'm so excited, really, as the only plans I have for the weekend have to do with cleaning. 'Cause I'm told Thanksgiving is next Thursday. And that means there will be people here to eat stuff. I won't be eating much stuff, though. I usually go to Weight Watchers on Thursdays but next week I have to go on Friday... the morning after Thanksgiving. Yeah. I'm totally not eating much on turkey day. So far I've lost the equivalent of a kindergartener, which is mighty cool. I'm going for a third-grader, though, so no pie for me.

I'm not a big fan of Thanksgiving, really (shock and surprise, I know, given how much I love holidays in general... pfffftt). It's not that I don't think being thankful is a good thing... quite the opposite. I just really think you should be grateful for all your blessings every day of the year... and I try to be (though I do forget sometimes). And I don't really see how gorging on enough food to feed a small village in Africa exemplifies gratitude in any way. And the whole 'family time' thing? Well, if you really love your family, have them over for dinner whenever you want! Be grateful with them and for them and feed them turkey and pie on June 11, or March 21, or October 2. And? I hate doing the friggin' dishes! You know? Anyway, that's my take on turkey day. I told you I'm a Grinch, albeit an adorable one (or so I've been told... and yes, I know the Grinch doesn't really apply to Thanksgiving but I couldn't think of a cartoon character that doesn't like turkey... sue me).

Anyway, it's Friday! Wheeeeeeeee! Hope yours is fabulous!! XOXO

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Writer's Workshop: In That Instant...

I haven't done one of Kathy's Writer's Workshops in For.Ever. So I decided to give this week's a go (check out Mama's Losin' It for all the details)...

I chose the prompt:

Describe in 1000 words or less a time when something happened and you knew that life would never be the same

A little over five years ago, my then-husband was finishing up his MBA and Ryan was nearly 5-years-old, ready to begin kindergarten. Life had been pretty crazy for a long time... he’d been working away from home on a big engineering project and going to school at the same time. I was working full-time, taking care of the house, and pretty much raising Ryan alone. So we decided to take a long trip as a reward for working so hard for so long, with no vacations and next-to-no family time together since our daughter’s birth. The destination was easy - England and Scotland. Much of my family lives there and we’d combine a family visit with sightseeing… we’d travel to the town where I was born so Ryan could see a little bit of her heritage and meet some of my favorite people on the planet. Easy.

My then-husband and I agreed that Ryan and I would go for a month and he’d come over two weeks into our trip, after he finished his exams, to spend the last two weeks in the UK with us. It was a great way for me, the (much) more social one in our marriage, to spend time hanging out with my cousins, especially David, my long-time partner-in-all-things-mischievous-and-delinquent and one of the people in my life who really knows me and loves me best. And it was a great way for my then-husband to have some much-needed quiet study/alone-time at home. A perfect compromise.

While I was in England the first two weeks, I spoke to my then-husband on the phone once or twice. This was not unusual. Things had been strained between us for a while. We’d had no time together for a long, long time and when we were in the same house (or state), things were… not right. His calls home during the week had become less-than-frequent and instead of coming home on Fridays and leaving Mondays, he'd been flying in on Saturdays and out on Sundays. I knew things were bad but it was a terribly stressful time... and I'd learned over the years that when my then-husband was stressed, it was definitely not the time to 'rock the boat'. I thought after our trip, after the degrees, after the out-of-town work, after the single parenting, we’d have the time to really work on our marriage. Life would be normal again… happy, even. I was hopeful.

When he arrived in England, I expected my then-husband to be happy to see us – to see me; to be happy to finally be finished with school; to be happy to be on holiday. But he wasn’t happy. He was cold and even more distant than usual. It was noticeable to everyone. Especially to David, my long-time partner-in-all-things-mischievous-and-delinquent and one of the people in my life who really knows me and loves me best. It was uncomfortable. I was sad. And disappointed. And angry. And my hope faltered.

One night, we went out with David and some friends. And my then-husband disappeared for a while. Our friend went to look for him and when he came back into the pub, he told me he’d found him… tucked away in a quiet little corner… on the phone… whispering.

On the phone. He was on the phone. But there was no one to talk to. School was finished. His work project was finished and it was well past normal working hours in the US anyway. He was in another country. But he was on the phone. He was tucked away in a quiet little corner… on the phone… whispering.

In that instant, my hope was gone.

And David, my long-time partner-in-all-things-mischievous-and-delinquent and one of the people in my life who really knows me and loves me best, took my hand and squeezed it. He kissed my forehead, searched my face for the same realization that had dawned on him and, finding it, simply said, “I’m so sorry.”

And I knew in that instant… as I looked into the eyes of one of the people in my life who was always honest with me; who would never cause me pain; who would do anything in his power to keep me from getting hurt; whose face was filled with pain and sympathy and concern and love – all for me…

I knew in that instant that life would never be the same.

I Can See Clearly Now...

Ryan needs new glasses. I've known it for a few months but they just haven't been in the budget (hell, soap and toothpaste aren't in the budget at the moment... yeah... don't be coming 'round here without your noseplug). Anyway, she's been mentioning her vision issues a bit more frequently in the past two weeks... like this afternoon...

Ry: Man, I really can't see out of these glasses!

Me: I know, honey. I'll make an appointment for you to get your eyes checked next week, I promise.

Ry: No, it's not that.

Me: Oh?

Ry: I just ate popcorn and now my lenses are covered in butter.

Yeah... my kid is blind and a slob. And I've no idea where she gets any of it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fa La La La La... oh, bite me

I swear someone pushed the fast forward button on life recently! The days and weeks have just been whipping past and I’ve been left, turning in circles, mumbling, ‘What? Huh? Who? When? Huh?’ Blognut told me yesterday that Thanksgiving is next week! What? Huh? When? Seriously?! Turns out, she was right! Well, crap. That means Christmas isn’t very far away. Actually, I sort of knew that since, on my walk through the neighborhood with Sundance the other night, I saw four Christmas trees all lit up inside peoples’ houses (yes, I’m a peeker… not to be confused with ‘peeper’, which implies perversion… or ‘pecker’, which implies something else entirely). Anyway, WTF?! Although I don’t think I’m a particularly grouchy person as a rule (honest!), I’m the first to admit that I could totally do without Christmas. Period. For loads of reasons, many of which I’ll probably tell you about in the month to come. But even when I’m not feeling particularly Grinchy, there’s no way in hell I’d put up my tree before Thanksgiving. That’s just wrong. Wrong, I tell you! I think people who have that much holiday cheer ought to be exiled to the North Pole. Damn it. And I’m bracing myself for the onslaught of non-stop Christmas music on the radio starting next Thursday. Actually, in an effort to keep from sticking sharp objects in my ears, I’ll wind up listening to nothing but CDs for a month. It’s a lot better than hearing that stupid ‘Christmas Shoes’ song ninety-eleven times a day. It makes me want to hurl. Shoes. At children. And old people. And Carrie Underwood’s ‘Jesus Take the Wheel’ song? Lordy (no pun intended)! I’d like Jesus to take Carrie Underwood… and beat her senseless with that wheel.

I told you I’m a Grinch.

Someday I’ll be able to travel to exotic locations and spend every Christmas lounging on a beach somewhere, with Julio, my muscular and ever-so-attentive cabana boy, bringing me fruity, tequila-laced drinks ‘til the stars come out, after which I’ll bask in the glow of the moon, while my bronzed god (that'd be Julio again) feeds me coconut-encrusted shrimp and fresh mango. Sigh. Until then? I guess it’ll be a few trips to Target, to spend money I don’t have on things no one needs, which I’ll wrap in expensive, pointless paper that only gets ripped off and thrown in the garbage…

Bah.

Hum-shit.

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's Friday Already?!

How on earth did that happen?! My last post was Monday and now it's Friday already?! I can't even remember anything that happened this week! It could be the Benedryl-induced fog I've been walking around in for the past few days (my mutant spider bite is still annoying me. Damned mutant spider). And the weather has been quite dismal - cold and rainy - good napping weather. So I think my brain's been dozing on and off since Monday.
I might just make an entire week of it, too (yawwwwwwwwwwwwn).

How about you? How was your week? Any interesting/fun plans for the weekend? Tell me, please... I need to live vicariously through someone with a life!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday Mish-Mash...

Did everyone have a good weekend? If your weather there was anything like here, I'm betting you did... we're back in the 70's. In November. Pfffftttt. It was pretty, though, and good car-washing weather. Since my car hadn't been washed since, oh, last November or so, I figured it was time. Have I mentioned that I hate washing the car? Oh. Right. The whole 'last November' thing probably gave it away, eh? The inside was worse than the outside, though (and that's saying something!). Every week I drive one or two of our little GoGirlGo! girls home and I'm actually embarrassed to let them in the car. It's that bad. And? The thing that embarrasses Ryan even more than the dirt? My glove box hasn't closed in, like, 3 months. The little clip thingy that holds the door shut broke off and fell down inside the dash... which is all one piece... which means that in order to fix it, they have to take the entire dashboard out... which means it will cost a ridiculous amount... which I totally don't have... so it's been wide open for a while now. I told Ryan I could close it with duct tape and she nearly passed out (there is no point at all in having a child if you can't torture her once in a while). So I finally got some putty at Lowe's and stuffed it in the hole, then mashed the glove box shut and held it there for a bit. Voila! The 'airplane meal tray' has now been stowed. Am I smart or what? Yeah, I know... 'or what'. Shut it.

Speaking of our GoGirlGo! girls (who are wonderful, by the way)... the Pigsknuckle Gazette did a great story on us and it came out this weekend, complete with photos. We were so excited! If anyone wants to read it, email me (my address is on my profile page. I'm not going to post the link here, as I don't want to give the whole Internet free access to, well, Pigsknuckle. It's my little corner of Heaven, damn it. But I'll share it with you, my bloggy peeps).

What else? Oh, I got bitten by some sort of large insect-like creature. Well, that's the best I can figure. Either that, or a vampire. The bite (complete with fang marks) is on my collar bone, followed downward by a line of smaller, mosquito-like bites (sans fang marks). All of them are swollen and itch like crazy! My best guess is that it was a spider or one of those weird, alien, spider-cum-cricket bugs. I dunno. And I'm figuring I must have been asleep when it happened, as I'm reasonably certain I'd have noticed a bug that close to my face if I was awake. I sure as hell hope so, anyway. I don't feel bad, nor have I had any seizures or lost the feeling on my left side, so I'm figuring the swelling and itching will go away eventually. Right?

Any more? Yes! I added running to my work-out this weekend. I realized I have to run a 5K on New Year's Eve with our GoGirlGo! group and I'm not ready. So, off I go. Yay me! Except? I walk faster. Seriously. So do the old ladies at the park who lapped me. Twice. But I did it. And I felt great! When I came to. I'm doing interval training, so I run some, walk some, run some, etc. Sundance can even keep up. Of course, that may change when we're actually running more than we're walking.

Last thing... I finally broke down and set-up a Facebook page. This morning, Blognut posted something gross about wanting to lick the centers out of all the Oreos and putting the chocolate cookies back (I know! Do not let that fuzzy blue demon near your Oreos!). So all day I've been singing:

Do you know exactly how to eat an Oreo?
Well, to do it, you unscrew it. Very fast!
'Cause a kid'll eat the middle of an Oreo first
And leave the chocolate cookie outsides for last!

It's driving me up a friggin' wall.

And as Porky says, that's all folks! Hope your weekend was fabulous and your Monday, even better! XO

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My Dad Would Have Been Proud...

Ryan's taste in music tends to encompass the Disney crowd... she loves the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Mitchell Musso, and (dare I say it?), Miley Cyrus. And while I'm sure lots of you are cringing in horror or thinking, 'Who?', I have to admit, I'm cool with it. Ryan's only 10 and they're all age-appropriate, cute kids, who, for the most part, haven't yet displayed the dysfunction we've come to expect in teen celebrities. And I don't have to explain their lyrics to my kid, which is a big plus. And if I'm being really honest? I sing along, too, and I'm quite apt to stop to watch Mitchell Musso (who finally got a haircut! Ummm... did I just say that? God, how old am I?!) dance his way through one of his catchy songs in a Disney Channel music video.

Lots of Ryan's friends listen to the same stuff she does. Some don't, though, and our neighbor, who is two years older than Ryan, is one of them. Her taste runs to harder rock, like AC/DC, Guns N' Roses, and Aerosmith - a throwback to her dad's era, I guess. Ryan listens to some of it with her and has found some stuff she likes... and some stuff she can't imagine anyone in his right mind wanting to listen to voluntarily.

Anyway, yesterday, when I picked her up from school, she was telling me about this project she's doing in her computer class... they're doing some graphic design and she's putting together an album cover with images she finds on the Internet. She said she'd been looking around at real album covers to get ideas for what she wanted to do. I asked if she'd found any she liked...

Ry: I thought I might use something from Guns N' Roses, 'cause, you know, I like their Sweet Child o' Mine song...

Me: And?

Ry: Good lord, Mama, do you know what those guys look like?!

Me (laughing): Yeah, I seem to recall...

Ry: Ugh! They made my eyes bleed!

Me (snorting): That bad?

Ry: Yes! They all needed to take a shower! And do laundry!

Me (still laughing): So I take it you didn't use them?

Ry: No! I went with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon instead. I love that picture.

Me: Yeah... no bleeding eyes with that one, huh?

My dad would have been proud. Of course, he'd have been prouder had her album cover included pictures of Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett instead! ;)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Synchronicity...

So, you might have noticed that I've been a little AWOL of late... I'm really sorry but I've been suffering from a nasty case of Writer's Block. It's worse than H1N1, I tell ya, and there's no shot for it (not that I'd get it anyway, as I don't really believe in flu shots... or Writer's Block shots). Anyway, I've been trying to come up with something - anything - to post about. Finally, after suggestions from some lovely Pals O'Mine, I had a few topics floating around in the vast expanse that is my head, but then a neat little synchronicity happened to me today and I decided to tell you about it instead...

Yesterday, one of the guys from my divorce care group sent me an email forward. Now, if you know me at all, you know I really detest email forwards and most often don't even open them before hitting my trusty delete button. This is especially true of those forwards which come from people who only send forwards... yeah, you know the people I'm talking about. But if I get a forward from someone who doesn't normally send them, or who knows my delete rule but feels the email in question is one I'd truly like, I'll read it. I read yesterday's.

It was about friendship and how people come into our lives 'for a reason, a season, or a lifetime' and we're obligated to learn lessons from everyone we meet. That's basically my philosophy about people, so I thought it was cool. At the end of the email (at the part where it strongly urges you to forward it to ninety-eleven of your closest friends), there was a note that said:

"Tomorrow, at exactly 10:35, somebody will address you and tell you something you've been waiting to hear."

OK. Suuuuure. That'll happen.

Delete.

But, a little while ago, just for shits and grins, I checked my email in-boxes... I noticed that at exactly 10:35 this morning, I received an email from a certain blogger I've quite adored for some time now but with whom I don't normally correspond. His email said this:

"well, i miss you. you ok?"

It was addressed to me. And who, in their right mind, isn't waiting to hear someone say, "well, i miss you. you ok?" Only a crazy person, methinks.

And that, my friends, is what I refer to as a synchronicity. And it was an especially warm and fuzzy one at that! XOXO

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Boo!

Happy Halloween, my bloggy buds! Hope your day is bootiful! Hur hur hur. It's blustery but warm here and tonight should be nice for trick-or-treating. Ryan's dressing up as a hippie... sort of. I'm not exactly sure how her costume will turn out, but I'm sure people will still give her candy, so I'm not too worried about it.

Here is what I'll be doing tonight...



Actually, my pumpkin will be filled with wine, I think. Regardless, it'll be consumed while sitting around the fire-pit, handing out candy to all the little ghouls in the neighborhood. I expect the kids who come later in the evening will benefit from my consumption... ;)

Have a great one!! XO

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Beauty Is...

Ryan wrote something for this thing at school - an artsy sort of contest, which accepts entries in the categories of drawing, photography, writing, etc. The subject this year is, 'Beauty Is...'

So, here's what my beautiful 10-year-old came up with...

_______________________________

Beauty Is...

Beauty is... the little things about us that make us smile.
Beauty is... the different colors of the people around us.
Beauty is... the memories we all share.
Beauty is... the pets we all love.
Beauty is... the miracle of life.
Beauty is... the first flower of spring.
Beauty is... the fireflies on a summer night.
Beauty is... the fall leaves blowing in the wind.
Beauty is... the mountains in the winter.
Beauty is... the world.

Beauty is.
_______________________________

Yeah. She's cool.

Perfect...



Sounds like a pretty perfect life to me... and pretty simple, too (yeah, I know... things aren't always what they seem, are they?). So, what's your perfect life? Are you living it?

Monday, October 26, 2009

You Better Stock Up on Light Bulbs, Mel...

I can't believe it's Monday already but my calendar and my email say it is... so it must be. This weekend went by in a bit of a blur and I'm shocked it's over already. Mark's funeral, of course, took up a big portion of it. As I've said a few times since, it was awful and wonderful at the same time. It's always awful to say good-bye to someone you love, especially when they're gone too soon (and it's always too soon when you love someone, isn't it?). But it was wonderful for a few reasons... first, although I knew that Mark's amazing attitude and gifts of humor and love were far-reaching, I didn't realize just how far-reaching. I saw and heard and felt just how loved he was... and how much good he did in his 44 years. Well, I'm sure we only scratched the surface, as there wasn't enough time to tell all the stories that would have been necessary to give the big picture, but the picture was clear nonetheless.

As I sat in the church on Saturday, listening (and crying), I started taking stock of my own life (as one is wont to do when faced with mortality, eh?). I wondered if, when I die, there will be hundreds to mourn me; if there will be story after story of my good works and my good humor and my selflessness.

And I wasn't sure the answers would be 'yes'.

I don't want someone to stand up at my funeral and say, "Well, she had good intentions" ('cause most likely it'd be Mel and she'd totally want to make fun of me and then she'd get in some sort of jab about how I once thought epito-ME and epi-TOME were two different words and then I'd look stupid and then I'd get mad and I'd have to haunt her and blow out all her light bulbs and that'd just zap the extra energy I'm going to need to haunt my ex and blow out all his light bulbs and... ummm... what was I saying?).

Oh, right... back to the intentions thing... my intentions are and have always been good. My actions, though, have not always exemplified my intentions. And I can think of loads of excuses for why this is the case, but you know what? That's just what they are... excuses. Mark had real reasons for sitting on his butt (literally, as he spent the last long while in a wheelchair)... but he didn't. Instead, he did. He did what was asked of him and, more often, what wasn't. He saw a need - that of a single person or of an entire community - and he did what needed doing to meet that need. He gave of himself, even when he was physically weak and he had to feel there was little to give. He helped other people, even when he was suffering. He talked a load (and his talk was often punctuated by the filthiest jokes, which is one of the things I loved most about him... and why Mel called him, appropriately, her 'wholly inappropriate friend'), but he didn't just talk the talk... he walked the walk, even when he couldn't walk anymore.

This weekend caused me to stop and take a look at my life. It caused me to realize how much I value and miss friends I've had for half my life but don't see nearly enough. It caused me to want to make some changes. I've come a long way in the last year, I think, but not far enough. Mark's faith in God and himself took him to Africa, where he made many changes. I'm not sure I need to do that (though Maithri, if you have space on your next trip to Swaziland, I'm in, baby!), but my faith in Mark and myself tells me I can do far more than I'm doing.

So I'm on a mission to find more. I need to find more... 'cause I totally don't want Mel to spend 15 minutes of my eulogy devoted to my 'epitome' mistake.

Oh hell, who am I kidding? She'll do it anyway. Crap.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Walk With the Dreamers, My Friends...

I post this in honor of my friend, Mark Franklin Warren, who died long before anyone who loved him was ready to lose him, but who lived his life fully - with great love, compassion, humor, and amazing (such amazing) strength... who not only walked with the dreamers, the believers, and the courageous, but who was a dreamer, believer, and courageous... and who most definitely left this world far better than he found it. We should all be so brave... and so lucky!


I leave tomorrow for his funeral, which is taking place Saturday morning. It's the last place I thought I'd be this weekend. It's certainly the last place I want to be. But although I know the tears will be flowing freely, I know the laughter will be as well. Because even in deep grief, it would be impossible to honor our friend without expressing the great joy he brought to our lives.

Take care, my bloggy friends... and do me a favor, will you? Laugh a lot this weekend, in honor of Mark, OK? I'll see you soon... XO

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Love You Always...

Last night, my friend Mark died.


He was a wonderful guy - one of the funniest, most caring people I've ever known. I met him more than 20 years ago, when I was living in Richmond and working with his best friend and roommate. For the longest time, I actually thought they were gay, which turned out to be a long-running, quite hilarious joke. They weren't... Mark, in fact, loved women... loved them... and when we'd be out in a bar or a restaurant, he'd marvel at how I would zero in and comment on exactly the woman he had noticed. I never told him, but it really wasn't that hard. If she was breathing, he noticed!

Mark was a groomsman in my wedding. He always called me Lady Di and just after the rehearsal dinner, the night before the wedding, he said to me, "Lady Di, here's a check... a blank check... it's yours if you just don't marry Rob." I just laughed, as we'd always had a silly, somewhat flirty relationship (as he did with loads of women) and I thought he was teasing. But I found out later he was only half-kidding that night. Clearly he was prophetic as well.

When my marriage ended, he was there to lend a shoulder, his humor, and his love... as always. He had a heart as big as the sky and he was always opening it up to the people he loved and people he didn't even know. He did mission work around the world and he made friends wherever he went. You could always count on him for a helping hand, an encouraging word, or a seriously dirty joke!

His death was unexpected. I'm stunned... reeling. I spoke with him recently and he sounded great, even though his father had just passed away. But Mark was an optimist through and through... a light in an otherwise dark day. I'm looking for that light today.

You were loved by many, my friend, and you always will be. You touched so many lives and made every one of them better. You will be missed... so very missed.

Rest in peace, dear Marky-Mark. I love you always... XOXO

Lady Di

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Don't Mess With Your Mama...

This weekend has been unseasonably cold and incredibly dreary. Truth be told, I quite like this weather, as long as it doesn't go on too long, but Ryan's not a fan. She didn't even get out of her pajamas yesterday. Around 10:30 this morning, as she was snuggled under her covers (again, still in her pajamas) reading, I reminded her that we had swim practice at 1:30. She groaned. Although the older kids practice at 3:00, because I coach the younger kids at 2:00, she has to spend two hours at the pool instead of one. She doesn't mind if her friends are there, too, but they usually don't show up until the later practice, so she has to hang out and be bored. In any case, as she really wasn't keen on the idea of getting up and moving today, I was met with a response like fingernails on chalkboard...

"But I don't waaaaaaaaant toooooooooo..."

Ugh. I hate whining, which she knows all too well, so she quickly changed her tune. She figures if she can make me laugh, she stands a better chance of getting her way (which sometimes works, but not if my mind is made up). We joked back and forth about 1) the fact that she was going, whether she wanted to or not, and 2) the fact that she really didn't want to go. After a tickle/giggle-fest, she resorted to the age-old kid trick for causing supreme annoyance...

Me: Stop being silly. You're going.
Ry: Stop being silly. You're going.

Me: You've been a slug all weekend. You need the exercise.
Ry: You've been a slug all weekend. You need the exercise.

Me: Why are you repeating everything I say?
Ry: Why are you repeating everything I say?

Me: That's really annoying, you know.
Ry: That's really annoying, you know.

Me: If you keep annoying me, I'll make you swim both practices.
Ry: If you keep annoying me, I'll make you swi... oh.

Yeah. Mama wasn't born yesterday.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Do What You Love... Love What You Do...

If you've been following this blog for any time, you know I was really struggling a while ago to get myself out of a rut. I felt like I was standing still. I wasn't miserable... but I wasn't happy either. My work, though it allows me to use some of my talents, is, on the whole, not terribly fulfilling. The problem, however, has been that I haven't been able to figure out exactly what sort of work would feed my soul. I was searching for one big job that would allow me to marry all my skills, talents, and passions. I just knew that when I found it, I'd be happy; I'd actually want to go to work; I'd be fulfilled. Finally.

Right.

Wishful thinking.

I did start to feel as though I was on the verge of a major breakthrough for a while... like I was so close to figuring it all out. But you know that feeling you get when the word you've been trying to think of is on the tip of your tongue but it just won't come?

Yeah. That's how I felt.

So I stopped worrying about it. I decided that I needed to just do something... anything... that would bring me out of my self-absorbed stupor. So I started fund-raising and training for the Booby Walk. I spent every summer evening at the pool with my little sinkers. I started Weight Watchers so I could focus on my health. I did things instead of just thinking about doing them.

And you know what? It worked!

I got out of my rut... and I didn't just climb out of it... I leaped out! I found myself not focusing so much on what was missing in my life - on what I wanted - and I started seeing what I had to give. And I realized, while doing instead of thinking, that I wasn't going to find one job that suited me. My skills and talents and passions are diverse. And that's a good thing!

Working with the kids in the pool every week gives me great joy. And our GoGirlGo! running group has started with a bang! Ironwoman and I are enjoying it immensely. The group of 5th-grade girls we have the privilege of mentoring is amazing... they cover every ethnicity and socio-economic class... they are gorgeous and smart and strong... and we're helping them to be even more so. What we're doing is good... and it's important... and it's humbling... and it definitely feeds my soul.

The Breast Cancer Walk affected me to an unquantifiable degree. It gave me the opportunity to become a part of something so much bigger than myself. And I needed that. I need that still. Next year I'm walking in DC again with Ironwoman and I've talked to my sister-in-law and a friend, both nurses, about volunteering on the medical team. I'm also walking in Chicago with my beloved Blognut and She, both of whom I only know through blogging, but both of whom have become like my sisters. My soul is filling up rapidly.

My Weight Watchers adventure has been just remarkable. I look forward to every meeting and I'm making the most wonderful friends. I've decided that once I hit my goal, which should be in a few months, I want to work for them... I want to be the person who leads the meetings and helps other people reach their goals. I am certain my soul will reach capacity.

And today I had a meeting with one of the directors at our city rec center. I'm going to get the opportunity this winter to facilitate the creativity / writing classes I told you about a while ago! I'm going to do one for kids, centered around developing a super hero character and story; one for seniors, to help them to write their life stories; and two for adults, based loosely on The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, to help them find their creative voices, the way I was helped, eight years ago, when I so desperately needed it. I'm guessing my soul will simply overflow.

So, as I said, I didn't wind up finding one job to sustain me. I found five. Will they make me rich? Nope. But I never wanted to be rich. I only wanted to be happy... to enjoy the journey.

And you know what?

I am!

XOXO

Monday, October 12, 2009

One Small Step for Breast Cancer Research...

One colossal step for Diane! I'm back, my loves, from the wilds of DC and the Booby Walk. And yes (she says, patting herself on the back), I walked every step of every mile -- all 60 of them! And yes, I'm limping everywhere today. But it's all good... really.

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day Event (also known as '0-60 in 3 days!') was... well... 'amazing' doesn't really cover it. Actually, I can't find a word that describes the event with any degree of accuracy. I spent the weekend feeling completely overwhelmed... in the best possible way. I laughed... hard. I cried... often. I was humbled by the stories I heard... every one.

The breast cancer walk was the biggest thing I've ever had the privilege to be a part of. It was certainly the most challenging thing I've ever done physically. And it was hard. I hurt. All over. A lot. Everyone did. But it was also hard to complain when you talked to the people there... the walkers (women who have survived cancer, women going through chemo now, women and men over 70-years-old, women and men with disabilities and/or pre-existing injuries) - people who gave 200%, even if they weren't able to walk every mile; the crew - the people who did everything for us for 3 days, always with huge smiles and encouragement and so much love; the people who stood in their driveways or on street corners, cheering us on, thanking us for walking, offering water and candy and bathrooms.

I wish I could find the words to explain how I feel right now. I'm not sure that I've completely processed everything I saw and heard and felt and experienced. It might take a few days (and I'm sure you'll hear more about the whole event over the next week or so). I know that this post will not even begin to do justice to how I'm feeling but I can tell you that the weekend was life-affirming... life-changing. It has given me a new perspective on, well, everything. This was my first walk but I can tell you that it will not be my last. I think I'm going to do 2 next year... and though I'll do it alone again without hesitation, I'd love to have someone join me. So if anyone is interested... you know where to find me!

Here are a few pictures from the weekend...

This is Debbie and Shelley, the two fantastic women who adopted me for 3 days! I sidled up to Debbie on the train into the city when I noticed her pink hair. She's a breast cancer survivor (this was her 3rd walk) and Shelley, her cousin once (or six times) removed, is an ovarian cancer survivor. They were won.der.ful!



This was my favorite crew member... he was part of our 'moto patrol', which was a group of men and women who monitored our route via motorcycle, stopping to cross us at dangerous intersections. They all wore crazy outfits and played music, danced, and encouraged us beyond belief. They kept us going when we thought we couldn't go anymore!



I'm hoping these girls are going to start selling these knitted booby hats... I'm SO ordering one!


This is where we slept... imagine seeing over 1,000 pink tents! So very cool!


During the closing ceremonies in front of the Lincoln Memorial, all the walkers raised their shoes to the survivors... it was an incredibly touching moment (as were they all)...



And this is me, at the finish... tired, proud, happy, and eternally grateful for the entire experience...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's Almost Time...

I'm leaving tomorrow night for DC! It's so hard to believe that after the months of preparation, the miles and miles (and miles) of walking, the 4 pairs of shoes I've blown through, and all the donations you wonderful people contributed, the Booby Walk is finally here! And wouldn't you know... I woke up this morning feeling like crap. Actually, I went to bed feeling like crap and I woke up feeling much the same way. I'm really hoping it's just something stupid, like fall allergies, but I took Tylenol (which wouldn't work if it was allergies) and I feel a bit better. Not a good sign. However, this is going to be a mind over matter... err... mind over cold/flu/whatever the hell ick it is, thing. Damn it. I might get home on Monday and die in my bed, but I'm on my way tomorrow night, come Hell or high water (or the sniffles, fever, creeping-crud, etc). Damn it!

So, today I'm scrambling to get craploads of stuff done ('cause I wouldn't be Diane if I didn't leave everything to the last minute, that's why). Wish me luck (with everything)... I'm gonna need it. And thank you, thank you, thank you all for the support you've shown... donation-wise and encouragement-wise! You guys are the best!

I'll be back on Monday, with a full report and photos! See you then! XOXO

Monday, October 5, 2009

Liar, Liar!

It's me again. Back for about 5 minutes. I'm pitiful, I know. I keep telling you I'm back and... I'm not. I keep telling you that I'll get around to reading everyone's blogs... and I don't. You're all thinking, 'Liar, liar, pants on fire!' Aren't you? It's OK, you can say it. I won't be offended. I suck.

Life has just sort of taken over right now. Most of it's good... some of it's not so good (but I'm trying really hard to keep those bits at bay). Work is up and down (wish it was more up) but I've got some new projects in the works (more about them when they come a little closer to fruition). The Booby Walk is this weekend (gulp) and I'm readying my butt (and heel) for 60 miles. Wish me luck! GoGirlGo! starts tomorrow, with (so far) about 25 5th-grade girls participating. I'm excited about that and (kind of) looking forward to training for our 5K in 12 weeks. I'm still in the pool every week with the little ones, getting splashed and kicked (and hugged) and loving every minute of it. I've started going to a weekly divorce care group with my neighbor. Though I don't know that I'll get much from it, as I'm pretty far out from my split (5 years), I think one or two people in the group might be benefiting from my experience, and helping people always gives me the warm fuzzies, so I'll keep going. I'm still doing Weight Watchers faithfully each week. I'm absolutely loving it, have been enormously successful (no pun intended)so far, and I've even made a couple of great, funny new friends there as well. And I've got a big old (boring) book to finish for my man-book club and a list of events happening with the social networking club.

I'm a little tired, truth be told, and after writing all that out, I kind of understand why. I hope you'll understand why I've been scarce lately... and I hope you'll cut me some slack. I will be back... I promise. Really and truly. No lying.

And now I have to run out the door to pick up Herself. Later, 'gators! Love you, miss you, see you soon! XO

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Humility Shumility...

So, this morning Ryan came out of her room dressed in jeans we bought at the end of the summer and this yellow, flowy, gauzy top with a headband to match... super cute outfit.

Me: Oh, you look pretty!

Ry (very nonchalantly): I know.

...

Me (snorting): Ummm... honey? Do you know what 'humility' means?

Ry: Yeah. It means not being too full of yourself.

Me: Riiiiight...

Ry (light dawning): Ohhhh...

Me: Let's try this again, shall we? You look very pretty today!

Ry (grinning): Thank you, Mama!

She's not terribly humble but damn, I wish I'd had her confidence at ten. Or now.

I'm so behind on my reading, my bloggy peeps, but I'll catch up soon! Promise!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

We're Fine...

Thanks for all the well-wishes, my bloggy buds! They were, as always, much appreciated! We're fine. Ryan's ick turned out to be, not H1N1, but a nasty virus. All that remains of it is a cough with a heavy cringe-factor... that is, it sounds like she's going to bring up a lung every time she does it. But she's back to her smart-ass self (dunno where she gets that), so it's all good (and by 'it's all good', I mean, 'now that she's feeling better, I don't feel bad for kicking her butt for being a smart-ass').

My computer woes got sorted, thanks to my ever-so-helpful Computer Dude. I've considered asking him to marry me, except that he's kind of old, married already, and he smells a little funny. So I've decided I'm just going to see him every 6 months and he can do some preventative maintenance on my 'puter. It seems I know just enough to be dangerous... and not enough to actually solve any problems. Much like many other people, it seems (which is probably why Computer Dude drives a Mercedes).

Anyway, I've got to leave for swim practice in a few, so I'll be back in Bloggyland tonight or tomorrow. Hope everyone's great!!! XO

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sigh...

My computer has crashed and Ryan has the Swine Flu. I'll be back... eventually...

Friday, September 18, 2009

And the Answer Is...

Holy moly! When I wrote my last post, asking for questions, I was worried no one would want to know anything about me and I’d feel all rejected and sad. You guys outdid yourselves!! Thank you! Here are my answers…

Swenglishexpat
: Can you explain the recent surge in campaigns against Obama with a distinct racist (under)tone? What are they trying to do? Ruin the American reputation again?! Where do all these insane people come from? (Sorry that was more than one question. Oops!)

I think this question warrants its own post. So I’m going to answer it on Monday.

Blognut:

What color is your toothbrush?

I had to go look… yellow and white.

Are you right-handed or left?

I’m bi-handed. I write with my right and do everything else with my left. I even did a post on it a long time ago…

Pedicured or unpolished?

Feet. Blech. Feet give me the heebie-jeebies (some way more than others) so I try to make mine as attractive as possible. So, polished.

Most embarrassing moment?

Just one? OK, I think it has to be the time I entered the school cafeteria, right after gym class, with my skirt tucked into my underwear. That was bad.

Baseball hat or tiara? (Heh, I KNOW THIS ONE!)

I’ve never been, nor will I ever be, a princess. Or a baseball player. But the baseball cap keeps the rain out of my eyes when I’m trekking through the park with my dog.

Do you love Blognut?

With all my heart.

She:

What's your all time favorite movie? (and why?) I wouldn't be a teacher if I didn't ask why!!!

I have a huge list of favorites, all for different reasons. But one of my all time favorites is A Time to Kill, based on the John Grisham book. There’s a bit of dialogue in it, delivered by Donald Sutherland, about how the murder case being tried is unusual because justice is served regardless of the verdict. If Samuel L. Jackson’s character is convicted of killing the men who brutally raped his little girl, justice is served. If he is acquitted of the same crime, justice is also served. I struggled with how I felt about that moral dilemma while reading the book and I loved how it was pointed out as an integral part of the story. And I loved how it turned out. And I loved Matthew McConaughey, too. Duh.

All-time favorite book (same as above with the why and all)?

How can I possibly pick?! Every time I read something great, it becomes one of my favorites! I’ll give you one of the very first books that ever showed up on my list, though… A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I’ve read it about 25 times over the years. I loved (and still love) how Sarah Crewe lost everything except her grace, dignity, and sense of right and wrong. And in the end, the Universe rewarded her with good things… because that’s how things should work out.

Favorite food or meal you'd want on your birthday?

The Republican took me out for my birthday in February, to my favorite restaurant… and I can’t remember what I ordered. I guess I’d have to say whatever looks good on the menu right at that moment! Well, that and Pinot Noir or Merlot. Duh.

What kind of birthday cake do you always want?

I haven’t had a birthday cake in a very long time. It’s one of those ‘aww, anything would be good’ things. But not ice cream cake. I don’t like ice cream cake. You either have cake or ice cream or cake and ice cream… but ice cream, in and of itself, is not cake.

And do you like red velvet cupcakes or no ('cause I can't stop eating the damn things!)?

No. Blech. I think it’s the color that bothers me. They’re all… bloody. It’s sort of like how I can’t drink Mountain Dew because it looks like pee.

Do you get magazine subscriptions? If so, which ones?

I read loads of magazines… BH&G, More, Oprah, Real Simple, Experience Life, Healthy Living, Prevention, Traveler, Time, Newsweek, and I pick up a few others if I something on the cover catches my eye (Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone)… oh, and if I’m feeling rich, I buy a few of the UK home magazines at B&N (but they’re, like, $6 or $7 each, so I have to be feeling really rich).

Do you read New York Times online or another online news source? Or do you just watch on TV?

I never watch TV news. I read news all over the Internet, from all different sources, conservative and liberal (is there any such thing as a truly impartial news report anymore?). I like to get both sides and try to sort out the real story for myself.

Have you wrestled lately? ;-)

Sadly, no. And I’ve no idea when I’ll get the opportunity to wrestle again. And I’m getting ‘wrestless’ (snort)!

Do love She? You know, like you love your Blognut?

I do. Totally.

Jenera:

What color socks do you normally wear?

White athletic socks, mostly because I’m always in running shoes. I do not wear white athletic socks with other shoes, though. I’m no fashionista but I’m not completely inept in the clothes department either!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A writer. Always a writer.

If you were on death row, what would your final meal be?

I think I’d probably want to throw up pretty much perpetually in the days prior to my execution, so my last meal likely wouldn’t be necessary. Or maybe a dose of Emetrol -- that stuff you take to make you stop throwing up.

If you could commit any crime knowing you would not get caught, what would you do? (Jenera, do you have something you’d like to tell us?)

I’d like to think that even knowing I wouldn’t get caught, my conscience would get the better of me and I wouldn’t commit any sort of crime. But right at this moment? I’m thinking robbing a bank looks pretty good.

Lakeviewer: I'm curious about your home town. Is it real?

This made me laugh. Pigsknuckle is not the name of my town, no. It’s a (mostly) affectionate nickname for the small city in which I live. Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, it’s surrounded by cows and inhabited by many (many) people of the conservative and/or redneck persuasion. I make fun of it a lot, but truly, it’s a beautiful place. It’s growing in lots of good ways. It’s a university town, not terribly far from DC and Richmond, so it’s not exactly a cultural wasteland (though we could improve dramatically in that area). Overall, it’s a pretty nice place to live.

Ronda: Do you plan on living in Pigsknuckle long?

I don’t know. I never, ever thought I’d come back. When I did, I gave myself two years to sort out my life and figure out where I wanted to go. Two years have turned into four, though. Ryan has carved a nice little niche for herself here and that’s really important to me. She’s happy and stable and I don’t want that to change. I’m trying now to carve the same sort of little niche for myself since I can’t afford to live in the place I’d really like to be (England), and moving to one of the states I love (Washington, Oregon, Maine) puts me thousands of miles (read: even farther) away from nearly everyone I know and love.

Stu Pidasso:

Do you think you will handle Ryan's wedding day well when you are forced to stay in a room with the ex for more than a few moments?

For as much as I dislike my ex; for as much as I think he’s a crap human being and a crap father, Ryan loves him. I will do anything to make sure she never has to suffer the discomfort that people with divorced parents who can’t get along have to endure. This overall feeling is what drove me through our split, even though it nearly killed me at times. But it was worth it. As far as she knows right now, we are friends. And if I have my way, she will always believe that. But even if she learns the truth one day, I will still always put on a happy face when he’s around for her sake. I’ve met his girlfriends with a smile on my face. He even used to stay in our house when he came to visit. I would never put her in a position where she felt she had to choose between us or where she didn’t want us together for fear of how we’d behave. Never. It would be incredibly unfair to her and colossally immature of us.

Will you actually dance with the ex when it is time for the parents to dance?

I dance badly and he dances worse than I do… but yes, if that’s what Ryan wants, that’s what she’ll get. And I’ll do that with a smile, too!

Are you dreading the whole boyfriend/driving/teen independence happening that is slowly creeping up on you?

I don’t know that I’m dreading it exactly. But it worries me. I don’t want to see her heart broken; I don’t want to see her have to deal with peer pressure when it comes to alcohol or drugs or sex; I don’t want her anywhere near a car! But, as with everything where Ryan is concerned, I’ll take it one day at a time and do the best I can. So far we’ve done pretty well and I have to believe (and hope and pray) we’ll continue in that manner!

Tabitha: What are your policies as a mom on teen dating? Yay or Nay?

I don’t know how or why a parent would stop teens from dating. Now, I don’t think she should be able to date at 13, certainly. But when she’s older, say 15 or 16, I’m OK with it. There will be rules, of course, and penalties for breaking them. And you can rest assured she will know everything there is to know about sex, contraception, STDs, etc, long before her first date (not that I think teenagers ever have sex, especially when you tell them not to!). Seriously, though, I do believe knowledge is power and I want her to be as powerful as she can be. And I’m doing everything I can now, and have done since she was little, to ensure she has a strong sense of who she is and her inherent value as a person and as a ‘woman-in-training’, in the hope that she won’t turn to sex or drugs or alcohol for any sort of validation. But teen dating? Sure. With set limits, I think it’s a healthy, normal, natural part of growing up.


Mo.Stoneskin: What does a pint of Guinness cost in Pigsknuckle, or is it still impossible to find?

I can’t find anywhere in Pigsknuckle that sells actual pints… but a can or draft (or draught, for those of you sticklers for beer etiquette), or one of those rattley bottles will run you around $5.

Protégé: What made you start this blog (or blogging) and why did you pick the blogger site?

I started the blog to keep my friends and family updated, so I wouldn’t have to send out emails all the time. But then I found you guys and this amazing community and my blog took on a life of its own. And almost no one in my family reads it anyway! As for why I picked Blogger, I have no idea. Someone must have suggested it to me… or I could have found it on my own, by Googling…? I really don’t remember.

Anonymous (Alan, perhaps?): Did you ever have that 'coffee' date with the young pup?

Like I wouldn’t have already told you if I had! But no, I haven’t. Not yet, anyway…

Another Anonymous: Do you think you'll ever get married again?

I don’t know. I wouldn’t rule it out, certainly. But the institution of marriage doesn’t hold the same significance for me that it used to. I believe strongly in commitment; I believe in monogamous relationships (they’re the only ones I’ll be involved in); I believe that if one or both people feel the need to recognize their commitment to one another in front of the church or state (or everyone they know), they should… absolutely. But as I’ve said before, I don’t believe in the church and I have little respect for the state, so I don’t think a formal marriage is necessary to cement a relationship. I found out the hard way that cement can crumble. But do I think I’ll ever be in love again? Or in a committed relationship again? I damn-well hope so! I absolutely want the warmth, comfort, security, excitement, and love of a real, solid, committed relationship. And the sex. I want the sex, too. Lots (and lots) of sex.

Justsomethoughts (welcome back, darlin’!): What do you like most about yourself?

That’s a hard one. I’ve gone through periods where I haven’t liked very much about myself at all. But I guess I’d have to say my sense of humor. I got it from my dad and he was damned funny. Sometimes I misplace it or forget where I left it, but it usually shows up on my doorstep before I miss it too much.

Chris: You can invite any four people (dead or alive) to have dinner with. Who do you choose and why?

Eleanor Roosevelt… I think she was an amazingly strong and intelligent woman who wasn’t always given her due.

Maya Angelou… I think she is the personification of grace and warmth and I love her ‘voice’.

Anne Frank… I’d like to know how she feels about becoming one of the most significant voices of our time.

Gerard Butler… because the man is hot and I might stand a chance against two old ladies and a little girl.