Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Weight is Over

It's time!
(It's about that time, ya'll!)
Time to make a change.
(Yep, yep.)
I am the woman who can do it!
-Verse Adapted from The Winans

Know this song? Well I'll be singing it all day because I finally felt it. I finally felt the pull to go back to the size I was before I had Daughter. I've been meaning to. I've been wanting to but losing weight is not a choice one makes lightly. You've got to be in the right frame of mind to do it and you've got to do it for YOU, no one else, or else your resolve will change when the circumstance changes. Plus it costs money and you've got to get to a place where you outweigh the fear of spending money. Doesn't matter if you do it all yourself. It still costs to eat right and if you can't accept that, you won't be losing weight any time soon.

I've done this twice before a la LA Weight Loss and I LOVE them. I've been a plus size most of my teen-age to adult life (14/16 most of the time) and I've been relatively OK with it because I was balanced and still an hourglass shape. I was pretty much content and I got male attention too. But after I had Son, woo whee! A size I had NEVER been before and now have been twice. Not fun at all. Unfortunately I get more hips and stomach at this size and it starts competing with the boobs (which were a C cup when I was born, though I'm far from there now) are always a size larger than the rest of me, and usually offers wonderful coverage of the never-great-looking stomach area. But not at THIS weight. (Sorry. Can't tell you the number. I don't know it anyway but I can guess.) At this weight it's just a chore.

For now, it's not quite 7 a.m. and I just wanted to let you all in on this. I'll be back later to tell you why LA and what my goal is.


And I'm back. Made the appointment. I'll be seeing Joe at 6, but I'll be skeptical about him because while I have no problems doing this at a weight loss center, this is still a personal thing and if I ain't telly Hubby, I'm not feeelin' telling "Joe". We'll see.

I hear you asking why I'm not telling Hubby. Simply put, it's my business. He can sit back and reap the rewards.

So, I know what my body can do. I can lose 2 pounds a week if I behave and actually it's not that hard to behave. I just get cravings now and then or I go to some kind of food-centered event. But for me, I've learned that water is truly a magic elixir. It can indeed wash away the sin, but you'll be going to the bathroom a lot too. So, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I should be back to normal in about 2 1/2 months, back to the perfection I almost was in about 5.

Weight loss is such a personal subject and I'll share it with you here but I've got to admit, I don't really like discussing this in depth because I know that every body - literally - is different. What works for one is not guaranteed to work for another. Tricks are temporary. What works is eating less and moving more. Period. My mom did LA some years ago, unbeknownst to me, and found she only lost weight if she ate liver and cabbage and some other really limited diet. Worked for me, not for her.

My sister-in-law asked me about this plan. She's doing Weight Watchers. I told her, as I'm telling you, you don't want to do that yo-yo thing if you can avoid it. LA works but I didn't want her to be disappointed if it didn't happen for her. She said WW actually worked for her so I said, if WW is working for you, then either find the discipline to work the plan or find peace with the weight you get to. I didn't want to do WW because I didn't want to get into some group and discuss this. I know why I gained - after first baby - I know why I eat. I don't want to cry about it or complain or go "woe is me" or have a bunch of nagging cheerleaders in my ear. One is enough, thank you. LA is one-on-one counseling and I love that. You're in, you weigh, you look at your diary, discuss what you must (but I keep them in check) and move on! I just can't let this take over my life or my talk.

I also shared this plan with two of my friends and I don't know what they concluded but I don't think they looked into it either. I really could do a commerical for LA Weight Loss - I suppose I'm doing one now! - but I'd have to stipulate, "Every body is different. Find YOUR thing!"

Now, that being said, I lost this weight the first two times without exercise. It was simply the food. But as a consequence of losing weight, I personally do move more. I love my treadmill but it's packed away now until we get a house, but you can be sure I'll be on it again when she resurfaces. I just have to decide now where I want to be.

Now, as for my own yo-yoing. See I lost the weight the first time almost 5 years ago in preparation for my wedding. Then I got married and some strange thing happens where just simply being married takes up your time. You aren't doing much, but somehow you disappear. I guess you're busy staying home and staring at each other. I don't know. So I did that but I didn't reach my goal then so I couldn't do the maintenance. Then about a year later I got sick of looking at my stomach and finally went back to finish the job. I got FIVE POUNDS from my goal and stopped losing weight. Know why? Got pregnant. (Another consequence of losing weight. Careful ladies!) Again, didn't get to do maintenance.

So hopefully, the 3rd time is the charm and I will reach the goal and do the maintenance part. But now I have to lose it all over again. Had the 2nd child and gained but I gained back to my original weight before the 1st child. (Keeping up?) It was a good deal. Then I got sick for 5 months. I battle chronic eczema and I won't go into how bad it can get but for now I'll say I was down for 5 months due to it (couldn't walk for 2 of those days), plus I had to move out of my apartment of 10 years and in with in-law, plus I hated hated hated my job. My stress = eating. Presto! Back to bad weight. Now I'm starting over.

The good news is I learned from the second time that I actually didn't need to lose as much as I thought. The medical community thinks my ideal weight should be somwhere between 125-164 pounds. Guess what? Too small for me! I originally thought I wanted to be 160 but I found out 170 is perfect for me. Isn't it funny how someone will look at that number and think, "I'd die if I weighed that much!" But I'm a 5 ft. 8 in., buxom black girl. It looks good on me. Trust me.

So, my son took this blurry semi-before picture of me this morning. Forgive him. He's only 6, but he did manage to make mommy look good by strategically moving the camera phone. He loves me. So get a good look. I don't intend to revisit this. If I can get LA to take a digital photo - yes, they take before and after photos - I'll post it for ya so you can gasp.

Last night Son says to daddy as daddy lay sprawled across our bed, "Daddy, why are you fat?" He had recently seen a high school photo of him when he was super skinny. But he's 6'3". Gotta give him room for that. Son then says, "Why can't you be skinny like mommy?" God love him! Hug, hug, hug. Kiss, kiss, kiss.

Feeling good already.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Happy Anniversary To Me!

(Aside: This is a long one, guys. Forgive me.)

Today marks 1 whole year living just one step below the the kind of life I want. This is a very good thing. I originally went to college with the idea of getting a degree in Interior Design. I love the colors, I love the design, I love art but I wasn't sure I'd want to take something I love kind of as a hobby and make it a career. Indeed I did not. The work involved includes not only the decorating aspect of things but the architecture side too. You've got to know how to read that language and work in it though it's really not so complicated as far as drawings and floorplans are concerned. But in the end, it's all about bringing other people's ideas to life and that's the thing I didn't think I'd be happy with for the rest of my life.

So I went to my fallback plan - an English degree. This was not so much a hobby as my natural inclination to read and write and communicate via the written word. I switched my major to this and haven't looked back. This is all a part of knowing what your talents are and following your heart. Personally, I couldn't not follow my heart if I wanted to. I'm just too restless to do anything else.

After time in college where I was on the college newspaper - eventually making editor-in-chief - I went into a journalism training program in St. Petersburg, FL., then back home to Maryland where I sought jobs as a newspaper reporter as I pondered settling in Maryland for a while. But I wasn't confident in my own writing ability then. It was just too much to let people judge me by my writing so I went into copy editing where I could make more money than most reporters because there are fewer editors - good ones - than reporters. I could go anywhere and proceed from there. Thankfully I didn't have to wait too long.

A newspaper here in Connecticut called me up. The editor had found my resume via the National Association of Black Journalists convention I had attended in Detroit after leaving Florida and the rest is history - and divine intervention. You see I was hired sight unseen, as they say. Over the phone I was assured of a job but they did want to meet me in person too so I went up to Bridgeport, CT to see the place in the state I actually had to look up on the map. OK, I know it sounds ignorant of me but for those of us south of New York who do NOT like cold places, there just isn't any life past that state so I had to see just how high Connecticut was. God help me if it was close to Vermont. (Hey, I didn't know!) But it wasn't. Whew.

So here I came and the very first person I met was a seemingly aloof security guard who directed me to the floor I needed to go to get to the newsroom. I married that man about 7 years later. I was able to please my body's internal clock and work the night shift (5 p.m. to 1 a.m.) as a copy editor for that newspaper for about 8 years, loving 7 out of 8 of those years. (It was bought out by the last year and that first bounced paycheck was the last straw for me.) I met friends I continue to be friends with. That shift allowed me to hang out with them; start my Master's degree, which still needs me to write my thesis; get experience as a hospital chaplain; work with a social service agency via the AmeriCorps program (Clinton's national peace corps); and even work a part-time job as a salesclerk, getting to the Assistant Manager position before I decided it was just too much with my full-time job. After having my son in 2000, I decided that it was too much for my psyche to read about all those dead and abused children. Amazing how it didn't impact me until he came along. Then suddenly those stories would jump out at me like a vicious jack-in-box. I'd see Son in everything I read and I had to leave.

I went to a more traditional 9-to-5 job at a direct marketing company. Let me tell you, there is just nothing duller than editing that junk mail you get with your credit card bills. I hacked it for 2 years but I learned it all by then and I was bored literally to tears for the next 2 years. I took stock of my experiences, my desires, found out from my mother that I truly had a need NOT to be bored in whatever I did (apparently even as a child, they had to make sure I was entertained. Don't know what the consequence of my boredom was, however.) and after having my second child, set out to find nirvana. It came to me in the form of a job as Editorial Assistant for a healthcare marketing company. Not at all like it sounds, but I do have to maintain some degree of anonymity here.

It was a step of faith for me. I loved the sound of the gig. I could use everything I had ever done over these past 12 years and funnel it here. I could finally shed the label of Copy Editor and be the Writer I set out to be when I first started. I'd be helping people. I'd be working with a new, small company. My new boss was not a micromanager so I could do things MY way, especially since the position was new. (Plus, she's got 2 kids too and understands my POV.) It was just too overwhelming. All that waiting and looking and fussing at God and He had better than what I had been willing to settle for just to get out of the hell I was in. He had what I needed. A place that respected my job as a wife and mother. I could make sure my son got on his bus at 8:17ish in the morning and drop off my daughter and not have a heart attack trying to get in before 9 a.m. or if Daughter is sick, I can simply work from home. A place that appreciated what I could do. A place where I could learn new things. A place where I don't feel resentful if I need to stay late and I happily do so when I need to. A place that feels like it's as much my own thing as the CEO who founded it. A place that fit with my life and flowed with it instead of feeling like I had to suspend my life, work a job, then go back to my reality.

I've been here a year today - my mother's birthday and my parents' anniversary - and I'm still in love with it. Let me be an example to you, dear reader, of knowing yourself, knowing what you want to do and NEVER, NEVER giving it up no matter how long it takes to accomplish. I admit I didn't gain the complete confidence in all that I am as the person God created me to be until I hit 35 last December, but still I can say stay true to your heart and follow the path of peace in all you do. God created you to do a certain thing and if you simply choose to do that thing, He will make a way. I assure you. The money will come. The opportunity will come. But best of all is the peace. When you're clueless as to what to do, that to me is God's still voice speaking - pick the way that calms you - in jobs, in marriage, whatever it may be.

My ideal place is working my own business and writing full-time, in addition to being able to volunteer again like I did before I had children and doing some other things I have yet to begin. I want to be free to travel and all my things can travel with me if I choose. I want my children to see a mother who is happy in what she does, which I didn't believe I was seeing when my own mother was raising me and my brother as my father worked so hard and often away from home. At this point I am only one step away from that life. I don't know how long this job will last - though I know I won't retire from here - and it's so, so sweet to finally not care.

To me I say, congratulations for perservering. To you, I say, keep on keeping on. To God I simply say - today and every day - Thank You.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Atlanta Part 1

Staying away from my blog while I was in Atlanta was like neglecting my own child! I tried to keep ya'll up to date - honest! There was a computer in the hotel and free wireless hookup in the rooms but we had no laptop on us so we had to settle for sharing. But every time I had a moment, someone was in the way! Blasted hotel stayers!

There's a million things I can say about that time so I'll try to give it some semblance of order.
Who: My business partner and I
What: went to Atlanta for the 5th annual George Fraser PowerNetworkingConference and to see family/friends to boot
When: June 13-17 (though the conference actually ran from the 14th throughthe 18th)
Where: I just told you! Atlanta! Keep up!

Why: Well, to see what we could learn. It was a first for both of us and it won't be a last. Also, I haven't seen my one and only sibling since he was a groomsman in my wedding nearly 5 years ago. Plus we have mutual friends from our church who we really love and really, really miss. Plus, plus her ex-hubby is there and they are the best of friends (it's true! I saw it!) but haven't seen each other in about the same amount of time as my brother and I.
How: How what? How did we get there? We flew - one stop in D.C. on the way down but when we went home we had a crazy 3-hour layover in Chi-town. How did we get around? Rented a car. Let me tell you. The Toyota Corolla sits up pretty nicely for a compact car. I'm 5'8" and I was stepping in and out of that baby, not climbing in and out like I do my own precious Honda Accord station wagon.
Details: Well, I can tell you what I learned but it would take as long as winter in the South Pole. Suffice it to say that we came back motivated, re-invigorated and determined to revisit the original intent of our business and I'm very excited about that. If you have never listened to Myles Munroe, do yourself a favor: Do It Today. The man is dynamic. He has one message: Live Your Purpose. God has given him the ability to tell that same message in a million ways and it speaks to me every, single time. - If I were in church I'd be waving my hands about now! - God was talking to us that night. How do I know? Well, everything was running late due to the luncheon running over time earlier that day. My partner and I went to the hall where he would be and we were discussing the classes we were in, saying we wanted to talk to the presenters but they were surrounded and we didn't want to miss Myles Munroe. But I told her, "Look. We came here to help our business. I love Myles but let's go back and get what we can from these guys." We did. And when we returned, things had not yet started. As far as I'm concerned, they were waiting for our arrival and we got every delectable word. Treat yourselves, dear readers. He will inspire you.

OK. So I'll stop there for now. I'll blather on about highway signs, homey hotels and life-altering movies when next I blog!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Mother, My Mother

YewNorkBabe - can you tell I hang out at her place sometimes? - talked about the wonders of daughters not too long ago. I thought I would piggyback on that, if I may, to talk about moms from the perspective of a daughter. See, I thought of this because my mother is - among many things - a graphic designer. She helps me with my business. At the moment I am writing this, she is working on an ad for us to put in the newspaper, which we do monthly and I like to do new ones each time if I can. (It's over there. Isn't it beautifully simple?)

My mother sent one draft to me that I thought was too busy, not quite it. I explained what I wanted to see and presto! That's what I got back and more. That's what she does. She takes what I give her and makes more out of it. That's what she's always done but it was hard to appreciate it growing up. We were always butting heads because - drum roll please. I am about to break the children's code of secrecy and admit - we are very much alike. As the longstanding argument goes, she said black so I'd say white. Why? Uh un uh.(Shrugging shoulders). Because that's what children do to exercise their independence and I see it every day as my 2-year-old daughter flaunts her freeness of mind in my face every, single, solitary day.

My mother and I had lots of tense moments but I can only speak from my side of things because, frankly, she still keeps her emotions to herself. However, I suspect she wouldn't agree with that assessment. Nevertheless, we'd have our good days and our horrible ones and I just never understood her. Her sisters, who I do get along with tremendously, were her voice. Again, she'd probably disagree, but they kept me from throwing in the towel. (Sorry, mommy. It's true.) Today she is a happily retired 55-year-old woman with miles to go before she sleeps and I can see a world of change in her since that retirement. The lesson I believe that was proven here is one that I've been telling people for years and they'd accuse me of being selfish - don't put your life on hold for your children. If YOU are happy, they will be happy.

I never thought of my mother as happy until she was free from the need to work to help my father pay the bills. He got a government job when he was 19 and so was able to retire at about 55 years old. As one gets older, one understands how young that really is. He retired and took her with him. They moved to my paternal grandparents' house in Georgia and built their own house around that house so they could stay on the land and preserve the old house. (Yes, "around" the old house is precisely what it sounds like, though difficult to imagine, I know.) That woman, as my brother and I joke, is NOT the person we grew up with. She's so happy to be persuing her love of writing and photography and graphic design. She running committees and winning awards for her efforts. She can concentrate on her own business now which she tried to run as a full-time worker but it was hard. She can fully be mother and grandmother and I know - I can see - she is happy.

That wasn't the case growing up. I believe she sacrificed her desires to meet our needs and I'll never know how necessary that really was. But I said to her then and say to women now, find your balance. Do your stuff too, don't just do what you think your kids need you to do and suppress your happiness. It's not good for you or them. I'm sure lots of people will find reasons why I should not be so black and white on this, but all I have is my own experience with it. I didn't like seeing her unhappy. And my children have proven that all they want is to be with me, even in the midst of my doing my own thing. That's the challenge for me. Finding a way to include them and if I can't then I try to work around their schedules and needs. I'd rather lose sleep, have a good relationship with them and be happy overall than be the model mom sacrificing everything for my children and putting myself last all the time. Because guess what? They grow up and get lives of their own. Then where will you be?

My Mug Shot

Hee hee! YewNorkBabe wanted to see my mug shot! So here it is! I don't do coffee, ever. Smells great. Tastes bitter. And I really hate it in my ice cream! (Though I shouldn't be eating ice cream because something has changed in my internal makeup and the dairy on my lips makes them look a little.....well, Husband recently likened them to the Nutty Professor movie with Eddie Murphy when he morphs back to his fat self from his thin self. The lips blow up like life rafts. Husband thinks he's funny.)

Anyhoo, I don't like hot tea either because it tastes so blah to me so why not just drink room temperature water, I say. But in the cup is the tea I do drink - Arizona Iced Tea - lemon. A short-term, ex-boyfriend introduced me to it years ago and I've never looked back. Love it, love it, LOVE IT! And for my pick-me-up because I'm not a morning person, I have yummy caffeine a la Pepsi waiting for me because I get free soda at work. (Not helpful since I need to lose weight - again - but gotta love that kick.) Now if I have my choice, Yewnorkbabe, I'll get Coke. There really is a difference in taste. Pepsi is sweeter but something happened - again - when I was pregnant with Son. I was sick for 5 months and not "morning" sickness. I ended up dehydrated and I was miserable until I found out that's what the issue was. Five months of hell. That's what it was. So the Coke settled my stomach and made it possible to actually sit for longer than 5 minutes without doubling over in agony. Pregnant for the first time or thinking about it? That's my advice to you. Do what works for YOU. My baby was not born with a buzz because I had caffeine. But after I had him, I lost my taste for Coke and discovered Pepsi! Now? I can go either way.

Anyway, if I weren't afraid to set a bad example for the kids, I'd drink Pepsi or Coke at home as my morning beverage too! But at least I can sneak it at work, hiding in my semi-cube and feeling like a freak because I'm having soda before noon. Wait! It's after 1 p.m.! Bottoms up!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The End, The Beginning Again

Today is Son's last day of kindergarten. I can't believe I was so busy rushing him around that I forgot to take his morning picture! (I'll do it later and post it here.) Well, actually, I let him sleep and sleep and sleep and he didn't get up until about 7:40. His bus comes between 8:17 and 8:21. It would surely be on time today because I was not.

I got him up, the oatmeal was in an acceptable bowl waiting on the table - not too hot, not too lumpy. Chocolate milk ready to slide down his throat. He sat at the table and told me he was sleepy until I said, "This is it." "Huh?" "Did you forget? This is it!" He brightens, realizing what I am saying. "Oh yeah! I forgot today's the last day of school."

He eats, and plays. I rush about and tell him to stop playing. Then I remember I sent him to bed as soon as I got mad at him last night for throwing a pointed pencil at his sister. So this morning I have to give him a bath and it's 8:03. I'm weird. I seem to get a kick out of racing myself because I do these last-minute things knowing I may run out of time. Still I have to try, just in case I developed the ability to stop time while I slept.

I run the water and continue getting Daughter's lunch ready. He tries to play in the tub but I take over - as usual. He is clean, lotioned and dressed by 8:15. Guess what? I forgot to buy the teacher a plant last night. I grab a thank-you note I'm grateful to have from notes I had just written earlier this week. I ask him what he wants to say and write it out for him so he can copy it. If I had time I'd let him do it all. He's a really good reader and he guesses the spelling of words really well. He is MY son after all! All the while I'm throwing together the last few things into his Spiderman bookbag and I even offer to tie his shoes so he won't have to waste another second. (I insist on independence when I know they can handle it so it's rare to catch me tying the shoes of a 6-year-old.) He writes it - his way, of course. The card is meant to be horizontal with the flap going up. He turned it sideways. Sigh. Another lesson in my learning to not expect to control it all. Yes, I'm a walking oxymoron - I want independent kids who do things MY way - but darn it, I try! :-)

The bus comes on time. Of course. I tell him to stuff the note in the envelope when he gets on the bus and he runs out the door to catch the last bus of his kindergarten year.

It was just yesterday I was stressing the fact that our town school system honestly expected me to put my 5-year-old on a bus with a bunch of strange chickenhead children I don't know and I'd have to kill if they touched my baby in any way. But he was happy to do it and did it like a pro - every day for the next 10 months. I think I'm going to cry again. I've only done it once so far in the 6 years I've been a mommy. It's hard; very hard to see them grow up. We laugh at the emotions of our parents but until you become one you just don't have a clue. I don't know why I'm emotional because I never liked folk hanging onto me. But I can see him now in my mind, walking away as if he wasn't breaking my heart just because he's maturing and coming into his own, turning into this awesome boy with the big eyes and sweet heart who still loves to cling to me and hold my face in his hands when he's tired, just like when he was only months old. I doubt he'll ever truly know how much he changed me and made my life exponentially better just because he exists - my first born.

Take your time, September. You can wait just a little longer, 1st grade. I think I need to just stay here awhile and enjoy the moment with my baby.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

7th Heaven

Got tagged. Here's my list:

7 Things to do Before I Die
1- Publish my children's book
2 - Take a dance class
3 - Sing in the choir
4 - finish my master's thesis
5 - go to Africa
6 - get my business growing and flowing and profitable

7 Things I Cannot Do
1 - I'm like YewNorkBabe. I don't lie well. Honest!
2 - Work a job I hate with people I don't respect.
3 - Pretend I'm happy when I'm not.
4 - Keep my anger from rising. (I'm working on it. It's hard.)
5 - Be cheerful in the morning. Bah humbug.
6 - Swim (All that water. Shiver! Thank God I didn't have to walk through the parted sea with Moses!)
7 - hair (mine or Daughter's. At least not well.)

7 Things that Attracted Me to My Husband
1 - His height (he's 6'3)
2 - His girth (he's my teddy bear. I actually don't feel fat next to him.)
3 - His sense of humor (kids love him)
4 - His family (so like my own)
5 - His work ethic (he's had at least 2 jobs for as long as I've known him)
6 - He says little but he hears everything I say and silently moves mountains to make me happy.
7 - In the end, he went through hell and came back clutching the hand of Jesus. He was finally mine to marry.

7 Things I Say Most
1 - Great day!
2 - Daughter, you are SO determined to do it YOUR way!
3 - I love you too, baby.
4 - Not a problem.
5 - Come on, you knucklehead drivers! (or) Excuse me, it's MY life, baby, not yours. (This is usally aimed at knuckledhead drivers who blow their horns at me because I don't always dare to play beat-the-car-coming-at-you-doing-50-while-stopped-and-waiting-to-get-across-the-street.)
6 - Get out of the refrigerator, Daughter!
7 - Sure, I'll pick up the piece of paper that's been lying in the middle of the hallway for 2 days invisible to everyone but me.

7 Movies I’d Watch Over and Over Again
1 - Parenthood
2 - The BreakUp (I'll tell you why soon.)
3- The Princess Bride
4 - Spanglish (Adam Sandler truly grows on you but not like a fungus the way you'd expect. More like the secret hair on your legs which you know you don't touch in the winter only in the summer when other people are watching. Of course, I'm quite hairless so I never tried to remove hair until a year or so ago, just for the heck of it. Jealous? You should be. :-D)
5 - The Breakfast Club
6 - Crash
7 - Ferris Bueller's Day Off (did I spell his name right? Bueller? Bueller?)

7 People I’d Like to Tag
LOL! Don't think I have 7 readers yet! So anyone can feel free to take it and run.

Childhood Eccentricities

I am pre-empting my "Trippy Tales from Atlanta" to take you on another tour inside the mind of a 6-year-old boy.

Son is picky. Son doesn't always know what he wants but he absolutely knows he's unwilling to try anything new - easily. Son is afraid of bugs. Even the microscopic ones. OK. We can live with that. (But don't tell him the truth about what lives inside of mattresses! Oh, we'd all lose sleep for months!)

Son hates to feel the seam of his socks. OK. We can live with that.

Son hates for his pants to make noise. OK. We can live with that.

Son doesn't like his T-shirts to show through the neck of his shirts so he buttons up to the top, even in the spring. OK. We can live with that, especially since he doesn't have to wear T-shirts in the summer, so no problem there.

Son can't abide ketchup on his french fries so if he shares yours, you must pick one with absolutely no ketchup on it. Sigh. OK. We can live with that.

Son will eat cereal from the bowl with flowers along the rim but NOT the bowl with the flower at the bottom. I know this. I live with it. (This is the bowl that is acceptable.)

This morning I exploded.

Son asked for cereal so I fixed him cereal. Then he came to the table and said he didn't want Fruit Loops - the cereal he has wanted every day for oh, say A MONTH. Today?

Son: "I want oatmeal."
Mom: "But you said you wanted cereal."
Son: "I changed my mind"
Mom with rising temperature: "I already FIXED it, Son."
Son: "But I don't want it!"
Naked Mom clutching towel from recent shower so as not to clutch Son: "You ASKED for it, you GOT it, Toyota!"
(Ugh! More whining!)
Mom at top of lungs: "Get a job, buy your food, then do it YOUR way! I'm not throwing away good food because of your whims!"

Son leaves and comes back crying.
Son sniffling: "I want a different bowl."
Mom in tone only dogs can hear: "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!"
Son in tears: "I don't like that bowl!"
Mom unmoved: "It has a stripe! What's wrong with the stripe?!" (This green stripe one you see here was the culprit.)

OK, I won't go further. He cried yet I refused to give in. I muttered to Husband, "I can not let that boy's eccentricities turn him into a hypochondriac or worse. I know he's 6 and it's just the way it is, but this is too far. It's just insane! I can't let him be insane!"

(This bowl you see here with blue stripe is not a problem unlike the green stripe above.) I know he's not insane. I know this is just Son. I've got my quirks too. Don't ask me to stay in just any old hotel. You may as well ask me to roll around in garbage as far as I'm concerned. And if I visit someone and things look, well, too worn for my tastes, I'm uncomfortable the whole time. I'm me. I'm OK with it.

As for Son's cereal, he ate it. Oh yes he did. And I think I was supposed to applaud every bite as if I had asked him to climb Mt. Everest with no climbing gear. All I could do was raise my eyesbrows and keep my mouth shut. In the end, you know what? He thought the green striped bowl was the one with the flower at the bottom! That's why he hated it!

Just so you know, I used the crazy a bit too much this morning and the next thing I know Daughter has picked it up. 75% of the time I think before I speak because I know I have fragile egos here. This morning I was in 25% mode. Still, I pulled them both to me and apologized. I qualified it too saying the behavior is truly just going too far for my tastes but I ended on "He's not crazy, Daughter. Do you know what it means? No? Ok, drop it for now." "You're not crazy, Son. I know you want things a certain way and so do I."

Morning angst stems from painted flowers. This is my life. Thank God he's cute.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Team Type 1 Wins!

They are waayyyy ahead and they took the race, ladies and gentlemen! Team Type 1 was first to cross the finish linie in the Corporate Challenge - 2 days ahead of schedule.

Go Team!

It's not too late to donate so check them out at www.

The Race to Cure Diabetes

You know I have my very own soapbox here to promote any cause I like. Do you think I thought of this in time? Almost didn't! Team Type 1 is racing across America as we speak - from Cally to Atlantic City - all in an effort to raise awareness about diabetes and raise money too for people with type 1. All the racers have diabetes.

Diabetes runs very strong in my husband's family, though not type 1. Type 2 is the prevalent type among us and I work hard to try to keep my children active so it's a way of life for them as they get older and to also teach them to appreciate healthy food, even though I fail that test more times than I care to count.

The race will conclude by the June 21st but it's never too late to help them raise the million dollars they are looking to raise. I even ordered a lovely little red and white band in their honor - my very first one ever. You can do it too!
So if you think you wanna check them out, do so today! (Love my commercial?) And I'll catch you up on my Atlanta trip very very soon!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Lord of the Rings

My honey bunny hubby left a cream-colored pouch hanging on my dresser knob this morning while I was in the shower. What was it, you ask? A ring! A beautifully simple ring with our names on it and our birthstones (mine December, his January). Why? No reason! Well, I assume he just wanted to do it and he may even love me! LOL! Made me happy. It's not a crystal clear image, I know, and I don't think you can see his name - must maintain some anonymity after all! - but I'm on the left and he's on the right. Just thought I'd share right quick before I go home to pack for a week in Atlanta.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Wild and Wooly Weekend

Well, I feel like I've been in a marathon this past week. My business partner and I are going to a conference in Atlanta next week and we've got those mixed feelings a lot of people probably have about travel. You know, you want to go but you wish you could just snap your fingers and be there - packed/unpacked clothes and all?

Both her full-time job and mine are assistant jobs. She the Administrative Assistant to our Pastor at our rather large church (way more than a 40-hour a week job) and I'm an Editorial Assistant at a very worthwhile-but-still-considered-a-startup company that is doing quite well and therefore has me happily hopping on a daily. She and I both spent this past week trying to get things to a place where either anyone could handle it for a week or no one had to think about it for a week. She loves it. So do I. It's amazing how her life and mine run so parallel:

  • We were pregnant with our first children together (along with her sister) and we were not planning it. People swore we did or must have been drinking the same water. We figured it was God's way of making it less scary for 3 first-time moms. (And oh, my friend is 10 years older than I so she was having her first at 40.)
  • We're both Sagittarians - and no we don't follow that like a religion but it's still a similarity, though she's November born and I'm almost a month later in December.
  • Our Spiritual Gifts inventory had some of the same gifts for helping people and administrative ability.
  • She's had her job for - I don't know. Maybe 7 years or more. I've only had mine for what will be a year this coming June 27. I've been a copy editor for the past 12 years, which was cool but the last place just wasn't fulfilling for me and I couldn't use enough of my talents. So now, my friend and I find ourselves in similar positions suporting busy people and worthwhile organizations (though mine is for profit) and loving every minute of it. And in return we are appreciated by these people who understand that we are mothers and want to participate in our children's lives. They understand that things come up and allow us to work from home. They understand that we work well independently so no one micromananges us.
She and I are blessed and don't want to take anything for advantage so we give it our best and sometimes that means weeks like this past one where we are just plain tired. But she still picks up her daughter from school and I was still able to volunteer for a couple of hours for my son's Field Day. We are blessed indeed.

Now this weekend I have to go to a meeting this afternoon regarding my son's summer literacy program at my afrorementioned church. I have a writing lesson I MUST finish and mail out today. (I "go to" the Institute of Children's Literature and it is fantastic!) After the accident, I got busy with work and it was hard because I must be inspired when I write. I'm sure lots of published writers would tell me to work through the lack of inspiration but I just don't think writing should be work, per se. The revising and all that may be, but the initial putting of pen to paper should be muse-led, I say, and it was but it was about 4 times too long. Not suprising for someone who is as full of words as Tom Cruise is of ego. (He's an idiot.) So today I MUST finish it. I MUST mail it. I MUST move on. I'm sure my teacher - who knows I had the accident - is going to say, "Deadlines, dear. You MUST adhere to deadlines." I did start the thing on time. I just lost my mojo and I've got to reclaim it this morning.

I've also got a scary refrigerator I have to clean because someone spilled red Kool-aid in it. They did a better job cleaning up the Exxon Valdez spill. The fridge is one of my peeves. Somehow it has fallen to me to maintain it and I'm doing it grudgingly only because my food and my children's food has to be in there too. Otherwise, it could grow fur for all I care.

This is it. Blogger doesn't seem to want to upload images from my computer right now so I had to do the thing and it's placed itself here. So anyway, somewhere along the way cleaning needs to happen. And Son wants a classmate to come over for a playdate. God give me strength. I wouldn't mind. I'm a good hostess, if I do say so myself, and I actually enjoy company but in MY OWN HOUSE. It's just not the same at my MIL's and I'd rather not have new people over unnecessarily. But the school year is winding down and they've been itching to do this, I know. So I've got to give soon. Who knows what will happen next year. They may suddenly decide they don't like each other and I do want to nurture his friendships with kids from quality families wherever I can.

Anyway, after all this, I need to wash clothes and iron some things - I hate ironing too - and start packing. We take off on Tuesday for an almost week's worth of time away from distractions and time to focus on this business we both so love and believe in. If only we could hire some help.

It's 9 a.m. I need to give myself about 1 1/2 hours to write and get it in the mail. (Stop stalling, Monica!) I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Why Is It...?

1) ...when I want to buy shoes and I don't care - much - about the cost, I can never find what I want in my size in the color I want the first time around?

2) ...people who have their blinking light on for more than two blocks, can't hear the ding-ding-ding or clicking sound their light is making? It bugs the heck out of me!

3) a house with 3 adults, no one can ever seem to pick up the big sheet of paper that's been laying in the hallway for 3 days straight?

4) ... after six years of life, my son still thinks he has to tell me he wants juice with his breakfast?

5) ...with literally hundreds of channels on TV, I can never find anything worth watching when all I want to do is veg? And for that matter....

6) ...when I watch a show one day and I don't watch it again for a year, the time I choose to tune in again they're showing the exact same episode I just saw a year ago?!

7) find it hard to believe you can still be a virgin over the age of 16? or 20? or more?

8) ...the time I want to be online (after 11 p.m.) is the time the Internet is out to lunch?

9) ...the lovely (ha!) $2.97 gas price I've been watching for a week doesn't jump to $3.05 until the day I'm ready to fill (halfway) up?

10) ...when I'm close to achieving something that required great sacrifice, I sabotage myself?

11) matter how many times I look around, when I'm backing out of a parking space, I'm the one stopping short of hitting the idiot directly behind me who waited until I started moving to backing out of their space? And while we're talking about cars...

12) ...if I'm driving around looking for a street or address and I decide to make a U-turn on a dead-end side street, there is ALWAYS a car behind me making a turn onto that same street?

13) ...if I go to an empty movie theater and I am the first one there, the next person in chooses to sit within touching distance of me?

14) ...people who smoke think it's OK to throw a lit cigarette out a moving car onto the highway? Hello? Are you THAT self-centered? OTHER PEOPLE WITH OPEN WINDOWS AND CHILDREN IN CAR SEATS ARE DRIVING AROUND YOU! Oh! and...

15) ...when I'm at a red light and the light turns green, the knucklehead behind me blows his/her horn at that precise moment as if I was the one with the magic power to turn the light green in the first place and I was just denying them their right to speed?

16) ...again in a house with 3 adults, 2 of them see it OK to cut food on top of the counters and leave splashes and crumbs there for me to come behind them and clean it up. Newsflash: IT'S NOT MY HOUSE! I feel like I care too much.

This is me ending on an odd note. As aggravated as I was today, there's bound to be more later. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Stop Letting It All Hang Out!

Oh boy! Summer is coming. Know how I can tell? The flesh is coming out. Ready or not, fit or not, tan or not, here it comes! I went to look for a pair of shoes today. I like to make slow transitions because I simply cannot afford an entire wardrobe for each season. I like things I can wear in most seasons so I can mix and match and not have to buy a ton of stuff all at once as the heat bears down. Now, if you're asking why I have to do this year in and year out, then you are probably not female or you are not a Luther Vandross body double, i.e. your weight is consistent from year to year and your taste never changes. For many of us, it's just a matter of fact: We must shop. How much and how often depends on your circumstances. For me, my children are first and I have other things that are more important so I try to go as long as I can before I buy a few pieces to tide me over until the next time I can spare some change to get a few more. I've got a business trip coming up so I decided I couldn't wait any longer. I had to see about a few pairs of shoes to suit the hotter weather I'll be in.

As I looked about and mulled over my wardrobe in my head, I had to steer myself around a few ladies who were equally enraptured by the thought of new shoes. I go back and forth between a 9 1/2 and a 10 (I'm tall and not small, so no comments, please!) and they were across the aisle from each other so I meandered back and forth.

I thought to myself, "I like these green ones but a 10 is a tad too big. They don't have it in a 9 1/2. Oh shoot! What to do. Maybe I can try the store near home or.......whoa! That is one brave sistah! How did she find a pair of jeans to go over ALL THAT? And how come I can't find a pair to fit like that?"

What's "All That" you ask? Flesh, dear readers! Waaaaayyyy too much of it and I can talk! Last night I saw two TLC documentaries in a row on people who were over 600 pounds and I must admit, excessive weight is a concern of mine. Now this woman in the store was no where near that but she would certainly give anyone pause because her thighs alone were simply huge. Then I noticed her friend and then another one came in and I noticed her. The friends were much smaller but one of them was wearing a form fitting cotton dress and her stomach was hanging like a beer gut. It made me ask the question: What kind of bravery does it take to wear clothes that show your every curve or reveal more of your skin than is unrevealed, no matter how unflattering any of it may be?

Why do women do this? I can ignore the men. I know a lot of men just don't have those kinds of concerns and bully for them. Women, on the other hand, are supposed to be a little more delicate when it comes to these matters. I mean, if you are very heavy, wouldn't it look better to wear the right shapes and sizes for your figure than skin-tight-reveal-every-lump-and-bump jeans? I have my days where I don't care either. When I go on vacation or somewhere I don't know people, I'm a little more risky. I might even let my arms out. But see I also battle eczema, so I'm really more concerned about showing scars than rolls. But man, do I wish I had whatever DNA it takes to just not care. It's the same DNA that blinds you to the fact that you may be wearing too many colors at once or the two simple colors you are wearing are clashing like Titans. I may not look like a model but in my head, as queen of Monicaland, I am a Fashion DIVA! I am high maintenance and can't afford my own tastes but I still aspire to and try my best to do what I can with what I have. And part of that is trying not to give people a view of me that no one but my husband and gyno should see - and shoot, even gynos cover you up!

If you know you are clothing challenged (as in you don't really know how to dress yourself, and plenty of people don't), PLEASE, do us all a favor and start with TLC's What Not to Wear. (I told you I love this channel.) Take a chance and actually wear the size you are and not the size you used to be B.C. (before children or before current chronology). You may like it! No, you'll LOVE it! You know you're top heavy but you figure you can't help them popping out like that? Did you know, small, medium or large, one breast is usually larger than the other and you are not the same size in every manufacturer's bra? That's right, ladies. You've been wearing one size for 20 years but you may STILL need to go get fitted. It is so liberating! Try it! I found out that I could get my girls in non-underwire sports bras and they will still sit up and take notice. And so does Husband! :-) I LOVE those bras!

Now, I know many people will continue to flaunt their flesh and that, as Bobby Brown croons, is your prerogative. But clothes that flatter you are way sexier. You can still show some leg, some arm. I don't hide my cleavage - mainly because I can't unless I wear shirts that button up to my chin - but I'm not overly exposed either!

I'm not trying to beat up on people. Honest. Like I said, I ain't got it all together either. But please do us all a favor this summer. Think about whether or not you want you child to dress the same way and if it's cool, then cool. But if not, let's class it up a little, shall we?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

My Life as a Drawer

This is my top drawer. It's not MY dresser, per se. It's my Husband's. Who knows how long he's had it. For sure as long as I've known him and that's about 13 years now. But I'm sure he's had it at least since high school; probably longer. But I live in there for now while we live with my MIL.

This drawer represents my life at the moment and you can see why I'm going a little stir crazy and in need of a house. The stuff I use regularly is on top, though not that blue cap. That granny cap rose from the bottom one day as I dug feverishly looking for my pink (see a theme here?) container of Pills. I rummaged noisely, pushing aside Daughter's bag o' barrets, digging through envelopes that don't need to be there, diving under 3 boxes of flash cards I have to hide there lest they get strewn all over the house, and all this while Husband slept. I found The Pills and grew even more disdainful of that drawer and all it represents - clutter, chaos, confusion and a total lack of civilized living.

Tonight I am sleepy. I've been sleepy a lot lately but I know it's just something short of exhaustion right now. (Aside: I'm reading Stephen King's "On Writing" and he admits to having times of manic workaholism and then times of near lethargy. Glad to know it's not just me.) The exhaustion, I am certain, is partly due to a lack of my own personal space. Not too long ago tonight, before I checked back on here, I turned off the TV after watching a show I have grown to enjoy - HBO's Big Love. Talk about a lack of personal space! I suppose things could be worse for me. I could have been born into a belief system that allowed Husband to have more than one wife and then where would I be?! Then again, those women each have a house - if not total privacy - so they are still at least one step ahead of me! Aside: I really find this show fascinating. A perspective I've never seen before in a TV show. What do ya'll think?")

Anyway, I'm just venting a little here. Nothing major tonight. Just want to push my 30-lb 2-year-old girl over to Husband's side and claim some space before she gets into her usual horizontal position and kicks me in the ribs, as if she didn't get enough of doing that while I carried her. God, please give me patience to wait for my house where we'll have our own bedroom again and a KING size bed where children are prohibited - unless being carried in the womb!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Ten Significant Words That Start With The Letter "P"

I've found myself a kindred spirit here in the blogosphere, YewNorkBabe, and I am now in a game of tag! I loved that stuff when I was kid, weighed less and could run faster. (Let's not talk weight right now, shall we not?)

So we need 10 significant words that start with P. "Phone", next post down, would be too easy. So let me think:

Praise - As in I need it more than I'd like to admit. For some reason I'm still not 100% as confident as I want to be in my own abilites but I do press on. Plus, in another vain, I love to sing songs of Praise to God. I love to sing, period.

Press - Praise reminded me. I do believe in Pressing Toward the Mark Of Our High Calling in Christ Jesus. You must press on. You must try. You must not give up your dreams. You have gifts and talents that can only be optimally expressed by you. So despite my horrible need for praise, I do press. And I'm happy because of it.

Please - This is just a word I hear TOO much from Daughter. "Pwease, mommy? Pwease, pwease?" I think I'm tired of this word now. But she does sound cute saying it.

Peanut butter - Something else I tire of but Son thinks it's a major food group. I just don't think I'll buy it ever again after they grow out of it....until I have grandkids, of course.

Paid - As in, I wish we could get it more often in my business and what is that business....?

Puzzles! - VERY important P word indeed! I love them. This is one of my growing-up-with-my-mother memories. When we weren't getting on each other's nerves, we were playing games and doing puzzles. I was happy when we did that. So now I make them. And yes, I do mean the jigsaw kind.

Purpose - Great day, how'd I think of that so late?! This, after all, is what drives me. I did already state that everyone has a reason for being and part of the joy in life is not only discovering what it is but LIVING it. Forget money, ya'll. It will in fact takes care of itself if you strive to do that innate thing that you just KNOW you were meant to do. After 12 years in 2 "jobs" that I never hated, per se, but that never really fulfilled me, I have found my career nirvana and it's so in line with who, what and why I am, I can't begin to tell you. This should have been my #1 word but I may as well be honest about my thought process.

People - At the heart of who I am is my need to help and encourage people and without them - family, great friends, co-workers - we'd all be bored. Admit it. People are fascinating. That's a great segue to...

Psychology - I've always been fascinated with this topic. Only had one class in college (I was an English major so not much extra room for more psych classes) but I loved, loved, loved it. It got me to thinking about going into counseling one day and I still plan to do a form of it at some point after I hit 40. Next segue...

Pastoral counseling - This is what I had in mind when I started my Master's Degree in Religious Studies back in 1994. I got to do a chaplain internship and I loved it. Still have to write my thesis too many years later. (I took one class at a time so I could pay for it out of pocket and graduate owing no one.) Still on my radar but in another form - Life Coach.

Wow! I can't believe I made it! But I ended on the note I wanted to end on, interesting enough. Most of the significant things in my life are covered here and it's an interesting flow, from inner self to outer. Thanks, YewNorkBabe!

Cell Phone Phantasies

In case you are considering changing cell phones, let me tell you a little about mine. Best attribute: It's pink. (Aside: For someone whose favorite color is NOT pink, I'm certainly drowning in it.)I had been searching for a pink phone for a while. Well, any color would do because as I told you once, I love color. I also love variety - when I choose it. So I would have gone for red or royal blue. Even pink. When I saw the really pretty one that Kimora Lee Simmons put out, I decided then that I could live with pink after all. Except that one, with it's quilted look, real diamonds and signature kitty kat, retailed for about $700. It was just too sweet but that price was nuts.

My original phone was my first in a number of years. My VERY first one I can barely remember and it was only 5 years ago. But in the barrage of wedding planning, I went a little overboard, had an insane bill and had to cut it off for a while until I caught up with it. But my provider then was WorldCom (can you say Enron?). That baby went corrupt and bankrupt and my bill went bye-bye in the breeze.

So 3 years later I tried again. I decided to give myself a birthday present. Spend a little money on a phone I could love, get the number of minutes I'd really use and not the ones I tell people I use like a fake age or weight. This one was small and cute and I grew to love its features. No picture taking with this but I could use it as my alarm clock. I HATE alarms (Maybe I'll blog about that one day.) but at least I could wake to soothing music and not a harsh blare urging you to abandon ship. My little phone could also remind me to take The Pill because I was really bad about doing that regularly before and this phone helped me make it a habit. Most of all I could talk to myself on this phone. Leave myself audio notes of all kinds, little grocery reminders or cellular placeholders for all the writing I do on the fly.

And then, 1 year later I started to grow bored with its look.That's when I started looking for color and came across Kimora but I also came across face plates. Really pretty, interchangeable faceplates I could change like I change my hair. They were cool. I could be purple, pretty, preppy or posh (or any other Spice Girl your can name). I could even go so far as to switch out the little antenna for something that flashed when a call came in. It was perfect. Except for one thing: They didn't make simple snap on's for my phone. Oh sure I COULD change the plate but that would require removing the existing plate and THAT would nullify my warranty. It was only a year old and it just wasn't worth it.So we stuck together, my baby and me. I kept chatting and it stayed dependable despite my wandering eye. I gave up looking and decided to stick it out the whole two years and see where I was then. But then I saw it. A Verizon commercial.Motorola cell phones - Razor phones - were being offered for new clients. They were pretty in pink and I immediately called Verizon to say, "Hey! What's up? Those phones retail for about $400, don't they?"

"Why yes they do ma'am. But there is a special deal right now where you can get it for $80 after your instant rebate if you sign up for service."

"But I already have your service. That makes me loyal. Can I get it too?"

"Sure! Let's just see when your current contract expires."

Turns out I qualified for an early upgrade. I could get the phone for that price too if I signed up for 2 more years. $120 if I signed up for 1 more year. The military doesn't offer that good a deal and I loved Verizon so I said yepper and off I went to the store two days later, the Friday before Mother's Day, to get my new baby. Bye-bye old faithful. Mama's going color! (That reminds me, Pleasantville is another great movie.)

Life with Razor is....interesting. I can take pictures now, as you know. But I can't record messages to myself. I have some different ringtones to entertain myself with. But I have to get a wireless headset and that's about 80 bucks. Gotta love that sleek look but sometimes when I get a call the volume is low and when I try to deftly turn the person up, I find pushing the button while talking is actually an awkward movement, unlike my previous version where I could switch back and forth at will as I changed from soft-spoken friend to loud-and-clear friend.

And for some stupid reason every item in my contact list automatically is assigned a speed dial number so if one person has 3 different ways for me to contact them, each of those numbers, emails, etc. gets a speed dial number and there is nothing I can do about it. I actually have to assign a number a different spot further down the 1,000 spots available so I can free up a top spot and give my Husband and parents and certain friends the top spots they deserve. I don't know. I'm still getting used to it. I do kinda miss my other baby, though. I admit it. It was nice to be known so well and to have my needs understood and met. Someone else has my baby now. It went into a donation program so some deserving woman could get a free phone in case of emergencies. Farewell, my lovely. You knew me well.