Sunday, November 27, 2011

i paved the road to hell this month.

so, i intended to do the nablopomo thing this month with diligence and concentration. but then stuff came up. stuff like getting a new flood insurance agent, getting the kid some glasses, paying bills, thanksgiving. you know. stuff.

anyway, i haven't posted as often as i should, but then again, i haven't done a lot of stuff that i should have this month. example? this weekend. it was a four-day weekend for thanksgiving, for which i, along with the husband, busted out a kickass dinner. (the boy was with his mom for the holiday and then with his grandmother for the rest of the weekend. she's even taking him to school for us tomorrow. awesome.) friday, saturday, and today? we did jack. zilch. less than nothing. the most energy we exerted was going to big lots. we found "mean girls", "the producers", and "a fish called wanda" for $1.88 each. and then we watched them. energy exertion- complete.

i have been so stressed and tired and grumpy and angry-faced lately that i don't feel bad about spending 72 hours in bed, give or take. i don't feel bad about ordering pizza for dinner tonight. i don't feel bad about not cleaning the bathroom like i meant to. what i do feel is less tension in my shoulders and a renewed sense that i should take more time to take care of myself.

i feel good.

sorry, nablopomo. life happened. and i'm really, really okay with that.

Monday, November 21, 2011

stray cat strut (outside my door for food)

there is a little black cat who has been coming to our front porch for over a year now. we call him ninjitsu. he's lovely. he has apparently become accustomed to being fed by us every evening. if we don't have his canned food ready for him he stands outside the door and howls at us. he has us well trained.

i'm plotting to get him inside the house and adopt him. i will persuade him with treats of tuna and chicken. he will be my fluffy little ball of evil. we will take over the world together. oh, yes, we will take over the world...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

stuff got done, y'all. stuff got done.

in preparation for thanksgiving we tore the living room apart and gave it a good cleaning. we also tackled the boy's room (while he's at his mom's and can't interfere with the culling of ancient toys...) and reorganized everything. how much did we take out to be rehomed? let's put it this way: he has room for a recliner in there now.

*spare living room recliner- enjoy your new home*

the china hutch was reorganized and everything in it was dusted. our prized possessions, such as my collection of homies figurines and the husband's pipes, are now displayed in all their glory. all the furniture has been rearranged and it looks lovely.

as i sit here with olive oil in my hair and an avocado mask smeared on my face, i'm congratulating myself on a job well done. for once i feel kind of prepared for the holidays. i'm just going to relax and enjoy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

blogging under the influence...

of ibuprofen p.m.

yeah. i haven't been sleeping super great lately so i'm taking a little otc remedy for that this evening. it should be kicking in soon. let's see if this will be the night i sleep all the way through. my alarm clock is off, the bedroom is comfy, the animals are taken care of (including our neighborhood stray, who has been fed), the kiddo is with his mom for the week. sleep, sweet, sweet sleep, is going to be mine.

i may wake up in the morning as i did this morning, with a cat sitting on my back in an attempt to get my attention, but tonight there will be rest. it's well earned.

i resolved the great flood-insurance-cluster**** of 2011 this week, so the relief from that is amazing. the boy keeps acting up in school, so that's challenging but nothing can be done about that tonight. the husband is amazing and tolerant of my neuroses, so that's heartening. things are on a fairly even keel with no serious listing to report. (is that a sailing metaphor? i've never actually been on a boat. i haven't the faintest clue why i would work in any sort of sailing language.)

it would appear that the medicine is kicking in. let's just call this day finished and be done with it, shall we?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

man, that honesty talk was..not great

i got sick this morning and left work early. i've slept most of the day. it's just a 24-hour stomach bug. the husband gave it to me. he's such a sharer.

the boy got in trouble today in school. he was grading his homework and instead of marking 5 wrong, as he should have, he marked 3. there is no way he wasn't going to get caught. i just gave him a lecture on how he was only cheating himself and even if no one else found out he would know and dishonesty gets you nowhere and blah, blah, blah. it was half-hearted at best. i shouldn't give these talks when i'm under the weather. i really could have done better.

here's hoping for a minor infraction on his part tomorrow when i'm up to snuff. i need a redo.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

nobody's sick.

my husband isn't sick. he's thrown up multiple times today and is achy and sore and can barely move. but he's not sick. he told me so.

i'm dosing him up with coconut water, probiotics, and broth when he can keep it down.

because he's not sick.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

the agony of defeat.

the boy's first basketball game was tonight.our team lost 30-something to 2. we had 2 points because the other team accidentally scored in our basket.

the kids had a blast and they were all adorable as heck. none of them seemed at all discouraged, which is great. we asked the boy if he had fun and he said yes. it was a great game to watch and we're excited for the next one. they're all so adorable out there.

and that's all i've got in me tonight. it's half-assed but it's something. blog post = complete.

Friday, November 11, 2011

how simply being a lady makes kids think you can get them dinner: a cautionary tale

i'm pretty sure kids just look at grownups and judge them based on the perceived likelihood that the adult in question might provide them with snacks. children seem to see me and think, "hey, she has boobs, i bet she can get me dinner." i don't know how to make them stop.

the boy, for example. i was taking a shower. the child was in the living room with his father. he walks past his father, through the house, and shouts through the bathroom door that he is hungry. while i'm in the shower. and his dad is in the room he was in. while i'm in the freaking shower.


i am a lady. i am the provider of food.

but it's gonna be health food.

that'll teach him.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

suddenly...SLEEP! also, i play matchmaker in a passive/agressive way.

so last night i was going to go to bed all early but then i started talking to a dear friend i hadn't talked to in ages. he's this wonderful guy who lives several states away and he is completely in love with this amazing woman. he is more serious about her than i've ever seen him about any woman. the problem? their relationship has hit a bit of a rough patch and the trajectory is a little stalled. my friend has never been big on marriage but now he is totally ready for it because she is just that incredible. so this is my plea to both of them, should they be reading this: get back together, you crazy kids. get married. be in love. have a happy life. he likes your cat. and he hates cats. i will vouch for his sincerity.

well, that heavy-handedness aside, the boy has been with his mom all week. when he's gone, the husband and i like to go to bed at a stupidly early hour, which i plan to do in just a moment. last night, after going to bed much later than i had planned (which was totally worth it and not regrettable at all), the dog kept us awake by letting us know her ear was bugging her, the other dogs decided to have a melee in the kitchen, and my cat decided 2:30 in the morning was a great time to sit on the husband's chest, pat me on the face, and insist that we wake up to play with her. which all pretty much happened non-stop until the sun came up and i wanted to punch the morning.

*i later tried to get back at the cat by revenge-cuddling her while she was napping but it had an effect very different than i intended. any time is cuddle time for her.

and now my knee hurts and my shoulders hurt and i'm sleepy so good night. i'll go be whiny far away from the internet.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

pretty sure i'm doing this wrong.

this time it appears i'm doing the nablopomo wrong. there are prompts i think you're supposed to use to when writing the daily blogs. i haven't even looked at them. i'm kind of taking this as more of an opportunity to motivate myself to write every day, even when i'm pretty sure i have nothing to say. (turns out, i rarely have nothing to say. words are always ready to explode from my face like alphabet dynamite.)

so, ignoring all rules for this little experiment and doing what i feel like doing, i'll just give an update on things that aren't terrible right now.

*the boy should have his glasses this week. poor kid has been without them for a month, give or take a few days, and seriously needs vision correction. we even got called in to see his teacher because since he hasn't had his glasses, his classroom behavior has, rather understandably, taken a nosedive. backup pairs will be ordered so that he doesn't have to suffer this again. (thanks, zenni optical, for making it possible to keep an 8 year old boy in glasses.)

*the husband also got glasses and he looks amazing with them on. they're thick black frames (think: buddy holly) and suit him very well. they also suit my nerd fetish very well. i'm trying to talk him into a pocket protector and maybe a pair of suspenders. maybe for valentine's day...

*i ordered a new pair of glasses just for me. just because.

*my insurance saga may be coming to a close, which means the stress headaches and grouchiness of the past few months might also be coming to a close, which means everyone is going to be much, much happier.

*i have a cat who insists on eating in the bathroom while i shower. i'm not sure if this qualifies as something that isn't terrible but it's sort of worth mentioning. also, he only eats chicken if i hand-feed him or if one of the other cats is there to eat some, too. prissy little thing.

so, how is your day?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

almost had it. almost.

okay, so i missed a day of nablopomo yesterday but there was a really, really good reason: i curled up in bed with my husband at about 8:00 p.m. and it was all warm and snuggly and i didn't want to move. and yes, in my mind that qualifies as a really, really good reason. i mean, have you seen how handsome he is? it's his fault i don't get more things done. my house would be cleaner if he weren't so good looking.

i also did not make the pflag meeting tonight, also for a really, really good reason: this is one the night i get, every two weeks, when i am alone in the house for a bit. i watch real housewives with no one to judge me, i eat pizza, and i waste time on facebook. no one is calling my name, no one needs help with homework, no one is playing games on the computer. it's just me, a bunch of dogs, two cats, junk food, and reality tv. it's the little bit of me-time i get to do worthless things. sometimes you just need some nene screaming at sheree to calm the wild beast inside. or is that just me?

yeah, it's been stressful lately. flood insurance issues, managing money, taking care of the kid. it's like it all comes together in a tight knot on my right shoulder. just right there, where it hurts to move it. ugh. hate that. but tonight? it's vapid entertainment and unhealthy food choices time. at least until that ridiculously handsome husband of mine comes home. then i'll pretend i've been reading james joyce all evening and doing crunches.

forgive me for skipping a day, nablopomo. it won't happen again. okay, it might, but i'll try not to let it. unless there's a really, really good reason.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

putting it all out there. but not in a stripper kind of way.

writing about your personal experiences and posting them online is weird. i'm new to being trolled and it always throws me for a loop. what really gets me, though, is the people who say they relate and, heaven forbid, help them. one lady commented that what i wrote helped her feel less alone. one said she cried when she read my piece because it was exactly what she was going through. one guy called me a feminazi. but he was a troll, so that's not one of the "you're helping me, i totally relate" ones. but still.

when you're honest and you put yourself out there, you get reactions you never would have dreamed of. you get a whole spectrum of opinions. you're right, you're wrong, i totally know where you're coming from, if you were smarter you would see how jacked your life is. every blogger or internet writer i've ever read is right: the negative comments weigh a thousand times more than the positive ones. at least until you get used to it. but hey, at least if you're honest with yourself and your readers, you're doing what you're supposed to do. and that's something.

Friday, November 4, 2011

much like charles barkley, i am not a role model.

1. the boy cursed. i laughed and teased him until he admitted it.

2. when i burp really loudly he gives me a high five. i fist bump when he does the same. we do have a rule about not doing this in public and not when people are over, but yeah. it is what it is.

3. my early morning, super tired, needing motivation slogan is "let's do this crap."

4. i have a voice like a foghorn. it's loud and it carries. i have used it to advantage on a playground. it gets attention.

5. the child can quote arrested development, young frankenstein, and monty python. super age appropriate.

the basic gist is that i should not be in charge. this cannot end well.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

it's sixteen miles to the promised land and i promise you i'm doing the best i can.

i am stretched thin, worn out, and exhausted. i have been battling my flood insurance company for some time now and just when i think i'm out they pull me back in. sigh. i'm fighting them, i'm running a sleep deficit and what i'm getting is broken and not restful, and doing dishes makes me want to scream. i have no more reserves to run on this week. i need a solid night's sleep and some downtime.

wow, that's whiny. i get super cranky when i'm tired and stressed. i'm going to go finish up some chores now so that i can get some sleep and stop with the woe-is-me routine.

good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.
-fade out-

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

sportiness: we haz it.

the boy had his first basketball practice tonight. his mom, dad, and i sat courtside and watched him and i am proud to report that he did not get hit in the face once and that he displays a distinct lack of suckiness on the court. the kid did all right. this was his first practice for any sport ever and he seemed to have an idea of what was going on and how to follow directions.

he got interested in basketball when we were watching the nba playoffs last season. even his dad, who does not care for sports at all, got really into the mephis/okc series and i guess the boy caught some of that. in any case, we were driving down the road one day when he asked me, completely out of the blue, to find him a team. and so i did. he has been checking out books on the sport and wants to be the next michael jordan. i contend that scottie pippen is just as worthy and highly underrated but we'll argue the fine points later. for now, he has a new sport, a new team, and something to do that requires he pay attention or be run over by charging 2nd graders.

i think he's gonna do okay. and if all goes well, he'll get a scholarship, a nice nba contract, and his dad and i retire in ecuador thanks to his largess.

although i'll just be happy if he doesn't get hit in the face.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

in which i talk about all the ways i rock.

i don't want to brag but i may possibly be the most awesome step-mom ever. really. i stepped it up this past weekend and took it to a new level. and now i'm really, really tired and would like to just retire undefeated, leaving my record pristine and my sanity intact.

on saturday our sleepy little town had it's first ever thriller dance/zombie walk and we were completely in. the boy and i went to a class to learn the dance and then zombied up to go perform it that night with roughly 185 of our closest friends. we even had religious protesters telling us we were going to hell! ( i mean, really, you could call me cliche for dancing to "thriller" but satanic? hardly. ) after the dance everyone zombie walked main street with the assistance of a darling state police escort. ah, it was fun. and we looked fabulous.

we handmade the boy's costume. he wanted to be the black knight from "monty python and the holy grail" and they just don't make that sort of thing for kids. who knew? so we found instructions on the wonderful interwebs, modified it to compensate for the fact that neither the husband nor i can operate a sewing machine, and made things awesome. he got tons of compliments on it and people seemed to think it was very cool, especially everyone old enough to know who monty python is. (the detachable arm worked for a while. at least the bloody stump was still intact.)

we stayed up waaaaay too late on sunday making the costume and getting everything ready for halloween. by the time trick or treating rolled around we were both exhausted but i took the kid out while the husband gave out candy and we managed to make it through. he raked in tons of candy, we met some neighborhood kids, and got to wander around after dark and past his bedtime. we finished the evening with pizza and "thriller" on youtube, as is our tradition. it was the perfect halloween. 

when all was said and done, i had blisters on my feet, a burn on my thumb from a glue gun that must have been made in 1842, and a house that looked like hobby lobby blew up in it. and here it is, tuesday, the day after halloween, and i'm still going.

which brings me back to the really, really tired thing. i'm going to give up now and soak in the shower until the knot in my right shoulder goes away. happy halloween to all and to all a good night.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

it's been a while.

things have been eventful. stressful, joyful, and eventful.

in august, the two year anniversary of my mother's passing rolled around. it sort of crept up on me. i hadn't really paid attention to the dates of that particular month, what with school rolling starting up for the boy and all that. and then my dad stopped by to remind me what day it was.

my mom died on a weekend. i know that because i had to go into work to find my boss' home number so i could tell him i wouldn't be in for a few days. i wanted to get nice and drunk right away but there was a funeral to plan so i waited. i had been with her earlier that day and we knew it was going to happen soon. we were waiting for that other, horrible shoe to drop.

we had her funeral and things normalized rather quickly. at first i felt terrible for not falling apart more but then i realized that my mourning period had begun years before she passed away. my mom had severe dementia. it was very similar to alzheimer's in that in took almost over her life for a decade, slowly robbing her of her faculties. when it became too much for my dad to handle, she went to live in a nursing home. i had a hard time visiting her there because she often didn't recognize me. that killed me. i tried to go more often but i just couldn't do it. i don't know if she noticed.

from my early 20s on, i watched her disintegrate. we didn't speak for about 7 years after a horrendous series of fights and my realization that i had to protect myself somehow. when i came back into her life she was happy and so was i. that's when i saw just how bad things had become for her.

towards the very end hospice care took over. we realized that prolonging her life with tubes would be cruel and not anything she would want. so we did what we thought she would have wanted us to do, which was just let her go. dementia is one of those diseases that has no cure but it tears you apart to see it end.

i think if you know for a long time that something is dying, that grieving process begins long before they're gone. you start once the knowledge becomes real. by the time they pass, you and they have prepared for it. does it make it easier? no. but you know what's coming. it's not a sucker punch. you've seen that fist coming at your face for years.

so i held it together that week while we made arrangements. but that friday night? yeah, i got drunk. i got very, very drunk indeed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

sometimes i do things that make sense.

like, finally realizing that i have migraines and that those are serious and the 10+ years i've spent trying to medicate with otc stuff just won't cut it anymore. yep, for over a decade i would get hit with a migraine, take 800mg of ibuprofen, and huddle in a dark room, weeping and moaning and writhing in agony. the pain would get so intense i would go from migraine to migraine/panic attack, making the whole thing worse. this would be followed by a day or two of loopiness, something i now know has a name: postdrome.

i have been educating myself on migraines lately. i have been studying my triggers and trying to determine what phases i'm in when i'm in them. i'm noticing that ovulation, weather changes, stress, overhead florescent lights, and lots of smoke or pollutants in the air set off a migraine. i'm tracking the pre-migraine phases,starting when i get all bitchy and anxious and irritable. then my vision starts to get a little wonky, like i'm seeing stuff but looking directly at things hurts. i also have trouble processing information, making it go in one ear and out the other. that's when i know it's going to hit soon.

that happened yesterday. the vision started to get weird and i was having trouble thinking. so i took my first ever dose of imitrex. and waited.

the pharmacist warned me i would get light-headed so i curled up on the bed to wait it out. there was a little bit of an odd feeling in my head but the miraculous thing was that the pain never hit. the storm of agonizing pain never rushed over me. it just...faded. i wasn't laying in the dark, trying not to throw up, wondering if this was that "worst headache of your life" that the websites warn you about, the kind that necessitate a trip to the hospital. i wasn't crying. it passed over me like a storm cloud you pray away at a picnic. it just left.

it was awesome.

so i'm writing about this because i've been thinking about how badly the migraines have affected my life. i've missed out on things and suffered a stupid amount of pain because all this time i thought i was managing just fine on my own. i didn't want a prescription that i had to take. i wanted to tough it out. i wanted to not be dependent on a drug. i wanted to be stronger than the migraine.

i was so off base it's hilarious.

i know this medicine hasn't worked for a lot of people and i know everyone has a different reaction, but this is like a light going on in a very dark room for me. if imitrex continues to do what it did yesterday, i might actually get a little bit of my life back again. i didn't realize how badly i felt until i felt good again. it's remarkable how that works.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

startling news: it's not always about me. kind of.

i took the boy to church for the first time this morning. we picked st. andrews as our church of choice and walked in not knowing anything about what we were supposed to do. the boy proudly proclaimed to the first lady he saw that he had never been to church before. she was delighted to meet him and then she and i realized we knew one another from long ago. he was promptly escorted around the church and invited to many different events. he was a hit. he even invited the priest over for a water balloon fight.

i hadn't been rushing the church thing, to be honest. i'm an atheist and the husband is agnostic so church isn't the first place we would think to go on a sunday morning. but the boy wants to go to church. fiercely. and it's not about our beliefs, it's about his. he will be 8 next week and he is old enough to decide what he believes in. so church it is.

i like the episcopal church because of its social views and the rituals have an amazing beauty all their own. the people were lovely, the building is stunning, and the service was calming. so i guess the boy and i have somewhere to be on sundays.

Friday, August 26, 2011

traipsing down the primrose path to hippiedom

i am just going freakishly natural lately. this has nothing to do with parenting, at least not directly, but i figured i might as well share the ways we are weaning ourselves off of chemicals lately. here are a few natural beauty/household hints i've been gathering:

* plain, full fat yogurt makes the best face mask ever. just put it on, let it get mostly dry, and rinse off to reveal nicely glowing skin. the lactic acid does wonders to unclog pores and it gets the dry skin off while moisturizing.

caution: your cat will try to lick your face. it's awkward. and weird.

* baking soda is a delightful exfoliant for your face. it's gentle and does the job.

* the husband and i gave up shampoo and conditioner over a month ago and started using baking soda and apple cider vinegar instead. it took about 5 weeks but my hair finally stabilized and it is magnificent. no more itchy scalp from the chemicals in shampoos, just tons of healthy, glowing body. it's awesome. there are tons of websites that will show you how to wean off shampoo and it's totally worth the trouble to do so.

* adding minced garlic to clear nail polish is supposed to strengthen your nails. i'm giving this a go right now. my hands smell like i just made pasta sauce but other than that it's all good. i'll see how it works and report back.

* green tea is an awesome facial toner. brew it up, cool it down, wipe it on your face. it helps protect against sun damage and it makes your skin look lovely. also, if you have a sunburn, repeatedly douse it with cool green tea and the pain starts to fade immediately.  (rooibos tea is also great as a toner. it helps with cell renewal and prevents free radical damage.)

* if you mix sea salt with coconut oil and rub it all over yourself in the shower and then rinse you will be insanely soft and smell awesome. and want to lick your own arm. which you can totally do because it's all food stuff and you won't get sick or die or anything.

so there's what i have. what have you got?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

oh, the summer ends so fast.

hanging out with the boy has been fun. i'm getting him eased back into health food and early bedtimes. he's been in bed awake for about an hour now. at least he's there resting and not running around. it's somewhat productive, or so i think.

he had his whole grain toast (one slice with natural peanut butter, one slice with nutella) and greek yogurt with honey for breakfast. he had baked eggplant with homemade sauce for dinner. he's had nothing but water to guzzle all day.

we did discuss behavior in school and how important it is to listen in class. we talked about doing what the teacher asks. we talked about the rules of our home and the rules of school and how similar they are.

we ended the day with a kids' yoga dvd and more water. he seems content. he asked for more yogurt and yoga tomorrow. i am more than okay with that.

mucinex: it does a body...weird...

did you know mucinex is good for more than colds? it's true! *wink* it's supposed to be a wonder-helper in the quest for fertility. (think of how cervical mucous would be affected by mucinex. now think of how this would help me get pregnant. and now feel free to avoid making eye contact with me any time we meet in the future. i'll understand.)  i'm giving it a whirl. i tried it this past month and while no magic was worked this time around, i can't help but feel that maybe something good might come of it. at least, i hope something good comes of it. i'm taking the liquid stuff and it tastes like death. horrible, mutant, grape flavored death. next month we're doing the pills. blech.

bright side: technicolor dreams. almost as good as the nicotine patch but not quite. there's always a silver lining, isn't there?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

getting to be just a little more granola every day...

on my way to complete naturalness and harmony with gaia, i am quitting shampoo. yep. i'm trading in my products for baking soda washes and apple cider vinegar conditioning. sound nuts? maybe. but i'm a little tired of spending money on various shampoos and conditioners that make my hair feel weird and never as soft as i would like it to be. i'm also pretty sure that i'm allergic to every product ever made for hair in the history of the world. your scalp shouldn't itch ALL the time, right? i mean, that's a problem, right? oh, and the tons of chemicals in shampoos, like SLS? i can do without scrubbing that into my head and pouring it into the water supply.

day one of the experiment feels great. my hair feels oddly thicker than usual but really soft. there is almost no frizz. my scalp has 99.999% less itchiness. i know the first day isn't a great indicator but considering i thought baking soda and vinegar would wreck my baby fine hair, this is a marvelous surprise. (my hair is almost exactly the same texture it was when i was 5. it never got around to maturing. i haven't done much better myself.)

i've also taken to washing my face with honey in the mornings and doing a plain yogurt mask at night followed by a green tea toner. i dab a hint of coconut oil on my face before bed (it also makes an awesome deodorant, BTW) and i'm set. my skin is very, very happy right now.

so i guess i ought to go burn some patchouli and commune with nature now. or something. or i might watch arrested development. probably watch arrested development.

Monday, July 25, 2011

salad is just a vehicle for bacos and blue cheese dressing to get into my face.

so, with the boy coming back this weekend, our days of eating terrible foods are coming to an end. when he's here we're all about healthy stuff, whole grains, olive oil, garlic, quinoa. when he leaves? let's say a lot of pizza and lean cuisine has been seen doing the walk of shame out of our kitchen. i'm already planning out meals for when he returns. we'll have curried kale and chickpeas, some homemade pasta sauce, some vegetarian tacos. he actually likes this stuff. which is good. because his father and i should not be left to our own devices.

you know what we had for dinner the first night he was gone? bean dip and chips. yeah. we suck at being grownups.

we need a kid to keep us in line.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

where does amy winehouse fall on the scale of acceptable sorrow?

i am a fan of amy winehouse's music. i think she was talented, tragic, once-beautiful, and now possibly set for status as a legend. a death at a young age, however predictable, will send one to a legendary realm. we all saw it coming and for most of us, listening to her music coincided with mental guesses regarding how long she would be around. like with kurt cobain, no one was surprised. saddened, but not surprised.

the finding of her body comes a day after an absolutely horrific mass killing in norway. it is shocking and disturbing. around 80 young people, many in their teens, gunned down by an extremist, immediately after a bomb kills 7 and injures 15 in oslo. what do you do with a story like that? you didn't expect it. you didn't see it coming.

it seems like the tendency is to say that amy winehouse was a drug addicted, privileged pop star who lacked the will power to get off drugs and appreciate life. that mourning her is ridiculous next to a massacre and next to a famine in somalia and next to a war with casualties mounting. it might be ridiculous. or it might be natural.

i can't wrap my head around the norwegian massacre. i can't understand the idea of innocent kids being gunned down by a laughing madman. i can't comprehend the fear and the terror and the desperate attempts to get away and the agony when they failed. but i can comprehend ms. winehouse taking an addiction to its limits, finding no solace in success, and dying alone. it makes sense to me partly because i've been watching her self-destruction from afar for years and partly because, like me, she wasn't innocent. it wasn't done to her, she did it to herself. i can relate to that and so can a lot of us. i can't relate to the senseless deaths of so many young people.

it isn't that i don't genuinely mourn for those in norway, or those in somalia, or those lost to war. i do. but it's too big to absorb. it can't be understood. there is no reason or logic to help make sense of it. but the death of a drug addicted pop singer makes a sort of perfectly horrible sense. seeing it coming from far away doesn't make it less tragic. she was a person, no less worthy of being mourned than anyone else.

Friday, July 22, 2011

i'm well. and how are you?

so, the summer without the boy is coming to an end and not a moment too soon. i'm getting bored. not that i don't adore my husband, because i do, but without the kiddo here we have no schedule. we're not good at being adults when left to our own devices. we don't eat proper meals, we don't vacuum as often as we should. what do we do? we sleep in late, watch movies, and snuggle. not a bad way to spend weekends but not super productive, either.

one bit of flattery comes from the knowledge that the boy is actually excited to come home. that's heart warming in a huge way. turns out he likes being hounded constantly to clean his room and chew with his mouth closed and behave in a way that shows that he is growing up and maturing. who knew?

so it will be back to healthy meals and reasonable bedtimes and decent living after our hedonistic summer break. it was good while it lasted.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

father's day weekend did not suck: a success story

this father's day went much better than last father's day. last year, the boy was being a bit bratty, which he was promptly called out on, and things were a little rough. this year, he was in great spirits and we all had a marvelous time.

friday night saw us attempting to play some basketball at the school only to realize that it was still pert near 100 degrees outside at around 6:00 pm. we decided to chuck the idea and go play in the sprinklers instead. saturday was spent at the lakes. no one got a sunburn, making it a truly momentous event. we did the paddle boat thing and had a blast. today, we took my dad out for lunch at cattleman's steakhouse. (i got special props for calling days ahead to make reservations. so many angry people glaring at us. it pays to think ahead, folks.)

the only downside was when the kiddo had to go. he wasn't keen on the idea all weekend. he was hoping to stay until the fourth of july but we had to explain to him that he would be back for it. it's always hard to send him back. as  he was walking out the door, he looked at me and said, "would you like a hug?" i got my hug plus a kiss blown at me from the doorway. man, that kid owns me. straight up. curses...

so now i'm sitting here waiting for my husband to get home. even a few hours apart and we get sappy. we don't do apart well.

on another note, i've decided, after watching nearly every episode of 3rd rock from the sun, that i am getting a 1961 rambler and naming it "joseph gordon-levitt the car". yep.

Friday, June 10, 2011

oh yeah...

here is my paying writey-bloggy-job-thingy. enjoy. or don't. it's up to you.

sent the man off for a nap so that i can decompress. and do this rambling thing.

i have had a long day. the nature of my job makes people not like me. i am the one who tells them they can't do what they want on their own property. i'm used to it and it doesn't really bother me, but sometimes i'm reminded of the unpopular nature of what i do. it could be worse, i suppose, but working in government is not the way to win friends in this political climate, even if it's just local government. ah well, being employed is a thing of beauty and i won't think of it any other way. 

the weather, however, is in no way beautiful and i hate it with an unbridled passion. the dryness is making my sinuses miserable and my skin doesn't know whether to break out or take on the texture of crepe paper. i bought a humidifier today in hopes that my headache might go away. exciting, i know. 

phoenix is going to be here next weekend for father's day and then we get him again on the fourth of july weekend. i'm already planning tons of stuff to do. i worry about him when he's not here. i worry that he's not wearing his glasses, that he's not drinking enough water, that he's not wearing sunscreen and bug repellent. i realize the child is not mine and he is with his mother, but that doesn't stop the worrying. it's what i do. i'm a type a personality. 

in fertility news, we are now looking in to how some herbal supplements might be helpful in gettin' me knocked up. maca and vitex (chasteberry, as it's also known) are being taken and we are timing things out, thanks to the suggestion of samantha. (nothing's sexier than discussing cervical mucous, amiright?) so, yes, the quest continues. and that's all i'll say about that. create your own visuals. 

so there it is. i'm tired, it hasn't rained in months, phoenix is not here, and i'm still attempting pregnancy with the help of my loyal sidekick, husband man. and now i'm going to lay down and watch the real housewives of some place yell and drink and look like they had WAY too much plastic surgery. and i'm not proofreading this so you get what you get. 

bon soir, kids. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

this has nothing to do with parenting.

i had a cat named puck. he was 18 pounds of glorious pixi-bob love. he had the most impressive vocabulary i've ever heard in a cat (although karma is a close second) and he was the love of my kitty zeppo's life. they were brothers and best friends. when puck passed a few years ago it tore me apart. zeppo was lost and wandered the house looking for his friend. it broke my (and my ex-husband's) heart/s.

occasionally, puck shows up in my dreams. last night he was there. it's always the same dream: i'm doing normal, every day stuff, and he stops by to tell me he's doing all right. we talk, i tell him i miss him, and he reassures me that he's fine and he's still looking out for us. i think he just needs to communicate with us every now and then. it's comforting. i feel like i haven't lost him at all. or at least not as much as it felt like i had.

i told zeppo what puck said. he seemed happy to hear puck was doing all right. and then we curled up and went back to sleep, a little happier than we were before.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Max's Law (Becky Should Not Read This For At Least 6 More Months)

I know it's been a while since I posted anything (and a real post will be forthcoming, promise) but I'm using this one to advocate for yet another abused pit bull puppy. Even if this wasn't my favorite breed, I would be preaching about this relentlessly.,0,193301.story

The upshot is that this guy may only have to pay a fine for what he did here. That's not right. That's about as far from right as you can get. Were it up to me, he would be drawn and quartered in the town square while we all cheer and eat popcorn. Alas, my wish will be unfulfilled. What we can do is start with the petitions to increase penalties for animal abuse so that bastards like this don't get off so lightly.

This puppy was terrified of him. This wasn't the first time he had hurt it. He needs to be stopped and so do all the people like him. Animal abuse needs to be a felony offense, plain and simple. Here is one petition to get the ball rolling for New York.

Make Penalties For Animal Abuse Stronger In NY

For those who have been watching Patrick, the pit who was starved and thrown in a garbage chute, he is doing much better. There are tons of links to him on Facebook and The Patrick Miracle Page updates on him constantly.

What warms my heart is that for the first time in human history, it is becoming more and more unacceptable in society to abuse animals, including pit bulls. Maybe as a species we are developing a conscience. It gives me hope. It's no longer seen as okay to do these horrible things. (Patrick's abuser has received death threats. Not that that's right, but I understand the urge. Just sayin'.)

And to Vicki O'Connor, thanks for rescuing a pit. That dog is going to love you for the rest of its life. Guaranteed. You are awesome. :D

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

sorry, i've been crappy about keeping up with this. i suck.

so, i have this blog, my paying gig, nathaniel in college, phoenix being 7, my dad just had surgery, nathaniel's pop just had surgery. oh, and a full time job. and a house to clean. and meals to make. and pets to care for. man, i need longer days. like, 36 hour days would be nice. i'm finally settling in to reading a couple of the dozens of new books i picked up at second hand stores, namely short stories by somerset maugham and david sedaris, so my brain can stop atrophying. i have watched all 5 seasons of "the kids in the hall" and have fallen in love with both netflix and dave foley all over again. (if i have a child, he/she shall be named parker foley. obsess much?) i had a late meeting at work last night and an early one this morning. there will be no paragraph breaks in this blog. i am too tired and wired and all that to bother with that. i need to go out shooting. sounds weird for an obama loving hippie, right? it's a stress reliever. i need that.

i'm so tired.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

i get paid to do this now. who would have guessed?

so my friend allison sent me a link to a site looking for mommy-bloggers to write weekly posts with a note that said "blogging gig for you?" so i sent the lady an email, she sent one back, and so on and so forth until she said i would be great for their site. so now i am blogging once a week for YourTango on various step-mommy related topics. i get paid for it AND my name is actually in the byline. this is a step up from the anonymous writing i did for years. did you know i once wrote a series of articles on the best golf courses in antigua and central europe? it's true. they weren't very good, but they were SEO friendly. i was only paid $2.00 a post. sure it wasn't much, but at least it was time consuming, right?

aside from that, we had three snow days in a row last week. it wasn't so much the snow but the -11 temps that kept the kids home. i can't blame the district for that. our little desert rats aren't accustomed to this sort of thing. hell, this desert rat isn't accustomed to it. it was cold, it was snowy, it was miserable. the boy stayed with his grandmother one day and with me one day and went to work with his dad the last day. the day he and i spent together very nearly ended in disaster.

you know how when it's super cold you keep certain rooms closed off to conserve heat? and how repeatedly opening those doors and leaving them wide open makes that effort fruitless? guess who was leaving doors open. over and over again. meh. i was surviving that. it was leaving toys and books and papers and stuffed animals next to the electric heaters that made me flip. many discussions regarding fire hazards had no effect so a talk with dad via telephone was in order. things did not go well for us that day.

by the time the husband made it home, he could see we were on our last, frayed edges. it wasn't pretty. but that night, when i was putting the boy to bed on the couch in the living room (because it was the warmest room in the house), he looked at me and said, "we're special together, aren't we?" and i realized that's one of the reasons humans have kids. all day long, you're two feet away from losing it, and then all of a sudden they come up with something like that.

and that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the human race continues. the cuteness.

Monday, January 24, 2011

i think i made him a hippie. or something like that.

the boy came home from school and wanted a snack. he devoured an orange. dinner was spaghetti squash baked lasagna-style with my homemade sauce, full of garlic, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, and anything else that was lying around, with some nutritional yeast for good measure. water to drink, vitamins taken, a homemade brownie, scrubbing the teeth, and off to bed.

he drinks organic, hormone-free milk, takes homemade lunches to school every day, thinks curried lentils are awesome. sometimes it occurs to me that he eats a primarily vegetarian diet. and likes it. weird. he gets excited about those curried lentils.

it also sometimes occurs to me that he has thrown up one time in the last two years in this house. he has had three colds. he is healthy as an ox and his school pants, purchased in august, are now getting short. he has minimal allergies, an abundance of energy, and is losing his taste for junk food.

i suppose he could argue about what's for dinner. he's tried before. it did him precious little good. (i'm not a short order cook. i pointed this out.) it does appear, though, that he likes to eat this way. that makes me happy. i like knowing that, in our home at least, he's getting nutrition that keeps him healthy and strong. i can't control what he devours as soon as he's out of our sight, but when he's here, it's good stuff all the way.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

too much charm can be a dangerous thing...

the boy is charming. very charming. this is a kid who can walk into a store, find a lady giving samples, and get a triple serving. a boy who can walk up to my ex-husband in that same store and get a hug and interest on his new loose tooth. he knows no shyness. he walks up to police officers working security at festivals and gives them high fives. he is known in our local grocery store. shopkeepers trade him their wares for the rocks he offers them. it is truly something to behold.

i even think he had something to do with me being given a free tire at a local store. that's right, a tire. with complimentary installation. for free. yeah.

he gets it from his father. my husband has beautiful blue-gray eyes with long, dark lashes. he is also devastatingly handsome. ( i have often told him that being so good looking, he really could get away with being quite stupid if he ever wanted. he's really that gorgeous. ) when the husband was a boy, he would ask people if he had beautiful eyes. without fail, they said he did. and presumably offered to buy him ponies and toy train sets. he is still offered things due to his beautiful eyes, but i'm fairly certain ponies have been replaced by shots of various liquors. good man he is, he declines.

me? all i've got are enormous teal colored eyes that make it hard for people to yell at me or get truly angry. that can be a bonus. as a teenager, i was pulled over for speeding seven times before i got my first ticket. blond hair and huge, teary eyes work wonders.

i'm going to see i can get another tire. if the big eyes don't work, perhaps a low-cut shirt will help matters.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

today went smoothly...

the boy just read my blog. not bad for a 1st grader. he got interested when i told him i talk about him and about his dad and what our lives are like. i also told him i don't mention him by name so that if he gets older and is embarrassed by what i write he can deny it was him. also that i don't want him to have a "web presence" at his age. we'll save that for later when he can make his own mistakes.

for now i've sent him off to play so that i can write another blog so that he can read it. maybe, when he's older, he can read these and see that for every meltdown or tantrum he has at this age, i have three. i hope he sees that i have no idea how to do this right and i have nothing to go on. i hope he sees that i try every day to keep the emotional scars of childhood to a bare minimum and do everything i can to keep him healthy, happy, and well-adjusted.

those days when it's just me and him, when his dad is out of town or working late, we're always proud at the end of the day when we can look at one another and say "we didn't kill each other once." for us, that's a successful day. today is one of those days. we didn't kill each other once.

today went smoothly.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

an early morning breakdown is a great way to start the day.

the youngster needed $1.00 to take to school so that he could wear his regular clothes instead of a uniform. he told me last night while his dad was at the store. we are a debit card-reliant family. we don't have cash. ever. the school routinely gives 1 day notice that things like this are happening. it's fun. we adore the adventure of it all. really.

i told phoenix that we didn't have any cash and that if i'd known before his dad went to the store i would have asked him to take out a little extra and that if he couldn't find it he would have to suffer the uniform again and no, i didn't know where his wallet was and it is not my responsibility to keep track of these things. his face fell down to his knees, he started scrounging for change, searching here and there and everywhere, he scraped enough together to be able to wear his cool skinny jeans and a thermal, and there was peace in the land.

cut to this morning: rushing out the door, running late, getting in the drop off line at school, and hearing "i forgot my dollar!"

turning around, going back to the house, getting the coins, handing them over with instructions to place them immediately in a pocket for safekeeping, hearing the coins continue to jingle, admonishing again to put them in a pocket, hearing two fall, trying not to curse, there is now crying, a quarter has been lost, and now two dimes, and why wasn't i the one holding on to them?, because it is not my job to keep track of it and if it had been in a pocket this wouldn't have happened, and now we are a dime short and that's just too bad because i'm going to be late to work and the bell is about to ring, so a kiss on the forehead, an apologetic look for the mutual meltdown, and away we go.

because when there's crying before 8:15 a.m., you know it's gonna be a swell day. really swell.

Friday, January 7, 2011

well, at least THAT'S over...

the holidays, i mean. they are no fun if you're an adult. an adult with depression symptoms so bad that you don't want to/can't get out of bed during the cheeriest time of year. so bad that you turn away from everyone and mentally hibernate. have nightmares. ignore mirrors. hate yourself. give up.

(re-reading "the bell jar" is also not recommended during these periods of gloom and doom, fyi.)

which is where i was, trying to festive-up for my 7 year old stepson while feeling positively crippled by a relentless apathy so severe i couldn't move. (when you're sitting by yourself and find tears streaming down your face with no apparent outward cause, it's time to hide the medicines and firearms.) and i have no idea what brought it on. that's the real bitch of it. just came out of nowhere and slapped my face with sadness.

i know this is supposed to be a happy blog, inspiring for other stepmothers and full of adorable anecdotes about life with a 7 year old boy and making it in a hardscrabble world and all that, but you know, not every day is an amazing adventure in child rearing. some days are oppressively heavy. this happened to be one of them. or a series of them.

see, my husband and i would like to have our own child together. we actually thought we'd had a pretty good chance around the holidays. we made the mistake of allowing ourselves to get a little hopeful that we might have the kind of news we'd for which we had been dying: a positive pregnancy test. i'd been more hormonal and emotional than i'd been before, my body was acting all weird, circumstances were looking good, it would all add up beautifully.

man, hope is cruel.

christmas morning rolled around and the soul crushing began. the roller coaster that had been going on for a month hit bottom. we were supposed to see a movie but i just couldn't do it. i made half-hearted attempts at being a decent daughter. i wished for the day to end so i could drift off into sleep again. i think i showered. i'm not entirely sure. i do recall brushing my teeth once, at least. so that's something. there was a decent amount of stress eating involved.

the boy came back two days later. i wasn't doing much better. i managed to slap on the sunny face for a little while so he could open his presents and have fun but heart was elsewhere. where, i couldn't tell you, but the backdrop of a tim burton movie would be a reasonable facsimile.

anyway, the boy is back, he got kind of spoiled (which is another blog in progress), things are back to their semblance of normalcy, and life is going on. i don't know if i have it in me to keep trying for a baby of my own. that monthly heartbreak is getting to be a little too much to bear. i don't think i want to just give up on it. i somewhere between wanting IVF and having my tubes tied.

now, that's an uplifting blog. sorry. to make up for that, here is a picture of a goat being carried by a donkey.

better? good.