Sunday, August 24, 2008

Where I've been...


Hi, how are you? Me? I'm struggling still. It took me about a month and a near nervous breakdown to realized that I needed to take the same tact with my own depression issues, that I have with my son's...that medication isn't a sign of weakness, it is simply caring for myself. It was a hard paradigm shift for me, which makes me that much happier that I could make the decision for him at such a young age, rather than leaving it to him to figure out in a hard way like I have. One day my best friend, who also happens to be my sister said "Remember when you told me how you wouldn't hesitate to give him the medication he needed if he was diabetic, so why should this condition be any different? So, tell me why YOU are different?" And you know she's right.

If you haven't guessed, this is my excuse for being lame and not writing. I've had a hard time forcing myself to do much more than is required but I'm taking quite a few nutritional supplements and have a doctor's appointment scheduled. The supplements seem to be helping quite a bit, as long as I remember to take them. I tank out when I forget. But I've had some interesting experiences, so I'm going to spend some time today telling you about them. Sorry for the hit and miss posting. Maybe one day soon I'll get myself on a nice schedule. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Looking forward to:

Just thought I'd post a quick list. Looking forward is obviously an active dare, so I'll have to keep you posted. (smiles all around)

  1. Seeing my boys tonight. I always miss them while they are at their dad's.
  2. I just signed up to facilitate a small group at my church. Small Group Ministry is one of the coolest things in which I've ever participated, but I've been out of it for two years. Finding a group whose meeting times coincide with my parenting schedule has been challenging. I figured the only way to do it was to facilitate a group on MY schedule.
  3. I'm going to start planning a vacation for fall break with my boys. October is just around the corner.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I dare you to look forward.

I think we are all on the quest for one thing, the same thing. There are many paths there and many paths that look promising, and how each of us get there, or not, is entirely up to us. Of course I'm talking about happiness. Our constitution in this country promises the right to pursue it, but that is as close as anyone will ever get to handing it to us. The rest, my friends, is up to us.

I've been watching a movie made in the 90'a that features two of my favorite actors, Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones, A Family Thing. They give fantastic performances in a story steeped in old bitter race frustrations and how they played out in one family. The writing is wonderful and it is worth seeing, if you haven't lo these many years later. But one line stuck with me today, and I'm sad that it hasn't stuck in my head like so many other things. Earl tells his nephew a simple story of a simple man who had a hard life and lived for doing something sweet for his family. And when asked about his hard luck he finally told Earl, "Being happy ain't nothin' but havin' something to look forward to." Earl goes on to tell his nephew that looking back at what he's lost will only cause him pain, and that he needs to find something, anything no matter how simple to look forward to, and continues that he has two little girls to whom he owes something to anticipate in life.

Wow. I can wax philosophic about my history with the best of them, but in the end, it is just history. I do know that when I have something, anything to get ready for everything has more depth and color and and meaning. And who wouldn't want to give that to the people you love?

So this week, I dare you to give yourself something to look forward to. Make it small, make it big, but make it matter. Make a date with an old friend who you love and miss. See a movie that you've been wanting to see for ages. Plan a tea party with your kids. Plan a trip to Greece. Plan a trip to your favorite coffee shop. Plan and anticipate. I dare you.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Harder than I thought...

So did you do it? Did you pick a label or two or a handful to challenge in the last week or so? I had a hard time even facing my labels, and then deciding that I could challenge them. So no one said I was going to be good at this. I just want to keep trying. Well I don't want to be all negative in your face, but what I'm really working on challenging is a phrase that plagues me. Some people who know me might be surprised that this is one that I struggle with, but I have to be honest and say it is the ugliest truth about my self image and the the thing that needs the most challenging.

Hopelessly Disorganized Loser
Sad, isn't it? A three word phrase that encompasses three of the most negative words I can think of. Of course hopeless and loser, well those are pretty self explanatory. Disorganized, sure not perfect, but is that such a sad state of affairs? Well I personally see it as the key to success or failure in life, organizing your thoughts, your affairs, your time and your feelings. And I've just not been terribly successful at managing many of these things. And lets face it, for a person making a living as an accounting professional, it is a downright embarrassing thing to admit that you struggle with it.
But in the last few weeks, I've learned that I am, in fact only those things in my mind. I have taken to reminding myself how successful I have been in navigating the rocky terrain of my life. No, I'm not as skilled as some, but honestly, I wasn't given a lot of these skills as a child, I had to figure them out for myself, which handicapped me. In rethinking how I view myself on this front, it effortlessly flowed into thinking about the fact that a person who has accomplished so much with so little could not possibly be a a matter of fact quite the opposite was true. But the real key, the one I will have to work on daily, probably for my whole life is in that first little word. Hopeless. On the days I allow myself to be defined by that word, all hope for further success, new accomplishments is stripped from me. On the days that I actively, with love, choose hope, all things are possible. I know that the pragmatist in me holds me back some days. Perhaps another label I need to challenge? Perhaps I need to focus some energy on being a dreamer or an idealist and see where that takes me.
Did you take up arms against some of your negative labels? Did you find some interesting ideas stuck away in your head for safekeeping by the optimist who lives there? Tell me.

Monday, July 28, 2008

What's in a name? Let's find out.

I looked through the dares one at a time. Some of them scare me senseless, which is probably good. Some of them I think I'm not ready for. Some of them I don't think I really need...which probably means I really do need to look at them harder. This is all to say, I didn't know which dare to pick first. And while a favorite or two stuck out at me, I thought it best to let the fickle finger of fate pick where I would start. So helped me pick out this very special dare for our very first one. I think it's a good one. Are you ready?

"Dare To Not Label Yourself"

Now I'm not going to share all the wisdom Natasha Kogan gives us in her book. But the basic idea is right out there...we all label ourselves in ways that are limiting, self-depreciating, or simply not helpful. The fact is, we can choose to shed those labels. My challenge for you, and me too, is to pick three labels you've given yourself and challenge them this week. I'll see you soon. MUAH.

Take a ride with me. I dare you.

Back in the summer of spending every moment of time I might actually have to face myself trying to make friends with with anyone who would talk to me on the Internets (as long as they were women who had children and didn't have any interest in setting me up with someone) I happened upon a website one day. I wish I could remember how I got there, but somethings are just supposed to happen. This website is a promotional site for author Natasha Kogan's book The Daring Female's Guide to Ecstatic Living. I adored the concept of this book and I wrote to the author right away with the intent of starting an online "Daring Circle" with my Myspace girlfriends and they were eager too. Natasha sent me a free book, and because I wanted her to get something out of it from me, I encouraged all my friends to buy one, and bought one for my first friend who issued me a really good dare. My friend Cyndi won that challenge and I blissfully sent her one in the mail along with a box of goodies for "BARK bags" for her kids. And we really tried, but school started again and everyone kind of floated off in different directions and our circle bottomed out before we really even got started.

This spring, Cyndi's life met some unexpected changes...changes that would have set most of us on our ears. Cyn's bounce back obviously awed not only me, but everyone who knows her. About two weeks later she was telling me on the phone about lunching with a co-worker who has gone through her own messy divorce and she was revelling in Cyn's bounce-back factor. "How do you do that?" she nearly sobbed on Cyn's shoulder. Cyndi told me she went home and pulled this book off the shelf and re-read the note I'd written to her..."Pay it forward, girlfriend." And so she took it to her friend and told her to get daring.

And in doing so, she did the same for me. I went upstairs that night and started digging through my books. I found it fast and I carried it around for a few weeks before I really even looked at it again. But now I's time to get daring. My life is ready for it.

I'm inviting you down this daring road with me, and if you come I'll feel like I'll finally be paying up my promise to Natasha to start a daring circle. But whether you ride along or just spectate, or maybe a little of both, I promise nothing, except maybe something to laugh about or something to cry about, hopefully something that makes us feel alive.

I'll be sharing some of the dares from Kogan's book (which I think you should buy for'll love it). And I'll endeavor to dare myself to do them, and report back to you the results. You can share, or not. Send me email's or comments, or blog them yourself.

Dare #1 coming up shortly. See you there.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's about time

"Hey Ei, you've been awfully quiet, whatcha been up to?"

I cocked my head and thought about it for a moment. I thought about telling her about how blissfully uneventful my summer had been, how I'd been spending a lot of time reflecting on who I am and what I'm doing with my life, how unhappy I've been with the answers and yet lacking the resolve to change them. I thought about telling her how I'm actually caught up on laundry, but the rest of lives has been slipping away. I considered saying a whole lot more. But the visual of having to call a paramedic to summon her from a coma after bearing my soul to her was pretty painful. So I smiled and shrugged, "Y'know. Kids." Her eyes flicker with recognition. She doesn't have any kids. "Yeah, I guess I do."

Two years ago I found myself wandering familiar terrain, single life, with a whole new set of rules...children, an ex-husband, an aging post childbearing body, and very little curiosity for anything left. At the time a friend told me that the hardest part would be when all the loving kind support I'd received had gone home and tucked in, when the children settled down, and I had to actually look it all in the eye. That took longer than I expected, but that's where I've been. Well, I've been there for awhile. The distractions of life have been plentiful...and my own mad skills at avoidance, well they are pretty amazing.

But more and more lately, I am reminded that I have a long life in front of me, and as much as I love my children, making my life about them would set us all up for, them, and certainly their father and the people in his new life. The thing is, my kids are making remarkable progress, growing and stretching in their lives now. They'll always have a hole in their hearts for what they have lost, but now is the time for them both to flex the muscles they've gained from the hard work of recovering. And maybe it is time for me to start too.

Damn it. Didn't want to be sappy. Sorry it is a habit I'll have to work on.

So there is step one of having a weird, quiet, good, moody summer. Admitting you have a problem. Step two is figuring out what to do about it. There isn't a local chapter of "I Got a Divorce and Never Quite Got Around to Getting a Life Anonymous." I don't do bars (thankfully). I don't have all consuming hobbies. I could, I suppose look at all this as a failure. I'm choosing instead to look at it as a blank slate to be filled with beauty and thought. And it's all mine. Let's do this thing.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What Father's Day means to me

My whole association with the rite of Father's day is a little, um, skewed I suppose. As a child, I purposefully became "ill" so as not to have to attend day camp on the day they made Father's day gifts, I "forgot" announcements about father daughter teas, terrified that my mom would decide she should stand in, or worse yet, that she would send my grandfather. In my married days, I tried to really do something MANLY for my then husband on Father's day...neglecting the fact that I really know nothing about what constitutes acceptably manly versus stereotypically manly and I'm a poor organizer anyway. But hey I tried, and it is the thought that counts, right? Well, mainly it's the thought...for most people, anyway.

Since becoming a single mom, I've been back to rather wanting to hide away from father's day activities. But today I volunteered to help out with children's programming at church. We sat in a circle on the floor and we "lit" our chalice (a lovely little battery operated tea light) and as ever, our children let us glimpse their lives by telling us their joys and concerns. There was the usual assortments of birthdays being celebrated, grandparents coming to visit, doggies who were lost and found, and this week some stories of bailing out the basement. We came to the serious little blond girl sitting in the sitting in the corner. She frowned as she thought about what she wanted to say, "It's Father's Day," she sniffled, "but my daddy is in Iraq so he doesn't get to have a Father's Day." Her daddy, is in fact one of the nicest men I've ever met and it hurt my heart to see his little girl so obviously missing him. How different it made me feel. It made me remember that Father's Day, and Mother's Day too, is really more about the children.

It was brought to my attention some time ago that Mother's Day as it was introduced by Julia Ward Howe in 1870, had little to do with moms sleeping in or getting jewelery, or having a spa day. It had nothing to do with moms being appreciated at was instead a call to action, a call to mothers to use their maternal voices for peace.

Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

It has occurred to me that Father's Day was really just created as a "Me too" holiday, someone thought that what was good for the goose was good for the gander...and so it all is really just an extension of my UU fore mother's call for peace. The only thing any good mother can do in honor of Father's Day is to be a good mother. Continue to fight for the good of our children, which always includes their fathers...the ones who wake up and honor you on Mother's Day and the ones who don't, the ones who build go-carts, and the ones who build character. Father's day is about making sure that kids have dads to go round with, not about ties or barbecue grills. And also about the sacrifices we all make to make sure that can happen. Father's day isn't about gifting a father with a manly day, it is about gifting a child with a father, for every day. Thank goodness for Father's Day.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Can you feel it?

Oh yeah...Loving Day. I just love that story. I mean could they have had a better name? Sigh. Well yeah, I know, I'm not the worlds biggest proponent of ANY marriage, but I think it is a personal choice you should be allowed to make (oh STOP it, I'm joking...mostly). But I wanted to take a moment first to say, I tried yesterday to post a few THOUGHTS about Loving Day but Blogger ate my post, so I ended up quickly just posting the nice little blurb my friend Becky gave me. Not even with the way cool picture of Mr. & Mrs. Loving.

The reason I had no time is...well...if you haven't heard, we've had a little rain here in Central Iowa. I was out filling sand bags with my coworkers for fun, just in case we had a repeat of what happened in 1993. Luckily, so far, that has been just busy work. And hey, I have something new to add to my resume (although I don't think my impatient boss will be giving me any recommendations based on my skills in this area.) Anyway, I just wanted to take a minute to remind you that the battle that Mildred and Richard Loving fought in 1967, the year before my birth, made lots of happy couples whom I adore possible today (not to mention, assisted in making possible two little people whom I love desperately). I also wanted to remind you that there are many of our fellow citizens out there who are desperate to marry someone (don't ask me why!) and it is not legal for them to do so. Don't let the battle end with the Lovings.

So that's my soap-box portion of the evening. I would like to tell you that my day was all kinds of Love Thursday magic, but that wasn't in the cards for me, so instead I'll leave you with Elton John...because I've had this song stuck in my head for days.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tomorrow is Loving Day

What is Loving Day?Loving Day is an educational community project. The name comes from Loving v. Virginia (1967), the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in the United States. Loving Day celebrations commemorate the anniversary of the Loving decision every year on or around June 12th.Learn more about the landmark case and Loving Day here.

Monday, June 09, 2008


The interesting thing about having a child with a disability, or probably dealing with any of life's challenges, I suppose, is that it crystallizes your inner struggles or weaknesses and holds them up to the end of your nose so that you can look at them....really see them.

The idea that's been following me around lately is that I have so many problems keeping realistic expectations for my son. I can slide up and down the spectrum from having ridiculous expectations for a kid with his specific issues to having really limiting expectations for a child of his age. The problem isn't recognizing (after the fact of course) that I've had an error in judgement. The problem I have with this is it that I find myself coursing up and down this spectrum in response, trying to dial it in (which is really difficult when "appropriate" expectations can vary from hour to hour with this child) all the while knowing that the one thing I am teaching myself is to doubt my instincts.

As a parent, we are trained to believe that our expectations of our children will set the tone for their entire lives. Expect too much, they will feel set up to fail, unable to ever meet your demands. Expect too little, they will become lazy and complacent and never really know what it takes to reach and try. Ah the pressure! We can make ourselves crazy with our expectations of ourselves regarding the expectations we have of our children. OK, well, maybe that's just me.

The thing is (why is it, I can't type that phrase without thinking I'm ripping off Barb now?) this is just a magnified truth about who I am as a person. I am the woman who agonizes over whether or not I can call a friend at 5:30 because it is too close to dinner time, and again at 8:30 because I don't know when her kids go to bed...and by 3:30 two days later I'm sure she's probably miffed at me for not calling back. (Jotting down my list of psychosis? Gee, blogging is fun.) I struggle with ideas like the Law of Attraction because I consistently monitor how realistic my expectations are, and eventually I end up regulating myself right to the point of envisioning my life just as it is now. I guess I'm trying to say, I'm not an expert at modulating expectations. I'm barely a novice. And I guess I thought I'd be further along by this place in my life. But hey, Steve Pavlina tells me (yes, if you didn't know, all of his blog posts that millions of people read are actually directed at me, everyone else is eavesdropping) that no matter where you think you ought to be, you are where you are, and trying to start somewhere else is just...well...stupid.

So I woke up this morning with the decision to expect nothing, and instead, just follow my gut, with a tender questioning quality at everything I touch. I did some things with my son that some people, maybe even people that have more expertise with children with behavioral disabilities than I might have seen as really lenient. But my son, who is somewhat famous for NOT being a morning person, got out the door with a smile on his face and a soft sweet "I love you, mama." at the door. He also only told his brother to shut up once, which is sort of a miracle. I carried it through later when I dealt with another difficult situation, maybe being more demanding of my other son's day camp director than a lot of parents might have done. But ultimately, she rose to the occasion, and helped me place bigger expectations upon my son, even when she was ready to throw in the towel. But I felt along the way, trying to put my foot in the groove, rather than swinging wildly from one end of the spectrum to another, knowing that the spectrum was doing all the swaying for me.

No, I didn't conquer my expectations in a day...but maybe I did realize that they don't really accomplish as much as I give them credit for anyway. In fact, knowing what they are worth, how much weight to give them, when they come up, that is really the key.

But you probably already knew that. Next I'll be blogging about these crazy kids Dick and Jane and their dog, Spot. He runs you know.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Under my elbow

I never realized how hard it is to type with someone's head jammed under my elbow. It seems like everytime I sit down to work on the computer there is someone's head rammed right up under my elbow.

You never stop learning as a parent. Seriously.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Last Day of school 2008

Last Day of school 2008
Originally uploaded by eijax
Today was the last day of the school year. I can't tell you how relieved I am. It's been a really long year. We had a great evening of lounging and pizza eating, and yes, eventually they got to take their jackets off too. I sure hope it warms up soon, swimming in coats could be uncomfortable.

The Elephant in the Room

There have been a few things that I wanted to blog about lately. Barb wrote a nice piece about being transplanted and how it is hard to grow new roots, which inspired me. But honestly, as eloquent as anything I wrote in my head might have been, I think I've discussed that to death.

Then there was a series of events that inspired me to want to talk about whiny people and wanting what you've got, rather than getting what you want. But I decided I'd probably unintentionally piss off everyone I know because they'd think it was about them. Because we all have a tendency to overlook the big picture when we are hyper-focused on the teeny tiny crap. And maybe complaining about complainers was somehow...wrong.

But more and more I've been wanting to discuss the elephant in the room, not quite knowing how to do it. I tried, badly, not too long ago to blog about what it is like to be the mom of a kid with an undiagnosed Behavioral Disability, or in someone else's terms, a child with Serious Emotional Disturbances. It was written at a stupid time, when I was fragile and frightened and I was angry and upset when people actually tried to HELP me. Well, the thing is, the Internet can not diagnose my son, or I don't think so anyway. We've been seeing professional psychiatrists for a number of years and well...I just trust them more than random posts from well intentioned people who don't know too much about my child. So lesson learned for me. I decided to put that post back under wraps and never ever discuss it again. Ever. fills about 90% of my waking thoughts. And it is an elephant that needs to be discussed. This week a little boy with Asperger's made news all over the US, had folks buzzing everywhere when he was voted out of his class with his teacher leading the way. What makes me the saddest about this story is that people seem to think that either the mistreatment of this child can be justified OR that it is somehow an isolated incident. The sad truth is our children, and I'm referring to those of us with kids who have behavioral disabilities, are possibly the only children that it is seen to be normal and needed to punish regularly for their disabilities. What would you think if a child who suffered from epileptic seizures lost all of her playground privileges for weeks at a time after each seizure? What would we think about a child who had cerebral palsy being seated in a corner facing away from the rest of the class, and telling his parents that it is "preferential seating" for his condition? What if our educational system decided that the best way to mitigate a diabetic child going into insulin shock in the classroom was to suspend him each time it happened? This is the kind of thing we as parents of THESE special needs kids deal with on a regular basis. We begin to feel like our lives are being systematically destroyed, but worse yet, we see their future being systematically destroyed. Help is hard to find, hard to navigate and the waiting lists for everything are getting longer.

Parents need to be able to have a voice. We need to not feel like we should be hiding away somewhere, waiting for the next shoe to drop. If my talking out loud about it here will enable even one person somewhere to know that they are not alone and that there is no shame in parenting one of these amazing and exceptional human beings, it is so worth it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Lil' Bit O' the Captain

I think I've mentioned before and in numerous ways how blessed I am in the friends department. Thanks to this glorious box I have that lights up when I touch it, I have friends all over the world. Lots of my friends are friends because they are so LIKE me. We giggle madly over silly things we have in common and lament the not so funny things we have in common. But there are others, some really special people who are my friends because we stand and gawk at how different we are from each other, and how it is kind of amazing how well we get along.

One of my very best friends from my box I have known now for about seven years, since her beautiful daughter was just a tiny baby and my eldest was (sob) just toddling. Back in about 2002 we spent a LOT of time chatting on line. I knew amongst her many incredible talents (she is an amazing photographer, a former teacher, a SUPER-mom) she is a writer. It is more than her grasp for mixing words around and making it into a delightful thing to read, it is her ability to dig to try to understand people. There were days while we were chatting that I felt like the star on a Barbra Walters special...because my life experiences actually seemed interesting when I was talking to my girl. The other thing these conversations revealed was that she and I had QUITE a different life experience. In fact, I began to suspect that my newish online friend was actually Mary Poppins undercover. I mean that in a really loving way, but I have to tell you this girl is "practically perfect in every way." She's gorgeous, she has this lovely husband and a perfect beautiful little girl and she seems like she never has done anything stupid. At all. Unlike...erm...anyone else I know.

Which leads me to the reason for this post, one I hope you'll indulge me and her a bit and give us some stories. I like to play online scrabble with this beautiful perfect one. She's a good opponent because she is really smart, and she's also the world's greatest sport, which you know makes playing fun. Anyway, today while playing Scrabble she says to me, "Have you ever been hungover?" She may have heard the snort that came from me, even in the next country to the north, where she lives (that isn't too specific, is it?) She proceeds to tell me that her character in the book she's been working on long and hard is about to wake up with a doozy of hangover wherein some general hilarity can ensue. But there's a little problem...the author hasn't done her research! That's right my Mary Poppins has lived more than 30 some odd years and never ONCE been hung over. She gave me some nonsense about a mortal fear of vomiting, but I know it is because she would never do something that imperfect. I told her I'd share with her some thoughts, but I thought what a good meme idea! Tell Mary Poppins about your worst hangover, send it to me, or link us up in the comments.

I'm buying her a red umbrella as a congratulatory gift when this book hits the shelves.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I've waited for a week to see both children healthy. I've waited six months for a holiday with them. It was supposed to be their dad's holiday, but he had to work (retail..neener, neener). I planned (shit, there I go again!) getting up for a long walk around our pretty neighborhood and then off to see the new Indiana Jones flick in the afternoon. But...

It started raining about 6:30 last night and by 9:00 we had something truly ugly. The wind whipped and things dropped from the sky. Not the big twisty things, thankfully, but you know, about half of the massive oak in my back yard. Luckily it landed about six feet from my newish car and not quite that far from the house. My trash can wasn't quite so lucky. Of course the children weren't sleeping...and just as the storm started to calm went all our electricity. I peered nervously from our doorstep to make sure another tree hadn't taken out our individual lines and Mailman Dave who lives two houses to the north assured me that a transformer was out two blocks away. He handed off an extra hand crank lantern that he had just sitting around and patted my two bouncing bundles of nerves that everything would be just fine. Some time later the boys drifted off while I read to them by flashlight. The electricity came on some three hours later which jolted me awake because I honestly had no idea which lights I'd left on.

Needless to say we didn't wake early to meander through our lovely neighborhood. We awoke late, to the magical sounds of chainsaws all around us. I cried a little knowing that my landlord has full intention of felling the entire tree now (what the hell is it with me and trees?) and I took a vow never to love a tree again. Sniff. Then the ex called and said he'd been cut loose early and he was coming to take my boys. So here I am once more. Dammit.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I will not capitulate

Have you ever been at that place where the questions that people ask you start to make you want to scream? You know the questions I'm talking about, right?

"Have you declared a major?"

"Have you met his family?"

"You are switching jobs, again?"

"Well it's all fine and good as a hobby, but don't you want something secure?"

"Really, you can't raise a family in this neighborhood, can you?"

"Are you two 'trying' yet?"

"You know every baby needs a brother or sister, right?"

"You aren't going to try for a girl?"

"Are you really going to go back to work? Doesn't that break your heart?"

I'm sure the list could go on and on. You probably have your own personalized list as long as your arm. It is one of the most blatant ways our society inflicts its expectations upon us, in seemingly benign form of polite conversation. Did any of those questions actually end up putting you on a path upon which you couldn't turn back?

I'm embarrassed to say, all of those questions and many more influenced where I ended up today. I don't know if it is normal or if I suffered from an extreme lack of confidence in my youth, but I think I was desperately seeking direction and acceptance. Somewhere in my heart of hearts I thought that there was some wonderful secret to being "normal" and living happily ever after, and that if I could uncover that formula, I would be part of the ones "in the know." It's funny, my girlfriends and I particularly loved a spoof one similarly delusional girl.

Odd how parody is often lost on those who need it most, isn't it?

So I took these questions as sign posts on my path and I followed them straight down a road that had me on antidepressants, living more or less in a catatonic state, not trusting a single instinct of my own. I plodded dutifully down the path, tripping over branches that I couldn't see, expecting at any moment the path would open into the paradise I'd been struggling toward all these many years.

Instead I found myself plopped right down at the starting line again, or at least something that resembles the starting line...excepting of course that my knees are worse, I have stretch marks a c-section scar, a taste for living with furniture and eating something other than ramen noodles and two bright shiny faces looking at me for their own sign posts. And um, I was pretty sure I was screwed.

It turns out that I wasn't as screwed as I thought I was. In fact, a little do over allowed me to step back and do some evaluation and decide that maybe this time, I would pick my own sign posts. So if you hear someone ask me, "Why aren't you dating yet?" and you hear a sound from me that implies something less than a sincere desire to please the speaker, try not to frown at me too hard. I've gone down that path before. This time, I'm blazing my own.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I can't believe I forgot..

I didn't inform blogland that Emily's arm was saved! She still faces two surgeries on her lungs but she is doing really well. I was thinking about this because my local radio station is doing their annual fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network and interviewed a local family whose daughter's story was hauntingly familiar, but the little girl lost her arm and ultimately her battle with cancer. It was horrible to hear this mother tenderly recall her daughter's last moments. But I know she hopes like I do that the efforts of fund drives like this will help thousands more like Emily. The boys collected coins for the drive this year, we'll be donating them in Em's name.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yeah, so...

I had plans today, plans about all the stuff I was going to get done at work, plans about the places I was going to run at lunch, plans for the stacks of laundry in my bedroom. That was at 6:45 a.m. At 7:30 am while I was putting on my 'gonna get stuff done today' eyeliner, the phone rang. You know it is never a good thing when the phone rings at 7:30 a.m.

Elyas, his dad informed me, had been throwing up since 5 a.m., "So, what should I do, because I don't think I have anything I can give him..." These are the moments I'm really glad their father doesn't live in the same house anymore because the me I am today would be thunking him on the forehead rather than rolling my eyes behind his back like I did when we were married. So anyway, I had a retching, clinging, unhappy little person attached to my body by 8:05 and I'd sent my regrets to my day and my boss.

We watched a plethora of shows where young children are entirely too excited about backpacks and cameras, we played some educational programs on the computer, and we snuggled. What we didn't do was eat. I tried, but he refused everything. Finally frustrated I said "Honey, what would you eat for Mommy?" I'm such an idiot, I mean really, who does that?

Of course he wanted ice cream and I didn't have any. And I did have to get to the bank today, which long story short, is how I ended up cleaning, well, you know...yuck with the slightest scent of McDonald's chocolate shake tossed in, out of the back seat of my SUV. And while I did get a good amount of laundry done today, um, the pile still sits in my bedroom.

Some days putting on eyeliner is just a waste, you know?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Just say "Maybe."

I don't think I'm all that different than most moms I know. Except that my kids are gone from the house three or four nights a week, which allows me some extra cleaning time, some extra talking on the phone uninterrupted time, and some extra time to miss them and remember just how much I really do like them. But you know I pick up toys, I make doctor's appointments, I drive kids to swim class, I cry when someone does his first dive into the deep end (y'all he TOTALLY did it today, it was SO cool!), and I get asked to do a lot of things for school, for book clubs, for parent groups, etc. And like most moms I know I get over extended. I'm really terrible about keeping my calendar in my purse up to date, so sadly, not only do I over book, but sometimes I double book. I usually end up doing this on my weekends when the boys are with their dad. I think this probably goes back to the early days when I desperately tried to fill up those hours so I didn't have to think about missing them or really being angry at their dad. But it also comes from the ability to add an appointment to my Yahoo calendar without actually checking to see what is already on it. So I woke up today with exactly four appointments on my calendar today at 10 a.m. Can anyone spell "Imadork?"

Two of them were walks, fundraisers for charity. I did a pretty good job raising money for both of them and I decided no one would actually care if I was there or not, as long as they got the money. I topped off my contributions with an extra $10 and decided to call that good. Now the other two were my problem. One was the swim class I mentioned earlier. I knew their dad would take them but...I really hate missing classes when it is my turn to take them. I'm lucky to be co-parenting with a man who sees sitting through things like this as a parenting privilege, not some form of drudgery. So we are a little competitive when it comes to who gets to go to what. We have on occasion BOTH gone, but I would feel wrong skipping out on the two walks to share time with him, you know? But the OTHER appointment was to pick up something I wanted to buy on Craigslist, which I've been needing. If I didn't show, I was sure my new kitchen table would go to someone else, someone more deserving because they know how to manage their organizer. I called the girl, sweet little thing who is a college student. Why I'm buying furniture from a college student, I'm not sure. When I was in college my kitchen table was my desk...but...anyway. She was adorably ready to switch times with me and I'm quite sure she's going to provide boys from a frat house to load up the Vue for me. So I got to see the first dive into the deep end. And that makes all the juggling worth it.

The thing that made me happy about all of this is I've finally learned, despite my terrible abilities at keeping a calendar, to never say "YES!" But I never say "No." Either. My annoying and completely honest response to nearly everything these days is "Maybe." Is it evil to do this? Maybe. But it works for me, because honestly? I don't know what I'll be doing 20 minutes from now. Oh wait, yeah, the table. Definitely that.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ode to Joy

My girlfriend Barb over at So The Thing Is did this really incredible meme, that she made up her own bad self today, and I think she coined a term in the process, "Joy Rush." She challenged us, her readers, to step up and tell the world what gives them their own special little rushes of joy, those moments that make your skin tingle with happiness, or at a moments notice steal your breath away. So I'm going to start my list with the one thing that makes the most sense in this situation.

1. Barb. (smiles) No, I'm not buttering her up for a copy of her book. I already have one thank you very much, and it's autographed ;). You know I read approximately seven billion blogs regularly, but Barb's is special to me. No, wait, BARB is special to me. One Christmas time I was looking for some thing about motherhood and the spirit of Christmas. I was frustrated because I wasn't finding what I was looking for (and lo these many years later, I'll be danged if I can't remember why I was looking for it) when I stumbled across her website and the columns she was writing about her experiences being a mom, and I read this column. Barb and I connected that day in a very meaningful way and she didn't even know I existed. I was a silent adoring fan of hers until she started blogging, and I started commenting. I learned quickly that Barb and I have amazing and funny things in common that almost make me cry when I see them. Today was just one more day for my darling amazing friend to hold up a mirror to me to remind me what I like not only about her, but about myself. In her own post on joy she posted a Youtube video of one of my all time favorite bands playing one of my all time favorite songs. And it gives me such a Joy Rush to share so much with such an amazing woman.

2. Expanding upon that theme, there is this amazing Joy Rush upon looking into the faces of the people I call friends. Occasionally I have that moment that I feel like I should pinch myself, because honestly, how did I get so lucky? Not only is there assortment of amazing and interesting people, from my talented theatre and music friends to the activists and educators and writers and public servants and healers...not to mention the breath taking mamas, but they are just fine people. They are the people who really understand what we talk about in my church, the spirit of life. And I am eternally awed and grateful to be able to call these amazing souls friends.

3. The humor that boils down deep inside the fresh bright little soul that is, Elyas. Tonight as I washed his hair he turned his head at just the wrong moment and ended up completely doused at my hand. He rose up out of the water like a dunked cat sputtering and I lifted a towel to his he pushed his hair up off his little glistening face he locked eyes with me, shaking his head seriously. "I'm sorry, you're fired, man." Then we both laughed until it hurt. He is a person who just glows with good humor. And lucky me, I get to be his mama. Total Joy Rush.

4. If there is a word that could describe my eldest child, it would be tenacity. There are days when you watch this kid dig his heels in to master a skill, read a book, climb a tree, or catch a bug...well he's going to do it. But do you know what really gives me the big Joy Rush? I learn from that tenacity every single day. It boggles my mind that this living breathing smart-as-all-get-out person who is teaching me came from my body into this world. It gives me goose bumps.

5. Well Barb, as I mentioned, posted a video, so I'm going to as well. I know I've told people I really don't like country music, heck I've even defended it in goofy arguments. But Lyle Lovett simply can't be a country musician because, because, well...he's just too cool. And there's that hair. But you see this song gives me a Joy Rush...

I don't know if you have any bears in your life, I don't know if any one's ever seen the bear in you...but if you smile like I do when Lyle reminds us "they just don't come no better than a bear." You know why this song is a Joy Rush for me. I have some seriously wonderful bears that I like to lunch with, and wow it awes me that someone gets it.

6. Daisies. Planting daisies. Looking at daisies, touching them. They fill up a special little corner of my heart.

7. Sometimes I worry that I talk too much about being divorced, that people think I'm obsessing over something negative, but here is a little special secret, just between me, you and the internets. It isn't an obsession with the death of my is an obsession with the person I subsequently discovered in my solitude, the woman I found hiding out waiting to shine. I hope it doesn't sound ego-centric, but she totally gives me a Joy Rush. She makes me cry sometimes because I waited so damn long to find her.

8. The way my Scottish boss says my name, the way it was intended to be pronounced.


This face. How can that not make you happy?

There are maybe a million moments every day that have the potential to be a Joy Rush, if only we choose to open ourselves up to them. Maybe the biggest Joy Rush is just slowing down long enough to just catch them as they fly through our fingers. Thanks for reminding me to open my hands, Barb.

If you'd like to, tell me what kinds of Joy Rushes you've been catching lately. I'm sure it will give me another one...totally contagious, this is.

I'm back

So I hid my blog away for a little while because I got a call from the ex who made me feel like someone was cyberstalking me. And you know I know this person (who really already doesn't like me) and it felt a little creepy. So I made my blog private for awhile and considered deleting it all together. After awhile though, I realized that I LIKE my little blog and if mean-spirited crazy person wants to read my random thoughts, memes, and funny things that my kids say, well then, welcome to the looney bin.

And the rest of you, I love you. So there.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I need to make this blog private. I know I don't post that much anymore, but if you'd like to still have access to it. Leave me a comment or drop me an email and I'll hook you up.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Update on Emily

I just wanted to let you all know that Emily will have her surgery on her arm on Wednesday morning. The surgeons need a relatively small amount of bone that can be saved (I believe it was a quarter of an inch on the sides and below her shoulder socket) in order to be able to place pins in her arm to save it. If removing the tumor takes too much of the bone tissue, they will have to amputate. She's had really good progress with the chemotherapy...all but two of the tumors in her lungs are completely gone! This surgery is a big thing for her. Keep her in your thoughts, drop a prayer for her, or eat some sketti on her behalf. She's a livin' doll, really, she is.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Go lightly.

If one were to read my last post, say, without knowing me, or um...talking to me regularly, you might think that I'm a drama queen. But those people who know me, love me, and talk to me every stinking day will assure you that I am a drama queen. It's all good. I know who I am and I know when to succumb to it and when to ride it lightly. Please know that I'm okay, Dev is okay, and we are riding it lightly 90% of the time. And when we need to be dramatic, we tackle that with panache...and try to step on each other's lines without stumbling over them.

On Sunday I picked up the boys after church. It was their weekend with their dad, but he works with the youth group on Sunday afternoons so they spend a few hours with me. It's generally a nice quiet time to kick back or make a trip to the library. This week Dev produced a CD I'd made for him while the divorce was still fresh, full of tunes to help keep him upbeat, that called upon both my history and his, our shared love of music. We popped it in as we drove home and it ran through a couple of songs as I drove to work today, and it made me smile. I picked Dev up from his second to last day at the hospital partial program and we sang The Bear Necessities together as I drove him to his daycare. And when I hopped in the car to drive home, I turned the key and was greeted with this.

This is the key to our life, to any life really. Go lightly.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Oh and also?

In case anyone thinks I'm not still grounded to a real life, my darling Foster puked all over the carpet while I was typing all that. He's just keepin' me real and all that.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Bad Date Olympics

In honor of my "getting back out there" I'd sure love to hear your favorite bad date stories. You keep my expectations in check.

And for my comrade Barb, I'm adding this:

Harry: It was the most uncomfortable night of my life.
Sally: Oh...The first day back is always the toughest Harry.
Harry: We only had one date. How do you know it's not going to get worse?
Sally: How much worse can it get than finishing dinner having him reaching over pull a hair out of my head and starts flossing with it at the table?
Harry: We're talking dream dates compared to my horror. It started out fine, she's a very nice person, and we're sitting and we're talking at this Ethiopian restaurant that she wanted to go to. And I was making jokes, you know like, "Hey I didn't know that they had food in Ethiopia? This will be a quick meal. I'll order two empty plates and we can leave."
[Sally laughs]
Harry: Yeah, nothing from her not even a smile. So I down shift into small talk, and I asked her where she went to school and she said. "Michigan State", and this reminds me of Helen. All of a sudden I'm in the middle of this mess of an anxiety attack, my heart is beating like a wild man and I start sweating like a pig.
Sally: Helen went to Michigan State?
Harry: No she went to Northwestern, but they're both Big-Ten schools. I got so upset I had to leave the restaurant.
Sally: Harry I think this takes a long time. It might be months before we're actually able to enjoy going out with someone new.
Harry: Yah...
Sally: And maybe longer, before we're actually able to go to bed with someone new.
Harry: Oh I went to bed with her.
Sally: You went to bed with her?
Harry: Sure.
Sally: Oh.

My worst date (thus far) was when I was young and impressionable but um...not THAT impressionable. My sister set me up with the son of a friend. He was about my age and he seemed to develop an instant crush on me. So he called me up and invited me out to do "something." This should have been the tip off, but he'd been talked up a lot, so I decided to give it a shot. He picked me up in his pickup truck and off we went to "somewhere" which ended up meaning picking up his best friend (because first dates are always better with extra people) and we went and saw one of the renditions of Lethal Weapon, I don't remember which. While not much of a date movie, I was happy for getting to look at Mel Gibson for a few hours, which ended up being the high point of the evening. After we left the movie he suggested that we "drive around" which is normal young people entertainment for nearly anyone, so it didn't surprise me. What did surprise me was that for these boys, "driving around" included finding car loads of people of other races, yelling racial epithets at them, and throwing things at their cars. He was shocked that I refused to see him after that. Go figure.

So tell me yours. Pulleeese?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Trapped in an alternate universe

I probably shouldn't complain. I'm spending my afternoon with the five year old...the picky one. About an hour ago we started discussing options for lunch. He didn't want this sandwich or that soup. Nope, no left over spaghetti or chili. He would have settled for some beanie weanie, if I had either the beans or the weanies to make such a thing. So I did the only thing we could do, we went on a tour of the kitchen, me fully expecting to be feeding him cereal with syrup or somthing. You have to understand, this is the child who won't eat green M & M's for fear that they are vegetable like. So you probably can understand why I nearly fainted when after a cursory glance at the fridge, he announced he'd have a, no meat required.

If he finishes up and goes up to clean his room I'm calling the police.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Emily Rose

In January, my nine year old niece was diagnosed with osteocarcinoma, a cancer that manifested in the bones of her arm, and subsequently spread into her lungs through the lymphatic system. The cancer was found because a mass in her upper arm grew large enough to break the bone. She has begun chemotherapy treatments, and if they can get the tumor in her arm down to manageable size she will have her arm amputated at the shoulder.

My half-sister, Karla and her husband Dan have no health insurance and have been out of work for several weeks now caring for Emily. Their local women's club (in San Diego) is doing a fundraiser for them. If you have even a couple of dollars to spare to help them out, I know we would all appreciate it. The address to mail donations is:

Checks payable to: GFWC-MIRA MESA WOMEN'S CLUB

Mail to:
Sandra Cabral
10769 Parkdale Avenue
San Diego, Ca. 92126

Edited to add website (paypal button here):

For anyone who is in the San Diego area and would like details on the event being held at Fudruckers for Emily, please email me and I'll get you the flyer.

Support a candidate this year who wants to do something about the state of health care for everyone in this nation. Emily is a good reminder of why it is so vital that this issue be addressed.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

When Carolie Talks, People Listen

I don't know what it is exactly, but being about the sweetest thing on the planet probably doesn't hurt her at all. The simple fact of the matter is, when Carolie asks you to do a meme, you just can't seem to turn her down. I personally think it is because she is so polite. Lesson for your kids, right there.

So without further ado, here it is.

The Rules:

  • Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
    Share five random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog. Share the five top places on your “want to see or want to see again” list.

  • Tag a minimum of five random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.

  • Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment in their blog.

The Meme:

Five Random/Weird Facts About Me:

  • My parents names are ( father is gone now) Fred and Wilma. My mom remembers when there was a contest going on to name the stone-age family and is pretty sure one of her friends made some money off of that.
  • I was thirty years old the first time I saw the ocean.
  • Each of my four siblings and myself were all born in different states...with the exception of T. who was born in another country.
  • My brother has been in a film with Robert DiNero.
  • My children were both named after contractors who had touched our lives in one way or another...but really just so named because we liked the names

Top five places I want to visit or visit again:

  • Dublin
  • Rome
  • Vancouver
  • Africa
  • Beijing

Tag at least five friends:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Co-Parenting Bloggers? Anyone? Anyone?

I've been having a hard time with my kids you might say. And when I'm having a hard time there is always one place I know to turn...Doctor Google. Doctor Google always has a plethora of advice, good, bad and ugly. But what Doctor Google lacks in discriminating taste, she (yes, she's a female Doc, deal with it) makes up for in volume and accessibility. But alas, since my divorce she's been failing me more and more often.

The point is, the amount of resources out there as help for people in co-parenting situations is miserable. Most of it comes in the form of lectures about how to handle the co-parenting plan when the divorce is going on, and step-parents patting themselves on the back for putting up with the biological parent not living in their home. There is nothing that I can find that offers any kind of support forum for people who are co-parenting. There is nothing that I can find about learning how to be an effective disciplinarian in a situation where you are desperately missing your child half the time, and dealing with an entitled brat the other half of the time. Nothing that I can find about maintaining your sanity when your ex makes your children start calling his girlfriend their step mother. Not much out there to support those of us doing this strange and very difficult work "for the kids."

Well, I'm sitting here looking at Doctor Google saying, "You know, somebody should do something about that." It wasn't Doctor Google at all, but some ghost from the past who sounded like a housewife said, "Um, you know you ARE somebody, right?"

So right now, as of this moment, I'm looking for bloggers who are also co-parents. I'm looking for people just starting off in the co-parent adventure, and people who have done it for years, moms or dads although I'd rather not it be "steps." And even though I respect them greatly, this really isn't about the parents doing it largely on their own. I'm looking very specifically at dealing with the issues of sharing parenting responsibilities with someone else. I suppose co-parents who were never married or significantly involved too, even though I don't have a lot of experience where the "other" parent is significantly involved in the child's life in those. And while we all know the children are of the utmost importance (that is why we make these choices, isn't it?) I want this blog to be about parents caring for themselves too.

What blog? Oh that's why I'm looking. I want to make a resource for co-parents. I like the blog format because it is personal and inviting, but I think it will need various contributors because a) I couldn't find enough fodder for a useful blog all myself, and b) I won't learn anything if I'm only blathering on about my own experiences and c) there is power in numbers.

So if you know a co-parenting blogger, are a co-parenting blogger, know of anyone who might know a co-parenting blogger, tell them to drop me a line here in my comments. I will email them back ASAP.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What comes around goes around.

Maybe you've noticed how I often blog conversations between my kids and myself. Part of the reason for this is I'm kind of pathetic and they are the centers of my little teeny tiny universe. So I'm trying to talk about it right now while it is still cute, not a symptom of an over attached mother who doesn't have a life.

The other reason I do it is that they are really much funnier and more interesting than I am. They just lack the mad typing skills I have (heh, heh...please don't find my ninth grade typing teacher and ask her though because that would be awkward...yeah). But mostly its just that old silly motherly pride and all of that.

Yesterday I was driving with my eight year old through some fairly icy streets. It was just the two of us (please don't ask me why he was not in school like his brother...the hemmorage is just starting to heal). He was goofing around with one of his little brother's motorized trains in the back seat when he "accidentally" launched it across the car and it banged on the door opposite his with a loud thud.

"Reer! Reer! Reer! Reer!-Thump!" went Thomas as he bravely tried to climb the door behind me. "Reer! Reer! Reer! Reer!-Thump!"

"Mom, can you reach that?"

I was in a small skid on the ice. "Um, no, I can't take my hands off the wheel."

"Well then I'm going to!"

"You, young man, will NOT take your seat belt off until the car is stopped, do you understand me?"

"Reer! Reer! Reer! Reer!-Thump!"

"Mom, that noise is making me crazy, crazy I tell you!"

"Reer! Reer! Reer! Reer!-Thump!"


"Reer! Reer! Reer! Reer!-Thump!"

At this point the sound that came from my son was somewhere between the hacking noise my cat makes when there is a hairball issue and the unmistakeable sound of a walrus dying.

"THAT sound was much better, thanks."

"Reer! Reer! Reer! Reer!-Thump!"

"Mommy! I threw up!"

"Uh. OK. Well I don't smell anything, goober."

"I was just kidding, Mom. Playing a joke on you."

"Reer! Reer! Reer! Reer!-Thump!"

"So you've got yourself a sense of humor, do you? Who said you could have one of those?"

"Hey don't look at me, lady. I came from you, what do you expect?"

Oh gad. I'm in so much trouble.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Who says customer service is dead?

As you all know, I turned 39 in November (Ooops! Almost typed "30" - that would have been an unfortunate error, huh?) What this meant, among many other things, is that I had been a citizen of Iowa for FIVE years. FIVE. For my friends who "went through" the move from Colorado with me, I know they are probably as in shock about that as I am. Time really does fly when you are having fun...or whatever the hell it is I've been doing. Ok, ok...time flies when you are getting divorced too. That's really true, in a sad way. ANYWAY. Five years. I didn't really stop and think about all that signified at the time. A benchmark perhaps, but I'd have to consider that later because there were Christmas gifts to postpone buying, boxes that I'd postponed unpacking long enough, and of course the usual every day drama to deal with. I'd reminisce about my five years of being an Iowanian later.

Funny, the Department of Transportation really doesn't like you to put off some things. Yeah. I had totally forgotten that this was my year to renew my driver's license until some clerk carded me for a bottle of sparkling grape juice on Christmas eve and said "Oh hey, you know your license is expired?"


So at that point I figure I'm already 30 days behind...what the hell is the rush now? I planned a day off to go to the DOT around a day that I already had numerous other reasons to be off work (yes, I spent half my day at the school...if you were wondering). I hopped on the DOT site last night to see how much money and how many hoops I'd have to jump through. I'd already cleaned out my car in anticipation of having have a driving test. There are several reasons I'm glad I did this. For starters, I found out that the DOT station I've gone to for everything since I moved here, just a few blocks from where I used to live...has been permanently closed. I had to drive to Ankeny, which isn't that far, but honestly? Isn't that close either. You'd think that the freaking state capital would have at least ONE operating DOT station, but noooo. Anyway. (I'm saying that a lot, huh?)

The other thing I learned pissed me off (at myself) to no end. I had assumed, for no reason what so ever other than it made sense to me, that there was a thirty day grace period for getting your driver's license renewed. Nope! The state of Iowa is generous and gives you a sixty day grace period. Being a collections professional it is very easy for me to calculate days quickly. Today was, you got it SIXTY-TWO days after my 39th birthday, the day my driver's license expired. So, it seemed I would have to take a written test (they only require the driving test if you've let it lapse for over a year...I should really do more research earlier, shouldn't I?) So I spent about three hours last night cramming like a teenager for my stupid driving test.

I stood in line and my strange stress thinking had me conversely panicking and laughing like hell at myself. What if they arrest me for driving up here without a valid license? What if they fine me? Then I'd laugh at myself. I got up to the counter. The lady was not as good at figuring out the past due days as I am (I'm telling you it, truly it is a MUST in my industry) and she got out her little cheat sheet..."so it would have been sixty days on...."

"Sunday." I assured her.

"When we wouldn't have been open, so if you would have been here yesterday you would have been ok." She gave me a sad little smile.

I nodded sheepishly, probably looking much like my children do when caught with their fingers in the proverbial cookie jar. "I don't suppose the fact that the Department of Transportation cares much about it being the holidays and that I moved, and that my kid was having trouble in school during this time."

She smiled wryly. "Not really. But I don't think they really care very much about 24 hours either. We'll just let it go. Go get your vision test and your license and go home."

One of the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. But I wish I would have known that before studying for three hours. Seriously.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Politics as usual?

Earnest and sincere my youngest looked at me, clearly wishing to communicate that he had learned something important.

"Mommy, did you know that Mr. Obama and Mr. Huckleberry won the cacsukahs?"

My nose wrinkled. My eyes watered. I pinched my lips together hard. Must not laugh. The eyes watered some more.

"Caucuses. Um. Yes do you know what the caucuses are for?"

My oldest chimed in, eager to show that he was better than his brother at yet one more thing..."To choose the president!"

"Well sort of, to choose our presidential candidates for the two major political parties in the country, the Democrats and the Republicans."

"But we're Democrats, right Mom?" That older boy. Pretty darn sure of himself.

"Well, I'M a Democrat. Your father is too. You don't belong to any party right now. Why is that?"

"You have to be eighteen to vote. But I'm going to be a Democrat because I think war is stupid. People should use their words, not fight in wars."

"Hmm...well I don't know if it is quite that simple, but yes, it would be nice if everyone would just use their words to work out their differences. So you aren't old enough to vote, but do you know how old you have to be in order to be the President of the United States?"

"Eleven or twelve?" offered the young one helpfully.

"No, actually you have to be at least 35 years old!"

"Wow! Really, that's old."

"So do you think anyone you know could be president?"

"Well, I don't know..."

"Could Miss R from church be the President?"

"Yes, yes, she'd be a good president, she's good at using her words!"

"Nope, sorry boys she's only 22, too young to be president."

"Daddy could be president!"

"Well sure. What about me, do you think I could be president?"

The gurgling noise coming from my youngest was unmistakable. He was drowning in his own laughter.

"Hey! What's that for, why couldn't I be president?!?"

"You're a MOMMY, Mommy. You've got IMPORTANT stuff to do."

Well then. Okay.

Yes, I did.

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