Sunday, July 29, 2007

A friend told me recently that I was "so much more interesting in person" than on my blog. It's true--I am a pretty boring blogger. For the most part, I find that people are interested in the angst; the sorrow and sadness or anger that makes us all feel connected somehow.
I can't do it.
I can't vomit emotion in public, and I consider a blog a very public forum. I have suffered a lot in the past years, and I want to focus on the positive, with which I have been richly blessed. The everyday hurts, the tragedies, the anger--I don't really want to make them more real by publishing them on the web. I prefer to just deal quietly with life's disappointments and move on. So I'm boring...I'll take it.
For the record I am grateful for the wonderful folks who come visit me here, and occasionally leave a comment or two. I'll keep reading and stay in touch. I think it's time for me to just take a little break from writing and enjoy my life--boring or not.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

For those of you who don't know, this is a John Deere L130--also known as one big ass lawn mower. It is huge--much bigger than I need for my yard. It was fine for my previous 3 acre spread, but here it is a bit much. Still, it is the mower I have. My neighbors have all commented on the huge mower--especially since it wouldn't fit into the garage for several weeks and sat out in the driveway. One of them finally told me that the neighbors were taking bets on how long it would be before it was stolen, as such nice lawn equipment really shouldn't be left out for every one to see...I moved it into the garage after that, as I really knew that he meant that in this neighborhood, we don't leave yard stuff out in the driveway.

I think it really is more likely that they are all jealous and waiting to see it in action--my yard hasn't been mowed in weeks. Not a problem with the drought we had earlier, but in the past 2 weeks we have had rain. Lots of rain, and the grass is literally knee high. Unfortunately, the "deere" doesn't run. I changed the oil in it before we moved (yes, I changed the oil. Got out the book, read the directions and taught my boys how to change the oil and filter). The boys used it one last time at the old house, and it ran out of gas. The little one put the gas in it that we use for the weed whacker (the kind with oil mixed in) and put it in the garage. It hasn't run since. Bummer.

Today, with my grass blowing gently in the wind, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands. I had consulted with my Deb's husband, Bill, and he had give me the low down on bad gas, fouled spark plugs, dirty carburetors, etc. I dutifully went and bought stuff and came home--then couldn't find the damn spark plug! Bill came over and gave me a quick tutorial--showed me where the parts all were, and I was off again to buy the right size spark plugs, and a new air filter and battery for good measure. I got home and --here is the cool part--changed the spark plugs (yes, they were fouled, air filter (filthy), and battery (which since the headlights didn't work, I figured was totally dead), and cleaned the carburetor! The damn thing still wouldn't crank--but it did have headlights again, so I knew it had power. Bill came back, and still, no luck. So, I woke up my very jet lagged son, who showed us which switches and levers had to be where, and you guessed it--it cranked right up and "ran like a deer".

I am beside myself! It was better than running a code--at least when I got my lawn mower back I knew what I was getting. Codes don't always go so well. Maybe I need to change professions. From what I hear, mechanics make better money than I do...and I now own my very own spark plug wrench! Hey, its a possibility!

I think one of the very best things about being divorced is finding out what I am capable of. My "motto" for a while has been "if not me--who? if not now--when?" It gets me up and going when I feel overwhelmed with dealing with something I never thought I would have to deal with. But, invariably, once I have done it, I feel totally awesome. Not that I really want to spend my life working on lawn mowers, but it is nice to know that I can do what I have to do. And it is good for the kids to see it, too. Never too late to be a good example, I guess. Now, I think I may actully cut the grass--naaaah, the boys can continue that little chore for a few more years!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Be nice to me--I gave blood today.....

A week or so ago, I was really moved by this blog, in which Em was upset because she wasn't able to donate blood. I was so impressed. You see, at 46, I have never given blood. I hope that makes me an oddity. Anyway, the idea of this child crying because she couldn't donate absolutely shamed me to death--so I decided to give blood.

It isn't that I haven't thought about it--I have considered it a lot. My dad was a Red Cross Wonderboy, until he had heart surgery in 1977...after all his transfusions, and with the medications he was on he never was eligible again. Unfortunately, those same lifesaving transfusions ultimately killed him, as he contracted hepatitis C (unknown at the time) and subsequently got hepatocellular carcinoma. But, that is another blog altogether.

My public reasons for not donating were plentiful: for years I was underweight, then anemic, then I had travelled in Africa (got me off the hook for a long time), then in the years of pregnancy and postpartum, then anemic again, then underweight again--always a good excuse to my ultimate relief, and none of them exactly truthful.

The truth? I didn't want my blood being wasted on some scum that I felt didn't deserve it. Yes, you read that right. I did not want my blood supporting some alcholic with cirrhosis, some drunk who had just plowed his car into a family, some gang member shot up in a fight--I didn't want my blood "wasted" on someone I thought wasn't worthy.

I was on the marrow donor list-have been for years. I thought that saving someone with cancer was OK, but I just couldn't bring myself to support a life I didn't approve of. I guess I just saw too many gallons of blood poured into people who were like those mentioned above and it just infuriated me. The waste of their life was their business--but wasting my blood was mine.

Still, I was touched by the selflessness of Em, and her desire to give to a complete stranger. And I sat down and really thought about my stance--which I confess had not crossed my mind in at least 10 years. And I realized that I go out of my way to give freely and without strings in every aspect of my life. I tell my children over and over (until they are sick of it I know) that a gift is given with NO STRINGS--what the recipient does with it is their business. Otherwise, it is not a gift. So what did that say about my lack of generosity with my own lifeblood? I am a very healthy woman--blessed with healthy children. Who am I not to share that gift with anyone else that needs it?

So, I gave blood today. I didn't look when they stuck the big grownup needle in my arm (remember, I am used to tiny needles in tiny people!) It actually didn't hurt a bit. I was so stoked at how easy it was! I plan to become a regular. Hopefully my little pint will go a long way towards helping someone somewhere who needs it. And for once, I really don't even care who.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My son is home!!!!

My first impression was to write, "my baby is home," but he is so not a baby anymore. I think he grew 2 inches and I know his voice is deeper. He also has an air of confidence that he didn't have before he left...I am one proud mom.

His favorite part of the trip? "I loved the bungee jump, and the zorbing, and of course, snow-boarding, but the best was all the cool people, and making such great new friends."

He took some wonderful pix--one of them is above. It is where they filmed "Lord of the Rings"...I told him his pictures were beautiful. He said that "you can't take a bad picture there--everything is beautiful."

So, despite a very, very long day--which included no sleep for me (plane got in at 2:37 am) and getting rear-ended this afternoon (don't think I am hurt, but the car.....bad news) I am one happy and tired lady--going to bed with all my chickens in the nest at last.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My Summer Stash Swap package has arrived!

What an amazing treat. Melissa, in Greenfield, Mass, put together the perfect knitting stash treat for me.

What is utterly amazing is that without knowing me, without even ever meeting me, she picked perfect little gifts. My daughter asked me where I had met her--"I haven't". She read my blog, and figured out from that what would make me smile. It is amazing.

I got lovely stitch markers, which you can't appreciate in the picture, but they are Americana at its best! Stars, USA, flags...perfect! And the needle case is stars and stripes, and the sock yarn--not just any sock yarn, mind you, but Lorna's Lace "Liberty" is red, white and blue! The beautiful hand-dyed pastel is super yummy, but best of all: the "Welcome to our Home" sign, handpainted on slate. It is perfect!

Thank you so much Melissa! What a perfect, perfect gift! I hope to get to meet you someday, or at least to find your blog and get to write!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mommy guilt

I was reading a post the other night by a mom who's daughter had "borrowed" the family car, and been stopped by the police; the car was impounded. Mom was guilt-laden:

"I could kick myself in the ass for not keeping the car keys away from you. A learner's permit, after all, means that you are learning. The reason it isn't a legal right to drive by yourself is simply because you don't completely know how, yet! And that means it wasn't a matter of "trusting" you with the keys. Boredom, a hot summer day, the new thrill of driving a car and those keys beckoning you--it's my fault, ultimately. I wasn't protecting you."

I have to say, I could have written that myself--any of the number of times my kids have screwed up. Because, after the relief that they aren't dead comes the guilt. "What did I do wrong? How could I have prevented this?" etc. Yes, I know it is irrational, but it is like a reflex--completely out of conscious control.

At what point does it stop being the mom's fault? When they are 3 and hitting other kids at schol? When they are 6 and not invited to the popular kid's birthday party? When they are 10 and don't complete their summer reading? When they are 14 and failing biology? When they are 17 and pregnant? When do we start holding our kids accountable--or at least stop blaming ourselves?

One of my dear friends is my hero on this issue. After years of torturing herself whenever her son screwed up she finally saw the light. Let me say, the "system" doesn't support you in this!
Several weeks before graduation she received a call from her son's Spanish teacher that he wasn't passing, and might not graduate. The teacher wanted to know what she was going to do about it.
"I think you have the wrong number," she said. "Let me give you his cell..."
The teacher was sure she had not heard correctly. My friend explained to her that this was not HER problem, but her son's and only he could fix it. He went on to fail Spanish, and is now in summer school--which he is paying for himself. Harsh? Maybe, but I think it is brilliant and appropriate in every way. I wish I had her kind of common sense.

I am working hard on this one--really making a conscious effort to "mail it to the right address" as one of my friends says. It may be too late. My daughter screamed at me yesterday--ranted and raved and when I told her not to talk to me in that tone she screamed: "This is all your fault! You shouldn't try to talk to me when I am in a bad mood."

She is right. It is my fault. I should have let her face the consequences of being ill-tempered a few more times when she was younger. Now we both have a lot to learn. Hopefully, I'll catch on quickly, and so will she.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The closest thing to being home

My dear friend Darlene says good-bye to her boy soon. Isaiah is a Marine and will be leaving for Iraq in a couple of weeks for an 18 month tour of duty. We are all so proud of him. His mom loved this song and sent it to him: he in turn created this youtube for her to share his life with her since his enlistment. She has only seen him twice in almost 2 years. The pictures are of Isaiah, his sister and nephew, their family, and all of his brothers in the corps. As you can see, he is a beautiful young man. He sent her apologies for the occasional "finger" but hey, that is life with the guys.
This video gives me goosebumps--the quote at the end sums up Isaiah to a tea.

Isiah--we are all so proud of you and all that you stand for. God Speed, and God Bless.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hey mummy!

Hey baby! How are you?

I'm really cold.

You sound like it--your teeth are chattering! Get some warmer clothes.

I'm wearing 4 layers!

Buy some more!

But its 10 degrees on the ground.

Wait, where are you?

I'm about to bungee jump off a bridge--300 feet. It'll be great!

Conner, what the hell are you doing calling me to tell me that you are "about to jump" off a f***ing bridge in New Zealand? You're supposed to call and say "mom, I just jumped off a bridge." Past tense. Now you have to call me back later!

But it'll be 2 in the morning there...

I don't give a rat's fanny what time it is. I better hear back from you tonight!
And son, I love you.....

I love you too mummy....
A fun meme from liv

1. Who was your best friend? Sally. A total back-stabbing bitch.

2. What sports did you play? Sports? on purpose?

3. What kind of car did you drive? Green Celica

4. It’s Friday night, where were you? Football game in the fall; other than that in Meridian, Missippi at the movies or sneaking into "Cash McCool's". It was a DISCO and I loved to dance.

5. Were you a party animal? Oh, hell no. My mom would have killed me.

6. Were you considered a flirt? Definitely. But I had a steady, so it was all in fun.

7. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? choir--at the local college.

8. Were you a nerd? well, yeah. I was the valedictorian, and one of only 5 of us who left town to go to college. So I guess that qualifies me as a nerd.

9. Did you get suspended/expelled? No.

10. Can you sing the fight song? We had a fight song?

11. Who was your favorite teacher? Linda Edmonds. She taught science. She put up with a lot from the 7 of us that took her class. When she went into labor she drove herself to the hospital 23 miles away on a tractor.

12. School mascot? Eagles!

13. Did you go to Prom? Yes, for 4 years straight!

14. If you could go back and do it over, would you? Hell, no.

15. What do you remember most about graduation? Our class president falling off the stage. She was a little intoxicated.

16. Where were you on senior skip day? Didn't have that.

17. Did you have a job your senior year? Other than babysitting, no.

18. Where did you go most often for lunch? Outside.

19. Have you gained weight since then? I have gained and lost. gained with pregnancies, lost with stresses. My lowest was 20 pounds under my graduation weight (not good); I currently weigh about 5 pounds more.

20. What did you do after graduation? school/work/school/work

21. Who was your Senior prom date? Ronnie, my first love

23. Are you going / did you go to your 10 year reunion? went to the 20th...

24. Who was your home room teacher? not sure...

25. Who will repost this after you? I hope that maybe Miss Pea will play along....

Monday, July 09, 2007

Have you seen this? (The new and improved "Seven Wonders of the World")
In case you missed it, since the originals were for the most part "no longer available" there was a contest to choose new ones. These are the winners. Quite frankly, I don't get it. Yeah, the Christ the Redeemer statue is cool. But how did it beat out Easter Island? The Pyramids of Giza? The Acropolis? Stonehenge? And how did the Statue of Liberty even get in there? I love the Statue, don't get me wrong, but is simply is not in the league with a pyramid.

Many folks are saying it was a huge popularity contest, with countries pressing their citizens to vote so that they would get a bigger piece of the tourism pie. Probably so. But hey, what do you expect? I guess being a "wonder" these days is kind of like being a "hero"--lots of votes, little substenence.

Seems to me there should have been some sort of international committee with no vested interest in the results--God only knows how it would be selected (What about those Nobel prize people--maybe they could have helped). At least that way the results would have had some meaning other than being the "Seven Places Most Likely to have been voted on by someone with a computer somewhere". I mean, it's like American Idol, only worse.

What do you think? Did you vote? Did your favorite win? Do you even care?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

My teens and tweens.....

What a fun weekend! I had 2 of my own (tye dye and M.E. in the Middle) and 3 friends at Jeckyl Island for a little fun and sun. We had a blast. My favorite moments:

1. Watching a 4ish old girl spot Heather (the REDhead) on the beach and gasp: "the little mermaid!" I hope her folks milked it as much as I would have...

2. Petting wild manatees off the dock

3. Spending time with fellow bloggers, Peaches, and Liv, and meeting other new and groovy blog friends. Peaches is even more fun in person--of course, when you feel like you know someone already, meeting them in person is just sort of--WOW! Kind of like when you go to a family reunion and reconnect with a cousin or someone you haven't seen in ages, but that you somehow share a history with...
anyway, it was delightful in every way, and we have to do it again really soon!

4. Having Liv give me credit for a beach pick-up...was that what that was?

5. driving home to find RAIN!!!!

6. not one, but two phone calls from my precious Conner, in New Zealand. He is having a blast, but has decided that sea kyaking 6 miles in frigid ocean water is "crazy". He said the sweetest thing ever though: "Mom, I want to get a job and save up so I can bring you here--it is so beautiful, I know you would love it." Isn't that the best compliment a 14 year old can give?

Great weekend! Now, back to reality!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I have seen this one going around, and decided to play...enjoy and give it a whirl if you like!

8 Random Facts About Me....

1. I am becoming totally disconnected from my family (brothers and mom). I would not be surprised if I never saw them again. To most of you this is probably no big deal. To anyone who knows me, or my family, it is shocking.

2. I have never tried any drug for recreational purposes, and have never even considered smoking. Not for any reason other than a total fear of loss of control. I could never risk being dependent on any substance for any thing--even just a good time.

3. I have never had sex with anyone I didn't plan to marry. In a couple of cases, it just didn't work out...

4. I have horrible, inexplicable road rage. I fully expect to be shot someday by some asshole because I flipped him/her off for doing something stupid or rude.

5. I have, in fact, broken all ten commandments. It is not something I am proud of, by any means, but it is true. I wonder how many other people have as well--and are willing to admit it?

6. I don't believe in hell--see #5.

7.I have no fear of death. In fact, I rather look forward to it. That is not to say that I am ready to die--or that I wouldn't be pissed off to be "dying". There is still a lot I want to accomplish and I have 3 wonderful kids I want to share more time with. I just don't see death as the horror that many people do. It is more of a transition than an end in my mind. Hope I'm right (about #6 too)

8. I really want to love, and be loved again.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy Fourth of July!

I know that there are many who do not agree with the current political situation in this country; however, I have to go on record as saying: this is still the greatest country in the world, and we are all damn lucky to be living here.

As for our military: I salute them all. The sacrifices they make so that we can enjoy the freedom and safety we have here are unbelievable. I don't care if you support "the war", if you don't support the soldiers who defend your right to have an opinion then you are just a class 4 A shit. End of story. I have several friends who have sons (and let's face it--it could just as easily be daughters) as well as personal friends who are serving our country in Iraq as well as other countries around the world. They are finest people I know, and I commend them, and thank them from the bottom of my soul.

I hope that you all have a safe, happy and wonderful Fourth. If you are enjoying your freedom--thank a soldier. And his family. They deserve it.

Monday, July 02, 2007

My Baby is Gone!!!

My sweet middle child is in New Zealand--having the time of his life (I hope). I didn't anticipate how much I would miss him, or how hard it would be not to be able to contact him. When the little one was off at camp, I wrote him every day--got a couple of letters from him as well. I couldn't talk with him, but let's face it: if I needed too I could call or even go get him--it was only 4 hours away.

New Zealand is another story all together. So far they have Zorbed, Spelunked in one of the largest caves in the world (they rappelled FIVE MINUTES to get down into it), dug holes at a geothermic beach and basked in the resulting natural hot tub, had dinner with a Maori tribe, and skiied and snowboarded. This is only 5 days into their trip. He did call once, to let me know he was there, and having an awesome time.

I am so grateful that he has this opportunity. It has been a hard year for him. Not only did his parents divorce and he changed schools, one of his best friends died. I figure he deserves a great summer trip. He is an amazing kid, and I am eternally proud and grateful to be his mom.

So, as his counsellor said at the airport: "NO WORRIES MATE!"