Friday, July 28, 2006

The Baby Bug

Here's a random photo that I am putting here just because of the topic. Daughter has to sleep with us given the current living situation and this is how she chooses to sleep - across the tops of our pillows. It works out, actually, because there is just no room the regular way. I've had many nights sleeping the opposite way to make room for her, or Husband had to be the one to do it. Interferes with one's sex life, but I'm too tired right now anyway. (That's Husband's braided head you see but he doesn't want to be here so I have to hide him.) Great day, she's beautiful. Thank you, God, for such sweet kids.

On to the real post.

See, I was going to write on my business today as I've been meaning to for some time because after all, it's the part of the "manual labor" I refer to in my blog tagline. But then I got distracted.

I was talking with a friend recently - well, emailing really. You know how you have your real friends and your Internet friends? Well we met in a group a long time ago and became Internet friends except she crossed that line to real friend a while back, except we still haven't met and since she lived in Europe it was always unlikely. But she moved to Canada so maybe one day.... I have a pen pal like that. We started writing about 8th grade and haven't met yet. She's in California, though. Been awhile. I've got to catch up with her. But I digress.

So my other friend - let's call her Friend There - has a toddler and we were talking about having the baby craving. You know. That yearning some women get when they are ready for another kid. You see a baby and you can see yourself with another one. I had that feeling before I had Daughter. I don't have that feeling now. One of my girlfriends - one I can SEE - just had one not too long ago. (Let's call her Friend Here.) I hold her new son and I smell that new baby smell and look in his eyes anddddddd... nothing. Nada. Zip. Instead it's like holding a baby for the first time again except I'm still not drawn to the idea of my own newborn.

Friend Here and I had our first ones together. Her sister, also my friend and business partner, had one as well. We were thrilled when we found out we were going to be pregnant together with our firsts. (Totally unplanned. People thought something was in the water. I call it God giving us all a huge break by giving us people to share our fears and concerns with.) My partner was done after her one. She was already 40 and didn't want but the one. Her sister and I were hoping to have the 2nd ones together too. I wasn't trying. She was. I got pregnant. She kept trying. 2 1/2 years later, she hit 40 and she and her husband said, "Enough. Let's just enjoy the two we have (he has a teen from a prior marriage), enjoy life and our future plans." Then along came the newest addition.

See, that's my fear. Remember, I am a C type, (see previous post) so I do like to see the big picture so I can plan accordingly. Yes, I know you can't know it all but I can try, can't I? It's my nature. Can't help it. But as I talked - emailed - with Friend There, she mentioned having that craving before but not now. She has a toddler and she's tired, like me. I told her I could commisserate. (Did I misspell that? Whatever.) My thing is Husband said years ago before we got married that he wanted 5. I laughed in his face. He is the youngest of 5. I am the oldest of 2. So I compromised and said 3, so we'd have our own thing and not our parents' families. (Comparisons run rampant enough as it is.) For years I thought three kids. I even saw them in my heart. First a boy, then a girl, then a boy. Boy 1 was the leader. Not too boistrous though. Girl was strong willed, Boy 2 was quiet but determined and accomplished things when you weren't looking.

I got pregnant and Son was so still everyone kept telling me I was having a girl. I was thinking it too - probably just an extension of my ego - so I came up with a girl name and a boy back up. At 6 months I found out I was having a boy and I was elated. I always wanted an older brother of my own (I have that through friends now) so I wanted my girl to have one and I was so happy she would get one. "Wait a minute!" I thought. "My vision!" But I couldn't confirm it wasn't a fluke until Daughter came along. "OK. That's it. I must have really seen them. So, let's just stay open to the possibility of there being another boy one day."

And open I have remained. The quandary is I really don't like the thought of having to lose weight all over again if I do have the third one. (Forgive the repeat, Friend There, if you are reading this, but it's appropriate.) Strike 1. I also know I want to wait until Daughter is maybe 4 because she is more of a handful - 4 hands full - than Son ever was, plus we still live with MIL, plus I'm going to be 36 this year. Strike 2 and 2 1/2. And I really would like to just take my kids and focus on tomorrow and all I am working on. Do I really want to lug around baby stuff again? No. And I don't feel that craving just yet anyway. Strike 3. But is the baby out? Not yet.

Being the big picture person I am, I really hate to close the door on him but that's what I feel like I'd have to do to really focus on tomorrow like I want. But if I close it, he may climb through a window like Friend Here had happen. I don't want that to happen either. I kind of just want to stay open to him - just in case. I just don't want to get used to the thought of moving on without him only to have him turn up when I'm not prepared mentally.

I know I am overthinking this. That's what I do. Don't ya know me by now? I try to prepare for every possible scenario then live until something happens - usually something I didn't prepare for. But you can rest assured, if Baby 3 does come, mommy is closing up shop. The doc already knows to tie the tie and sauder what he must. I WILL be done, my will be done. Five is enough. Or is it four?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

And Now For A Word from Our Sponsor

Momentary break from work.

I'm in that funky in-between place where the size I was wearing isn't fitting right anymore but most of the clothes I have for summer are about 2 sizes smaller than I am right now. So I am stuck most mornings wondering what to wear. Sick of what I have but refusing to buy anything right now. I made Son late for camp this morning because of my indecision. Of course I always go back to the old reliables, but now I need to wash clothes! It's not easy being me! LOL!

OK, so the photo isn't ME per se, but it's effective. Don't you think?

I'm down 8 pounds and despite the clothing challenges, I'm happy.


Sounds in the car this morning:
Son: I win!
Daughter: I win!
Son: I was in the car first so I win!
Daughter whining: I win!
Tired Mommy: You both lose. Be quiet.
Daughter: Baby.
Son: You're the baby!
Daughter: He called me a baby!
Son: Mom-my! She called me a baby!
Spaced Out Mommy: (Silence)
Daughter: Stoop (They know they are not allowed to say Stupid so long ago Daughter took to saying Stoop as if Mommy was too Stoop to know what she was saying.)
Son: She called me stooo!
Sleepy Mommy: (More Silence. Maybe they will get sick of talking.)
Come on August 4th! I've got a plane to 3 weeks of peace waiting with my name on it! Grandma and Grandpa are welcome to take over for a while!

I didn't tell you we finished that scrapbook at 7 p.m. on Sunday night. I couldn't laminate the cover like I wanted because I had to go pick paper that would melt in the heat. So I had to use contact paper. I'll never understand how I am supposed to lay the paper, pull the backing and smooth it all in one fell swoop. You've got to be Vishnu to pull it off effectively. But it is done and Son was proud. Husband did a good job too, relatively speaking. Someone had to take the pictures of us thinking. (I'll show you those later.) And did I remember to take a picture of it? Nope. But camp is over this week so it should be back home soon to be stored away in the annals of kindergarten history.


I did a seminar last weekend that talked about what kind of worker I am. My business partner is in a program that is helping us save money for the business and these little classes here and there are part of the requirements. She couldn't attend the seminar so I was allowed to go in her place. It was wonderful talking about this stuff because I love anything that has to do with explaining why people are the way they are and do what they do, which is why counseling is still very much on my radar in terms of a 3rd career when I hit my 40s.

So the assessment was called DiSC and in part of discovering my letter, I found out that I am not the only one with a compulsive need to multi-task and a need for speed. Apparently I am a C - Conscientious - and I have a need to be accurate; I have high standards.

I hate being transparent but I do have fun with this. At least I am in the Objective Thinker pattern and not the Perfectionist pattern. Is that a good thing? Apparently it's a small percent of the population that's mainly one letter. My other 3 letters were too far below the blue line for any of them to be considered a secondary trait. A long time ago I did a mini Meyers-Briggs test as part of the Chaplain Internship I did at a local hospital. I think I was an INFP. Apparently that too is only a small percentage of the population, but in a room full of chaplain interns, it was like 4 out of 6 of us that tested that way. If I did the test today, I think I'd be an Extrovert but I can't afford to take the test again right now. Didn't you hear? The Emperess needs new clothes.

OK. Enough updating for now. Back to sleep, uh, I mean work.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Boy's Life

I've alluded to it twice before and now here it is - the thing that has become my second job all week long. The project I lay awake nights thinking of how to do something a little different. The project that has given me ah-ha! moments in the bathroom when I finally realized how to do the family tree in the nontraditional sense. The project that I rush home to spend 3 hours working on with my son, sending him to bed at 10 and then working on some more for about 2 hours. It takes about that long to do TWO pages, my friends. Mind you, I'm probably making it more work than it needs to be but my mother succeeded in turning me into a perfectionist. I may have had the latent tendency but she made sure to bring it out early and I haven't looked back since. It's both a blessing and a curse, as you perfectionists out there well know. It's work setting things up but once they are running, it's a beautiful thing and most people can appreciate it.

So this is some of the scrapbook. I just didn't want to spend a ton of money on embellishments so I may have taken the boring way out by printing lots of stuff off my computer. Good thing I bought color ink not too long ago. I must admit I am grateful to the crazy scrapbook industry (this kind of hobby still eludes me overall) for creating those wonderful 12x12 sheets AND plastic protectors. So neat. So simple. One word of caution - regular Ellmer's glue and paper with color images printed on them don't really mix. They make the color run a little and Son is heavy handed with the glue so that didn't help. I broke down and bought one more thing - a gluestick - to see if that would be better. It seems to have been an improvement.

So the theme is basically "Who Am I and What Am I Becoming?" I keep forgetting to take pictures of the mess we create each night but I did take pictures of what we've done so far. The cover isn't cut yet - that's Husband's job and he's been sleeping on the job, too. I think he's waiting until Saturday to throw some muscle into this but the book is due on Monday morning and I'm not trying to lose more sleep this weekend. I don't want a regular scrapbook cover so we'll cut out the cover and use yarn for the spine, much like he did in kindergarten. Thanks, Kindergarten Teacher!

I still have to cut out the letters to go on the cover and I've got some great Africentric-themed Christmas paper to do that job (trust me, it's pretty). I've also decided - thanks to the accidental wisdom of Daughter one morning who told me that she is a butterfly - that I will add a black butterfly to the cover and the back somewhere. Now if I can just find that song by The Sounds of Blackness called "Black Butterfly". The words are a fitting end to this tale of one young life:

Black Butterfly.
You can do most anything your heart desires.
Spread your wings and fly.

Makes me cry. I gave my tape away to a friend years ago. Wish I had it now!

Let's see, the "Yesterday" section still needs a title page and I've got to lay out daddy's family pages; there are lots of pages yet to do in the "Today" section, and the "Tomorrow" section needs a couple of photos to finish out three of the pages and 2 more of those pages have yet to be done. It sounds like a lot but we've made a lot of progress actually considering:
  1. we've known about the project since June 20th before camp started,
  2. I've been dreading it because scrapbooks make me cringe (I'm creative but I still don't know why I don't like these),
  3. and we've only actually been working on it since Monday night because Husband's family reunion was this past weekend and it kept us hopping.
So, without further ado, here is the book thus far. I apologize for the glare. I was too lazy to take the sheets out of the sleeves. Hey man, I'm tired!

Still need to add the "Yesterday" title page before this.

We made sure no apples fell far from the tree.

Just my side for now. Daddy's got to get on the ball before I trim his branch!

OK. The paper is pinkish and he's a boy. But it matched the lettering! Besides, my baby's not afraid of color.

He actually had enough likes to fill two pages. Whew!

Children are the future right? Who else should be here other than my own stars.

We posed the question.

Here's a little closeup of him asking "the question". Required some acting. He pulled it off beautifully. Any excuse to be silly.

Yep, I've got some thoughts on what he will be.

Daughter does too. "He's going to be a doctor. I'm going to be a soccer ball," she stated bluntly. Daddy's thoughts are still blank, as you can see. Hmph. Typical. He's trying to make me sweat this out. I just know he is!

And that's all for now. Son says he will be a doctor so that's the stuff we have yet to illustrate.

It's been cool showing him picture of his great-great grandparents. One great is still alive (his "great" that is. My "grand".) and I hope he gets to keep the memory of that. He technically met my grandmother too when he was 5 months old. I wish I had a picture of them together. I wasn't thinking. I knew she was dying and all I wanted was to answer her prayer. You see, she had told me every summer when I stayed with her and my Grandpa when school was out that her main prayer was to live long enough to see me grown and with my own family and happy. She didn't expect to live to see my brother do the same. He is 9 years younger than I.

When I had Son, Husband (then Boyfriend) was going to California to see his nephew get married. He wanted to take Son but I said I had a mission to accomplish first because time felt short. Son was 5 months and Grandma was a shell of herself so she didn't speak, but I know she saw him. One month later she was gone.

I hope this book will be very special to Son later. It will make loss of sleep worth it.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Another Happy Ending?

I keep trying to get to Part 2 of my previous post but I felt compelled to blog this little incident today.

I took Son out to get some things for his scrapbook. (Aside: I'm amazed by how many times I have gone to a craft store only to not find what I wanted and I either had to settle for something else or improvise. I'll be improvising a lot for Son's scrapbook. Thank God there's the Internet. But on a good note, I was reminded of my childhood when I saw some latchhook kits in the store. I used to love those. Think I'll teach it to Son.) The craft store was a let down and Daughter needed wipes, so we went to Wal-Mart. Thankfully, it was in the direction of home. With gas prices being what they are now ($3.09 is the lowest I've seen in my area and it's at my corner station, thank God. $3.15 is the regular price.), I plan and think and replan my every driving move. I mean, I sit in my car and devise a plan before I turn the ignition and I won't go somewhere if it's not on my route that day. Take that, gas gougers!

So we went to Wal-Mart and I was on the phone with my mother talking to her about using her graphic design capability to help us with our latest puzzle job which needs to go to press this week. I tend to park kind of far down the lot for the sake of getting some sort of exercise and also to not have to squeeze into spots. In addition, I am hopefully avoiding the lunatic parkers because lunatics will be too lazy to walk, I reason to myself. As I hung up with her and got Son out the car, I noticed a little black boy saying something inaudible to no one in particular. I was hanging up with my mother at that very moment, so as her voice went silent in my ear, his voice got clearer. "Mommy! Mommy!" My heart sank as I realized there were no people around me yet this boy kept walking to I don't know where. I scanned the lot looking for worried faces and saw none. Only his. Long lines of tears running down his dark cheeks.

"Hey! Baby, what's wrong? Where's your mother?"
"She drove away," he wailed. Not what I expected to hear. My heart sank further. No way. I can't believe that.
"Wait. What do you mean? You saw her?"
"Yes," he replies. He says he saw her car and I suppose that's where he was walking. There was no where else he could go but past a line of bushes and into a busy intersection. I needed clarification.
"You mean you saw your mother driving away and she left you here?"
Again the affirmative. What is this? A Lifetime movie gone awry? I just can't beleieve some mother would take the time to raise the boy to this age, whatever that may be, and then ditch him at a Wal-mart one day. My mind raced with whys. How problematic is her life? What kind of trouble could this boy get into to deserve this? He was calling for mommy, after all. The sign of a true child, as far as I'm concerned.
"What store were you in?"
"That one." He gestures ahead toward Wal-Mart.
"You come with me. It's going to be OK."

Now at this point I am getting angry. Not at the mom, because I still choose to believe she is looking for him at this very moment and we simply need to get him to the people who can reunite them. No. My anger is at how far this crying child walked in the parking lot. I was near the end of the lot! Out the corner of my eye, I saw an elderly white man watching us. I surmised he noticed the child too but he was 5 cars ahead of me he saw him first. What's up with that? As we walked past him, I made sure my voice was audible and I said something to the effect of, "Don't worry. Your mommy must be looking for you." Got that, dear neighbor? Yes, that was a lost child you let walk past you crying.

I think there was someone to my left, but my arm was around the boy to my right while I gripped my own precious cargo in my left hand. We passed the black woman loading bags into her car. How long had she been there, I wondered? Why did this boy have to come as far as me to get any attention? There was no one after my car.

"What's your name, honey?" He tells me.
"How old are you?"
Geeze Louise. He's only a year older than mine and might not even be a whole year. He's a baby!
"It's going to be alright," I try to reassure him.

All I can think is, what will happen to this child if she really did leave him? I asked him about his father but his response was something like either he was gone or he left with his mom. Couldn't determine. Not important. I wonder, what will they do if she's not in the store? I can't hand him off and walk away in good conscience. "Son," I say in my mind, "we may be here awhile."

As we walk decidely back into that store, I ask for the store manager. The greeter points me to the registers and tells me to talk to the people in the red smocks. As we walk over, the boy tells me, "That's her."
"Who? Your mom?"
And as we approach, I hear the clerk say his name over the intercom. I look for the expected worry on the mom's face as we get closer. The walk seems to take forever. I just want to end her stress and get her child back to her. She's remarkably calm. I can't judge. Everyone handles stress differently.
"Excuse me? Excuse me? Are you looking for this boy?"
In the buzz of busy shoppers, they finally hear me. (One friend in particular is always joking to me about my "little" voice.) She turns and has a look of ah ha! She goes to say something to him then notices me for a moment.
"Thank you." And it is done. She turns back to him and I suspect she said something to the tune of, "See? I TOLD you to stay with me. Blah Blah Blah."

In all this time I had never let go of Son's hand. I glue myself to him and pull him along with me as we continue on our hunt for scrapbook fodder. My mind can't help but think of all that could have happened. I thought stores were supposed to shut down for lost children. I guess that's only if an abduction is claimed. How did he get out in the lot and she's in the store? He must have caught sight of someone in a similar color and/or car and followed them. Was he not crying until the moment I saw him? I doubt it. So why did no one else ask what was wrong? I was so afraid of him becoming another statistic - a missing child, a black boy put into the system because of family problems, so many things.

My heart ached for him and all my people simultaneously for the 5 minutes or so when we had no idea where his mother had gone. We have enough issues in our black families without one of us deserting our offspring in the streets. I even went so far as to imagine the anger he'd grow up with and who he'd take it out on when he grew up. That's how deep the angst of African-Americans run, my friend. The wrongdoing of one makes us all tsk-tsk, shake our head and sigh in shame because no matter how much we try to act like we are lone wolves, we are undeniably, irreversibly connected. And that's how it should be.

That man should have helped that boy without hesitating. What could have caused him to hesitate is a discussion you don't want me to launch tonight. But I thank God nothing happened to that boy and my son got his own lesson in the importance of sticking close to mommy. He was silent the whole while and throughout the store trip, he voluntarily never let go of my hand. He responded with a quick yes when I asked him if he could see now why it's important to know where each other is at all times. I re-ran my rules in the car of what to do if he ever gets separated from one of us and it took him a minute but he recalled what I've tried to drill into him since he was 2: First, go to someone who works in the store, if you're in a store, and tell them you are lost. Second, find another mommy WITH children. Third, find a policeman - in that order. Good. Lesson reinforced as well as my own sense of community.

Now if only I could go back to that man in the lot. I just hope the world hasn't gotten so bad that you can watch a crying child wander the streets and say nothing. All you have to do is ask, "What if it were MY child?"

A Family Project

It's been a busy month, but in a good way. My son's summer program will be over in the blink of an eye and I need that NOT to happen just yet. You see, this is not a camp just for having fun. This is a literacy camp where culture and spiritual values are taught in an integrated way along with reading and writing and learning to play chess and trips to museums in-state and out, etc. It is WORK, let me tell you. Work to get him there for 8 in the morning so he can eat breakfast because at home he is simply too slow. Work to get him there at 4:45 in the morning for his latest trip to Philly (I think we'll have to be there earlier when they go to Maryland this week). But most of all Work to help him with a scrapbbook project due in 8 days.

I hate scrapbooking. I am a creative person so I have no idea why scrapbooking makes me cringe, but it does. Still, this is the project for this year and it's about who he is and who he is becoming. That means a version of a family tree, among other things, but it all has to connect to who he is and may be one day. We knew at the beginning of the program we'd have to do this but darn it, time flies when you're trying to get kids places early. Plus I had two projects to do for my business also due this month. (One is done, the other is for the same camp so due when the camp is over in 2 weeks.)

When I dropped off Son at 4:45 in the morning this past Friday, there was a parents' meeting and we talked about the scrapbook project. I walked out with a friend and she too had not officially started. She's got a brand new baby so her excuses are as valid as mine, as far as I'm concerned. Still, mommies rule the educational program in our homes and we both know we have to take the lead with things like this, even though our husbands will help. They just don't start the stuff! So, I went home, jumped on the computer and finally laid the thing out. I had already given Husband a "tree" earlier in the week to fill out regarding his side of the family, plus his family reunion is going on this weekend - how perfect is that? I also gave my mom, at the same time, the job of getting me some photos and family info since I have none of that type of thing with me in Connecticut. She loves that stuff so no problem there. After I laid out what was going in the book, I gave a copy to Husband whose job is to gather the info I already asked for and to take pictures of Son doing the various things he enjoys, plus some other things. I also gave him the task of cutting out the book's cover. I think I have this well in hand, don't you? Rhetorical question.

So after church today, there is grocery shopping and back here to start figuring out the embellishments for this thing. OK, so maybe I don't hate it THAT much. It's still creative thereby getting my juices flowing. And it is nice to have us all working on it together, and when I say "all" I mean Husband getting into the act. But I give him credit. He's very active in his children's education, something my father couldn't do much since his work had him working overtime a lot or traveling. And something my father-in-law didn't do much of either, according to Husband. But FIL didn't live to see me pregnant with child #1, let alone getting to enjoy them. I can only assume he's living vicariously through us from his heavenly home.

So when I return later today, I'll get to the actual Part 2 of The Substance of Things Hoped For, which I was supposed to be doing right now as continued from Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Substance of Things Hoped For Part 1

Overall, I am tired. Physically, that is. It's the timetable my kids and I are on due to my son being in camp. It's a great thing, a great learning experience, but it is WORK. However, it shall be over soon enough. August will a break for us all. But that's not why I am writing.

The Bible tells us that Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I think of this because of the optimism that has blossomed in my heart recently. Actually, I'm generally an optimistic person so it's not like this was an epiphany. It'a just always nice to feel like you're on the road to success. I do walk by faith and encourage everyone to do the same. Sometimes it is all you have to fuel you when all around you others are clearly losing their heads and are coming after yours.

This whole things centers on two things: my weight and my business. Mind you, I wrote here before that I do not enjoy making weight the topic of a discussion but I don't really mind it being the focus of my blogging soliloquies, you lucky things you!

I went home on Sunday after church to fix something to eat. One of the things I had to get back into the habit of was weighing and measuring my food. I don't do it for everything. I'm not THAT efficient! But for meats, for instance, I will. My new little scale says LA Weight Loss on the side of the dish that holds the food. I could just hide it but I opted to turn the printed part around and leave it where I could easily get to it.

This Sunday my sister-in-law and her husband were at the house and sitting at the dining room table. I was hungry so I decided to just do my thing and I tried to sneak in the weighing but she came over to talk to me. Darn it! I love her but I knew where it would go if she saw me. And she did. "Oh, you're so good! I wish I could be like that." Sigh. Let's come clean, shall we? If you - anyone - REALLY want to do something, you will. Let's not fake the funk, my friends. It's a waste of your time and my energy because I have to listen to you. I told her before and I told her again, "Well, I've gotta get back to where I was so...." The ellipses I am leaving out, " if you really are serious, you'll do what you have to and stop that wishing thing you're doing."

Man. I feel a conversation coming on. She mentioned they went out to eat after church, as if she had no control over that, and she mentioned the good thing she had fixed recently all while blocking the much needed stove. I stood there, fork in hand, as she stood strategically between me and the stove. I looked her in the eyes as she told me what she made once and the good things that went into it. I’m umm hmm-ing and uh huh-ing and dancing this weird little two-step.

Side step right. “I had this great tortilla dish.” “Ohhh!”
Side step left. “All I did was mix beans and tomatoes and....” I blanked. I just want to cook! Can’t you see the look of hunger in my eyes!
She’s on the point system. “Hey, whatever works for you,” I shrug. What am I supposed to say, exactly?

I hear her. I do. She finds me to be another soldier in the fight against fat; strategizing, sympathizing. But I’m not really. I'm just fed up and miss the me who was here before I had Daughter. All I think I'm doing is trying to create a good habit - watching what I eat, cooking as much as possible, overall being more deliberate. You know - eating to live, not living to eat. That whole mantra. So I am mad enough to fight my own little war but how do you do that on the sly?

Actually, I am enjoying my private war. Because of my schedule, I realized this time around that I really prefer planning what I will eat and knowing what's good and what's risky and what I should stay away from. Spell it out for me. That's cool. It works for me. I am still a solid 4 pounds down - it's only been a week so I guess I can't complain - and so excited about going back. It just feels good to take back that control.

And the optimism I opened with? Well, someone at work keeps pointing out that she notices what I wear. It's complimentary. She likes my bright colors - I tend to mix them with duller ones to tone it down just a tad. But I am so sick of my stuff because I know when I reach the top of Mount Monica’s Weight, the clothing selections dwindle rapidly. I refuse to buy more so my only option is to climb back down. So this co-worker calling attention to what she likes actually makes me turn red - although on me it's more like Burnt Sienna - but in a way it’s pushing me too. Little does she know how much I hate not dressing the way I really want to. I refuse to buy too much more right now because I know I won’t be this size by the end of the summer.

Anyway, I'm very optimistic about the whole thing and I can see myself where I want to be. And we all know if you can see it AND you believe it, you can achieve it! Thanks, Jesse Jackson!

Now the other thing is my business. But I’ll blog about that in a different post. Enough already!

Friday, July 07, 2006

More Car Crap

Wanna know how my week has been? This may be easier on your poor eyes if I make it a list.


  • Took car for emissions test.
  • Failed one section out of three.
  • Took it to my mechanic who knew the problem right away and unplugged the EGR (whatever that is).
  • Ran back to test but they were closed.
  • Went back for emissions retest.
  • Passed the section that failed and failed the TWO sections that had previously passed. (Uh huh. Something IS trying to get under my skin.)
  • Ran back to mechanic who was clueless about why.
  • Decided to challenge test.

  • Challenged and test came out the same except, says DMV man, it's worse than before. We're all dumbfounded.
  • Good news: I can register my car anyway but I only have thirty days to get the car emissions compliant.
  • Go to DMV to register. "Did you get the tax clearance from your town?" new DMV man asks. Husband and I look at each other dumbfounded again. We do a lot of that this week. Apparently back taxes have come from only God knows where. New tax bill just received 6 days ago don't reflect it, so who knew.
  • Husband goes to take care of tax so he can go back to register car. Apparently because I paid the tax late, there was a charge and the balance was unpaid. That balance, dear readers? .89 cents. You read it right.
  • Bad news: If I had gone in by June 30th to pay the balance I did not know I had which would allow me to register the car that failed the emissions test I did not know I needed to take, it would have all been hunky-dorey. Penalty? Gotta pay the new tax bills we just got - $90 for my car. AND Husband's must be paid too - approximately $300 for his cars and motorcycle. All for .89 cents.

Husband not happy about his having to fork over $300 bucks. Me? You're fishing the wrong river, my friend. I've put out about that much this week for this issue alone, let alone the $1,600 I've had to pay for other car issues this year alone. Funny how when I was fuming about the money coming out of MY pocket, it was, "That's the way it is." "Well, gotta do what you gotta do." Insert your own pointless cliche here. With shrugged shoulders and a slight look of not-a-big-deal, he carried on. Hmm, but now he has to pay too. Oh no! All hell is breaking loose now!

Well, maybe this was all just another lesson, not so much for me after all but for the man I married as well (if not mostly for him) that you and I are P-A-R-T-N-E-R-S. You need to start acting like it.

Oh well, at least I'm down 4 pounds and not feeling so icky about my weight.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Wednesday Woes

I actually wrote my blog post before I posted this photo. After I reread it, it was then that I realized The Scream is such an appropriate picture to add to this so I went looking for it.

Funny story. One of my great friends here in CT (Aside: I reserve the title Best Friend for my departed paternal grandmother. You don't often know what a Best Friend is until you get someone like her in your life. I'll blog about her one day.) is someone I met early in my grad school experience. We took a class together and became friends from there. One thing we both recall vividly was our instructor using this picture as an example of some sort. He said, "What happened here? Do you think he looked down at his feet and realized he was wearing two different colored socks?" Oh my goodness! She and I were the only ones to laugh big laughs at that and snickers through the rest of the class, but we were also the only 2 grads in the class. The rest were a bunch of undergrads who clearly couldn't care less and obviously didn't know true wit when it entertained them. We still fall out to this day when we recall it and I'm stifling a laugh even now. OK. On to the original post.

I am certain something is trying to piss me off. OK, maybe God is trying to finally get across the lesson of patience. But so far all I am is pissed off. Why? Three things:

1 - SON!

Today's grievances - today ALONE.

  • Wanted the Capri Sun this evening from his Lunchable. He took another juice to camp this morning and saved the Capri Sun for later. If you've ever seen this little juice bag (just as annoying as juice boxes), the straw is in a cellophane wrapper glued to the pouch. I took it off, inserted the straw and noticed there was a little remainder of cellophane on the pouch. Son took one sip and placed it in the trash. Why? Brace yourself. BECAUSE THERE WAS PAPER ON THE JUICE POUCH! I looked at him and promptly took it out of the trash. "You are NOT going there. DRINK IT." He did.
  • Son eats corn on the cob. I gave him corn on the cob and a hot dog from yesterday's grillfest. He refused to eat the corn because it had "black stuff" on it. "That's from the grill, same as the hot dog, same as the hamburger both of which you eat with no problem," I say. He sniffed it, licked it, took the tiniest bite that even a mouse would envy and said no. I wanted to toss him. This past week, we had had this same discussion except he didn't want the corn because it wasn't on a stick a la KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken). Husband and I looked at each other and I told Son how he always ate the corn before and the stick has nothing to do with anything. I insisted he try it. He did and loved it. Today? He's out of his mind.
  • Yesterday, someone else was sitting in the seat he normally sits in at the dining room table. I gave him something to eat at another seat - all the chairs are identical - and he cried. Hear me? CRIED about having to sit somewhere else. I wanted to explode. I sent him to his room instead. I figured out a long time ago that my son does not like sudden change but this is just too much. Husband says he's doing it to irk me. I think that's nonsense. Why would you want to shorten your own life like that?

2 - MIL's aunt and cousin were here this holiday weekend. Husband went out this evening to get something about 10 minutes before the pair were set to leave. The aunt needs help getting up and down the stairs. So I am on my phone in my bedroom leaving a message for a friend when I hear,
"Where's (Husband)? Where's Monica?" asks MIL loudly.
"(Husband)'s car isn't here. He and Monica left! How they going to leave and leave those babies here?!"
At this point I am walking to her bedroom door and I peek in as she finishes that statement.
"Yes?" I ask her. She didn't see me until I said that.
"Where were you?" (See, what must have happened is I must have stepped into another dimension briefly. Probably the Twilight Zone given the issue above.)
"In my room," I answer and give her a look that says, "Did it ever dawn on you to look there?"
So she tells me to call up Husband. He's not answering because he's over his minutes but he texts me instead. All I can do is laugh because that one makes HER look bad.

3 - I am in emissions hell. I'll be brief. First of all I have lived in this state for 13 years. The emissions test went out so many years ago I can't tell you when. It came back not too long ago; at least a year ago since my car registration letter told me that I was supposed to go sometime in 2005. Who knew?

So I took the test on Monday. There are 3 sections on this test that you must pass. I passed two of them. Got the problem fixed that same day for the third issue. It was needed. I was quite clogged. Went back today. I passed the section I had failed and FAILED the two sections I had passed. Hello? Pissing me off? I go directly to my mechanic. Do not pass house or Husband. Mechanic is dumbfounded. He tells me they tossed the test in the first place because of irregularities in readings. I ask, "so I don't need to jump to the catalytic converter conclusion just yet?" He says he thinks I need to go somewhere else to test it. I agree. See you can go to a place, pay your $20. If you fail, you can only go to a certified place to fix it then you must go back to original test site and get free retest. Fail again and you pay $20 every time from then on. I'll be calling the DMV tomorrow. He thinks something's up. We'll see.

Everybody's buggin' today. But I'm calmer now. Need to eat.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Hodge Podge of Nothing in Particular

This morning I got up earlier than usual because I had such an icky day yesterday - slight headache; don't know why. So was in bed before 11 which I hate to do on long weekends like this. Did my usual Sunday morning things - started washing the kids' clothes; fixed breakfast; soon I'll bathe each child and get them ready for church.

But this morning I had to contend with the Buggers. The littlest bugger kept hounding me for chocolate milk. I told her not until breakfast because it was all she had left and I had to go shopping after church. She kept whining and crying about it while I fixed breakfast, telling me, "I want breakfast!" I looked at her and rolled my eyes. She kept going so I told her again, "When - you-have-breakfast. I am fixing it now. It's called delayed gratification. You'll be glad you waited. I'm done with this conversation." She wasn't. I kept going.

After finishing up, I put Son's food on his plate and food on Daughter's (crossaints, eggs and turkey bacon. It's become a tradition. Makes Son happy to have us 3 eat together since daddy is never home in the morning.). I told Son to come get his food and as I stood there with both plates in my hands, the bigger bugger stood at the table and said, "Where's the milk?" I threw daggers with my eyes. "Uh, do you SEE the plates in BOTH my hands? Where exactly is the milk supposed to come from right now?"
"Your hands?" he responds seriously.
"Hmmm. Let me make sure you get your MILK. Stop the world, everyone! Son needs his milk right away!" (Yeah, I am sarcastic. It helps me keep my hands to myself.)
"Exactly when is the last time you had something to eat with nothing to drink? You must be working off some memory of that to have the audactity to ask me for something while I'm doing something else for you." He couldn't recall. Shocking. I told him if you're going to complain about something you don't know how to do while someone else is doing it for you, then do it yourself. He can fix breakfast for himself. Now he's asking me how to fix breakfast. I wouldn't be surprised if he actually did it.

Little buggers.

In case I didn't tell you, I saw Joe at LA Weight Loss that Wednesday after work. He was actually good at his job and took my indirect hint not to try to sell me on anything other than what I already know I want. He was good. Go, Joe. But Joe wasn't there when I went back on Friday to give him money. Called in sick. But the deal is done. I'll start the plan on Wednesday - gotta have this holiday weekend for my last hurrah after all. I'm very excited about it. It's going to take me one more month than I anticipated but I will hopefully reach my goal by my birthday on Dec. 18th and that's good enough for me. I just want to get back there. Good old non-skinny me. It'll be sweet.

Bigger bugger just came in and asked for more milk. Time to go and compose myself. More to come later.

Boy am I listless today. Must be warm. Must be making up for the monsooon we've had to endure for the past 2 months or thereabout. Must be summer. Sweet summer. Can't believe it's July. I remember three-month breaks from school. My son got out June 22 and went right to his summer program the following Monday. He'll be there until July 28th, be home a week and then it's off to Georgia for most of August to hang out with Grandma and Grandpa. School starts Augu. 30th and this year Daughter goes to preschool. Because Son went there for 2 years, they got to know Daughter and all agree she is more than ready to go, so they're letting her in before she's officially 3. I took her one day last week to get the application. We don't live in the same city as the school so the Admin couldn't work her magic and slide her in under the city program. So she has to be part of the private program at full price. Daughter got the last spot. Yeah, it's God, but they did know we were coming back. She ran in there and got busy. Had no problem when I walked away to talk to Ms. Admin. about the application. But she came willing enough when I said it was time to go. The next day she cried because she wanted to go to Son's camp, which is at our church so she doesn't really get why she can't go. Then she cried because she wanted to go to school. I promised her school was coming and before she knew it she'd be old enough to go to the camp too. Sigh. Time is running out. Either there is going to be a baby #3 or there isn't. Not that I'm looking for it this year, or next. But those sands are rapidly diminishing. Ugh. I can't think about it. My brain is fried.

I promised you more about Atlanta but I'm too tired today. I will tell you that my friend and I saw The Breakup while we were there and wholeheartedly agree every couple should see it. And if you're planning to get married, it should be required viewing, with a discussion and test afterward. She and I both sat in stunned silence at the reality of it. We thought it was a comedy and at times it was, but I guess this is when terms like Dramedy come in handy. Even now I'm trying to recall where things went wrong for Jen and Vin. My friend was so quiet I thought she had fallen asleep. Come to find out she was fighting tears. "Me too!" I squealed. We were both reliving the worst of our best relationships. Her's ended in divorce. Mine in marriage. We both shook our heads at how easily miscommunication sneaks in and pride stays to cause the fall. The whole time we're going, "Just tell him! Just tell her! Ohhhh! It doesn't have to BE this way!" We loved it. Check it out when you can. One worth owning. I don't say that lightly.

Ah. 8 p.m. is upon us. Better make sure Sitter knows Daughter will be there tomorrow. I don't have to work but I've got to take my car in for a very late emissions test. They take the emissions test out for years and when I get a car that I have to take care of, then they bring it back and threaten to hold my registration hostage if I don't rectify the situation immediately. So that's my chore for tomorrow.

Daughter is whining now and Son is off to bed soon. I shall do the same.