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

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Endings... and Beginnings...

My neighbor told me the other day that The Farmer's Almanac said we weren't going to get any snow this winter. I wasn't unhappy about that after last winter, when we were ass-deep for months. But? The Almanac lied. It's snowing in Pigsknuckle today! I do like the first snow, I have to admit. Then I want it to be gone and not return 'til next winter. But I guess we have to take what we get, don't we?

It's interesting, really, that the first snow has arrived just a few days before the Winter Solstice -- the day we welcome back the sun and look for the days to get longer. The Solstice is my favorite part of the holiday season -- it's my New Year and my new beginning. Ryan and I have a little ritual, which we'll do as normal on Tuesday, to celebrate the shortest day of the year. We light a fire in the fire pit outside and bundle up around it, with steaming mugs of hot chocolate. In the pit we burn 3 lists, which include things we want to send up to the Universe...

First is a list of things for which we're grateful. I like it to be good and long, full of the big important things and the little important things that make us glad to be here on this planet, even when Life isn't going as well as we'd like.

Second is a list of things we'd like to let go of -- fears and hurts and grudges. They do nothing but hold us back but letting them go isn't always easy. Writing them down and putting them out there helps.

Last is a list of things we want for other people -- specific things for people we know and general things for those we don't. I like to include good things for people I might not even like because I believe that what you put out there comes back to you.

What about you? Does the end of the year signify a new beginning for you? Do you do anything special to acknowledge it?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fat Bastard...

And no, I don't mean Santa Claus. This time.

So, you guys know I have a pretty terrific kid, right? There are moments when I'd like to trade her in for a puppy, but most days? She's pretty fabulous...


That's my girl!

In some ways, she's very much like me, which is understandable, as we spend a LOT of time together. I have full custody of her and though her father has liberal visitation, he chooses not to take advantage of it. He hasn't seen her in nearly a year. I'd like to say this is unusual, but it's not. Since we split up six years ago, I can count on both hands the number of times he's seen her. This once-a-year thing has been the norm for the past three years. He makes all sorts of excuses for his absence, but that's what they are -- excuses.

Luckily, Ryan was never used to him being there. Even when we were married, he was working away from home and only (barely) there on the weekends. So when we split up, not seeing him was just par for the course. She didn't really miss him. And when she did, I'd make excuses for him, on top of his excuses. I stopped doing that, though, when she got older and wiser, as I try not to ever lie to her. But I work hard to make sure she understands that his absence is not about her. That her father's lack of attention is about his deficiencies; that he loves her more than he loves anyone... he's simply not capable of love or expressing love the way most people are. And that is not her fault.

She's been willing to forgive him a lot. I do a pretty good job of being Mom and Dad, so not seeing him isn't the end of the world. And for a long time, he still called her a few times a week to check in, and that seemed to be enough for her.

But things changed this past year. He did a few things that were pretty unforgivable... things even I couldn't spin. He let her down. He broke her heart. And then he pretty much abandoned her. Since her birthday at the beginning of August, with the exception of a one-line email on the first day of school, he has made no attempt to contact her.

I look at her and see the amazing person she is growing into and I simply cannot imagine how he doesn't want to know her; how he can go 12 months without seeing her; how he doesn't have any interest in her life. I don't get it.

She doesn't get it either. But even though it would be understandable if she acted out or got depressed or put me through Hell because of the heartache he has caused, she doesn't do any of that. As I say, she's like me in some ways and, thankfully, she inherited my sense of humor. I love this, except when she uses it against me (which is more often than I care to note here)... then it's not quite so funny. But it serves her well, in general. She chooses to laugh at this awful situation with her dad rather than wallow in it. She has dubbed her father, "The Donor." It makes me chuckle, as that's how I think of him (though she didn't get the name from me!). She makes a lot of jokes at his expense now and though I don't (usually) allow her to be disrespectful or ugly, I let her get out how she feels, grateful she's able to deal with her pain in some way and wind up laughing about it.

A couple of weeks ago, we were in the grocery store, picking up a bottle of wine to take to a friend's house for dinner. I was looking for my favorite Merlot when Ryan started to laugh. She nudged me and pointed to a bottle of wine called, 'Fat Bastard'. Then she said, "Look, Mom, they named a bottle of wine after Daddy!"

I tried not to laugh. I tried to look stern. I failed. Miserably. Then I hugged her, kissed her head, and said, "I'm so glad I'm the parent you like!"

Friday, December 3, 2010

Don't Rock the Boat, Baby...

This past week has been one of the most stressful I've experienced in a while. Truly. Financial issues (where "issues" = "crises of colossal proportions") have been on the front burner. My head was nearly inside the oven (had the oven been gas and not electric, it likely would have been!). A couple of big bills due, a few weeks before Christmas (whoo hoo), and everyone who was supposed to be paying me wasn't. From Saturday to Wednesday, I was sick to my stomach, trying to sort out an issue with the person I thought was going to be my new, wonderful, spectacular boss. As a friend of mine used to say, wrong again, buffalo-breath.

I did get paid. Eventually. After a lot of run-around, chasing down, and lying (I did the chasing down, not the running me around or lying... he did that). It was frustrating (where "frustrating" = "ready-to-go-postal"). I wanted to scream and kick someone in the shins. Or, you know, somewhere. But I couldn't say or do what I wanted because I needed the money and needed the work and I thought I had to salvage the relationship... I had to be professional and understanding... I couldn't rock the boat, baby.

Wrong again, buffalo-breath.

After the last lie was told, before the money was in my account, I had a bit of an epiphany. This little voice in my head said, "Diane, you are better than this. You deserve better than this. And you do NOT need this guy. You can get your own work."

And for the first time in a very long time? I actually heard that voice. And? I even believed it. Mostly. I didn't shoo it away or tell it to shut up and that it didn't know what it was talking about.

And that? Is huge.

So I set about getting a few things done -- things I've been putting off for reasons I don't even want to think about. And I got my business Facebook page up. And then I got my website up and running. And then I started networking and promoting my business and myself. And within 24 hours, I had a job. Not a big job, but a job. And I got the promise of more work to come.

I'm askeerd. I don't know what the future holds. But it can't be less or more difficult that what the past has held, that's for damned sure.

Oh? And I rocked the boat. In a (mostly) professional way, of course. I told that guy what I thought of the way he'd behaved. And? It felt pretty good!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pitchers...

I spent a good portion of Saturday taking pictures of Ryan and my niece, Elizabeth (the blond munchkin, who is actually OLDER than Ryan), for my mom's Christmas present. The girls actually cooperated. Mostly. Here are a few for you to peruse...

I think this one made the short list...

This is how they spent their entire 3rd and 4th grade years...

Luckily, they get along better now. As long as they don't spend too much time together...

How pretty is my girl?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just Around the Corner...

So, I got some disappointing news today. A job I really wanted... a job at which I think I would have been great... a job that seemed really perfect for me in oh, so many ways... a job I really needed... a job I really wanted... went to someone else. The person who delivered the news was sweet... "We all loved you so much..." Aw. But they didn't love me quite enough. It sucks when you're not quite enough, doesn't it? And I feel that way more often than I like to think about.

Anyway, as I say, disappointing news. This has been a year of disappointing news... a year of setbacks... a year of hoping for that light at the end of the tunnel to get just a wee bit brighter... a year of hoping against hope. Disappointing. Frustrating. And more-than-a-smidge demoralizing.

Don't get me wrong, I have much to be grateful for (detailed in the post below). And I am grateful! Really! I truly believe that a positive, grateful attitude will take you so much farther in life than a negative, ungrateful one. But sometimes? Well, sometimes you just need to catch a break... to feel like the Universe is on your side for once. It makes it much easier to hang on to that positive attitude, you know?

But I? Have the most wonderful people in my life. No fewer than five people told me the very same thing today... they all said, "This just means there's something better waiting for you... something just around the corner..."

And? They said it with such conviction. They're all pretty smart folk, too, so listening to them - believing them - makes some sense.

So I'm going to try.

Something good - something better - is coming. It's just around the corner...



Right?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Giving Thanx...

I would like to introduce you, my bloggy buds, to one of my favorite websites ever... THXTHXTHX... the author, Leah, writes a thank you note every day (on a Post-It note) to whomever or whatever she's feeling most grateful that day. Most of her notes make me laugh; some of them make me think; some make me cry. They all, however, remind me that I need to be more diligent about expressing gratitude on a regular basis for the many blessings in my life, something I sometimes forget to do (you forget, too, sometimes, right? C'mon, say you do... don't make me feel like a heel here!).

Since November 1, several of my Facebook friends have been writing in their status updates each day, one thing for which they're grateful. I guess November naturally gives way to the attitude of gratitude, as it's the month which includes Thanksgiving and precedes the time/energy/wallet-suck that is Christmas. I mean, The Season of Joy and Giving. That's totally what I meant. Shut up. I know I've expressed here before how I get a little aggravated about the way the whole world changes around the holidays and everyone talks about peace and love and taking care care of everyone else, and then, come January, everyone goes back to life as normal. I'm a cynic, I know. But I'm an optimistic cynic (there is TOO such a thing. Damn it).

And? I'm a grateful cynic.

For me, this has been a year of less; of making do; of good-lord-when-are-things-going-to-turn-around? But I know it's been hard for many, many people and even though things are rough for me right now, I am one seriously lucky human being. So I'm going to list for you, my wonderful bloggy peeps, the things for which I'm most grateful (in no particular order)...

1. My Girl ~ She is beyond remarkable, that child of mine. This has been a rough year for her, too, as she's had to face some realities and devastating disappointments about her dad that no child should have to face. But she has risen above it all, with maturity, grace, and unbelievable humor. I love that girl. And I'm so thankful to be her mother.

2. My Friends ~ Oh. My. Word. I have the most wonderful friends on the planet! They are my chosen family. They listen (and they hear, even when I don't have the words); they give of themselves (beyond generously); they make me laugh like crazy (seriously, like crazy... like, soda-out-the-nose-snorty-wheezy-can't-breathe kind of crazy); they kick my butt when I need it (but never when I'm down); they tell me I'm fabulous (even when I'm not); they love me when I'm most unlovable. I simply could not go on without them.

3. My Fuzzy Boy ~ How I love that dog. Not an hour passes in any given day without him making me smile. He's my own personal comedian, therapist, and space heater.

4. My Family ~ They're nuts. But I'm grateful for them (even if it's just because against them, I look sane).

5. Work ~ It's been a bit more sporadic than I'd like of late, but it's still coming in and that's a lot better than a lot of people have right now.

6. Words ~ I love 'em. I need 'em. I use 'em (even though I haven't been using 'em here much lately!). I can't imagine a life in which I couldn't write to express myself and I am grateful every day for the opportunity to do so, whether it's through my work, my journal, my blog, my classes, emails to my friends, or my Facebook page.

7. Chocolate ~ Do I really need to explain this one? No, I didn't think so.

8. Pigsknuckle ~ It's taken a while but I've finally found a nice little niche here. Not only is it a beautiful little city (especially in the fall), it's a place full of some pretty wonderful people. It's the place where my girl is happy and settled and loving life. It's where I'm going to be for a while. And I'm grateful for that.

9. My 'Virtual' World ~ I think it's funny that 'virtual' means 'simulated' or not really real, because you'd be hard-pressed to convince me that this place - Blogland - isn't as real as the coffee shop on the corner. It's as warm and as welcoming and full of so many people with whom I'd give my right arm to have a cup of tea and a chat. I'm so grateful for you all. I have been since my first comment and I will be long after my blog has faded into oblivion.

10. Remission ~ My Aunt Jean, one of my favorite people on the planet, is in it, after a long, scary battle with an ugly cancer. I'm so grateful.

11. The Susan G. Komen 3-Day ~ It's one of the big things that takes me out of my own small world and makes me work to contribute to something far bigger than myself and far more important than my own issues. I'll walk 'til I can't walk anymore and I'll be grateful every year for every step of every one of those 60 miles.

12. My Computer ~ Because my friends live in it. Duh. And because it brings me work I wouldn't otherwise get and interesting information and news from around the world that would kill lots of trees if I had to read about them in hard copy.

13. Lots of Other Stuff ~ Like books and bookstores that are open late on a Friday night and book fairs where you can buy so many words for so few dollars... like state parks that have cheap campsites and beautiful lakes and hiking trails (even the ones that go UP and down and UP and down and UP and down)... like the $1 RedBox movie rental kiosk at the grocery story... like hot tea after a chilly walk... like homemade soup and crusty bread and avocados and fresh mozzarella cheese and bagels and cream cheese... like fresh new notebooks, just waiting to be filled up with thoughts and ideas and stories... like rainy days and quiet snowstorms and bright blue skies and warm sunshine... like swimming laps and coaching little sinkers and just floating... like a great song on the radio that lifts your spirits or makes you cry... like missing my dad like crazy because the empty place in my heart reminds me how big his influence was in my life...

So many things...

What about you? What do you 'give thanx' for every day?

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm In Love...

With October! In fact, if October was a boy, I'd marry him. And here are a few reasons why...













Of course, with my luck in romance, if October was a boy, he'd probably only want to make out with me under the bleachers at the football game and then not call me. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Is It Getting Warm In Here?

Not long ago, a male friend referred to me as ‘hot.’ I eyeballed him suspiciously, waiting for the punch line. When it didn’t come, I chuckled, sputtered, and then snorted (which, I’m certain, is not ‘hot’). In case you haven’t sorted it out, ‘hot’ is not a word I have ever attached to myself. Ever. He assured me that I’m selling myself short (as I am wont to do) but I still scoffed (and suggested he have his eyes checked).

But it got me to thinking. (Smell the smoke?)

Obviously, ‘hot’ is like beauty, in that it’s in the eye of the beholder. I know this, though I do think there must be some universal ‘hot’ standards, just as there are universal beauty standards. Right? I mean, I'm betting there are few people on the planet who would look at Halle Berry and say, “Ew. She’s ugly.” Hello. She’s Halle Berry. She’s gorgeous. Now, I can see some people saying, “Well, yeah, I think she’s pretty, but she’s not that fabulous.” I think those people would be nuts, but I’ll give a little… eye… beholder… all that…

And I know lots of women who think Brad Pitt is drop-dead-gorgeous. Me? Meh. Same with Tom Cruise. In fact, not only is he not gorgeous, he’s downright creepy. And I have a guy friend who thinks Drew Barrymore is beautiful. Really? I don’t see it.

Eye… beholder… all that…

But that's beauty. What about ‘hot’? Are there universal standards? I really wasn’t sure. So I asked my Facebook friends (and I should note here that I do realize asking my FB peeps does not a Universal Standards study make, but I got some interesting answers nonetheless).

I found out there are several levels of ‘hot’ (which I think I pretty much already knew but it was made very clear by the replies I got).

The first level is the initial ‘Wow!’ That’s when you see a photo of someone or pass them on the street or see them in a bar and think, “Damn! Dude is HOT!” For me, it’s this guy...

I can’t even remember his name. But really? Who cares? Dude is HOT! This level of ‘hot’ is superficial. Completely superficial. The person is not even real at this level. In fact, you almost don’t even want him to open his mouth because you know the whole effect could be ruined (like the first time I saw Jean Claude Van Damme in an interview. Hot… then so not).

The first level is purely physical. Purely sexual. It’s about ‘Oh yeah, I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crackers.’ It’s about abs and butts and boobs and whatever other physical attribute floats your boat. It’s the first date with the gorgeous guy you have nothing in common with but want to lick up one side and down the other anyway. It’s, as a friend said, the younger, well-endowed woman gyrating in front of him in a club. It’s lusty. It’s good. But it’s not real. It has no substance. It's more about imagination than the ability to actually touch.

The second level is still superficial, but slightly less so. The person is real but you still don’t really know him. For me, it’s Gerard Butler.

Oh my. Gerard is hot. He’s hot on a physical level, certainly, but I also like the person I believe him to be (a belief garnered from watching him in television interviews, natch…you didn’t think I’d actually met him, did you?). He seems like a great guy… funny, smart, charming, self-deprecating. He might not be any of those things but he comes across that way, so he remains hot (and will until he’s arrested or photographed kicking a puppy, when he will be dumped into the Tom Cruise ‘not hot’ category).

This level of 'hot' is the beautiful girl who works in your building and smiles at you and makes small talk on the elevator. It’s the gorgeous, friendly Alex O’Loughlin look-alike who waits on you at the coffee shop and gives you goosebumps when he touches your hand as he gives you your change. It’s lusty, too, but it has to do with more than just the physical. It’s still superficial and not really real, but it’s a little more real than the guy in the photo whose name I can’t remember because there is another component -- the personality -- involved. Get it?

The next level of 'hot' is real because it’s about real people. It’s the level I was hoping to hear about from my peeps. It’s the level that moves past the superficial (though it can certainly contain superficial elements) to the heart of what really turns us on. It’s where I think my friend was looking when he labeled me ‘hot.’

Now, I should note here that a few of my friends disagree with labeling this level of ‘hot,’ well, ‘hot.’ They said ‘hot’ should be reserved only for the superficial, first glance, walk-into-a-pole, oh-my-god-I-would-do-her-in-a-second reaction (note I said "her," as I believe all the people who suggested the third level of ‘hot’ was not ‘hot’ were guys). Anyway, they said this level is about attraction and getting-to-know someone, etc.

I get that. And I don’t necessarily disagree…

But I asked what people found ‘hot’ and more people (men and women equally) responded with things that fall into this category than the superficial ones. I’m sure that has to do with the fact that most of my FB friends are around my age and by this age we are focused on the whole package and not just the superficial. I surely hope so, anyway, or I’m screwed on the dating front!

So, I determined that this level of ‘hot’ is about the real person… the internal as well as the external (which included dimples and strong jaw lines, sparkly eyes and real smiles)… it’s about having a sense of humor and being open-minded and intelligent. It’s about the level of caring and kindness the person expresses. It has a lot to do with confidence and attitude, feeling sexy and being comfortable in one’s own skin. It’s about the look or the smile, the touch or the suggestive comment from someone you genuinely like (and might love) that makes your stomach do those floopy things. It’s about being a good parent and having respect for one’s partner and expressing love in generous ways. It’s listening and providing a shoulder to cry on and going out at midnight for NyQuil when the flu hits (now, that is hot!). It’s not, I’m happy to say, about 6-pack abs and perfect thighs. Whew!

And? I like it. And I agree. It’s good. It’s real. It’s ‘hot.’

Or, as my nearly 70-year-old Aunt Jean says, it might just be about the ass.

Who am I to argue?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Must Work on That...

I was talking to a friend yesterday about something I'm struggling with (have struggled with/continue to struggle with/will, seemingly, forever struggle with) and I said, "If I could change just one thing about myself, it would be that." Then I amended the statement, as I think there are a bunch of things I could/should change about myself... but that thing? That thing was/is/will forever be at the top of the list. Then I got to thinking about it. What ARE those things I could/should change to make my life simpler/happier/better?

And I settled on three things...

1) My mad procrastination skillz...

I've always been a procrastinator. Always. When I was in the 4th grade, I remember sitting on my bed, surrounded by 9 or 10 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica, rushing through essay after essay - one for each the former presidents of the United States. As usual, I'd left it to the last minute (i.e. Sunday night, when it was due on Monday). I was in a panic. Certain I wasn't going to finish, I remember making a deal with the Universe: "If I finish this tonight, I will never, EVER leave anything to the last minute again!"

Pffftttt.

I finished (thank heavens there had been far fewer presidents than today or I wouldn't have finished!)... but I so did not keep my end that bargain with the cosmos. Procrastination affects me nearly daily in negative ways (mainly upping my stress levels). But still? I do it. Why? I'm not sure. I wish I knew. Must work on that.

2) My ability to over-think Every. Damned. Thing...

Lordy, lordy! This has to be one of my most annoying traits. There are some things I don't over-analyze... some things I just DO... like parenting. I have a great deal of confidence in my ability to mother my child well. Don't get me wrong, I put thought into it, but I don't fret over it. I don't play out every possible scenario in my head until I'm seeing zebras and unicorns instead of ponies. I just do it and trust that it will work out and if I've made a mistake? We'll get through it.

Hmmm... I just realized something... I wrote, "I have a great deal of confidence in my ability to mother my child well." Confidence. Confidence is at the root of my over-thinking? Or LACK of confidence? It is, isn't it? Damn. That's not good, is it? Must work on that. A lot.

3) My inability to ask for help when I need it...

This one might be even more frustrating for the people who love me than it is for me, I think. When I'm struggling, they want to help. They know I need help. But I can't ask for it. It kills me. Truly. My head wants to implode. I feel like a failure. But if one of my friends needed help? Never - not in a million years - would the word 'failure' come to mind. Never. So why can't I ease up on myself and just ask? Why do I feel the need to suffer alone? I don't know. Must work on that. Really. Seriously. A lot.

So, those are the things I'd change. Well, three of the things, anyway. Those are the things I actually have the power to change, if I'm so inclined. Am I so inclined? I don't know. Must work on that...

What three things would YOU change? About you, not me! Lord, I have enough complexes... I don't need a list of things you'd change about me, too!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Advice for Friday...

... and, you know, all the other days, too. From Neil Gaiman and me. OK, so mostly from Mr. Gaiman, since he wrote it and all... let's be a bit less nit-picky, shall we?


Happy Friday, my bloggy loves! Have a wonderful weekend! XO

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Somewhere In Between...

The other day, while mooching around Facebook, I read an article about teens and 'tweens and a guy commented, "I wish the word 'tween could be excised from our vocabularies!" My guess? This guy is NOT the parent of a 'tween. It's a word that describes the 9 - 13-year-old set pretty perfectly. They're not little kids. They're not teenagers. They're stuck in this uncomfortable, awkward, 'in between' stage of life, where they're trying hard to fit in and find their way and be independent... but they still need their mommies and daddies for, oh, so many things (and not just money).

I am the mother of such a creature. I've dreaded these years, truth be told. My own 'tween years were horrid, really. Middle school was a nightmare. I was uncomfortable in my own skin, which was stretched over too-big bones (specifically, a too-big nose that caused me more grief than I care to recall, much of which was brought on by yours truly), and covering a quivering mass of insecurities and worry about every friggin' thing in my line of sight. For example, I remember convincing myself I had scoliosis and was going to have to wear one of those awful back braces for my entire middle school and high school career. I used to stand in front of my mirror, looking for the curve in my spine that would spell the demise of my (non-existent) social life, trying to figure out how I could keep it from my parents and still not wind up looking like Quasimodo. As I say, nightmare.

Ryan, however, doesn't seem to have the same bad dreams I had. Oh, don't get me wrong, she has her own list of insecurities, but, so far anyway, they don't seem to be debilitating. Her reaction to the realization that she'd inherited her nose from me? "Well, you grew into yours, so I'm sure I'll grow into mine. Eventually." Heh. She's got this amazing sense of self that I never had... hell, I'm not sure I have it yet! And she's absolutely blossoming in middle school. She's working out that not everything will come easily to her (math) and that she's going to have to work harder at some things than others (math) but that she really can do it (math) if she keeps a positive attitude. She's finding new things that interest her and she's surrounded herself with a group of friends who seem to be, in general, supportive and encouraging, not back-stabbing and mean, as girls this age can often be. She's taking on new responsibilities at home and at school and she's managing everything without stress or whining (mostly). She handles disappointments (lots of them to do with her father) with dignity and grace (mostly).

She's growing up.

I'm happy for her and I'm so very proud of her but I'm still a little scared of what's to come. Because along with all that good stuff, I know there will be days (as there are now and have been since she turned 3) when I want to kick her butt into tomorrow. It's only been in the past few weeks that I seem to be able to embarrass her without even trying (I've been able to do it intentionally for a long time now!). I've worked out that if her friends are around, I walk a very thin line... pretty much everything I say or do could cause me to fall on the wrong side of the line and subject me to eye-rolling, disgusted looks, and exasperated whines of "Mo-om!"

Sigh.

But I'll take that stuff. Because at night, she still wants me to tuck her in. She still wants me to cuddle with her and just talk for a few minutes before she falls asleep. It won't always be that way, I know. But for now, she's a 'tween. And all is as it should be.

My girl at her first cross country meet yesterday. She? Rocks.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hello September!

Ringing in the month of September has always felt like sort of like ringing in the New Year to me. It's always signaled the start of school (close enough, anyway), the start of fall (close enough, anyway), the start of a new 'summer's over so let's get on with real life' attitude... you know what I mean?

So, I was having lunch with a friend yesterday and we got to talking about blogging (because I think he should start one) and I was telling him about all of you. As I was going on and on and on, I realized how much I miss this place. I decided my worry over people in Pigsknuckle reading my stuff is just silly... this is ME. For better or worse. No pretense. And I'm the same in writing as I am in person (well, I'm skinnier in writing). So love me or leave me (but please don't leave me, 'k? I have abandonment issues...).

And that? Is the start of my new 'summer's over so let's get on with real life' attitude. I like it. And it should hold until my 'winter's set in so let's hibernate under the covers and eat chocolate until the spring thaw' attitude sets in.

Anyway, as I say, summer's over. It was a good one overall. Swimming went, well, swimmingly! Coaching was loads of fun (though time-consuming!) and Ryan did remarkably well this season. She racked up a bunch of first-place ribbons all season and placed in the top 8 in every event she swam for the big all-team 'Champs' meet. I was so proud of her!

The other big event for me was the Booby Walk (also known as the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Event). I traveled to Chicago this year, where my friend Anne and I (and 2,000 other people) walked 60 miles and raised, collectively, $4.2 million for breast cancer research! This year's walk was as phenomenal as last year's -- even better, really, as I had an amazing (albeit crazy... and deaf, too) friend to walk with. Anne's already signed on (and signed up!) to walk in DC with me in 2011. Whoo hoo! I can't wait! My blisters will have fully healed by then. I hope. Here are a couple of photos from the walk...

(Me)
(Anne was disappointed it wasn't the Playboy Walk but happy she still got her bunny ears!)
(I walk because I have boobies. Heh.)
(At the end of 3 days and 60 miles!)

So, now it's so long to summer and onward to fall and all the ups and downs it will bring (hopefully more ups than downs, though)! And I expect blogging will, once again, be one of the ups!! XOXO

Monday, July 19, 2010

The 3-Day Is Around the Corner...

Hello, my lovely bloggy peeps! Summer, she is almost over for me, even though we're only half-way through July. I'm not complaining either. It's been crazy-busy and I've had a bunch of not-so-pleasant things going on personally of late that have made me want to just crawl in a hole and wait for fall. But I can't do that yet...

In less than 3 weeks, I'm hopping on a train and heading out to Chicago to walk in my second Susan G. Komen 3-Day Event! It's a 60-mile walk over a 3-day period to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research. I'm damned excited about it, too, as last year's walk in DC was life changing (and I want and need me some more of that!) and this year I get to walk with one of my favorite people on the planet! And I'm ready for 60 miles, too! But... I've spent so much time walking this summer (50+ miles a week!) to get ready that I've let my fundraising efforts sort of fall by the wayside.

Uh oh.

As you guys might know, all walkers have to raise $2,300 or pay the balance themselves! Yikes! Remember those 'not-so-pleasant personal things' going on? Well, one of them is (as always) lack of funds, so paying the balance due myself really isn't an option! As such, I'm down on my creaky knees, batting my eyelashes, giving the puppy-dog pout, hoping to generate some pity (and money!).

If you can donate, I hope you will. Just click on this link and it'll take you directly to my donation page on the Susan G. Komen site. The process is easy, with a credit or debit card, and my friends all over the world were able to donate last year.

No donation is too small (or too big!) and every single one is so very much appreciated! It's such an important cause and it affects SO many people, either directly or indirectly. But if you can't donate, I totally understand. I do hope you'll pass on the information, though, so that anyone else who might be willing to can do so. Thank you all so much!!!

Much love! Diane... XOXO

Friday, July 9, 2010

Is It Over Yet?


Lordy, it's hot our there... stinkin' hot. In fact, it's been stinkin' hot for way too much of this summer. I'm ready for it to be over... the heatwave... and maybe even the summer. Anyone else?

I wonder how much of my life I spend wishing away? I try not to. Truly. I'm trying to spend more time really feeling present... in the moment... and a whole lot of other new-age-y, touchy-feely crap... er, I mean terms. Yeah, that's what I meant.

Truth is? I'm pooped. I'm hot and pooped. I completely over-extended myself this summer. I've been walking about 50 miles a week (in the heat) to get ready for the Booby Walk in August (for which I'm so far behind in my fund raising effort, it's not even funny, but I still can't wait for it to get here, as I'll get to spend several days with one of my favorite people on the planet). Swim coaching, while loads of fun, is taking up more time than I expected. My mom's been in the hospital, and that's required running around like an idiot and a general disruption to the already-taxed routine. I'm trying to work and prepare for classes and I'm not being terribly effective at anything. And I simply can't work out a week for Ryan's and my annual camping vacation (though we've taken a short jaunt here and there). There's too much going on. Too many obligations. Too much heat. Too much just being tired.

And right about now, you, my wonderful bloggy friends (if I still have any wonderful bloggy friends, after being AWOL for-friggin'-ever!), are thinking, "Christ on a pogo stick! Quit yer bitchin', Diane! Weren't you the one complaining about how long and cold the winter was? Now you're whinging about how long and hot the summer is! Are you never happy?!"

It would seem I'm not, wouldn't it? Sigh. I am, though. You know that, right? There are good things happening. Ryan's ROCKING at the pool and her bulletin board is loaded with 1st place ribbons from this season. Those 50 miles a week I'm walking? Aren't even difficult anymore. I'll be ready for 60 miles in 3 days next month, no doubt! My work situation, which has been abysmal, is about to change for the better and it's likely I'll wind up with more work than I can handle very soon (no worries... you'll hear me whinging about that when it happens!).

So maybe I'm just hot. And not in that cool-everyone-wants-to-date-me way. In that damn-even-my-hair-is-sweating way.

So maybe if it just cools down, the world will be fabulous again. Right?

One can hope. 'Til then? I'm going to get some ice cream.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Life's Like an Hourglass, Glued to the Table...

No one can find the rewind button, girl...

I love that song. And I so wish there was a rewind button. Yesterday, an old friend of mine died unexpectedly. I hadn't seen her in years, though I'd been in touch recently with her husband, also an old friend (actually, he was my friend first). We used to work together when we were in our 20's; we were at each others' weddings; we hung out most weekends for several years. She was sweet and funny and kind. She was loving and much loved - by her friends, her family, and most of all, her husband and son (who is Ryan's age). I'm so sad for all of them. And I'm stunned that another person my age has died.

Over the weekend, I found out that a girl I went to high school with died of cancer. Just a couple of months ago, a guy from my class died of a heart attack, not long after running a road race (one of many over the previous year). And some of you might remember my friend Mark's death last fall, as I posted about him a couple of times.

For the last year, my Aunt Jean, one of my favorite people on the planet, has battled an awful cancer that nearly got the best of her... but it didn't. I'm happy to say she's in remission, for which I'm unbelievably grateful.

All these events have made me realize how easy it is to get caught up in our day-to-day existence... how easy it is to simply forget just how fragile and fleeting Life really is.

But it is fragile. It is fleeting. We're not here for long, even though days and weeks and years (especially those when we're dealing with the darker parts of Life) can sometimes seem interminable.

In light of this realization, I posted some advice on my Facebook page this morning. I don't always take my own advice but I'm really going to try this time...

~ Find your passions and pursue them.
~ Pick your causes and give your time and energy - give yourself - to them.
~ The people you love? Love them extraordinarily well.
~ The people you don't? Let them go.
~ The people you love but who don't love you back? Let them go, too.
~ Remember that you deserve the best from Life and those in your life.
~ Remember that you owe Life, others, and yourself the very best of you.
~ Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself for your shortcomings.
~ Forgive others. Don't hold on to hurt and anger and grudges and regrets.
~ Take care of yourself, body and spirit, and be here for as long as possible - whole, healthy, and happy as possible!

Life is like an hourglass, glued to the table, and no one can find the rewind button...

Live so you don't need one, my friends.

Much, much love, Diane... XOXO

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ouch...

So, one of the reasons I’ve been gone from Blogland is that I met someone… someone pretty terrific… someone with whom I clicked and with whom there was chemistry and about whom I wanted to know more and more and more.

And?

It was mutual (much to my shock and surprise)! And after a few weeks, I stopped looking for red flags… I relaxed a bit… I stopped waiting for the other shoe to drop.

And then?

The other shoe dropped. And it all fell apart.

And now?

My heart hurts.



He’s sorry and I appreciate that. I do. And I wish I didn’t still like him… but I do. But I don’t want to be his friend because then I’ll just wish it was different and wonder why it wasn’t me he chose. And I’ve been down that road before and it’s just too hard.

And I feel like I’m back in middle school.

This sucks.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sending Some Sunshine...

I had a post all ready for tonight (as promised!) but I decided this was more important...

I've met the most wonderful people here in Blogland (yes, I mean you!) and one of the most wonderful is Debbie, over at Single Mom in a Complicated World. Debbie is one of the sweetest, most giving human beings I've ever had the privilege of knowing. She's become one of my favorite Facebook friends as well and she's someone I know beyond all doubt I'll meet in person one day soon.

Debbie's going through a really difficult time right now... so I wanted to send her a little sunshine. I hope you'll all think good thoughts for her, too... she is so very deserving of them.


Keep your face turned toward the sun, Deb! Things will look brighter soon... I just know it! XOXOX

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Holy Moly!

It's been so long since I've set foot in the addled world of my (written) ramblings (I had to clarify that, as I spend every day in the addled world of my normal-type ramblings), I forgot my bloggy password! It took me three tries to get in!

Hello, my lovely bloggy buds! I've missed you! And given the sweetest, most wonderful emails I've been receiving of late, some of you have missed me, too. Thank you for that. I always tell people that the best part of blogging is the people I've 'met'... how we're really a community that cares about each other, even though most of us have never come to face-to-face. In the last week or so, I've gotten emails from people all around the globe, asking if I'm OK; if I'm ever coming back to Blogland; telling me I'm missed. My lazy, non-writing little heart was overwhelmed. That's the stuff hope is made of, you know? Our world might seem as though it's falling apart around us, but as long as there are people out there who care about each other - who care about people they've never met - I think we'll all be OK.

So... I've been gone a while... certainly longer than I anticipated. It wasn't really intentional, as I figured I'd be back within a week or two. But life just kind of picked up and I had to go with the flow, 'cause that's how I roll... er, float. Whatever. Things have been mostly good, too, so I'm not complaining! I've been crazy busy, which isn't likely to change anytime soon, as swim team, running camp, writing camp, the booby walk, the half-marathon, several camping trips, a new job (fingers crossed), and an actual social life(!) are on the agenda for the next 3 months.

One thing I've not been doing much of, however, is writing. So I'm meaning to change that. Remember I said that. And hold me to it, OK?

I hope you're all well and wonderful and writing your little hearts out! I can't wait to see what you've been up to. I'll catch up with you soon... and I'll be back... tomorrow. Really. I'm not lying this time. Honest. Do you believe me? You do, don't you? Stop shaking your head! I will! I promise. Pinky-swear! Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. You know, that's a pretty horrible thing to say, isn't it? "Hope to die"?! "Stick a needle in my eye"?! Yuck. Just so you know, even if I don't post tomorrow (which I WILL), I'm totally not hoping to die OR sticking a needle in my eye. Just sayin'. But I'll be back. Tomorrow. Really. Honest.

Truly.

Seriously.

I will.

Believe me yet?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

As If You Didn't Know...

I'm taking a bit of a break from blogging. Actually I'm taking a break from Facebook, too, and pretty much all electronic mediums (except email for work and basic communication). Life (with an upper case L) has been kicking my butt around lately and I think I need to spend a little time focusing on a few things, keeping distractions to a minimum. I know you guys understand... we've all been there. Life (with an upper case L) sometimes likes to show us who's boss... and I think I just got demoted.

Anyway, I'll be back (I always come back, don't I?), hopefully full of interesting things to write about. Well, things that won't put you to sleep, anyway. Take care of you and don't forget me! XOXO

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bloggy Block...

Howdy, my bloggy loves! I feel as though I've been gone forever! Thanks to everyone who's emailed to check up/in... I'm fine... alive and well (well, still kicking, anyway). Life has just gotten in the way of blogging, which seems to be happening more now than ever, since I started little writing adventure. I've also been experiencing a bit of a block, though I have been writing (prompted by my classes, only one of which is still going on)... but much of it has been stuff I'm just not ready to share yet. I figured out recently that there's something else affecting my blogging frequency...

You know I fell into the Facebook trap a while ago, right? I've really enjoyed it (much more than I expected I would) and I've gotten in touch with loads of old friends and met a few people I didn't know prior (it's a lot like blogging in that way). I posted a link to my blog on my FB page, though, and as a result, I started to notice a lot more traffic from Pigsknuckle passing through Blogland than I've ever seen before. There used to be, maybe, two people from here who read my stuff... now there are more. Several more. And it's sort of weird to know that people who know me (or knew me once), and have these very preconceived notions of who I am, are now able to see me in this way... in this very personal way. It's not a bad thing, certainly, but I think it's caused me to sort of 'seize' when it comes to posting. I don't want to censor myself but I find myself, for the first time, really, wondering what people will think of my words and attitudes and feelings and snark. Does that makes sense? I think it's so easy to be open here in Blogland, especially with people who don't know you in person (or when the people who do know you in person and read your blog know you SO well, like my friends Mel and Todd, for example... no one knows me better, so nothing I write here is a big surprise to them).

I'm working on moving past it, though, and coming up with some posts. And I will make it around to everyone else over the next few days. I've missed you guys! XOXO

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Go, Little Activist, Go!

A couple of weeks ago, when I picked my 10-year-old up at school after her student government meeting, she was angry and close to tears. When I asked her what was wrong, she declared, "I need permission to use the word 'friggin'!" I had to contain my giggle, as she was clearly upset, and I asked, again, what was wrong. She told me that, due to proposed state budget cuts, the middle school and high school athletic programs might be eliminated. Since she was planning (and excited) to run cross country and track next year (as a 5th grader, she's not eligible yet), this was devastating to hear. I told her that if she was really upset about it, she needed to go down to the next school board meeting and let them know. Within five minutes, she decided that was exactly what she was going to do.

Over the past two weeks, we've talked quite a bit about her speech. I explained that she needed to be clear about why eliminating the sports programs would be a bad idea and that she also needed to make sure she was willing to give something back -- not just ask for 'something for nothing' (even though the programs are warranted on their own merit). She told me the other day that she and her friend Abigail had discussed the speech and come up with some good points. I told her to write it all out and then I'd look at it and we could make changes if they were necessary.

She did.

And?

I was blown away. If I hadn't sat and watched her type it all out, I would have assumed it was written by someone much older than 10. She was clear and articulate and she made her points succinctly. She even added at the end that she understood there was not enough money in the budget for everything schools need, but that she and her friends and their parents would be willing to raise funds and find volunteers to keep the programs going. There were a couple of small areas that lacked a certain diplomacy but she's 10... diplomacy isn't something a lot of adults can employ, so her lack wasn't too surprising. I made suggestions to tweak those areas and she did it. She did it well.

So, tonight was the school board meeting. We got there a little early and sat near the front. When the time came for the 8-member board (including the school Superintendent) to hear from the general public, Ryan was first up. She announced herself, her age, her school, and her topic, and then she launched into her speech. Though I knew she was nervous, no one else could tell. She was confident, clear, and full of conviction. After she finished, the next woman up (to speak about the arts program) said she didn't want to follow Ryan. Everyone laughed. One of the school board members told my baby she was "eloquent and very brave." And she was!

It turns out that the athletic programs aren't being cut (yay!). The decision had been made before Ryan spoke (although the Superintendent joked that they just made the decision after Ryan's speech), but I assured her that she had made an impression nonetheless, and that her words might have an impact down the road, when the budget issue comes up again. And regardless, it's important to be heard when you feel strongly about something, especially something so worthwhile. I told her that the school board and the community needs to know that students care and that they are willing to work within established protocols to get things done.

And?

She was as proud of herself as I was.

And?

She might be on television tonight and in the newspaper tomorrow. I sure do hope so!

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Green...

I've been a horrible blogger of late (and I probably deserve to have lost the FOUR! followers who went bye-bye in the past week... man, that stings, eh?). I wish I could tell you why I've not been able to write anything lately. But I can't. I'm just feeling sort of stagnant. Static. Stuck. Sucky. I did have a jolt of electricity applied directly to the creative centers of my brain yesterday, though...

I went to see Wicked! As you might remember, I got tickets to see it as Ryan's big Christmas gift this year. I saw the show in London a few years ago (with Idina Menzel!) and Ryan's been dying to see it ever since. My intention was actually to take her to NY to see it on Broadway (but you know what they say about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions, right?). So when I found out it was going to be playing in Richmond, a mere two hours from Pigsknuckle, I jumped on it and got us tickets for yesterday's matinee.

The show was as spectacular as I remembered! And Ryan absolutely loved it! She was blown away by everything -- the sets, the costumes, the story, the music, the performances (and specifically the singing!). She said it was better than the Broadway version of The Lion King, which is saying something, really, as that show was amazing!

If you haven't read Gregory Maguire's book, Wicked, from which the stage production was adapted, it's the story of how the Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West (of Wizard of Oz fame, natch) became enemies... sort of. Gregory Maguire has this fabulous way of turning tried and true stories and fairy tales on their ears, giving his audience a completely different perspective, especially on the subjects of 'evil' and 'good.' And let's just say that you leave Wicked with a whole new take the color green! If you haven't read the book, do! It's wonderful. And if you haven't seen the show but you have the opportunity to do so, do that, too! I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

Hopefully I can tap into the creative energy I witnessed yesterday and manage to write something more in depth than a grocery list in the next few days. One can hope, right?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Whew!

I think I fixed my blog! With absolutely NO help from Blogger, I might add. I was this close to heading over to Wordpress and starting over, and though I wasn't looking forward to making such a big change, it wasn't wholly unappealing either. That tells me I need to freshen things a bit 'round the Ramblings, so I'm going to spend some time this weekend doing a little housecleaning and fixing all the little formatting issues that resulted from my mostly futile handyman attempts. Thanks to everyone who made suggestions about what to check... I appreciated the help!

I've missed you guys loads, so I'll be back 'round this weekend! XOXO

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Blogger... Double Grrrrr!!!!

Now it seems that people on browsers other than Mozilla Firefox can see my POSTS, but nothing else (including my blog title, profile, etc). And? All my fonts have changed. I'm BEYOND aggravated with all this. Wordpress anyone?

OK, never mind. It seems my posts STILL can't be seen. I give up.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blogger... Grrrrrr!!!

My blog is, apparently, pretty much blank to anyone using a browser other than Mozilla Firefox. I have no idea why and though I've tried, I can't seem to get any support from Blogger (there is no information regarding a resolution in their Help lists or forum and though they suggest contacting them, they give no way to actually DO it!). If anyone who CAN read this has any suggestions or knows of a way to reach Blogger for help, please let me know. Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks!

Monday, March 1, 2010

45/45 Challenge... Moving Along...

OK, first, I've been told that there are some issues with my blog and some people can only see my 'Quotes of the Week'. Dunno what's up. Dunno how to fix it. Dunno how to contact Blogger to tell them there's an issue. If anyone who can see my blog knows what to do, please let me know! Thanks!!

So... I'm moving along with my 45/45 Challenge list! Sort of. My cardio-kickboxing class was scheduled for Saturday and I showed up for it, as did 4 other people and the instructor. Unfortunately, the woman who owns the studio didn't show up to unlock the door, so the class was a bust. But it's been rescheduled for Wednesday night, so I'll be going then. If I survive, I'll blog about it on Thursday morning!

I did, however, take my first ever yoga class this weekend! And I loved it! I went with my friend Emmy (who is turning 30 this week and is all about trying new things, too). It was the Kundalini form of yoga, which seems to be, from what I can gather, a combination of a bunch of different kinds of yoga. Some of it was hard but mostly it was just totally cool and relaxing. And the instructor (loved her!) was wonderful at creating this amazing environment that just felt... I don't know... safe. That might sound like a strange word but it does apply. I had the same feeling throughout the class that I get in the writing workshops I attend with my mentor and coach, Maureen. It's the same feeling I try to create in the writing classes I do myself. During the whole session last night, I kept hearing this little voice in my head saying, "This is where you're supposed to be." As many of you know, I've been trying to figure out where I'm supposed to be for a long time. It was an interesting, unexpected, and pleasant thing to hear, especially coming from my own psyche.

After the class, I had this overwhelming urge to write, which rarely happens (though I wish it did, much more often). Though I was going to swim laps while Ryan was at practice last night, I sat down in the lobby of the pool facility instead, and cranked out six pages of pretty good, pretty illuminating stuff. I was really, really happy. And if that's the result of yoga? I'll go every damned day! Seriously, yesterday's won't be my last class (unlike Zumba, which I've decided not to do again). I'm going to see about going next week, too.

So, I'm two weeks in and that's my second challenge complete! I'm moving along nicely, I'd say...

Hope your weekend was wonderful, my bloggy loves, and something enlightening or illuminating happened to you, too!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Show of Hands, Please...

I want to know how many of you thought (or think) Pigsknuckle is the real, honest-to-gosh name of my hometown...? Come on, tell the truth!

And then? After you 'fess up?

I want you to forgive me for giggling...

Heh heh... ;)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

45/45 Challenge... 1 Down... 44 To Go!!

I have conquered Zumba! OK... well, not so much conquered it, as was conquered by it. But there is nothing in my 45/45 Challenge rulebook that says I have to be good at everything I try... I just have to do it, right? Right. And I did it. I took my first Zumba class this morning. I'm not going to say it was my last class (though that was my inclination), as I feel I should give it at least one more try before I write it off as an epic FAIL.

For those of you who don't know, Zumba is a new fitness craze (at least I think it's new... or I'm really behind). It blends aerobics, toning exercises, and Latin-style dance into one incredibly confusing, frustrating mess. Well, if you do it the way I do, it's messy. And pretty damned ugly. I know I've mentioned before that I have no rhythm. None. Truly. It's non-existent. My brother, who is totally deaf, dances better than I do. I wish I was kidding. I'm not. Anyway, you need rhythm to do Zumba. Well, you do if you don't want to trip over your own feet, go in the wrong direction, or look like a fool (all of which I did). Don't get me wrong, I have no problem looking like a fool (and I prove it by doing so with alarming regularity). I don't so much enjoy feeling like a fool, though. And I so did. Oh, I also found that my arms and legs are incapable of moving at the same time. My arms move. Or my legs move. They do not both move. As I say, a confusing, frustrating, ugly mess.

But the reasons behind the whole 45/45 Challenge were about getting me out of my comfort zone and trying some new things. Zumba worked on both counts... it was new and I was uncomfortable. Supremely uncomfortable. I did say I'd go back next week, though, as it's supposed to get easier with time. I'm not sure there's enough time before the world ends for me to get good at Zumba, though. We'll see.

So, #42 -- DONE! And stay tuned, as I'm planning to knock out (possibly literally) #12 on Saturday with my first ever cardio-kickboxing class! Let's hope it doesn't kick my butt the way Zumba did!

Monday, February 22, 2010

I've Been a Bad, Bad Blogger...

But I have loads of reasons (and by 'reasons', I mean 'excuses') why. Part of it is that this winter is absolutely kicking my butt! I think I might have a case of that S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) thing. 'Cause winter's a season (and a half this year!), I'm affected (and afflicted, as Ryan points out regularly) and I'm reasonably sure I have a couple of as yet undiagnosed disorders. Honestly, though, I've been in true hibernation-mode... I have no energy, I'm eating everything in sight, and I'm ready for bed at 8:00 every night (which is a problem, as I have to tuck Ryan in and she doesn't go to bed 'til 9:00. I tried to change her bedtime... pffftttt. Rotten child).

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know I'm fat and sleepy, but alive. I am making plans to get moving ('planning' counts as industrious, right?) and I have forced myself to get out and do some things, even though all I want to do is lie on the couch and eat chocolate. I joined a new book club, as the men in my man-book club kept picking the most BORING books (and by 'BORING books', I mean 'books meant for people far smarter than I am') and I just couldn't stand it anymore. This club is wonderful... it's full of smart, funny, very cool women (who can all cook!). We read The Help by Kathryn Stockett for this month's get-together and it was fantastic! I highly recommend it!

Ironwoman had a great idea to do a mother/daughter book club, too. Our girls are the same age and they, as well as a few of their friends, read at the same level (around 11th grade), so we're excited about the sorts of books we can choose to read together and discuss. We're trying to sort out our first meeting for two weeks from now, as one of the local high schools is doing a dramatic production of Little Women and we thought we could read it, see it, and discuss it.

Summer plans are coming together, too. It looks like I'll be coaching the morning practices for our swim team, which I'm excited about. This will be the first year we've gotten to do morning practices and it'll free up my summer evenings for some fun stuff. Then Ironwoman and I are doing a week-long running clinic for girls (10-12 years old), based on a 'Girl Power!' theme, which I'm also very excited about. I'm also going to help her with a kid's triathlete clinic she wants to do. And... I'm organizing a week-long creative writing clinic for kids (9-11 years old), a couple of adult writing classes, and possibly some resume writing seminars, too. So summer will be busy!

So, regardless of all that industry, I'm sorry for being such a bad, bad blogger. I haven't been reading any blogs, as I have this weird thing where if I'm not writing, I don't allow myself to read either. I don't know why, really. If I did, I'd probably feel more inspired. I suppose it's a form of self-punishment (which I'm very good at). I will try to get 'round to everyone this week!

Oh, and thank you so much for all the wonderful, encouraging comments about my 45/45 Challenge!! They were all appreciated! I have started making little dents in the challenges that will run over the course of the year (like getting rid of one thing every day) and I'll be updating you periodically. And for the people who asked about my tattoo, I'm getting a small one on the inside of my right wrist (easily covered up but in a place I can see it)... it'll be a small compass, pointing to my 'true north', so that if I ever lose my way again, it's right there to remind me.

And that's all for now, my bloggy loves! I'll be 'round to see you soon!! XOXO

Sunday, February 14, 2010

45/45 Challenge... Kick Off!!

So, tomorrow is the 15th (my birthday!) and my 45/45 Challenge kicks off, my bloggy loves! I'm excited! For those of you who have just tuned in, I've decided to celebrate turning (and being) 45 by accomplishing a long list of challenges, some of which are on my 'bucket list', some of which simply need doing, and some of which I just want to see if I can do! I've updated my list since I first posted about it last month... you can read that post here, if you'd like... it explains why I want to take on this whole crazy task and where I got the idea (and by 'got', I totally mean 'stole'!).

You know I'll keep you posted as the year progresses. There are quite a few things on my list that are one-offs, but there are even more, I think, that I'll have to keep up with on a daily or monthly basis, so there should be plenty to write about (which is good, as I've had nothin' lately!).

Wish me luck!!

My 45/45 Challenge List

1. Complete the 60-mile breast cancer walk in Chicago in August
2. Complete the 60-mile breast cancer walk in DC in October
3. Raise $5,500 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Fund
4. Run the Sherry Anderson 5K in April
5. Find and run a local 10K
6. Find and run a local 10-miler
7. Run the Patrick Henry Half-Marathon in August
8. Submit 3 pieces of writing for publication
9. Learn to salsa dance
10. Finish Pillars of the Earth
11. Read World Without End
12. Take a cardio-kickboxing class
13. Take a yoga class
14. Skydive in October
15. Swim 10 miles (640 pool lengths) over the summer
16. Wash my car once a month
17. Get a tattoo
18. Hike 25 miles of the Appalachian Trail
19. Do a mother/daughter camping weekend with ‘the girls’
20. Meet 4 bloggy friends in person
21. Bake a loaf of bread from scratch
22. Walk 1,200 miles (approximately 3/day)
23. Get through levels 1 and 2 of the Rosetta Stone Spanish tutorial
24. Knit a scarf (i.e. learn to knit)
25. Be a vegetarian for one full month
26. Go whitewater rafting (with class III – IV rapids)
27. Go up in the Washington Monument
28. Go up in the Statue of Liberty
29. See Phantom of the Opera on Broadway
30. Visit Well of Mercy retreat and be still and quiet for 2 days
31. Hike the Old Rag Mountain circuit in the SNP
32. Go ice skating in the sculpture garden at the Smithsonian
33. Give away/donate/get rid of one thing per day for 365 days
34. Reach the weight I was at 21
35. Do 45,000 crunches (approximately 125/day)
36. Go completely diet soda-free for one full month
37. Do some sort of volunteer activity twice/month
38. Attend a concert
39. Organize a girls' night out for all my Pigsknuckle girlfriends
40. Have a 'formal' picture taken of myself and Ryan this year
41. Contact Pigknuckle Community College about teaching a writing class
42. Take a Zumba class
43. Cook a completely new recipe (from scratch) once a month
44. Record my 45/45 Challenge events in a scrapbook
45. Throw a party for my 46th birthday!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow... Snow... and More Snow...

Happy Saturday! Happy snowy Saturday, that is! It's been snowing in Pigsknuckle (and, indeed, across Virginia and several other states) since 6:00am yesterday. I thought I'd take a break from shoveling (which was sort of pointless, anyway, since I'm going to have to do it again later today) and show you what our neighborhood looks like right now. Luckily one of our neighbors has a plow, so he cleared the road in front of our houses, but these pictures will give you an idea of just how deep it is!

Looks comfy, no?

I won't be driving 'til Spring...

Yeah, it's deep...

Sundance and Peeto...
And the chase is on!

He's King of the Mountain!

Hope you're all warm and dry!! XOXO

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Me, Myself, and I...

Last week I was talking to an old friend I hadn’t seen in several years and we were catching each other up on what’s been going on in our lives. A little way into the conversation, she asked what I’ve come to realize is an inevitable question…

“Are you dating anyone?”

I’ve answered that question a million times in the past five years with all manner of responses. Though I’ve only dated one person seriously since my split from my ex-husband, I’ve dated quite a lot. I’ve run the gamut in terms of the sort of relationship I’ve wanted, from serious to casual, from 'just sex' to ‘friends with benefits’, from 'this could be the one' to ‘let’s just have some fun and see where it goes’. And I have had some fun and made a few good friends along the way, but more often than not, I’ve had my feelings hurt; I’ve felt rejected, frustrated, angry; I’ve been reduced to tears. Overall, my dating experiences have not been incredibly positive.

So, a little more than a year ago, I sat down and tried to sort out why none of my relationships were ‘sticking’. And I realized that the common denominator in all of them was…

Yup, you guessed it... Me.

Well, crap.

If you’ve been coming ‘round here for any length of time, you know a big portion of last year wasn’t really good for me. I spent a lot of time stuck in a rut (and by ‘rut’, I mean ‘a pit of quicksand the size of Rhode Island’). I wasn’t happy with life in general. Mostly, I wasn’t happy with myself. Not at all.

And I realized that until I could be happy with and by myself, I had no right to even think about looking for someone to share my life.

So I set about making some changes, as most of you know, and, as you know, I’m still doing it. But you know what else? I realized recently that I am happy overall, both with and by myself. And that? Is big. And? Even though I'm in a pretty good place – one which might lend itself to a healthy dating relationship – I don’t feel the need to look for one. And that? Is way cool, my peeps!

Now, don’t get me wrong… if a relationship happens to cross my path, you know, in the form of a cute, liberal-minded, creative, outdoorsy-type guy who kisses well and loves mouthy, independent kids and big, hairy dogs? Well, I’m certainly not going to turn it down (hell no, I'm not!).

But I’m not looking. And I don't know when I'll want to. It could be next week. It could be next year. I'm not feeling any pressure.

So, when my friend asked, “Are you dating anyone?”

I grinned and said, “Yup! Me! And you know what? It’s the best relationship I’ve had in a long, long time!”


And the best part? I was totally serious.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I Was Afraid This Would Happen...

I have discovered yet another online addiction.

Facebook.

You guys know I resisted starting a page for ages. I didn't see the point, really. I was certain it was just another time-suck. But I gave in, figuring I'd just see what it was like and, sure I was going to hate it, thought I'd delete my page within a week or two. Yeah. Right. That was several months and 125 friends ago. It's actually been pretty cool, I have to admit. I don't play any of the games or pass virtual drinks around or hit anyone with virtual pillows, but I do 'play' on it every day. It's enabled me to get back in touch with people I never imagined I'd ever hear from again. It allows me to just drop quick notes to friends to let them know I'm thinking of them, without having to do the long, back-and-forth email thing. Cool.

An unexpected benefit of FB has been the writing. For those of you who don't know, FB lets you post 'status updates' as often as you'd like. You get 240 characters (about 4 lines) to say what you want to say (and oddly, most people wind up referring to themselves in the 3rd person, as each post starts with your name). The character limit really requires some creative writing, especially for wordy people like me. Not everyone is wordy, though, and some people use them to tell their friends pretty much everything they're doing...

"Mary is waiting for her kid at the orthodontist."
"Joe just ate a steak for dinner."
"Susan is going to the bathroom."

OK, well, that bathroom one might have been a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture. I don't use FB for updates like that. I don't think anyone really needs (or wants) to know when I'm going to Target or how many times I peed in one day (unless, of course, I peed a shocking number of times... that might be notable). I thought I'd give you a few of the posts I've put in the past couple of weeks, since I haven't been around here much. They'll give you an idea of what I've been up to... or not...

Diane was alarmed and disappointed at the ease and speed with which the words 'dumb' and 'ass' shot out of her 10-year-old's mouth. Her 10-year-old was alarmed and disappointed at her own clear lack of discretion. She was also just a little scared of her mother's Evil Eye, which very nearly reduced her to mere ash... dumb ash.

Diane thinks that grown men who declare their affinity for Star Wars on their license plates and have pictures of Yoda and Luke Skywalker emblazoned on the back windows of their trucks probably don't get a lot of dates.

Diane wonders if it's terrible that I laughed REALLY hard when I saw a photo of my ex's new wife (you know, the one to whom he has not actually admitted being married) and noted that she has gained all the weight (and more) that I've lost this year. OK, you know what? I don't care if it's terrible... it's FUN-NY!

Diane believes that if talking was an Olympic sport, she'd be raising a gold medalist.

Diane has a 10-year-old who came home from school this afternoon feeling ugly, stupid, and clumsy. I felt so bad for her that I didn't tell her how those days still happen, even when you're 44.

Diane does not understand the point in separating whites from colors (as in laundry, not people... no, wait... as in people, too!) IF there is nothing in the 'colors' pile that will run. I also see no point in owning an iron as long as Downey keeps producing their bottled wrinkle releaser. Just sayin'.

Diane is considering drowning her supremely cranky 10-year-old in the supremely flooded basement. Yeah. It's Monday.

Diane had a dream last night that I got my feet stuck behind my head and someone took a picture and posted it on FB. I actually did get stuck like that when I was a kid and my mom had to unstick me. I just checked, though, and I can no longer do it (shock and surprise, right?!). I can, however, still touch my toes to my nose. I don't expect the need to do so will arise often, though. Nor will a photo of it.

Facebook. Fun. Addictive. Bit of a time-suck. But fun. Really!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sometimes...

In case you hadn't figured it out yet, I'm a 'two cents' sort of girl. I'll give you my two cents... definitely if you ask for them... and sometimes if you don't. As I get older, though, I'm learning to keep my two cents to myself... well, sometimes, anyway. I've realized that sometimes just knowing what's in my own head and heart is enough. Sometimes I can keep my big mouth shut and the world won't end.

Sometimes.

But sometimes? Sometimes I just can't help it. Sometimes my two cents just fly out of my mouth, sort of like my money flies out of my wallet in the grocery store.

And speaking of the grocery store (nice little segue there, eh?), I was there on Sunday for my weekly wallet-suck. As I was doing the final bolt for the things I'd forgotten (because I also forgot my list and since I don't like to waste time running up and down aisles from which I don't need anything, I, instead, waste time running back through the store, up and down aisles from which I actually did need things, which I forgot... because I forgot my list), and... umm... where was I? Oh, right, I was grabbing the last few things I'd forgotten when I passed a girl marching toward the meat section, looking rather grim. She looked like a college student (the dead give-away was her Uggs/pajama pants/hoodie ensemble) and she was being followed by a guy, also in college attire (hoodie/shorts/flip flops... in January), looking less grim, more plead-y. I know plead-y isn't a word, but what does someone look like who's in plead-mode? I dunno. Anyway, although all I could hear of their conversation was him whining, "Come on, pleeeeease?", it was clear that she was having none of it.

Needless to say, my curiosity was piqued ('cause I'm nosy like that, that's why). So when I had the opportunity to get behind them in the check-out line a few minutes later, I grabbed it. I only heard a little bit of their conversation. But it was quite enough.

Him (whispering loudly): I don't know why you're mad. It was just kissing! It's not like I had sex with her!

Her (not whispering at all): If you don't walk away now, I'm gonna hit you with this ham.

At this point, he turned and looked at me, then rolled his eyes, as if to say, "Can you believe this?"

You know how I said that sometimes I'm a 'two cents' sort of girl? Yeah. This was one of those times.

Me: Dude. You should walk. 'Cause I might have to hit you, too.

In case you're wondering, he walked. It seems stupid does have limits. Sometimes, anyway.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Forgive Me...

Forgive me bloggers, for I have sinned. It's been a week since my last confession... er, post...

Wow, this week just flew by! The last time I checked, it was Saturday. And here it is, Saturday again! But I've got reasons for being AWOL (and by 'reasons', I mean 'excuses'). As I mentioned, the Republican was here at the beginning of the week. He's on leave from Afghanistan and came to visit little old me for a couple of days. We had a good time - ate out a lot (and I gained a pound this week... damned Republicans... everything is their fault), went to the movies ('Leap Year' should win the Cutest Movie of the Year award... predictable and formulaic, but adorable nonetheless), and just generally caught up with each other. He's back with his family in NJ now (washing my liberalness out of his ears, I'm sure), and will be heading back to the war zone in about a week. Before he left, though, I had him take a new photo of me to post here and on my FB page. As I might have mentioned, I loathe having my picture taken. I'm pretty much the least photogenic person on the planet. But the Republican is a professional photographer so I figured if anyone could take a picture which would make me look mostly human, he could. Plus, he owed me, after taking those horrific shots (without my knowledge) that sent me screaming to Weight Watchers. Anyway, this is one of two new pictures (the other is in my profile... and I hope you like it because it's the one I'll have posted on here for the next 3 or 4 years)...


I didn't hate them. And that's saying a lot. I have to be the worst 'model' ever, though. Being on the other side of the camera lens (and by 'other side', I mean the 'wrong side'), has to be one of the most uncomfortable things I can think of. Giving birth was worse. But not much. In fact, I'm thinking that one of my 45/45 Challenges should be having my picture taken every week until I can pose for a photo without hyperventilating or wanting to throw up.

Anyway, the rest of the week was busy, too. I taught my first adult creative writing class on Thursday night, which was a lot of fun. The weather was dismal, though, so our numbers were down by two, but it was OK regardless. This Wednesday will be my first 'seniors' class about writing memoirs and life stories. I'm looking forward to it, as I have (as of right now) 6 people signed up. The turn-out for all my classes has been better than I expected. Today was the second Superhero Saturday and it went as well as last week. And a teacher friend approached me yesterday about doing a poetry workshop with her 3rd grade class soon. That? Will be seriously cool!

Other than that, it's just been life getting in the way of blogging. This week coming is going to be busy, too, but will hopefully lend itself to reading and writing as well! I hope your week was wonderful, my bloggy buds! I'll make my way 'round Blogland tonight and catch up on all you've been doing!!! XOXO