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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I got another award today! Yay! Blarney over at Blarney Stone bestowed it, bless her little Irish heart :). I'm passing it on to Shanna at Smiles, Miles & Trials, Hebba at JeepGirl17, Soleil at SuperMom!!, and my bud Mel at Bodie Oracle (I figure this might make her post more often). They are all sweet blogs I totally love reading!

Monday, September 29, 2008

It's Why 'Dog' is 'God' Spelled Backwards...

I thought I'd officially introduce you to my boy. Everyone, meet Sundance. Sundance, meet everyone.

He's pretty cute, no? He's a good boy, too, though he hasn't always been. And no wonder, really. Sundance was sort of an 'up yours' move. See, my ex said "No more dogs!" but after I found out he'd been having an affair, I marched straight to the shelter and picked out a puppy. Up yours, cheater-man. It felt SO good. However, someone should have told me that you should never make an up yours move that can bite you in the ass... which mine did... literally. Actually, he was the cutest puppy on the planet. And the most destructive. And rambunctious. And he thought my daughter, who was 5 at the time, was a big chew toy. Together they were HELL. It was like having two 5-year-olds in the house at the same time, which I never wanted, which is why I only had ONE kid. I was honestly not certain he was going to make it to his first birthday and he was the first dog I ever had that I considered giving away. He chewed stuff... like walls. He ate stuff... like crayons (which made him poop rainbows... which was sort of cool, actually). I didn't like to call him a 'bad boy' so I called him a 'bubba'... all the time... which evolved into Bubby... which is what we still call him most of the time (though he's not a bad boy anymore).

But as difficult as he was, in many ways Sundance was my salvation. I got him at the worst possible time, as my life was falling apart, but he gave me something to focus on... something simple... something I wasn't worried about screwing up. My marriage was ending. I was terrified about how my child was going to be affected. I was stressed about managing life and finances and parenting on my own. I was scared and sick and angry and hurt. With everyone else, I had to put on a brave face. I had to pretend I wasn't falling apart. With my puppy, I could let it all out and still, he licked my face and cuddled with me on the couch and just loved me. He needed me but he gave so much more than he took.

He is still my salvation some days. Yes, he sheds (I get enough hair off him every day to knit a new dog). Yes, he muddies (and smells) up my car. Yes, he sleeps on my bed and he can somehow turn his 70 pounds into 250 (which takes up a LOT of room). But he also smiles when I get home (and I know you non-dog people think I'm nuts, but I'm not). He makes me laugh more than most comedians on TV. He makes me get off my butt and get out to the park every day. He loves me more than any human has a right to be loved. I am seriously flawed, but he doesn't see any of those flaws. To him, I'm just right. And to me, he's just perfect.


I got an award this weekend from Heinous over at Irregularly Periodic Ruminations. How cool is that?! As I understand it, I have to now pass it on to 5 other blogs I am hooked on. That's hard, as there are a bunch I read regularly. Heinous would have actually been at the top of my list, but I don't know that he wants another pink award, so maybe he'll just settle for the love ;). OK... let's see... (and sorry, but I can't figure out how to provide a link to their blogs from here... Heinous... HELP!)

I'm picking Haute.Pocket, definitely. I love her. She is so very cool with just a hint of charming dorkiness ;). I'd like to think I was like her when I was her age (God, that makes me sound old) but I suspect I was more 'very dorky with just hint of cool'. Sigh.

Second, I'm going with Deutlich over at Speak On It. Another 'youngster', I love how passionate she is about her beliefs and how beautifully she expresses them. She is wise beyond her years and I love reading her stuff.

Third is my pal Protege over at Life, Work, and Pleasure. Her posts are so thoughtful and I love the way she thinks. Plus, I think she is possibly my twin, separated at birth.

Fourth is Lee over at A Curate's Egg. Lee is not the award type, I'm sure, but I don't care... he's gettin' it anyway. His was the first blog I got hooked on after I started mine and I check in on him every day. He's very cool for an old guy ;).

Last, hmmmm... this is hard! There were a bunch I could pick from but I'm going with Andy at Wild ARS Chase. He's a riot and too cute for words. If I was 20 years younger, I'd totally have a crush on him.

So there you have it. And thanks again, Heinous (and thanks for the tech support yesterday, too!).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Target - Expect (to spend) More...

I love Target. Always have. It's the best store ever. There are days when every single thing I wear, with the exception of my glasses, is from Target. In fact, if they sold Nikes and Vanity Fair underwear, I might never have to enter another store. If our Target sold groceries, I'd been in Heaven.

When I moved back here 3 years ago, there was no Target. I was horrified. Worried. Ill. See, I won't shop at WalMart (aka 'The Evil Empire'). Ever. What to do?! But things got better when I found out that 1) a new Target was being built in town, and 2) there was indeed a store not TOO far away (OK, yeah, it was about 40 minutes from me, over a mountain... but desperate times and all). Anyway, the new Target finally opened and all was right with the world again.

However... I might have to stop shopping there. I've discovered (and by 'discovered', I mean 'am pulling this out my butt but it makes sense... to me') that Target is doing something very sneaky and underhanded. They are playing subliminal messages through their Muzak. It's true. I know it is. And the messages sound something like this... "Spend at least $100"... "Do not check out until you have $100 worth of stuff in your cart". And here's how I know these subliminal messages are not in my head. Every time I go into Target, no matter what I go for, I spend $100. Yesterday I went in for dog food. $100. Two weeks ago, dental floss. $100. Sunscreen. $100. Socks. $100. See where I'm going with this? It is not me. I have more willpower this this. Worse, I have less money than this. It's not me. But still, $100. Every damned visit.

I'm going to prove it. Mark my word. And then I'm going to sue Target. I'm going to sue them for the $389,563.72 I've spent in there (well, that amount actually includes overdraft fees, but still). I am. Mark my word.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Good Mother...

I’m a good mother… but not a perfect one. I always knew I’d be a good mother… but I didn’t think I’d ever be a single one. My daughter is brilliant, beautiful, funny, independent, creative, imaginative, and full of amazing potential… but she is also willful, stubborn, mouthy, bossy, uncompromising, moody, and she talks more than any human has a right to. I love her fiercely and without condition… but there are times when I don’t like her very much.

She was a perfect baby… an easy baby. And that so did not prepare me for raising a willful, stubborn child… and doing it alone to boot. I fully believe motherhood is the most important job I will ever have… but there are times when I think I could happily quit and return to a life where I am responsible for me and only me. Then I come back to reality and I just get on with it.

I realized a while ago that it’s not my job NOT to screw my kid up. That’s inevitable. I’ll do it… maybe not in the ways my parents screwed me up, but in my own special way. No, my job is to give her the tools to rise above and to thrive when I (or anyone else, or the world in general) screws her up. Realizing that took some of the pressure off… the pressure to do it all ‘right’. It allows me to make mistakes.

I try hard to always be open, communicative, honest, understanding, and flexible with her. I believe there has to be a balance between providing a carefree, fun childhood and preparing children to live in the real world so I have rules which are, for the most part, set in stone. She knows them all. And she knows there are consequences for breaking them. Punishment is hard and swift. And every time she gets punished, she says, “I really wish I hadn’t misbehaved.” So she understands that it’s her behavior that caused the punishment and not the fact that I’m a mean mommy. I have high expectations because I believe if I expect a lot, I’ll get a lot. But I also make sure she understands her best will always be good enough for me, no matter the result.

I really do believe in living by example so I admit to her when I’m wrong and I say "I’m sorry" when I screw up. I don’t spank, not because I think it’s morally wrong, but because I can’t logically expect my child to solve problems with her head if I solve them with my hands. I expose her to nature and culture and diversity but I protect her as best as I can from the negative influences of the media, the internet, and society. When I can’t protect her, I explain. Though she knows I date, I don’t introduce her to the men I go out with because I don’t want people floating in and out of her life. But I make sure she knows my close male friends so she realizes you can love men in ways that don’t include romance and you really can count on them to be there for you. I take her camping and on long road trips, just the two of us, so she understands women should be self-sufficient and venture out on their own, unafraid. I teach her that she can’t simply mirror my political, religious, or social views... that she has to find her own way and develop her own opinions. I never let her win because she has to learn to lose with grace. I never tolerate whining or disrespect or lying. Ever.

Am I doing this motherhood thing right? I have no friggin’ idea. There are days when I think I am… and days when I’m sure I’ve got it ALL wrong. Time will tell, I guess. But I do know a few things… I know I’m doing my best. And though I have no illusions about my kid, I know she’s pretty terrific in general. I know she loves me more than anyone else in the world. I know I love her more than life. And whether I’m doing it right or not, I know I’m a good mother.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Believe...

It's Writer's Workshop time! Kathy, over at 'Mama's Losin' It', gave several writing prompts this week, as usual. I chose, "I Believe..." (though I couldn't keep it to 10... I'm mouthy... sue me).

~ I believe in The Golden Rule.
~ I believe in living by example and that “do as I say, not as I do” is so not cool.
~ I believe in tolerance over faith because, in the end, no matter what we each believe, not a one of us really knows for sure.
~ I believe in ice cream for dinner… once in a while.
~ I believe a society has an obligation to care, and care well, for its members who can’t care for themselves, but not those who won’t.

~ I believe in getting 90-minute massages as often as I can afford them.
~ I believe I’m better now than I was at 30 and I believe I’ll be better at 50 than I am now.
~ I believe in being a parent, not a friend, and that sometimes, “Because I said so!” is answer enough.
~ I believe that credit cards are the work of the devil.
~ I believe that education is not an indicator of intelligence and that the best lessons often come from the unlikeliest teachers.

~ I believe you have to risk your heart and be willing to be hurt in order to find real love.
~ I believe it’s OK to want a man… but not to need one.
~ I believe it’s perfectly fine to do all your laundry in one load, to ‘iron’ in the dryer, and hem with scotch tape.
~ I believe we have a moral and ethical obligation to protect and preserve the environment and that convenience, ‘progress’, money, or oil aren’t good reasons for destroying it.
~ I believe travel is the best way to open oneself up to the amazing and wonderful diversity in our world.

~ I believe life is too short for toxic people, bad wine, bad sex, and for harboring anger, grudges, or regret.
~ I believe a sense of humor, a great smile, and an open-mind are way sexier than 6-pack abs.
~ I believe in karma, in magic, in ghosts, and in all manner of things I can’t see or explain.
~ I believe in the power of love and hope and positive thinking.
~ I believe completely that the best is yet to come.

Days of Whine and Roses...

After yesterday's whine-laden post, I decided not to just sit on my butt today, feeling blue. I got some really great comments that made me think (more smoke) and you all said things I took to heart (thanks for the love!). I realized I am definitely not alone in my occasionally cerulean world… that other people struggle just like I do, feeling lost and passionless at times. And I realized that although I'm grateful for my blessings, as the Dale Carnegie quote I posted this week notes, I’ve fallen back on my human nature and I haven’t been paying attention to the roses growing outside my own window. So today I went looking for some roses to sniff… I went seeking some passion (no, not that kind… get your minds out of the gutter!). I decided to be ‘in the moment’ and find some magic…

I live in a really beautiful part of the country… the Shenandoah Valley. I’m surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are just beginning their annual change, going from bolts of deep green velvet to the most amazing autumn-hued quilt. Though I complain a lot about this area being dull or too conservative, I do love it here in the fall.

So after dropping Ryan at school, Sundance (my gorgeous, ever-faithful, 4-legged best bud) and I headed to a new place for our morning walk. It’s a park not far from us, but unlike the one we normally traipse around, it’s completely wooded and hilly and you feel like you’re deep in the mountains. We hiked for 3 miles, completely alone, except for a family of deer who were grazing, comfortable in their surroundings, unafraid and undisturbed by our intrusion. I sat on a rock, my boy at my feet, and just watched them for a while.

Sitting there, I realized that I’m doing a lot right in my life. And the things I’m doing wrong, I can fix with some effort. I also realized that I’m not really sitting still… it’s just that I’m not where I thought I’d be in life at this moment. But you know what? I have never been where I thought I'd be at any given moment. And wonderful things have come from my off-course, why-bother-to-consult-a-map trek so far. More wonderful things are bound to come, right? Yes, I’m sure of it.

So today looks much brighter than yesterday… much more mango-tango than cerulean… and it smells a bit like roses. I found my little bit of magic… I found the moment I needed. As for the passion… well, I’m working on that… but it’ll come… I have faith, in me and in the Universe.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

To Be or Not To Be...

I got nothin'. I haven't been able to come up with a decent idea for a post in days (hence the nose-picker blurb below... of course, that really does disturb me and yesterday I was surrounded by the buggers... errr, boogers). Anyway, I think I'm in a funk. And I don't really know why. I should be in a great mood as I leave next week for London, which is my favorite place on the planet. And I've been working out like a fiend lately, and that always makes me feel good. But I don't feel good. I am tired (still not sleeping well). And plagued by money 'issues' at the moment (but I'm always plagued by money issues, so that's probably not it).

I've been thinking a lot lately (smell the smoke?), about a lot of things... about the direction my life is moving (or isn't, as the case may be)... about how it bothers me so much when people let me down (that's really my issue, though, isn't it? I let it bother me)... about my dad and how much I still miss him (it'll be 10 years this Christmas)... about my love life (which is virtually non-existent)... about work and how it's not fulfilling (but I'm not sure how to change it)... too much thinking, I think. See? There I go again.

I have a lot to be grateful for, I really, really do. And I make it a point to think about those things daily. But even so, I still think about what's missing.

How do you get to a place where you can just BE? Does anyone know?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Before You Dig, Call Miss Utility...

There is something I will never understand. OK, there are a lot of things I will never understand, but this thing is one of the big ones. Why, why, why do people pick their noses in their cars?! WHY?! You are surrounded on all 4 sides by glass, people… I can see you. Everyone can see you. It’s one thing if you’re on a deserted road with no one passing you for miles… go ahead, dig for gold… excavate if you need to… I don’t give a flying fart. But when you’re in the middle of the city, at a stoplight, with other cars (filled with people) beside you, behind you, and in front of you, you simply need to stop. Or at least use a tissue. Seriously. Seriously!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I’m tired. Very tired. I’m not sleeping well at the moment… dunno why. I normally wake up at least once during the night, usually around 3am, and then I go right back to sleep. But for the last several nights I’ve been up at 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, etc. I hate that. It’s worse than when Ryan was a baby I was getting up 2 or 3 times a night to feed her. And last night I had this really freaky nightmare… shriveled, bony, grey arms came out of an electrical outlet behind my bed and tried to pull me in. Weird, huh? Anyone care to analyze? I woke up paralyzed, in a cold sweat. When that happens, I really miss having someone in bed with me. Just being able to roll over and touch another person… to feel someone else’s warmth… it just sort of sucks the fear and cold right out of you. You know? Sigh.

Anyway, here’s to a good night’s sleep… fingers crossed…

Friday, September 19, 2008

Short but Sweet

I've used up entirely too many words in the past couple of days, so this morning I'll keep it short.

I was driving Ryan to school this morning and she was telling me about the new librarian at school. I asked what happened to the old one, who Ryan wasn't terribly fond of (you must understand, when a child talks incessantly, someone whose favorite word is 'Shhhhhhh' isn't going to be a big hit). Anyway, she says, straightfaced, "Oh she retired. She was WAY overdue."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Got a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates...

One of MamaKat's Writer's Workshop prompts for this week was to tell about a childhood birthday...

When I turned 7, I got a pair of roller skates. Not the kind you wear at the skating rink, with the boots attached... no, these were the outside, shiny metal kind that fit over your sneakers and locked with a key... you remember the old song, right? The annoying one that gets stuck in your head... "I got a brand new pair of roller skates, you got a brand new key"... yeah, that one. Anyway, they were way cool and I loved them.

We lived in the city and the sidewalks were very uneven and hard to skate on, but there was a fire station around the corner from our house and they had newly poured concrete drive, perfect for skating. So I headed around there with my friends and skated my heart out for while, with the kindly firemen looking on and catching us before we hit the ground (remember, this was before kids skated with helmets and knee/elbow pads). Then I got the bright idea to skate up the hill next to the firehouse and roll back down. Sounds like fun, right? Well, when I got up there, I realized I'd be skating straight into traffic and there was no way to stop on those skates, really... you pretty much had to run yourself into a stationary object, or fall down (neither of which was appealing). So I sat down to remove my skates. I got one off and then started to work on the other buckle... while the first skate rolled down the hill... straight off the curb... and into the sewer drain.

Those firemen, bless their hearts, worked for the better part of an hour, trying to fish it out. But alas, my shiny silver birthday skate was lost forever. I was sad. And I had to wait a whole year before I could skate with wheels on both feet again.

The moral of this story? Don't skate up hills unless you have thoroughly planned your safe descent. And only take your skates off on level ground and NEVER near a sewer drain. Good advice, don't you think?

Tag, I'm It!

I got tagged with a meme by Blarney over at Blarney Stone. Until I started blogging, I’d never heard the term ‘meme’. So I looked it up… its general definition has something to do with thoughts or information that spread or get passed on. But based on what I’ve seen, a meme is pretty much how bloggers tell everyone about themselves… as in, ‘Read about me, me!’ So here you go…

1. Where were you 10 years ago?
I had just moved to Charlotte from NY and was working at a job I really, really hated. And I didn’t know it at the time, but in September 1998 I was just a few weeks away from experiencing life’s most intense roller coaster ride… being pregnant and losing my dad at the same time.

2. What is on today's To Do List?
It’s late afternoon and I’ve done a lot already. Still to do: a little more work; a trip to the store; clean up the den; walk the dog again; a bunch of dull, dull stuff.

3. What would you do if you were a billionaire?
I’d share the love with everyone I know… and lots of people I don’t. And I’d travel. Everywhere.

4. Name 5 places you have lived:
Scotland, New Jersey, Virginia, New York, North Carolina

5. Name 3 of your bad habits:
Procrastination… slouching… procrastination

6. What are your favorite snacks?
Chocolate… cucumbers dipped in fresh guacamole... chocolate

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fingers Crossed...

I'm going to vent here for a minute. Because I'm frustrated. And a little bit pissed off. And frankly, worried about what the world will be like about 15 years from now (OK, so I'm worried about the state of the world right now, too, but that's another post entirely).

The straw that broke the camel's back: When I picked Ryan up at her after school program today, I asked if she'd finished her homework (like she's supposed to). She had. I asked if she'd done her requisite 30 minutes of reading (as assigned by her teacher). She said she'd read for 65 minutes BUT that she only has to read for 20 minutes now. I asked why. She said that since no one in her class except for her and 2 others were reading 30+ minutes a night (AS REQUIRED), the teacher lowered the number of minutes to 20.

Ummmm... what? Because the other 19 kids WON'T do the assignment (which all their parents know about), she LOWERED THE EXPECTATION. OK... ummm... I have a problem with this. A big problem.

Here's another straw: When Ryan started at this after school program in the first grade, I was thrilled. It's great, really - well-run by amazing teachers, intellectually stimulating, emphasis on global awareness and fitness - the whole nine yards. They have a reading program... the kids read every day and record the number of minutes on a card. At the end of the week, each kid's minutes are totaled and if a certain number are reached, the kid gets a prize. Cool, right? At the end of every month, the person who has read the most wins a BIG prize. In first grade, Ryan won this big prize every month. It was cool. She reads a lot. HOWEVER, when second grade started, she was told she could only win every other month, no matter how minutes she read, because the other kids were getting discouraged.

Ummm... what?! Ryan is penalized because the other kids CHOOSE not to read as much as she does? I guess no one considered the fact that SHE might get discouraged when she wins every month but can't claim the prize. I told her this was NOT fair at all but life is not fair sometimes. And that she simply has to keep her eye on the goal and continue to do her best. She does, thankfully, and wins the big end-of-year prize every year.

Another straw: Ryan got tattled on (and in trouble) by 3 kids for calling a kid 'puny'. Puny. Ummmm... what?! OK... first, the kid IS puny. Second, since when did 'puny' become something worth tattling about? I mean, it's not like she called him an asshole, for crying out loud. The kids in her class tell on each other for EVERYTHING, no matter how small, and then the TEACHER sorts it out.

And more: Not too long ago, I heard about a school somewhere in the midwest which banned the game of TAG on the playground because some kids were feeling... get this... HARASSED. Ummmm... WHAT?! HARASSED. Because of TAG. TAG!

And yet MORE: I can SEE the elementary school from my front door but there are actually kids in my neighborhood who TAKE THE BUS (and spend an HOUR on it) to school because their parents won't let them WALK 2 BLOCKS.

And all this is just the tip of the iceberg. What the HELL are we doing to our kids? We're taking away competition because God forbid anyone actually LOSES and FEELS BAD! We're taking away challenge because God forbid anyone has to actually WORK HARD and STRUGGLE for something worthwhile! We're taking away SAFE conflict, which allows them to learn conflict resolution skills, because God forbid anyone gets his feelings hurt! We're taking away their independence; we're wrapping them in bubble wrap. Granted, we're doing it because we love them and we want to keep them safe and happy, but that doesn't negate the end result, which is that we are doing irreparable damage.

We seem to have forgotten that it was the challenges, the competition, the conflict, and the independence that shaped us as people. Yes, childhood should be happy and carefree but it should also be when kids learn the skills that will serve them as adults... when they learn stand up for themselves and to work hard and to understand that life is NOT always fair and just. If they don't learn all that when they're children... if they don't learn how to deal with challenges and disappointment and loss and problems then, how the HELL will they do it as adults?! What, we just expect them to turn 18 and miraculously start acting like grown-ups? Oh yeah, that's a great plan.

Is anyone else worried? I really hope there are enough parents out there who see this trend and are doing things to counteract it, so that when this generation is responsible for running our businesses and government and world, they have a clue. My fingers are crossed.

Just Do It... Damn It!

Dear Nike,

First, let me start by saying that your shoes, in general, rock. I love them. Other than a brief fling with Saucony a few years ago, you have always been my top choice in athletic footwear. Love you. Love your slogan, too... "Just Do It!" Brilliant. Seriously, in my opinion, the best slogan out there (do any of the other shoe people even have slogans? Dunno). Anyway, as I say, you rock.

However... I have a tiny bone to pick with you. About 6 months ago, I found the best pair of Nikes E.V.E.R. I mean it. They were the most awesome shoes on the planet. When I put them on, I felt like I'd come home. My feet were so happy. I didn't even need to break them in. Fab.U.Lous. They were even OK in the looks department. I tend to steer away from white shoes (I don't like to be blinded when I look down at my feet) and these were steel grey. Nice. OK, so the fuschia swoosh was not my first choice, but it was understated (if fuschia can be understated). So, I was a happy camper and for the last 6 months I have worn the HELL out of these shoes. Literally. They wore out. Who knew that could happen? Not me. But it seems if you actually EXERCISE in them regularly, they have to eventually be replaced! And that's what happened. A couple of weeks ago I started getting blisters and raw spots on my heel and little toe... ouch. I investigated and yup, the time had come (sniff) to seek out replacement Heaven.

So I marched my butt back to the shoe store last night, expecting (well, hoping anyway) to find the very same shoes as the ones I was retiring. I went straight to the Nike section and there they were! Sort of. They looked basically the same, but something was different... the toe was sort of squared and strangely turned up. See, my shoes were the 'V' series and the new ones are the 'VI' series. You tweaked them in order to add a Roman numeral. You tweaked perfection, Nike, and I'm not happy about it. I put them on, though, thinking they might FEEL the same, even if they didn't quite look it. They were OK but not quite Heaven. And when my daughter looked at them, she said, "You look like Aladdin. Or a Christmas elf." And I did! It was the damned turned-up toe! Why, Nike?! Why?! I'm generally a function over form girl but come on! Aladdin?! A Christmas Elf?! I don't think so.

I tried on few more pairs... one was silver and made me look like Buck Rogers. All I needed was the white jumpsuit. Even my daughter said they were too sparkly (and when something's TOO sparkly for HER... geez-us!). Another pair was so white, I needed my sunglasses to look at them. I finally settled on brown ones with a blue swoosh. Not bad. Pretty comfy (but not Heaven, Nike. Not Heaven). And my daughter says I now need new workout clothes, as all my sweats are black or grey and won't match. Great. Thanks for that.

Anyway, Nike, what I'm getting at (in my rather long-winded way) is that I just want you to stop tweaking! Just leave well enough alone! Make a pair of shoes and LEAVE THEM BE. Everything on the planet doesn't have to be 'new and improved'! Some things are just FINE the way they are. Some things are HEAVEN. And while you're at the whole no tweaking thing, just go ahead bring back my 'V' series, steel grey, fuschia swoosh running shoes, will you? Seriously. Just do it. Damn it.



Monday, September 15, 2008

Love is Blind... Right?

Daniel Raeburn, a brilliant essayist, once said, “Facing a mirror you see merely your own countenance; facing your child you finally understand how everyone else has seen you.” Daniel Raeburn clearly never met Ryan. Or me.

First, I should tell you that Ryan is a smart kid… always has been. At 20 months old, she went through her ‘mine’ phase. I was (very) tired of it. When her cousin picked up something (that belonged to my mother), Ryan looked at her and said, “MINE!” Frustrated, I said, “Ryan, so help me, if I hear ‘mine’ one more time…” (OK, so it was an empty threat but I sounded scary). She looked at me and then back at Elizabeth and said, very defiantly, “It’s not yours!” (Yes, I knew at that moment I was in trouble). She was the first one in her kindergarten class to read (and in the 4th grade now, she reads at a 9th grade level). At six, she hid under her covers with a flashlight after she was supposed to be asleep to read the fourth Harry Potter. Her vocabulary and command of the rules of grammar and language are impressive. And she only missed one question on each of the (God-forsaken, devil-inspired ‘No Child Left Behind’) SOL’s last year. As I say… smart. And incredibly observant. And detail oriented. So detail oriented.

All that being as it is, the way she sees me perplexes me. She is truly an example of ‘love is blind.’ Since her earliest memories, I’ve worked from home. This means I rarely get out of my sweats, running shoes, and a ponytail. When I go ‘out to dinner’ (also known as 'a date', but Ryan doesn’t like the idea of me dating), I do wash and dry my hair and put on my ‘dressy’ jeans… but that’s about it. I can put up a tent in 5 minutes flat but when I put nail polish on, it looks like a Parkinsons patient did it. So when we (rarely) go to the mall and she has to (HAS TO) stop by the dressy dress section of whatever store we’re in (‘cause she’s a girly-girl at heart), I’m flabbergasted when she picks out some slinky, silky evening gown and says, “Oh Mama, this would look amazing on you!” Oh, and to boot, she usually picks out a size 2. I’m SO not a size 2 (nor would I look good in anything that would look good on a size 2). Then there are the shoes… 3 ½ inch heels that would cripple me in about 5 minutes. And the jewelry… oh the sparkles that child puts on me in her fashionista visions!

She started doing this when she was 3 or 4 and it was SO cute. She used to have all the other ladies in the store just ‘awwwww’-ing all over the place. Now they smile indulgently at her and snort behind their purses. This is how I know Daniel Raeburn was wrong about facing your child and understanding how everyone else sees you. Ryan sees me as beautiful and elegant and worthy of gorgeous, expensive, ridiculously fancy dresses. Everyone else sees me the way I see me.

But you know what? I don’t really give a crap how everyone else sees me. I’m going to work a little harder on seeing myself the way Ryan does. She loves me more than anyone on the planet and maybe love IS blind… but maybe (just maybe) it’s not.

Weekend Sticky Weekend

Hidey ho... back from the wilds of Bear Creek Lake in Cumberland after a weekend of camping. It was a good time except for the humidity. My GOD, I thought summer was over! I lived in Charlotte for 7 years and I don't remember such sticky heat - not even the summer I was pregnant (and that was some sticky heat, let me tell you... of course, when you're perfectly round, retaining more water than runs through Niagara Falls on any given day, and your hormones are out of whack, 60 degrees and breezy can feel like sticky heat). Anyway, this weekend was like Texas in July. Ugh. When I opened my bag in the laundry room last night, I swear it let out a huge exhale, as if it had been holding its breath to avoid taking in the stench of my nasty, sweaty clothes. I don't blame it. I couldn't stand myself. I took a shower on Saturday morning and felt great... until I walked out of the bathroom. By the time I got back to the campsite, I was drenched in sweat again. Ick.

Anyway, we had fun. Ryan tried fishing with her uncles and though she didn't catch anything, she had a few bites, and she got to see my brothers catch some decent sized bass. She also learned to cast and was pretty interested in the fact that the worm on the end of her hook dripped black guts. OK, ick again.

My sister-in-law, Mary Jane, and I stayed away from worms and bass and took the dogs (3 of them) on a 4-mile hike around the lake. My normally lazy dog (whose arse I have to drag around the trail at the park every day) got a wild hair up said lazy arse and yanked me around that trail so fast, I was running half the time. Dunno what got into him. I suspect it had to do with the fact that MJ's older dog, Hunter, was off leash and Sundance has an issue with Hunter coming out ahead (in anything). I wondered all weekend how I've managed to raise TWO alpha 'kids', as Ryan is the same way and has to always be Queen of the Mountain. Is it me?

Though I could normally spend weeks on end in the woods, I have to admit I was happy to get home to the AC last night. But it was a good weekend. Hope yours was, too!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years...

It's so hard to believe that it's been seven years since 9/11. Seven years. I didn't even realize what day it was until I was driving Ryan to school this morning and the guy on the radio mentioned it. Seven years. I looked over at Ryan and I immediately flashed to that day... she was just two, and I remember sitting on the couch with her on my lap, her back to the television. I was reading Winnie the Pooh to her, one eye on the book, one eye on the devastation occuring in real time in New York. I remember thinking 'what a bizarre juxtaposition -- Pooh and terrorists'. And I remember thinking that I was so very glad Ryan was too young to ask questions about what was happening because, truly, how could I explain it? I still can't explain it -- any of it -- the horrible things human beings do to one another in the name of all manner of things -- God, religion, justice, patriotism, honor, revenge. I just tell her that WE simply won't live in a place of darkness and fear; that we believe there are far more good people in the world than bad; that we must live our lives and act in such a way that we exemplify the change we'd like to see; that we do whatever we can, whether it be small acts or big, to make the world a better place. And then I quietly hope that's enough.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Dragon and the Mouse...

My daughter is 9 and quite grown up in some ways, but the little girl in her still sleeps with stuffed animals… 2 of them. First is Stewart, a realistic-looking mouse puppet she got for her first birthday. Back then, he was known as ‘Stew-it’ and he was absolutely indispensable in our house. When Ryan went through a phase at about two where she didn’t want to eat, I would put Stewart on my hand and hold the fork and, voila! Creamed spinach gone! It was cool. Stewart used to be very bright white and soft… now he’s sort of grey and ratty (no pun intended) with a band-aid on his tail, but he’s still well-loved (by both of us).

Second is Jonesy, a red dragon. Ryan has been totally into dragons since we started reading Harry Potter when she was 5, and this one is identical to the one she sent to my friend Todd in London. Todd used to email her as the ‘real’ Jonesy, a red Welsh dragon who lives in his spare room (Todd’s very imaginative). And while Ryan knew Jonesy didn’t really exist, she enjoyed suspending her disbelief to carry on a correspondence with him.

I find it funny that her two favorite animals are a mouse and a dragon. In some ways, they are like tangible little displays of Ryan’s own personality. On one hand, she’s big and fierce and fearless and fire-breathing, with claws and wings and a forked tongue. This part of her tends to fly alone. On the other hand, she can be tiny and timid and quivering; cuddly and mild. But, as would happen in real life (if dragons existed, that is), the mild is overshadowed by the fierce. In fact, I'm often the only one who gets to see the mouse.

I WANT her to be a dragon. I want her to be able to stand up for herself and not take crap from anyone. I want her to fly and breathe fire when she believes in something; to be noticed and respected. But I want her to be able to temper that side of her personality with the mouse… I want her to understand that you don’t have to be big and bad to be strong; that you don’t have to be loud to be heard; that being afraid doesn’t mean you’re not brave; and that it’s OK to be a part of a group… it’s OK to share the cheese with the rest of the mice.

I’m sure (I hope) it’s something she’ll figure out as she grows. I just see some heartache in her future if she can’t tame the dragon a tiny bit… and that breaks my heart, especially when I know there’s a sweet little mouse in there, deep down.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


It’s Mama’s Losin’ It’s writing prompt time… I’m choosing “If I could change anything, I would change…”

I thought hard about this. There are a lot of things I would change if I could… the President; the war; that I can’t get BBCAmerica in my cable package; the hideous global intolerance with which we live; the fact that polar bears are becoming endangered; the size of my ass; that Sarah Palin’s church boasts a ‘Pray Away the Gay’ campaign; my salary… oh, so many things. The list is really endless and overwhelming. After much consideration, however, I narrowed it to 3 things:

1. I would render my ex impotent… and castrated… with big, ugly, infected boils on his willy.
2. I would go back in time, to before Matthew McConaughey knocked up his girlfriend, and make him fall madly in love with me.
3. I would make chocolate, Diet Pepsi, McDonald’s bacon/egg/cheese bagels, and red wine health foods.

So… which one? They’re all good changes. Number one is good for lots of reasons. First and foremost, the whole ‘revenge is sweet’ thing comes to mind. Second, it would prevent him from spreading the love to any more unsuspecting (stupid) women. Third, it would just make me laugh… and laughter is good for the soul. But I hate to waste such power on someone who is really pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. So I’ll pass (though the boils on the willy was a nice touch, wasn’t it?).

Number two… oh, Matthew, Matthew, lovely man. I really like the idea of ‘us’ but I just remembered reading where you don’t shower that often or wear deodorant. That, my sweet, is not lovely. Especially given that to maintain that scrumptious body of yours, you must have to work out a lot. And when you work out, I’m guessing you sweat. And truly, I’m not a huge fan of man-stink. So unless I can change 2 things, I’m going to have to pass. It’s probably just as well, really, as I’m saving myself for Gerard Butler.

So, that brings us to number three. New health foods… chocolate, Diet Pepsi, BEC bagels, and red wine. Oh yeah, baby. Now, I’m not talking about changing them to ‘not so bad for you’ foods or ‘low-cal, low-fat foods you can enjoy in relative moderation’ foods. I’m talking about adding them to the food pyramid… to the ‘you must have 5 a day to be healthy’ category. I’m talking ‘two trips to MickeyD’s, a 12-pack of Diet Pepsi, and a giant Caramello bar, with 2 bottles of Pinot to wash it all down’ per day – you know… necessary sorts of foods.

Yeah… number three. That’s the one I’m going with. Man, I’m hungry now. Off to the fridge… for a piece of celery. Sigh.

Maybe I'm a Savant...?

I'm not a numbers person. I'm a word person. Math always gave me trouble, from elementary school (fractions?! UGH), through college (I had to take college algebra twice). I hated it. Bad, bad math memories. A couple of years ago I dated a college professor whose office was in my old high school (the building had been purchased by the university). His office was on the ground floor (where all the math and science classes used to be) and when he gave me the tour, I nearly hyperventilated... it was like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To this day (last night), when Ryan asks me to help her with a math problem, I panic. I can usually (sometimes) get the answer, but I've NO idea how to explain my process (aka pulling it out my butt) to her. I. Hate. Math. A. Lot.

I've come to the conclusion, though, that it's only my conscious mind that hates 'rithmatic. My unconscious seems to have no issue with it. And here's why I think that...

I always set the clock in my room ahead. The number of minutes can vary... it's 15 minutes fast right now. I've no idea why I do it (I know changing my clock doesn't actually change time) but I always have. I also set my alarm early. Again the time varies, but right now it's set for 15 minutes before I have to get up... which is, in actuality, 30 minutes before I have to get up, given the aforementioned 15 minute differential. Following me? I know, it's complicated. Again, the alarm thing is something I've always done. Now, what's weird (I know, besides me) is that when I open my eyes in the morning, even if I'm NOT awake (I'm never awake first thing), I can look at the clock and figure the math in a split second to determine exactly how much time (to the second) I can lie there before I absolutely have to get up... and I can do this no matter how many minutes ahead the clock is or how early the alarm is. It takes me 20 minutes to do a 4th grader's math problem, but I can sort out my time issues in my sleep.

I think it's a gift. Sort of like that guy I saw on a TV documentary recently... he's pretty much a non-functioning vegetable otherwise, but sit his butt down at a piano and he can play Mozart like nobody's business. Yeah, I'm just like that.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Theory and Conjecture...

Something came to me this moring while I was stomping through puddles at the park. It was pouring during my workout, which is very cool, as I love, love, LOVE being out in the rain. It's very energizing... and cathartic... and, well, wet... it's very wet... and wet is almost always good!

Anyway, when I'm walking/stumbling-wheezing-swearing in the rain, I don't wear my glasses. As anyone who wears glasses knows, you really need mini windshield wipers when it's drippy outside, and since (as far as I know) no one has developed glasses wipers yet, I take them off.

So I'm walking around in a state of blur and something occurs to me... you know how Monet is hailed as one of the, if not THE, best Impressionist painter of all time? Well, I'm thinking, 'Hmmmm... I bet Monet didn't actually set out to develop this pretty style of painting... I bet he had crappy eyesight. In fact, I bet his prescription was nearly the same as mine." Looking the world without my glasses is like looking at an Impressionist painting... cool, really (as long as I'm not driving).

It's just a theory... but it works... for me, anyway.

Friday, September 5, 2008


You know what I don't get? I don't get people who shower BEFORE they run. It makes no sense to me. I'll be trudging around the trail at the park and someone will pass me... then I'll get this waft of Irish Spring. You know the smell -- all fresh and clean -- the sort of smell that only stays with you for a little while after you shower. And I think, WTF? Why bother? It's 90 degrees, you're on your 4th mile, and you're going to stank like my old gym locker when you're done... then you'll have to shower all over again before anyone will come near you. What's the point?

When I pass someone and my scent wafts back to them, I bet they think, Oh Holy Mother of God, what did she roll in?!

I've probably met the man who shoulda/coulda/woulda been the love of my life at the park... but he took one whiff and thought, 'No way in Hell.' 'Cause that's my life.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Wish...

I always (always) wish on stars and wishing wells. And when I'm at a wishing well, I always throw in a quarter, because I figure that gives my wish 25x more power than a penny. Seriously.


You know how I posted the other day about all the pretty boys who run at the park? Well, they're not the only ones who run... the pretty girls do, too. I (obviously) don't look at them the same way (with lust)... but I do look (with jealousy). I am jealous... jealous of their no-cellulite thighs and their perky boobs and their flat stomachs. Jealous of how they can run around the trail 3 or 4 times, barely breaking a sweat. I remember being able to do that, back in the dark ages. Back before my knees started making those weird (and scary) sounds... back when my ankles didn't give out for no good reason... before my ass didn't need its own zip code... when I could breathe through my nose (I have GOT to find out what is up with that!).

I tell myself it's OK... that I've got 20+ years of chocolate and Twinkies on them... that I've dealt with life stresses they haven't even imagined yet... that I'm still carrying baby weight (so what if she's 9? She's still MY baby!). That's what I tell myself. But it's not true. And I know it. The truth is, somewhere along the line I stopped making myself a priority. I put myself -- my health, well-being, and happiness -- last on my 'To Do' list. I let myself fall through the cracks. THAT is what happened.

So when I see those pretty girls with their perfect bodies and brand new, barely-begun lives, I want to take them by the shoulders and shake them... I want to yell at them, "You know how you feel right now? How good and powerful and healthy? Remember this feeling! Don't let it slip away. Don't neglect yourself. Always take care of YOU because no one else will do it for you!"

Well, part of me wants to do that. Part of me just wants to kick their perfect, skinny little asses. 'Cause I'm just petty that way.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


You know how Chinese restaurants always have the Chinese zodiac on their placemats? Ryan loves to read them every time we have Chinese (even though they never change). She and her cousin and grandma are all rabbits... I'm a snake... and guess what my ex is? Just guess...

A cock.

Makes me snort every time. Every damned time. I'm so easy.

Letter To My 10-Year-Old Self

One of my favorite blogs is Mama's Losin' It... and 'Mama' (aka Kathy) offered up a writing workshop prompt this week... to write a letter to your 10-year-old self. So I did...

Dear 10-Year-Old Diane,

First, girl, you need to stop sweating your nose. OK, so it’s not tiny. OK, so the whole stupid family makes fun of it. OK, so you figure if you point it out to everyone first, before they can make fun of it, too, it’ll be like, ‘Ha ha, the joke’s on you, ‘cause I know my nose is big!’ Let me tell you something… no one gives a crap. Your nose isn’t the center of the universe. And you pointing it out only makes people think, ‘Hey, her nose IS sorta big, but I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if she hadn’t said something.’ Moron. Stop it! And for God’s sake, do something about that hair!

Second, you know how you swore after you had to write that report on all the Presidents in one night that you’d NEVER procrastinate again? Well, you need to get on the stick, chick. Procrastination will become a way of life if you let it. It will haunt you and hunt you and you’ll be always looking over your shoulder, just to see if anything you’ve put off has caught up with you yet. And it will! It always does! Sure, you may dodge a bullet every now and then, but some big put-off thing will swallow you whole in the end. Moron! Stop it!

Third, when that slimy little wench, Karen D., does something to make your life miserable (and she SO will), you need to just slap her pointy little face. She is NOT the boss of you or anyone else, damn it. Stop wearing your heart on your sleeve and letting it show every time she hurts your feelings... that's what gives her power! Toughen up and use your big brain to figure out how to put her in her place! If you don’t stand up to her scrawny ass now, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.

Fourth, remember how cool you were last year, before you moved? Well, darlin’, you’re still that cool, even if you don’t feel it. Find that coolness… look deep… it’s still there. I promise. Don’t wait ‘til you’re like 25 (or 43) to be cool again.

And last, sit Dad down and have a chat. Tell him he’s got to stop smoking now. Tell him you don’t want him to die when you’re pregnant (or ever). Tell him he has to be here to get to know his grandkids because they will need him, too, just like you do now. Tell him. Please.

Love, 43-Year-Old Diane

Oh, and one more thing… chocolate is not your friend. Neither are Twinkies or Oreos or those amazing Tastycake peanut butter thingees… stay away from them all… or one day, your ass alone will weigh more than you do now. Trust me on this one.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Such Pretty, Pretty Boys

I love the beginning of September. And I'm not ashamed to admit that I love it for one incredibly shallow reason. I love it because the local university is back in session and it's still hot enough for all the boys to run at the park with no shirts on. Such pretty boys. I go to the park every day to work-out (which consists of miles of walking punctuated with yards of wheezing, stumbling, sweating, and swearing. Some people might call that bit 'running'... some people might... but not anyone who watches me do it).

ANYWAY, all the pretty college boys also run around the trail at the park (except that they really run) and I get to admire them as they do... from the front... from the rear... it's lovely. They're all tanned from the summer, and toned from being 20, and they smile and say hello so sweetly, and they're just so... pretty. Such pretty, pretty boys.

Please note that while I thoroughly enjoying looking, I'm not a total perve. I was recently asked out by a very cute 25-year-old who has a thing for older women. Though I'll admit I was tempted (until he sent me an email in text speak, which just takes me too long to decode), I told him I have a rule that I don't date anyone I could have actually given birth to. Sigh.

Well, off to the park. Hope your day's as pretty as mine!