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."


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!


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.


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!


I call, “NO FAIR!

Damn it.


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.