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

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bless His Heart...

For most of my (unmarried) adult life, I have had the keen ability to attract rather pitiful men. I don't mean 'pitiful' in the 'won't get a job and sits on the couch all day, playing video games and eating Cheese Whiz out of the can' sense. I mean 'pitiful' in the 'stray dog' sense... you know, the ones you look at and think, “Oh, bless his heart.

Remember Troll-Guy? Uh-huh. Pitiful. And there have been others. Case in point...

When I was about 21, I worked in a video store. It was a cool job where I met loads of people and had a lot of fun. We had many regular customers who came in often -- sometimes every day. One of those customers was Lloyd. Bless his heart.

Lloyd was, I’m guessing, a couple of years older than I… I’m not really sure, as he had sort of an ageless quality about him. To be honest, he looked a bit like an overgrown baby. He was sort of… 'blobby'… not overweight, really, but roundish with little muscle tone… blobby. And his hair looked as if someone had put a bowl on his head and cut around it. Actually, I think I can say with reasonable certainty that Lloyd’s mother (who might have also been his aunt and/or his sister) was that ‘someone’. Bless his heart.

Lloyd lived back in the ‘hollers’ (or ‘hollows’ to you non-Pigsknucklian speakers) at the foot of the Blue Ridge and he worked at the poultry processing plant in Turkeygizzard (the town adjacent to Pigsknuckle). And I’m going to go out on a limb and bet that today, 23 years later, he’s still working there. He used to come to the video store after work several times a week, always with his parents (who also worked at the plant). He’d get out of his truck and mosey down the parking lot, wearing his knee-high rubber turkey-guttin’ boots, dragging a comb through his bowl-cut. Before he even entered the store, he’d look for me, his blobby face lighting up when he caught sight of me behind the counter. You could actually see him screwing up all his courage just to say hello. Bless his heart.

Lloyd spoke in slow motion (probably because he thought in slow motion) and I had to keep myself from smacking him on the back of the head in an effort to force the words out more quickly. And I really wish I could write his accent the way it sounded. The guy invented new vowel sounds. My friends and family used to love it when I imitated him and I can still make Ryan wet her pants laughing when I ‘do’ Lloyd. Anyway, our conversations always went like this:

Lloyd (blushing): Haaaa Da-ayann. Haair yoo?
Me: Hi Lloyd! I’m fine, thanks. How’re you?
Lloyd (blushing profusely): Ahm fahn. Purdy wehther wi’re havin’, ain’t it?
Me: It is. Is there anything I can help you find tonight?
Lloyd (ready to pass out): Noooope. Ah’ll just luuk ‘round, thainks.
Me: OK, well if you need help, you know where to find me!
Lloyd (grinning and bumping into the counter as he walked away): Yup. Ah’ll fahnd ya!

Bless his heart.

You see, for all my sarcasm and smart-assery, I’m actually not a mean-spirited person. I feel for people like Lloyd. Having been the underdog once or twice in my life, I tend to always root for them… and Lloyd was an underdog if ever there was one. I was always kind and friendly toward him, which, while good, meant I had to be careful. People like Lloyd have big blobby hearts inside their big blobby bodies and it’s very, very important not to break them, even inadvertently. As such, I had to humor his crush… at arm's length, anyway. And Lloyd’s crush got about as big as his rubber boots. On Valentine’s Day, he brought me a box of chocolates the size of my first car. Bless his heart.

Luckily, there wasn’t enough nerve in Lloyd’s blobby body to actually ask me out, so I never had to stomp on his heart. I don’t know that I could have, honestly. I probably would have gone. Can you imagine that date? McDonalds meets Deliverance

“You shore got a purdy mouth when you eat them chicken nuggets, Da-ayann... and Momma and Daddy think so, too.”


Anyway, eventually I moved away from Pigsknuckle and I never saw Lloyd again. I still think of him every now and then and wonder how life turned out for him. I really hope he met someone who appreciated his big blobby heart (and wasn’t related to him in any way) and they lived happily ever after.

So, as I say, pitiful men love me. They always have. They still do.

Another case in point…

I take Sundance to the park every day. I like the park. I meet some really nice people at the park. Occasionally I meet a guy I think I’d actually like to go out with. But of course, he never asks. Nooooo. See, when I go to the park, it’s first thing in the morning… I haven’t showered… I have no make-up on… I’m not wearing my miracle jeans… my dog smells better than I do… I’m so not pretty. I wouldn’t ask me out either. But that could all change.

Lately there’s been a guy at the park, walking the trail most mornings. He’s definitely a ‘bless his heart’ kind of guy and there is a certain ‘Lloydness’ about him. For example, he’s blobby. And he speaks in slow motion (though his accent’s not quite ‘holler-ish’). Unlike Lloyd, he doesn't wear rubber boots... but he does wear dark socks with his white sneakers (which, I swear to you, were on the wrong feet the other day). Also unlike Lloyd, he doesn't sport a bowl-cut. In fact, he’s bald. Now, I have to tell you, I usually find bald men quite sexy. But I do prefer that if someone is really going the way of the cue ball, they just take it all the way. This guy has an odd rectangular tuft of hair… just above his forehead… about 1x2 inches. It’s sort of like someone put a hair-stamp on him and tried to post him somewhere. Bless his heart.

Anyway, when I see him, I smile and say hello, as is my way. It’s obviously his way, too, so we did this in passing for about a week. Then he started chatting, as people at the park are wont to do (me included), mostly about Sundance. I’d be friendly but as soon as I could, I’d say, “Well, we’d better get going! Enjoy your walk," and I'd scoot in the other direction as fast as possible. Then, the other day, he brought me into the conversation, asking what I do, have I seen this movie or been to that restaurant, etc.

Yeah. Uh oh.

Today, though? Today he gave me the classic, “Well, you’re so pretty, your husband is one lucky fella!” Yes, he said “fella”… and then he looked pointedly at my ring finger… which is quite bare. And I wasn't quick (or smart) enough to come up with an imaginary boyfriend, let alone a husband.

Oh yeah… I see a big box of chocolates in my future...

Bless his heart.

Or mine.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Up... Go!

OK, so I lied about not posting until Sunday. Sue me.

Ryan and I just saw Disney Pixar's newest creation, UP. I have one word for you. Won.Der.Ful. Go see it. Seriously. Even if you don't have kids. Borrow one if you feel weird going alone. You won't be disappointed. You'll laugh... you might cry a bit (I did)... but I guarantee you'll leave the theater smiling... and you'll have a hard time wiping the smile off your face for quite a while.

OK, I'm off to the balloon store, so later, 'gators... possibly much, much later... I'll send postcards...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Stuffs...

Sorry about the multiple posts a couple of days this week, my bloggy loves. Blognut actually paid me to stop (in the way of a hefty Booby Walk donation... you rock, Gorgeous!) and I think I offended Mo.Stoneskin's "delicate sensibilities"... oops! But it was an eventful week for me. And others. Our dear Former Reader is still busy sending emails. I'm sure one of them was an apology (snort) but I didn't bother to open them before I hit 'delete', so I'll never know for sure. Oh well. I'll live.

Anyway, it's Friday, so (as usual) I'm going to fill your screen with miscellaneous crap and then go mow the lawn.

First, I have to brag a tiny bit. Ryan got her end-of-year reading assessment back yesterday... she's at a 10.2 level (10th grade, after the 2nd month of school). Tenth graders are 16 years old. She's 9. Cool, huh? Also, she reads at a higher level than 98% of the 4th graders in the country. Me likey. Of course, she still struggles with her 8 times table, so it all balances out in the end.

Second, as of right now, my Booby Walk fundraising effort is at 78% of goal! Whoo hoo! Thank you again to everyone who has donated (including the lovely blogger, She-Who-Is-Not-(Always)-She!). Just in case you'd like to join the ranks of the Booby Savers, here's the link to my 3-Day Event Donation Page. Any and all donations, large and small, are welcomed and appreciated!

Third, I have a book recommendation for you. I just finished Michael J. Fox's Always Looking Up - The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist and it was wonderful! I always found him to be a supremely likeable actor and he's always seemed to me to be a supremely likeable guy... and based on this book? He is. It deals, in part, with his quest for a cure for Parkinson's but it's mostly about his life (and his family, faith, politics, his mission, etc) and his attitude toward living, which is pretty remarkable. It's beautifully written with humor, intelligence, respect, and incredible optimism. I loved it and will likely read it again.

Last, a couple of people asked for my summer reading list, so I figured I'd post it here. I've stacked 20 books to plow through between now and September 1... non-fiction and fiction, with a concentration of (fiction/non-fiction) books about WWII and the Holocaust, a topic I'm very interested in. So, here's my list:

WWII/Holocaust Books
A Song for Summer (Eva Ibbotson)
The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer/Annie Barrows)
The Devil’s Arithmetic (Jane Yolen)
Anne Frank and Me (Cherie Bennet/Jeff Gottesfeld)
The Magic of Ordinary Days (Ann Howard Creel)
On Hitler’s Mountain (Irmgard Hunt)
Man’s Search for Meaning (Victor Frankl)

Under the Banner of Heaven (Jon Krakauer)
The Freedom Writer’s Diary (Erin Gruwell/Freedom Writers)
The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder (Vincent Bugliosi)
Losing It (Valerie Bertinelli)
Such a Pretty Fat (Jen Lancaster)

The Noticer (Andy Andrews)
The Witch of Portobello (Paulo Coelho)
Sundays at Tiffany’s (James Patterson)
Year of the Fog (Michelle Richmond)
In the Woods (Tana French)
Atonement (Ian McEwan)
The Girl Who Stopped Swimming (Joshilyn Jackson)

And that'll do it for today, I think... no more posts 'til (probably) Sunday, I promise! Have a wonderful weekend, my bloggy friends! XOXO

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Save the Boobies!

After the unpleasantness of yesterday (though there were some chuckle-worthy moments), I wanted to move on to bigger, better, and more important things today! So I think it's time for me to do another 'Save the Boobies' push!

As many of you know, I'm participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk in DC this October. It's a 60-mile walk (over 3 days) for which I have (like all the other walkers) committed to raise $2,300 (if I don't raise it, I have to make it up myself - YIKES! - or forfeit my right to walk). I'm thrilled to say that I stand, as of this moment, at 69% of my goal, having raised $1,595! Whoo hoo! Many of my bloggy peeps have donated, as have many real-life peeps, and though I believe I've thanked everyone via email (and if I somehow missed you, please accept my deepest apologies!), I wanted to say THANK YOU again, from the bottom of my heart! Your generosity has been amazing and so very much appreciated!

As I think everyone will agree, breast cancer awareness and research is a most worthy cause. Boobies are important, people! Each of us, I'd wager, knows someone affected by this awful disease. If you'd like to know why I'm participating in the event, feel free to have a peek at my post, A Hero In Diva's Clothing, about my friend Cari. I'm walking not just for her, but she has certainly been my inspiration - and my hero - for a long, long time.

I hope you'll be able to donate, if you haven't already. If you can, please just go straight to my 3-Day Event Donation Page and click on the 'Click to Donate to Diane!' button at the top of the thermometer. It's a pretty easy process, requiring a credit or debit card, and they accept donations from all over the world (I've had donations from the UK and Australia). Please know that NO DONATION IS TOO SMALL! Every penny adds up! You can donate anonymously if that makes you feel more comfortable, too ('Anonymous' has nicer connotations in the world of philanthropy than it does in our 'comments' sections! ;). If you don't feel comfortable using your credit card and would rather send a check, please email me and let me know.

If you can't donate, I understand (believe me!) but I hope you'll pass the information on to anyone who might be able to... or anyone willing to pass the information on... the more people we reach, the better!

Again, thank you so much for your generosity, past and future! If you have any questions or experience any difficulty when you donate (technical, that is, as I can't make parting with your money any easier ;), please email me or send me a comment. Ronda, I have to apologize as I just saw that you had a problem a while ago when you tried to donate. I'm so sorry I didn't see your note! (I just deleted my Pink Page Blog, as I wasn't keeping it updated and it was making me feel like a slug!) Hopefully, if you try again, it will work.

OK... that's it for now, my bloggy loves. Thanks again for doing your part to Save the Boobies!

Moving On... Well... Sort Of...

This is our dear Former Reader when he was but a babe...

What? You chuckled, too. You know you did.

PS... I love all you bloggy people! I love how you get all riled up and are ready to kick ass when someone acts like, well, an ass! As I told my darling Chris (who I actually thought was gay, too, once upon a time), dear Former Reader didn't get under my skin (don't let him get under yours... that's what he wants!). I find people like him sad and pathetic... and, given their grammar and spelling choices (I thought Sadam was dead, too, Mo), quite funny as well. I do feel the need to stand my ground when attacked, though (my daddy taught me that), and I think it's good for good people (yes, I mean you guys) to be able to have their say about the important things... and this was clearly very important to many of you. So thanks for having your say here! You're all the best! XOXO

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Man, I Wish He WAS a Former Reader!

Well, I received another email from our dear Former Reader (seems he wasn’t quite so ‘former’ as he would have us believe). It was as long, badly written, and convoluted as his first, so I won’t post the entire thing. I will tell you, though, that in addition to berating me (again) for sharing my views… on my blog… he spouted this priceless little tidbit…

You cant say nothing bad about Rush Limbaugh, he is a TRUE American who deserves respect!!! You bleeding heart liberals and the so called Christians who follow that piece of crap you call a blog and dont know nothing about the BIBLE are the danger to AMERICAIN, your going to destroy us by turning the country into Sadam and Gamora, Rush and the people who follow him are the only ones who can save us!!!

Hey, isn’t “Sadam and Gamora” that new resort in Florida? I heard that place was pretty cool!


Anyway… “Rush and the people who follow him are the only ones who can save us!!!

Really, dear Former Reader? Really? Rush ‘The Festering Boil on the Ass of Humanity’ Limbaugh? (Hmmm… guess I can say something bad about him, eh?) Well, if a neo-con ‘savior’ who spews forth ignorance, hatred, and fear every time he opens his mouth is the person you want to follow (into the depths of Hell), feel free. That is certainly your right. I, however, am going to head down the road toward what I hope will be a more enlightened and tolerant “AMERICAIN” (with a stop at “Sadam and Gamora” for a weekend of fun in the sun, natch) with people who don’t spew ignorance, hate, and fear with every breath; with those bleeding heart liberals, moderates, conservatives, free-thinkers, and “so-called Christians” (you know, the ones who actually try to live by Christ’s example… which, in case you didn't know, had much more to do with love, acceptance, and forgiveness than with keeping gay people from marrying); with anyone willing to work together (imagine the concept!) for a world we can all live in, because, believe it or not, that's what most of us truly want.

But hey, if you change your mind and decide to join us, we’ll leave the light on for ya’.

Oh, and dear Former Reader, if you’d like to reply to this post, please feel free to do so… in the ‘comments’ section… you know, a public forum, where other (current) readers (including those “so-called Christians”) can respond to you directly (and feel free to grow some balls and leave your name, too). Otherwise, don’t bother. I won’t be opening any more of your emails. I said I’d defend your right to say what you like… but I don’t have to listen (or read, as the case may be). As far as I’m concerned, you (and those like you), have nothing of relevance to say… well, not to anyone with an ounce of intelligence and a shred of humanity, anyway.

And PS… to those who asked, I don’t believe our dear Former Reader was actually ever really a reader. I believe he just ‘happened’ upon a post he didn’t agree with and had to spout his two cents… anonymously (natch). Given some of the things I’ve written about in the past, I feel certain he would have felt the need to open his trap before now and he would have become our 'dear Former Reader' a long time ago!

Dear Former Reader...

Thank you ever so much for your rather lengthy email response to my ‘So Disappointed’ post. I’m terribly sorry that you were so disappointed in me for giving my opinion on the gay marriage issue… on my blog… where I write… what I think...

Anyway, yes, your email did indeed give me a headache. It wasn’t your disagreement that caused it, however. It was the position of ignorance, (perceived) moral superiority, and Christian extremism (not to mention poor grammar and spelling) from which you wrote that made me feel a little ill. And quoting Rush Limbaugh? Icing on the cake, my friend. That made me throw up a little in my mouth. I had to brush my teeth twice this morning.

I’m not foolish enough to think that reiterating my view about the issue will do any good, as you seem pretty firmly entrenched in your rather bigoted perspective, so I won’t bother. I will, however, address the more personal parts (and by ‘parts’, I mean ‘attacks’) of your email.

First, I am not a lesbian. Not even close. And had you truly been a “long-time reader” of my blog, you would know this. If you scroll down a bit, you’ll see a little banner on my sidebar that says, “Another straight person for marriage equality.” Straight is the key word there. You see, dear Former Reader, I love men. Love them. I love hanging out with them, being in relationships with them, having sex with them. True, I don’t get to do any of those things nearly as much as I’d like, but that’s life as a single mom. I deal.

Second, the reason I don’t need a man in my life isn’t because I’m a lesbian. It’s because my conservative, right-wing daddy taught me how to take care of myself… how to do the heavy lifting when another set of hands isn’t around. So while I might like to have a man in my life, it’s not a necessity. Again, that doesn’t make me a lesbian. Really.

Third, the reason I’m not a big fan of marriage isn’t because I’m a lesbian (are you sensing a pattern here?). It has to do with the fact that I don’t believe two people need a piece of paper to ratify their commitment to one another. I believe marriage is an institution of the church and/or the state. I don’t believe in the church and I have little respect for the state. However, I do realize that there are certain legal rights that come along with marriage and for that reason, I see why it can be a good thing (and why everyone who wants to do it should be able to). And I understand that many people do feel the need to honor their commitment in their churches or in front of the state. And that’s cool with me. I did it once. I might do it again. With a man. Who knows?

Fourth, the reason my marriage failed wasn’t because I’m a lesbian (sigh). It failed because my ex and I never learned to communicate effectively with each other. It ended because he gave up (oh yeah, and because he turned out to be a serial cheater).

Fifth, given my daughter’s infatuation with the Jonas Brothers, I seriously doubt she is gay. I really doubt she will “turn gay” when she’s a teenager or young adult either. You see, I’m not “giving her permission to be gay.” I’m giving her permission to be who she is. So if she happens to be gay, I will love her as much as I do now and I will want her to be happy and able to marry the person of her choice.

Sixth, being a single mother doesn’t make me a bad mother. In fact, I happen to be a pretty good mother and I have to tell you, the idea that you could read one of my posts about a social issue and determine otherwise makes me really want to kick you. I do not parade men (or women… since I’m not a lesbian and all) in front of my daughter. In five years, she has only met one man I’ve dated, and that was after 2 months (and I went out with him for a year) and she has never seen me in bed with anyone but her father (before we split, of course). I take my role as a mother very seriously and what my daughter is exposed to is of the utmost importance to me. So don’t you ever presume to know how I parent. EVER.

I think that covers all of your accusations and insults, dear Former Reader. To sum up, I do agree with you that there’s a lot wrong with America today… but I really don’t think I'm the problem. I do believe that people who spew propaganda, who incite and inspire hatred and fear, who try to impose their narrow personal beliefs and faith on the entire world, whose moral compasses are pointing permanently south… well… I think they are what’s wrong with America (and the world) today. But you know what? Though I’m deeply, deeply offended by those people, I’d defend their right to think and say whatever they choose… because that, dear Former Reader, is what America is supposed to be about.

Oh, and by the way… if there is a Hell, you’re right, I’m probably headed there. So do me a favor, will you? Could you and Mr. Limbaugh save me a seat? I'm guessing you're going to get the good ones! Thanks ever so much!

Love Always,


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So Disappointed...

I try to stay away from posts that are even remotely political (as people who disagree with me give me a headache), but I have to say, I'm so disappointed that California upheld the gay marriage ban. So disappointed. I'm not a huge fan of marriage in general, truth be told (though I'm a gigantic fan of commitment and monogamous relationships), but I simply don't believe the government (or anyone, for that matter) has the right to tell a person whom he/she can marry. And I will never understand how anyone truly believes in his heart of hearts that he has that right. Never. It makes me sad. At least all the people who got married months ago can stay married. That's something, I guess... not enough... but something.

So disappointed.

I'm Not a Twit...

OK, well, I am... but not all the time. Not when it comes to Twitter. To everyone who has sent me those 'S0-and-So would like to follow you on Twitter' messages, I'm not ignoring you. OK, well, I am ignoring you... but not just you. I know I set up a Twitter account (about a year ago, before I really knew what it was, at the urging of a bloggy friend) but I've never used it. And I don't have any plans to start. I really do believe you can be too connected and, for me, Twitter crosses that line. The truth is, my life simply isn't interesting enough to comment randomly about throughout the day. And, to be (painfully) honest, given some (and by 'some', I mean 'nearly all') of the Twitter notes I've read posted on many blog sidebars, most peoples' lives aren't interesting enough to comment randomly about throughout the day.

So, while I thank you for your interest in my stunningly mundane existence, and while I love you all and look forward to reading your very interesting and funny and touching and thought-provoking blog posts daily/weekly/monthly/whenever the hell you decide to get off your butt and write something, I'm no Twit. Not that there's anything wrong with it...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Gimme an S! Gimme a U! Gimme an M, M, E, R!

So, today marks the first official day of SUMMER! And yes, I know that's not what it says on the calendar. I don't care (I don't have a calendar, remember?). Memorial Day is, and forever will be (in the US, anyway), the first day of summer. Whoo hoo!!

I've got plans, too, baby! It will not be a lazy, hazy summer for us, no siree.

Ryan has begged me not to put her in a summer program this year. Pigsknuckle offers what are effectively summer daycare programs, disguised as 'day-camps'. She went for a few years but she hated them. The kids are scheduled pretty aggressively and they have no say in what activities they do. And while Ryan doesn't mind schedules in general, she tends to be more productive (and happier) when she feels she has some control over what she does. Like most kids, if she's not interested, she doesn't want to participate. I told her she doesn't have to go this year (as I hate to hear her whine every day when I pick her up and I don't mind saving the money I'd be shelling out only to hear her whine every day when I pick her up) but my willingness to allow her to stay home is conditional. Staying home does not mean she can sit on the computer or in front of the television all day, every day. So... she has a list of things she'll be doing (and a few incentives to keep her interested and whine-free)...

First, we've got swim team, which runs from the first of June to the end of July... that's 5 practices a week and 6 meets. It keeps us busy.

Second, she's got tennis lessons this year, as she wanted (and got) a tennis racquet for Christmas and now needs to learn how to use it.

Third, I've told her she has to 'train' with me for the Breast Cancer walk in October. I've set a goal for us to walk 350 miles together during the time she's out of school (about 70 days). It's attainable but it'll take some work (which is what goals should do), and if we reach it, I've promised her a trip to the water park (which is expensive and not something I'd normally splurge on). She picked the prize (it's one of her favorite places ever), so I know she'll be willing to work to achieve it. 5 miles a day isn't that much, really, and I'll continue walk more on my own to get ready, but I know Ryan and I know it's not something she'd do willingly otherwise (because walking is boring you know). I've clocked the mileage for various trips around town, as one of my summer goals is to use the car as little as possible, so I'm sure the miles will add up quickly.

Fourth, she's got a reading list. She's picked a load of books from her shelves and she's piling them up to plow through this summer. Though reading is not something I generally have to bribe her to do, as it's one of her favorite things, I figured I'd sweeten the pot a little to keep the momentum going (and the TV off). I've assigned each book a monetary value, from 50 cents to $1.50, so she'll make a little money for each one she finishes and for which she turns in a one-page written report. The idea of a little extra pocket money really floats her boat. I'm just hoping I don't live to regret this one...

Last, she's got a summer-long project to work on. This school year, her Challenge group did an architecture project, where they designed, built, and wired for light, a house. She totally got into every aspect of the project and even built little pieces of furniture on her own to fill the house. Last year, I got her a 3-D architecture kit for Christmas (it makes a house about 2x2 feet), so her summer project (which she picked herself), is to design, build, decorate, and landscape a house. She's really excited about it, as am I, truth be told, and I expect we'll be spending a lot of time at Lowe's during the sweltering days to come.

Of course we've got other, fun stuff to do, too, like several camping trips, day-trips to DC and local sights, and a few lazy days by my brother's pool. But overall, I expect Ryan's summer to be full and interesting.

I've got a few plans for myself, too...

I'm turning off the TV completely this summer and delving into my unread book pile. I've picked 20 books to get through between now and September 1st (anyone want to pay me for reading? I'll happily turn in written reports!). I've also got a couple of big work projects to get done, the BC walk to get ready for, and some decorating projects to see to (I'm hoping to re-do both my bedroom and Ryan's, as that's what she's asked for for her 10th birthday). I've also just finished sorting our our week-long camping trip to Assateague/Chincoteague Islands. And finally, I've got some writing projects I want to accomplish.

As I say, no lazy, hazy summer for us!

What about you? What's on your summer agenda? And for those of you in the southern hemisphere, what will winter bring your way? Do tell...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Holiday? What Holiday?

It's the weekend! Whoo hoo! I bet you knew that, though. It's a holiday weekend, too! Did you know that? I actually didn't... not until a couple of days ago. I thought Memorial Day was still a week away! Oops. It's a good thing I found out or I expect Ryan would have been rather peeved with me on Monday morning, after I rush her out the door, only to drive a half-hour to find the school carpool lane empty. Yeah. Wouldn't be the first time. I really should get a calendar, eh?

So, this week is ending up nicely. It's GORGEOUS out there and it's supposed to remain so all weekend. I'm hanging out with the Republican tomorrow, as he ships out to locations under siege next week. We're going to enjoy the weather and his last weekend in a place not inhabited by camels, soldiers, and machine guns. At least he's looking forward to going. Weird? Yes. But he's a Republican, remember? They think weird stuff all the time ;).

Anyway, not much else on the agenda for the weekend. I guess Ryan and I will be gearing up for swim team practice, which starts soon. We had our organizational meeting the other night and I got all warm and fuzzy when parents and kids alike came up to tell me how glad they are that I'm working with the little ones again. I do love those little sinkers and they love me, too, which makes those chilly evenings in the pool (and being in my bathing suit in front of, like, a million people every night) worthwhile.

Camping may be on the schedule for next weekend. I had planned to go Memorial Weekend... you know... next weekend... anyway. The lake will be open for swimming and kayaking, too, so that makes it even better. Yup... sounds like a possible plan, so I'll need to get the tent aired out and waterproofed.

Hope your weekend looks lovely, no matter where you are (and even if it's not a holiday for you... either!). Have a great one, my bloggy peeps! XOXO

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Just for Giggles...

Because it made me giggle like crazy when I saw it... and because I hope it makes you giggle, too, my lovely bloggy friends...

Blogger Issues... Grrrrrr...

Is anyone else having issues with Blogger? Of course, if you are, you probably won't see this anyway... duh. In any case, I can't seem to view any blogs (including my own) via Internet Explorer... I get to the page, then an error message pops up almost immediately, and then I get dumped out. I'm only able to access my blog now through Firefox. I also can't seem to find a way to report a technical issue to Blogger! Any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Move Out of My Sunshine, Damn It!

Thank you, thank you for all your heartfelt comments on my Happy Poll post (below)! You filled up my comments section and I got some responses via email, too. A few lurkers even came out of the shadows! Feel free to keep commenting… I’ll keep reading!

Your answers were all interesting. I didn’t want to define ‘happy’ in my question, as it’s quite a subjective thing, isn’t it? I didn’t want to qualify it or quantify it in any way for you… I wanted to see how you would define it; what it means to you. Many of you described it as a general feeling of contentment or satisfaction punctuated by moments of sheer joy. That’s a definition that works for me, too.

Several of you commented that you choose to be happy. I found that especially significant, as the book I read (and loved) recently, The Traveler’s Gift, by Andy Andrews, deals with that concept. The book details the main character’s (fictional) meeting with Anne Frank and the bit of wisdom she passes on to him, which is about choosing to be happy, regardless of what is going on around you. The ability to do that is something I admire greatly… it’s something to which I aspire… but I do think it’s easier said than done. And someone quoted Maya Angelou (one of my favorite women on the planet) regarding changing one’s attitude if a situation cannot be changed. Again, the ability to do that is something I admire and to which I aspire, but again, easier said than done.

A few of you asked if I’m happy. Well, you see my quote of the week? “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” I live in a constant state of tension. It’s perpetual. There is an epic battle going on in my head and my heart at all times between the person I think I should be and the person I am. The person I am (who certainly has her good qualities, I know), is very good at fighting the efforts of the person I want to be (which is probably why I find choosing to be happy and choosing to change my attitude so difficult to do… I am, as the Republican tells me nearly every day, an incredibly stubborn person and easily my own worst enemy). The constant combat makes me tired. It makes me sad. In many ways, it keeps me from being truly happy… content… satisfied, with my life and the person I am.

So, my happiness goal is twofold: I want to figure out how to, 1) choose to be happy in spite of what’s going on around me, and 2) change the situations I can change or change my attitude when the situation won’t budge. Basically, I want to stop standing in my own sunshine. I’m trying. We’ll see how it all works out. And maybe I’ll bring the subject up again in a few months…

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy Poll...

I’m taking a poll…

How many of you are happy… really happy… with your lives and who you are?

If you answer “I am!”, can you tell me what it is about your life and/or yourself that enables you to say that?

And if you answer “No” (or “Hell no!”), can you tell me what it is that’s holding you back? If you can’t say; if it’s too personal (or if you just don’t know), I understand, but if you can divulge (even anonymously), I truly want to know. Truly.

Oh, and if you’re one of the people who reads my blog but doesn’t usually/ever say anything, feel free to leave an anonymous comment to this particular post (or email me!). I’d really love to hear from as many people as possible about this.

Thanks! XO

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tomorrow... I Promise...

I had stuff to say today (I'm sure I did) but... well... I ate my keyboard. And I actually have work to do, so it's an even bigger issue.

I tried to stop at the F keys, as I never really use those... but... well... I have no willpower. I know... I suck. My new keyboard will be here tomorrow. I promise not to eat it. And to come up with something witty and (somewhat) intelligent to post about. Well... OK... I promise just to come up with something to post about.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Happy Saturday!

Happy Saturday, my bloggy loves! I'm back in Blogland, all proper-like, as my company is gone and life is pretty much back to normal (whatever the hell that means). My week with Todd was fun (no more wicked hangovers, thank you very much) and after dropping him at the airport yesterday, I headed back down to Cville to hang out with the Republican last night (he has one more weekend in town before he's outta here for a year or so). We had Japanese for dinner (yum), which I ate entirely with chopsticks... in only 4 hours. I suck at using chopsticks. Anyway, I should be mowing the lawn right now (but I'm not keen on getting struck by lightning so I'll wait). I logged in, intending to catch up on my blog-reading... but then I saw how much you guys have posted in the past few days. My head nearly exploded. Please forgive me if I start reading from today on... ok? I still love you... honest... I'm just tired.

Hope your week was wonderful! Take care... speak soon... XOXO

Monday, May 11, 2009

Checking In...

Howdy, bloggy peeps! Just checking in quickly to say hi! Hi! My week is going pretty well. We didn't actually go camping... because... well... (I'm ashamed to say) I was nursing the mother of all hangovers (so you know, splitting 5 bottles of wine between 2 people is just stupid... don't do it... ever). We did go to see Star Trek on Saturday night (when I could stand up without falling over) and we went hiking yesterday (and Sundance went swimming). And today, I picked 13 ticks off my dog (and 3 off me). Ick. One was in my ear! So, tomorrow's dinner in Charlottesville with my friend Alan (and yes, I do have some girl friends... honest). And Chris, for the record (once again!), my relationship with Todd IS indeed purely platonic. Believe me... I know the difference... all too well... All. Too. Well. (...given the sheer number of guy friends I have who are just friends)... sigh.

Hope everyone is having a great week so far! Take care... speak soon... XO

Friday, May 8, 2009


Lots and lots (and lots) of wine tonight (and lots of back-spacing to correct spelling errors, too), which should tell you that Todd did indeed make it to Pigsknuckle, as I only drink heavily with my English friends (what is it with you Englishmen? And please, please don't ever change!), but I thought I'd check in and let you know our day from Hell panned out well. I picked my pal up in DC around noon today. Whoo hoo! Success! Now, if we can just stop the rain, we'll be camping for the rest of the weekend. Keep your fingers crossed...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sans Todd...

As I start this post, it's 11:40 on Thursday night. I'm back home from Dulles. Sans Todd. He is, hopefully, in the air, somewhere between New Jersey and DC. His flight was due in this afternoon at 4:00... so Ryan and I left for the airport around 1:30, as it takes 2 hours to get there and I wanted to leave a little breathing room. Turns out, that wasn't really necessary. At all. Here is how our afternoon/evening went (all via text... and no, I don't say the 'f' word, or any other swear words, really, in front of my kid)...

Todd (2:30): Have you left yet?

Me: Half-way there...

Todd: Flight's been delayed 45 minutes. Thunderstorm. Sorry!

Me: No worries. We'll wait.

Todd (3:45): Flight's been delayed 'til 4:30.

Me: No worries.

Todd (4:15): Flight's been delayed 'til 5:30.

Me: No problem... we'll go get dinner.

Todd (6:00): Flight's been delayed 'til 7:00.

Me (muttering 'crap' under my breath): OK. No problem. Still waiting.

Todd (7:00): Flight's cancelled. F**k! Looking at other options.

Me (swearing silently): Let me know.

Todd (8:00): Next flight's 9:00... arriving at 10:40. Go home and I'll stay in a hotel.

Me (more silent swearing): No. Don't want to come back tomorrow. We'll wait.

Todd (8:30): Flight's delayed 'til 9:45. Will probably get cancelled. Go home!

Me: OK. Call me tomorrow morning and we'll sort it out.

Todd (9:00): Delayed 'til 10:00.

Me: Stuck in f**king traffic!

Todd (9:30): Delayed 'til 10:45.

Me: Still stuck in f**king traffic!

Todd (11:00): BOARDING!

Me: Yay.

And then it was 11:30 and I was pulling into the driveway, Ryan snoring, Todd God only knows where. It wasn't a great day, my bloggy peeps. Tomorrow will have to be better. At least I should get to lay eyes on my friend. One can hope, anyway.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Later, 'Gators!

I've been a crap blog-reader/commenter these past few days. Sorry, loves... it's not you; it's me. This week so far has been crazy-busy (my mom's home and fine, by the way... thanks for asking). Anyway, my crappy ways are only going to get worse. But for a good reason, really! I have company coming in from London tomorrow... Todd (that's him in the photo... on the right... just in case you weren't sure ;), one of my best friends on the planet (and yes, I mean just friend and not friend wink, wink) will be hanging out here for a week. I'm pretty excited to see him, as is Ryan, and we have plans to go camping this weekend (if it ever stops raining). So I may pop in with a quickie post or some photos but I won't be wandering around Blogland much for a while. Hope you all have a great weekend and next week, too!! Later, 'gators... XO

Addendum... you people are bound and determined to pair me up with Republicans or 'just friends', aren't you? Sheesh. Todd really IS just a friend! And you know how you know for sure? Ryan knows him. I never introduce her to anyone who is more than just a friend... unless I think he's going to be more than just a friend for a long, long time. So there. Pfffffttttt.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Good Morning... Pfffftttt!

I am not a morning person. At all. But this morning, I had to be one. I had to take my mom to the hospital for surgery. She had to be there at 9:00. The hospital is an hour away, in Charlottesville (we do have quite a nice hospital here in Pigsknuckle but this procedure had to be done at UVA). I also had to get Ryan to my brother’s house, 20 minutes away, in the opposite direction (so she’d have a ride to school and wouldn’t have to sit outside in the rain for 2 hours before the bell rang). The dog had to get to the park, too (so he wouldn’t explode while I was gone). To get all this done before leaving Pigsknuckle at 7:45, I had to get up at stupid o’clock (or 5:30, if we’re being specific).

As I said, I’m not a morning person. Five-thirty is morning. It’s very early in the morning. It’s too early in the morning. I don’t function well too early in the morning. To prove this point, here are some of the things my non-morning person self did this morning

1. Washed my hair with conditioner (because I was too bleary-eyed to read the bottles correctly... or at all). In case you were wondering, conditioner doesn’t get hair clean... quite the opposite, actually.

2. Brushed my hair... then threw my brush into the trash bin (I just noticed this 10 minutes ago... thank Heavens, as tomorrow is trash day and that brush is new).

3. Stepped outside, in the pouring rain, to put the dog on his lead… in my socks. Ick.

4. Poured water in my mug for tea… but neglected to include the teabag or sugar.

5. Made Ryan’s lunch… then put her lunchbox in the refrigerator. Luckily I saw it when I went to get the milk to pour in my hot water.

6. Wore my new running shoes to the park (in the rain)… so now they smell like my old running shoes… the ones I kept specifically to wear when it rains… because they smell… from getting wet… and I didn’t want my new shoes to smell the same way… which they now do.

7. Wore a Virginia Tech sweatshirt to the University of Virginia hospital, which I learned was a colossally stupid thing to do that last time I had to go over there (you’d think those people would be able to put college rivalry aside once they had an MD after their names, wouldn’t you?).

And now I’m going to take a nap.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Swine Flew!

I always knew that damned Miss Piggy was bad news.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Gift...

You know that feeling you get when you read a book that affects you in some significant way? Yes? Well, I've had that feeling all weekend. I went to the bookstore on Friday to look for a book that had been recommended by a friend. It was in the self-help and psychology section and though my friend made it sound pretty good, after reading the back cover and skimming the chapters, I decided it wasn't for me and put it back. In a hurry, I turned to head out of the store but Ryan was poking along, browsing the shelves, and I had to wait for her to catch up. As I waited, The Traveler's Gift, by Andy Andrews, caught my eye. I'm glad it did.

You know how I did that post on change a while ago? I've been feeling the need to change my way of thinking but haven't been quite sure how to go about it. This book speaks to anyone looking for ways to move forward when they're feeling stuck. Well, it spoke to me, anyway... in some rather eerie ways, really. At points, it felt written specifically for me.

It's self-help disguised as fiction, which is what made me pick it up. I have great difficulty getting through self-help books, as I often tend to find them irrelevant (to me), silly, cryptic, or just plain 'out there'. This book was none of those things.

It's the story of David Ponder, a man at the end of his rope. He feels like a failure - as a businessman, a husband, a father, a provider, a man. Driving home after being fired, feeling desperate, he wonders if his family would be better off if he was dead. His car hits a patch of ice and careens out of control and everything goes black. When he comes to, he's sitting in an office with Harry Truman, on the day he signs the order to drop the bomb on Hiroshima. President Truman (the only one who can see David) gives him the first of seven 'decisions for success'. After this encounter, David is transported to six other people, Anne Frank and Abraham Lincoln among them, and they each give him another piece of the puzzle, until he has all seven decisions.

The information he receives (and conveys to the reader) is simple, really... the decisions or rules for success are certainly things I've heard before. They're about taking responsibility for yourself and your situation; about serving others; about taking action; choosing to be happy and being grateful; believing in yourself and your dreams; forgiving yourself... but Andy Andrews presents the information in a way that made me see it through fresh eyes... and it's been a while since that happened. I really identified with David Ponder. Though I've never, ever considered ending my life (nor would I ever, ever, ever do that), I've certainly felt at the end of my rope. I've felt it pretty recently, in fact. I've felt a failure. I've felt tired and fed up and pissed off and stagnant - unable and unwilling to make the changes necessary to get out of this trench I've dug for myself. But this book... well... it could be the proverbial kick in the ass I've been looking for.

So if you're craving change and feeling stuck, you might want to take a peek. I thoroughly enjoyed it. So you know, there is a 'God' element to it... bits that have to do with a divine plan and God watching out for us. Most of you know that although there is certainly an element of spirituality to my make-up, I don't really do God the way most people do or believe in things like a divine plan. But I still found it OK... I found that I could easily take out the bits that didn't work for me and apply the information regardless. I'm guessing that was the author's intent.

If you decide to read it (or have already done so), please let me know. I'd love to know what you think of it...

Hope your weekend was great!! XO

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I'm not terribly stuff-oriented. I don't much care about things like clothes or shoes, jewelry or gadgets. My cell phone is nearly 3 years old, I watch a 19-inch TV (not a flatscreen), I wear the same necklace every day (though I do have 2 others), and I only have about 5 different pairs of earrings (all from Target, which is also where I buy most of my clothes... they have cute stuff!). I drive my cars 'til they simply won't go anymore, and other than my computer and maybe my camera, I can't think of one thing in my house worth stealing (a thief would do much better to break into my next-door neighbor's).

I do spend more money than I should on books and magazines. And I love to browse catalogs for house stuff and clothes... I just tend not to buy from them (though maybe I would if I had loads of money... I dunno). They are my material indulgences. If I ever have any extra money, I prefer to spend it on going and doing rather than getting.

But I found something I'd totally splurge on if I had the cash (a lot of cash)...

Doesn't that look heavenly? I could meditate my butt off if I had that pool.

So, what about you? What thing would you splurge on if you had a load of extra cash to blow?