Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Here Comes Santa Claus

Sometime back around Thanksgiving Hubby came home from work to tell me that My Santa was no longer at the same mall. He had left. My Santa. Gone. MIA. AWOL.

So being the resourceful Mom that I am, I Googled Santa Claus.

Found him. You can run - but you can't hide.

He moved. New location. Outdoors - so now he can bring his Reindeer. Yep, real live reindeer.

So if you are looking for The Big Guy - he is no longer at Stonebriar Mall but at the Village in Allen. And he is just as wonderful as he always was. I LOVE this man. seriously. I tear up every time I take the kids to see him. He makes ME believe in Santa. LOVE LOVE LOVE him!

See for yourself...


Next in line to see The Big Guy! With life-long BFF's kiddos.




Here's Santa!!!

Enjoying the Post Santa Glow...

And they have this cool kid-size Christmas Village.

(Savvy is caught in the act!)

Exactly where my girls need to be - the BANK!

Don't forget the reindeer.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Monday, November 10, 2008

there's a new man in my life

my mother introduced me to him.
I don't know what she was thinking.
she, of all people, knows what an addictive personality I have.

He is already causing problems with my marriage. I don't pay enough attention to my hubby because I am constantly distracted with my new love.

But I cannot stop myself. I am addicted to him. Cannot get enough.
He's a home-boy from Mississippi which doesn't help matters. Common Ground. I automatically feel a real connection with him.

And my biggest turn-on ever - intellectual men with big vocabularies. (I know what you thought I was going to say! Shame on you - this is a family blog)

And he is a master with his hands. Few compare.

what's a girl to do? All I can think about is getting my hands on him. I look for him whenever I go out. Hoping to catch site of him. So I can take him home with me once again. Once, twice - it's just not enough!

It is too long between each experience.
But I just can't do this right now. The timing is awful.
Three young kids - all in school. Homework, lunches to pack.

I will have to wait until the holidays and next summer before I can start a full-out obsession and immerse myself in him.

and his work.

he's a writer. an author. a musician. and downright sexy.

Greg Iles. And if you haven't read him yet - I invite you to become obsessed too.

Just remember he was mine first.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Results

Do I LOOK like I'm having fun?

My van was totaled.

There, I said it.

Everyone is fine. no serious injuries.

THANKFULLY!



But this was the van we had ONE more payment on.

New au pair was going to pick son up at school and drove into a tree.

Ouch.

Not exactly sure what happened - just know it was 30 yards out of the driveway and she was messing with the radio.



Did I mention we had one more payment?



Bless her heart - it scared her to death.

Hell, it scared me to death!



We have been having a rough adjustment period since she got here. I think my kiddos are more than she bargained for. (truth be told, they are more than I bargained for!)



But she is really trying. She does want to be here.

It's just a lot at once - for ANYONE!



I went to Houston this past weekend for a dear friend's 50th birthday party. I physically had to split the kids up so they would be taken care of and would not KILL each other.

Savvy to Mema's. Smith to Uncle J and Aunt M. Sam at home with Daddy and new au pair.



one payment left ...

i am dwelling, aren't I?

Chin up.
Shoulders back.
Onward...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

We are almost through week three with the new au pair.
She is darling, sweet, cute, funny and trying very hard.

It is completely different than the last go 'round.
Due to my potential audience, I will not go into a lot of detail.

But we are all working very hard to make this a successful year.
Okay, let me restate that...
The new au pair, Hubby and I are working very hard to make this a successful year. My three kids are still well on their way to making the grown ups batty.

On the Milestones of Life front, my four year old son is riding the school bus to school in the mornings. This was not my plan or idea.

I have been taking Savvy and Smith to school every morning - although the bus comes by our house. However, when the new au pair got here, I could not get all three kids to school on time so we had to do some finagling of schedules. New au pair and I would drop Savvy and Smith off at the cousins' house and they would ride the bus from their house to school - with the older cousins. That would allow new au pair and me the time necessary to drive Sam to school in Dallas.

So now, new au pair can drive to Dallas with Sam on her own. And I was going to go back to taking the other two to school every morning. Mainly because I did not want my four year old son on the bus.

But Savvy decided she wanted to ride the bus in the morning. Okay, if she got up early and was ready - she could ride the bus. Easy enough.
She did this for two days and I took Smith to school those days.

Yesterday, Savvy, in her best snake-oil salesman tone, convinced Smith he wanted to ride the bus with her.

At this point she then tells me that after the bus picks her up, it goes and picks up older cousins. (who I know will look after both of them.)

My biggest concern was that the older kids on the bus would pick on him. And Savvy would not stand up to them on his behalf.

Their cousin, a Sr. in high school, is #2 in the state of Texas in ALL classes for weight lifting. I am not so worried about any one picking on my kids with big buff cousin around.

So now, with a combination of pride and grief, I walk both kids to the end of the driveway and put them on the school bus each morning.
and tell myself it is going to be okay.
that they are supposed to grow up and be independant.
that this is my ultimate responsibility - to raise self-sufficient kids.

just didn't know i was going to take such a big leap this week...

sniff, sniff...


Friday, September 19, 2008

Raise Your Arms, Watch Your Knees

& Exit to Your Left Please!

If I had a dollar for every time I said that between 1984 and 1988 - I would be considerably richer than I am today.

The summer after I turned 16 it was time to get a summer job and the small Mississippi town I grew up in didn't offer a lot of choices. I have always been one to dream big so I decided I wanted to work at Six Flags Over Georgia.

Cool. So I took the Amtrak train to Atlanta. One of my Mom's childhood friends picked me up and took me for an interview. I got the job. FABULOUS! Now, where in the heck am I going to stay. My Mom's friend lived too far from the park for that to work.

So my brilliant mother came up with an idea from her youth. She grew up in the Georgia Baptist Children's home in Atlanta. Most summers the 'orphans' (as they called themselves) went to visit with a family somewhere in Georgia.

So Mom whipped up a letter about her daughter wanting to work at Six Flags and was looking for a family that lived near Six Flags that would take on a boarder for the summer. I am serious. We sent the letter to several churches in the Six Flags area. We got one call. As we quickly discovered - it only takes one call.

The family I met and lived with for the next FIVE summers is my family. by choice. I am still in touch with them and their beautiful, talented kids. (they read this sometimes and I want them to know I LOVE THEM TO ABSOLUTE PIECES!)

Meeting them and having them in my life all these years has been the best benefit of those summers at SFOG.

But about the job. It was a real world case of Country Come to Town!

Small town girl meets big city kids.

They smoked, cussed, drank and had sex. Well maybe not all of them - but they were a lot more mature and sophisticated than I was.

I had crushes on all the guys and wanted to be like all the girls. Seriously.

And it was not all fun and games. We worked 8 hour shifts - often in the blazing hot Georgia sun on black asphalt. I worked rides - there was NO AC. I had the absolute best farmer's tan for years. I think I could still find tan lines from those summers! On Saturdays, we could deal with upwards of 40,000 guests in the park. Trust me - that's a lot of people. Concert nights were nothing less than controlled chaos and brought out ALL the freaks.

My Mom used to tell me when I was growing up, "Honey, you have to watch out for the weirdo's out there. They look just like you and me - but they are weird."

After my first concert night I called my Mom. "Mom, you are right. There are weirdos out there - but they don't look like me and you any longer!" Remember this was 1984. I saw kids with piercings in places most people hadn't even dreamed of piercing yet. I thought I was cutting edge then b/c I had one ear pierced twice. One chick had on a halter top of duct tape. wrapped in cones around her boobies. (imagine taking that OFF!)

Chains, spikes, colored hair, leather...

Oh yes, I got a lot of 'exposure' in my formative teenage years.

And then there were lost, snotty kids. Parents who did not want to follow park regulations - even when it was for their own kid's SAFETY! I saw first hand what happened when you put a kid on a ride they were not mature enough for. Broken teeth, bloody noses, vomiting, black eyes - you name it. I escorted my fair share of those to First Aide.

In spite of all the challenges, those were the very best summers of my entire life.

I grew up. I learned how to deal with the public - on a very large scale. I learned how to be a part of team and work with others. I learned responsibility - being the operator for one of those multimillion dollar rides is nothing to sneeze at. Not only are you responsible for the ride - but for the lives of the folks riding it. Their safety is your number one responsibility. And back then - we didn't have Start/Stop buttons. The coasters had hand breaks. You started and stopped those trains on skill. not computers.

I remember one day, a guest had caused a problem; I called in security. They were escorting Mr. Problem out of the park and he came at me physically. I was operating The Great American Scream Machine, a gigantic wooden coaster with two trains on. my supervisor was in my ear - "t_cole - concentrate on the trains. take care of the trains. security will take care of you." And they did - and I learned how to work under pressure.

I got to meet a few of the headliner acts that came through. Let's see, I guess the biggest was Duran Duran. I actually saw girls fainting and crying - like those old Beetles films. I was borderline hyperventilating myself. The operations director - also a friend - told me to leave the area. I looked him dead in the eye and said 'not on your life.' He laughed, let me stay and I got to meet the boys.

Also met Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, Richard Marx and Glass Tiger. Waved at President Jimmy Carter from the train. I know there were more - but they're not coming to me.

But the absolute very best part of the job was not the superstars met but the folks I worked with every day. We worked hard and we played harder. Not before nor since have I known a more energetic, fun-loving group of people.

It was hot. We were sweaty. The park was crowded and noisy. Best of all, we were immortal, hormonal teenagers working in an amusement park. It was a larger than life adventure for us every day. You can't bottle that.

Through the power of the internet and SFOG alumni groups on networking sites, I have recently been in touch with a few of these (once) teenage co-workers. It has been so rewarding to hear that for the most part, they remember it as fondly as I do.

You can't go back. Nor am I trying to. I started at SFOG when I was 16. My last summer I was 20. I went from being an awkward teenager to a worldy young adult in those years. Growing up at SFOG is a permanent part of me and my life's history. Those folks and our shared experiences play a part in who I am today.

and I wouldn't have it any other way...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One week left...

Until the new au pair arrives. Also from Germany.

I have finally leveled off on the emotions and quit crying every time au pair extraordinaire text messages me. I am finding my way without her. It still just sucks. And reminds me greatly how much she added to our family.

But on we go.

My Mom came out this week to help and next week Dad will be here. Last week the in-laws pulled Grand Kid Duty. God bless them all...

I am worried about the expectations thing with the new au pair. I mean, how do you top perfect?

I know, I know, different is okay. And the local coordinator told me I need to wipe the slate clean - start fresh. No expectations. okay. makes sense.

But come on, people. I am human.

But I am trying.

I need my kids to try too - so they don't have her run screaming for the first flight out of Texas in the first 24 hours...

This is going to be so much fun.

I am smiling, dammit...


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Bye Bye Most Wonderful Au Pair in the Universe


I am completely inconsolable.

My MOM gave me permission to cry all day long if I want.

And I want.

Our au pair left today.

I have hurt all day long. could not put words to it. and i was thinking about her and memories of our year and i remembered her introducing hubby and me as her Host Parents.

Host Parents.
Parents.

THAT'S IT!! my child has left home !

and even worse, it's my favorite child.

When I could finally put words to my emotions, I told the Hubby. He said that can't be what I'm feeling. If one of our kids had left home, we would be partying! (And he has a point)

But I have an empty place. If you had told me a year ago that this 18 year old womanchild would come into our lives and make such a huge difference in our qualify of life - I would not have believed you.

But she did. It was not an easy job. And it certainly was not often fun.
But she stuck with it and almost always went above and beyond what was called for.

When I was 12, I started going away for the summers. Camp, boarding school, summer job at SFOG. And I always hated the good byes at the end of the summer. I would more often than not come home crying. My Dad always told me if I had not had a great time and if I did not care about the people I had befriended, it would be easy to leave. And he was not telling me not to have a good time. Or not to develop attachments to my friends. I always thought he was telling me that this is all part of it. It's how you know that you really care. That there was something pure and good in the experience or the relationship. And that something or someone has meaning in your life.

Daddy said the same thing to me today...


I have had a wonderful year. And I love her to pieces.


and my child has left home.



Friday, September 05, 2008

pandering to special needs

i watched her speech the other night. she said that parents of special needs kids would have a friend in the white house if her ticket were elected.

and I thought about that...

and i resented her implying that after being the mother of a special needs child for five months or so she knows what my life is like and can relate. Let's talk again when you have been the mother of a special needs child for nine plus years.

And then I watched this...



blechk!

i too am a woman of faith. i also believe my children are gifts from God and i am privileged to be entrusted with their lives and up bringing.

However, I have never for a nano-second considered Sam's challenges and disabilities to be a blessing of any sort. I would not trade her for anything. And I would like to believe there is some purpose to her differences, but given a choice, i would take her without the challenges over what she now faces any day.

I would also like to believe that divine intervention brought her to us because we are equipped to provide what she needs. In our home, that is mostly true. but i know for fact this intentional divine placement is not true for millions of special needs kids. they are born into all kinds of families. they are abandoned, incarcerated and institutionalized.

so i guess, at this point in the game, i would have to say I'm just not buying what you are selling.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Day At the Lake

This is the before picture.
There is no after picture.

So let me tell you ALL about it.

Family day at the lake. All six of us (including au pair extraordinaire). Add Boat, Extra Large Bum Buster. Shake and Stir.

Savvy and Au Pair take a spin. It looks FUN!
Momma talks Smith into taking a spin.
Smith agrees.
Smith has fun.
Momma has fun.
They laugh.
They wave.
Daddy drives too fast.
Daddy crosses wake of other boat
Momma and Smith bounce.
They bounce A LOT.
They bounce out of the Bum Buster and skim across the surface of the lake like a rock skipping on a pond.
Momma had the presence of mind to grab Smith from behind and hold him close to her chest whilst skipping across lake.
When skipping ceases, Mom and Smith are found bobbing in lake - miles from any shore.
Smith would be the one screaming bloody murder.
Momma would be the one laughing like a lunatic,
trying to convince Smith that this was FUN.
Momma turns Smith around in the water to face her.
Smith glares at Momma with a look that indicates that he had NO IDEA WHATSOEVER that coming out of the Bum Buster was even a remote possibility.
Smith was returned to the boat.
Momma was dragged onto the boat.

For the rest of the day, Smith told everyone that the next time we go to the lake, he is going to Mema's house.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Roll Call, Day Two

Yesterday was the 2ND day of the '08-'09 school year.

Thus far this year...

2 Doctor appointments

1 ear infection

1 nose bleed in class

1 with lice

3 kids that wake in the morning tell me how much they hate school

6 lunches packed

$50 in milk money sent

$200+ spent on prescriptions

Today we get the stuff for the cookie dough and wrapping paper fund raiser. F.U.N.

The first day of school is far and away my most favorite day of the year.
apparently, it goes downhill from there.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

it's the little things that get ya...

Here's my latest rub...

In buying school supplies for the kids from the list prepared by their schools, there is always one item I cannot find. Last year it was that stupid 12X18 manila paper....

This year, it's complicated.

My son will be in Pre-K. He requires a 3-Ring Binder. Sounds easy enough. Sure.
I want him to have a cool one. You know - Batman, Spiderman, Cars, Power Rangers or dinosaurs.

I got Savvy a Camp Rock one. And you can find those at road side produce stands. But can you find a cool 3-ring binder for a boy?
Heck, No!

I have been to Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreen's, Ton Thumb, Kroger's - nothing. All I find are Hannah Montana, High School Musical, cute little puppies, more Camp Rock, the Jonas Brothers and pink ones with polka dots.

I swear to you - not a single one for a hip little boy unless you get plain blue. (and that ain't so hip.)

I have been looking for three weeks. I kid you not!

I know it's stupid. My son is not even aware of my quest for the holy 3-ring binder. And he would likely be happy with a plain blue one. Which is probably what he is going to get...

Such is the misery of an over achieving mother with misplaced priorities...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How Do You Spell


F.E.A.R.L.E.S.S???



At our house, we spell it

S.A.V.V.Y
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

seriously had to write this down

Every once in a blue moon do I have an experience or hear something that just MUST be blogged. This is one of those...

At my hubby's new job he works with a man from Liberia. It has been interesting to see Americans through his eyes.

During orientation my hubby was sitting by him and probably to some extent goaded him on....

The speaker was explaining the company's wellness program. After a few statements, Ahbed raised his hand. He says, "You mean to tell me that you are going to pay people to eat right and exercise?"
the response, "Yes."
Ahbed, "That's crazy. You should eat right and exercise because you want to be healthy."

He went on to ask if the company had told the employees at the light rail shop about this plan because "there are some seriously fat people over there."

One day at lunch we realized how carelessly Americans use the English language. Someone on their team made the comment "I'm starving."
This really set Ahbed off...
"You people do not know starving. In my country, Starving IS Starving."

I love that.
No wonder people see Americans as fat and lazy....

chew on that a while.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Problem with Blogging...

At least for me - is if you take a sabbatical or go on a WalkAbout it is very hard to come back into the blogging fold.
I feel an obligation to 'splain my absence as well as catch you up on the happenings in my life.

so here goes the Catch Up Entry....

  • Bon Jovi concert was excellent - GREAT seats!
  • The right guy won American Idol - Serious Mrs. Robinson fantasy running through my mind.
  • Have a new litter of kittens. Now trying to keep the kids from killing them
  • Kids are out of school - Sam is already in MS with Grandparents and currently en route to Disney World with her Grandmother and baby sitter.
  • The grass needs mowing
  • I had shoulder surgery three weeks ago today and my whole d*mn arm still hurts.
  • My Mom came and took care of me. I love her anew!
  • Had something good happen for me at work - not adding details - but made the last few HORRID months of work seem not so horrid.
  • Had something bad happen at work - some long time colleagues were laid off last week. Always sucks.
  • Relisting our house on Monday to sell so that we can move closer to Dallas (and Sam's school)
  • Have done TONS of work on our place - almost too nice to leave now.
  • Monthly gas cost are in excess of $850. Must move closer to town...
  • The house that we really like for moving into is on the same street as a registered sex offender.
  • Would you move there? Does it matter what the sex crime was - hubby seems to think it does.
  • I do not feel any remorse for my opinion that all sex offenders are vile evil creatures.
  • My husband was fired for apparently no good reason.
  • Was unemployed for almost two months. I work from home. We spent a lot of time together.
  • I discovered I am not looking forward to retirement.
  • He is now gainfully employed at a job he REALLY wanted with outstanding benefits.
  • For the first time ever, there were measurable improvements for Sam in her end of year testing.
  • Shortly after my surgery Sam ate 40 cherries, pits and all. Cherry pits are toxic. Hubby and Grandmother took her to the ER. Cherry pits are only toxic if they are pulverized. She is fine.
  • Savvy and Smith came down with Strep within five days of my surgery.
  • I had to go to the ER twice after surgery - without going into detail - I will say that no one reminded me pre-surgery that taking narcotics for several days will, er, um - stop up the plumbing.
  • Au pair leaves in September (Sob!) trying to figure out if we can actually afford another one. (hubby took measurable pay cut with new dream job)
  • Have read about 12 books already this summer. James Patterson (trying to catch up on all the Alex Cross series) and Anita Shreve top my favorites.
  • Saw the latest Indiana Jones film. I enjoyed it primarily for the nostaglia of it. If I had never seen the other three (as a kid) I prolly would not have liked this one very much...
  • Au Pair's parents came over for a visit and we had a fabulous time with them.

Okay - I am out. That's it. I (you) are pretty caught up now.

We can now return to regular programming.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

parenting tip #568

never EVER hold a funeral for a kitten for the benefit of 9 and 7 year old girls.
particularly when the 9 year old is special needs and the 7 year old is a drama queen of epic proportions.

don't do it.

it ain't pretty.

it took an over sized bottle of red wine for me to recuperate...

RIP sweet Callie.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

it's official - America is tone deaf

i know - don't start on me - i should get a life.
get out more
write about something socially relevant
or mildly entertaining even.

but get this people - i don't get out.
i am not getting a life anytime soon.
and i am DONE with the american idol voting public.

I was down right shocked when Michael Johns was cut two weeks ago. He was a shoe-in for at least the top four. He has real talent. I will be one of the first to buy his CD. but I never personally voted for him. so I had no one to blame but myself.

last night really PISSED me off.
The top two performers of the week in the bottom two.

seriously people - what is this? senior superlatives all over again? This popularity contest masquerading as a talent competition has got me in a complete tizzy (or couldn't you tell?)

and how does yawning on camera or crying every week and flubbing your lyrics make you more popular than people that can sing AND perform! Who is this fan base voting for such nonsense?

sincerely, i like all the top six contestants. They are all likable. All are talented to some degree. But as far as who performed the best on Tuesday night versus who was in the bottom two on Wednesday night -
SERIOUS DISCONNECT here people.

And I did vote for Carly. for the last several weeks. many times.
Therefore I have earned the right to bitch, sulk and complain.

This is me.
Bitching.
Sulking.
and Complaining.


on another note and perhaps contributing to my sullen mood...
after my PC got a virus, I did. Sinus infection leading to an ear ache.

I have not had an ear ache in 25 years at least.
Fluid behind the eardrum - can't hear well kinda junk. 10 days of antibiotics and three weeks later - my hearing is still not back to normal.

and let me just say this - PMS ain't got nothing on ear aches for cranky, irritable, bad moods. I have hardly been able to tolerate myself.

and I was starting to feel better - until last night.
back to bitchy...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

public service anouncement

If you get an IM from a coworker that you rarely - if ever - IM with and the content says something like this "WOW! Is this really you?" followed by a geocities link

DO!NOT!CLICK!ON!THAT!LINK!

And when I say Trust Me On This - I mean TRUST ME ON THIS DAMMIT!

I have been infected. First time ever...

on a MUCHO GRANDE scale with the msn.com variety of the Vundo Trojan thingamagig.

McAfee cannot fix it - not the last time I talked to my internal IT helpdesk anyway.

I love you all - but I do not want to talk about it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

girlfriends...

I have been walking around since I got back from Houston yesterday patting myself on the back.

Seriously. As if I did something spectacular...

I am so proud of myself for having such unbelievable girlfriends.
I mean I am good. DAMN good at choosing top-notch, high quality, genuine, could-not-do-better-if-i-custom-ordered GF's. I have written about girlfriends before. I am just in awe of how meaningful these relationships can be!
(Read this - it's old and I promise 90% of you have never seen it.)


My friend T in Houston has a beautiful home and is a wonderful hostess. She heated up the pool and hot tub for us. (I have to quit typing every few seconds to scratch the sun burn on my back...)

My friend R lives here in Dallas - though we rarely get to see each other - we drove down and back together. It's the shortest four hour drive EVER when we travel it together.

Our friend S lives in Toronto and she flew in for the occasion. I am so flattered that she would go to all that trouble to be with us.

We have all worked together at the same company over the past twelve years and have a lot of the same business associates. Common experiences. Have traveled together - as a group and in pairs - on endless business trips and conventions.
Oh, the war stories we tell...
And those that we don't. (grin)

The really cool thing - to me - is that professionally - these women have all at one time or another acted as a mentor to me. Sometimes unknowingly. But all are phenomenally talented, composed and SUCCESSFUL in their jobs. I have observed them in action over the years and taken so much from them that has added to my own professional accomplishments.

the bonus - not only are they exceptional professionally - they are outstanding women on a personal level as well. compassionate, witty, fun-loving, passionate, accepting and so on and so forth...

Please, someone, tell me - how does it get any better than that?

so anyway - i am pretty button-popping pleased with myself today.
I did a damn fine job of picking out my girlfriends!

on a more humble note - I am most grateful they chose me too. I aspire to add as much to their lives as they do to mine!



Thursday, March 06, 2008

briefly...

being 40 ain't near as bad as I thought it would be

It's snowing at my house for the second time this week

i am addicted - ADDICTED - A.D.D.I.C.T.E.D to American Idol - it is the highlight of my week.

I hate getting up every morning because I am so very unhappy with my work. (I am being as politically correct here as I can on the off chance that someone from my work reads this...)

I work with some really wonderful people and few grumpy old farts that pretty much spoil it for the rest of us.

i am sick to death of working from home and spending 20 hours of every day in the same room. i feel like a cave woman. Especially since the hubby unscrewed all the can lights except the one over my desk to save money.

Going to spend the weekend in Houston with three beautiful, exciting, intelligent, fun loving girlfriends that I don't see near often enough!

we are taking salsa lessons Saturday night.

Oh, and how about this NONrecession we are in. nothing like paying $3+ for a gallon of gas and $5 for a gallon of milk.

having surgery at the end of the month to have my rotater cuff (shoulder thingie) repaired. I have heard it is very painful. I am really looking forward to that. NOT!

A dear childhood friend has a recurrence of cancer. it appears to be serious.

and the beat goes on...
Peace.
Out.


Monday, February 25, 2008

absoutely nothing profound to say...

Yesterday was the big day. turned 40 and all that jazz.
The sky did not turn purple and rain down Ben Gay and support hose...

I got to sleep in - sort of. My parents have this God awful tradition of calling me on my birthday at the crack of dawn. It goes something like this...
"Happy Birthday Darling."
"MMMMFanks"
"Are you still in bed?"
"MMMHmmm"
"Well you woke us up a lot earlier than this (insert current age here) years ago."

I don't know why I thought this year would be different.
It wasn't.

So while I did not get to sleep late - I got to lounge around in bed undisturbed longer than usual because the au pair got up early and taped the kids to the floor.
At least that's what I think she did because they have NEVER in their entire lives been that quiet between 6 and 8 AM.

The night before, hubby and I caught an early movie - Vantage Point (4 out of 5 stars) then went to dinner at a wonderful local Italian place I have always wanted to go to. Au Pair gave me a gift cert for dinner. (she sooooo rocks.) It was early when dinner was out - so we went to see another movie. Jumper (3 stars).
So it was a late night.
And a fun one.

So after lolling about for awhile in bed trying unsuccessfully to go back to sleep, I finally sent for the kids. They ran in and climbed all over me in bed. And while I love the affection I am always amazed at how painful a bony elbow can be in breast tissue. Those mammograms ain't got nothing on my kids' elbows.

Savvy had planned games. So we played Pin The Tail on The Donkey - she drew a picture of a donkey, taped it to the wall, had a ribbon with tape and a blindfold. It was a riot.

Then we had a scavenger hunt and lounged around and watched Hairspray.

The au pair had planned lunch and baked a cake so I had very little to do as far as food prep. T'was lovely.

And in the afternoon - hubby helped me clean out my last flower bed of dead junk and leaves.
AWESOME GIFT of time and labor!

Wasn't it thoughtful of them to schedule the Oscars in honor of my birthday. I was really touched by that show of affection from the Academy of Motion Pictures.

And did I mention that I got Bon Jovi tickets? In the section right beside the stage.
Can you say REACH OUT AND TOUCH???

so um, yeah - you're going to hear about the Bon Jovi concert from now till April 12. And maybe a few days after that whilst I come down from my Jon Bon Jovi high.

hate it for ya...

Friday, February 22, 2008

my au pair is better than your au pair

If you've been by here the past few days, you know I have a pretty nasty case of the Poor Pitiful Me's. It's not been any fun being me.
until today...

Today - this morning - I had a marathon conf call/web-demo that lasted almost three hours. I did not have a chance to grab breakfast before starting. So when it was over at lunch time, I was STARVING!

The Au Pair had left to pick up the son at school and then take him for a fun outing. So I went off to the kitchen on my own to fix me some lunch.

There was a small pink piece of paper on the table that said, "Watch the stove."

And I immediately thought Oh SHIT! she left something on on the stove and I was supposed to watch it and surely it is burned by now.

So I looked at the stove and nothing was on. But there was a pot on it and another note beside it.

It said "I figured you'd be starving when you got off your call. I cooked some pasta, here's the sauce. Heat it up in the microwave and lunch is ready."

I almost cried. Someone had really thought about me and my needs and done something about it. Every now and then someone does something for me that is so thoughtful and completely unnecessary - like this - and I feel all warm and glowing on the inside. Like my heart is going to burst.

And that, my friends, is my definition of a Warm Fuzzy.



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

get over yourself

is what I would tell myself if I was my friend and knew what was going through my mind in regards to my 40th birthday.

for some reason - and i don't know why - I am spending an inordinate amount of time obsessing about this birthday.

it's just stupid. really.
i know that.

and I can't decide if it is because i am bothered about being older. i mean remember when you were 18 and 40 was ancient. I mean REALLY old.
Yeah, I remember that too.
now 18 seems unbelievably YOUNG!
when did that happen?

And part of it is that I would LOVE a big huge party with all my friends there.
But that would require funds we don't have. Need to be dumping moola into finishing our master bath so we can relist the house and move closer to Sam's school.

Pretty sure hubby is getting me the Bon Jovi tickets. And I am split on my emotions on that too. I really want to go to the show. I really want good seats. But again, the MATURE responsible adult in me knows that we should spend the money on the house and moving.

Tomorrow we have to pay a $1000 deposit for Sam's school. Just paid our land taxes - which are obnoxiously high in Texas because we don't have state income taxes. Money is flying out off the checkbook. Christmas was a Cash Only affair, both grandfathers and two kids have just had birthdays. So needless to say - we are cash poor right now.

so maybe it just sucks to be turning 40 and not have any discretionary income to do with what I want. At the same time being responsible enough to not go on a credit card binge to get and do what I really want.

Like I said - Get.Over.Yourself, tcole

Post Note - To those of you out there with real problems, I apologize for complaining over nothing...

Monday, February 18, 2008

10 things

My friend Misty challenged me to list 10 things that make me happy.
And I have been thinking about this list for well over a week now.
I fear my list makes me appear uncreative and shallow.
not that i care.

1. my son running up to me arms wide open squealing "HUGGY MOMMY!"
2. sleeping late*
3. long hot uninterrupted baths*
4. losing weight*
5. time spent with my girlfriends*
6. having the time to read a really good book*
7. samantha coming home from school and telling me she has a new word. (she only gets new words when she can pronounce them correctly 100% of the time)
8. going shopping and finding a really good deal
9. someone complimenting me on my children's manners
10. Having money left in my checkbook the day before payday*

* these are all theoretical because they never happen anymore - but if they did, it would make me very happy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

cold shower first thing in the morning

Last night I dreamt I had a serious make-out session with Simon Cowell.

For those of you living on Mars - Simon's the sharp-tongued Brit judge on American Idol.


Maybe it's the kinder, gentler Simon the producers are pushing on us this season.
Maybe it's the accent...
Maybe it's his manly chest...

I don't know.


But I can tell you this -

I will never EVER look at Simon the same way.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Politics And Religion

Yes, I am going to take a walk on the WILD side... And blog about Politics And Religion...

I realize these topics are taboo for many people in polite conversations.

However, for those of you that know me, you know nothing is taboo. And I am not alway polite...

And it may help you to understand my motivation for this post...

A couple months ago at my Southern Baptist church I had a serious disagreement with one of the preacher's decisions regarding the congregation of our little country church. While his rhetoric was spot on, his methodology for enacting said rhetoric was HUGELY and intolerably out of line.

So hubby and I decided to stop attending our little church. I was hugely saddened by our decision. I love this church but felt it was important to separate ourselves from the decision this one man made as it appeared to represent the entire church body.

In my despair, I emailed (on Facebook) several of my cherished life-long friends and told them about what had happened and asked for their spiritual support. And, bless 'em - they gave it lovingly and willingly.

And out of our very supportive conversation, an idea grew - we decided to do an on-line Bible Study. We selected a book and started discussing (via IM) a chapter every week.

So a couple weeks ago we were getting together on IM - waiting for everyone to join - a couple of us gals started talking about preferences for presidential candidates. The other two - preferring republicans. And I said - kinda tongue-in-cheek - "I try very hard not to vote the GOP ticket if I can help it."

And one of my dear friends - that I have known since childhood says to me/us - "I cannot talk about this with you anymore as I have a serious disconnect from Liberals."

ouch.

that stung.

and really hurt my feelings... (don't disparage my friend in comments - please - as I do love her dearly)

so I am a liberal. I mean I have been called worse. truly.

Growing up at my Grandfather's knee in South Mississippi I found myself Southern Baptist and Southern Democrat. The two were one in the same. coexisting. for all practical purposes, indistinguishable from the other.

when, exactly did that change? and has it? changed.

I can remember my Grandfather telling me how all the local democrats - on the state and county levels - created jobs for people during the depression years. Roads were built. people got paid. families got fed.
And this was VERY close to home.

These jobs created by the local democrats kept my grandfather's family and close-knit community from going hungry. And afforded some of them the extravagant luxury of sending their children to college.

There was no greater affront than for these kids to go to college, get a degree and come home a Republican. Lord Forbid!

But it happened...

And I heard about it. More than once, mind you.

People of my Grandfather's generation did not forget transgressions of such magnitude.

Many of my people in South Mississippi - Great Uncles, Cousins, and Great Grandfathers - were elected officials on the county and state level. On the Democrat ticket. Southern Baptist, all. My roots.

I was living in Baltimore, Maryland when William Jefferson Clinton was campaigning against George Bush. I remember a visit home to Mississippi and my Grandfather taking his worn, well-read Bible and sharing scripture with me that, to him, indicated Bill Clinton would be our next president.

He was so certain of his conviction he told me that if George Bush was elected president again he would put down that Bible and never pick it up again. And he meant it.

But Granddaddy and his Bible were right, lest you forget the results of that election...

I know you are dying to know what verses he shared with me - and there were several. But the only one I can recall is this...

God is talking to Abraham about his descendents - bearing in mind that Abraham's descendants are the people of Israel.

"I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Genesis 12: 3).

Granddaddy went on to explain at that time, President Bush had provided missiles to the enemies of Israel and had trained those enemies on how to use these weapons against the people of Israel.

President Bush had literally cursed Israel.

You do the math...

Granddaddy did.

People have always said of Democrats - All they want is more taxes and bigger government.

People, please. Who in their right mind wants more taxes? Not me. And I damn sure don't want any more government than we already got - 'cause we got more than we need as it is. Still, I am realistic enough to acknowledge there are some necessary evils...

But I am a democrat.

I reckon I must be a modified version.

My Daddy always said we didn't make enough money to be Republicans. That cracks me up. I have pissed off more than a few people with that comment.

So I am a Democrat. But I did not get here blindly. It would be easy for you to say I drank the family kool-aide and just went along with the inherited rhetoric.

Do I really seem the type?
to follow anything blindly?
seriously, people.

There's more than just my roots. I got some branches as I grew up...

Young Democrats in college.

Card carrying member of Planned Parenthood.

Met Al Gore at a political rally my Jr year of college when he was still a senator from Tennessee. My Dad and I chatted with him - just the three of us - for about ten minutes. I told my Dad that night on the way home I wanted That Man in the White House one day. And if the people in Florida knew how to punch a hole and/or count - I would have gotten my wish.

Personal family history with Trent Lott. I know what kind of man he is. I knew before everyone else did.

I won't get into the issues - but now you know my politics.

Call me a liberal.

whatever...


Now on to religion.
I did say Southern Democrat AND Southern Baptist...

You have probably heard people say "I was raised in the Baptist Church or the Catholic church, etc." I have said it plenty of times myself.

Well any good Bible thumper worth their salt knows that God doesn't have grandchildren. Either you are a child of God or you ain't. Doesn't matter what church you were raised in. Just because Momma and Daddy are members, doesn't mean you are. It's not like the Country Club...

Simple enough concept.

But it just so happens that my Christianity came to me via the Southern Baptist Church. That does not mean I am especially fond of Baptists. Even if I am one…

Most Baptist are wonderful, loving, God-fearing people. It's the few (okay, maybe more than a few) zealots that give the rest of us a bad name.

My church, growing up, was full of imperfect sinners. Even in my youth, I was not blind to the inequities present in our congregation. Black families that dare darken our First Baptist door were quickly invited to attend the Negro Baptist church on the other side of the tracks.

One of the deacons played a role in a lynching of a black man accused of raping a white woman.

We were encouraged to bring our rock and roll records and cassettes to the revival so we could burn them and rid ourselves of all the hidden satanic messages.

But still, in the midst of all this, I had the most phenomenal Youth director, who along with his wife supported me and the other youth in our church. We learned about fellowship and covering each other's backs. Our youth group did not enjoy a utopian existence, but for the most part - we were there for each other - at church and at school.

That Baptist youth group got me through many a rough spot in Jr. & Sr. High School. It gave me a solid moral foundation. At the same time opening my eyes to the inherent flaws in most organized religions.

and that being they all like to stand at the fence and yell:

"You're going to hell and we're not.. Nanny Nanny Boo Boo"
"No, You're going to Hell!"
"No, You Are."


So what do I believe?

Here goes...
I still consider myself a Baptist. guilty by affiliation.
But I am a Christian first.
I believe spirituality - through faith - is your personal relationship with Christ, the Son of God.

Thus Christianity.
Religion, is socialized spirituality. And it is Religion that often gives spirituality a bad name...

One thing that makes me a really bad Baptist - and I like to think a really good Christian - is I do not judge. I don't. And the good Baptists will write to me and say "we don't judge. God judges."

No, really, I have been to Sunday School with you folks. I know how you talk about all the Catholics going to hell in a hand basket. And how you like to poor mouth the non-denominational churches - and call them ‘Feel Good’ Churches - like that's a bad thing. Let's get something straight - If I can't go to church and FEEL GOOD about it, I don't wanna go...
I've heard what you say about people that drink. And dance and good heavens, the homosexuals.

JUDGE. JUDGE. JUDGE.

And I don't think the Baptists are all that special. And just like I can talk about the rednecks, I can dis the Baptist - because I are one. You will NEVER catch me talking trash about other denominations.

Still, I like to imagine that the Methodist talk about the Catholics and the Lutherans talk about the Presbyterians.
and so forth and so on...

It's someone's motto or I heard it in a movie -
"Kill 'em all - Let God sort 'em out."

me, my motto -
"Love 'em all - Let God sort 'em out."



Thursday, February 07, 2008

good news - bad news

The Good -
Sam's fever is non-existent this morning. And no one else is showing symptoms of the flu. I take back what I said about the CDC.
I always said that you could inject Savvy with Ebola and she would not even get a sniffle. The child has a top notch immune system. We are seriously testing that theory this week.

The Bad -
In an attempt to entertain aforementioned kids inside this week, I put a king size sheet over my ANTIQUE dining room table yesterday to make a 'house' for them to play in. Thinking the worst possible thing that could happen is that they might bump their sweet little heads on it while going in and out.

That's what I get for thinking...

This morning Savvy tells Sam she needs to check the chimney on the "house". And we all know where the chimney is, right? On TOP of the "house". So I hear BAM and then Smith wailing...

I go into the dining room and my ANTIQUE dining room table is COMPLETELY upside down. All four legs up in the air. Sam had climbed on top of the table to check the chimney - as she was instructed to do by her bossy little sister. Her weight on one end, FLIPPED THE DAMN* THING COMPLETELY OVER. Scared the shit* out of every one of them.

Lucky as hell* someone's head was not crushed in the process. My dining room does not have carpet or wood floors. We are talking HARD CERAMIC TILES here peeps.

In my questioning rage of WHAT THE HECK WERE YOU THINKING that ensued, Savvy says - "she (Sam) had checked the chimney before...."

YOU MEAN SHE HAD ALREADY BEEN ON TOP OF MY TABLE????!!!!
AND WHAT MADE YOU THINK THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA????


* This JUST happened and my language choices reflect the immediacy of my angst.



Wednesday, February 06, 2008

playing host

my daughter, Sam is playing host to the flu bug this week.

lovely, huh?

4 AM this morning she crawls in bed with me sporting a 102 degree F fever.
And yes, we ALL had the flu shot this year. Apparently the strain making the rounds 'round here was not covered in this flu season's vaccine. Nice try, CDC. Close, but no cigar...

So it is only a matter of hours, really, before I have three kids, a hubby, an au pair and likely ME with the freak'n flu.

so before I succumb, a few follow up points from recent posts...

Hubby asked again what I want to do for my 40th birthday. Again, I tell him "nothing". I know I should tell him something - but I can think of nothing. Money is tight. I'd really like tickets to the Bon Jovi concert in April. REALLY good seats. I'd like that a lot. My foolish pride refuses to let me tell him that.

Super bowl with the in-laws was fun. seriously. 'cept for the beginning of the 4th quarter when I had to take a time out and bath all three kids by myself. Put them in their PJs so that when we got home, we could just toss them in bed as we walked past their rooms.

Mainly it was fun - and this is a gross display of ignorance here - because Eli Manning is the QB for the Giants. Until the day of the Super Bowl, I did not realize this. And while I am not a Giants fan, per se - my family (my Mom, Dad & brothers) are MANNING fans.

Archie's from Drew, Mississippi, for goodness sake. He played for Ole Miss. So did Eli. Both go back to Ole Miss and hang out in The Grove for football weekends. My brother was telling me yesterday about chatting with Eli and Archie last year in The Grove. (and yes, we forgive Payton for going to Tennessee.)


My dad was friends with Archie's coach at Ole Miss, Coach Vaught. My Dad has met him a couple times over the years at golf tournaments and such. And every time - Dad says Archie's just "Good People."


So through the years we have watched Payton and Eli and enjoyed their successes. I just didn't remember that Eli was with the Giants.
So the game was fun. The ending - phenomenal!


Okay - going to make some home made chicken noodle soup.
And prepare for the worst.
hunkering down
over and out...