Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

This was yesterday's daily verse from one of my e-mail devotionals (courtesy of Crosswalk.com). It seems to fit the New Year well, so I'm sharing it here.

Isaiah 43:16 and 18-19
This is what the Lord says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."

Thoughts on today's verse
The year is gone, finished, past. We cannot reclaim it or undo it. We cannot rest on the things it has brought us. If tomorrow dawns, it will be another day, a new opportunity, and the time to show our faith in Jesus as Lord. Let's journey forward, knowing that God already inhabits the future and promises to provide us refreshment.

Prayer:
Lord of all eternity, please help me to learn from my mistakes but not dwell on them. Please help me not rest on my accomplishments in this past year, but use them to further your work in me and through me. Please help me not quarrel with those who injured me yesterday, or last month. Instead, O Father, lead me in your paths and help me see your mighty works this next year. In Jesus' name and by his power I ask it. Amen.

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Sounds like a good way to start off the New Year to me.

Sunday Scribblings - Destination, Revisited

It's New Year's Eve, and I'm in a rather thoughtful mood, so I thought I'd touch on this topic again.

Twelve years ago at this time, I was just setting off on my honeymoon. Even though I was 26, still, looking back, that former self seems so young. I was certainly naive about a lot of things, and in a lot of ways, I wasn't very grown-up. At the time, I envisioned nothing but happiness and wedded bliss. Oh, on some level I knew it wouldn't be all sunshine and roses, but I still believed that things would always work out for the best and that we could make it through the tough times. I expected to find myself down the road celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary, surrounded by kids and grandkids and friends.

The destination I saw for myself certainly wasn't the one I seem to have arrived at, twelve years later. I suppose my first hint was when K told me he couldn't picture us in the future. Naive that I was, I didn't pick up on that. Or maybe I did, but just wanted to ignore it and think we were fine. At any rate, our marriage fell apart, and now I find myself here. Divorced, single mom, more broke than I've ever been, working at a thankless job that I've been unable to get out of despite all my efforts.... No, this definitely wasn't what I had in mind when I started my married life twelve years ago.

I can't say as it's been easy. In fact, some days (although I'd never do it), I've been able to grasp just a little bit why someone might think jumping off an overpass into oncoming traffic seems like a good idea. But some good has come from all of this. First, I have J. He's a trial sometimes, and a handful almost all the time, but he is my precious boy, and I love him with all my heart. Hearing him say, "Mama, I love you" is worth all the gray hair and stress and frustration he causes, and a hug is worth its weight in gold. Second, I have me. I'm not the same timid, mousy little creature I was twelve years ago. I've grown up. I've gained self-confidence, more of an ability to speak my mind and stand up for myself, and I've certainly gained perspective. The downfall of my marriage gave me plenty of time to think about what I would and wouldn't want, what I would and wouldn't accept, if I were to become involved in another serious relationship. I know what my deal-breakers are and what things I can live with. And any man I'm serious about is going to know those things, too, before there's any talk of commitment or long-term or anything like that. If I ever get married again, I think I have the tools to make that second marriage succeed. My first may have been doomed to failure just because I didn't have the common sense God gave a newt, didn't have anything like a healthy sense of self-esteem, and just didn't have the ability to stand up for myself.

So. I've lost a marriage, gained a son, and gained some valuable insight into myself. This may not have been the destination I envisioned all those years ago, and sometimes the accommodations may suck and the amenities aren't as advertised. But all things considered, it's turned out to be an OK destination after all.

Now, let the next journey commence.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Like a warm fuzzy blanket in a mug

I found this on Recipezaar, posted by CountryLady - it's so good, I had to share.

The Snowy Boulevard

3/4 ounce vanilla vodka (plain plus a shot of vanilla extract works just fine)
3/4 ounce coffee liqueur (I used Kahlua)
6 ounces hot cocoa
Homemade marshmallows or whipped cream

Put vodka and liqueur into a heatproof mug. Add hot cocoa and stir. Top with a homemade marshmallow or whipped cream.

Mmmmmmm.

After two of these, my destination is a good night's sleep.

Sunday Scribblings - Destination

Sunday Scribblings offers weekly prompts, things to write about. I thought I'd give it a try. I figured it would be a nice change to have something in my blog other than me whining about life.
This week's topic is Destination.

Destination. What is my destination? What is my destiny? Where am I going? Where would I like to go?

You can take that in a literal, physical way. I'd like to go to Italy someday. To Scotland, to Greece, to a host of places I've never been. I don't really expect that any of those will happen in 2007, as finances are horribly tight right now, but someday I'd like to visit them. In 2007, I just hope to have an actual vacation, rather than using all my vacation days for illness, home repair, and automotive disasters.

You can also take it in an emotional and mental way. I hope that in 2007, my destinations will include: a new job (dare I say it, something that could be a career), a happy, committed relationship (with Brian? It's looking like that could happen), and a stronger faith.

As for destiny, I have not the first clue what mine might be. That's the beauty of life - a lot of times, you don't know what your destiny is until you get there and look back at how you got there.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Deep breath....

Brian is back home. He called tonight. That made me happy. :-) It had been a week since we talked, and I missed him.

I mentioned to him that my dad and stepmom are making plans to come visit and meet him (yep, they said it - YIKES), and he said his mom said something similar, wanting to know when they'd get to meet me. Yikes and YIKES again. It's been so long since I've had to meet parents for the first time that I hope I can remember how to behave myself properly. No definite plans yet, but we both know it's out there.

Call me crazy, but this makes the whole thing seem to really have long-term implications.

It's getting ugly

The weather, that is. There's a tornado warning for Johnson County, which is right close to where I live. It's pouring rain and thundering and lightning - just in time for us to leave early at 3:00.

Yay.

Today's tarot card

From Tarot.com:

Judgment

General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Judgement card, sometimes entitled Resurrection, represents the great reunion that the ancients believed would happen once in every age. This was the time when souls are harvested and taken Home to their place of origin, outside the solar system. Then the World is seeded with a batch of new souls and the process starts over.

From a modern point of view, this great reunion -- which includes every personality that you have ever been and every soul that you have done deep work with -- reunites to consciously complete the process. In a way, we symbolically celebrate this returning to center every year on our birthday.

In personal terms, the Judgment cards points to freedom from inner conflicts, and so clear a channel, that the buried talents and gifts of past incarnations can come through an individual in this lifetime. This card counsels you to trust the process of opening yourself, because what emerges is of consistently high quality. You can effortlessly manifest as a multi-dimensional being, and assist in evoking that response from others.

Fast Facts
About Judgment
Theme: A gathering of lost fragments allows you to connect to your Higher Self.
Astro Association: Pluto
Element: Fire
Number: 20
Alias: Aeon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I know tarot cards and their meanings aren't generally couched in Christian terms, and one thing I've learned over the past few years is that, no matter what other things I may have dabbled in, I am a Christian. But I still get meaning from these - they speak to me, and I see application to my current situation. And the direction in which they seem to be pointing is one of good.

Come on, 2007. Let's see what you've got in store.

Friday's Feast

Another interesting thing I've found to toss into my blog.

Friday's Feast #124

Appetizer
How do you usually celebrate on New Year's Eve?
Usually? I don't. Not really. It used to be my wedding anniversary, and we'd go out to dinner or something, occasionally go to a bed and breakfast or nice hotel for the weekend, but I've never been much for a big New Year's Eve do. Not since college, anyway. This is the first year that New Year's Eve *officially* won't be my wedding anniversary, and that's kind of weird.

Soup
Name one thing unexpected that happened to you in 2006.
Just one? Being stuck at this job was unexpected - I'd hoped to be on to bigger and better things months ago. Also, finding out my dad has Parkinson's - didn't expect that.

Salad
Where was your favorite place that you visited in 2006?
Well, I didn't really visit anywhere. No vacation, no travel, the only place I went was home to see family. My last actual vacation was in 1993. My life really is fairly pitiful in some respects, isn't it? I need to get out more. But that would mean needing more money than the current budget allows for.

Main Course
What resolution is your top priority for 2007?
Finding a new job and getting my finances in order.

Dessert
Using just three words, describe 2006.
Long, wearying, difficult.

Thursday Thirteen

I figured I'd give this a try, just for fun!

Thirteen Things about Lisa



1. I'm an avid reader. I once read seven books in a weekend. (Obviously, this was pre-J. Now I don't think I read seven books in a year.)
2. I'm adopted, and I've met my birth mom and my sister.
3. I've played the piano since I was seven, and thought about majoring in music.
4. My original major was chemistry. I should have stuck to science and given law school a miss.
5. My 4-year-old son's hands are almost as big as mine.
6. I'm pretty sure my house is haunted. It's OK, though, it's just family coming by to visit.
7. The town I live in is the Cement Capital of Texas - sa-lute!
8. I love to cook - I just hate cleaning up.
9. I tend to stay up far later than is prudent. (Note the time of this post.)
10. I grew up an only child.
11. I used to collect teddy bears, but lost the collection urge after J was born. (I'm now trying to weed out the damned collection - Boyd's Bears, anyone?)
12. I didn't learn to like coffee until I was well into my 30's. I'm making up for lost time, though.

13. Most days I generally like myself pretty well - circumstances, I'm not so crazy about, but me, I'm pretty good with. It only took me 38 years to get to that point.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Norma

2. Amy

3. Laurence

4. Bubba

5. April

6. Maryanne

7. Catherine Ryan

8. Marcia

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Not terrible for a first effort.

Sugar doesn't make everything sweeter

Apparently too much sugar late in the day does nothing to improve my son's disposition. It dawned on me after a couple of days of horrid behavior that he'd been eating candy late in the day (his grandparents put ring pops in his Christmas stocking, and he loves them - AARGH). So I figured it was worth a try to cut that out and see if it made a difference.

We stayed away from sugary treats tonight, and while bedtime was still later than I'd have preferred (due in large part to the fact that I was washing sheets and had to wait for them to dry), in general there was a marked difference in J's attitude. He was still busy and squirmy, and had a couple of moments where he didn't particularly want to mind and I had to put my foot down. But he was improved enough from the last few days that I'm going to keep trying the "no sugar on school nights" theory. Except for those few moments of obstinacy, the bedtime routine was surprisingly low-stress.

So, for now we're going with a combo of mama being unshakably firm on the rules and swift to follow through with promised consequences, and limiting sugar on school nights (and probably weekend nights, too, just for the sake of consistency). We'll see if that helps considerably.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

God's Hidden Face

This was the devotional for the week of December 25:

God's Hidden Face

For nearly eight months I lived with one single biblical passage. Although I read others, almost every day I came back to Lamentations 3. Here are the major verses:

I have suffered much because God was angry. He chased me into a dark place, where no light could enter… He attacked and surrounded me with hardships and trouble; he forced me to sit in the dark like someone long dead. God built a fence around me that I cannot climb over, and he chained me down. Even when I shouted and prayed for help, he refused to listen. God put big rocks in my way and made me follow a crooked path. God was like a bear or a lion waiting in ambush for me: he dragged me from the road, then tore me to shreds…. God took careful aim and shot his arrows straight through my heart…. He made me eat gravel and rubbed me in the dirt. I cannot find peace or remember happiness…. That’s all I ever think about, and I am depressed. LAMENTATIONS 3:1-2, 5-13, 16-20, CEV

I wouldn’t begin to compare my problems with those of the prophet, but this passage captured my mood: God had let me down.

During those months, I prayed. I scrutinized my life. I searched my past, wondering if I had gone down the wrong road months earlier. Was I deceiving myself in thinking that I was all right with God? If I was all right, then why didn’t God answer? Why didn’t God smile—just a little?
Nothing but darkness filled my life. I don’t mean I was bedridden with depression or heavily medicated. I kept it all inside. It wasn’t a faith crisis—the dark night of the soul kind of thing. It was more that God was out there someplace, but not anywhere near me.

Then I began to notice the number of times the Old Testament speaks of God’s hidden face. It seemed not so much that God ran away or hid behind clouds of gloom. It was more the idea that God’s face turned away from the people of God.

We know the feeling. Most of us have been snubbed by someone. We approach, extend a hand or smile, only to have the person turn away. We know the person saw us, but we might as well have been invisible or not present.

That’s how I felt God treated me.

Day after day, I read Lamentations 3; I found comfort that I had connected with the pain of another person. Yet his words gave me no solution. God’s face was still turned away. I prayed, I confessed, I promised, yes, I even bargained, but nothing seemed to work.

Then I lingered on a psalm that has since become a permanently marked place in my Bible:

How much longer, LORD, will you forget about me? Will it be forever? How long will you hide? How long must I be confused and miserable all day?… Please listen, Lord God, and answer my prayers. Make my eyes sparkle again, or else I will fall into the sleep of death. PSALMS 13:1-3, CEV

“If God would just tell me what I’ve done wrong or show me where I’ve gone astray,” I wailed to my friend Bob.

“Maybe you haven’t gone astray. Maybe God has a different purpose in mind.” Bob’s what I call a spiritual man, someone who doesn’t speak rashly. “Is it possible that this is a time of waiting for you and not one of punishment or anger? Do you suppose God wants to do something in you that can happen only in darkness?”

“What would that be?” I asked.

“Ask God,” he said, and smiled.

I asked. I asked. I asked. For days I bombarded heaven with my plea. A few times I got angry. “You want your people to pray, and then you won’t listen. Or if you’re listening, you’re keeping it a secret. What kind of God are you?”

As angry as I got, I somehow knew I could tell God how I felt. I believed God cared and heard me even though nothing happened.

From late September until the middle of summer, God’s face stayed turned away from me. I continued to pray, sometimes merely out of ritual or habit. I felt as if my fists had become bloody from beating against a six-inch steel door. But I didn’t give up.

Other times I tried to get God to hurry up and respond, but that seemed to throw me backward. Finally, I surrendered. “Okay, God, I’m willing to wait.” Every day I heard myself saying things such as, “God, I don’t like it, but I’m waiting for you to turn your face toward me again.”

My life did change—slowly. In fact, it was so slow and gradual that I was hardly aware of anything being different. But one day, I realized that a sliver of light had crept back into my life. I no longer wept over Psalm 13 or wailed over Lamentations 3. The dawn started to streak across the horizon. It was a beginning of God’s face turning toward me again.

At that point, I did a quick checkup on my life. What had happened in the months of darkness? I knew the situation had forced me to pray more—not merely in volume, but in intensity. It had been years since I had burrowed into the Bible as deeply as I did then. As far as I knew, I opened every part of my life to God’s searchlight. I didn’t always like what I saw, and I asked God’s help in making changes.

As more and more light penetrated my dark world, I began thanking God. I could hardly believe it, but I was giving thanks to God for darkness, for uncertainty, for confusion, for pain, for all the difficulties. Yes, I did—because “All things work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).

Then I realized those days and nights of agony had strengthened me. I don’t want to repeat them. And I know Bob was right: God had a different purpose in mind.

I patiently waited, LORD, for you to hear my prayer. You listened and pulled me from a lonely pit, full of mud and mire. You let me stand on a rock with my feet firm, and you gave me a new song, a song of praise to God. PSALMS 40:1-3a, CEV

God, I hate darkness.
I hate the silence.
I hate it when you turn your face from me.
But I’ve finally learned: it’s only for a short time,
and you never leave me.
You’re always there—even in the deepest darkness.
Thanks, God. Amen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And there I see myself. Waiting - sometimes patiently, sometimes not so much so - for God to turn His face toward me again.

A little bit better

J was awake until nearly 10:30 last night, and I was just about to pull my hair out trying to get him to sleep so I could dose myself liberally with something and get to bed myself.

I feel a bit better today - not bad enough to justify a sick day, so I'm at work. Woo. But I still don't feel *good* - my head is clogged, my nose is running, and my eyes are itching like mad. I hate it when my head is stopped up. It makes me feel like my IQ has dropped about 30 points.

I read somewhere that mountain cedar is bad this time of year and can really give people who are sensitive to it a bad time. So this may be just allergies - not fun, but preferable to a sinus infection. I took some Singulair last night in addition to my usual Allegra, and I guess it helped a little bit. I dug out my nose spray, too. Hopefully I'll start to feel better soon. I'm just glad not to be cold and shivering today. That was the worst.

J and I checked the mail, and found that Brian had sent J a Christmas card! I thought that was sweet of him. J was thrilled to get something in the mail with his name on it.

Today is Brian's birthday. He's still at his parents', so I probably won't get to talk to him today, but I sent an e-card that he'll see when he's back in town. I figure not talking to him for all this time (I haven't talked to/e-mailed him since before I left for Christmas) just gives him time to miss me, right?

I'd better try to get some work done. I'm so glad Monday is a holiday.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ugh.

I feel like a hammered cow pie. I'm freezing, my nose is clogged and running at the same time, and I want nothing more than to go home, take a hot bath, put on my jammies, and sleep for 12 hours. Instead, I'm stuck here at work for another hour and a half, and then I get to go home and wrangle the boy to bed.

Here's hoping he's worn out from last night's antics and that bedtime is both easier and earlier tonight.

Oh, please, can I just go home?

I'm tired. J was in rare form last night. He didn't give it up and go to sleep until nearly 11:00, and he was a pill just about every second of the evening. He finally asked to sleep in his own bed, and fell asleep there in short order. But he woke up just before 5:00 with pants full of poop and wanting milk, so we changed and got milk. Then he crawled into bed with me, and by the time he fell asleep, it was close to 6:00. Just in time for the alarm to go off. I hate nights/mornings like that. If he wakes up at 2:00 in the morning, or 3:00 in the morning, at least I have a few hours of sleep left. When he wakes up like he did this morning, I just get to sleep long enough to make me REALLY not want to get out of bed.

I'm starting to wonder about his behavior. I don't know what's just normal 4-year-old/strong-willed boy behavior, and what might be cause for concern. He's always been busy, but now I seem to be noticing a lot more inattention and outright defiance. Seems like everything I've asked/told him to do or not do the past couple of days, he turns around and immediately does the opposite of what I asked. When I ask him why he isn't listening to me, he just says, "I don't know." When I'm asking him a question, it takes three or four times asking to get a response. I know his hearing is fine, so it's not that he doesn't hear me. He throws fits over seemingly insignificant things - I mean, screaming and howling and sobbing because I've told him we can't stop at Whataburger for dinner, come on. We've talked about hamburgers and take-out food being occasional treats, he knows we don't stop there all the time, and yet he screams. He goes against rules we've already talked about, that I know he knows. And it's making me crazy. I don't want to use spanking as discipline, never have done, but there have been moments recently that I've certainly considered it. So. I don't know how much of this is a function of being 4, how much of it might be post-Christmas letdown, and how much (if any) of it might be something to be worried about. All I know is, I'm tired of fighting these fights every.single.day. Just once, I wish he'd surprise me with an easy bedtime, or with not screaming when I tell him no, or with doing what I ask without me asking fourteen times. He's four, so I think he's old enough to understand what I'm asking and to mind when I do ask (allowing for the occasional spurt of disobedience, since he is four, after all). But it's like he pushes every button he can possibly think of to push, and then some. It makes me tired. It might be easier with a man around the house to share in the discipline, or perhaps the behavior would be better if there was a man around the house. I don't know. I'm just tired.

It doesn't help that I'm trying to fight off the crud. My head is clogged, my nose is running, and my eyes are itching. I'm loading up on vitamin C. I hope I can avoid a full-blown sinus infection and a trip to the doctor. I have neither time nor money for that. I haven't even refilled my blood pressure meds, I'm certainly in no position to shell out $40 for Augmentin. I sure hope bedtime is easier - and earlier - tonight.

I won't be home until after 8:00 by the time I pick up J, but at least he will have had dinner. Since it's my late night (oh, yay, I just love answering phones until 7:00), K is picking him up, and he and A and J are going out to dinner. I expect J will eat a boatload of spaghetti at Johnny Carino's. So hopefully when we get home, I can wash the sheets (they're wet) and get them dried and on the bed, and get him bathed and asleep in fairly short order.

At least I have lots of sugar to get me through the afternoon. My friend John brought pralines that his MIL made (they're fantastic!), my friend Rose brought pecan pie, and I bought a caramel brownie at Starbucks this morning. Hopefully all that will fortify me sufficiently that I can make it through to 7:00.

I just hope it's a quiet day. I don't have the energy to deal with whining.

Oh. I got a neg letter from Ellis County re: the felony prosecutor position, and from the Brazos Higher Education Service Corporation re: the in-house counsel position. Things suck here, so it makes me seriously question whether I belong here, but then every possible open door I find is slammed in my face. What does that mean? Will I ever figure out where I belong? Will things ever get better? I'm having a despondent day - no surprise when you combine no good job news with lack of sleep and feeling halfway crappy.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Just for fun...

Just for fun - my card of the day from Tarot.com:

The Star
This Deck: Sacred Rose

General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Star card is about reconnecting one's Soul with the Divine -- the transcending of personality, family, community and reputation. It has to do ultimately with the freedom to be one's Self. The Soul is responding to celestial influences -- forces that can provide the personality with a stronger sense of purpose. The Star card helps us to remember our exalted origins and our attraction to a Higher Union.

This card could also be called the "Celestial Mandate" -- that which refers us back to our reason for being, our mission in this lifetime. The Star reminds us that, in a sense, we are agents of Divine Will in our day-to-day lives. If we let go of the idea that we are supposed to be in control, we can more easily notice and appreciate the synchronicities that are nudging us along. In this way, we become more conscious of the invisible Helping Hand, and we better understand our place within -- and value to -- the larger Cosmos.

Fast Facts
About The Star

Theme: You are consciously on the way home in a spiritual sense.
Astro Association: Aquarius
Element: Air
Number: 17
Alias: Grace

I could use a little grace in my life right about now. Couldn't we all?

Also from Tarot.com, the free I-Ching reading:

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006 1:59pm PST
Your Present Hexagram

The situation is incomplete, but the chaos of the past is slowly giving way to order, and the goal is in sight. Nevertheless, you are still treading on thin ice - the way ahead is unobstructed, the goal is clear, but a cautious and careful attitude is still essential, lest you slip and fall.

Nearing Completion is the last hexagram of the I Ching. It suggests that the ever-spinning wheel of life never reaches an absolute conclusion. Just as a hidden sadness resides in the heart of true euphoria, just as the seeds of great achievement often sprout first in a caldron of adversity, so too no end is ever really complete without a new beginning stirring inside it. Though we divide life into categories in order to understand and master it, experience itself is seamless. With this reading, the 64-spoked, the timeless wheel of change is ready to spin onward, ever evolving, ever staying the same.

The situation represented by this reading can be compared to that of taking a lengthy trek over a high mountain. At some point before reaching the peak, you can see in detail exactly how much farther you must travel. You will have a good idea what it will take to reach the top, because of the climbing experience you've accumulated thus far. However, when you do reach the peak, which has been in sight for quite a long period of sustained effort, you will have done only that. You will have reached the top - achieving your initial goal - but now you must still descend the other side. This last critical segment is what remains before completion. You may have little information and no experience of what it's like descending the other side of the mountain. All your attention may have been focused on the route up. The coming situation may seem very strange to you, unlike anything that you have experienced before. For the back side of the mountain is where all of the true mysteries reside. Proceed carefully, cautiously, alertly - and you will reach your goal.

Well, we'll just see, won't we?

And as if Christmas wasn't good enough...

The Saints win in fine fashion. It does my heart good to see them having such a good season.

The Christmas update

I left Friday afternoon. It was kind of weird traveling by myself - I haven't done that in such a long time. But it was kind of nice, too, and I didn't have to make nearly as many stops as I normally would with J. (More on that later, though.)

I went by K's parents' house to pick J up, and he was ready to go as soon as I got there. We got to my dad's house about 8:00 Friday night. J was happy to see Papaw and Mamaw, but didn't want anything to do with Sparky (the dog - he's very excitable, and barks and jumps a lot).

J did have a couple of humdinger fits while we were there, and let's just say my dad and I have very different opinions on discipline. He doesn't seem to realize 1) that J and I had very different personalities as children, and 2) that it does take repetition to learn things, that he had a learning curve as a boy as well. But we made it through, and had a good visit all the same. I got a bunch of my old books from the old house - including my mother's old Betty Crocker cookbook, which I'm VERY glad to have! - and as I was gathering some up, J told me, "Mama, why are you getting all those books? You have enough books already!" The old house is empty now, and it made me a little sad.

Saturday afternoon J and I went to see my aunt and cousins. My cousin Ramona was there with her husband Tom and her kids Rachel and Travis, and J got to play with his cousins. They were playing with a plastic ball and bat, and at one point Travis was going to hit the ball. He told J to move, but apparently J didn't move far enough, because Travis smacked the ball and the ball smacked J in the head. Poor baby, he screamed. Travis felt so bad, and J cried, but we all agreed it was just an accident and no permanent harm done (J has a little red mark on his head, but that's it), and everyone was fine. I found out that my cousin Ranelle is separated from her husband - he's still in Holland, I guess, and she's back home now. She seemed happy, though, so if she's happy, I'm happy for her. We had a nice visit, and I was so glad to see them, since I don't get to see them very often.

I found out I need new tires - my dad found a cut on one of my front tires, and the place we were going to get new ones put on only had two to fit my car. So they just put the spare on in place of the really bad one. I got to drive the Yukon to visit family on Saturday. That thing is a boat (it has three rows of seats), and I wouldn't want to maneuver it in downtown traffic, but it drives wonderfully on the highway. At any rate, I'm back home now, and not sure where the money for new tires will come from on top of the heater core repair. *SIGH* But, better to find out that my tire has a cut in it sitting in my dad's driveway than when I'm out on I-20 somewhere.

And I also found out my dad has been diagnosed with Parkinson's. He and my stepmom haven't told anyone else, and he's taking medication that's keeping it under control for the moment. My stepmom said they purposely haven't told my dad's sisters because they're so bossy they'll want to say how things should go. And she's right. I wouldn't tell them, either, not until it became necessary. My grandfather had Parkinson's as well. Other than moving a good bit slower than he used to, I don't notice any real difference in my dad. The medication helps with the tremors, and he doesn't shuffle his feet much. But I know things will get worse, and it makes me sad. I've found out that senility/dementia can be a symptom of Parkinson's, that it could be mistaken for Alzheimer's but manifests differently. My grandfather didn't know any of us by the time he passed away, and I always thought it was just old age/senility/what have you - I had no idea it could have been due to his Parkinson's. My dad is getting old, and that makes me sad. He's the only dad I've got - I want him to be around a long, long time yet.

So, given my dad's current preoccupation with his health, we talked about what will happen with all the property when he dies. He's really wanting to make sure things go to people who can use them. For example, the houses (old and new) - I won't move home, there's nothing for me there, and I don't want to see the houses just sit empty. But my dad wants to make sure there's a provision for me to come back if I want to someday. One of my stepsisters may want the house, and if she does, I'd be happy to see her have it. (I mentioned this to K, and he said, "you'd sell it to her, right, and not just give it to her?" Dude, not mine to sell - it's my dad's separate property, he can do whatever he wants to with it.) So we talked about that for a bit.

J insisted we open presents on the 23rd. He got clothes from Mamaw and Papaw (I was more excited about those than he was), and a little 4-wheeler that goes and lights up (he was very excited about that). We gave my dad and stepmom pictures of J, and they were happy about those. And my dad gave me part of the money for my new tires. Not all of it, but part, and anything is a help. Not sure where the rest of it will come from, though, or money for everything else that needs paying. (Here's where I'm hoping my horoscope is accurate!)

We went to K's parents' house on Sunday. It was a rainy, nasty day, but it was fun to see family. K didn't feel good - he was sucking down Tylenol cold medicine and sleeping a lot (sucks to be sick on Christmas!). J wanted to watch TV and lots of it - my dad doesn't have a DVD player, and you'd have thought I told J there was no Santa Claus when I told him that. So he was making up for last time at MaMa and PaPa's house. Granny (K's grandmother, J's great-grandmother) was there, too, and it was good to see her.

J kept saying he hoped Santa brought him the red and green dinosaurs that made noise and moved their heads (the Fisher-Price Imaginext mega T-rex, there's a red one and a green one). So I made a last-minute trip to the hated Wal-Mart and got the green one (couldn't get both, they were $30 each at Wal-Mart - cheaper at Target, should've gotten them there!). It was rainy and cold, and it was Wal-Mart. Ugh.

We opened presents Christmas Eve. J got a crapload of stuff, and he was pretty excited about all of it. I finally got him to sleep a little before 10:00, and then I got up and put Santa stuff out. K's mom and I had some good eggnog - she always gets the stuff with nog already in it, and it is damn good. It's Pennsylvania Dutch brand, and I got a bottle to bring home. We went to sleep about 11:00, I guess, and then I got to hear K talking to A in the next room. He was on the phone, and he was a bit loud. If he'd been so loud that J woke up, I would have had to kill him.

I woke up about 6:40 on Christmas morning, and J was still sleeping. I had to wake him up at 7:30. I only did that because I knew we'd be traveling, and I didn't want to be getting home after dark. (Now why can't he sleep like that at home?) He was SO HAPPY when he found that dinosaur, it made the trip to Wal-Mart all worth it. He carried it around and has told me many times how happy he is that Santa got him just exactly the dinosaur he always wanted. Good to know you've made your kid happy. He wanted to take it to bed last night, but a big, roaring, lighting-up dinosaur is not an appropriate bedtime toy. He liked his other Santa gifts, too - a big Thomas the Tank Engine set, two smaller dinosaurs, an Eddie doll (one of the Fisher-Price Little People characters) that will help him learn to zip and button and all that good stuff, a couple of books. He got tons of stuff in his stocking, and played with a lot of it on the trip home.

I got some good stuff, too. More than I expected, given that K's parents already paid for my new garage door opener. I got a Barnes and Noble gift card, a Target gift card, some Amarige cologne and bath gel and lotion, a really pretty hurricane candle holder, and a whole crapload of goodies in my stocking. K's mom asked me at one point during the weekend if A was OK with me still being in the picture - I said she'd better be, because I wasn't going anywhere. LOL (And I think she'll be OK with it - what would she do, tell me J couldn't see his grandparents? I can't see her being that way.) I love K's parents, and I'm so glad to still have a good relationship with them.

J and I took off about 10:00 yesterday morning. After a brief stop at my dad's (I assured J that we weren't taking our stuff out of the car, we were just stopping to say Merry Christmas - he was ready to go back to Texas RIGHT THEN!), we got back on the road about 11:00. It was rainy and cold and WINDY. Yuck.

I was worried it would be hard to find places to stop, but it wasn't. We stopped in Natchitoches for gas and a potty break, and then J fell asleep somewhere around Marshall and napped for a couple of hours. We stopped again in Lindale for gas and a potty break (and I'd seen several places that were open along the way), and got back home about 5:00 yesterday evening. So six hours is a good trip with a four-year-old. As long as J doesn't drink a lot, he doesn't need to stop a lot, so we made it fine. And he didn't fuss for the DVD player - K has a portable one now, and brought it for the trip home. I was worried that J would want it in my car as well, but he didn't say a thing about it.

Got home about 5:00 yesterday evening, unloaded the car, put the big Thomas set together, played with Tinkertoys, took a bath, and went to bed. Whew! My house really does look like Toys R Us blew up in it. I have no idea where everything will go. Oh well! I guess that's just how Christmas goes when you have a little one.

Now I'm looking forward to 2007. May it be a better year than 2006!

Just a quick fly-by

We had a good Christmas. I'll write more when I have more time. I fell asleep with J last night, and just woke up - time to get dressed and out the door.

Today's horoscope:

Feel like you're walking on a tightrope? Are you troubled about how to make it to the other side? The trick is to have faith and be open to all the possibilities. The universe will give you what you need when you need it.

Let's hope that's the case!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thoughts on a Thursday

I had a lot of things I thought I wanted to write about, but I can't remember what they were.

I haven't talked to the recruiter yet re: the internal position, but I've decided - if it's offered to me, at my current salary (or dare I hope, more), I'm taking it. If nothing else, that position wouldn't involve two of the big things that stress me out about my current job, and any reduction in stress is a good thing right now. Even if it's not a forever job, if it improves my day-to-day life right now, it's good enough for the moment. I can still work on figuring out what I want to be when I grow up, but I won't have to live worrying moment by moment whether I'll lose my job. So y'all cross your fingers, say a prayer, light a candle, think good thoughts, communicate with your chosen Higher Power in whatever way you choose, but this job would be a good step for me right now. So, I want it.

K and J are on their way to Louisiana to his parents' house. By all accounts, J is enthralled with the portable DVD player that A gave K for Christmas. He's going to call when they stop for dinner, and when they get there, so I'll know they arrived safe and sound. This is the first holiday that the three of us won't be traveling together, and I'm a little out of sorts about it. Not mad, not upset, more wistful than anything else. This is just one of the million little ways in which life changes after you get divorced, I guess.

Like K said about the museum - he said he wished he could be there, because he knew J would love the trains. I told him that there would be times when one of us would get to do things with J that the other wished he/she could be there for, that that was just the nature of things now that we have separate households (and will undoubtedly have other "significant others" down the road). But thankfully, we get along well enough that we'll both be there for the really important things, even if we both don't make every vacation or every museum outing or every trip to the zoo.

It's almost time to go home, and I'm glad. It's been a hectic week, and I have a lot to do tonight to get ready to hit the road tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

OK, yeah...

Anywhere is better than here.

They're coming to take me away, ha ha

Today has turned into one of those days that makes me think that "anywhere else" is a valid option right now (albeit with a continued eye on and progress toward any long-term goals). Busy busy, want want, need need, gottahaveit, don'tlikeyouranswer, and on and on. They are crawling out of the woodwork, and it makes me want to hide. The oil and gas position wouldn't require phone time or proactive calls, and that would make me very happy indeed, and would significantly reduce my stress level.

Forget more education, maybe I can just write a blockbuster novel like Grisham. *SIGH* I might try writing, just for grins. The worst it can do is suck, right? My biggest questions are 1) can I come up with a story, and 2) can I *tell* a story?

And maybe more education *isn't* what I need. Maybe I just need to find a job that actually uses my law degree and that's a better fit for me. From what I've seen, most library positions pay less than or just about what I make now. Of course, law librarians are faculty, and I have no idea what kind of salary they pull in. Probably more than your average librarian, or at least I'd think so. I may ask the career services director at the law school if she could give me some information on that, just in general terms.

On a related but tangential note, Johnson County needs a prosecutor. Sounds about like what I did for Ellis County, and it's about the same commute as what I'm making now (only with less traffic - I could probably get to Cleburne faster than I can get to downtown Dallas). Can't hurt to apply, although the low end of the salary range isn't great.

(Meno, I'm chasing my tail, running all the way to the ends of the earth. Quit laughing.)

Weary Wednesday

It's a tired Wednesday here. J fought sleep until sometime between 10:30 and 11, and then slept restlessly. I woke up around 3:00 and was awake, no reason, for an hour or so. J woke up about 4:30, crawled into my bed for all of 30 seconds, wanted to sleep in his bed (which meant I had to get out of my nice warm spot and go sit with him), wanted milk, argued with me that he needed to go to the doctor because he'd coughed (just a little tickly sounding cough, not a goopy nasty hacking cough), and finally fell asleep about 5:15. This gave me just enough time to sleep enough that I REALLY didn't want to get up, so I hit snooze multiple times and overslept. OY.

And I had to put the trash out in the rain. Double yuck.

But, we do need the rain. So, slow commute, damp trash takeout, and soggy shoes aside, I'm glad we've gotten a lot. It was POURING this morning.

I've started working on my application for TWU's master of library science program. It never hurts to apply, right? Even if I'm accepted, I don't *have* to go. I wonder if I can still get a copy of my LSAT scores sent (that's one they'll accept, but I took it what, 14 years ago?) or if I'll have to take something like the GRE. I'd forgotten what a pain college applications could be. And then I wonder, am I stupid doing this? What if I run up tons of student loans on a degree I never, ever use? You'd think, though, that a law degree and a degree in library science would do me some good somewhere, maybe even with a law firm.

I did a little cleaning last night, too - went through some of those containers of collected mail that I have. I now have about five empty boxes to take back to the post office, and a bit more floor space. Yay, me!

Tonight I have to wash J's clothes and get his bag packed - he and K are going to Louisiana tomorrow. Tomorrow night I have to pack my stuff and get things squared away so that I can leave from work on Friday - I'm off Friday afternoon. I'm tired already and I haven't even left yet.

I've got work stuff to do, if I can manage to stay awake. I hope J crashes early tonight - keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Why I hesitate

I posted this in response to a comment on my previous post - I want to save my thoughts for future reference and haven't figured out how to save comments in PDF without saving every single post with comments on it, so I'm posting my thoughts here.

Just to explain why I don't know if it (this internal position) will ultimately get me toward something I'll truly enjoy - it's an oil and gas property manager position. I can almost guarantee it doesn't involve books, writing or research in any form! If I'm considering going back to school for a master's in library science, I can't see that becoming an oil and gas property manager isn't going to further any goal that would go along with that degree. And it certainly won't use my law degree - you don't even have to have a law degree to be considered, just experience in my current position (which also doesn't require a law degree, but you wouldn't know that from the job postings for the position I now hold).

A month ago, two months ago, just being a breath of fresh air, being anywhere other than where I am, would have been enough. But I think that's a big part of the reason why I've ended up in the stinkhole I'm in now - always jumping to what seemed like a better deal at the time, without any kind of long-term career path or goal in mind. I'm almost 40, I'm getting too old to keep making that mistake. It's time for me to really think about what I want, and try to find something that makes me happy and that I can make a career of. I'm getting too old to keep job-hopping every three or four years.

Huh.

I just got an e-mail from one of our recruiters - she's going to be contacting me within a few days regarding an internal position I applied for. It's in a different part of the company, not where I am now. It might not be a forever position, but anything, just about, would be better than where I am right now.

Of course, I then have to think - if I were to be offered this position, and accept it, would it be getting me any closer to where I might want to be in the future, or farther away? I think all it would accomplish would be to get me out of here. I don't think it's anything I'd be passionate about, I don't know that it's anything that would interest me for the long term. It would just be somewhere other than here.

At any rate, it's nice to have at least a little interest expressed, and it never hurts to talk.

Edited to add: I realize I'm putting the cart way ahead of the horse here, thinking about whether this position would further my long-term goals or be something I could be passionate about. I've already interviewed, made myself a job offer, and talked myself out of the position, all before I've talked to the recruiter! LOL

Or maybe I'm just starting to really think about my life, rather than making reactive decisions to bad situations. Sucky job, offer of new job - knee-jerk reaction, take new job and get the hell out. Thoughtful reaction - if new job offers no opportunities to improve the skills I really want to make a living using, or develop new skills that would help me make a living I'll enjoy, why take it? Keep looking.

Monday, December 18, 2006

How did you know it was love?

Seriously. Those of you with spouses or significant others, how did you know it was love? Feel free to share your thoughts in a comment.

Better

Surprisingly, I'm feeling better now. On some internal level it's finally registered with me that no matter what happens here, things will be OK. If I lose this job, it will suck, but it won't be the end of the world. Not that I'll necessarily like the sequence of events, not that I might not have some stressful moments, not that I might not throw the occasional screaming fit. But things will ultimately be OK, and God won't leave me living in a box under a bridge. I think this is what I've been wrestling with all this time, REALLY letting go and trusting God to take care of things. He'll work it out, if I'll just get out of the way and let Him. And this isn't to say I just quit looking and wait for something to fall in my lap - I have to do my part, and I have to look for opportunities that God may open up for me. But I don't have to worry about things working out, because they will.

And I've already thought about how I'd handle things if the worst case scenario came to pass - I contemplated it on the way to work this morning. So I have a game plan (I always do better when I know what direction things may be going - I don't generally do really well with the vast unknown and me just flailing about), and I'm a lot better than I was last night.

I can't remember the last time I was this unstressed about things. It feels kind of weird. But in a good way.

I. NEED. THIS.

http://www.nandahome.com/

Clocky - the alarm clock that runs away when you hit snooze! I'd have to get out of bed then.

Monday

I'm here. Nothing disastrous has happened yet. It makes me tense.

And this may sound funny, but in some ways it would be a relief if the worst-case scenario came to pass. Yeah, it would be scary as all get out having no job and not knowing when I would have one, but at least I wouldn't be coming in every day to face the sword of Damocles hanging over my head. I'd KNOW where I stood.

I'm reading a book called Inside Every Woman by Vicki Milazzo. It's supposed to help you achieve your goals of a meaningful career and life, and one of the things it talks about is determining what you're passionate about. What are the things you get so wrapped up in that you have to be torn away from them? I'm chewing on that right now. What am I passionate about? My child. The rights and well-being of children in general. Books. Writing. Food. Cooking. Music. Certainly NOT what I do now.

So I'm trying to think - what could I do that would let me work with my passions? Write? Become a chef? A caterer? A librarian? Most things would require time, capital, additional education or all of the above. Still. I've sent off to Texas Woman's University for information on their Master's of Library Science degree - you can do it online, which would work well for me assuming I could get tuition and time to study squared away. I may try my hand at writing. It can't hurt. I may see what I'd have to do to become a caterer or a chef. I can't do anything if I don't know what my options are, right?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Can you hear me now?

I've had this unspecified bad feeling most of the evening. Not sure if it's the normal anxiety over going back to work after being off for a day, or if it's my intuition telling me something really awful is waiting, but either way, I don't like it.

So. I checked a site I go to sometimes for devotionals - they have a new one each weekday, and here was the verse from Friday:

“For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NLT)

WHACK! You think that's God trying to get my attention?

Deep breath. Whatever's waiting for me at work, it will be OK.

Trepidation

I have this awful feeling of dread/foreboding - is it just the normal feeling of not wanting to go back to work after a day off, or is there something really awful waiting for me when I get there? I don't know. Whatever it is, I don't like it.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Eating Tips for the Holidays

One of my girlfriends sent this to me, and it made me laugh, so I'm sharing.

EATING TIPS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can and quickly. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an "eggnog-aholic" or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas.

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand-alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello???

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New> Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, pumpkin and mincemeat --> have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all costs. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips. Start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO-HOO what a ride!"

HAPPY HOLIDAYS ! !

Updating just a little bit

I probably won't ever catch up on everything, but I did want to write about J meeting Brian.

We went to the Mayborn Museum last weekend, to see the train exhibit. J and Brian seemed to hit it off, and we went inside to look around.

J loved the trains. He'd run from one display to the next, just jumping up and down with excitement. Brian knows a good number of people in the museum field, since that's what he does, and he'd stop to talk to someone now and then while J and I kept looking at trains. Every once in a while J would stop, look around, and ask me, "Where's Brian?" LOL

We saw more than just trains - the museum has a nice children's center, with lots of cool things just perfect for busy boys. Here's a pic of J, playing with his absolute favorite thing, the water table (I seriously think he liked this more than the trains - we went back to it no less than four times!).




If I could afford one of these for my house, I'd get it - I think Brian and I had as much fun playing with it as J did. It would be kind of like one of those little Zen rock gardens, only a lot bigger and with water instead of sand. Very therapeutic!

We stayed almost until the museum closed, and then went for dinner. We went to J's favorite place, Johnny Carino's. When we got there, I asked him if he wanted to sit with Brian or with me. "With Brian!" Stinker. LOL

So we had dinner, and J talked Brian's ear off and was his usual charming self. He was wiped out after dinner - he fell asleep before we'd been on the road too long, and slept until I was about 10 miles from the house. I was just about to get off the interstate when I heard him say, "Hey. I had a good time with Brian." So I think he took to Brian pretty well.

That weekend, Brian got to see J at close to his best. Today, he got to see the wildebeest J. It was my free weekend, but K asked if J could come home early, since he had his Christmas party for work tonight. (Must be nice to work for an employer that gives its employees a Christmas party. But I digress.) I said that was fine, and we went to pick J up from the apartment at noon. J went to A's with K last night, and he had a sleepover with A's middle child. K said he checked on them around 11:00 - A's son was passed out, and J was still awake, eating popcorn and watching TV. Oy. So no telling how much sleep he got - he might have been up past midnight for all I know. At any rate, he was TIRED. We went to lunch, played outside, watched TV, and then at some point he wanted more candy. He'd already had candy and didn't need any more, and I told him so. And he proceeded to scream like the world was ending, until he finally gave it up and got distracted after about 15 minutes. So, Brian got to see a nuclear meltdown in all its glory. He didn't run screaming, so I guess that's a good thing!

Brian stayed today until my car was ready, so he could drive me to the shop to pick it up (and catch me when I fainted from hearing the total cost!). It was kind of funny - when we got back from lunch, we were walking in the house, and J asked Brian if he liked our house. Brian said he did, that it was a nice house, and J said, "This could be your house, too." :-) Posted by Picasa

OUCH.

Did I mention the fact that last week I started smelling engine coolant in the passenger compartment of my car? Well, I did. Not good. And my windshield fogged up like mad with the heat or defrost turned on. Also not good. Visualize, if you will, me driving in rush hour traffic trying to use a Clorox wipe to clear enough space on my windshield so I could see to drive. (At least there weren't any germs left on that part of my windshield.)

So I made an appointment to take it in for repair. I knew it was likely a leaking heater core from the research I'd done online, and the mechanic gave me a general estimate of $300-500 to fix it. Ow, painful. I harbored a secret hope that it would be something else, something much less expensive.

No such luck. Today I took it in. The mechanic told me they'd checked, and due to the way the heater core was placed in my car, they'd have to remove the whole dash to get it replaced. Eight hours of labor. A $100 part, estimated total bill now a whopping $770. *Gasp, choke.* I was so depressed I couldn't even eat breakfast.

And the actual total when I picked my car up ended up being $801.10. Lovely. Merry Christmas to me, huh? No idea where the money to pay the rest of my bills is going to come from.

But on the bright side, at least my car no longer smells funny.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Experiments with pictures



Just practicing (again, since I think it ate the first post I tried). Posted by Picasa

Yay! It worked! Picasa rocks!

(That's the view behind my dad's house, by the way.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Clearly I keep not staying awake

So, in a nutshell, what do I want to write about when I manage to stay awake?

~Car repairs - looks like a leaking heater core, will be pricey - OUCH - where's the money coming from? Your guess is as good as mine

~Museum visit with Brian last Saturday - went well, he and J seemed to get along fine, lots of fun

~Trying to go to church with J last Sunday - didn't go so well, he turned into something from The Omen and it was fairly horrid

~Job stuff - work sucks, I hate it, I've applied for something like seven jobs just this morning (I woke up before 5 AM) - maybe if I throw enough spaghetti at the wall, something will stick

I've got to go take my shower and finish wrapping little Christmas presents for my teammates.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

So much to write...

So little time. If I can stay awake, I'll try to catch up tonight.

Monday, December 11, 2006

How 'bout those Saints?

The Saints beat the Cowboys!

This makes me unreasonably happy. I don't post a whole lot about sports, but I'm from Louisiana - I'll be a Saints fan until I die, good, bad or ugly. And I used to like the Cowboys, but generally lost respect for the team and the owner during the Michael Irvin era - I mean, when you turn on the local news and every day it's a different story about some Cowboy or other being busted for drugs or something equally negative, you tend not to think too highly of them. So it just makes me happy to see the Saints give the Cowboys a good old-fashioned heinie whooping.

I'm telling you, one year the Saints *will* go to the Super Bowl. Oh yes, they will.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A little unexpected free time

K called yesterday afternoon and said he'd pick J up - he wanted to take J to A's house to decorate the Christmas tree and meet her kids. And I guess I'm OK with that - after all, if A is going to be in the picture for a significant length of time, it would be nice for J to know her kids and to feel comfortable around them. So I got an unexpected evening to myself (I decided to give our team Christmas party a miss - hmm, spend $35 on dinner or $35 for a tank of gas or a Christmas present for J? I decided my money was better spent elsewhere).

Other than nearly getting run off the road by an 18-wheeler on the way home, it was a nice evening. I stopped by the store to pick up a few odds and ends, and when I got home, I fixed myself dinner and then had a nice hot bubble bath. Ahhh, bliss on a cold evening.

J did have a good time with A's kids last night - according to K, he didn't want to leave to come home! J told me he cried because he wanted to stay and play. And boy, was he a howling wildebeest by the time he got home! He screamed that he didn't WANT to go to bed, he wanted to watch TV. Of course, when I got him into bed, it took him about 30 seconds to go to sleep. He was talking about A's house this morning, and the kitty cat, and playing with toys, and Christmas cookies, so I think he enjoyed himself. And I'm glad. I should make more of an effort to have him get together with his friends - he'd enjoy that. (If I could ever get my house clean, I could have people come over! )

I am so glad it's FRIDAY!!!! I'm hoping it will be a quiet day at work, so I can work on some special projects we've got going on that are supposed to be completed by year end.

And tomorrow is a big day, I guess. J and Brian are going to get to meet each other. We're going to this exhibit at the Mayborn Museum in Waco, and I reckon we may get lunch or something while we're there. I think it's funny - both Brian and I are wanting to do this, and yet we're both nervous, too. Is that just silly? J is all excited - I've had to try to explain to him where Brian's house is (ever tried to explain the concept of "south" to a 4-year-old?), and he's asked all about Brian's dog and cat (after finding out that Brian doesn't have any little boys or girls). Hopefully J and I can get a good night's sleep tonight, so we'll be well rested for tomorrow's road trip. And hopefully it will go really well. I think it will.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Oh, crap.

My job makes me want to throw up. We're having our 4th quarter reviews by the end of next week. Y'all may remember that my last review went OK, but there was a caveat attached to it, that if some things didn't improve, then I'd likely be out of a job. Well, I just got a complaint - one that is my fault, and one that will stick. I don't know if one will get me into trouble sufficient that I might lose my job, but I'm terrified. I'm trying hard to trust that all will work out. But what if it doesn't? What if my manager says, hey, you tried but not enough, we've got to let you go? I haven't managed to find anything in nearly two years of looking, what in the world will I do if I find myself out of a job? I'm trying not to nut out over this, but it's hard. Seriously, what would I do? I have no savings. I have virtually nothing in my retirement plan. If I were to lose this job, I would be beyond screwed.

I hate this. I hate that this job has ended up this way. It seemed so promising when I started. And I'm not stupid, that's what kills me. It's not that the work is so difficult that I'm not capable of doing it. There's just too much of it most days.

Help.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

50 Questions

Shamelessly pilfered from John Howard:

50 Questions:

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
"Clearly I need to get more sleep."

2. How much cash do you have on you?
About $40. I don't have much cash most days.

3. What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR?
Boar.

4. Favorite planet?
Jupiter - I like the big red spot.

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
K

6. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone?
Oingo Boingo, Dead Man's Party

7. What shirt are you wearing?
I'm wearing a white short-sleeve crewneck shirt under a tan jacket.

8. Do you label yourself?
I don't think so.

9. Name the brand of the shoes you’re currently wearing?
Nine West

10. Bright or Dark Room?
Bright

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?
The person I swiped it from? I enjoy reading his blog.

12. What does your watch look like?
I don't wear one.

13. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Goofing around online.

14. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
It was a notice that I'd gotten e-mail.

15. Where is your nearest 7-11?
The closest one to me that I know of is about 20-25 miles from my house, in Oak Cliff.

16. What's a word that you say a lot?
Shit.

17. Who told you he/she loved you last?
My son.

18. Last furry thing you touched?
I don't usually touch furry things (no pets).

19. How many drugs have you done in the last three days?
Only my blood pressure and allergy meds.

20. How many rolls of film do you need developed?
None at the moment, unless you count the half-used roll I have in my camera.

21. Favorite age you have been so far?
38 (that would be now). I'm much more interesting now than I was at, say, 28.

22. Your worst enemy?
I don't have any enemies that I'm aware of.

23. What is your current desktop picture?
A picture of J.

24. What was the last thing you said to someone?
"See ya later" to my colleagues when I left the lunchroom.

25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?
I'll take the cash, thanks (although the ability to fly would make my commute a lot easier).

26. Do you like someone?
Sure, I like lots of people. If by "like" you mean LIKE like, well, you just have to read back a couple of posts in my blog to figure that out.

27. The last song you listened to?
"Make Your Mind Up" by Tab Benoit.

28. What time of day were you born?
2:45 PM.

29. What’s your favorite number?
8

30. Where did you live in 1987?
415 Alexander Hall, Baylor University

31. Are you jealous of anyone?
Not usually, although I do feel the occasional pang of envy.

32. Is anyone jealous of you?
If they are, they haven't told me.

33. Where were you when 9/11 happened?
I was on my way to work and heard about it after I got there.

34. What do you do when vending machines steal your money?
See the answer to #16.

35. Do you consider yourself kind?
I have my moments.

36. If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be?
I don't have to, so that's not even something I need to consider.

37. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be?
Gaelic, just because I think it sounds cool. Or Italian, since I'm 1/2 Italian.

38. Would you move for the person you loved?
I can see it happening, sure, under the right circumstances.

39. Are you touchy feely?
Sometimes.

40. What’s your life motto?
I don't have one.

41. Name three things that you have on you at all times?
I can't think of three things I have on me at all times, unless you count things like hair and skin. Things that I have with me during the majority of my waking hours include: cell phone, lip gloss, and keys.

42. What’s your favourite town/city?
I don't have one, I don't think.

43. What was the last thing you paid for with cash?
Lunch.

44. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
So long ago that I can't remember. Oh, wait, I wrote to a college friend of mine a couple of months ago, I didn't know his e-mail address (that reminds me, I need to write him back).

45. Can you change the oil on a car?
Can I? Probably, but it would take me a lot of time and involve a lot of swearing, so why bother when I can pay someone to do it for me?

46. Your first love: what is the last thing you heard about him/her?
Well, I haven't heard anything about him since high school, and that was a long time ago.

47. How far back do you know about your ancestry?
I know back to great-grandparents on both sides of my adoptive family, and back to great-great-grandparents (I think, or is it great-great-great?) on my birth mom's side of the family.

48. The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and why did you dress fancy?
It hasn't been anytime in the last four years, and since I'm doing good to remember what I wore to work yesterday, surely you don't expect me to remember more than four years ago when I might have dressed up.

49. Does anything hurt on your body right now?
Only my brain, because work makes my brain hurt.

50. Have you been burned by love?
I suppose I have, but I wouldn't trade it - if I did, I wouldn't have J!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Going home

Well, in a manner of speaking - back to my church home. I did go on Sunday, to services and Bible class, and it was good to be back. My friend John was at the 9:30 service, and I sat with him. I got to talk to my friends in handbells, and my friend Jan (who now directs handbells) was so excited to see me, she ran up and gave me a big hug. There are still quite a few people in handbells that I know, and I'm really excited to start going back to rehearsal in January and getting back into performing.

I like the new pastor. He's very outgoing, and has a sense of humor you don't usually see in pastors (especially not in Baptist ones!). I went to the contemporary service, which has praise songs and choruses instead of the traditional hymns I grew up with, and drums/guitar/keyboard instead of piano and organ. So it was a bit different than what I'm used to, but I think I could learn to like it. It works best schedulewise, that's for sure - I want to go to Bible class at 11:00 since my friend John teaches one, and I can't see making it to the 8:15 service, going home for an hour or so, and then driving back for Bible class.

I'm still trying to determine what options are available for J, whether he'll be able to stay with kids his age during the service or if he'll need to come with me during church and just be with his age group for Sunday school. If he does need to come with me, I think it will be OK - I saw a little red-haired boy, maybe 2 or 3 years old, standing up on his chair dancing during the songs, and the pastor has two boys, so he doesn't seem the type to get real worked up if a little voice were to add a comment or two to his sermon.

I'd love to go to choir practice, too - it's at 6:30, before handbells at 7:30. But I don't know where J would sit while I'm singing if he has to be in the service with me. I'll have to get an answer to that question first.

At any rate, it's good to be back, and I think J is looking forward to going this week - at least as long as they have cookies and juice.

Interesting

My friend Cat did a reading for me. Here's what it said:

First Card; Angel of Freedom

The Angel says 'I am always free to choose Love, Independence and Creativity'. She is holding a stole, which flows gently in the wind, and she is blowing away insecurities, one of these insecurities is allowing J to get hurt by another man. He was undoubtedly hurt when daddy went away, may not be so obvious, but he was really upset, maybe the reason he is having sleep issues, which are getting better. Subconsciously, you are not allowing this situation to rise again, you don't want someone in your life that you feel will hurt you and your son again. Although, I must make it clear, your XDH did not hurt you, but your son being hurt, hurt you. This angel is allowing you to see that you have the capabilities to choose Love and have independence and wants you to take them, go with the flow, stop humming and hawing over it.Which brings me swiftly onto the next card!


The Angel of Knowing

"My sense of Inner Knowing leads me to the Light". This angel is holding the ring of knowledge, where all our awareness comes from, and, through the ring she is sprinkling some stardust from heaven, which is the source of inspiration where our desires and wishes will become a reality. For yourself, J and Brian, you would love to have everyone to meet and to get on, you tend to be edging towards this idea more than ever but you want complete knowledge that everyone will be happy together. This is the reality, J knows full well there is someone else in your life and in some ways he feels not left out, but, he wishes he was part of it, he wants to be around whoever it is that makes his mommy happy, because, when mommy is happy, baby is too. And Brian, he so wishes to meet J to feel complete with you, but you are the one stopping it, for no real apparent reason now, not after over a year Then the next card oh man!!!

The Archangel Raphael

"I am strenghtened and healed by the power of divine love". (Having an Archangel in a reading is awesome, there are only 4 archangels to 32 cards!)The Archangel is a guardian angel, the one who is around a lot, the other angels are messengers, the archangel is a protector. And to have him working with the other 2 is just awesome.He wants you to know that with the angel of freedom and the angel of knowing, he is removing your insecurities about Brian & J meeting. What recently happened was a 'test' if you like, for both you and Brian. To see how you both really feel, now is the time to move forward with your relationship and the archangel Raphael is there to strenghten it, he concludes that now is the right time for Brian & J to meet, when these two important people in your life finally do meet, your relationship is more or less sealed for life.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don't know about sealed for life (can't make that call at this point, I don't think), but the rest of it was spot on.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Possibilities abound

I just got an e-mail from Brian. He came back from lunch to find an invitation to interview with a museum that will be opening in Dallas County (up here!) in May 2007. The woman in charge of programming for the new museum was previously with a museum he interviewed with last year, and she remembered him and sent him the invite. He told her he'll be teaching a class at Baylor this semester, but left things open enough that something might work out if they haven't found the right person by the time they open! That would be fantabulous if he found a job up here!

So, perhaps he and I really did need to have the talk we had in order for things to progress. Possibility for me in Waco, possibility for him up here - surely something can work out, yes?

Seems smart to me!

I wanted to write this down before I forgot. Yesterday we were watching "It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown" (yeah, I know, it's Christmas), and if you aren't familiar with the story, Peppermint Patty and Marcy are trying to dye Easter eggs. Marcy keeps screwing up the eggs (doing everything but boiling them in the shell), and they have to go back for more. I made the comment to J that you'd think Peppermint Patty would figure out that she should buy a lot of eggs if she knows Marcy is going to mess them up, and he said, "Or Peppermint Patty could cook the eggs, and Marcy could do the colors." I was stunned at the logic. Clearly he has some problem-solving capability going on.

Monday

This morning: again with the awfulness. J woke up at 2-something, wanting milk, and took a bit to settle back down. Then he kept having dreams (I guess) and talking in his sleep. So, yucky sleep, I need coffee. I overslept, and he woke me up by crawling over and laying down on top of me. And then he threw an unholy fit over wanting to watch TV. He just goes on and on and on when he's told no - he WANTED TV, didn't WANT to go to school, didn't WANT to put his pants on, and on and on. Once we got in the car, he was fine, but most of the time between when we woke up (6:40) and when we left (7:25) was fairly horrid.

I'm debating whether to go to my team Christmas party this week. We're going to Texas Land & Cattle Company after work on Thursday (7:30 to 9:30), and we have to pay for it ourselves (no, the company isn't picking up the tab). It's $26.99 for one of five different entrees, including salad, non-alcoholic beverage and dessert (vanilla ice cream, so not like it's anything too exciting), plus tax and tip. So it could end up costing me about $35 for the privilege of going. I'm debating whether, at this particular time, my money might be better spent on something else. I don't want to seem stand-offish, but for me, $35 is a tank of gas or GoodNites and milk or a Christmas present for J. And right now, I'm wondering if those things aren't more important. The thing is, we've given them a number of 18 people. If there's more than a 10% variance, the group is charged for the people who don't show up. So if more than one person says they can't go, then we're charged anyway. As far as I know, no one else is planning on changing their minds, but still - I feel kind of bad.

And now, I suppose I should get to work - I've got a crapload to do after being out for two days last week.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Out of sorts

I'm feeling vaguely out of sorts this evening. Not sure why. Probably in large part because tomorrow is Monday and I have to go back to work.

And tonight I realized my baby is growing up. He was playing on the computer, and I came into the room. He said, "No, Mama, you go away - I can do this by myself." Didn't even want me to stay in the room with him. And I thought, all those times I wished for three minutes to myself to pee, or for a day without hearing, "MAMA! Come SEE!" 72,000 times, or for an entire night's sleep - I wish I could take them back now. It hit me that he's growing up, and the older he gets, the less he'll need me. I know independence is the desired result of the growing-up process, but still - it made me sad.

And then he went through the beastly spell. He'd been on the computer a while, so I came in and told him we needed to turn it off, it was time for dinner. He started screaming and howling and carrying on like a little wildebeest - at one point he threw himself down in the floor, and when I tried to hug him, he swung at me. Not once, but multiple times. Finally I just had to grab him and hold him until he settled down, because he wasn't going to otherwise. Once he finally did, we turned the computer off and he was OK for the rest of the night. But that little episode wasn't a whole lot of fun.

I should go to bed. The alarm will go off early.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Moving forward

It's been a good, good weekend. Brian and I have had our reckoning, he knows that what he did was just plain stupid and attributes it to his tendency to go inward when he's feeling insecure. He felt uncertain about where we stood, so instead of talking to me, he put out that personal ad. He said he was glad this happened, because now we know where we are. And it sounds like we're in a very similar spot.

So. We talked. I'd asked him in my really pissed-off e-mail if he prayed about us. This was his response (in his e-mail):

Yes, I DO pray about us--a LOT. And I pray for you and J. And I've had long, agonizing conversations with God about why we found each other when it seems like sometimes we're just not going to happen, and it HURTS.

And today we talked about how the answer to prayer can be "yes", "no", or "not right now". He said that with people he's dated in the past, the answer was a clear "no" - he knew they weren't right for him, for whatever reason. With us, he says he just doesn't have a clear answer yet (and I understand that, because that's how I feel, too - I've debated with myself why I haven't said "I love you" yet) - he says his head can come up with a million and ten reasons why we would be so good for each other, yet his heart doesn't feel like the time is right. And I can understand that, can relate to that feeling. So, we're both seeing the possibilities and seeing that we could easily end up together and be quite happy for the long term, but neither of us is to the point where we feel like the time is right for a commitment to the long term (i.e., don't be counting on me getting a ring for Christmas! LOL). But, we aren't ready to call it quits, that's for sure, and it is just us, no looking, no more ridiculous ads, and if something is on his mind, he's to talk to me about it, ask me about it, and not do something stupid.

He said this evening that he didn't think that two people could really call themselves a couple until they'd worked through some big issue and come through it together. So, I guess we're officially a couple now (we talked about that, too).

And in an interesting turn, as he and I were exchanging e-mails on Thursday, at the same time I got this job listing in my inbox:

Waco firm is seeking an associate attorney. Primarily transactional with a concentration on real estate. Practice areas: Real estate, probate and estate planning, but with a focus on real estate.

Well. Of course I've applied - I like Waco and wouldn't mind going back there for a position I was sure I'd want for the long haul (and I'd consider that, Brian or no - I was very sad when we had to leave Waco due to me finding a new job). So I'll be curious to see what, if anything, comes of that.

All that to say, we know where we stand now, and I think we both feel a lot better, and a lot closer.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Perhaps not the end of the world

Well, Brian and I have talked (e-mailed, but it's a form of conversation). Long story short, he did a big dumb-ass thing, he knows it's a big dumb-ass thing, said big dumb-ass thing has been removed and he knows if there's a repeat all hell will really break loose, he knows he must earn his way back into my good graces, and he is groveling appropriately. He is going to come up this weekend (I expect many chores to be completed to my satisfaction as part of the groveling process), and while it may not be as comfortable as our weekends have been, I think it will be interesting and ultimately good.

In fact, I think this has the potential to be a really good thing. I've been wondering where we might be headed, and when I saw that post, I thought, that's it, game over, we're going a big fat nowhere. But given the conversation we've had so far, that may not be the case. I think this conversation needed to happen - should have happened months ago - and this was the catalyst to make it happen. Sucks that it involved much rage on my part, but at least it didn't happen in such a way that it couldn't be worked through. I do think Brian and I can work through this - Lord knows people have worked through far worse - and if we can, then I see long-term potential there. I have a year invested in this relationship, so I think he deserves a chance to redeem himself. And we'll go from there.

In other news: I've decided to go back to my church home here, First Baptist. I know I've been wandering around looking for a better fit, but I also know myself well enough to know I'm not going to go to church if it's geographically disadvantageous, and I don't want to go if it's not close enough that I can be involved. So, FBC it is. It's literally three minutes from my house, I could walk if I had to (longish walk, but it could be done). I've already been in touch with my friend Jan, who directs handbells, and they'll be glad to have me back - I am THRILLED about that, I've missed ringing handbells. This came about after J said to me the other night, "Mama, we should read our Bible every day." (He saw mine by the bed.) That hit me like a hammer blow. I was raised in a household of faith, and I have done him such a disservice by not giving him that same benefit. I've also done myself a disservice by not being involved in a community of faith, and I regret that. But, you can always start somewhere, so here I am. I'm going this Sunday (without J the first time, since the church has moved to a new location - I want to familiarize myself with things before I have J in tow!), and I'm really looking forward to it. Sure, you can be spiritual and have a relationship with God without belonging to a church, but I need that structure. Left to my own devices, I get lazy. I don't expect that just getting back to church and renewing my relationship with God will automatically make things hunky-dory in my life, but I do believe it will give me the mental and emotional strength to deal better with the rough times.

And I'm off work today! Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

How things change

I remember when K got the first Evanescence CD, when Bring Me To Life was a big hit because of the first Spider-Man movie, and he played it for me. I remember telling him, "Gee, I like it, but it's so DARK. I can't really see myself ever being in a mood to listen to something so dark, but I guess I'll burn a copy of it anyway."

I now own my own copy of "Fallen", have "The Open Door", and listen to both regularly. I also listen to a crapload of stuff even darker. My, how things change. How I've changed. Does this mean I've embraced my dark side?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thank you, sir, may I have another?

Oh, sweet mother of mercy, I am so mad I'm shaking. I've been contemplating lately the direction things might be taking with Brian - after all, we have been seeing each other for just over a year, you wouldn't think you'd spend that much time dating someone (long-distance, no less) if you didn't see some long-term potential. We haven't had the full-out "conversation" yet, but the subject has been touched upon briefly and he's said some things that sound like he's thinking at least about the possibility of something long-term.

Then tonight, I was perusing a board that's of interest to both of us, and I found this in his introductory post after he said he was seeing someone:

"we enjoy each other's company, but I don't think either one of us are really serious about a life-long commitment at this point"

And then he'd posted in the personals forum there, saying he's seeking a relationship - preferably marriage. Pissed off does not even BEGIN to cover it. Ya know, there's no ring on my finger, but he's said things that imply some long term thinking. That post makes me feel that not only is there no long term thinking, but that he doesn't even see the POSSIBILITY!!! At one point he'd said he'd taken his profile down from the site where we met, he wasn't seeing anyone else, wasn't looking. And then tonight I find this little gem. If he's decided he'd like to see other people, I would have appreciated finding it out some way other than by finding his personals post on a board we both frequent. I know our long-distance situation makes it impractical to seriously contemplate anything long-term and/or permanent right now, because a long-distance marriage would suck. But his posts make it sound like he doesn't even see the potential for anything, and if that's the case, then why continue to spend time with me? Just cut your losses and go find your dream girl already.

To quote an old Black Flag song (I think it was Black Flag, maybe not), "goddamnmotherfuckersonofabitch". I wrote him a big long e-mail, because he needs to know I'm pissed and why. He knows what happened to end my marriage. I will not be taken for granted by any man. So. It may be a Brian weekend, it may not.

At this moment, if I saw him, I'd probably kick him in the balls. And I'd love to take his Christmas present and just set it on fire. But then I couldn't resell it if this actually does turn out to be the end of the relationship.

I'll give him a chance to explain himself and tell me his side of the story - after all, even murderers deserve a chance to present a defense. But trust takes time to build, and longer to rebuild, and tonight it took a major hit.

Well....

Well, the poo-poo just hit the fan - my mortgage has memo posted to my account and it is seriously overdrawn. I didn't think it went out until Friday. So now I've got to find $28 cash and get to the branch before it closes to put a stop payment on it.And somehow, I'm curiously calm in all of this.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wanted to share

I posted this as a comment in response to a couple of other comments (thank you, Kalleigh and Meno!), but since I'm not clever enough to figure out how to save my comments in PDF when I save my blog, I wanted to post this here (with a couple of small additions) for future reference.

(In reference to the thought of giving K full custody of J and me getting a second job) I'm not sure how that would work, given the current logistics - this is why K doesn't keep J during the week as is, as it would be very difficult for him to get J to school each day given where he lives and where he works. I could ask him to keep J some nights so I could get a second job, and we have discussed that (he and I have - not sure if I've posted about it or not). But I think the switch from all the time with mama to all the time with daddy would be too abrupt for J - he's a creature of routine, and it would disrupt him mightily to suddenly be at daddy's house all the time (even if the logistics worked out OK). Something to think about, but I'm not sure it would work out in practice. Thank you for the thought, though, and if you've got any more, feel free to share 'em.

The challenge would also be, with a second job, finding one that paid enough to do any good. If I get a retail job for 10, 15, 20 hours a week paying $7 or $8 an hour, by the time taxes come out of it, I'm not sure it accomplishes anything other than leaving me slightly less in the hole and having almost zero time to spend with my son. So unless I could find something part-time that paid enough to make a real positive impact, it's not worth the disruption of having K keep J all the time.

I sell Pampered Chef - if I could just find the time to put some effort into promoting that, could I make it work? People do, but do those people also work full-time? I don't know. I do calligraphy. I make candles. I do all sorts of little crafty, gifty things that could be potential money-makers. The trick is, finding time to do them and promoting them so that I'll actually make money.

(In response to Meno's comment) Right now, it does feel fairly overwhelming. And what really makes me kind of sad is that K and I suffered and limped along financially while he had a crappy job that was basically temp work (the job itself was decent, low-stress, not fabulous pay but not horrible, he could work there as long as he wanted, and it was 40 hours a week when there was work to do, but they might run out of work for days, weeks, months, and that can pretty well destroy any semblance of a budget) while we were married. If we were still together right now, given that he's now got a good job that pays decently, we'd be doing all right, maybe even kind of sort of well. And that sucks the worst. Things were hard when I was married. Things are hard (hell, harder) now that I'm not married. When do I quit feeling like the butt of a giant cosmic joke?

Yeah, I'm in full-out whine mode right now. I freely admit to wallowing in the pity pit.