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

Saturday, October 31, 2009


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.


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.


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!


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