Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Buzz saws and hammering

...are not the type of sounds that are sweet on the ears after a long day at work.

Really, if I was anymore tense right now I think I'd be vibrating.

There is it again, that loud screeching whine and the staccato pounding of a hammer on wood. Over and over again. Have I mentioned how loud it is? How incredibly stupid I feel to allow myself to be lulled into a state of near relaxation only to flinch in shock every time it starts up again. Have I mentioned the fact that the guy doing it likes to talk to himself and hasn't really been quiet since he got to my house three and a half hours ago?

He's a pleasant sort, engineer by day, laborer by night. Jovial even at times. *Sigh* I really shouldn't complain.

Tomorrow when I get up I'll have new custom fit countertops in my kitchen. Tomorrow night the remaining work on my cabinets will be finished. By the end of the week a new tile floor will be installed.

Assuming of course that I don't spontaneously combust before then!

Spa days should be tax deductible! Why doesn't somebody lobby for that, huh?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Pick Me!

The Queen is hosting another competition this month... The assignment is a picture that reflects your idea of love.

This is my entry.

The Brain is about three years old in this picture and I had just asked him if he had gotten into the Halloween candy that I had left out. Instead of answering he shook his head and stuck his tongue out for proof. My brother was on the ball and caught this picture.

How could you NOT love that face??

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A day of fun

You know you're in a true Southern home when the cart that holds your pencils and office supplies also holds your booze!

We had a lot of fun today! TV guy and I took The Brain to a birthday party out in the country. It may seem strange that we still do stuff like this, but after four years we've managed to develop relationships with each others friends. It just so happens that today there was a birthday party for a friend of ours youngest daughter. The oldest daughter (Contessa) is about a year younger than The Brain and they have been playing together now for close to half their lives. Since TV guy and I still remain close it only makes since that we continue to do things that we've always done.

While I didn't know many of the people at the party, which by the way was filled with the best that The South has to offer, rednecks, good ol'boys, and g.r.i.t.s., I did know enough of them from the multitude of funerals, weddings, and parties over the years to feel right at home.

At one point our friends son was passed along to me and became my companion for the rest of the evening. He looks like a little pixie, a happier baby I've never seen. I was upset to learn though that he will have to have open heart surgery this summer to repair some defect that he's had since birth. It seems so unfair that someone so young should have to be tested so thoroughly. Once I heard that I had a very tough time letting him go. What a cutie!!

Anyway, there were probably close to 15 kids there of varying ages and twice as many adults. Food, cake, chaos, and laughter dominated the setting and more than once I had to check on The Brain and the Contessa to make sure that they were behaving themselves. It seems that it's never too young to play a game of you show me yours and I'll show you mine. Ah, young love!

All in all I think TV guy and I were both surprised at how much fun we had. It was really nice to get away and just have fun and be silly for a while. The Brain was asleep before his head hit the pillow.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Check it out...

Allison over at Geronimo! started a really interesting "debate" earlier today that I invited myself into. It was her post that ultimately led me to post The Desiderata.

Personally, I love that there are so many smart and insightful women blogging.

Check her out! It's worth the time it takes to read it.

My aspirations

My dad first gave me a copy of the Desiderata when I was eight years old and I've used it as a guideline in my life ever since.
I gave up on organized religion years ago and made peace with myself, I figured that if I can learn to do these things that Max so eloquently lays out for us here, everything else will work itself out in the end.
I hope you enjoy it.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Halloween 2004

To say that I know some unusual people would probably be a bit of an understatement. With the exception of the bag on his head, the costumes alone in this picture aren't enough to guarantee that is a picture from a Halloween party. These are two of the nicest, most intelligent, and downright creative people that I know (who also happen to be married to each other).

But that had nothing to do with why I decided to post this.

To be honest, I just liked the picture.

Friday, January 20, 2006

And the winner is...

I'm not sure there are adequate words in the English language to express how very glad I am that this particular race is over! We started on the car last night, with The Brain quite sure that he DIDN'T want to race this year. I chalked it up to equal parts fear of losing, and not wanting to race without dad being around to give his pre-race seal of approval. I decided that while he felt strongly about not wanting to do it, that neither of those reasons was good enough to keep him from racing. I believe that I may have raised my voice a little, and I'm pretty sure that I said something to the effect of "I don't care if you stick the freakin' wheels on with silly putty and race a plain block of wood, YOU ARE GOING TO RACE!". Ahem... anyway!

He finally got into the spirit of it last night and decided to go with a standard wedge design and paint it black. He DID NOT want to do anything else to it at all; I even had to fight for the dragon sticker. He did all of the work (with my assistance) on the car with the exception of gluing the wheels on and we had the car about ready to go this afternoon. I had a few brief moments of panic when I couldn't seem to get the wheels to stay balances AND all turn at the same rate at the same time.

Maybe I should warn you just in case it ever comes up, but there is one exception to my general laid-back easy-going attitude. I've been, on occasion, known to become a little.... well, irritable when I am approaching a competition and things aren't ready to go. I think my head almost exploded off the top of my shoulders a couple of times tonight. Not one of my personality traits I'm the most proud of, but nonetheless, part of who I am. A work in progress, right?

The Brain came in first place again this year, despite the fact that I was still working with the wheels and applying glue 5 minutes before race time. I thought I was gonna have a nervous breakdown! He tied with one of the adults that was racing his 11 year old car just for fun. As it turns out, the guy designed his car as part of an engineering competition in college and has been racing it ever since. The Brain won one, the guy won one, and back and forth it went. It didn't really matter because The Brain still won the competition with the Scouts, but it was cool that he was so evenly matched with the other guy. I did get some really interesting ideas from the other car though.

So at least for another year, we're done. He can take his car to the District competition in March if he wants to, but I'm not sure if he'll compete in that one or not.

Here are a few pictures (humor the proud and relieved mama would ya?). I particularly like the one with him talking to the engineer that was racing his for fun. When I asked The Brain what they were talking about he told me that he was giving the guy pointers on how to make his car faster for next year! Gotta love him! LOL!

Playing Catch-Up

I wonder if my two personalities will ever reconcile.

For the last decade I've been on the fringes, failing to feel comfortable with one group, bored with the other.

I was twenty when my son was born. Still a few months shy of being able to legally purchase alcohol and with my husband away for Air Force training, I battled things like sore nipples and sleepless nights while my friends and contemporaries went to frat parties and clubs. I really didn't mind it so much back then, I didn't mind being the grown up in the group. I was the responsible one, I was married for heaven sakes!

Yeah, I know, live and learn!

Since then, as my son has gotten older and I finally managed to reverse course and finish my education and start working in my career things seemed to level out. I could sleep in on Saturday mornings because The Brain does too. I could go out occasionally during the week after he fell asleep because I could be sure that he wouldn't wake up, and even if he did, grandma would be there to deal with it. It was nice for a while feeling like I was back on level footing with others my age, and if I was the only one with a school age child, well, that was alright anyway.

Now things have shifted again. You see, many of my friends are now settling down and starting families of their own. They are now where I was a decade ago, dealing with things that I've long since forgotten about. Bridesmaids dresses. Engagement parties. Baby showers. Potty training.

I went out last night with a couple of my girlfriends to a restaurant/bar and just kicked back and enjoyed some girl time. They are both professional, single women that will probably be married with kids within two years. Both are in long term committed relationships, both are nearing thirty, both are finally tuning into their biological clocks and taking notice of the fact that they're getting older. As I sat there last night, enjoying the company and listening to the band I realized that it had been forever since I had gotten out and just had fun. I also realized that I could give a tinker's damn about biological clocks and whether their significant others are going to propose now or later. I did enjoy listening to them compare notes on the things that their children would never be allowed to do. I'm not sure I was completely able to hide my smile.

It's happening again, that shift in paths. I'm to be ready to have a social life again, something that I can do now that The Brain will be turning 10 soon. Unfortunately, it seems to have happened at the same time that my contemporaries are settling down and getting pregnant.

I have a smart, funny child that I actually enjoy doing things with. He's a great kid but he's also a great friend, and I'm proud that he's turning out as well as he is. I don't regret a minute of the choices that I've made, but I do wonder if I'm ever truly going to catch up. I wonder if there will ever come a time where I'm in the same place as others my age. I wonder if my two personalities will ever reconcile.

(And by the way, I have no idea whose picture this is.. it isn't me. Someone emailed it to me a long time ago). I've always liked it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


So The Brain has to have a car ready to race in the Cub Scouts Pine Wood Derby race Friday night... I've bought all of the supplies but we haven't started on it yet.

We won last year. Dad was there to lend support, he won't be this year.

The Brain is thinking that he doesn't want to race. I'm making him because I think it's important to follow through and not run from the things that scare you, but I feel like shit about it.

I know that he'll have a great time and be glad he did it, I just wish I knew how to make him feel better about it now.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

She wants to do what?!

Of all of the things I thought my mother and I would do together, "husband hunting" had to be about the last thing on the list.

My mom loved my dad very, very much, but it has hit her over the last week or so that she doesn't want to spend the rest of her life alone. She's not yet sixty and still has a lot to look forward to.

Having said that, can I just say that this whole experience has been fucking weird?! I had to help her fill out this compatibility questionnaire that she found. I was reading the questions aloud to her when we came to one about sexual preferences. AGGGHHHH!!! NOT something I care to know or spend anytime thinking about!

I think I want to go back and hide under my bed for a while.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


This will be difficult for many of you to understand, but my heart and prayers go out to the officer and his team that were forced to shoot the 8th grader in Florida the other day.

The student, Christopher David Penley has since died of the injuries that he sustained when a sheriff's officer on the SWAT team shot him.

It is every law enforcement officers second worst nightmare (the first being letting your fellow officers down). Killing an innocent.

There's a name for what the boy did, it's called Suicide by Cop, and it's far more common than many people would like to believe. What it means basically is manipulating the situation in such a way that you force a police officer or other law enforcement official to shoot you.

Look at this gun. Could you tell from a distance and in a high stress situation that it wasn't real? Would you want to be the one to have to make that judgment? If you're wrong, you and possibly others will die.

The officer that shot Christopher was doing what he was trained to do. He had no way of knowing that the gun that was raised on him was a spray painted pellet gun. He had no way of knowing that this wasn't a life or death situation for himself, his team, and the teachers and students of Millwee Middle School. Unlike what the movies have taught you, officers are not trained to shoot the gun out of the hands of the offender. If it gets to the point where an officer raises his weapon and prepares to fire, it is his job to use deadly force.

I don't know the name or anything about the sheriffs officer that pulled the trigger and ultimately killed Christopher Penley, but I do know that this will be something that will effect him for the rest of his life.

So while as a mother I am horrified that this poor young man died and I am terrified that something like this could possibly happen in my son's school, I am also grieving for the officer that pulled the trigger. Think about how you would feel. Could you live with yourself? Would you want to? Could you do it for around $30,000 a year?

Do me a favor, the next time you see someone with a badge, go up to them and thank them. It is a largely thankless job and I promise you that you will make their day.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Come out, come out, wherever you are...

So I'm getting in on the very tail end of this National De-Lurking Week tradition, but I'd still love to hear from you anyway (all two of you)!

Friday the 13th

How have you spent your Friday the 13th?

So far I've gotten drenched in the freezing rain, lost my keys, and paid $500.00 to have a root canal done.

The day can ONLY get better from here... right?

Maybe I'm just not approaching this from the right place.

I guess I should be grateful that the rain will make my flowers and plants lush and green again, that I have a home and car to have keys for in the first place, and I guess at the end of the day I'm grateful that I have dental insurance that covers 60% and enough money in my checking account to cover the balance.

All in all, I guess it's just a matter of perspective.

I wonder what the rest of today will bring me to be grateful for?

Thursday, January 12, 2006


First of all I want to thank those of you who over the last few days brought to my attention the fact that my blog wasn't viewing correctly on certain browsers.

I still haven't been able to determine why and was in the process of getting a customized template before this happened anyway. So anyway, I've used a different canned template until my new one is finished. If I were a computer geek this would be SO MUCH easier!

Hopefully this will resolve the viewing problem for now.

I've got to get back to work, hope y'all have a wonderful day today, I'll try and post again tonight. Let me know if you're still having problems with this page and I'll see what else I can do to fix it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A favor to ask

Do you and I a favor, would ya please?!

When I come to your door and tell you that someone that you know is under investigation and I show you my credentials, DON'T LIE TO ME!

Really, I could care less if the subject embarrasses you, hell, by next week I won't even remember that you exist. I don't care about your personal business, I don't care if it makes you uncomfortable. I just want to close out my damn case.

You can't fool me. I already know the answer to whatever question I've asked. I know all the sordid details. I know when and why and how and where and I already know who else was there... even if your husband or wife doesn't.

So please, us both a favor. Tell me the truth the first time I ask, make life a little easier for both of us. I'm many things, but stupid has never been one of them.

Oh, and one last thing? You're not nearly as smart and clever as you seem to think you are. Scully jokes piss me off, so please, either find some new material or just shut the hell up and answer my questions so we can both go on with our lives.

Thank You.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Notice to all religious zealots:

Something happened this past weekend that really bothers me; because of a few thoughtless and judgmental comments by an anonymous religious zealot, a friend of mine was hurt (or maybe just pissed off).

I've never actually met The Queen of Spain but I consider her my friend. It was because of her that I first got into the whole blogging thing, it's strange how it happened when I think about it.

Being completely behind the times and not understanding what blogging was about I googled the word blog. That search took me to blogger.com and from there, by clicking on her link (she had just posted and so her blog scrolled through on the recently updated list) I found a new friend.

I’ve since realized that I have friends and a support group that I've never met and may not ever meet, but I cherish their friendship nonetheless. These are amazing and strong women that challenge my notions of motherhood and humanity everyday. I am a better mother and a better person because of the things that I have learned from them, and I am constantly grateful for their insight and humor.

There will always be people in the world that have to point fingers and disparage the rest of us. They are cowards at heart, insecure in their own existence, and desperately vying for attention in any way that they can. They hide behind religion (pick one, it doesn't really matter which) and use it to "back-up" their assertions about our failings, failings that they perceive we have as mothers, as human beings. They rant about our sins and imply that we are bad people, or at the very least, damaged ones because we don't follow their idea of Him. I've heard them imply that because I'm a single parent I am somehow a sinner in need of God's forgiveness. I've listened and occasionally tried to fight back when they've made me and those that I love feel less than what we are by their hurtful and judgmental words.

But no more.

You see, I know better. I know that at the end of the day there is nothing that anyone can say to me that will make me believe that I'm not a good parent. I KNOW that leaving the violent and abusive relationship that I called my marriage was not only a good choice for my son and me, but the only choice I could make. It was the scariest thing I have ever done, and it took me almost seven years to recover my soul from that nightmare, but I did it. I can do anything to protect my child.

So comment if you want to, call me names and tell me that I'm going to hell and that I'm failing my son. Really, go ahead... it will just prove my point. From now on I vow to remember who I am and the kind of person that I am striving to be. I will not sink to your level. You don't exist to me and your opinions are worthless and without merit. You are pathetic and small and frankly, I feel sorry for you.

I have wonderful friends that are very devout in their beliefs, beliefs in your deity and in others. It is from them that I've learned that Spirituality and Religion are not synonyms and that at the end of the day, most of us are working toward the same thing. We all are trying to be the best people, the best parents that we know how to be. Most of us are able to do that without judging and hurting others, maybe someday you'll stop preaching and start listening and you'll be able to do that too.

I wish you luck, opening a small and closed mind is one of the most difficult things a person can do. I hope for your children’s sake that you're up to the challenge.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Cold Snap

It was around 72 degrees outside on Monday afternoon.

I am currently observing snow flurries outside.


Gotta love the South!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

My Favorite Site

I've added a new link to one of my absolutely favorite sites: www.booksfree.com, check it out if you get the chance.

I found it completely by accident over the summer and fell in love instantly! I've always loved to read... you name it, I'll read it. They have thousands of books to choose from, including new releases, in every category. Depending on your membership level (and I think it starts at around $7.00 a month) you "check out" books. They mail them to you will a return mailer enclosed. When you're done you mail them back and they send you more. You can maintain a list of like 100 books at any given time and they simply work off that list.

It's amazing, I never have to go to the store anymore and look for stuff to read! It's even better because with the amount of reading that I do I've wound up saving a ton of money by using this service.

I highly recommend it for anyone that loves to read and doesn't have the time or money to be constantly running out to the book store.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Three states in Three Days

I think I've just about recovered from all of the family togetherness that we thrust upon ourselves every year. Whew! Of course, this year we just had to do something different. We decided that because the holidays are not stressful enough, we would combine visiting family days with day trips to nearby cities. WHY I thought that this would be a good idea I have no idea!

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day my brother brought his family over (affectionately known as the circus) which included his very loud, can't talk for yelling self, his spoiled blond wife, his two year old (also very loud) daughter, his 2 1/2 month old son, his half grown rottweiler "puppy" (and I use the term 'puppy' very loosely), and his 'I wish I looked less like a football and more like a dog' dog Tigger (named such because of his tendency to lift one of his back legs and hop around on the others). Tigger by the way is a white Malti-Poo if anyone cares, and is also I believe, the most sane member of that particular branch of the family tree. *sigh*

And a loud time was had by all.

The day after Christmas mom and I got up and dragged The Brain with us to Nashville to tour the zoo. It's actually really neat if anyone happens to be in the area. It was a little on the cold side, 50's I think, but all in all, it was worth the drive. We had dinner and drove back home afterwards.

I worked on Tuesday and we spent the day trying to recuperate from the weekend.

Wednesday we got up and drove to Atlanta. I wanted to do some shopping and we bought tickets to the new aquarium for that night. Boy was this a mistake! Now I understand that this is the South. I get that football is akin to religion here, but frankly if it isn't Alabama football it doesn't register on my radar. Apparently we picked the worst possible time to travel to Atlanta because they were hosting several Bowl games that weekend. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry (with their dogs) was in the city. I've never had a problem with city driving, but driving in that kind of traffic, in the rain, with my MOTHER and son is quite frankly my idea of hell. I quit smoking Feb 23, 2004, I made it through the last month's of my dad's life and the funeral without starting up again. I just about blew it in Atlanta if that tells you anything.

Anyway, we spent the night there (the aquarium was fantastic , I'll post some pictures of it as soon as I can) and then got up and drove to Chattanooga Thursday morning. We went and saw Ruby Falls, which was very neat... I highly recommend the tour if you happen to be in the area. It's the worlds largest underground waterfall... definitely not for those with claustrophobia!

We spent Friday shopping and running errands. It's nice that sometimes all it takes to make you appreciate what you have is to go somewhere else for a day or two.

Saturday I took The Brain to the Salon where we spent the afternoon getting fussed over. I had my hair put up and he played with the other waiting kids. All in all it was a lot of fun for both of us. As a reward for his patience I took him to the mall to eat and play in the arcade. He won the jackpot on some game and wound up with like 1335 tickets as a result. I believe at that moment he could've walked on air! He "bought" a really large green stuffed cat with the tickets and pronounced it the best day ever.
Mother and I have season tickets to the Symphony which included tickets to a New Year's Eve performance by Eileen Ivers. She was one of the stars in Riverdance and quite frankly one of the best performers of any kind I have seen in a long time. She was amazing. By the end of the night she had the entire concert hall (which was sold out by the way) standing up, clapping, singing, and in some cases dancing. It was honestly one of the best times I've ever had. We managed to procure an extra ticket a couple of month's ago and so was able to bring The Brain along. He loved it as much as we did. Truly, if you ever have the chance to see her in concert, run, don't walk, she's amazing! It made for a great New Year's.

Anyway, we lounged around the house on Sunday and Monday and generally just enjoyed the time to relax. Monday brought temperatures in the 70's and everyone was outside enjoying the respite. It made me want spring to get here sooner! I'm already itching to get to my gardening... not a good sign considering it's still the first week of January.

So now the holiday's are done (YEAH!!) and Valentine's day is just around the corner. All in all I'd say it wasn't too bad.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Bittersweet memories...

This is my entry for The Queen of Spain's monthly contest. I almost decided not to post this, it's such a personal thing to me but ultimately I decided that dad would like it. I hope you do too.

This is probably one of the most bittersweet pictures that I'll ever take. This is a picture taken of my parents, my son, and myself in December of 2004. I had just received my Masters degree when we stopped and posed for this picture. He was so sick that none of us thought that he'd make it. I think that this was the very last time my father ever made it out of the house for a non medical reason. He was completely humiliated to be seen in this wheelchair and in tremendous pain, but he hung on because he wanted to see me graduate. He was such an amazing person, so strong and so devoted to his family. He made this trip and worked through his own pride just to be there to take this picture with me. Nothing in my life will ever mean more to me than that. He died on August 1, 2005. This was the last picture taken of us as a family. I wonder if he knew how much it meant to me that he was there, somehow, I think he did.