Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy 2008!

A new year, another chance for things to go fabulously right, horribly wrong, or somewhere in between.

In 2004 and 2005, I was waiting for my marriage to officially be over. In 2006, Brian and I were just starting to figure out that maybe there was something really good going on with us. Now it's the end of 2007, the start of 2008. Still no job for Brian here, but hopefully that will change soon. No wedding ring on my finger as of yet, although I did get my promise ring for my birthday. But we're in it for the long term, and I believe things will work out.

Good things in 2007:

~I got to move to a new job role at work, so my job no longer sucks big dirty rocks and no longer makes me want to cry or throw up when I get there.
~J started kindergarten.
~My promise ring, and what it stands for.
~Bright Blessings is at least up and running, if not taking the world by storm.
~I no longer cry (well, not much) when I pay bills.
~No credit cards means no huge after-Christmas debt to pay off!
~My dad came to my house for the first time in five years, and it was a good visit.
~I think we've found a church home we can really fit into, and where we can really find a community of faith to be a part of.

Not so good things in 2007:

~My new job role is a huge improvement over my old one, but it's kind of boring sometimes, and still not something I see me doing for the duration of my career. But hey, it's better than it was.
~I learned that my dad has Parkinson's.
~Finances still aren't as stable as I'd like them to be.

Two things I'd like to keep in mind as a new year begins:

Once I had it all planned out
My dirty fingers moved about
To make a mess of everything around me
I don't claim to know my way
I still run in circles everyday
Running around half blind
Life can be unkind
But it's better than it was
It's better than it was
I complain very little because
It's better than it was

I get to remembering
We had a lot more money then
To make a mess of everything around us
Now the money comes and goes a bit faster
Then my confidence grows
Everybody knows
There ain't nothing new about money woes

But it's better than it was
It's better than it was
It's better than it was
It's better than we ever could have
Wished it to before
It was bad a while ago
Better this I know

It's better than it was
Better than it was
I complain very little because
It's better than it was

-Fastball, "Better Than It Was"

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

I'm starting to see now that, even when things have seemed hopeless, even when I've thought that I can't possibly keep going, can't possibly get out of whatever mess I find myself in, somehow the worst never happens. I may anguish for a while and fret and stew, but the sun comes up the next day, the world keeps on turning, I keep breathing in and out and putting one foot in front of the other. God has never yet let me down, and I see now that He's been the one carrying me all along. It's not my strength getting any of this done, and now that I see that, maybe I'll finally have sense enough to get out of the way and let God do. My faith has waxed and waned over the years, and the past two or three or four years have likely been the lowest point to date. I don't know His plans, but I've got the hope back, and I'm eagerly anticipating the future that is to come.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy Christmas to me!

Guess what I'm doing on Monday? Getting a new garage door opener! Yes, it's a thrill a minute at my house, but this is a huge deal. I got a new opener just over a year ago - a Genie, bought it from Lowes, and the darn thing has NEVER worked properly. The remotes never would open the door from outside (which is, of course, where you *want* a garage door remote to work), and most days wouldn't even work inside the garage. New batteries, new remote, a different kind of remote, and a whole host of phone calls to Genie later (Lowes said call Genie, and Genie said they didn't send out service people, but they'd try to help me by phone - gee, thanks), it still doesn't work.

So I'm taking my Christmas money and getting a new opener installed. Midlothian Garage Door Service will be at my house Monday morning between 8 and 10 AM (and could have been there today, if I were home), and the owner said the new opener WILL work when they leave, and that I can call him anytime if there are problems. I think I'll shop locally from now on. It may end up costing me a bit more, but I'll know who to get in touch with if I need some help.

No more parking the car out in the driveway in the wind and rain and cold! Yay!!! Happy Christmas to me, indeed!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Much to catch up on

No zoo job for Brian. That's a bummer, but still, teaching may work out to be the better thing for him. So he's still applying. Yes, a permanent, full-time job would be preferable to taking sub assignments and whatever can be done in the summer and hoping for a full-time assignment for the start of the 2008-09 school year. But there are enough school districts close by that finding plenty of work as a sub shouldn't be hard to do, and if teaching is what Brian is meant to do, then something will work out.

My dad came for Christmas. He called the Thursday before and said he was coming for Christmas Day, and I nearly fainted. I love my dad, but he's a Perfectionist with a capital P, and my house is nowhere near perfect. So Brian was here that weekend, and we frantically cleaned and dejunked and stowed stuff out of sight as much as possible. I had to go to work on Monday, and Brian was here with J. He called me about 2:30 and said, "Guess who's here!" Yep, my dad. So much for doing any more cleaning before he came over, it was what it was, and what it was, was a mess. The house was certainly not up to dad standards, but you know what? It was OK. He might have come near to biting a hole through his tongue to keep from commenting, but he said not one word about the clutter around the house. And we had a nice visit. This was the first time my dad had come to my house in five years. The last time he was here was shortly after J was born. So there was no way in the world I was going to tell him not to show up. I worry about him, though. The tremors are more noticeable now, so that either means he's becoming accustomed to his meds or the Parkinson's is progressing, or both. My stepmom and I were both worried about him driving by himself, but once my dad gets an idea in his head, it's not coming out, so drive by himself he did. He didn't stay long, he headed back home before lunchtime on Christmas Day, but I'm glad we got to spend some time together. J was glad to see his papaw, which made me happy, and probably my dad, too, especially since they don't see each other very often.

And Santa was good to us. J got a lot of goodies, but the big thing was the Wii. He seems to prefer watching me play most of the time, as he gets aggravated when he can't make it do what he wants and refuses to wait for direction most of the time. But he's shown himself to be quite the pro at boxing, of all things. He has a little running commentary going as he plays: "Go! Get him! Smash him! Pow! Bang! You gonna mess ME up?" and on and on. I really need to get video of it, because it's pretty darned funny.

More kid funnies: J's stepsister has apparently claimed him for her own. J went to K's on Christmas night and stayed the next day, and his stepsister followed him around constantly, asking where "her J" was and saying she was going to sit by "her J". Heaven help any future girlfriend of J, as his stepsister is likely to knock said girlfriend's block off. LOL

I'm sure there's more I need/want to write about, but this will have to do for now. It's bedtime.

Friday, December 14, 2007


J went to school on Thursday with the understanding that he would apologize and offer to help clean up the mess. One of the guys at the Y program told me that evening that J offered to help not once, but twice. So he did well, my little boy, and I hope this will stick with him and there'll be no more coloring on the floor.

Today was the first day Brian might possibly have heard from the Dallas Zoo. No word. Hopefully that means he'll hear something Monday, and not that he didn't get the job. Twitch, fidget.

I'm going to be up late tonight, trying to finish up Bright Blessings orders and get 'em out the door. I wish I had more hours in the day, so I could devote more time to that. Heck, I wish I could quit my day job and do Bright Blessings full time, but I'm nowhere near that point, and may never be.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Unnecessary decoration

K just called (he picks J up on Wednesdays and they go do something, just the two of them). J got into trouble today. At the after school program, he was given a time out for some minor infraction. While in time out, he took it upon himself to decorate the gym floor with crayons. If it doesn't come out, the Y (they run the after school program) will be responsible for it, and I don't know if that will somehow be passed along to me or what. J knows better. He knows we only color on paper, and I've never had him color on anything like that at home, at least not since he wasn't old enough to know better. I'm so vexed right now, I could scream.

The wai-ai-ting is the hardest part

My apologies to Tom Petty. LOL

Brian had his interview with the zoo on Monday. He felt like it went pretty well. He said there were a couple of points he knew he wasn't as strong on (for example, management experience - he has experience managing a classroom, but that doesn't seem to count as "management experience"), but he did as well as he could on those and did fine on other questions. They had three more people to interview, and apparently they're looking to make a decision soon. They asked when he could be here if he were offered the job. He said he had to give a month's notice to his current employer, and they asked, "So you could be here by mid-January?" Given that his interview was on December 10, I'd say that sounds like they may have a decision by this Friday (December 14 is just about mid-December, after all). So now we wait. I hate waiting.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

From one extreme to the other

Yesterday we were wearing shorts. Today it's 35 degrees out and they're talking about possible ice storms and freezing rain. !!! It's true - if you don't like the weather in Texas, wait a minute, it'll change.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Guess I'd better enjoy it while it lasts

We've been watching Monster House tonight - cute movie, and apparently my kid is going to be a scary movie freak. It fazes him not at all. Anyway, the main characters in the movie are pre-teen/early teens, I guess, and at one point the girl kisses the hero of the film. J saw that and said, "Ewwww, gross, stinky girl kisses!" I'm sure the time will come all too soon when he doesn't think girl kisses are stinky anymore.

Friday, December 07, 2007

It's all fun and games until someone has to lose

Tonight was movie night at J's school - free movie, pizza for a dollar a slice, drinks and snacks for 50 cents each. I love that his school does things like this. It's inexpensive entertainment, and it gives us a chance to get away from the TV and get out and do things. (Yes, I know, movie, TV, both involve watching something on a screen - but a movie with a cafeteria full of elementary school kids is definitely not a sedentary activity!)

J must have been hungry - he ate FIVE pieces of pizza when I was there, and the woman who works with the after-school program said he had three pieces of pizza between the time school ended and the time I got there. *eek* I'm thinking growth spurt. That, or lunch today wasn't quite what he was hoping for and he didn't eat. We got our food and put our blankets out in what we thought was a good spot, but had to move to be closer to some of J's friends. The movie started at 7:00, and the feature this evening was to be The Santa Clause 3. Not having seen 1 or 2, I worried that we wouldn't be able to follow the plot, but it was fine. It was actually a pretty cute movie, or at least the parts I got to watch were. J decided that mama made a great pillow, and laid down on my back. Have you ever had a 50-something pound boy lying on your back while you're lying on a tile floor? One word: ouch. Hard to concentrate like that, that's for sure.

But anyway, we watched the movie and stuffed ourselves full of pizza, and J got to play with some of his friends. And at the end of the evening, there was a drawing for door prizes, one of which was a copy of the movie we'd just watched. J waited anxiously for the number to be called...and was crushed when it wasn't his. He sobbed and cried that he'd wanted to win, he didn't win anything, everyone was supposed to win a prize. I explained to him that no, everyone didn't get a prize, there were only three prizes, and way more people than that. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't. He was pretty well inconsolable all the way out to the car, until I thought to tell him that who knew, Santa might leave that movie in his Christmas stocking. And you never know, stranger things have happened.

He sacked out sometime after 10:00 tonight, and I'm going to get myself to bed here in a minute. Just because he was up late doesn't mean he'll sleep late - never has. And we've got lots to do tomorrow!

And what's with the weather?!

It's in the high 70s today. Apparently the weather pixie missed the memo that it's December. But hey, I guess I'll take short sleeves over shoveling snow any day.

Christmas shopping

Well, I'm pretty much done with shopping for J! He's getting a Wii this year. (OK, OK, *we're* getting a Wii - I'm excited about it for me, too!) He's quite the little gamer, and can take off and play most anything if I'll help him read the instructions. He enjoys playing games, he likes his stepbrother's old Playstation (at least I think it's a Playstation - Playstation, XBox, something or other), and I figured that with the Wii, at least it's motion controlled, so he'll be up and jumping around, and it's something we can do together. I'm pretty darn excited about it. I've got accessories on the way, and I'll grab a few stocking stuffers, but that's all done.

Family - we're doing homemade things this year, and pictures of the grandson. Those always go over well, especially since grandparents don't get to see J so much as they might like, with us being in different states.

As for me, there's just not a whole lot I want. Now I understand why my mother never could give me gift ideas for herself when I was growing up - it's so much more fun to do for J and to do for those I love that honestly, there just isn't anything I could ask for. Well, except for a job for Brian. If God could see fit to open some doors up this way sometime soon, that would be the best Christmas gift of all.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What's your elf name?

In the spirit of the season, I've swiped this from Dixie's blog and placed it here, for the entertainment of anyone who might happen by.

Your Elf Name Is...

Happy Sticky Fingers

Wouldn't it be nice if this was right?

Today's online fortune cookie:

"Your enterprise will bring great profit."

Well, that would be a dandy way to start the new year! My experience with Black Friday sales has been very enlightening. I didn't get vast quantities of orders - barely in the double digits. But for me, as a one-woman show, trying to work around my day job and motherhood, it's more than enough to keep me hopping. In the interest of keeping my products top quality and keeping turnaround time reasonable, I'm going to cut my scent list back a good bit after the first of the year. Having orders for tarts in forty or fifty different scents, one or two of each, is tough on me. You can't make just one tart at a time, so I end up making at least half a pound's of wax worth (about four tarts, or two tarts and two batches of tiny twinkles), and hope the ones not needed right then sell at some point. So I end up making forty or fifty batches of tarts, using a lot of wax, and possibly ending up with a lot of excess inventory. Yep, definitely a learning experience. But hopefully cutting down on the number of scents will help with that.

It's been a day at work. I spent the morning getting stuff ready for committee review this afternoon, and then I got to go to the Dallas Estate Planning Council meeting for lunch and a presentation. Free lunch - always good. Free CLE (continuing legal education) hours for listening to the presentation - even better. The meeting turned out to be longer than we'd thought - lunch from 12:00 to 12:30 and then the presentation from 12:30 to 2:30, instead of the usual one-hour presentation. Good for me, that means one more hour of CLE credit than I expected. The speaker was really good, and seeing her talk reinforces for me that it's a good idea that I never went into private practice. I'm just not convinced I have the personality for it.

And now it's after 3:00 and I'm trying to motivate myself to be wildly productive. Ha, ha. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Honestly, who thinks up this stuff?!

Leapin' lizards! The things people will do to get high.

Originally posted on the Kansas City Star website.

A 21-year-old Kansas City, North, man arrested in October is accused of possessing a controlled substance.

Clay County authorities are worried that the unusual type of substance -- the venom of the Sonoran Desert toad of the Colorado River -- in the case against David S. Theiss is becoming popular.

Officials accuse Theiss of possessing the toad with the intent to extract the venom to smoke it.

Clay County Prosecutor Daniel White said the case is an example of the elaborate lengths some people are going to in order to get high.

White said possessing the toad is not illegal, but investigators, not familiar with the method, had to research the toad to make sure it is not a protected species.

White said Theiss was charged after investigators determined he allegedly possessed the toad with the intent to get high off its venom.

White said the toad has gained popularity because it secretes venom on its back when the creature becomes angry or frightened -- a venom that contains a hallucinogen called bufotenine.

The hallucinogen and what authorities refer to as 'toad smoking' are illegal, White said.

Authorities found the toad and other items when they went to a Northland residence to investigate a suspected meth lab. They later arrested Theiss and charged him with three counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia -- the toad.

For years, White said, people experimented with 'toad licking,' but toad smoking is considered a substitute. To do so, a person heats the frog's venom, which breaks down its toxins and preserves the hallucinogen. Then it's dried and smoked.

White said the use of a toad and extracts from natural plants to get high are becoming popular. He said there are some Internet sites that feature an instructional video on how to extract the toad's venom.

'It is easier to get it, and law enforcement might not immediately know you use it to get high,' White said. 'It's sort of a New Age way to get high. You convince yourself it is OK because it is something you get naturally from our environment.

'There are a lot of things that are created naturally but they are still not legal.'

Theiss is also accused of possessing mescaline, a controlled substance extracted from a cactus.

Still, White said, there are others who may be taking an even more extreme measure to get high -- such as sniffing fermented human waste.

Vicky Ward, manager of prevention services at Tri-County Mental Health Services, said she has seen e-mail warnings about kids getting high off a drug called jenkem. The drug, made from fermented feces and urine, isn't prevalent in the area, but kids are familiar with it, she said.

'We work with a lot of youths and we ask them whether anyone has tried it and they said no,' said Ward, who belongs to service e-mail groups for prevention specialists. 'They (the youths) have heard about it because it is on the Internet.'

Ward said, a Web site that investigates urban legends, indicates the use of jenkem is undetermined.

'Kids get ideas that later turn out to be unfounded, but you will get some idiots who will try anything,' she said.

For pity's sake, who was the first person to think, "Gee, I need a good buzz...let's see...hmm, no tequila, no beer...Hey! I've got it! I'll just give this little ol' toad a lick!"???? That's either someone who's desperate to get hopped up on something or other, or someone who doesn't have the sense God gave a rutabaga, to be licking a toad in the first place.

Of course, the former prosecutor here wants to know - how exactly did the police determine this guy possessed the toad with the intention to get high off its venom? Did they catch him in the act? If not, I wouldn't want to be the one taking that case to trial, because there'd really be no way to prove it short of actual viewing of the offense or the guy admitting he planned to do that.

Where's a sledgehammer when you really need one?

If I had one, I'd go destroy our stupid printer. We've had people up here messing with the printers, supposedly changing them out as part of some "print optimization" project, and now that we're essentially two different companies, we have one printer with one type of letterhead and one with another. I've been trying to print a letter for half an hour. The first time, I forgot and sent it to the wrong printer (wrong letterhead). The forty-seven times I've tried since then, I sent it to the right printer, but the first page WILL NOT PRINT on letterhead. GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

And when I finally went and copied it onto letterhead and took it to the administrator for her signature, she informed me I'd done her signature block incorrectly. I scream now, 'K? I am so ready to go home, it's not even funny.

I am the mama.

This occurred to me this morning as I was on my way to work. I was listening to Christmas songs, and one of the songs I grew up with came on, and it dawned on me. I am the mama. I am the matriarch of my little family. If any Christmas traditions are to be made or carried on, it's up to me to do it.

I think it's time to get back into my Christmas baking. I haven't really done much of it since Mama passed away, and that's one tradition I don't want to lose. And I'll have to think of some new traditions that can be just for us.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Not tonight

I'm not making tarts tonight. I'm cleaning up the kitchen, taking a big ol' bath, having a glass of eggnog, reading a bit, and calling it a night. Tomorrow I'll have to work double-hard, but tonight I need the break.

But a better evening

I picked J up from school this evening, bracing myself for his usual complaints of "but I'm not done PLAYING yet!" (Mind you, I'm glad he likes the after-school program, and him not wanting to leave is better than the alternative, but when you've had a really crappy day at work, hearing your child cry all the way out to the car that he wasn't finished playing, he didn't get to do X, Y or Z and he wants to stay at school all night just doesn't do much for your mental well-being!) To my surprise, there was a minimum of fuss and muss. We went to the reindeer store and picked out little gifts for grandparents, stopped for take-out on the way home, and now it's just about time for bath and bed. All things considered, it's been a good evening so far.

Let me see about getting him settled, and then it's time to do a load or two of wash and make a batch or three of tarts.

Another brilliant start to the day

J was in rare form last night and this morning. I know being spirited means he really does feel things more intensely than other kids, but OMG, the drama. I picked him up from school. He asked if I brought a snack - well, no, but we're five minutes from home. Aaaaaand the wailing commenced. "I wanted a SNAAAAACK! I'm HUNGRY! I never get any snacks to eat in the caaaaaar!" He gave that up about halfway home, and when we got home, I gave him some peanut butter crackers while I fixed dinner (pizza bagels for him, which take all of about five minutes). He sucked those down and asked for more just as I was putting the pizza bagels in the oven (meaning, they needed to toast under the broiler for just a couple of minutes, and then they'd be done). I told him no, no more snacks right then, that dinner would be ready in just a couple of minutes. And more wailing about how he was STARVING, he never got anything to EAT, and on and on.

This morning: We woke up, not quite late but not as early as I'd hoped. I told him to go brush his teeth. Screaming and "I don't know HOW to brush my teeth!" Lisa goes and bangs her head against the nearest wall. He certainly does know how to brush his teeth - I love how, if he doesn't *want* to do something, he suddenly doesn't know *how* to do it. So we're working on getting teeth brushed when he starts screaming again. What?! Why are you screaming like your hair is on fire? He tells me his arm hurts. I don't see a mark on it, he seems to be able to move it OK and wiggle his fingers and everything, and I tell him he probably just slept on it funny, that the soreness will work out after he's been up and moving for a while. I gave him a dose of Motrin just to be on the safe side, but I didn't see a thing wrong with his arm. But he screamed like it was broken in three different places or something.

And trying to get out the door makes me nuts. How do you get your child to grasp the concept that when it's time to get ready and go to school, we don't worry about things like putting the feet back on our Bionicle that's going to be at home all day anyway. I told him we needed to get out the door, that we were close to being late and it was time to go right then, and he starts howling because I won't take the time to fix his Bionicle that he's just dismantled. *bang head, bang head, bang head, wish for Kahlua in morning coffee* I was worn out before we ever got out the door.

And we're still struggling with the concept of the reindeer store (the store they're having at school to give the kids a chance to buy presents for their family members). We've had this conversation more than once. He keeps insisting we need to buy presents for him there, that no one gets him any presents. I'm trying to explain to him that he buys presents for others there, and we buy for him (me, Daddy, Brian, the horde of grandparents, etc.), and no one knows what they got from anyone else UNTIL CHRISTMAS, because we don't open our presents UNTIL CHRISTMAS. This is all going over like a ton of bricks with the boy who thinks all the presents should be for him, right this minute. *wish for Kahlua AND Bailey's in morning coffee* I sent him with a budget and instructions to buy for parents today. The reindeer store is open late tonight, so I told him we'd take care of grandparents this evening, together. I can only imagine what he'd do if I tried to send him with enough money to buy that many gifts - come home with things for himself, I'm sure.

It just makes me tired that everything seems to call for a big dramatic production. (I'm a Gemini, I don't do drama so well.) I can understand disappointment - it's fine to be disappointed over something and to express that disappointment. It's understandable that sometimes you're so disappointed, you cry. But having to have the same conversation over and over again, and having every disappointment, big or small, expressed in the form of tears and screaming, that just wears me right out. I love my son dearly, I just wish I could help him figure out some way other than the meltdown to get those feelings out. I think I'm spirited, too, which is part of the problem - we both want things how we want them, when we want them, and depending on the circumstance, one of us isn't going to have that happen. That's when he gets weepy and I get impatient, and then all heck breaks loose. Maybe I need to learn to step back and do a better job of staying cool - I'm the parent, after all.

Happy news!!!

Brian has an interview with the Dallas Zoo tentatively scheduled for Monday, Dec. 10! It would pay less than teaching, and he'd have a yucky commute like I do, but if this works out, he'd be here before the end of March!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Monday miscellanea

The day started with a bang. We overslept - always a good start to the day. I got J to school on time, then realized I'd left my purse at home, so I had to go back and get it. Traffic in downtown Dallas, and most especially in our parking garage, was like idiots on parade - I just love it when you've got one really.poky.person at the front of a line of about fifteen cars all trying to get into the garage, and that one poky person must try to squeeze his or her car into EVERY.ITTY.BITTY.SPACE they find. Whoops, the car doesn't fit, let me back out and p-o-k-e around to a lower level to try again. I'm thinking, just go down to level F already, there's always plenty of parking there! So, the morning was off to a zippy start, and I was wishing for a redo by about 9 AM.

Then I found out I was going to be priority one for taking calls for our sister team while they were out on their team outing. I HATE taking calls. Loathe it with a deep and undying passion. I do it because I have to, because it's part of my job, but it's sure not my favorite thing, and I really don't want to be a priority one any more often than I absolutely must. (I'm usually a priority four for our team, and I take very few calls, which suits me just fine.) And naturally, this was the afternoon the crazy man called. A lot. I was hung up on two times, a couple of my other teammates were hung up on a couple of times, and finally, the third time I got the call, he let me transfer him to a manager to discuss his issue. He then proceeded to hang up on her. Good times!

I've made three batches of tarts tonight: Lavender Flowers, Fudge Brownie Buttercream, and Wildberry Crisp. J now wants to help me make tarts. I've let him mix color and/or fragrance into the melted wax, but only with very close supervision. My busy, easily distracted little boy and a pot of melted wax just screams of the possibility of disaster if I turn my head for a second, so I don't. But I hate to tell him a flat-out "no" when he so very much wants to help. Thankfully, he loses interest after just a little bit, and I can breathe again.

Darling, I forgive you everything,
Anything is better than to be alone
In the end I guess I had to fall,
Always find my place among the ashes

Can you imagine being so afraid of being alone that you'd make a really bad decision? I think that's what K has done. I think he let his fear of being alone override the red flags he may have seen when he was dating A, and married her anyway, and I'm afraid that now he's realizing he's not happy, he's made a mistake. I may not be married to him anymore, but I don't want to see him miserable (and I also don't want to see J miserable when it comes time to spend time with his father). I hope he can find the wherewithal to either make things work (which would also require A's participation - I know from experience that one person can't fix a marriage alone) or to make a break if things can't be fixed. I hope his worries over being alone don't lead him to stay in a situation where he isn't happy. Life is both too short and too long to let yourself be miserable.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The slacker blogger returns

Yes, once again, I've fallen way behind in my blogging. Bad Lisa, 20 lashes with a wet noodle.

I'm working on the Bright Blessings orders that I got during my Black Friday promotion. Not a huge amount in terms of numbers, but plenty to keep little old me busy. I'm a one-woman show, and Bright Blessings is just one of many jobs I do each day. I wish I could take off a couple of days and just work on orders, but it's the end of the year and I've got precious little vacation time left.

Brian didn't get the National Archives job, which was a bit of a downer, but perhaps that's God's way of directing him elsewhere. We've talked about it a good bit, and he's feeling like he should get back into teaching. When he found out that all it would take to reinstate his certificate was an online application and a whopping $47 fee, we took that as a pretty big sign. He'd been worried that he'd have to take tests or pay exorbitant fees or both.

And so now comes time for the leap of faith. At first Brian had said he'd wait until his current lease was up to move this way and start looking for jobs, but his lease isn't up until the end of May. Well, neither of us wants to wait until then - for one, he'd likely miss out on applying for any teaching positions for the 2008-09 school year if he waited until then, and for two, two years is a damn long time to do the long-distance thing. So he's moving here at the end of March, and getting his name on the substitute lists for all the nearby districts (there are enough that he should be able to work nearly every day, if not every day), and hoping for a full-time position in the fall. They're opening a new elementary school right around the corner (literally) from the house, and the positions there will be filled from February through April 2008. It would be wonderful if that worked out - he wouldn't have to make the drive to Dallas/Fort Worth every day (and that would save us on gas money), and his schedule would be comparable to J's (which would save us a ton on after school care during the school year, although we'd likely do some summer programs to give J the chance to interact with other kids and burn off some of that extra energy he's got). So, we're praying for something to open up along those lines. Either way, we'll be in the same house as of the end of March. Eek! Yay!

Of course, once we'd talked about teaching and decided to go that route, Brian got an e-mail regarding a position he'd applied for back in July. Pays less than teaching, but would keep him in the museum field - I told him it never hurts to talk to them. It would involve a commute to Dallas, though, which would stink for him.

Anyway, I reckon all of this means there'll be a wedding at some point in the spring. No date yet, nothing official, and I doubt seriously we'll go for anything big - we've both had the fancy-schmancy church wedding before, and neither of us feels a need to repeat it.

Speaking of wedding - a J funny: We went to see Brian's parents for Thanksgiving. We were at the dinner table, and (naturally) at a lull in conversation, J looks at Brian, points to me and says, "Brian, marry her." LOLOLOLOL I nearly spit out my mouthful of tea. If we weren't already at the point of planning to get married, that would have been embarrassing! As it was, it was just funny.

And speaking of J, he got his second six weeks report card on Friday. He's taking kindergarten by storm - he got all S's (for "successful" - no actual letter grades in kindergarten) for the second six weeks, he knows all his uppercase and lowercase letters and the sounds they make, he knows nearly all of the 34 sight words they're supposed to know by the end of the year, he got all good marks in conduct, and he's up to level C in reading (the kindergarten levels are non-reader, A, B, C, and D, and first grade reading starts with E - I'd be surprised if he's not up to a first-grade reading level by the end of the year). I'm so proud of my big boy!

Midnight already, and tomorrow is Monday. I don't feel like it should be Monday already. I'd better get some sleep. Year-end will be a busy time for me now that I'm in my new role!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ups and downs

Ups: My goodies are getting good reviews - the October Little Black Box has gone out and November's won't be far behind. Check it out! Hopefully my little business will start to take off here pretty soon.

Downs: Tonight is J's first real trick or treat experience. He's going with K, which makes logical sense, because my neighborhood isn't conducive to trick or treating. The houses are spread out, there are no sidewalks, it's not well lit. K lives in a nice tidy little subdivision with proper sidewalks and the houses close together. I like living in the country, but I know we can't go door to door out here. So, logically, it makes sense that he go with K and have fun trick or treating with his stepsiblings. Emotionally, though, I hate it. It's his first trick or treat, and I won't be there to see it. I'm miserable. I told K to take lots of pictures, and I'm going to go console myself with the biggest cup of chocolate frozen custard that I can buy.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday's Feast

Feast #166

Name a great website you would recommend to others.

Mine, of course! LOL If I'm getting away from shameless self-promotion, I'd recommend Organized Home or Recipezaar - Organized Home has a lot of good ideas about decluttering and keeping your household running smoothly, and Recipezaar is my go-to source for good recipes.

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 as highest), how often do you dream at night?

I'm sure I dream every night, but I very seldom remember them. So if I'm rating how often I know that I've dreamed, I'd have to say a 2 on a 1-10 scale.

Did you have a pet as a child? If so, what kind and what was its name?

I had several pets. My first was a kitten named Melody. I then had another kitten named Alexander, a variety of goldfish, a crawfish named Clovis, a dog named Angel, a horse named Missy, and another dog named JB.

Main Course
If you had the chance to star in a commercial, what would you choose to advertise?

Coffee. I couldn't function without it, so I'd be happy to talk about it.

What is your favorite kind of hard candy?

I'm really not a big fan of hard candy. I do like peppermints, though, and the occasional butterscotch.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #11

Good grief, it's been a while since I've done this. Too much going on and the need to actually work have contributed, I guess. Here we go with the latest entry.

Thirteen Things Brian and I Plan to Do When We Have The Money

Most of these are sensible, practical household things, but not all of them.

1. Have the nasty carpet taken out and replace it with hardwood or laminate flooring.
2. Build a nice deck/patio area in the back yard.
3. Get a storage shed/workshop put up (probably one of the ones you can buy at Lowes or Home Depot, but big enough to have room for yard equipment and for him to do some woodworking).
4. Take a family vacation to Disney World!
5. Have a radiant heat barrier installed in the attic to help cut down on electric bills.
6. Redo the landscaping in the yard. What I have now is less than spectacular.
7. Fix all the little plumbing annoyances around the house (nothing that rises to the level of needing a repair right now, just stuff that's annoying).
8. Save more for retirement.
9. Set up an education fund for J.
10. Pay off debt faster.
11. Take a trip to England/Ireland/Scotland/Wales.
12. Get new window treatments throughout the house.
13. Corian countertops and sink for the kitchen.

I'm sure there's more, but this list will take us a good little while to work through, so it's a good start!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. sassy lucy

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!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

First six weeks already?

So I'm a bit late posting about it, but I had an end-of-six-weeks conference with J's teacher on Tuesday. They don't give a formal report card at the end of the first six weeks for kindergarteners, since the whole school experience is one big learning curve for them, so we get that information in the conferences. My little boy is doing well in school! His teacher said he has lots of good skills already - he was able to identify 51 of 52 capital and lowercase letters by sight (the lowercase q tripped him up), he was able to identify 20 of 26 initial sounds, he was able to give words that started with 21 of the 26 letters, and he recognized 13 of the 34 words they're supposed to be able to recognize by sight by the end of the year. She said she got the impression that he could have given her the other words and he could have identified the other sounds, but he just didn't want to, and I said that was likely exactly right, that he's that way with me - when he's done, he's DONE, and there's just no getting anything else out of him. She also said he only counted from 1 to 10 out loud, and again, she had the impression he was just finished and there was more there had he chosen to share it. She's got him pegged on that, and he and I will work on the idea that when there's a test, you tell everything you know, not just until you're tired of doing it. He knew all his colors and shapes, and she said they'll start reading books next week! Yay!!! I'm hoping that once he realizes that he can pick up any book and read it, that the reading will really click for him. I know the skills are there, he just doesn't put it all together unless he feels like making the effort. She said he loves to talk, that when they're reading in the big circle, he's got a comment for everything - she loves the enthusiasm, but they've gotta stay on task, you know. (Same thing here with bedtime stories, a comment for every page.) She said he's a good kid, and he's doing well, so I'm tickled. And they're cutting out rest time starting next week (she said none of the kids ever sleep anyway), so perhaps that will make bedtime just a tiny bit easier.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title

A little bit of randomness for a Thursday night!

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Most Serene Highness Lady Lisa the Extemporaneous of New Invention
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Time for a big update!

I haven't really updated in a while, and I DO have stuff going on besides Bright Blessings, so let me try to catch up a bit.

A couple of weekends ago, we (Brian, J and I) went to east Texas to spend the weekend with Brian's parents. J was mostly very well-behaved, although he had a fit when Brian and I tried to get him to ride on the golf cart (well, more like a ramped-up go cart for getting through woods and over bumpy places and stuff) - he didn't want to ride and didn't want me to go, but Brian's mom got him settled down and Brian and I took a ride around their property. But other than that and getting antsy in church on Sunday (and the pastor was long-winded, so I was a little antsy myself), he was fine. He's adopted Brian's parents - they're now Memaw and Pepaw. LOL We got to see the baby calves, and play with all sorts of equipment (backhoe, lawnmower, you name it, J wanted to pretend he was driving it), and go out to the lake in the big woods, and Brian and J played in the dirt with monster trucks. Julian was so tired Saturday night, I don't think he moved at all for several hours after he went to sleep!

We got home that Sunday around 6:30. It was only about a two-hour drive, but it felt like forever. Brian left to go back to Waco around 7:00, and just after he'd gone outside to get in his car, J started pointing toward the door and crying. We had to go outside to tell Brian goodbye again, and when Brian drove off, J just sobbed. He said, "Mama, I miss Brian!" and he just cried like his little heart would break. I wanted to cry right along with him, and Brian said he nearly lost it when he saw how sad J was. So, something just needs to work out. My family likes Brian, his family likes me, J adores him, it's been nearly two years - enough already, we need something to break our way. J told me last night before bed that he missed Brian and wished he could stay here all the time, and this morning he told me he wanted to go see Brian's family again.

I think some trips out to the country would be good for him - Brian has two nephews, and none of them are afraid to get out and get dirty and do guy stuff, and a little dirt is good for a growing boy! I figure it won't take too many trips before J not only will *want* to ride the buggy through the woods, but will want to drive it, and it won't be long after that before he wants to try to do wheelies on the 4-wheeler like Brian's younger nephew. I grew up in the country, so this is all like home to me. I can't tell you how many go-cart and 4-wheeler crashes my cousins and I had when we were growing up!

On the "ending up in the same place" front, Brian has a possible job lead. He'd applied (for the second time) for a position with the National Archives a couple of months ago. He'd interviewed back in late 2005, early 2006, and was one of eight selected for an interview out of over 400 applicants, but didn't get the job. The woman who was hired went back to the art museum world, and the position came open again. We'd both sort of given up on it this time, as it had been a while and he hadn't heard anything. He got home one night last week and found a letter - just one page, and he thought, well, crap, that's the end of that, it's a neg letter. But the letter said his application had been forwarded to the hiring manager for further review, and he'd be contacted if he was chosen for an interview! It's not a job offer yet, or even an interview yet. But it's a step further along in the process, and I can't imagine that he wouldn't be called for an interview this time, since he's already interviewed with them once. So if y'all have prayers, good thoughts, lit candles to spare, we'd appreciate them. We've been seeing each other for just about two years now, it's time for this long distance nonsense to be done with.

We've even talked about figuring what Brian would need to make in terms of a part-time job, should a solid permanent job offer not pan out by next May. Brian's lease is up in April, and he wouldn't want to bail on his current job during the school year (their busy season) without a solid offer, but he said that if his lease runs out and nothing has worked out, he'd find something part-time to do until something did, and just go on and move up here anyway. So, EEK and YAY all at the same time!!! At some point, there will be a wedding, then - I reckon it's just a question of when. (I'd really prefer the National Archives job to work out, though!)

More to come....

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Little Black Box

Lookit!!!! I'm on the list!!!!

The listing for Bright Blessings is a good way down the page, but it's there! I hope people who get boxes with my stuff in there like what I sent. Eeek!!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

We have liftoff!

My website is up and running. Bright Blessings Candles is officially open for business!

So far I've gotten really good reviews on everything. It's exciting, and a little scary, too. Yikes. I'm still sort of in shock that I can make things that people actually LIKE. The possibilities are mind-boggling. OK, I don't expect to rival Yankee Candles or Bath & Body Works anytime soon. But maybe I can get to the point where I make enough extra money to really help out the family finances. I'm hopeful, anyway!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ever had a day like this?


That just made me laugh.

Today, J started kindergarten. Big school. No more daycare. I was fine for drop-off, and he was so excited, I don't think he even knew when I left. LOL I went to the Boo-Hoo Breakfast that the Parent-Teacher Volunteers (PTV) had for parents of kindergarteners, and I was fine. And then I got to the car and just sobbed. I cried because my baby is getting so big, he's not a baby anymore and will just keep on growing. I cried because it was hard seeing all the moms *and* dads there bringing their kids to school, sharing the moment, and here I was all by my lonesome, and that's not how it was supposed to turn out.


And now I'm home. I'm getting a few things done, making more tarts (I've had six orders now! Woo!), getting packages sent out. I'll go pick J up a little earlier than I usually would, but not so early that he'll get the mistaken impression that I'll be there by 3:30 every afternoon. I hope he likes the after-school program. I hope he likes his classmates. I haven't gotten any calls from the school, so I guess that's a good thing.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A little shameless self-promotion

I'm trying to start up my own little business, making wax tarts - you know, the things you melt over a tealight or in an electric burner to scent your house and make it smell yummy good. I've had a surprising amount of interest thus far, and if it continues, I'll get my website back up ASAP. I've had the domain name for over a year now, I just hadn't done anything with it. My little proprietorship is Bright Blessings Candles, and here are some pics of my tarts:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

They're 2 ounces each, and right now I've got Red Velvet Cake and Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie in stock. I'm working on a full scent list, and I'm glad to take custom orders if anyone is interested. I'm about to order more wax, but fortunately my supplier is here close by, so it doesn't take but a couple of days to get here.

I'm so excited about the possibilities!!! I don't expect tarts in and of themselves will ever bring in enough money to let me quit my day job, but I'm hoping I can eventually make enough to replace the income I lost when my transcription gig went away.

Much to write about, I'll update more (with pics!) later.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Book Quiz

I'm not sure I agree with it, but I did like the book.

You're The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

by Douglas Adams

Considered by many to be one of the funniest people around, you are
quite an entertainer. You've also traveled to the far reaches of what you deem possible,
often confused and unsure of yourself. Life continues to jostle you around like a marble,
but it's shown you so much of the world that you don't care. Wacky adventures continue to
lie ahead. Your favorite number is 42.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Friday, July 13, 2007

My one and only

People keep asking me when I'm going to have another baby. I smile politely and tell them I don't plan on having any more at this time, and they look at me like I've sprouted a horn. Why is everyone so interested in my reproductive plans, or the lack thereof? I'm already a single mother, does anyone seriously think that this would be a good time for me to even contemplate having a child? (And yes, most of the people doing the asking are well aware that I'm divorced.) And why do so many people think being an only child is somehow an impediment? I grew up an only child (I say "grew up" because I was adopted, and it turns out I have half-siblings, but to my parents, I was an only child). I turned out OK, I think. I've actually had people say to me, "Gee, you don't act like an only child, I never would have guessed." ??? What exactly are only children supposed to act like, and why do so many people seem to think I'm dooming J to some substandard life by not having a sibling for him to torment...I mean, play with?

I know Brian would like to have a child, and should we be married, I'm willing to try (although I'm not getting any younger!). Not sure what lengths I'd be willing to go to if it didn't happen naturally, and I've told him it might not, because we had to have help to get J here. But if I never have another child, I won't be crushed. I won't feel like my life is any less full because I'm the mother of one rather than the mother of more. I never envisioned myself as having a whole passel of kids, anyway. There were days I didn't think I'd even ever get married, much less have kids, and there are days now where I'm so close to the end of my rope that I wonder if God *really* knew what He was doing when He blessed me with J. (And yes, he is a blessing, even if there are days he makes me want to bang my head into a wall!) So I'm perfectly happy with one. How is anyone else qualified to question that decision? Most days I'm OK with it, but today it bugs me. I'm in a mood, and being asked that gets a bit old.

We had a baby shower for a co-worker this afternoon. She's having a little girl, so she got tons of cute pastel pink and ruffly stuff, and a tiny part of me thought, wow, if I had a little girl, I could get all that pink ruffly stuff. And the bigger part of me though, what are you, nuts? J can walk and talk and carry on a conversation and tell you what's going on and sleeps all night most nights (even if bedtime isn't necessarily early or easy) and he's potty trained and you're done with bottles and diapers and up every three hours - would you really go back to that?

Only if God has a sense of humor and life works out just right.

Thursday Thirteen #10

So I'm a day late. It happens.

Thirteen Things I Can Do While My Son Is With His Father

1. Eat my dinner while it's still hot.
2. Get all the laundry folded and put away as soon as it comes out of the dryer.
3. Clear a path through the toys on the living room floor.
4. Read my own books before bedtime.
5. Watch something on TV that isn't animated and that doesn't involve space aliens or shoot guns.
6. Get to work on time, without a little boy whining that he doesn't *want* to go to school.
7. Take a shower without interruption.
8. Take a bubble bath without clearing a vat of toys out of the tub first. (K bought a 74-piece of foam letters and numbers and cars and whatnot that are made for playing in the bath. Next time he does that, I'm going to hit him with a wet noodle, once for every piece in the set. Better yet, next time he does that, the 74-piece monstrosity can stay at *his* house.)
9. Get a night's sleep uninterrupted by a little boy coming and crawling into bed with me (and stepping on my stomach in the process).
10. Sleep in past daybreak on Saturday.
11. Clean out my car and keep it clean for a few days.
12. Do anything on the computer *other than* Jump Start or Ben 10.
13. Enjoy the silence - and then realize how very quiet my house is without my son, and miss him and wish for the week to be over already.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

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!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


My birthday present from Brian:

It's a ring, although not one involving diamonds. It's a promise ring. When we're in the same place (because we will be, oh yes, we will), it will be replaced by a different one. :-)

I had a really nice birthday. I never did write about it, so here goes.

But we went to the Queen of Sheba, an Ethiopian restaurant in Dallas, for dinner. It was good. We had the Queen's Dinner, where they just bring you a little of everything. First they had the handwashing ceremony - they brought out a big bowl with lemon slices in it, and we used the lemon slices like soap. Then they poured warm water over our hands to rinse off the lemony bits and dried them. It was nice, and I'd never thought to do that with lemon slices. I don't know if I can remember everything we ate, but I'll try. Our appetizer was a cold salad, lentils with tomato and jalapeno. It was SPICY, but very good. Then they brought out a big platter with little bits of all kinds of stuff - spicy lentils, spicy lamb, mild lamb, cabbage and potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, different kinds of chicken (so tender it just fell off the bone), beef and greens, and their version of steak tartare with fresh-made cheese. I did try the steak tartare - it didn't taste like raw meat, and it wasn't bad, but it wasn't my thing. The cheese was good - almost tart, and like feta in texture. Some things were cooked with a tomato-type sauce, some with a mustard sauce, and I can't even begin to identify all the spices they used.

The interesting thing was, you ate everything with your fingers! They brought out a plate with rolls of a thin, spongy bread called injera - you unrolled the bread, broke a piece off, and used it to pick up your food. After a while, it got tedious, and Brian and I were both wishing for silverware. LOL I had a glass of honey mead with my meal, and that was one gooooooood wine. I told Brian it wasn't something to drink on an empty stomach, because it was sweet and smooth, and something I could easily drink too much of without even realizing it. We had dessert - baklava and a fruit compote with the honey wine poured over it - and we ate until we were just about stupid. I had a tiny cup of Ethiopian coffee with it - black as night, and STRONG. It had an interesting flavor of spice to it - cinnamon, maybe, or cardamom? It was good, although not something I'd want to drink every day (I sure could have used it when J was at the height of his not-sleeping phase, though).

And THEN they brought out birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday! It was a very low-key rendition - no clapping and cheering and standing on chairs. I really enjoyed it. We were stuffed like Christmas geese afterward, and we STILL had birthday cake at the house!

So, happy birthday to me! I do believe my ring was the best present ever, although I must admit to hoping another one can take its place before too much longer.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


And as I look at it, it's a bit of a downer of an update. (I'll post in a bit about my birthday!)

Back in May, I did really well on the transcription test. I finally decided to check out financial aid, see if I qualified. I had to buy a new car, I was OK with that, I figured I could qualify for a few thousand dollars for medical transcription. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I didn't. I was told I didn't qualify on my own, that I could reapply with a credit-worthy cosigner. The catch? Everyone I know that I'd feel comfortable asking isn't a whole lot more credit-worthy than me. (No, I won't ask family - for one, I'd get the lecture on why don't I have the money saved to pay for this, and for two, that would be closely followed by the lecture on what am I thinking, throwing away my legal education like this. Never mind that my legal education is doing nothing but cost me money right now in terms of dues and taxes and continuing legal education, and my search of over two years for a job in the legal profession has gotten me exactly nowhere. I'd be throwing it away, and I'd hear about it in no uncertain terms.) K has agreed to co-sign for me, but I'm not sure it will go through. But, I appreciate the effort (and let me just say, the process of figuring out how to get that done has been a kerfuffle and a pain - if it's this difficult, maybe I'm not meant to do it?).

And so here I am, feeling like I'm flailing around, trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I wish Pampered Chef was my answer (I'm already a consultant, just inactive because I don't get out there and drum up tons of business), or candlemaking/soap making. But I don't have the time to devote to building up a PC business, at least not now while J is young enough to still really need/want mama's undivided attention and I don't have anyone to help with him. And I'm not a high-pressure salesperson anyway - I know myself well enough to know that I'm not going to be out there calling everyone I'm the least bit acquainted with and pushing them to have a party. I'm just not wired that way, and frankly, sometimes I wonder if the market is saturated with PC consultants to the point that people hear more than enough of it. Candlemaking/soap making, again with the time to invest in it, and it's something that will take a long time to get up and running before I'd see a profit that would make it more than a very expensive hobby, and that would be with more time to put in than I really have. It also doesn't help with this that J is with me so much - he's not old enough to safely help, and he still wants/needs enough of my attention that he's not ready to be told, "this is mama's work time, you've got to leave me alone for a bit". If I had a spouse to engage him during that time, that would be easier. But he's not going to handle being told, go play by yourself for a couple of hours while mama makes a batch of soap, and I'm not about to let him near lye (I'm considering cold process soap because I think it makes a nicer finished product as a rule, better for your skin, etc.).

I thought transcription might be it, but now I can't even get approved for the loan to take the certification program. The school offers a payment plan, but it's just a few lump sum payments, not nearly as spread out as a student loan would be, and I don't have the money to make those. So maybe transcription isn't the answer, either.

So what IS? The traditional job search hasn't given me much to work with. Because of my career path thus far, I'm likely out of the running for traditional law firm jobs (since I haven't worked for a firm in the years I've been out of law school), and I'm not sure I'd want to sacrifice that much of my life to the almighty billable hour anyway. (Yes, there are firms out there that don't require the crazy hours, but even the ones that don't require 18-hour days six days a week aren't likely to be real flexible and family-friendly, and I'd have to *really* look hard to find them.) Hell, my career path thus far may have stranded me here, at least going by how much luck I've had looking so far for anything else in the legal field.

And I ask myself again, what IS the answer? Everything I think of seems not to pan out. I know there are people who think I'm grasping at straws, looking at impractical things, and I probably am. But when the practical isn't working, what other option is there to consider? At least I'm not being stupid about it and jumping right into something crazy with both feet - not like I've quit my day job to rely on my income from making candles. I'm just talking, thinking, wondering, trying to figure *something* out. Something that will let me enjoy what I do a little more, give me a little more flexibility and time with J, get me and Brian in the same place. There's got to be something out there.

In terms of getting me and Brian in the same place, me looking there may not do much good. If I found something (big if, given the size of the job market), I'd have to be good and sure it was something I could do for the long term, because finding another job should one not pan out would be a huge task. And also, he's just about burned out where he is, and there's not a whole lot for him there. He feels like it would work out better for him to look this way, so he is. He's got an application in now at one of the museums in Fort Worth, so maybe that's what's going to give.

I just feel very frustrated today. I want to change things, I just don't know how.

Thursday Thirteen #9

Thirteen Reasons I Wish The Rain Would Stop

1. Rain makes for a sucky commute to and from work.
2. Can't take the boy outside to play when it's raining and/or the yard is just soaked from all the rain.
3. When the boy can't go outside to play, he gets just a little stir crazy.
4. Rain makes the grass grow - and the weeds, which means the yard guy has to come more often.
5. Rain gives mosquitoes lots and lots of breeding ground. You just can't get rid of *all* the puddles.
6. My garage door remote doesn't work, and I'm getting really tired of getting soaked making a mad dash from car to house or vice versa.
7. Too many cloudy/rainy days in a row bum me out.
8. Rain during the work day makes me not want to go across the street to get a coffee from Starbucks. (Hey, wait, maybe that's a good thing. At least then I'm saving money.)
9. Getting in and out of the car with an umbrella is a pain.
10. Sharing the umbrella with a 4-year-old who's a foot shorter than me and who insists on holding the umbrella himself (about two inches above the top of his head) is a bigger pain - I might as well go without one.
11. Thunder and lightning keeps the boy awake at night.
12. When it rains, you can't help but track mud into places mud ought not to go.

And 13 - well, it's really a good thing, not a bad one, so maybe the rain isn't so bad after all....

13. With all this rain, it's not nearly as hot as your usual Texas summer.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Nancy
2. Chris
3. mamalee
4. qtpies7

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!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

So who do you look like?

Here are my results (with this picture, anyway - with a different pic, I get different results):

Thursday Thirteen #8

It's back! A random collection of thirteen websites I like and/or frequent often.

Thirteen Websites I LikeYOUR NAME

1. Awesome Babies - a small parenting board - if you're a parent or trying to become one, stop by and say hi!
2. Charssi - fudge you eat with a spoon, need I say more? If you want to order, best hurry, they're going on vacation soon for most of the summer.
3. Isle of Eden - yummy bath goodies!
4. Cremoso - reopening June 1, also the home of many yummy bath goodies.
5. Patrician Treasures - MORE bath goodies. I sense a theme here.
6. - like Freecycle for books.
7. - everyone can use a little mindless entertainment.
8. MyHeritage - upload a pic of yourself, see what celebrities you resemble. (I apparently look like Moby, Topher Grace and James Spader - am I sure I'm a girl?! LOL)
9. Recipezaar - my favorite place to find recipes.
10. Craigslist - great to check out for darned near anything.
11. Alibris - if you can't find a book here, it probably can't be found.
12. Jacquie Lawson - for really unique e-cards.
13. Dallas Stars - I just wish we could get past the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. *sigh*

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

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!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Just move it already, huh?

I was running late this morning - J fell this morning and skinned his other knee (he fell and skinned one yesterday morning, and was having a pure fit because it was bleeding and it hurt - this morning was round two). So we had another round of boo-boos and hugs and J asking me to stay home, that he needed to go see Dr. Jean. Poor baby, he was so not happy that I was leaving this morning. He kept asking me to stay with him and saying he wanted to stay with me. I'm not sure what's up. For the longest he's been real good about going on in at school without a fuss, but lately he's clingy and whiny and doesn't want me to leave. It hurts my heart, and I'm not sure of the cause. I wonder if it's because he really doesn't want to go with K tomorrow.

And K needs to move that hamster cage if he cares what's good for J. Last night J asked me again about where he'd be on Friday. When I told him he'd be going to daddy and A's, he was just inconsolable. He's cried every time I've said that he's going to daddy and A's house this Friday. Honestly, does K want his son to sob at the thought of spending time with him?! If so, keep right on. If not, he and A had best have this discussion and they'd best move the hamster. I was going to tell him this today, but he called before I left the house - he and A woke up to a flooded kitchen, there's a leak or a break somewhere, and he was looking for a mop in Wal-Mart when he called. I figured that wasn't perhaps the best time for a serious discussion.

I just don't get why it's such a big deal. I understand that with five kids in the house, you don't want to give one preferential treatment. But helping one get to sleep doesn't seem like preferential treatment - that's not like taking them all to Toys R Us and saying, OK, you get a toy, the rest of you, too bad. It's helping a need get met. It's not like sleep is optional. I don't get it. And if an adult were bothered by a noise while trying to get to sleep, he'd deal with the source of the noise if it were possible to do so - he wouldn't tell himself to just deal with it and let it go on. I really wish K and A would put the hamster in their room for a night or two, just to know what it sounds like. Maybe then they'd see why it's such a distraction for J and why it bothers him so.

I'm looking for a counselor. The ones in our area that take my insurance are all men, and I think I'd prefer a woman. I'll keep looking, though. I really think it would benefit J, and a counselor might be able to get to the root of the problem if there's anything else bothering J, where I'm not having any luck getting more than that Chuck bothers him. I don't know, if there are any other issues, if J just doesn't have the vocabulary or self-awareness to really verbalize what's bothering him, and I don't want to ask "is it such and such" and run the risk of either using terms and concepts he doesn't really understand or of putting words in his mouth and having him agree just because I asked.

My sweet boy. My heart just hurts that he's sad, and that I'm not really sure how to make it all better.

In other news: The rotten thing about taking a new position at your place of work is that you're still here to deal with crap from your old position. *sigh*

Is it Friday yet?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

So what direction am I going, anyway?

I took the pre-enrollment test for medical transcription certification. The results:

From our review of your skills test and the brief narrative you submitted, we are pleased to report that we believe you have the qualifications needed to enter into the M-TEC training program.

The results of your test were:

Grammar: Excellent!

Punctuation: Excellent!

Proofreading (Spelling): Excellent! (I'm detecting a theme here!)

Required Narrative (Vocabulary and self-expression): Able to express thoughts well. Our job placement rate for our Premier program graduates is 98%, with the majority working in at-home positions (see below). Your test results are superb! You are certainly a wonderful candidate for the program, and the experience you have had with transcribing has you ready to hit the ground running since you have already trained your mind and body to work together in that unique way. Good luck to you on your new journey!

So now I need to decide. Do I enter the program and possibly change my entire life direction? Lord knows the direction it's been headed hasn't been a whole lot of fun. And I know I could do well in the program. As fast as I read and type, I don't think I'd need nearly 18 months to finish it. It's just a fairly big step, since, if I invest the money in it, I want to use it and not have it be just something else I've dabbled in. If I do this, it would be a pretty portable career, and I wouldn't feel so limited to staying where I am(i.e., if Brian is offered a faculty position at Baylor, I could pack up my transcription machine and head south and have a way to contribute to the family income :-D). I know I'd love having the flexibility to do for J without worrying that me taking time for my family was going to hurt me at work. I'd save on gas if/when I got a job working from home. I'd love to be free of corporate America - it makes my head hurt. The biggest questions I can think of are 1) can I make enough money, and 2) can I find a job with benefits? I can save for my own retirement, but I've gotten a bit spoiled to having health and dental insurance, and I don't really relish the thought of paying for that out of pocket.

I guess first I'd have to see if I qualify for financial aid. If I do, then it's decision time. I realize that, at least until I get J on a good sleep schedule (and I will, oh yes, I will), study time would cut into my sleep time a good bit. Perhaps I could hit the books three nights a week and allow for a really good night's sleep two nights a week, and play it by ear on weekends (and try for good sleep on those nights as well).

I suppose this is why they call it a leap of faith. You don't know where something will end up, but you've got to have faith it will work out.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

And just for fun...

From K & A's party on 4/28 (nice party, Brian met K and K's parents, no blood was shed, and J discovered the joy of the swimming pool) - doesn't J just look like a little man? *sniffle* I was amazed that the tie stayed on pretty much all night.

I'm nothing if not determined

Bedtime last night wasn't until 10:00, but I think that's largely my fault. I think 1) I tried to make too big an adjustment to the schedule, and 2) I didn't take into account the nap at school (he only sleeps about 30 minutes, but still, it's enough to make bedtime later). I put J in the bath at 7:15. When you're used to a bath between 8:30 and 9:00, 7:15 is a big switch - I should have aimed for 8:30, then gradually moved it back earlier. D'oh. He was in bed by 8:00, but didn't go to sleep until 10:00, and the in-between time involved stories, a round of wanting to sleep in my bed, potty break, milk, rocking in the rocking chair, and finally falling asleep in his own bed. Note to self: Drastic changes will not work. LOL So tonight I'll be a bit more reasonable about it, and work on moving bedtime back *gradually*.

I'm serious about sticking to this, though. I saw such a difference in J's behavior yesterday after just one night of solid sleep that it's worth the effort to make this change if it means better sleep and better behavior all the time. He only whined a little when I told him he couldn't have candy at the video store - this would usually have gotten a screaming jumping-up-and-down fit and a pissed-off mama. He was pleasant and happy and (except for the drawn-out bedtime) a joy to be around.

Now, if I can just convince K of this....

J has started in saying he doesn't want to go to daddy's this week, he doesn't like daddy and A's house, he wants to stay with me all the time. I *think* that the problem is Chuck the damn hamster. (I am never, ever getting a hamster. If I'd ever wanted one, I don't after hearing about Chuck. So much drama for such a small rodent.) After I asked him several times what he didn't like at daddy's, why he didn't want to go to daddy's, J finally told me Chuck is in his room and makes noise, and the noise hurts his ears. He also said that when A's 6-year-old (with whom J shares a room) was with his daddy, they moved Chuck to the game room. I talked to K this morning and pointed out that that's a lot for J to adjust to, a relatively unfamiliar place he's only at every couple of weeks, sharing a room with another little boy, not having anyone sit with him or sing to him or anything at bedtime, *and* a strange animal making noise, and I suggested they might want to consider moving Chuck while J is there. K said he's fought that battle already, that A says no special concessions. I tried to point out that it's not a concession, it's not forever, it's an adjustment, and that J has never had the flexibility to deal well with changes in routine, and K just said he wasn't going there again. I bit my tongue and didn't say that while I see A's point about not treating one child specially (although would she feel differently if J were a child with a quantifiable "special need"? Why can't difficulty adjusting to change and sensitivity to sounds be treated like any other need, and accommodated accordingly until J adjusts? Does she know what's best for my child? I think not), I don't agree that J should be plopped in the middle of one big ball of "different stuff" and basically told to deal with it, especially knowing he's not (and never has been) one of these kids that can "go with the flow", and I think she's being unreasonable to not allow some modifications while J adjusts to the new environment, and would K like me to talk to her. If J keeps having problems and keeps insisting he doesn't want to go see daddy, I *will* talk to her. J is my son and if I don't stick up for him, who will? I don't want to cause problems in K's marriage, but I also don't want my son miserable at the prospect of going to see his father, and I don't want him feeling like his feelings and needs don't matter. So that was a delightful way to start my day. If I hadn't gotten a good night's sleep, I'd have been very bitchy about it. (Sleep makes a world of difference - I no longer feel the need for Wellbutrin, at least not at the moment.)

J suggested earplugs himself, and I told K I'd get a pair and we could try that, if A is insistent that no changes be made. But if those don't help, if it becomes a battle royal every other weekend to get J to go see his dad, something will have to change. I don't want to force J to go somewhere he clearly doesn't want to go, I want him to be able to enjoy his time with his father.

I've told K that I saw a world of difference in J's behavior yesterday, after he slept so well on Sunday night. You'd think better behavior would be a pretty good incentive to help J get a good night's sleep. But if K and A prefer the drama, well, then, leave the effin' hamster right where he is.

Yeah, it irritates me. I know this is hard enough on J, and I'm sure K feels caught in the middle, between what J really needs, how A wants things to go, and how I'm telling him I'd like to see things go. When it comes down to it, I personally think taking care of J is most important. K and A are together every day, J is there two days out of every fourteen. Me, I don't see it as complete upheaval and chaos to move the hamster. I don't see it as letting a four-year-old run the show. I don't see it as special treatment. I see it as doing what needs to be done to help J be comfortable in strange surroundings. It feels like I'm the only one who does, though.

Weekend update and finally, a good night's sleep

We had a big busy day on Saturday. We ran by the bank and the post office first, and then went to the park. It's a nice little park - it has one play area for younger/smaller kids, and one for bigger kids. Unfortunately, the play area for bigger kids was pretty full, with someone having a birthday party there (and it was a bunch of little girls, so it wasn't like J really wanted to play with them! LOL). The crowd bothered J, so we tried the smaller playground. Alas, he's too big to fit comfortably in most of the equipment there! So we gave up on the park before too long, but we'll try again another Saturday. After that, we went to Trade Days. It was small, not a whole lot of vendors, and I didn't see a tremendous amount of truly handmade stuff, certainly not in the bath and body/candle realm of things (hooray! Opportunity! That is, should Brian and I get to where we're proficient enough at making stuff to have enough to sell - we've talked about trying to get into soapmaking/candle making/bath and body stuff, either as a side business or maybe, someday, after a shitload of hard work, an actual brick-and-mortar business). There was a John Deere tractor display, though (one of the local lawn and garden shops had some of their products on display), and J had a pure fit over that. He had to sit on every tractor and pretend to drive it, more than once - I wished I'd had the camera for that. There were also puppies there - we looked at them, but he didn't ask for one. (Good thing. I'm not inclined to get a puppy. A small boy is enough work.) We bought a lucky bamboo plant for me and two little dog figurines for J - one of the dogs he got has its leg hiked up and is peeing on a fire hydrant, and J thinks that's the funniest.thing.ever. He is such a boy. After that, we went to McDonald's - I ate, and J took about three bites of his food and ran around like a wild thing in the Playplace. I told him he had to eat, or we wouldn't come inside anymore, that I wasn't paying $4.00 for a Happy Meal just so he could play. We probably stayed there an hour, and then ran by Wal-Mart to pick up a couple of things - we had to get a present for J's little friend Jackson, whose party is this coming Saturday at Pump It Up - I think that might be a good place for J's party, if he likes it), and some other odds and ends. Given what I realize now about how sleep deprived he's been, he did remarkably well. After that we just went home.

On Sunday, he was up at 6:30 (after going to sleep at 10:00 - yeah, 8 1/2 hours with no nap, that's not nearly enough - that's about like me getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep). I had jumped out of bed at 6:00 when I heard the cuckoo clock, thinking it was really 7:00 and I was insanely late for work, and then I realized - it's Sunday. D'oh. So I'd just gotten back to sleep when here came J, ready to go. I didn't realize it was 6:30 until I sat up, and then I told him we needed to lay back down, and I made some comment about going back to bed. He started sobbing hysterically, and I hugged him and asked him what was wrong. He grabbed onto me and said, "No, you can't come back to bed, I don't want you to leave me in the living room by myself!" Poor darling, he'd thought I was going to leave him. I told him no, I wouldn't do that, and he settled down a little bit. He was just berserk at the thought of me leaving him, though. I'm still not sure what's up with that.

Mother's Day was a low-key day. Much to my surprise, K came by and brought me a card and a little something from J. It was a package of dried cherries covered in chocolate - not a big something, but it's the thought that counts. J signed his name in the card and brought me the card and cherries. He said, "Daddy said I should give this to you." LOL I love four-year-old honesty!

I tried to get him to take a nap around noon. We laid down for about five minutes, and he spent 4 1/2 of that screaming that he wasn't tired, he didn't want to lay down. (That's when I decided bedtime would be EARLY.) We spent the rest of the afternoon playing and doing wash and what have you, and I popped him in the bath at 6:15. I guess we played in the bath for about half an hour or so, and then he got into bed and we read our books. After that I tucked him in (he didn't even comment on it still being light outside, so you KNOW he was tired), and we did the me-checking-back-every-couple-of-minutes thing for a little while, then he asked to rock in the rocking chair. We did, and I sang to him (he's partial to songs from the Baptist Hymnal, so that's what I sing!), and after we'd gone through two or three, he asked me to sing him one more Bible verse and said then he'd go to bed. We did, he got back in bed, and he asked me to sit with him and just be quiet. So I did, and in about five minutes or so he rolled over and curled up into a ball, and he was out. Such a tired little boy.

I sure hope we can work the schedule to where he can get more sleep every night. He needs it, and I do, too. It's not realistic to expect that I'll have him in bed by 7:00 every night - most nights we're just getting home then, and I don't have a spouse or other family member who could pick him up earlier and get him home sooner, so we'll have to see what we can do. I can turn the TV off earlier, though, and keep him completely away from caffeine and sugar in the evenings, and I may even get a light-filtering shade for his room to help with getting him to sleep earlier in the evenings (as the summer goes on, it may stay light until 9:00 or 9:30). But we've got to get better about getting sleep, and we need to make that a priority. If it means no trips to Target or Wal-Mart during the week because that keeps us out too late and up too late, then that's how it will be.

Friday, May 11, 2007

And who couldn't use a good night's sleep?

Bedtime has been fairly dreadful lately. The idea of me checking in on J every few minutes as long as he stayed quietly in bed worked OK for about three nights, and then he started with this weird separation issue and it all went to hell in a handbasket. He'd cry for me if I so much as stepped out of his sight during the day, much less if I actually left his room of a night. Of course, K would tell me to lay down the law and that maybe I should consider spanking him (I'm not sure he intended that for bedtime or just in general, but J is not the kind of child who will respond well to spanking, I don't think - he may be contrite in the short run, but I don't think the iron fist teaches him to control himself and govern his own behavior, and mama and daddy won't always be there to enforce that control for him - but I digress, back to bedtime). So the last three or four nights have been absolute flaming hell at bedtime, because I persisted in trying the in and out thing, and J persisted in screaming his little head off and fighting it and me for all he was worth. Good times.

TonightJ wanted me to stay with him at bedtime, so I did. Lo and behold, no fuss, no muss. After he fell asleep, I picked up my other Mary Kurcinka book, Sleepless in America (I also have Raising Your Spirited Child), and I cried as I read it. We're both sleep deprived. Sleep deprived children fight sleep and sleep less, they're argumentative, easily frustrated, wired, bouncing off the walls, more clumsy, more likely to pick fights and resist parental guidance, quicker to whine and say "no" and throw tantrums over the most minute of things, and I saw J in every word. It also talked about how to recognize if you as a parent are sleep deprived - do you get set off more easily, yell, feel guilty for having no energy for the kids, get really sleepy during the day. Yeah, we both need more sleep. I just ordered copies of that and of Raising Your Spirited Child to give to Kevin, and he better read every word, because I don't want one more word from him about how we just need to lay down the law. After reading that, I'm convinced that sleep deprivation is at the root of a lot of these problems, and that behavior can be drastically improved if we can get J into a routine where he's more easily able to get the sleep he needs. I don't give a rat's ass what A does with her kids, J isn't those kids and he can't be treated the same way, necessarily. If K can't see J in the pages of those books, he's not paying attention, because every sentence, every paragraph just leapt off the pages at me and smacked me upside the head.

At one point the author talked about having the parents in a class she was teaching list all the strategies they'd been told to try, by family or friends or doctors or whatever, to get their kids to sleep - let them cry it out, put your foot down, don't respond to them when they call, just stay for a couple of minutes and then leave, shut the door, don't comfort them, don't rock them, and so on. At the next class, she then told them she was looking for a care facility for her dad who had Parkinson's, and she described a (fictional) place where the philosophy was, we're in control, we won't mollycoddle the patients, they'll go to bed when it's time, no exceptions, if they're in pain or wet or whatever they can wait until rounds start at 6 AM, if they wake up during the night no one's going to go in and hold their hands, they can just learn to deal with it on their own, basically everything that's traditionally said about getting your kids to sleep. Of course the parents were appalled, said it was inhumane, such a place should be shut down, you can't treat people that way - and then the author made the point, why are we horrified at the thought of treating the elderly this way at bedtime, but not our children? Smack, right in the face. If a child isn't getting what he needs to be comfortable, he gets tense. More tension, less sleep. Less sleep, worse behavior and more tension, and on and on. So, new approach. If J needs me to sit with him, I sit. As long as he's not taking two hours to get to sleep, if he'll lay in bed quietly and make an effort to sleep, I'll stay. Tonight when I turned out the light, he reached out and grabbed my hand and said, "Don't leave me." Not crying, not whining, not demanding, just very softly, as if he expected me to go anyway. I could have cried right then, and I'd no more have left than I'd have jumped off a cliff. It took him about half an hour to get to sleep, but he laid in bed quietly for most of that time, and that was OK. If me being there is what he needs right now, then that's what he'll have. And I'm going to try my best to start getting more sleep myself. A break from transcription could be a blessing in disguise in that regard.

Yeah, a break - not sure what's happening with my part-time job. I can't do overflow for Julie anymore, because she quit - she got a full-time job in her field, and understandably gave transcription the heave-ho. So, the last time I called to ask about work, I was told that they'd gotten a company to help them catch up, and that they had my number and would call if they needed any help. Call me crazy, but that sounds like a blow-off to me. Oh well. I'll try to find something else if possible, and life goes on. Sucks, though, because the extra money was a help, and there isn't another part-time job I can think of that I could do from home and do that well with, and finances aren't bad enough that 1) I want to have to try to ask K for more help with J (I have a feeling that wouldn't sit well with A, and I guess I can understand that), or 2) I want to lose even more time with J. I feel like my time with him is short enough as it is.

Let's see, what else has gone on? Brian and J and I went to K & A's reception a couple of weeks ago. It was a nice party, and Brian got to meet K and K's parents and a couple of other relatives. I didn't think it was awkward, and we had a good time. J wore a tie for the first time and looked like quite the little man. I'll have to post a picture.

And last weekend, Brian and I did the "meet the parents" thing. I think it went well.

I'll write more later, I've got to get to bed if I'm going to get more sleep!