Dec 30, 2009

~ No time...~

I have to go back to work in order to have time to blog....sorry.

6 of 7 children are here for the week. The entire week.

Which means make a meal, serve a meal clean up a meal...repeat.

Make and activity, do the activity, clean up the activity....repeat.

Intervene a fight, settle the fight, repair the feelings....repeat.

Dress the children, undress the children, wash the children....repeat.

Play a game, fight over the game, clean up the game....repeat.

Love the kids, enjoy the time with the kids, smile as we watch them play....repeat.

See them interact with new people, discover a new family dynamic, adjust....repeat.

We're loving having the kids here...

Repeat.

Dec 25, 2009

~ Merry Christmas to all...and to all...~

Merry Christmas, have you heard it enough yet?

I am spending Christmas in a new place, with new people, new traditions and new food.

All good....all new.

The kids come next week. ALL of them...7 of them.

Gonna be crazy. Crazy fun, crazy amounts of food....

Love it.

Hope your Christmas is going well, and you're with the ones you love.

Dec 15, 2009

~ Dear Lynn, thanks....every year...thanks ~

Every year Lynn send out amazing Christmas stories to count down the 12 days of Christmas. I'm behind...so here are the first few. Enjoy

Christmas Story 01-2009 •
Leslie J. Wyatt

Now I Wonder...

It was the week before Christmas and the snow lay sparkling white and deep as the fence posts. What a relief to my seven-year-old heart. I wasn’t interested in playing in it so much as I was concerned that Santa’s sled could arrive. Although I knew his reindeer could fly, surely a good three feet of snow guaranteed that if they got tired of being airborne, they could still reach our tiny house in the sagebrush.

Confident that a visit on Christmas Eve was assured, my siblings and I flitted from one activity to another, willing the time to pass. My mother, however, seemed quite busy in one corner of the dining room.

“What are you sewing, Mama?” I asked. “Doll clothes?”

She rolled her finger down the thread, knotting it at the end. “Mmmhmmm.”

“For who?” I stared at the miniature bonnet taking shape in her hands. Gauzy lavender material lay like butterfly wings and matching satin ribbons trailed on her lap.

“For some little girls who need them.”

My younger sister and I eyed each other. “We need them,” we said, pressing closer.

Mama smiled, holding a bonnet up for us to see. “Well, I’m making these and leaving them for Santa Claus to pick up when he comes here. I’ll write him a note so he knows to give them to some little girls he thinks might need them for their baby dolls.”

“Oh.” Disappointment mingled with admiration. My mother – my

very own mother–was making doll clothes for Santa! I knew I should be happy for whatever child he would take the beautiful bonnets and dresses to, so I resigned myself as best I could.

Mama sewed in all her spare moments. My sister and I took to leaving our barely clothed dolls near her, hoping she’d notice how needy they were and put in a good word for us with Santa.

I’d never seen such pretty doll clothes: One set of lavender organdy containing bonnet, bloomers, and dress, complete with tiny puffed sleeves and pearl buttons, and an identical set in cotton-candy pink. I must have gazed at them a full ten minutes, visualizing how they would have looked on our dolls, thinking of how fun it would have been to dress them in such finery, and hoping that whoever got those clothes appreciated them as much as my sister and I would have.

Christmas Eve arrived at last. Mama helped us arrange a few cookies on a plate and set a glass of milk nearby in case Santa wanted a snack before he left for his next house. She even braved the cold, dark night outside to bring an armload of hay onto the porch in case Santa’s reindeer wanted a snack.

There, beside the cookie plate, she placed her finished sewing with an accompanying note that we were not allowed to read.

“Santa can’t come until you’re all asleep,” Mama reminded us, and we scurried to hide under our covers.

We were so full of anticipation that surely we could never relax long enough to drift off to dreamland. But of course we did, waking again in the wee hours of the morning and managing to rouse the rest of the sleeping house.

“Let’s go see if Santa came,” Mama said, and we blinked our way toward the glaring light of Daddy’s movie camera. Only a few crumbs were left on the cookie plate, and the milk glass was empty.

“Well looky here,” Daddy said, picking up a note written in big letters. “Thank you for the cookies and milk. Love, Santa.”

A few scattered wisps of hay were all that the reindeer had left on the porch. Yes. Santa had definitely been here! But then I saw them, lavender and pink, laying there crisp and new, just like Mama had laid them out.

“Oh, Mama,” I wailed. “Santa forgot to take the doll clothes!”

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“Yes, see?” I reached for the lavender set to show her. Just then I spied a note tucked under the pink bonnet.

“Dear children, Your mama asked me to give these to some little girls who needed them. I think your dollies could both use a new outfit.
Love, Santa.”

Enveloped in wonder at what Santa Claus had done, we rushed to dress our “babies” in the new finery.

“Mama, look!” we squealed. “They fit perfectly. How did Santa know?”

Mama’s eyes twinkled, but all she said was, “Now I wonder ... “

Many Christmases have come and gone since that magic morning. One never passes but that I see again my mother’s smile as she shared with us the enjoyment of the doll clothes she’d made “for some little girls who needed them” and wondered with us how “Santa” could have ever known the exact size that would fit our babies.



Christmas Story 02-2009 • Nan B. Clark
A Treasure Unspent

Like thousands of other little girls in 1932, Mother had been duly warned that Santa wouldn’t be leaving any presents that year.

It was the height of the Great Depression, a time of anxiety for most families. The familiar world had collapsed, taking with it the sense of security that all would be well. Even in a small farming town like Derry, New Hampshire, the reverberations from the stock market crash of 1929 continued to shake everyday existence into strange new forms and turn the simplest pleasures into unaffordable luxuries.

My grandfather was away in Wisconsin, working for a cousin who manufactured “billiard tables, of all things,” as my grandmother said to anyone who asked, turning it into a pun.

“I guess some folks still have deep pockets.”

But Grandfather did mail money home every two weeks, and between that and my grandmother’s pittance for taking in sewing, my mother was fed and clothed.

“You and I don’t need presents to be happy,” my grandmother started telling her at Thanksgiving. “Not as long as we have each other.”

My mother pretended to agree, but inside, she was a grievously disappointed ten-year-old.

“No tinsel, no new ornaments, no strings of lights,” Grandmother

said. “Even so, Annie, I expect the spirit of Christmas won’t be tarnished one whit,” she added.

As for cookies, cakes, pies, and fudge, those luxuries were no longer coming out of my grandmother’s kitchen-not even for the holidays. This Christmas Day they’d share a dessert of old-fashioned Indian pudding made with cornmeal and molasses, sweet enough for a child at any time but Christmas.

Although the holidays were much less commercialized back then, people of all ages still liked getting gifts and giving them. Mother cudgeled her brains trying to think of what she could make for Grandmother.

“I wasn’t like her,” Mother told me years later with a rueful laugh. “I couldn’t sew a straight seam or knit a stitch without tangling one of the needles in my hair or poking the cat with it.”

Finally, after many sleepless hours, she hit on the perfect gift. My mother would offer to clean the ashes out of the old black kitchen stove for a whole year, a chore she despised.

As for a tree, “Why chop down a poor little thing?” Grandmother said. “We’ll pop up some popcorn, string it, and put it in our big tree out front for the birds to eat.”

On Christmas Eve, the two went caroling, serenading the neighbors while a white, powdery snow swirled around them like the beneficent robes of an angel. That was wonderful enough, but early on Christmas morning, my mother opened her eyes to a miracle.

There on her little side table sat a perfect creche, a manger, two funny-looking creatures that had to be a donkey and a cow, a tiny crib with a little figure in it, and two larger kneeling figures, Mary and Joseph.

The extraordinary thing, though, was that not only could the entire tableau fit on the palm of her hand, it was light as a feather. Every piece was composed of paper in the same blended shades of green, gray, and cream.

When she held the figures closer, my mother couldn’t believe her eyes. They were made of money!

She saw that each dollar bill had been meticulously folded and creased. Although she hadn’t yet learned the word “origami,” my mother knew she was beholding something very special. Running to wake up my grandmother with the little paper manger scene held carefully in both hands, she wondered if a miracle had occurred for her mother, too. Naturally, in the way of all good stories that are cherished down the generations, it had. My grandfather was lying in the bed next to my grandmother.

“I hitchhiked some, and walked some, and took a train, and then a bus and then walked some more,” my grandfather said as the three of them snuggled together. “And, you know how I covered the last few miles? I hitched a ride in a sleigh pulled by the slickest reindeer you ever did see.”

My mother set up the manger scene on the quilt, so her folks could marvel at it, too. “So, Annie,” her father asked, “how are you going to spend all that money?”

My mother’s eyes widened. “Daddy, I’m never going to spend it. It’s too precious.”

He laughed and laughed, hugging her hard. “I guess that’s a good lesson for these times,” he finally said. “We all just have to remember that there really are things much more important than money.”

My mother certainly did remember and taught me this lesson too. That is why, to this day, the same little manger scene rests gently on the mantel, gathering interest with every passing Christmas.



Christmas Story 03-2009 • Wayne R. Wallace

A Bike For Christmas

Tommy Miller wanted a red Schwinn Flyer bicycle more than he had ever wanted anything in all his ten years. He had seen a picture of one in a Sears & Roebuck Co. catalog, and that had started his dream. One Saturday morning, when he accompanied his dad into town, the dream became a tangible possibility. There, in the front window of Mr. Harris’s Western Auto store, sat the most beautiful red Schwinn Flyer Tommy had ever seen. He stared at it longingly, then followed his dad inside. Tommy fingered the chrome fenders carefully as his father talked with Mr. Harris.

Tommy’s dad was a rookie Oklahoma State Trooper on his first duty station in the small southern Oklahoma town of Marietta. The family of five had rented a tiny house just outside town. It was old and drafty, but it was all they could afford on the young patrolman’s salary.

Though Tommy fell in love with the red metal dream in the window, he knew it could never be his. Where would that kind of money come from? Still, he couldn’t get it out of his mind. That night, Tommy took a deep breath and approached his parents, almost ashamed to even ask.

“Dad, you know that red Schwinn Flyer we saw at Mr. Harris’s store today?”

Ray Miller put down his paper. “Yes, it sure was a good looking bike, son.”

“Dad, I want that bike for Christmas,” Tommy blurted. “I’ll never ask for anything else, honest!”

“Tommy, I don’t know . . . It’s a lot of money, and we just don’t have it right now,” Mr. Miller explained.

“We’d love to get it for you if we could, sweetheart, but we’ll just have to see,” Tommy’s mother said as she pulled him close for a kiss. “Now off to bed, young man.”

She turned to her husband as Tommy shut the bedroom door. “Ray, I’d sure like to get Tommy that bike. He works so hard around here, and he’s done so well in school. Isn’t there something we can do?”

“We’ll work it out somehow,” he said, reassuringly. “Maybe I can get a little off-duty security work. We should be able to save enough by Thanksgiving.”

On Christmas Eve, Tommy and his brothers went to bed early. Tommy could think of nothing but the bike. It was on his mind every waking moment, and in his dreams, when he finally slept.

The next morning, the two younger boys ran into the family room and began opening packages. Tommy hung back. He knew that the bike cost a lot of money . . . money his parents didn’t have. But when Tommy walked into the family room to join his brothers, there it was, waiting for him. It wasn’t the one he’d seen in Mr. Harris’s store. This one was better. It was gorgeous: a special edition Schwinn Flyer, much fancier than the one pictured in the catalogue. This one had white wall tires, chrome handlebars, and spoke wheels. It boasted a leather seat with springs and three gears! It was the best bike in the whole world, and now, it belonged to him!

Many years later, in 1978, Tommy, his wife, Kenna, and their young daughter, Stacey, were on their way to Dallas for the Christmas holiday. As they approached the Marietta exit, Tommy asked, “Kenna, do you mind if I stop and have a look at my oId hometown? I’d like to see how it’s changed.”

“Not at all,” Kenna replied. “It should be fun.”

Main Street was decorated with garlands and lights, but Tommy noticed that most of the businesses he remembered had closed or had been bought by more modern franchises.

When he realized that the old Western Auto Store was still open, he pulled up in front.

“Let’s go in here,” Tommy said. “Mr. Harris is an old friend.”

As soon as they entered, Tommy spotted an old man standing behind the wooden counter and smiled. He would have known Mr. Harris anywhere, even after all these years.

“Hello, Mr. Harris,” he said. “You probably don’t remember me, but-”“Tommy Miller!” Mr. Harris exclaimed. “Of course, I remember you! You used to come in here with your dad-you and your brothers.”

The display of bicycles caught Stacey’s eye, especially a small red tricycle, just her size. As Tommy watched his daughter’s eyes light up, another young child came to mind.

“I remember when my mom and dad got me my first bike for Christmas,” he murmured.

Mr. Harris chuckled. “It came from my store. Christmas of ‘55. I remember it because I had sold the only red Schwinn I had just a couple of days before your dad came in.

We had a blue one left, but it had to be red, he said. I told him I would order another one. It would be here in plenty of time for Christmas. Well, the bike didn’t come in until the day before Christmas Eve. When he came to get it, we discovered it wasn’t the same one he’d ordered, but a much more expensive model. He didn’t have the money to pay the difference, and it was way too late to re-order. He was just about the nicest fellow I’d ever met, and he did a wonderful job with the highway patrol and all, so-I just made the balance on that fancy bike a Christmas gift from me. It moved him to tears ... he thanked me over and over again.”

“I know that meant a lot to him,” Tommy replied quietly. “Dad never thought that he was anything special, but . . . he sure was to me.”

“How is your dad, Tommy?” the storekeeper asked. “I haven’t seen him in years-not since your family moved up north.”

Tommy hesitated a moment. “He was killed in the line of duty three years ago,” he said quietly. Tommy’s gaze rested on the bicycles gleaming brightly in the window, a reminder of the sacrifices his parents had made for him so long ago. “He died on Christmas Eve.”

Mr. Harris was deeply touched by Tommy’s story. Sadly, he extended his hand for Tommy’s farewell handshake. It was then that he noticed Tommy’s daughter couldn’t take her eyes off of the tricycle in his display case.

‘Just a minute,” he said. He walked to his display case and wheeled out the shiny, red tricycle. “Here you go, Miss Stacey-Merry Christmas.”

“Oh, Mr. Harris, we can’t possibly ... “ Tommy began, but the storekeeper waved him off with a grin.

“It’s a gift for the little one, Tommy.”

Mr. Harris chuckled as Stacey touched the red metal in awe and then climbed up onto the seat. He had seen that look before.

Glancing up at Tommy, he explained, “Some things never change ... like kids and bikes at Christmas.”





Dec 10, 2009

~ 10 things I've learned. ~


I need to vent for a minute.

1. Lawyers are expensive.

2. The cost is worth every penny if you're fighting for your kids.

3. Snow makes me grouchy.

4. All the snow is going to help me pay the lawyer bills, cause we have a shoveling contract. Unfortunately we have to actually shovel to complete the contracts. Rats!!

5. When you have all the stress that you can handle, tears release the pressure.

6. The best 'soaker-upper' for those tears is the shoulder of someone who loves you.

7. A busy job can distract you from a stressful life, if only for an hour.

8. There are people that step into your life, right when other's step out. Take advantage.

9. A bath before bed can have the same effects as TylenolPM.

10. Helping others through their struggles can put your own in perspective.

11. Realize when it's time to let go.

12. Grudges become heavier the longer you hold them.

13. A late night text from a friend can lighten your mood.

14. Fireplaces making getting up in the morning easier.

15. Never underestimate the soothing effects of Hot Chocolate.

16. Christmas is harder when you miss someone.

17. Christmas is easier when you're spending it with those you love the most.

18. Sister in laws can be BFF's.

19. Friends that knew you at 17, are still friends that know you at 34.

20. Blogs can be as therapeutic as Psychologists.

21. Facebook movies directed by your cousin are funny.

22. Calgarians lose their snow driving smarts way too often.

23. Nothing beats a good pen.

24. Lipgloss can sparkle a girl up.

25. Break it down - like Hammer Time.

26. Distance does make the heart grow fonder, unless I don't like you...than it also makes the heart grow fonder, from being away from you.

27. Wet socks are irritating.

28. Cold water and skin should be avoided.

29. Sometimes you just need to rock it out.

30. Three Day's Grace often sings how I feel.

31. Michael Buble has a lisp, listen carefully.

32. Plastic containers that get warped in the dishwasher should just be thrown out.

33. Pack away clothes that are too small, no need for that downer everyday.

34. Sleep

35. Perspective can hurt and heal.

36. Warm slows your heart back to it's regular pace.

37. If you are really healthy, which it seems I am, you get a further 25% off your quoted life insurance policy. Nice!!

38. The piles on your desk stay smaller if you play dumb and make a lot of mistakes....sheesh, I should have thought of that.

39. FB chat can get you through a day you thought would be your demise.

40. Chocolate, always have some handy.

41. Typing as fast as you think is just a time saver.

41. Keep a list, its fun to cross stuff off.

42. Sometimes you need a substitute mom.

43. Mommy, I wub you...need I say more?!

44. Headaches cause me to deal with life less effectively.

45. Gaining a new big little brother, priceless.

46. Pajama pants, big T-shirt and a hoody - required after work wear.

47. Sometimes you need to sings along, at the top of your lungs.

48. The Blackberry may be the best invention ever.

49. TV can let you escape.

50. Friends come, friends go. It's the ones that stay that are worth it.

Maybe a few more than 10...

Dec 3, 2009

~ Yep, another one ~

Two posts in one day?! Yes, the pigs have taken flight.

I posted, and then was doing my blog rounds. I haven't touched blogs or FB all week, stupid busy job.

So reading the Mare, who rocks...and lives too far away, and she wrote something that hit me.

...we still have fun together and laugh (alot) and do nice things for each other and all that stuff that I just knew it was supposed to be like...

I smiled.

For her, and for me...cause I too am in a "I just knew it was supposed to be like this".

~ Grab my arm and yank ~


Just pull me where ever you need me to go, cause I ain't gettin' there on my own.

What a week!! and not in an "that was the best week of my whole gosh darn life".

NO!

"That was the most emotionally and physically draining week that has hit the charts yet!"

K, here's the run down.

And now that I'm thinking of it...it's been two weeks.

Nov 19...picked up the kids for their first sleep over at mom's house. We've been working up to this. Had a 'late over' the week before. My children have not done a lot of sleep overs. They live close to their grandparents, and are not allowed to sleep over at friends. It's a rule of mine, you can challenge me on it a different day. I don't have the energy today. So come over friday night for pizza and movie. Miss S had announced that she didn't want to sleep over. I didn't sweat it, I know how she is. She's just nervous about not being at her own house. So I didn't say anything. Unbeknownst to her...I had an ace up my sleeve. Waahaha. I've been preparing for the kids to come and stay for a bit. New toothbrushes, pj's and toys that stay at mom's house. No need to pack anything really...I gotcha covered. So they were pretty stocked about new stuff, every kid is right? Miss S love to design clothing and accessories. She is constantly making new dresses and outfits for her dolls and barbies. I found this Project Runway type dealy that you create the outfits for the paper dolls. It's more sophisticated than paper dolls...but whatever. You get the idea...I had new stuff for her to play with. She rocked it. It wasn't a bribe, just a means of helping her be comfortable in a new environment. So she designed....and Mr O built endless cars, trucks and buildings with Lego. JJ man...he played computer. Lego is a little above him, and he's just as happy to be on Nick Jr.

Bed time arrives. O is a super sleeper. Takes him about 2.5 seconds to hit the hay and saw the logs. Princess S does a lot of tossing and turning, but then knocks out like a fighter. JJ man however, he's terrible to get to sleep. Partly because if he's had any type of nap...even 10 minutes he's hit the second wind like I'd main lined him Red Bull.

So JJ man and I hit the Where's Waldo Tour. Even at 3 years old, he can pick that guy out of a Chinese intersection.

By this time I'm dying, can't keep my eyes open. Had already fallen asleep while they watched Ice Age 3. So Sista S and I put the JJ man between us, and we nod off. This works fine. At some point JJ fell asleep cause I was rudely awaken in the night with a head in my back, then a good swift kick...then the slap across the face as he's turning.

I remember at 4 am saying..."J, move over"....and Princess S replying from the other side of the bed..."He is over, I'm gonna fall off soon".

Needless to say, it was not a restful sleep fro the women. The little man though, he was primed for the day.

So...kids slept over.

Saturday, spent the morning and early afternoon with the rats...then dropped them at home so they could go to a birthday party.

Saturday night....Gerry Dee. So funny.






Sunday....spent the whole day trying to help our family/friends get through a very tough, emotional and confrontational time. 7 hours. It was very hard, took hours for us to come down off the stress after. I can't give details, they are not my details to give. But it was a lot.

Monday - FOCIS - Focus on Communication in Separation

This is another free class offered by the court systems. It was a two night opportunity to learn some new strategies to communicate with others, and especially the person we're trying to co-parent with.

Tuesday...our only night home. I think we even made real food rather than take out.

Wednesday - starts as a regular day. Work, the other half of the FOCIS class. THEN....oh yes...THEN. We get out of the class to find missed called, txt messages and emails. "Come now, emergency...warning, warning".

So we run home...well drove, cause Strathmore is very far to run. Pack a quick over night bag...and head out. Time check 10:06.

A few lessons learned in this little night of adventure.

1. If you drive too fast trying to achieve a destination, you will over heat your small car and break stuff.

2. If you break stuff on your car, you have to sit on the side of the highway.

3. If you sit on the highway at midnight, it gets cold.

4. If you can't fix your broken stuff, you have to drive/coast back to your home...and pick up the other vehicle.

5. Trying to achieve destination part 2 - Time Check 12:45 am.

All the while trying to talk, console, locate, reassure, joke, lecture, listen, cry...oh so many things that can happen with a cell phone.

Achieve Destination - Time Check 2:30 am.

Locate Emergency Victim - take away the alcohol. Send to bed.

What we thought would be a over night visit to help a situation, turned into a three days excursion. It was fine, we were needed, we stayed.

Friday night and Saturday - we were already planning to be in Lethbridge, so we just stayed. Spent an entire evening and next day making chocolates.

Did you think the adventures were over?!! Oh no, no no.

Drive home Saturday night, and start to pack. WE'RE SUPPOSED TO MOVE STILL!

The commuting is finally over, the long hours of driving, driving, driving. We made it. Three months of endless driving has finally come to an end.

Destination of New Habitation - Cochrane, or as I like to call it..."In the shadow of the rocky mountains". That's my new return address. Look for it on your Christmas cards.

Hours to pack truck 2

Trips to Cochrane to unload 2

Rad guys that helped us 2

Hours cut off commute everday - = 2!!

Does the adventure end now? oh...no no no.

Car is still broken, and stuck in Strathmore. Fortunately we are a two vehicle house hold...no big deal.

Everything is moved into the garage of new house...but the owners are staying for two more days. We are house sitting for 7 months for them. It's fine, no problem. We feeling like we're having a sleep over...but they'll leave eventually.

Wednesday - owners leave, finally have house to ourselves. It's 8 times the size of the apartment...we have decided. Not sure what to do with all the space.

It snows. Just to top off the adventure of a lifetime...it snows. We are shovelling the postal boxes again this year. So guess what we did last night? And will be doing again tonight? And likely Saturday evening as well...you guessed it.

AND....AND AND AND....this weekend marks the first of kids starting to come for the weekends.

My mailing address for your chocolates, tranquilizers and letters of condolences.

Tiffany
In the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.

Nov 18, 2009

~ Remember that time I went on a trip? ~

It's taking me forever to tell you about our trip. Stupid FT job. It takes up all my free time. And even stupider commute, if we're not working or sleeping...we're driving. 11 days until the move!!! It can't come soon enough. We're tired of feeling like prisoners in our own home.

So...to re-cap.

North Carolina

" Will m'lady be needing a box?"

Nascar
Metallica
Churches, churches, churches
Water Falls
So you think you can Dance
Chicken - really that's all they eat.

Next on the adventure was Phoenix. This was a welcome change in temperature. Charlotte was having it's coldest October on record. Of course they were, we were there. Layers layers layers were on tap in Charlotte. Never even looked at the shorts and flip flops.

Phoenix however, a glorious 30 degrees.

There wasn't a direct flight from Charlotte to Phoenix. We had to fly through Cleavland. I don't know much about US Geography...but it seems that Cleavland is not anywhere near Phoenix. I also didn't consider the time zones and all the nonsense. Flight from Charlotte to Cleavland is about an hour. No big deal. Cleavland to Phoenix....I wrongly assumed was about 2...uh, time zones told me otherwise. Flight was more than 4 hours.

Hello Terminator Salvation.

That's what we watched. I'm not a big Terminator fan...but I do appreciate the DNA of Christian Bale. He has a very reclusive manner about him. I'm not attracted to that at all, but in him, its appealing.

Then discovered the humor of The Adventures of Old Christine. I've added it to my list of watching.

Flight, our first one left at 6:00...AM. Those are never fun...you have to get up at like 4 am...that is not a time that I am awake. So I'm dead tired. Spend all of the first flight trying to sleep, but who really sleeps well on an airplane. Plus it was a smaller plane, so it was loud.

Cleavland plane was larger. Three seats, aisle, three more seats. The average size.

Okay, that's it about the flights, cause there was nothing exciting that happened.

Phoenix is the polar opposite to Charlotte. Practically no trees, and if there are some, they're Palm Trees. Crazy amounts of traffic, commerce and big box stores everywhere. Desert, cactus and luscious sunny days.

We got our rental car and headed out for another adventure, and got promptly lost. Now, this was neither intentional nor expected. The map was wrong. That's what I say....where the map showed us, and the GPS, and the signs....and where were actually were...well they didn't match up. Anyway, delayed start to fun in the sun.

Found our condo, couldn't get in. The day is just getting better and better. This was a gated community, which means there's a gate, with a code. It would seem that you need to enter the correct code in order for it to open. I was given a code...it was not correct.

So here we are, in a city that is not our own, loaded with luggage and anticipation...have our home away from home in our sights...can't get in. Call my friend/client/condo owner. No answer. Lovely.

Fortunately nice landscape man not only entered the right code, but told us what it was. It wasn't close to the code she had given us.

FINALLY, we get in. And it's fantastic. Not huge, but well decorated, right by the pool...and we have it all to our selves for the next 5 days.

Feels like 4:00 to us, it's noon.

Went to eat. In and Out Burger. Is the burger coming out of the closet? It was fine.

Put on our swim suits, loaded up on sunscreen, covered up...well I did cause there were 20 maintenance guys repainting the place...and as it was I was a spectacle in my white ness...never named my swim suited-ness.

Ready to lay by the pool, in OCTOBER, work on my tan...and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

Can't open the gate. Is this sounding like a broken record??!?!? Is there a sneaky guy who thinks it's funny to tell you one code, but that's not actually the code you need....no, it's a completely different code.

So I walk back to the condo, under the watchful eye of the maintenance guys. Casey keeps trying the code, the wrong code, of course. I call friend/client/condo owner again. She gives me the code...it's not the code she originally gave me. This is becoming irritating.

Get back to the pool, Casey is already arranging the loungers and get ready to bask.

"How did you get in? That was the wrong code?

"I reached over the gate and turned the handle"

"Oh"

Rest of the day, basking, eating, and dead asleep by 8:00.

Nov 15, 2009

~ Water Falls and Cooking Craziness ~

The waterfalls in North Carolina.

This is the one from the movie The Last of the Mohicans


So....Saturday night.

Months ago I booked a cooking class. Casey loves to cook and I wanted to do a couples cooking class for his birthday. We were in Phoenix at that time, so last night was when it happened.

If you ever have the chance, it's so much fun. We took a Cookbook Company cooking class, down on 11 Ave. So great. It is a class of 10-12 couples who all cook different dishes and then all sit down to eat a 4 course meal. We made the soup.

We sat with a big table of sisters and their husbands. It was so much fun that we all went out after and laughed harder than I have in a long time. And, as only true friends do, we added each other on FB today...so now we're bonded for life.

Nov 13, 2009

~ Story time gone mad ~

What happens when you have 3 crazy kids, a Blackberry phone, and a mom that thought we'd actually read stories??

Craziness!!





Did you notice Mr. O's new trick?

LOL....hope no one smacks the back of his head...he might stay like that.

Nov 11, 2009

~ North Carolina ~

Since I'm at home today...where the pics are....here are some of my favorite shots from North Carolina.





Nov 4, 2009

~ Day 4 ~


I've been busy and distracted, sorry for the delay.

So Day 4 - We headed to the mountains of North Carolina where there are some amazing water falls. I'd like to show them to you, but it seems they are on my home computer. So pics to follow later. Drove about 2 hours and checked out Looking Glass Falls. Nice, water, falling...fine. Then went farther up through the mountains to see a bigger one. This one was featured in the movie Last of the Mohakians (no idea the spelling on that). You couldn't get really close, but it was still amazing. Over 400 feet high. Again, pics to follow. Daniel Day Lewis was not around, disappointing.

Then headed back, down through South Carolina.

This was Monday and we had tickets to So you think you can Dance. This was held at the same Time Warner Arena that Metallica had been at. Quite the contrast in events. It was okay. We are fans of the show. The live tour is re-do's of dances that were on the show. So, though it was cool to see the people live, and the dances that we enjoyed live, it wasn't screaming unbelievable or anything.


Oct 29, 2009

~ Day 2-3 ~

Details on 4monkeymom.


But in addition....here is my Metallica t-shirt....and the devil horns I learned to throw. Cause apparantly you either "put up" the devil horns...or "throw" the devil horns when you're at a Metallica concert. And you're thumb is supposed to be down...cause it's not the "I love you sign"....whatever.


Oct 28, 2009

~ The Plunge ~

As Erica has said..."enough with the warnings...let's see him already".

So fine.

This is Casey...any questions?




Oct 27, 2009

~ We take a break from our regular programming ~

I know I've only given you one day of the trip...but we must pause and pay respect to some of my favorite songs of Rascal Flatts...cause I'm seeing them tonight, with my buddy...and we're gonna be screaming fools.







This one is from My Sister's Keeper...which you should not watch on airplanes...

Oct 26, 2009

~ Remember, I warned you ~

K...so here's how it's gonna go. I gave you ample warning...and I'm holding to my word. If you wanna stay updated on me...in a censured "him" free zone...then check out the other blog. If you want to know what's really going on with me, then you can stay. Cause there is no longer going to be a censure here ( is censure a word? Maybe its supposed to be censuring...?) Full out stories, pics and life details. And I don't want any back talk about it.

Day 1 - Calgary to Charlotte

See other blog - nothing much more to add...we flew, we drove, we ate, we slept. Day done.

~ Stupid Blog ~

Finally got this blog figured out, is was being very tempermental...and that's why there were no posts while on my trip....

But I'm up and running agian, stay tuned for the glories adventures of Me.

Oct 14, 2009

~ Warning!! ~


This is your warning, consider yourself warned. If you don't feel warned...then that's not my failure. Cause I warned you.

So...why the warning?

I'm going on a jet plane, as I've already pointed out.

I'm leaving in two days.

When I return, or possibly while I'm gone (if I'm that energetic, but probably not) I'll post pictures, stories, funny anecdotes and hillarity from the jet plane trip. I will not be censoring these. "He" is going with me.

So, if you plan on being offended, reluctant, wary or otherwise...avoid my blog for the next two weeks. Cause the gloves are off.

And the gloves are staying off...fyi.

I considered starting another blog, so I can REALLY talk about my life, what's happening, who's in it....blah blah blah. But, I don't want to. I mean seriously, how many blogs does one girl need?! 4monkeymom is the blog that is safe for all to read. This one, it's mine...

So no more talking in generalities, no more alluding but not confirming.

I'm going on a jet plane trip, on Friday, with him. We have tonnes planned, it's gonna be a blast.

Jet Plane
Charlotte NC
U.S. National Whitewater Centre
4th Ward
Metallica
So you think you can Dance
Jet Plane
Phoenix AZ
Scottsdale AZ
U2
Grand Canyon
My surprise
His surprise

Just for starters...

Oct 13, 2009

~ 3 Days!! ~

Thanksgiving recap - yum.

Now, on to more important news.

I leave on a jet plane in 3 days.

2 Destinations

Many degrees warmer

New sites, sounds and adventures

Thousands of photos will shoot (no exaggeration)

I could say I'll think of you all, but I won't

Been planning this trip for 3 months...

Count down - 3 DAYS!!

Oct 9, 2009


Dear NyQuil (or no name cheaper variety)

Thank you for the good sleep. It's been a while, and I really needed it. Though I didn't appreciate my limbs falling asleep before my brain, and the whooshy sound in my ears was a little odd.

And NyQuil, why do you taste so nasty? Can't you look into butterscotch, candy canes or Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate. Why am I being punished by my taste buds for a cold?

Also MyQuil, why green? I'm already feeling awful, trying to fight off going into full blown flu mode. Green is not a good color to associate with sickness. Red - also no, blood and all that. Yellow or Orange - hmmmm, too close to puke color. So maybe just be safe and try no color.

And your instructions say 2tbsp for an adult. That doesn't seem like enough, until you fill up the little cup. 2tbsp of gagging delight is way too much. Just sayin.

But even with all that, thank you for the lovely drug induced sleep that allowed me to be unconscious for 8 full hours, and only woke up once at 2 am....ahhh, still have hours to go.

Oct 8, 2009

~ Ugh ~

Ughhhh.....I can feel it....sigh.


Oct 7, 2009

~ It's not a life raft ~


It's cold today. Bad bad bad....because it's cold. Good good good because it means the reappearance of one of my favorite items. The North Face Poofy Vest. I've been told it looks like a life raft, life jacket, floatation device. Fashion is lost on some. It's brown, warm, trendy and I love it.

Welcome home poofy vest.

Oct 6, 2009

~ Barometric Pressure ~

Atmospheric pressure is sometimes defined as the force per unit area exerted against a surface by the weight of air above that surface at any given point in the Earth's atmosphere. In most circumstances atmospheric pressure is closely approximated by the hydrostatic pressure caused by the weight of air above the measurement point. Low pressure areas have less atmospheric mass above their location, whereas high pressure areas have more atmospheric mass above their location. Similarly, as elevation increases there is less overlying atmospheric mass, so that pressure decreases with increasing elevation. A column of air one square inch in cross-section, measured from sea level to the top of the atmosphere, would weigh approximately 65.5 newtons (14.7 lbf). The weight of a 1 m2 (11 sq ft) column of air would be about 101 kN (10.3 tf) .


OR




What happens to my head when the weather changes.


Oct 5, 2009

~ Forgot one....~


Forgot one....these guys are opening for U2!!
This is how I feel about the recent weather.
This is where I'll be in 11 days!!

Oct 2, 2009

~ What do these have in common? ~


Yep...Kendra and Bobbi nailed it....I will be in attendance to all of these in two weeks. Two in Charlotte NC and one in Phoenix AZ!!

Oct 1, 2009

~ TV Season - Part Deux ~

The Cleaner - I enjoy this show. It's a slow drama, and you need a bit of background. It's only the second season though, so not too much to catch up on. It's about an interventionist. Interesting to see a side of life I know nothing about. And also yummy to look at Benjamin Bratt.

Grey - a given, of course. Not liking that they've killed off George on the first show. I liked George. But, really, where were they going to take his story. I've also heard that they're going to write Izzy out of the story for a while, since she's doing movies. But who know. AND...Meredith is pregnant in real life. Did you notice they didn't do any full shots of her in the first epidode.



The Big Bang Theory - this is just funny. I love Sheldon and all his issues. (Dear Mom and Dad, you'd like this one)















What are you watching this season?

Sep 29, 2009

~ Dear TV Season - Welcome Back! ~

So the new fall season is starting up. I don't have cable, so you'd think this was a problem. Not a problem. I have my ways (waha ha ha). Here's my reviews of the good, the bad and the much much loved. I haven't watched them all yet, but whatever.

I can't take credit for this discovery. And I'm still deciding if I really like it. But it grows on you. I definitely like the OCD issues of Emma. And Mr. All the Pretty Ladies, he rocks the town. I think Miss. Thinks she's a Star, but really isn't....needs to get a life. But it will stay on the docket for now.





Fringe - this is the second season for Fringe. A mix of Alias and X-Files. I loved both, so this one is still a favorite. And come on...who doesn't want to (lick) look at Joshua Jackson??!! The first episode was disappointing, but I understand they are setting up for the season. They better not have really killed off Charlie in the first episode. That remains to be seen. Of course, it won't look like they did...because of the body snatcher guy.





This is a regular favorite. I'm going on this show one day. Forget that I neither live in the US, nor am a resident. Details, details. I love this show.








Not only am I a fan of this show, but I'm going to see the live show...IN THREE WEEK! Get to see Brandon's abs in person. And the only thing better than a Krump girl that Waltzes, and a Popper that Jive's....is Mia's hair. I want her hair!

Okay, that's all for now.

Is it only me....or it is majorly stupid that when you add pics to the blog, it always puts them at the top and messes with the formatting of everything else.

That's dumb.






Sep 28, 2009

~ Refresh, Revive, Renew ~

I'm bringing to life the old blog... 4monkeymom.

Why?

You'll have to go there to find out.

This private blog will still be operating, with different content than the public.

Check it out.


Sep 24, 2009

~ What is sounds like to Drown ~

I've been reading today the blog of a girl who's marriage has broken up. She posed a question...

Why are so many of my friends unhappy in their marriages-- are we all disillusioned into what we think marriage is, when reality tells us it's not? Coming from SO many different backgrounds and beginnings, families and beliefs, why are all the marriages suffering? Okay okay, not everyone is going through this- but many.

I was the girl who made it look like everything was perfect. Perfect couple, perfect family...perfect life. Everything was skipping along on it's merry way. When inside I was shutting down. Slowly pushing everything out of my life, slowing disconnecting from what "it all looked like". For a year I numbed myself from everything except what had to be accomplished today. And even that, I minimized to the most urgent. Did anyone see me doing it? A few...but none saw what it really was. Did I seek help? Did I reach out? Did I show any weakness? No

Why? Why didn't I tell someone, why didn't I give a clue that I was drowning? That's a complicated answer with many aspects. The most direct and simple is....I didn't want to, I didn't know how to, I thought I could handle it, I needed someone to care enough to see past the mask.

Was I depressed? For a few months I was. However, I don't personally feel that it was a huge depression because I felt myself slip into it, and I felt when I came out of it. Nothing really changed when I came out of it. It was only a difference in how I felt about every day. It was like my head was above the water. You know when you're under water and everything sounds muted....you still hear it...you know what I mean. That's how 8 months of my life felt. I could see and hear everything but it was under water. I was still moving, still getting somewhere, still accomplishing, but it was slow and distant. And just like when you step into a pool, it's not all at once. Picture slowly walking down the steps into a pool. More and more you are covered by the water, submerged beneath. Until the moment when your head goes under, you still feel like you can handle it.... you can still breath, still walk back up the steps, still see someone reaching out to you. But when your head goes under and you lose your sense of direction, then everything is experienced with a new perspective.

I have learned that communication can solve a host of problems. This will sound ironic when I definitely did not communicate my issues with anyone. A councillor asked what I felt was the major reason my marriage had broken down. Communication. I didn't feel as though I was heard, I didn't feel as though I was communicated with, didn't feel that the other party wanted me a part of their struggles and successes. This may all be false, but it is how I felt....and no one can argue with how you feel in a situation. Was I a great communicator? I wanted to be, that's my answer. I wanted to be.

Why is this my post for today? So unlike my usually quirky, sarcastic, silly stuff that hopefully puts a smirk on your face and rolls your eyes at my strange and demented thinking on life? I don't know. I'm reluctant to share. I don't show public vulnerability. It's in my head, I need to get it out. Is this the right place, the right audience? Not sure.

I finished a court ordered parenting course last night. When you are in the process of divorce, you are required to take a 6 hour parenting course. The judge will not even look at your paperwork unless the certificate is there. I have known for months I had to take this course. I avoided it. Was reluctant to sit in a 6 hour course, was comparing it the previous boring courses I had been in...and dreading that this would be the same. It wasn't. It was well presented, well handled and I learned from it.

Parts of it validated my feelings, parts of it validated his feelings. We did not take this course together. My feelings were hurt and my back up when he said we shouldn't take the course together. It's a parenting course. We are parents. We will continue to parent together, these are OUR children. But....he was right. This is not a course to take together. I apologized to him for being negative and hurt. This course is more than a parenting course. PASS - Parenting After Separation Seminar. Worth the 6 hours.

A few points I came away with.

Communication

Focus on the Future, not the past

Make parenting about the kids, not about you (this seems stupidly obvious, you'd be surprised)

Respect Boundaries

Offer Peace

There was much more, and I'm sure more that I noted in my head when I heard it. But these stand out for now.

I've been separated for 6 months. Pain, tears, frustration, fear, confusion, regret....just to name a few. These have been experienced, and continue to be.

I've been separated for 6 months. Heard, valued, recognized, accepted, loved, wanted....just to name a few. These have been experienced, and continue to be.

I have been separated for 6 months. Rejected, shunned, gossiped, judged, ignored, denounced, cut off, misunderstood, angry. These have been experienced, and continue to be.

I have walked up the steps of the swimming pool.

Still wet, still shivering, but a towel has been put over my shoulders.

Sep 23, 2009

~ Pain pain....GO AWAY! ~


This is me....okay it's not....up there, above...that's me.

Work with me.

This is me, this is me in pain. This is me in intense pain. This is me unable to move my head. This is me waking up in the night and can't sit up. This is me trying to find pain killers at 2am just to fall back to sleep.

Why is my neck hurting? Why is it shooting up into my brain and down my arms? Why do I feel every jar of the car and bump in the road.

I DON'T KNOW!!!

Dear Massage Therapist....I need to visit you today....like TODAY!!!