Monday, December 29, 2014

Post Christmas / Pre New Years time

Christmas was fine. Different (as they all have seemed to be recently) but fine. I really missed The Boys, and cried a hell of a lot over the 24th and 25th. They  have been with me since Christmas, and I love having their noisy energy here. I also love having time off of work to just be with them.

This is typically a week of quiet reflection for me. This year my thoughts turn to the future. Where will I be a year from now? Will my divorce finally be final? Will my taxes be paid off? Will I be just as happy as I am in the moment right now? Will I still be loved? Will The Boys pull their grades out of the gutter? Will their minds reside in the gutter instead? Am I raising respectful young men? How will The Oldest (and by extention, I) handle High School? Will The Youngest find a passion that will carry him forward? How will I do living with Corky? Will my craziness drive her to the arms and bed of another? All mysteries yet to reveal the answers.

What I do know is that I will still love my life, the boring ruts, and the unexpected ups and downs. Corky will likely still be in my life (and my house), The Boys will still be their crazy, loving, obnoxious selves. I will hopefully still be laughing to the point of peeing with Corky. The Cat and Dogs and Fish will all still be well taken care of and loved.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Holiday thoughts

So this is the first year in The Boys entire lives that they will not wake up at my home on Christmas morning. Corky didn't spend the night either, which leaves me as the only human in my home on Christmas Eve. Two Dogs, a cat and several fish, while nice, are not the best companions when one is feeling sad and missing her babies. (Me. I am missing my babies). I have not been without them on Christmas morning ever. NOT EVER. Since they came out of my body, they have spent EVERY Christmas morning here with me. I have seen their faces light up with glee at their stockings and presents and the magic of it all. Now they are old enough to know the truth about Santa, but still young enough to love the magic, and I won't get to see that. I miss them. Horribly.

Christmas Eve was spent with dear friends, and it was very nice, and there was laughter, and a seance, and my deceased godmother, so pretty cool. I love that I wasn't moping about at home because right now, sitting here, it is lonely. I will wake up lonely and I will probably cry between now and then, and also when I awaken without the sounds of sneaking children and whispered excitement.

This is a tough year for so many people I know, as well as people I don't. I hurt for all of us. I wish for everyone to have peace in their hearts, to be able to be themselves without fear, and to know they are loved.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

One of the final weekends of 2014 & the weekend before Christmas. It was only kind of busy, but it seemed like I wasn't home.

Corky had an epidural on her back to hopefully relieve her pain. I drove, waited and drove home, and I tried to knit while waiting, but was such a nervous wreck that I ended up having to unknit 4 or 5 times while waiting... Picked up Chinese for lunch on the way home because she was starving, having not eaten since 6pm Thursday night. I knew The Boys would be hungry after their minimum day as well. Met The Boys at home and we all ate lunch, then Corky lay down while The Boys watched TV waiting for their father to pick them up. It was supposed to be at 3, but was actually closer to 5:00. The Youngest was pretty upset that he was so late. The Oldest is rather used to that level of accountability.

We were up and out most of the day. We visited Corky's sister in the hospital and I was able to finally meet her. She looked pretty good considering the circumstances. Corky, another of her sisters and I had lunch together after the visit which was nice. The rest of the afternoon and evening were spent gathering last minute Christmas presents, and only 1 from my goal of being finished. Dinner and then home to work on another present.

Up and out early again. This time we started with grocery shopping before visiting Corky's sister. She was moving around more and irritable. I did find that final gift after several more stops and got home to knit the final stretch.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday

Love and hug those around you while you can.

This week I am asking for love, healing thoughts and prayers, good vibes and any positive energy you can send to Corky's sister. J is in the hospital with cancer spread throughout her bones, having spread from the untreated breast cancer. She is not in good shape. We're talking in her leg, possibly hip and spine. She will be facing quite a battle, should she choose to. This week she's had leg surgery and came through well. They took a sample to send for biopsy, and are waiting on the result. Not sure what will happen after that. She still will have physical therapy and rehabilitation before anything else. The question will be if she chooses treatment or not. This sister has not always chosen her health over other things, and she is now suffering. I wish for her clarity and love, and a feeling of nurturing. I'll keep this updated as I hear more.

Update from a previous Thoughtful Thursday (in July). My mom came through her mastectomy with flying colors, is again cancer free, and said it was a way easier recovery than her lumpectomies. No chemo this time, and she's doing well. Still undecided about an implant, but seems to be doing fine sans a breast. She has found a community of women who help others through their church and has renewed purpose.

I hope everyone remains healthy and happy going into the Winter Holidays.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Did not get everything done I'd hoped to. Such is a weekend here.

The Boys both have so many missing assignments it isn't even funny. The Youngest was doing really well for a long time, and who knows with The Oldest. His teachers do not update their websites, nor the assignment notifications, so even if the homework or classwork was complete and turned in, it auto updates on the due date in the grading system as a zero if the teacher hasn't entered it yet. 2 of The Oldest's teachers sent notes home that assignments weren't entered, but with a kid who needs to use his system and see reward for using it, this is made exceptionally difficult. Now he is on "why even bother because so and so doesn't even get their part done in a timely manner". I get it. This was my same frustration as a student in middle and high school. So it was an evening of homework.

More homework, and me putting up the outdoor holiday decor, including the first inflatable in years - a Santa Dachshund. We bought a tree and put it up with lights. The evening was spent enjoying a local production of The Wizard of Oz which included various friends in the cast. It was a really well done production, and all 4 of us enjoyed it. Late bed time for us all.

Slept in for a bit, and went out to breakfast. Got The Boys to clean up their rooms and their bathroom while Corky and I addressed all of the Christmas cards.Then it was off to My Folks' for The Boys' annual gingerbread house building. Corky and I finished the Christmas shopping, then it was home for a pizza dinner. The Oldest was disrespectful toward Corky, and she left in a foul mood. All of it put me in an equally foul mood. The tiredness, sugar crash and holiday stress is starting to get to me.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Another weekend closer to the New Year and Christmas, and so much to do!

Work was good, and the evening found Corky and I finalizing our Christmas cards and ordering them. We also worked on tidying up the house and figuring out if we wanted to host a NYE party. I have The Boys this year, and I haven't yet hosted anything in the new house. Because I am writing this rather late on Sunday, I am positive there was something else that happened, but I honestly cannot remember anything PG rated to share...

A bit of sleeping in and we were up and running on errands and Christmas shopping, but I am scattered because of my conflicting emotions, and so we did not get a whole lot accomplished, other than wandering various stores and not necessarily buying anything. We had a late lunch out and watched my hometown's Christmas parade, where a couple of my swim team mom buddies were announcing. Maria had never been to a Christmas parade at night, and enjoyed it. Determined what and who we want at our New Year's Eve Party and sent the evite. We came home, popped popcorn and watched a couple of movies too. Also, more adult entertainment... :-)

Woken up by crying dogs a couple of times, which resulted in the puppy having a seizure at 3:30 in the morning. Held him while sitting on the floor until it passed, and by then we were all exhausted and went back to bed. Counted my savings with Corky and figured out which method was more productive, as well as prioritized what to spend that $ on. It will be going to repairs on my car. Tires, brakes and rotors this round, and transmission in a little while, followed shortly by catalytic converter. Not cheap, but certainly less expensive than another car. Went back out shopping, this time with a plan and a list. Got all the supplied for my home made items, and knocked a few others off the list. I read while waiting for The Boys to arrive home, with assurances of completed homework. I knit for a while having to pull out and start a Christmas present about 4 times, which is frustrating, but I finally got the new cast on together, and it will be really awesome when complete (which should be tomorrow night). Have at least one more present to knit after that, and possibly 2 more (if I feel up to it and my fingers don't end up in claws).

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Happy 14th Birthday to The Oldest

Wow, 14. That is definitely into the teen years, and it shows. I am so very proud of the young man into which you are growing. You are kind hearted and loud, easy to smile and talented. Just thinking about you makes me smile. You will always be my beautiful boy, and I want nothing more than you know how very much you are loved.

From your pre-freckle days when you actually loved dill pickles:

To this year's school photo, freckles, braces, and shaving your face:

Happy Birthday Kiddo! Yes, I know that you are significantly taller than me now.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday Morning Thanksgiving Weekend Wrap Up

Yep, this was Thanksgiving in the US. Yep, we celebrated. Yep, The Boys had the whole week off of school. No, they did not finish their homework before arriving at my house on Wednesday afternoon after spending a week at the ex'. Oh and I only had Thursday off of work, though to be fair the rest of the week was really slow, allowing me to get in on some training I'd been meaning to do.

Thanksgiving at my Sister's. I had green salad and pumpkin pie to bring. Totally loved waking up late morning, not having to prep a massive meal and clean. I need to thank her again for hosting. Corky was at one of her sister's homes too, and I missed being able to spend the day with her. The Boys were sort of bored because The Nephews were on phones and xbox all day playing what The Youngest didn't want to play.

Wanted to decorate for Christmas, but The Boys still had homework before Monday, so it was Homework Friday, instead of Black Friday (though they would argue that it's the same thing). The Youngest made blueberry scones for breakfast which were delicious.

The rest of the day and evening was spent fighting over homework and rehearsal. I nearly lost my voice at one point. Corky chose not to spend the night, and I missed her.

All homework was finished, we had breakfast, cleaned house and decorated! This is the first holiday season in this house, so we had to decide where everything was going, including the tree. Figured it all out and I think it looks good. Afternoon and evening were spent making ugly Christmas sweater cookies pictured below:

We watched It's Christmas Charlie Brown and The Birdcage, and just enjoyed each other and a nice fire.

Slept in for a bit and had a nice relaxing breakfast before more trombone rehearsal. Eventually we worked our way to My Folks' to celebrate The Oldest's birthday (which happens tomorrow). Snacks, and chicken spaghetti, salad, Swiss chard, and Mary bread for dinner. chocolate cake with chocolate whipped cream frosting and Mexican Train Dominoes after dinner. When we went around the table, we all pointed out why we adore The Oldest, and I made it 2/3 of the way through before tears started spilling down my cheeks. I cry at every single one of these. Every one. I am always so touched by the outpouring of love within our family that I can't help but cry. Corky went home after The Boys showered and I already miss having her here.

I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Another one in the books. This weekend, I did not have The Boys. They are at the ex's and perhaps doing at least some tiny portion of the shit ton of homework they have over Thanksgiving break. However, given the behavioral history of that house, I will say that it will probably be up to me to be (again) the bad guy and have them do 10 days of homework in 4 days time. Lucky me. Also this weekend I have had a cold, and started my period, and had a massive breakout on my face. So you know, there's that. Oh, and Corky is now on twitter too.

Sickness has begun. Sore throat and runny nose, so not terribly horrible. Forgot to meet the co-treasurer at the Middle school to write some checks. Remembered when she sent me a text, nine minutes late. Ran over, got everything completed and out in only about 15 minutes. Met my mother because yesterday when I was at her house fixing their computer, she was asking what I want for Christmas. Honestly? I told her a gift cert to Curvy Girl, or a bookstore. I have no need for anything really other than socks and lounge pants, neither of which she will ever get for me. As I was not feeling 100%, I was not in top form and admitted that I do not have a signature fragrance, nor wear make up (ever). Though she likely knows both of these things, she declared this unacceptable. I agreed to meet Friday morning to pick a fragrance. Wandered the perfume counters, let a Lancôme person put tinted moisturizer on my face, which my mother declared much better than my normal appearance. I told her that I do not have any issues with my own appearance, nor do I feel less self worth due to a lack of make up. The Lancôme person helpfully suggested that my mother was saying that she is embarrassed by my lack of makeup. While the sales person was nice enough prior to that comment, I was done at that and walked to a different counter. The one fragrance person was especially nice and sweet, not condescending at all. There was also the obligatory euro trash accented parfum counter woman. Mom wanted a trip through fancy dress because I also seem to need a cocktail dress for all of the cocktail parties I do not attend? I was hoping to get to a NYE party at some point, but it probably won't be this year. I left with a different scent on each wrist to test them on my skin. The rest of the day passed uneventfully. I ended up taking a late nap and thought I'd have problems falling asleep. Not so. Fell asleep quickly and snored bad enough that Corky moved to another bed which she claims was too hard. My bed is too soft, so I'm hoping we can get one just right at some point.

Slept in and woke up feeling like shit. Corky made breakfast and I got some cold meds into my system. We went shopping most of the afternoon, once the rain let up. Did a bunch of laundry, and Corky cleaned the kitchen and bathroom. Watched movies and had our first fire in the new place.

Feeling much better and did some Christmas shopping. Ran into my mother at the mall, but got so many things done. Also ran into one of Corky's exes and spent time just relaxing at home. Made a recipe found on pinterest and it looked nothing like the pictures, but tasted pretty good, so I am calling it a win.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday it is

Corky had a Dr. Appointment at 11:00 this morning, and wasn't even brought to a room until 12:50. The orthopaedic person she was assigned is not a great Dr. and has a horrible bedside manner. He has done literally nothing to help her back get any better, and it has in fact gotten worse under his care. This entire work accident has been a complete cluster fuck from the beginning. The fall happened because her manager left an empty pallet on the floor - the same floor she backs over while pulling a produce cart. That's just the beginning. She filed it as appropriate with her manager, but he did not file a damned thing for three months. He did nothing to alter her work (heavy lifting), during that time, and it only got worse. Once workman's comp was involved, they sent her to a Dr. a month later. That Dr. got her in physical therapy, which was working except for her not having any accommodations at work, so at best it was zero sum. Her back felt great after PT, until she went to work later the same day or the next day. After weeks of PT with no gain, she was taken off of physical labor and placed on desk work and referred to the Orthopedic guy. He told her to wait for 6 weeks and see him again. He cancelled that appointment and rescheduled for today. There is no improvement and her back is worse because of a dearth of PT during the last couple of months. Now he wants her to get an epidural, NOT see chiropractor, and come back in 6 more weeks. She is calling the original workers comp doctor to get another opinion.
And after a weekend when she was so incredibly supportive, I had no reference of how to accept the support, I am now at a point where I feel inadequate in supporting her. She is angry and frustrated, and I know why and think these are totally valid feelings in this situation. I have no idea how best to support her. In my most recent long term relationship, I left him alone because that is what he needed. I don't know what she needs and I feel like I am failing because if that and because she is too angry to voice her needs other than to have her back be healthy again...

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Well this weekend left me emotionally tired and with a sore throat from all the yelling going on.

The Youngest worked a bit on his MAJOR project. Not enough to my mind, but at least he is moving on it. In the attempt to get him to a fiction genre, I got him started on Stephen King's The Green Mile. I remember reading my mom's King books at that age, and falling in love with them. The Oldest claimed he had no homework, but when I checked, he had a ton of work past due as well as several items due Monday. Homework weekend it would be... We watched Close Encounters in the evening before bed, and The Youngest enjoyed it the most, while The Oldest claimed it would give him nightmares.

Morning found us at the kitchen table, eating a delicious breakfast by Corky, and already the fights over homework began. The plea deals, the claims of my evil nature. Yes, I understand that there are things you would rather do. I also would rather not sit here making sure you do your homework. No I am not on a mission to ruin your life by making you do the work you should have already done and turned in. Yes, if you actually use the system you set up, you would get everything turned in on time. No, it will not in fact take you longer to do all of your work. The length of time it has taken you to complain is longer than the actual work involved. I worked on a few projects hanging stuff on the walls of my bedroom, taking down an old computer, rewiring the modem, router, printer, micro cell and gateway, but then The Boys would get distracted and stop working, which meant I was stopping my work to check on them, remind them to stay focused, that they were not finished with it all, check the things they did complete, make them revise those items to their teachers' standards, and signing off once complete. And on it went all day with a short lunch break, and a dinner out celebrating my first boyfriend's 50th birthday. It was a great evening.

And back to the grind of homework battles. Did not leave the house or the sight of The Boys until everything was complete at 2:00. Then grocery shopped, came home and taped The Youngest doing a project for History and English on Mesopotamia. Had a few bloopers, and finished up about time to make dinner. Corky and I also tackled the credenza in my kitchen, reorganizing it to fit the china and crystal and freeing up space for coffee, tea and associated mugs. Got out my blue items and they went in the ledge above the kitchen window where they are nicely set apart by the white shelving and wall. Corky did all of the laundry and folding of clothes during all of this and had The Boys clean their rooms and bathroom, vacuum and mop while I was shopping. There were no screens today and despite The Boys claiming there was absolutely nothing to do, they managed to entertain themselves for the evening, and even woke me up at 8:30 for their bed time. I'd fallen asleep on the couch, nearly as soon as I sat down.

Friday, November 14, 2014

It really has been that kind of week

That week. You know the one. The week you are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. The one you can't wait to end because you need to reset your mojo.

Let's review
No school for The Boys - first day of all day homework fights because they did none / told their father they have none. Spent time sending e-mails to various teachers in order to get the assignments that are missing from The Oldest.

No school for The Boys, again homework battles. Received answers to e-mails from yesterday and Both Boys finished all of the work. The youngest had an appointment with a reading specialist because the ex wanted to find out what is going on with him. The specialist came to the same conclusion I had a while ago. The kid needs to read more, and if we find him a genre he likes, he will. Basically he's fine, and needs to actually read. While out, Corky opened the garage door and it broke beyond my capability to repair. Also, it was stuck open, and I was nervous about leaving my house with it in that condition. Called landlord and was told their handyman would call. Sent follow up e-mail with pictures to say that I have never heard from nor seen this person on the previous instances when repairs were needed, and I would be happy to have it repaired and take the amount off next month's rent. Was called and told he would be here tomorrow afternoon. During the call, landlord said the problem was the spring had broken. I stated that was not the case, what the actual problem was, which was documented in my e-mail, as well as photographed.

Handyman no showed (not surprised), but was stuck at my house all day and had Corky hang there in the evening so I could go to Parent Teacher Conferences. Dun dun duuuuunnnnnn. 2 kids, meeting with 6 different teachers. The comments were in only a couple of threads.
1. The Oldest is brilliant, we wish his grades reflected that.
2. The Oldest spends his class time talking to members of the opposite gender instead of paying attention.
3. The youngest needs to read more which will build his self confidence.

Put on my underwear backward and wore it that way all day - half of the day because I didn't realize, the other half because I was too busy to get undressed. Was on work calls form 8-11 in the morning. Called landlord during the short break between calls. He was surprised that handyman no showed, called him and called back 5 minutes later to say he'd be here in an hour. He showed up 15 minutes before I had to leave to drive on a field trip. Locked up and left him at the house to take the jazz band to a gig. got home after dropping the band back at school, and the garage door is now fixed and operational. In the evening we went out. Had a glass of sparkling wine. Got sucked into the vortex of a particularly needy friend who refuses to own who she is... Tiring and Corky felt ignored. Meanwhile, another woman was flirting with Corky...

Half day for The Boys. Dropped and broke a bottle of Thai peanut sauce in the garage in my search for salad dressing that I swear I bought two weeks ago. Ate the salad anyway because I was famished. The Youngest threw a huge fit because he thought he had a weekend without homework when I reminded him that he still has a MAJOR project due next week, which he has been working on for three weeks already, and while he has done a great job on what he has, he's only about halfway complete, and he needs to give himself the week days to just polish it. It basically has to be complete before he goes to school Monday. You would think I was trying to kill him with a dull spoon for the amount of wailing he was doing. Really. Oscar worthy.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Beautiful weekend - high temp was 90 F. Busy-ish and just right.

I won tickets earlier in the week to see the opening night of CHICAGO The Broadway Musical on tour in San Francisco. I had to pick up The Boys from school, and meet their father at my house at about the time we got back from the school. Following work, Corky and I had an early local dinner and rode BART to the theater. The cast was amazing. We ran into an old co-worker of Corky's, and his date, and I spied in the audience a former friend, whom had an inappropriate relationship with the ex, while we were still (I thought happily) married. She was with her husband, and I was in no mood to visit... We hightailed it home after the show and into bed late, "All That Jazz" ringing in our ears.

Song of the day was "Cell Block Tango". Slept in and had a light breakfast before heading out grocery shopping and looking at stores for inspiration for this year's Holiday cards. Finding none, we continue to ponder. Attended the local Veterans celebration where the middle school jazz band played a few songs. The Oldest had two solos and they sounded great. The Youngest was left at their father's with another boy a year younger. I do not think 10 and 11 are old enough to be alone for a couple of hours. My opinions mean little to their father however, and fall on deaf or angry ears. And so it goes. Finished the grocery shopping and had some alone time with Corky before heading out to dinner with a couple of friends. They were particularly bickersome, and so it was not as pleasant as it could have been. Spending time when they are like this leads to the inevitable comparison to our relationship and the gratitude we have for one another, and for how unlike them we happen to be (in general and in how we communicate to one another, and how we reflect our relationship to the public). Early bed time felt great.

Song of the day was "Razzle Dazzle". Woke up to my darling Corky making coffee and cinnamon rolls. Delicious. Also, spent some time cuddling in bed before getting up and ready for the NOH8 photo shoot in San Francisco. Picked up the boys and headed out to the city. We arrived at the time it began and only had to wait about an hour before having our pictures taken, first Corky and I, and then with The Boys. Met a couple of friends there and had a late lunch, then wandered Union Square for a bit, dessert, more wandering then home. The Boys have Monday and Tuesday off of school, and of course did ZERO homework during their stay at their father's. So as usual, it is up to me to be the strict one and make them do all their work over the next two days. I also know they didn't sleep with any particular schedule, so I get to do that too...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

In The School Zone - video

This was filmed (or shot on my iPhone) on Tuesday afternoon, right at pick-up time. I live across the street from a school and am often trapped in my driveway by people who couldn't possibly care any less for anything other than themselves. I will be occasionally posting these types of things, as I am now blind to the everyday mundane idiocy, but the outstanding acts of selfishness still strike me as odd.

Following this, I had to turn the wheel all the way to the left to avoid collision. The driver was clueless, windows up, likely music blaring... I didn't tape that part because I had to use both hands to drive.

This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, during garbage pick up in my neighborhood:

Only a bit into the red zone. Parked. In front of my garbage cans. Was thinking I'd empty them into the open window, but luckily they were both empty.

Am formulating a plan of action. Do I go over to the driver side and knock on the window to nicely ask the person to move out of my driveway? Do I ask if they are smelling burnt toast? Do I start photographing license plates and submitting to the police? I need a solution that won't mar my karma, so I am writing about it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Monday started good

Late Sunday night, I found out that NOH8 is doing another shoot in San Francisco this weekend, and I want Corky to come with me. I was hoping The Boys could come too, which their father agreed to today, as long as their images are not used for advertising (which they are not). In the morning I found out that I'd won tickets to see Chicago the musical! Free B-Way tix? YESSSSSSSS!!!!! So it looks like a bunch of trips to SF this weekend, but for totally awesome reasons.

Of course, my winning high could not be sustained all day and into the night. After school brought monumental homework battles, tears, shouting, crying, whining and arguments worthy of a Supreme Court briefing. During the arguments, I fielded a call from a friend, missed two calls from Corky, and was being peppered by so many questions from all places, that I was unable to then also put together a decent dinner for us. So I escaped to In-n-Out, picked up food and came home. During the drive, I called my mom. and then called Corky as I'd been short with her on the phone. I just wanted someone to talk me off the cliff edge, tell me it would be okay. What I got was an irritated gf, who accused me of rewarding The Boys with take out food after they behaved so badly. I explained this was not for their benefit, but mine. I was going to seriously lose my mind if I had to add any one more thing to think about and keep track of, which included dinner. I was already on The Youngest for 6 separate things due this week, from the spelling test and vocab due tomorrow, the write up for a story they are reading due Wed, a Middle East test due Thursday, and a science study guide (the class in which he just obtained an F quarter grade) due Friday. I am working on getting his week set up and splitting up the larger tasks and assignments. He has a major assignment due in a couple of weeks, so I am also getting him to do some research each day. That would have been plenty, but The Oldest determined that he does not know how to structure a complete sentence, and thus I was dictating (from his own notes and science study guide) complete sentences, which I had to remind him to capitalize, and appropriately punctuate. That was after the temper tantrum, and his insistence that he had no idea complete sentences were required (despite it being written on the study guide), Then his attestation that his teacher clarified that complete sentences were in fact not required, That was followed by my insistence that he write them anyway because he was no longer going to have the option or choice of doing the bare minimum. My requirement is complete sentences, even if he could get his teacher to tell me otherwise. Even then, he tried to get away with a few complete sentences, so I had to have him keep going back to actually write them out. In between this was me proof reading The Youngest's essay, adding clarifying questions, and reading those, adding follow up questions and sending him back to do the complete work ,instead of the bare minimum.

It was exhausting, and I was pretty upset with my gf, as I am sure she is certain that I am caving in on giving treats to The Boys, but there are days when my sanity is actually of utmost importance. I need my strength, because I know without a doubt that this is not the end of the battles. This is only the tip of the iceberg. It is absolutely going to get more difficult before it gets easier.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up (and my 700th post)

Another rather busy weekend, though not as bad as the previous two.

Halloween in the US. The Boys chose to spend the night at their father's. Corky and I went to a party at one of my friend's. It was okay, but got considerably better once we had some music to dance to. We were going to leave at 9:30, but ended up dancing past midnight! We had a few Moscow Mule's and a bunch of food. There was another party we were going to head to, but thought it might be too late by the time we got out of the other party. The theme for the party was good guys/bad guys, so we dressed as western heroes - I was Annie Oakley, and Corky was a white hat hero (Wyatt Earp, etc).

Corky and I slept in. It was awesome to sleep like that after the week I'd had. We had pancakes and home fries for brunch, and The Boys came home at 11. Got The Youngest to organize the papers from the deepest recesses of his backpack before a friend came over, and The Oldest warmed up for a band performance in the late afternoon. Corky visited her dad, and I relaxed and did laundry. Went to the band review across the street to watch The Oldest perform the National Anthem, and watched a couple of bands before heading home for dinner. The Boys and I went back to catch the 3 high school bands I wanted to see, and the larger bands were so impressive! Saw friends and relatives and was able to visit and say hi. Came home and we all headed to bed. Corky was irritated because she wanted a family movie night, and I get it, but that is not what we do on weekends. In fact, it is rare that I am hanging about at home due to band events. And yes, there are band events over the next two weeks.

Woke up after 11 hours of sleep ELEVEN hours. Felt Soooooo nice to sleep that long. Corky was making breakfast - egg sandwiches/egg muffins and sausage and potatoes. Very filling, and helped get me enough protein to handle this week's homework battle. Once homework was completed (hours later), I had The Boys clean their rooms and bathroom. During homework, I washed The Dogs, did laundry, changed out linens, and took a shower. Corky went home to get ready for the week. I did some shopping in the afternoon, came home and made a lasagna with shredded zucchini and whole wheat noodles. The Boys liked this one better than when I sliced the zucchini in. While dinner was in the oven I finish sanded the end table, and hopefully I'll be able to seal it tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Alice in WeHoLand - a public safety announcement

And my new favorite song - totally stuck in my head today!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Yet another busy weekend, though I did get one morning to sleep in.

After work, went grocery shopping and then the Halloween costume hunt began. Spent the rest of the evening traveling around with Corky and BFF looking for Halloween costumes for the party taking place with a theme of bad guys / good guys. We were mostly successful, following too many stressful choices, and a desire to not spend a fortune. Had dinner out with BFF and two concurrent text discussions. One was a request to shoot a wedding, and the other was a discussion about Christmas and where they will be spending Christmas Eve overnight to Christmas morning. I ended up with a bloody nose from the stress and we had an early bedtime in preparation for Saturday's activities.

An early and rainy morning to catch the local band review parade in which The Oldest marched, the band taking first in parade, and first in concert. The Oldest even had a solo in concert on baritone. I am very proud of him, and it was nice to see that his father is as well. After the band review, Corky and I went to Ikea to get some ideas about bedroom furniture, specifically a bed. Came home having a better idea of what styles we can agree upon, as well as a mattress firmness we both like. That's when the hard work began. We cleaned out the garage. Got rid of a bunch of old clothes and linens and shoes, cleats, etc. Broke down some of the empty boxes and packaged most of the rest for garage sale and donations. This took the entire rest of the day. Too tired to cook, we had a delicious Mexican dinner with margaritas.

Slept in, finally. Did get right to it when we woke up. Started back in the garage with sanding the end table I bought at least a month ago. While I made my hands buzzy, achy and numb, Corky cleaned the house, including dusting, vacuuming, and straightening up The Youngest's room. She also rearranged the kitchen counter, freeing up some space. We ended up at the hardware store for more supplies, and were visited by Corky's roommate, and my sister. Dinner was huge salads, and we relaxed the rest of the evening until The Boys arrived.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Outside the comfort zone

So last night I did something out of my comfort zone. I was a debate moderator for a neighboring school board candidate forum. Four candidates for two seats, two candidates are incumbent. I was a little nervous at the beginning, but it went really well. I was able to choose a wide range of questions and piggyback a couple questions based on candidate answers. The candidates were all very nice, and I am glad I didn't research them beforehand, as I was able to remain completely neutral. I wish them all good luck.

I was asked by a PTSA President and friend because I am a PFC President in the town next to hers. I met a couple of other PTSA members, and the principal of the host school, which also happens to be the middle school I attended. Overall, I was pleased with my ability to think on my feet, and appreciative of the opportunity to stretch a bit in my abilities. I had a really good feeling the rest of the night.

Oh, and I am grateful for my darling girlfriend, Corky. She was able to give me the one thing this week that alleviated my anxiety and calmed my frayed nerves. I love her for knowing what I need, even when I'm not sure what will help.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tableau Tuesday

So some pics of this weekend's activities:

Created with flickr slideshow.

Also, yesterday Diane was on my mind. ALOT. I ran across her husband's name on a check that came through for fundraising, and I head Billy Joel and Elton John on the radio (two of her favs). It was one of those days where I would have called her if I could because my children were driving me crazy about their homework load, and I am PMS. Bad combo. And I haven't had a decent night's sleep in over a week, the weekend was too busy and tiring, and I have too many unfinished projects and issues to resolve.

I miss her. Her laugh and her ability to understand exactly what I am going through.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Another really active and busy weekend.

Picked up The Youngest from school and got him a hair cut. Went back for The Oldest and Corky, headed to the mall and bought new dress clothes for The Boys. $$$ later we were set for the weekend and jazz band gigs.

Up at 3:30 so that The Oldest could board a buss for a band review. Their band took 2 first and 2 second place trophies, and looked and sounded good. The Youngest, Corky and I followed, watched the parade and then we all wandered the boardwalk, ate, and hung out until awards. It was really awesome spending time together as a family. The weather was perfect! Stopped for dinner on the way home, and should have skipped that too, as The Boys were too full of boardwalk junk food. They fell asleep on the drive home, and once back, The Oldest headed directly to bed, the youngest had a shower and then bed, followed really shortly by Corky and me. We were out of the house for about 13 hours, all of the daylight hours, plus. Almost all of that time was spent walking and standing, and my feet, legs and back sure felt it!

Celebration of Marriage at the Cathedral with my family. A full mass with the marriage blessing, and a reception following. My Mother enjoyed herself, and my Dad seemed at least satisfied. I really do not enjoy Roman Catholic ceremonies. Too much incense, too much burying the value of women beneath their role as helpmate for men. Maybe I am just not as forgiving and patient as I could be, but when married. straight, catholic couples are lauded for being the two to bring life into the world, I can't help but wonder how exactly the bishop and priests view the role women truly play in the propagation of their followers. Maria enjoyed parts of the homily, but having grown up attending church every week, I am over it. I am over feeling like I am not welcomed into this community, not just for who I love, but for having a failed marriage that was performed in the church. Add the condescending view of anyone who does not fit into the requirements of the church, and I am so done. People wonder why I have a dismal view of marriage and organized religion, and it is this - the unequal partnership, the snide derision for those that refuse to make it work (for whatever reason) while applauding and celebrating people who remain together, regardless of circumstance (abuse, neglect, etc.). People who believe that every sacrifice of their humanity to the power of their spouse will bring them closer to God. Willing participants in the dance, teaching their children the same "family values" for generations to come. Yes, I read between the lines (or in this case, listen), and I do take it personally. I do not appreciate that I have to re-educate my sons on the way home so that they understand that mutual respect and love of one another is what binds us all to each other. Does this mean I am not a spiritual person? No it does not. I find my soul filled with love of humanity and our earth, our circumstances, and our ability to survive, thrive and cooperate. I find my worship at the ocean, in water, and salt air. This is what fills me with love and energy for the long hard job of living.

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wednesday and lots of learning

I took 3 training classes at work today and I actually learned something in each of them. I also learned a few real life things (in the broadest definition). When you put a stop to someone who is overstepping their role, they take it personally, glare at and or scold you, unnecessarily punish your child, and generally behave in a borderline unprofessional manner. The "Live Long and Prosper" hand gesture originated in a Jewish Benediction that is not supposed to be viewed by members of the Synagogue. Also? my BFF volunteers me for almost everything she is involved in at school. My mother is unreasonably obsessed with a celebration of marriage this upcoming weekend (still). If the dogs are not let out to pee at around 10pm, they bark at 3:30am to be let out, and then I cannot fall back asleep for an hour.

My brain may actually be full at this point.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Just your average Tuesday

Well today was interesting. BFF was around alot, which she hasn't been lately. Had a meeting at the middle school which ended with at least one pissed off person. Met with a middle school counselor about The Youngest's failing grades. Made my open enrollment selections. Did more laundry. tried to pry the brown plastic lump from the vase, gave up and recycled the lot. Was delayed several times by several well meaning people, causing me to miss time with Corky. I'm tired, I want to read and then sleep. Thankfully, The Boys had very little homework, and both completed it with zero grumbling. More hugs today, and thinking about my abundant life. Grateful for it all.

Monday, October 13, 2014

I tried to burn down the house Part 3

In my seemingly endless quest to determine the most tale-worthy way to nearly burn down my house, I discovered that cramming two lengths of rope light into a cheap and large glass vase, then leaving those on for more than 10 minutes will cause the rope light to melt and the glass to heat past the point of common sense. Thankfully, Corky went into the bedroom prior to it bursting into flames, but not before meltdown. Now I have a lump of brown plastic in a vase, with no foreseeable way to remove this solid mass. I am thinking that a boat motor blender might cut through the mass enough to dump or shake it out, but it could also break the glass. Damn that $5 vase, and old but still working rope light... Oh, I also have a room that smells of deadly plastic fumes, a wide open window and a fan on high. Maybe a hair dryer blowing on the lump will get it reeled enough to pull it out. Maybe I can go and find another vase, and scrap the whole thing... Here I was so proud of my frugal attempt at a bedside lamp. I decided that I should probably switch to led lights since they are cooler.

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Now that Corky is back to work on desk duty only, she actually has weekends off, so this makes the third weekend we could spend together.

Corky spent the night and we just chilled out and relaxed. I took apart and moved part of The Oldest's old twin bed and a part of the bunk bed set The boys have had for a REALLY long time. Am looking to sell it and see what I can recoup.

Woke up and finished moving The Oldest's bed, vacuuming his room and moving the futon into a better spot, which meant moving the bookshelf and the cat box. Went with Corky and her roommate to Urban Ore looking for ideas. Saw some stuff we want to try, as well as buying a drop leaf table, now making 2 projects I need to do... Had lunch and rushed home so that I could drive My Sister's Youngest to Homecoming at his high school (my alma mater). While there, Sister gave me her old kitchen chairs (AWESOME!). We picked up his girlfriend, took pictures, and I waited while they ate at a friends. Then I dropped them at the school, picked up Corky and met another couple for dinner and dessert. Back home and exhausted!

Up and out rather early with Corky and her roommate to the downtown antiques fair. Wandered for about 5 hours, and bought one non antique (of course). Will be making it into a bedside lamp because I need yet another home project, though this does not involve sand paper, screwdrivers or stain. We'll see how it looks soon. Dinner at home, shower and a nap after crying from pain and exhaustion. The Boys arrived at around bed time, with some additional work needing to be done on an essay for The Youngest that is due tomorrow.

In bed by 10:00 and really looking forward to sleep.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday following a BUSY weekend.

I've had The Boys for nearly a week while their father is out of country. So of course this weekend had to be full of activity!

After a harrowing school week wherein The Youngest was discovered to have 7 missing assignments, instead of the 2 I initially thought, and the end of the progress grading period, and working on all of those assignments, and Friday detention to turn in the final 2 assignments worth a collective 510 points across two classes... I had him do more homework. I know, I am horrible (at least according to him), but I am also not giving up on this kid. He worked REALLY hard, and we argued tirelessly about the assignments, but when it was all said and done, He ended up with 485 out of 510, with only the lateness counting off his grade. I capitalized on the good feeling he had for turning in quality work, and had him write the assignment due Monday. Oh, did I also mention that it was hot like Sub Saharan Africa from Wednesday through the weekend? It was, which made the anguish over homework that much more difficult and exhausting. There were many tears and hugs and some shouting. BUT, he did it all, and now sees the importance of completing the assignments on time. Also, he gets that what is expected of him is much greater than in Elementary School. He isn't happy about that aspect, but he is working on accepting it as fact. Also went shopping and found a new bike helmet and lock for The Youngest so that he can start riding his bike to school. The Oldest brought home a bass drum to practice for drum line.

Spent the morning with The Boys completing the weekend homework. Spent the afternoon at the Tech Museum of Innovation with Corky, The Boys and a couple of people from our Meetup group. The Boys had fun, but Corky less so because The Oldest insisted on telling her how to do stuff and explaining everything, which didn't really allow her to experience the place in the way she wanted. Had I known that was the case, I would have had a talk with him on the way there. Once the museum closed, we walked to Gordon Biersch for dinner. Their Bier Fest is delicious and the food was great.

A relaxing morning, and dropped The Boys at my Sister's for the afternoon while Corky, her roommate and I went to a surprise 30th birthday party for Corky's Niece. It was fun - a brunch and bocci ball. I'd met many of the people there, and it was fun to see Corky's family again. They are all so warm and funny, and welcoming. While we were there, The Boys went shopping for homecoming attire with my Sister and her Oldest. The Oldest sent pictures of various shirt/tie combos for the 8th grade dance, occurring in June... Of course, I will likely pick them up for My Parents' anniversary reception in a couple of weeks. Fell into bed after a busy and hot weekend, glad the heat wave will be over mid-week.

Enjoy your week people!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tableau Tuesday Weekend Wrap Up

So it was a nice long weekend for me. I took Monday off and disappeared for a couple of days with Corky - we'll get to that.

Did a bunch of grown-up things, like balancing my bank account and clearing my work e-mail from 684 messages in my inbox to ZERO. I handled all of them. ALL OF THEM. It took the entire day, but I did it. And it made me feel accomplished. I know I'm weird in that it made me anxious.

Spent the day cleaning out all the old electronics, grocery shopping, shoe shopping, dropped the dogs at the kennel, had lunch and visited my folks. Also packed a bag.

Slept in a bit, and decided to vacuum before leaving. The cat freaked out and bolted, but I wasn't sure if she went outside or somewhere in the house. We spent a couple of hours looking for her, and asked bff to check and see if she showed up at night (she didn't). And so, we headed out of town. This was the 5th anniversary of Corky's mother's death, and is always a difficult day for her whole family. We drove a couple of hours away and ended up in Guerneville for the night. We lunched and wandered the town. It is a cute place, and I could see living there, if it were on the coast... That seems to be my constant lament - I find all of these really great places, but they are not on the coast. We had an early dinner and retired to our penthouse where I debuted my purchases from Curvy Girl. The look on Corky's face was totally worth every cent I spent. We enjoyed our evening in, and spent plenty of time laughing our heads off. I love that we can break into giggle fits and make each other laugh.

Corky's birthday (also the birthday of both of my dogs). We had a delicious breakfast and hit the road. We decided to just meander our way home, stopping at the sparking cellars for champagne tasting, the Charles Schultz museum, and a casino before a 2 hour, traffic insane drive home. I found that: I enjoy a Riesling sparkling wine; Schultz was a very interesting person, and the museum was delightful, and I more than doubled my money at the casino. We stopped at a place featured on TV for a LATE lunch (only 5 hours after breakfast), and the food was phenomenal! In fact all of the food during our trip was so delicious. I feel like I need a cleanse diet afterward - or to start running marathons... The cat found her way home, and was none the worse for wear. I think she was just pissed off at me, and decided to hide out in a neighbor's yard all of Saturday. It was a really nice two days unplugged from reality.

Today is back to the multiple demands of my life. I hope you all have a fantastic week.

And now for some pictures!

Created with flickr slideshow.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kep Yer Pecker Up

This saying has become my mantra this week. It hails from my friend's late father who said his every time his teen daughter was down. It always made her laugh, and she still lives by it. I have so many things going on in my life that I can barely catch a breath before the next wave washes over my head. Work reorg has left all of the minions anxious and back stabby. Parent group at middle school has had some relief this week, but still needs immediate attention for additional volunteers. The Boys have caught up on assignments, but need to still make up some work. And now my dad's declining health is stressing me out.

At least today's reason to celebrate is 14 months in a relationship with Corky, and we will be out of town for a couple of days soon. I am hoping that is a long enough break to relax and come back refreshed.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Today marks a year since Diane died. During that period of time, not much has changed and everything has. The biggest thing that has changed is my desire to pour my heart out to someone, to a friend. I have now started to question my ability to even be a friend to anyone. I miss Diane. I wish she were still with us. I want to tell her what has been going on. I want to talk to her for so long that every battery on every phone dies. We did that often - 2 cordless phones, with 3 hours of battery life each, and we would talk until they couldn't charge fast enough to get power before we had to switch. We laughed and laughed and laughed. Diane helped me to see the humor in every situation, even those where humor was difficult to find. She saw me through my most difficult times, my most sad and down self, and she ALWAYS was able to make me laugh. Even battling for her life, she laughed when she could have been angry and sad - and make no mistake, she was both. And she was tired; tired of all the shit that went with the fight, and tired of idiots, and tired of not being heard or seen, and not being fought for. STILL, STILL she laughed. We were really good for one another. I made it my mission to make her laugh about some weird absurdity of her situation, some Murphy's Law bit of life. I love Diane still, and I miss her horribly.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

A great, though hot ass weekend. Temps over 100 F all last week and through the weekend. House is not insulated, and no A/C. So fucking hot. So hot. Walking around naked hot. Laying about and doing nothing hot.

Corky had the day off, and I worked in the morning, then volunteered in the afternoon to tie dye field trip shirts at the elementary school my kids no longer attend. It was the first time I'd been back since June, and when I entered the office to sign in, they applauded and cheered me. The principal came out and hugged me, and it made me feel so very appreciated. I didn't need to be there, as the current art teachers are really on the ball about it, but it was more of a moral support thing. Of course, we were outside in the blazing heat, but the shirts loo amazing, as I knew they would, as they always do. After school, Corky's roommate took us to an early dinner to thank us for driving her around while her car was in the shop for a week, and picking the car up while she was at work. We had humongous salads, and I was so tired and full of ruffage that I needed a nap. Got up and showered and headed out dancing - when it was 7:30 and still over 90 F. Met up with some friends, met new ones and had fun until the EDM was too much for us and we were starving. Went to a late dinner with my first BF, and his partner. A fun but late night.

Woke up at 6:30 for a bathroom break, then asleep again until 9. Spent time lounging in bed with Corky, had breakfast and shower and Corky left for work. I fell back asleep on the sofa for about an hour and then did laundry and ate lunch. Spent the rest of the day reading, taking cool showers and sweating. Was not motivated to do much of anything because it was still so fucking hot. Wandered my house half naked, wrote a bit, ate crappy foods, and laid about. Spent time thinning about Corky and how much I love her. Exhausted, and nearly napped again once the temperature dropped to purgatory. I did get through another lesson and some weak skills practice in Italian, so that is an actual accomplishment.


Woke up earlier than usual and headed to buy a couple of birthday cards before joining friends on a trip to Curvy Girl. Found some really cool stuff that Corky will probably love, if she doesn't suffer a stroke first. ;-).  Stopped for lunch on the way home and picked up The Boys and Corky, made a salad and Headed to my folks' for my oldest Nephew's birthday dinner. We all went around the table talking about how much we love him and we cried (of course). Had a great dinner and lemon cake and headed home to my oven of a house. Helped The Youngest finish his homework, everyone showered, and we all went to bed.

I hope you all have an enjoyable week, and I really hope the heat wave breaks soon...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sadness and Stress

It's that time of year. This is September, and soon will mark the one year anniversary of my dear friend's death. She is never far from my mind, but I really long to hear her laugh, and share stories of our sons. I flat out miss her. Terribly. Today I just let loose and cried. Sadness was the prevalent emotion, but the stress of my current financial situation added to the mix. September also marks the beginning of school and the hemorrhaging of my bank account for school registration and supplies. It is only going to get more expensive too. I am stressing about college already. I am so glad Corky was here. I just needed her to hold me while I cried. I needed the comfort of her arms, and her gentle touch and soothing words.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Another insanely busy weekend, but I did also get a bit of down time, so that's good, right?

Went for a morning walk with bff and checked out a home for sale across the street from her and Corky. Ran into an old friend of the exes dad, who has the listing. He's a really nice guy and it was nice running into him after all these years. Bought a used gas powered lawn mower and drove with Corky and bff to pick it up. Picked up The Boys at school, and was asked a bunch of questions about PFC (of which I am a Co-President). Let The Boys take the afternoon / evening off from homework and went to a PFC budget meeting during dinner time while The Boys had leftovers. Started laundry and read until bed time.

Spent the first 4 hours of the day doing yard work. Mixed and sprayed some weed killer in the front, and weed whacked the back. Wanted to use the mower, but the weeds were over a foot high, and thick. I did find a 2 foot square patch of soft grass amidst the dead weeds. I also really jacked up my back. I drank about a gallon of water and took some anti-inflammatory medication. Corky came by after work, and made me a lunch while I showered. I gave The Boys a choice of doing homework or helping in the yard and they picked homework, which was nearly complete. Corky left to shower and change, and we all had dinner together, followed by frozen yogurt. We also went to the aquarium supply and picked up more fish for The Oldest's 10 gallon fresh water tank. Corky asked if we could have a nice big aquarium when we buy a house, and I said, of course.

More laundry and had The Boys finish homework and do their chores. I balanced my checking account and went to a friend's for a demo of her arbonne sales pitch. Ended up with some samples, and I'll see if I can maintain a 7 step regimen (when my current is only 2 steps)... Went grocery shopping and made dinner for the 4 of us. Everyone enjoyed the food, so that makes me happy. My shoulder has a HUGE knot from the weed whacking, and there is a weird bruise on my foot from a flying rock, but otherwise I am unscathed. Early to bed to rest up for the week.

I hope you all have an enjoyable week!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Today I am grateful for:

My foot not being broken, but suffering from tendinitis instead.
Corky being her adorable self, and the way she thanks me ;-)
My Sons and how they are growing into wonderful men. I am proud to be their mom.
My Sister, even though I don't talk to her often enough, I love and appreciate how she is there for me.
New High School drivers, reminding me why I am glad I even lived through those years.
Apologies from old nemesis.
Spending the entire day at home because I have generous and caring friends who drive my kids to school, and they are old and wise enough to walk home.
Being able to listen to a diverse range of music of which the kids these days are fond.
My cat.
The Dogs and their protective nature.
My job.
My continuing good health.

Tableau Tuesday - on Wednesday

I have a feeling this entire week will have me a day behind... All shot over the last week, including the first day of school, Scottish Games and Lawrence Hall of Science.

Created with flickr slideshow.

And the videos from Berkeley:

I hope you all have a good rest of your week.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tuesday Morning Holiday Weekend Wrap Up

Well this was a long weekend in the states with many people leaving town for the last hurrah of Summer. Not me. I stayed in town and enjoyed my extra day off of work.

Celebrated two friends and their new jobs starting next week. Met with the principal of the middle school to discuss next week's back-to-school night, this year's budget and the first PFC meeting. Spent the evening in with Corky for leftover pizza dinner and a movie followed by dessert and coffee out, where I teasingly stated we'd still be doing so in our nineties, but my elderly voice has a southern accent - weird...

I woke up earlier than planned and ended up spending time with The Cat, because I just don't get enough time with her. I was really relaxed and it had relieved my stress. It was meditative and a great beginning to my day. Lazed about for a bit, then shopping and drug store. Came home and made a roasted corn salad and guacamole for a party, only to find out there would already be a corn salad - harumph. Took the guac with us, and Corky made some killer appetizers consisting of half of a cotton candy grape and a small chunk of sharp cheddar speared with a toothpick. The party was at my first boyfriend's, and was LGBT all the way, which was really nice. The other female couple included a woman I have not seen for about 30 years, who I felt did a horrible thing to me in HS, causing me much torment throughout my younger years. She brought an "I'm sorry" bouquet, which was hysterically funny and all because my dear friend told her I still carried it with me... It was a great evening, and also included my helping an elderly dementia patient (and mother of one of our friends) put her bra on facing the correct way... She was grateful, even though she couldn't remember my name, nor how to put it on correctly, nor why were were even in the bathroom to begin with. Corky had fun, and as usual, there was WAY TOO MUCH food. Really. WAY TOO MUCH. It looked like a couple of the single guys were fond of each other, which was very sweet to see, and I hope it works out well for them. They are both such sweet men, and deserve all the happiness in the world.

Corky had to work in the morning, but left early. I met her at my folks' and we headed to the 149th Scottish Gathering and Games, hosted by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco. She had never been to the games, and I've always enjoyed them. We watched the heavy games, some of the Pipe & Drum bands, and wandered the clan tents and commercial buildings. We stopped to listen to Celtica for a bit and she had a meat pie, wile I had fries (chips). By the time we got to the Scottish food vendor, they were out of IrnBru, and Malteasers, much to my disappointment. We didn't see any shirts either of us could live without, I didn't want to spend a small fortune on skirts and bodice, and all of my clan's scarfs, key chains, etc. were sold out. We ended the games with the mass bands on the track - over 600 musicians, including the 1st regiment Marine Corps band, and the Scottish Battalion pipe band. Corky teared up at Auld Lang Syne, while I wept at Amazing Graze. We ran into the ex, his gf, and several of their friends (whom I have known since High School). They left The Oldest in charge of the other 3 kids while they were at the games, claiming it was too expensive to bring them... The Oldest has a cold and called me later. We had dinner at a Mexican place we like, picked up Corky's car, and headed home.

Slept in, laundry and picked up some stuff for the house. Ran into Corky and her roommate while running around, and The Boys didn't get home until after 11:30. I'd wanted to get out of town with them, but the day was already half over, and we wouldn't get home at a decent time, or be able to spend enough time wherever we went, so we stuck closer to home than normal. We ended up at Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, and it was just as hot there as at home, although we were hoping for a cooler locale. We visited Corky at work on the way home and picked up food for dinner. Home and I worked with The Youngest on spelling for his test Tuesday, and finished laundry. The heat made us all lethargic, so we laid low trying to stay coolish.

Pics coming tomorrow, good week to all!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Just random thoughts

Wednesday was the first day of school for The Boys, and they woke up nervously excited and way too early. They have been at the ex's since I sent them off for school, but in talking to them seem to have had a great beginning of the school year. They are great kids and I adore them and all the milestones we celebrate.

My bff is making some decisions that ultimately will be disappointing for me. If you say you will do something, my expectation is you will do that thing. I am not looking for back-up plans. And if you are considered to be a friend of mine? I expect notification well in advance so that I CAN formulate a plan B. Sigh, I have to wonder if my expectations of others is really out of alignment with how reliable they really are.

There are some things on my calendar for the long US weekend, and I am looking most forward to sleeping in. Corky works all three days, but I will see her for activities in the afternoons. This will be a busy school year for me and I am going to drop a couple of volunteer things from my calendar so that I can relieve some of my stress and start to move more, sit less and eat healthy.

My parents celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary on Thursday, and I am always struck by how they have remained together for so long, especially considering how horribly they treat one another when I am there. They are really mean and vicious with their words, and it is a bit triggering for me. I realized how much of a mediating force My Sister and I were when there, and now that they are retired and spending even more time together, it is obvious.

Celebrated a couple of friends and their new jobs starting next week with bloody marys and great conversation. Determined that there are some things I just need to woman up and deal with, and that I likely still need more sleep than I am getting.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday - Ice Buckets and fundraising

So, the ALS Ice Bucket challenge has raised $70M+ for ALSA. I think this is awesome and wonderful for people living with and dying from ALS. I worry about ALSA and what it will do with the huge influx of funds that are not going to be recurring. I hope they invest for ongoing income, or pick appropriate distribution of the funds.

I managed to avoid the challenge thus far, but Sunday I was called out by a dear friend on facebook. And Monday after lunch, I had The Oldest pour the ice water, while The Youngest filmed. I did not donate to ALSA, but instead chose and bikeMS. I have a few friends with MS, and too many people to count in my life with breast cancer.

I have been thinking lately about Diane - so much so because the anniversary of her death is coming soon. I may get a tattoo that day to commemorate what she meant to me, which was so very much. Somehow I have not happened upon a design that reminds me of her - I know there will probably be a star, but I don't know what I will incorporate yet. I miss her, and always will. I could really use a nice long talk with her, hours long with no end in sight. I know she's happy, but still...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tableau Tuesday

Pictures are actually from two weekends ago, but hey I remembered to get something up, right?

Created with flickr slideshow.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Well here it is the final Monday before The Boys start back to school. This year marks the first that I have not been at the Elementary school. I kind of miss all the little kids, but I am happy for us transitioning to the next stage. The weekend found us getting supplies and shoes and locker locks, after last week's registration. I accomplished everything I wanted to and felt focused at work, for school related things, and paying bills. I am the first to admit that I am not always on top of ALL of the things going on in my life, but after having a great laugh with Corky, and the weekend, I can say that all the plates are up, and they are all still spinning. I even have time for a break between spins!

Work, work, work - I had so much to do, but I was able to complete it all (no clue how), oh wait, I do know - I had a 6:30 am conference call, followed by about 3 hours of uninterrupted time during which I was able to focus and finish my work for the week. I will have more next week, but found some things I can reuse, so it should make the week go easier. Grocery shopped for the week and tomorrow's BBQ, and spent time laughing with Corky. Also completed Corky's resume and uploaded it to a job board.

Made pineapple angel food cupcakes and fruit salad for the party. Laundry started, and mostly completed. Packed the ice chest, loaded the car and picked up Corky. She was in a crappy mood from work, and felt like not going, but we were on our way, and we ended up having a great time, and I saw several people I haven't seen in a very long time. It was a house concert with live band, food, drinks, sun and swim. The Boys had fun and enjoyed all of the compliments from people on how big they've gotten. I just felt relaxed and happy, and Corky was able to relax and enjoy herself. A great afternoon / evening! Came home and went to bed pretty early.

Woke up at 12:10am with severe intestinal distress, and spent the next 50 minutes vacating my bowels. Went back to bed, only to have my lower intestine disagree with that position, and ended up back in the bathroom until 2:30. Back in bed and hoping I can sleep a little bit, while the scene from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life played in my head. Just nodded off and an earthquake struck. 6.1, centered about 40 miles away and a little over 6 miles deep. It lasted about 30 seconds, and was more of a rolling quake. I waited for it to be over, or get worse, and then listened for anyone else who might have woken up. The Boys, The Dogs and The Cat all slept right through. I managed to fall back asleep, only to be woken up by The Youngest after the ex texted them to see if they were ok. I went back to sleep for a couple of hours. Once up, I finished laundry and some school related activities, including cross referencing the school supply lists to see what really needs to be purchased. I also weed whacked the front and side yards with the help of The Boys. Also had them clear out all of the garbage and recycling to the curb for tomorrow's pick up. Corky stopped by after work, when I was just cleaned up and a bit shaky from carrying the weed whacker for a couple of hours. My arms are dead, like limp noodles, and shaky still - hours later. chilled out and read for the rest of the evening. Also? A dear friend challenged me to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, so I have that to look forward to - I hope it's at least warm tomorrow afternoon.

And because some of you may have no clue what I referred to earlier:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Well it was certainly busy

Corky had the day off and made me a delicious breakfast. I really love that she does this when she's here. I don't always make myself something to eat when I'm home alone, and most of those mornings are filled with coffee and something I can hold in one hand while typing. So, to have someone in my life who wants me to be healthy and to help take care of me in that way makes me feel especially loved. Late afternoon we picked up a UHaul trailer, and headed to pick up a fridge I bought from a friend. His brother was supposed to have cleaned the inside, and when it was obvious that did not happen, he insisted upon cleaning it for me. It took 4 of us to move the thing (which is insanely heavy), and I had to remove my front door, but we got it in and cleaned. Then we moved my old fridge to the home of the sister of my first boyfriend (who is now with the person I bought the fridge from). We then all went to dinner, which we have been trying to schedule for a couple of months. It was fun, and we laughed like crazy. Corky and JP saw a one year old, and both fawned over him. That caused the worker to tell Steve ad I that we all should have babies. Steve and I must have looked at her like she'd grown a new head. She justified it by saying that JP and Corky look like they love babies. They do, and I know Corky wishes she'd had kids when she was younger. We got home and started prepping for Saturday's activities.

Finished prepping food, packed several ice chests and boxes and picked up The Boys. Headed to my family reunion where I met some of the family, and Maria met them all. I really had no reaction whatsoever to introducing her, and I now have to wonder if my conservative family really doesn't care that I am with a woman, or if they just didn't get the concept of what I was saying. I am not sure how they would have missed it though. We were together the entire day, and all four of us wore matching t-shirts... Well, considering I only see than once every few years, I am not that concerned about it. The exciting parts were Corky tripping over the ice chest and scraping her elbow, and my Dad almost passing out. Both are fine, but it was a bit weird. Oh, and the reunion was in the middle of a Frisbee golf course, so we were keeping our eyes out for discs. Dad had a heated argument with one disc owner who's bad aim nearly tagged a few of us. Following the reunion, we went to one of my friend's 40th birthday party. It was in the redwoods, at a huge park I'd never been to, and all the kids had a Nerf war. Dropped The Boys back at the ex' gf's house and talked about timeline for her moving in. After the dogs calmed down, I went immediately to bed.

Corky worked early and I slept in. It was a hot day so I bathed the dogs, did laundry, and cleaned the kitchen. Corky came over and we spent some time together, including dinner at our favorite place. I spent my down time mid day and evening reading and catching up on radio shows I missed over the week. We talked more about Corky moving in, and how we would work out getting enough quality sleep, and getting her a job that works M-F, so we could have weekends together. We also looked for non-profit jobs for her. Tomorrow I need to write her resume so she can apply for a few jobs we've found.

I hope you all have a great week!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Another weekend closer to back-to-school

The Boys' Jazz camp had a performance to wrap up the week, and both boys had solo's, The Oldest had a duet. They sounded really good. Had supper at about 4:00 from In-n-Out, and spent the evening doing some laundry and hanging around. I read a bit, and caught up on TV after The Boys went to bed. I missed having Corky here, but with her continuing cough, we both need sleep, so she's mostly been at her place, even on her days off.

Slept in, and finished laundry, got The Boys to shower and try on clothes, getting rid of a bunch of The Youngest's too small shirts and shorts, and I now have an idea of the sizes they need, and what clothes. The Youngest needs nothing until it grows cold enough for long pants, and The Oldest only needs some shorts, and may need long pants too. I roasted some beets, had a delicious salad for lunch and went grocery shopping. Made dinner, and read some additional short stories before Corky stopped by after work to bid us all a good night.

Went to the beach with The Boys, bff and her son. It was a pleasant day, a bit chilly. That didn't keep The Boys out of the water though. We initially tried going to a state park, but the lack of parking had us at the beach first. It drizzled a couple of times and I felt a little wind burnt after it all. Things were only slightly strained with bff, and a bit awkward. I still didn't talk to her about how I was hurt by her actions lately, and in some way I suppose she has also been hurt by my actions. Her husband is traveling out of country (this is the second trip in 3 weeks), and the last time he was gone, I didn't contact her to make sure she was okay. I will see her again later this week, and we spent today together, so that is actually WAY more than last trip. Still, I feel like I am trying to justify being remote by calling out that I was hurt. In reality, I never called her out on that initial hurt, and now my behavior must seem weird... And so, I will try to pull my shit together and just be who I am.

I hope you all have a good week.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Tough times and memories

So, I have been thinking quite a bit lately about mortality (I know, cheery subject). My reflections are around what I want to do with my life. Obviously, I want  to see The Boys grown into men who are happy and self supporting, kind and healthy. I also want to travel more (which will happen). Mostly though, I want the people around me to know that they are loved. So, if I haven't told you lately (or ever), I am telling you now. I love you. You are important and you matter to me.

This week upcoming is a cousin's birthday, followed shortly by the anniversary of her mother's death. Soon Corky will be in the same situation. Both do not like the time around their birthday's because of the pain of loss they both feel. I cannot know what it is like, as both of my folks are still here, still alive, and still able to hear and feel my message of love. I suppose in some way so are their mothers, but not in a way that would necessarily show. I am thinking of how I want to help Corky, and I just made reservations to take her a couple of hours out of town, to a place neither of us have been, to relax and explore together. I was considering a particular place, that The Boys would also enjoy, but decided I would save that for us all to go, maybe during the holidays.

Also, starting to feel a little anxious about an upcoming family reunion. The last time I saw or spoke to any of these people was likely 3 or 4 years ago. I was still with the ex, and now I am showing up with my girlfriend. I have no clue what (if any) the reaction will be. I have been running scenarios in my head and trying to figure out various levels of response.

Today was a great day though. The Boys finished jazz band camp with a concert, and The Youngest says he's doing it again next year. He got considerably better over the course of just five days though, with a little help from The Oldest.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Another Monday, this one closer to the fall return to school. Busy ass weekend:

After work, Corky and I picked up some deli sandwiches and headed to a concert in the park with a great band - Finding Stella. This clip is from last year, and they were just as good this year. We were farther from the stage, but there was far less lesbian drama this time around.

Last year's concert included Corky not having made her mind up yet, and kissing on her ex. This year, two of her exes are dating each other, and weirdly continue to try and engage her in their stuff. I get that lesbians are friends with their exes, but they keep trying to push her buttons, and she really doesn't even want to hear about it. The way she was treated by each of them left her feeling bad, and she hasn't forgotten that.

After the concert, stopped by the aquatic center and set up the umbrellas for the next morning.

Swim Championships! I got there at 7am, parked far far away, and spent the next 9 hours cheering for all the kids I know who swim. they all did wonderfully, and The Boys' team took first, for the second year in a row. This year it was a larger margin than last, and everyone was happy. Came home and scarfed some food, fell asleep, woke up and then to bed. Missed seeing Corky all day - she's sick with a summer cold and worked then went to bed.

Woke up kind of early to go to the bathroom then fell back asleep until 11. Feeling off balance and slightly dizzy all day, and unable to nap. Did pick up a trombone for The Boys' band camp this week. Things are weird with BFF, which probably means we need to talk soon. sigh. I did see Corky for a bit before she headed back to bed after work. Swim team awards night was fun. The Oldest won most improved for his age group (he won it a few years ago as well). I asked The Youngest what his thoughts were, looking back at the season and he said he wants to swim again next year. I didn't even ask The Oldest, as he's already stated that he is looking forward to swimming the summer after senior year of high school, which is only 5 years away. (Yikes!) watching the Seniors and the 15-18's, I just kept being surprised by what wonderful young men and women The Boys have the privilege of knowing. These kids volunteer their time to help the younger swimmers, who in turn idolize them and it keeps the tradition alive. Both of The Boys want to be swim coaches, and can't wait to be old enough. We've talked about everything else it takes to be a leader for the team:  the time, the volunteer spirit, respect for their coaches all along the way, and the willingness and desire to help when they see a need, not just when asked. At their ages, it does take some coaching (by me) to see the need, but they are willing to step in when I point it out (especially The Oldest). I am proud of how far they both have come, and I only hope they will continue their summers with the summer family we've made.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tableau Tuesday 7/29/2014

Here we are at a Tableau Tuesday, with Pics of the week.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

A nice long and really HOT weekend. Over 100 degrees at home for days and days, no end in sight.

Found out in the morning that my Mom is going for surgery on Monday (with a cancellation of the surgeon's). Took the afternoon off of work, picked up Corky and headed out of town to San Francisco to celebrate the occasion of a year together. Checked into the Palace hotel and relaxed for a little while. Went to the Pied Piper for drinks, and then to Source for dinner. dinner was disappointing. The food is what I see as a new trend. Vegetarian and Vegan meals made for a carnivore's palate. Most meals feature soy based meat-like products and their all vegetable dish was just so-so. Corky's was OK for  her, but featured a spice that made me a bit gaggy. We left feeling bloated and a bit ill and walked it off for a couple of miles back to the hotel. During the walk, Corky had poop (hopefully dog) splashed onto her pant leg, which was pointed out near a CVS. We bought tissues and hand sanitizer, cleaned her off and continued. It was brisk and I ended up chilled when we got back. After all of that, we chose to just retire to bed, lest additional crappy things happen.

Our acctual anniversary of our first date. Slept in a bit and headed to the Ferry Building for brunch. It was already 70+ degrees. Had quiche and coffee and a cinnamon roll, all of which were delicious. The quiche was especially amazing. Walked around the building and the street fair and attempted to catch a streetcar headed to the wharf. Two completely jammed cars went by us and we decided to try a taxi. None were near or stopping, all were full already. We and two other people, who were so nice decided to try a water taxi. for $30, they would take all 4 of us to the wharf. OK, so a bit more than the $2 per person for the streetcar, but it was on the water, and not like sardines, sweating in a hot car... We boarded with a cute little family of three, toddler included, and cast off. With the temperature hovering near 85, on the water was the perfect place to be. The ride took about 15 minutes, but he idled us around pier 39's famous sea lions, and Forbes Island, as well as up close to the seaward side of the SS Jeramiah O'Brien and the USS Pampanito. We disembarked closer to the Maritime Museum, and walked the wharf, stopping at the Musée Mécanique, and Pier 39 where I had my ear cartilage re-pierced. Yes it hurts just as much this time as it did the last, making me wonder if I should have just done a different spot... Walked back to the car as it had now cooled to about 75 degrees. Headed back to our side of the bay and stopped at Treasure Island to see the view and find the Doggie Diner heads. Stopped for dinner at our favorite place ever, Mangia Mi. Dinner and dessert were fabulous as always, and despite the 95 degree heat, it was a pleasant evening.

The final dual swim meet before championships, and The Boys swam well, beating times in about half of their races. It was over 100 degrees and backstroke suffered as a result of being at the end of the meet. The team did win though, and finished the season undefeated. That was a great result, and now we only have champs next week. We came home, showered and changed and headed to Sis' house for her boyfriend's 50th birthday party. It was fun, and I enjoy his family. Mom was subdued, as expected while thinking of her surgery. My Sister's BF is a really great guy and deserves all the happiness he has brought to Sis and Nephews. We then went to the pool for the annual swim team "sleep" over. Set up our tent and I sat to visit with one of my classmates from 5th grade. I met two other families, one with a husband from Ireland, and the other couple from Scotland. It was great, and they are both so very nice. We sat up drinking and talking, and I finally got The Youngest to go to sleep at midnight, with a warning to The Oldest to not cause any trouble (he didn't). But I awoke with a start at 4:30 to find no trace of The Oldest in the tent. I walked to the other side of the pool grounds to find all of the 15-18's and the managers sitting around visiting, and my 13 year old completely amped up on Coca-cola. One of the young men got him to go to bed by telling him that he wasn't old enough to stay up all night. He groused all the way back to the tent where he fell asleep in under 2 minutes.

Woke up at 7:15 a little bleary eyed, packed up and headed home. Went to check on BFF's mom and animals, but her mom decided to stay the weekend, so I have no responsibilities there, which had I known, I would have been slower to get home. Went home and crashed for 5 hours while The Boys vegged out in the heat. When I woke up, Corky was here, we talked and she went home to her air conditioning. We ended up having Frozen Yogurt instead of dinner, because it's hot, we're all tired, and none of us wanted to cook. Early to bed to face tomorrow and the rest of the week, come what may. See tomorrow for photos of the weekend.

Have a pleasant week all!