28 December 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

It's a couple of days after Christmas. The dudes are stuffed full of various partially hydrogenated oils and all manner of other kinds of junk food, spoiled rotten by various family members who spend too much on them, and sleep deprived. I'm exhausted and coming down with....something, and Matt is in Spokane. Another successful Christmas break.

We had a great time in the chaos of the holidays. We got to see B for a short time while he was home on leave (another story for another day) and we spent Christmas Eve at the in-laws' house with 62 of our nearest and dearest. And that's just HIS family. We opened our gifts at home and went to Columbus to hang out with my family and spent the weekend. Well, the dudes and I did, because Matt had to go to work. First stop? Bermuda. Is it wrong that I took a kind of evil pleasure in the fact that it was "too cold" to go to the beach? (60 degrees) Or that it was Boxing Day and nothing was open?

ANYWAY. Had a great time with friends and family, and so glad to be back home cleaning up and doing laundry. No big plans for the next couple of days, just hang out and decompress.

We actually still have the rest of the week to go, Christmas Break is not over yet. And neither is the Christmas season. Not really. We still celebrate for two more weeks, until Epiphany. It's not over just because He was born. That's only the beginning.

It started snowing last night and has continued, off and on today. It looks so pretty, so....Christmasy. So I'm leaving my Christmas tree and decorations up for a while longer, to remember that it isn't over yet. And I don't think I want it to be over. The crazy hustlebustle, yes, I'm ready for that to be over. But taking time to remember and celebrate the birth of our Savior....that's pretty cool too.

14 December 2009

That's odd

I just cruised by to re-read yesterday's post, and happened to notice ALL of my ads, are for spyware to catch a cheating spouse, or a lawyer to help you unload a cheating spouse, or a life coach to help you forgive a cheating spouse. I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I noticed a pattern there....jumped right out at me.

Just thought it was a bit odd.

That is all.

13 December 2009

There's a lesson here somewhere

Today was supposed to be a low-key, quiet, even lazy day. All I had on the agenda was teaching my preschool PSR class at church at 10:00. My friend came over to watch the dudes for me, and brought her dudes...all the dudes are great pals. Piece of cake.

So I taught my class, stopped for milk and a spur-of-the-moment video rental, and came home. All excited for my lazy afternoon of sweatpants, finishing the Christmas tree, and rented movies. I told the kids that we weren't going anywhere for the rest of the day and we were going to be L-A-Z-Y. And the oldest mutt looked at me with sad eyes and said, "So we're not going to the concert tonight?"


Oh yeah! Christmas in Warren County! Where the St F children's choir (of which oldest mutt is a member) is singing! Tonight!

There went my lazy afternoon. Now we had to rush to finish lunch, the tree, showers, dinner, and getting dressed up in concert attire. Meaning a tie for him. He doesn't like ties. And the poor guy looked like he was wearing his dad's tie...I was afraid it was too long on him, although more than one of my friends assured me he looked very handsome.

In the midst of the rushing, I went down to the basement to put away the totes that we keep the Christmas stuff in, and noticed a lot of small colorful fibers in the carpet, that are not supposed to be there. Not part of the pattern. It's beige carpet, there is no pattern. I asked the dudes what it was, and it was apparently all that was left of my silly sombrero hat, that oldest dude and his friend had decided to shred because it was "part of their game." Shredded. An. Item. That. Did. Not. Belong. To. Them.

I don't care about the sombrero....got it at a party a year or so ago, and didn't throw it away. The kids found it and wanted to play with it, so it was in the basement. I DO care that they were perfectly ok with destroying something that did not belong to them, and I DO care about the giant mess they made, and didn't feel compelled to clean up. So I made the oldest dude clean it up. By himself. By the time I saw the mess, his accomplice was long gone. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the size of the job, and I honestly felt kind of bad making him do it all. But....there is a lesson to be learned in that mess. Don't let your friends encourage you to do something you know is wrong and/or destructive. Don't let your friends leave without helping to clean up the mess they've helped make. And failing those two things, don't let your mom stumble across said mess when she's rushing around trying to get 47 other things done....tell her about it. Or better yet, clean it up without being asked. Or told. Or yelled at. How many times does a child need to hear things before they start to become ingrained, even a little? Rhetorical question....no one knows the answer, because there is no answer. Adam and Eve are still waiting for their kids to figure it out.

I'm glad we went to the concert. The music was beautiful and really got me feeling the Christmas spirit. The kids sounded wonderful. We only made it through about half of it though, because the littlest dude was getting very whiny and wanted to go home, and it was kind of late for a school night. But it was really, really nice.

That mountain of laundry that I was avoiding the other day, has sadly not disappeared, in spite of my fervent wishing and resourceful avoidance. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate folding laundry? Maybe I'll watch Twilight while I fold.

11 December 2009


No sooner did I type that last sentence, and go downstairs to play trains with the littlest dude, than the phone rang and guess who it was? The UC advisor! How bout that?! I have an appointment Monday morning to bring her some papers she needs to certify before I can talk to the Veterans Assistance people. But it doesn't take very long and is just a step in the checklist.

Am working my way towards committing to running a full marathon in 2010. Right now I'm sort of on the fence, wanting to do it so that I can say I conquered the challenge. But very afraid. It's a LOT of miles and I'm intimidated.

So I'll probably be writing quite a bit about wrestling with it, and ultimately, about the training process. I ran 13.1 twice, and I found that after about 5-6 miles, it's about 90% mental. I'm betting that is the case with 26.2. Shoot, it's already messing with my head and IF I run it, it's almost a full year away.

Anyway. Back to my regularly scheduled day. And the mountain of laundry I'm desperately trying to avoid folding.


Tiger is a serial cheater. I take back my previous defense. I still don't think the world at large necessarily has the RIGHT to know all this stuff, but I can no longer raise the argument that maybe it was a one-time thing, a big mistake.

Shame on Tiger Woods.

And on Mark Sanford too...I read this morning that his wife filed for divorce. I have a huge amount of respect for how she handled the public side of that mess. She's a smart, classy woman that Mark Sanford will regret cheating on for the rest of his days. He said he wanted to reconcile out of one side of his mouth while calling his mistress his "soul-mate" out of the other. You got to make up your mind Governor! And what a fine example you've set for your four sons! Jenny Sanford will come out stronger on the other side. I respect the fact that she drew firm boundaries and stuck to them, as far as what she was willing to do. I respect that she didn't blast him publicly, and that she publicly stated that she was willing to forgive and work her marriage out. I respect that she gave him a chance when many other wives wouldn't have and now that he's shown he's not willing to give up his mistress for his family, I respect that she is walking away with her head held high. She did exactly what she said she was going to do.

I wish my advisor from school would call me back so I can file my VA paperwork.

09 December 2009

So interesting

To me, anyway.

A couple of posts ago, I talked a little about questions about my faith. My faith is absolutely part of who I am...it's more than that actually. It is the core of who I am. Am I still human, and do I still make mistakes and do and say things I wish I hadn't? Of course. But still....at my core, I am a child of God.

Last night, the hubs and I went to Mass for Feast of the Immaculate Conception, mercifully without the kids. L was kind enough to keep them corralled so we could go alone. And they had already attended Mass at school. I catch myself at Mass with a wandering mind sometimes...ok, fairly regularly...but I do catch it and bring myself back to the here and now.

Anyway, no sooner did I post the questions that were in my head, than God started showing me things in my life and in the world around me. Does He read my blog, d'ya think?

As I was listening to the readings and singing hymns (I do really love how they sing the Responsorial now!) I just looked at Mary. During the consecration, I was watching Father bless the bread and the wine, and this feeling just kind of came over me, and I had the re-realization that I was part of something sacred. In the Prayers of the Faithful, part of one of the prayers was the phrase, "that all of us gathered here acknowledge that we have found favor with God, and respond with fidelity."

Found favor with God.

Doesn't get any better than that. And just in time to answer the questions I had so recently voiced. Hmm. Pretty cool.

03 December 2009

I just want to complain today

The title should suffice as a warning.

I have apparently failed as a mother, to teach my children to do what they are asked, when they are asked to. And I have failed on a grand scale to teach them to pick up after themselves. Their bedtime is supposed to be 8. Dinner, some TV or reading or play time, showers, pajamas, prayers, bed. Without fail, it is past 9 by the time they are horizontal. I hate yelling and yet that's all I seem to do. It's all they seem to respond to. I've tried asking nicely, I've tried making it a game, I've tried telling them without being particularly nice or funny, I've tried every dang thing I've read in Parents magazine. What really gets them moving, is to turn up the volume. I HATE that. And, I don't want them to look back on their growing up years and think, Jeez, all Mom ever did was yell. Yelling makes me feel bad and I don't like their faces when I yell. They look scared of me and I don't want that.

Cleaning up after themselves...oy. Where do I even start? I know I'm hardly the only parent who deals with any of this and I know there are a bunch of kids who are worse than mine in that respect. But I also know what mine are capable of, in many more areas than cleaning up I might add, and I don't like to see them constantly trying to weasel out of things. Things they should be doing without question, without whining, without being asked or told 43 times. My friend K lent me a book I'm going to have to go buy, I think. It's called "Have A New Kid By Friday." I really liked some of the suggestions in it and I want to reread it.

The husband is gone....again. I know it's his job and I know that him going to work enables me to stay at home and whine about how he's always gone. I get that. Reference the title of this post. It's one of those days.

He's on his way home. He left Tuesday and will get home around midnight tonight. He went to Atlantic City for a two day training course that isn't technically required. It's a requirement if he wants to keep an additional duty, a facet of his job that is important to him, and it honestly is to me too. But it's not required. So he went to Atlantic City and didn't get paid, isn't getting reimbursed for the hotel (a suite, of course) or the meals or anything. He called, all excited, to tell me about the training and the stuff he got to do, and I'm sure I sounded less than enthusiastic....which I was. I was irritated that he was gone having a good time, while I was at home, yelling at the kids every day, running them to the dentist and basketball practice while trying to figure out a decent dinner and remember to let the dog out. I want to go away and have fun too.

I'm up to my eyeballs. I'm so freaking done with school....I am getting to where I hate being in school. And I've got too far to go, to be this grumpy about it. I need to hang onto the motivation for another 5 quarters. I'm trying but man, I'm sick of it.

Getting antsy about getting the VA paperwork submitted in time to pay for winter quarter. Tired of worrying about money. Not strong enough to hand it over to God and just stop worrying. It sounds so simple, I wish I could figure out how to do that....just hand it over and let it go.

And one last thing. L's complaints about her job are getting old. She works 5-6 hours a night, 4 nights a week, then 5-6 hours one day a week. She gets up around 3 in the afternoon, says how tired she is, and lays back down to take a nap before going to work. I'll give her that working nights sucks. Been there, done that. It's tough. But a 25, maybe 30 hour workweek isn't such a hardship. She's got it pretty dang good right now and I'm concerned for her that when the gravy train pulls into the station, she's really not going to know what to do.

That'll probably do for one night. Most of the time I'm not this grumpy and whiny. I am well accustomed to the routine, or lack thereof, in our lives because of his work schedule. I get that I am the one who provides the day to day care and feeding, and the consistency. And I don't complain about, inwardly or outwardly. I'm grateful that I can complain about school because at least that means I'm still going.

I'm just tired, I feel overwhelmed today for some reason, and I want to complain. Thanks for listening.

02 December 2009

People in glass houses

really shouldn't throw stones.

I try not to get all sucked into celebrity tabloid trash stuff, but how can you help knowing all about Tiger Woods' drama recently? It's all over everything.

I don't know if he was cheating. I don't really care, honestly. I can't get over how hateful people are in general though....it's like they were just waiting for him to stumble, so they could kick him when he's down. People are calling him every name in the book, hoping Elin takes him to the cleaners, saying he deserved for her to beat him to death with his own golf club...I mean, holy crap. Evil.

First of all, it isn't any of anyone's business. Why do we, the public, feel justified and entitled to dig through Tiger Woods' garbage to find out about him? Why do we demand to know what he was doing out at 2:30? What if, just for the sake of argument, his wife was pregnant and wanted some Rocky Road ice cream? Or what if one of their kids were sick and they had run out of baby Tylenol? What business is it of anyone's? Why does he have to explain anything? And even if he was cheating, and he'd had huge fight with his wife and she smashed his window to keep him from leaving the house, SO WHAT? WHAT BUSINESS IS IT OF OURS?

People love to watch other people screw up and make mistakes. It makes us feel better about our own miserable lives, I guess. It's kind of sick, and kind of the dark underbelly of human nature, to enjoy other people's struggles. Does it make you feel superior, to know that someone famous has made a mistake that you haven't? Or one that you're not willing to admit to during a press conference?

Honestly, I guess none of these columnists or bloggers (!) or idiots commenting on a news story has ever made any mistakes. I wouldn't take any bets on whether they've ever cheated. Yet they're perfectly content and feel justified in excoriating Tiger Woods. For being human and making mistakes. He's made his apologies, now let him go home and try to work it out, and leave him and his family alone! Not that I condone cheating, not at all, but what right does any of us have to hold his feet to the fire? The only person who has a right to do that is the wronged party which, if in fact he has cheated, is his wife. Who are these other vultures?

All these self-righteous women who scream that Elin should take him to the cleaners, take him for every dime he's worth and never look back....holy cow, such anger and bitterness! Cheating, while it certainly is devastating, does not have to be a deal breaker. If the cheater is not willing to change their behavior and work to change the environment in the marriage, well, then, it IS a deal breaker. Serial cheating will kill it for sure. But hear me out here....there is a whole other possibility. Maybe it could have been a mistake...something that got out of hand and went too far too fast....again, I'm not condoning. Just saying that someone who has cheated should not necessarily be next in line for the lynch mob.

Statistics, while they can be bent to conform to any point you want to make, generally tell us that a lot of people cheat. And a lot of people immediately call the lawyer, which in turn contributes to that 50+% divorce rate. I will never in a million years believe that it is totally one sided though....it takes two to create an atmosphere where one or both are vulnerable to it. That's a hard truth to accept, and yet it is true. If you are happy and content in your marriage, even if you have girls throwing themselves at you naked, you're going to want to get home to your wife. If something is missing, you're going to be more likely to stray.

The bottom line is that if there are problems in a marriage, they should be addressed between the partners before it comes to a crossroads and a decision to pursue the short-term, feel-good ego boost. And the bottom line where Tiger Woods is concerned is, let the man go home and ask forgiveness, and work it out in peace. Leave him be. He doesn't owe you any explanations or apologies.

28 November 2009

Unanswerable questions

I went out for a walk today.

Yesterday was Black Friday, the traditional day of shopping madness. In my family it is a tradition that we all go to my sister's house for a huge meal that lasts all day and into the evening. More food just magically appears whenever any of the trays run low....turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, broccoli and cheese casserole, dinner rolls, corn casserole, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, peanut brittle, hot apple cider...so it goes all day and all evening. Football games are interspersed with cartoons and video games. And my family and I sleep over there, so that we can take part in the continuation of the festivities, namely Black Friday shopping. The girls all get up insanely early to go shopping. The guys sleep in and hang out at home with all the kids, and they bring the kids to the mall for lunch and pictures with Santa. It's just what we do.

We came home last night and I was thoroughly exhausted. Thanksgiving morning, I had gone downtown to take part in another local tradition, the Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day 10K. I have never run it before, but I really enjoyed it...a good race, a fun day, good company. So I was tired from that to start with, then I got up at 4:30 am (!!) Friday to go shopping. When we got home Friday night, I was wiped. out.
Went to bed and spent a much needed 12 hours there.

Today, before the husband left for work, I went for a walk. I thought about going for a run, but decided on a walk instead. No races coming up....don't want to work too hard today, feeling a bit...not lazy exactly, but I don't feel like working hard. It's a gorgeous day...almost painfully blue, clear sky, chilly but not cold. Instead of the music I normally listen to when I exercise, I decided to go with a podcast I download but don't always remember to listen to, called "Catholic Under the Hood." It's done by a priest who is a professor at Franciscan University across the state. I was listening to a segment he did on marriage, specifically Eastern Orthodox ceremonies, and I was thinking about the differences between Eastern ceremonies and Western or Roman Catholic ceremonies, and what the symbolism meant.

Since I've been back in school, studying science (because I have to), history (because I want to) and philosophy, and learning to think more critically, as in asking questions, weighing evidence, and coming to logical conclusions, my faith has raised an awful lot more questions than it has answered for me. And I'm not sure what that means. I found myself in a discussion, almost a debate, about religion recently and it really made me think. Who says my way is the right way? Is there "one true faith"? Are Protestants, Lutherans, Episcopals, Jews, Buddhists, Assemblies of God congregations, all going to hell because they aren't Catholic? How can I believe in a God I can't see, touch, or smell? Am I really hearing or feeling Him, or is it just that I want to so badly that I've convinced myself He's real? Science and the theory of evolution explains a lot about the way the world works, in a scientific way, where all the loose ends get tied up neatly and everything is explained.

How can you explain faith to a person who demands hard evidence? There is a component of mystery to faith, something that simply cannot be explained. The Holy Trinity.....how do you explain that? Three persons in one? And the religious sects that broke away from the Church because they couldn't subscribe to the same beliefs? How does it all make sense? They say we pray to idols and images and statues....we pray to the Saints and therefore are worshipping someone other than God Himself....how does this stack up neatly to make a complete picture of the one true faith, led by a supposedly infallible human man? What does it mean if I disagree or have a hard time being obedient to, or just flat out disobey, certain aspects of my chosen faith?

The only thing I know for sure, and this makes me a terrible debater, is the overwhelming peace I feel when I hear Mass. The soothing cadence of the prayers, the structure that doesn't change, the rhythm of sitting, standing, kneeling....I feel whole. My friend told me about explaining the Eucharist to her grandson....he wanted to know what it tasted like. She said it didn't really have a taste, but it was more of a feeling than a taste. And the Eucharist brings up another big question....if transubstantiation is real, then are we really eating the Body and drinking the Blood of Christ? How? And does that make us, as some people accuse, cannibals?

In my heart, I don't doubt. God is real. The Bible is the Truth. But again with the questions....which version is true? Is the Bible not just a bunch of stories passed down through the ages? Whose perspective? Were they really prophets?

Only when I try to communicate what I believe, and why I believe it, do I sound like I doubt. And so I hope that what I've heard is true...the truly faithful ask the most questions. Your faith really becomes your own and becomes fuller with each question you ask, and seeking to understand more fully means strengthening your faith. Boy, I sure hope so. 'Cause I still have a lot of questions.

24 November 2009


Maybe it sounds a little like I'm hating on Stephenie Meyer. I'm not. I'm just envious, to some degree. I haven't read anything she's written other than the Twilight series, and I know she has published other things. Twilight is written for a certain audience, I get that. I still don't think hers is a sophisticated writing style and I still think Twilight in general is overly wordy. It's still a fun escape that takes you back for a minute to the breathless first love that actually loved you back.

But whatever. I'm going to go see New Moon again tomorrow night. By myself. Unless I can talk another of my Twi-Mom friends into going again. But I'm ok going by myself...I can indulge my little high school fantasies in anonymity.

We went to the dentist today and the littlest dude has a cavity. That he needs filled. Poor kid. But the upside is that it's Thanksgiving break and I let them start it early instead of making them go back to school after the dentist appointment.

So, being Thanksgiving and all, everyone always wants to talk about what we're thankful for. I'm thankful for the alarm clock that wakes me up too early, because that means I have a reason to get out of bed and a family to take care of. I'm thankful for the gas that runs out too quickly in my car, because that means I'm active and busy. I'm thankful for being sore from running, because that means I have a healthy body that can run for miles. I'm thankful that I haven't finished college yet, because that gives me a goal to work towards. I'm thankful that teaching my preschool PSR class stresses me out a little, because that means I am concerned about doing it right and sharing God's word with His most precious children. I'm thankful that I have a family that cheers me across finish lines, understands why I leave them to go to school at night and to work one weekend a month, is happy to see me come back in the door, and always catches me when I fall. I'm thankful I have a husband who still loves me even though our path has been bumpy and sometimes downright scary. I'm thankful mine is not a perfect, trouble-free, never-ending joyride existence, because then I'd never have learned to appreciate what I have. And what I have is pretty great.

A lyric from a current favorite song :

Don't you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
Gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining.

A very happy, peaceful and blessed Thanksgiving to all.

22 November 2009

Vampires and love stories

I went out Friday night with a couple of my girlfriends and my stepdaughter to see New Moon, the new movie from the Twilight series. I guess you could say I'm a Twi-Mom. After being asked, oh, 64 times about the appeal of Twilight even though it is obviously written for much younger women than myself, I really tried to nail down what it is that I like about it.

I loved Twilight, the first book; liked but didn't love New Moon, the second one; loved Eclipse, the third one, and not so much with Breaking Dawn, the fourth one. I'm going to discuss the events of the books freely so I guess that could count as a spoiler alert.

Twilight is a breathless, swoony, ridiculously over the top love story. The kind that only happens in high school. Which is where this book conveniently takes place. Well, Bella is really in high school and Edward is pretending to be. I do not mean to belittle the author's accomplishments in any way...holy cow, she spawned a whole phenomenon! But honestly her writing style is not real sophisticated. And it's really wordy. It takes her 700 pages to tell a story that is really only about 400 or so. Being a writer myself, I cannot help but notice mechanics and grammar and such things....I have been known to be called "the grammar police" on more than one occasion. And I'm not saying I think I could write it better, but....for an English lit major, it's just not quite what I would expect.

It started getting a little strange in New Moon. Let me put out there as a disclaimer that I am not into the whole fantasy realm in any way, shape or form, so I was surprised to like this as much as I do. Because there is some serious fantasy involved. Vampires, werewolves and shape shifters stretch my tolerance quite a bit. I hung with the whole werewolf thing through New Moon and Eclipse. The fights between the vampires and their assorted enemies made me laugh and roll my eyes a little. And I think that allowing vampires get away with a lot and writing it off to "well, they're vampires, they can do whatever they want" almost amounts to literary cheating. Like you write your character into a situation that is seemingly impossible and then he just...gets out of it. Really? He can disappear at will? Honestly? He magically knows everything there is to know and holds several PhDs? And reads minds? Oh, well, he's a vampire, of course he does. But, it's her story and she can do what she wants with it. That's the writer in me picking someone else's work apart.

Eclipse was good. I liked it better than New Moon...it seemed like it more about the love story again, and New Moon was about Jacob turning into a werewolf. I thought the whole "let's get married so we can truly be together for eternity" was maybe just a little teeny bit hokey but I'll go with it. Who wouldn't want to marry Edward? He's perfect. I am very much looking forward to seeing the movie in the spring when it comes out. I love Robert Pattinson as Edward. I've not seen him in anything else, although I know he has been. In my mind he IS Edward and after Twilight it will take a little getting used to, to see him as other characters. But that's neither here nor there. I think the movies have been very well cast, we can just leave it at that. Taylor Lautner looks awesome as Jacob but given the fact that I am old enough to have a child his age.....that makes me view him a little differently. The girls in the theater Friday night were literally screaming and giggling when he was onscreen and took his shirt off. He will be truly fabulous when he is all the way grown up...got tremendous potential but he's still growing up.

Breaking Dawn stretched me about to my breaking point as far as the fantasy stuff where I had to just suspend all sense of reality. The thing about the other books is, it almost seems like it could really happen. Breaking Dawn, not so much. I just couldn't get to the place in my head where I still felt like it had the possibility of being something that could happen. Up until the part where Bella has become a vampire, it's ok....it's Edward and Bella on their honeymoon and the discovery they make while they are away, of Bella's super warp speed pregnancy, and it's ok. But when she starts drinking blood because it's what the baby wants, being half vampire and all, I kind of lost my grip on it. And Renesmee? Really? That's just ridiculous. And the big showdown with the Volturi that didn't happen was a letdown to a lot of people but frankly I was relieved. Bella pushing her "shield" out of her own mind and wrapping it around other people pushed me over the edge.

But all of that said, at its core, the Twilight series is an epic love story, that starts out against all odds, and yet somehow, love conquers all and they live happily ever after. Literally forever. All of Bella's ends are neatly tied up and she gets all of what she wants. She gets to be with Edward forever, she gets to be a vampire like she's been begging for since the beginning and she gets to keep Jacob without breaking his heart. We all love a happy ending where the heroine gets what she wants.

Who doesn't remember that breathless first love where you felt like you couldn't breathe when he looked at you and smiled? Who wouldn't want to feel like that again, just for a minute? After discussing with my other Twi-Mom friends I've come to a conclusion. Those of us in the midst of the chaos and tedium that marriage for a certain number of years, and having young children bring, joyous and wonderful certainly, but chaos nonetheless, love an escape from the routine of everyday real life. Not that we want to escape permanently, just for a little bit. And dream that someone as perfect and brilliant and swoon-inducing as Edward could love plain old us. Not that our husbands aren't wonderful, but come on, they're not Edward. Only Robert Pattinson is. And I heard he's taken.

Stephenie Meyer's story gives me hope....she was a stay home mom of three boys and the kernel of what grew into Twilight came to her in a dream. She's living my dream. Well, I don't know if I would want the extent of what Stephenie's got going on....movies and fame and all that goes with that....but what I wouldn't give to have a great idea for a story, start writing and just watch it take off.

13 November 2009

More than anything in the world, I hate

throwing up. OK, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but I really really really hate being sick to my stomach. There are other things I hate more, like real disease, terrorism, crushing poverty....you know, things that really make life difficult.

Wednesday night, we were at the beginning of a long weekend. The older two spuds were off from school and the little guy only had to go in the morning, so we were going to have pizza and watch a movie after the scout meeting that Daddy and the oldest had to go to. But middle spud suddenly didn't feel good and asked if he could put on pj's and lie on the couch after dinner. This kid never does that. Never. So we curled up on what we call The Sleepy Chair in the family room and watched America's Funniest Home Videos. Why people crashing dirt bikes and falling off a skateboard onto their heads is funny, I'll never really understand but somehow it's still entertaining. I could feel the poor guy getting warmer and warmer and when I took his temperature at bedtime it was 103.5. Yikes! He took some Tylenol and was asleep before his head hit the pillow. So I was feeling a little tired myself and decided to just to go bed early. I fell asleep pretty much right away.

At 11:00 or so, I woke up and something just didn't feel right. Couldn't put my finger on it, but I just felt....strange. The thing that was wrong made itself clear about 20 minutes later and I spent the rest of the night back and forth between bed and the bathroom. Matt complained of a stomachache when he came up to go to bed shortly after I got up the first time. Then around 12:30 or baby spud came in, crying and saying, "I frowed up in my bed." Then it was a merry go round of taking turns in the bathroom. Interestingly, middle spud with the fever was perfectly fine the next morning. I, however, wished for death.

Thursday, I dragged myself out of bed long enough to go to teacher conferences for the older two spuds....both were good....then I crawled home and laid on the couch whining and moaning for the next 12 hours or so. Baby spud missed his school pictures in the morning. He was all dressed and ready to go, seemingly feeling better, then he frowed up all over his nice clean sweater. He was recovered enough to go in the afternoon and smile for 15 seconds, then come back home to lie on the couch with me, moaning and watching old Looney Tunes.

I feel 1000% better today and even went out shopping with my awesome sister and my awesome niece and her adorable kids.

But man, I don't know if I can adequately express how much I hate being sick to my stomach. I think I'd rather have the swine flu. Blech.

11 November 2009

Why, oh why

do I do this to myself? I am fascinated by politics and history, and how one feeds the other. So, naturally I'm drawn to political websites, news discussion boards and the like. And being who I am, I can't usually keep my mouth shut for very long. So I join in the online conversation/debate from time to time.

I guess I'm just too thin-skinned to debate much of anything, because I just don't get the need to state your case and then heap insults on top of your well thought out and well stated argument. You know, people lay out this whole researched and clearly elaborated position and then they call you a ****ing idiot and soulless pig who should burn in Hell because you disagree. I got into a discussion about the health care reform bill and whether or not it is fair and/or right to have a public health care option that includes abortion coverage. Now, I don't want to debate abortion. My problem is using taxpayer funds to pay for them. Many, many of said taxpayers do not support abortion and would not knowingly pay for one under any circumstances. But see, if they pass a reform that includes a public option, and that public option includes abortion coverage, guess what? We the people, are paying for abortions. No matter what President Obama tries to tell us about how they are not using federal funds for abortion.

Anyway, I jumped into the discussion and was promptly told to "keep my opinions to myself" because abortion is a "sacred and private affair" that is a legal procedure, and my objection gets us nowhere. I spoke my piece respectfully and calmly, then was called a "religious zealot" and a "fanatic." Never mind the fact that I had not once used the word God, faith, Bible, religion or anything of the sort. I HATE ugly debate. Hate it. How does calling anyone names and insulting their mother get us any further than my saying I oppose abortion and I don't want to pay for it?

In the spirit of full disclosure, I continued my discussion with the gentleman and he retracted his comment where he called me a zealot and a fanatic. But that debate goes there, so frequently and so easily, is just stupid. When you start swearing and calling people names, it means you have run out of intelligent things to say. You need to step away from the keyboard and take a deep breath.

So, even though I didn't swear at or insult anyone, I'm going to take my own advice, or at least try to. I'm still going to read it all because you can still learn something and sometimes gain a new insight, but I am going to try to step away from the keyboard and stop beating my head against a brick wall. No matter how good it feels when I stop.

06 November 2009

A heavy heart

My heart goes out to all those affected in any way by the horrific shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, yesterday. There's really nothing else to say. I will keep praying for the victims, the families, the people who were injured and the people who were witness to it.

Let the facts come out and don't jump to conclusions about why it happened, or any of the circumstances.

On a happier note, the middle offspring and his class, along with the kindergartners, were responsible for morning prayer today at school....he had a reading to do. They are just precious. I love those sweet little voices and those sweet faces, and I hate that they're growing up so fast. I've never been one to bemoan the fact that children do in fact, grow up, and I didn't really cry on the first day of school. Ever. But I'm a little more conscious than I have been before about the passage of time and how this time next year, all my children will be in school all day long. I'll drop them off at 8:30 and I won't see any of them again till 3:30. Now, there is a part of me that does a little happy dance, at the thought of all that time to get things done, run all my errands in peace, do my schoolwork uninterrupted....but then again, the other part of me likes having little people underfoot and sticky hands that only want to hug me and pull me down on the floor to play Legos.

I'm getting all misty just talking about it. But it'll pass. As much as I have loved mothering babies and toddlers, I'm digging the school years too. It's fun to watch them learn and grow and develop into their own people. Frustrating as hell at times too, for sure. But pretty cool too....awe-inspiring even. I'm looking forward to knowing the young men my little boys are growing into.

There's nothing quite as pure and innocent and sweet as a child's love.

05 November 2009

Life happens

I keep saying that, don't I? Lame excuse for being lazy and tongue-tied. Can you be tongue-tied if you are typing and not speaking? Hmmm....

Ongoing issues with the 9 year old and his meds. I so wish he didn't need the meds, or that I could find some way to help him not need them. So many times I feel like I fail him, by losing my patience when he needs me to be the grown-up, or by leaving him to his own devices to figure out how to cope with ADHD and anxiety. This hasn't been a good week for us...he's not only not doing his work at school, he's lying about whether it's done or not, and weaseling out of punishments. He was supposed to come back to his classroom after lunch to finish some work the other day and he just decided he'd rather go outside so he did. You can't not go to detention! I don't think it's detention per se, but the 4th grade version of it. Anyway, not a good week, and I'm not handling it very well.

I picked up a packet of stuff after school today, to make a presentation at school for Veteran's Day. I'm going to be in the second grade classroom with the 7 year old, and there's a story to read and a few activities. I read the story standing in the kitchen and promptly burst into tears. How am I going to read it to the kids? I love to go in on Veterans' Day...I always go in uniform, and I really like doing it. I think it's so important for kids to have positive images of military people and realize that they/we are just normal people, moms and dads, and not the sometimes really ugly things that the media puts out there. I just posted something on my Facebook page....an article about how 75% of America's youth (people in the prime recruiting age range) are either "too fat, too lazy, too dumb or too dishonest to get into the Army." Article's words, not mine. Obese, can't pass a test, don't come to appointments on time if at all, or have a criminal record. 75%. Horrifying.

I get that the military isn't for everyone. I get how scary it is to watch your child do something that could potentially get them killed. But ponder this: every person in uniform is someone's kid. Thank God someone's kids answer their nation's call; where would we be if no one did? I have heard, more times than I care to think about, parents say things like, "My kid will join the military over my dead body." A mom in Seth's ADHD therapy group told us (the other parents) that her son wanted to be a Marine, but she looked him in the eye and lied to him, telling him they wouldn't take him because of having ADHD. And she was PROUD of lying to him. I nearly bit my tongue in half....so, let me get this straight. It's perfectly OK for other people's kids to put on the uniform and go to war. Just not YOUR kid. I tried not to, but I had to say something. I just said that I had been in the service for 18 years, and I was still here to tell the tale. It's not a prison sentence or a death sentence.

After I calmed down, I got to thinking, why do people feel this way? What is so wrong with serving your country? If it's about the danger, we're all in danger all the time. You don't have to be a soldier carrying a gun to have a horrible accident, to get in a car crash, to get sick. You can fall down the stairs or hit your head in your own home. Yes, maybe it's morbid to think that way, or to say it out loud, but it's true.

I don't want to think that people don't value military service. But many parents don't seem to instill that spirit of service, of giving back, and so many kids don't understand what it means to hold something so dear, something that is bigger than your little corner of the world, something that cannot be possessed or touched to felt, something so important that you would go out of your way to defend it. Defend it to the death if it came down to it. I have one kid in the Army, I have been in the AF for over 18 years, the husband spent almost 28 years in uniform, and when my younger kids get there, I'll encourage them to consider military service. I'm PROUD of my kid for choosing to serve something over himself. I'm proud of him for choosing the uniform. Am I scared something will happen to him? Sure I am. I put him in God's care every single day. But does my fear trump his desire to serve honorably and nobly? Not on your life.

Military rant over. It just makes me sad that so few people have that desire to serve. Yes, I know, there are lots of ways to serve your country; wearing a uniform is but one. But still. Oh wait, I said it was over didn't I?

Hmmm, what else? H1N1 is so yesterday. We are not doing the shot. Why are people so freaked out? Tens of thousands of people die every year from the seasonal flu and you don't see this mass hysteria. It's here, in my small town. Unless you are in the high risk category, in which case my opinion most definitely changes, my impression is you get sick, have a fever and a cough for a week or so, and you get better. Several kids of friends of mine have had it, and they got over it in a few days, week or so max. One kid had a fever of 105 on Monday and was at football practice on Friday.

I got my GI Bill claim approved!! I'm going to finish school! Hallelujah! Money was really becoming an issue, as in, there wasn't enough. And now I've got help paying for tuition! A year from June, and I'll be walking. I'm the first person in my family to go to school at all, let alone graduate. There was a part of me that thought I'd never really get there. And I'm not there yet, don't want to count those chickens just yet, but it feels good to see the finish line from here.

SO thankful for my friends who keep me grounded, keep me laughing and keep me in their prayers. Peace out.

01 September 2009

Brushing off the cobwebs

Wow. April 14th? That's a long time. It's not that I have nothing to say, it really isn't. Just ask my husband, I have plenty to say. It's just that life gets in the way. Spring and summer flew by, in a blur of finals, end of the year parties and field day, day camps, baseball games, the zoo, the pool, and a quick trip to upstate New York for a family reunion.

What are we doing now? I'm on a break from school till the end of September and reading the Twilight saga, the short people just started back to school and are getting in the swing of things, the husband is off work for awhile because of having shoulder surgery and we have a new resident, my stepdaughter L. She's working nights and saving money. Pretty boring and normal stuff.

So today, we're going to visit the husband of a dear friend of our family, who is in the process of dying. It makes me more uncomfortable than I can say to go and sit face to face with that reality because I just don't know what to say. You can't ask someone who is dying, "How ya doing?" Hospice comes over every day and the family minister was there last night....you know the time is drawing near. And I don't know what to say, how to act. But I can't not go. It would be so much easier to say, we're so busy we just don't have time to swing by this afternoon, and send a card or some flowers. But what they really need is love and support and human contact. J needs to know that people love him and care what is going on, and R needs to know to people will still be there for her when he is not. Would I want people to run from us in a time of need? So, as awkward and speechless and helpless as I feel, we will go put our arms around R and J and tell them that we love them. It's isn't nearly enough but it's all we've got.

In other news, I'm training for a half marathon that is in three weeks. I'm nervous but excited. Running has really become a part of who I am. The idea of running a full marathon keeps crossing my mind....but I'm afraid of doing a full. 26.2 miles is a lot of dang miles. What I find harder than the physical part is the mental aspect of continuing to run for 2+ hours. Oh sure, I take walk breaks and I stop at water stations or to use the restroom occasionally. But for the vast majority of the time, I'm running. What to think about, what to do with my mind so it doesn't talk my body into quitting? Maybe next school year when the youngest dude is in all day school, I could train for a full. It's very time consuming, training for a race.

I'm getting close to the end of school. This year and then one more academic year till graduation. In my world, that means it's just about over. Then I just have to figure out what I am going to do with the degree. Use it to go to more school? Get a job? In this economy? With a history degree? Mmm-hmm. Three years ago when I really started to take this college thing seriously, life looked a lot different, and I had a different goal in mind. Isn't it funny how quickly things change?

Thinking about life after school is really kind of odd...I've just done school for so long, and it would feel strange to not have that looming just out of reach anymore. I need to have some goal that I am working toward and school has been it for so long. What will it be? Kind of exciting and kind of scary at the same time.

14 April 2009

Tough love

Let me start by saying I love my husband's children as if they were my own. Truly, truly I do. There are two of them and they are two very, very different people. Neither of them lived with us as children but the older one, B, lived with us for a year after college. He got a full time job, wasn't 100% sure what he wanted to do, but he just needed a place to crash for a while, and so he was here. We didn't make him pay rent but he paid for his own stuff....car, gas, insurance, going out money, etc. Every now and again he'd ask for help with something and we usually did. He helped us out by taking care of the house if we went away for a couple of days, helped with the kids, and took care of the older two when I had to go the hospital to have #3 forced out, I mean, induced....he contributed to the household and the arrangement worked out fine. When he moved out for good, part of me was sad to see him go, although I knew that it was time.

Well, the situation with L is little different. She's kind of always held us at arm's length, and we're her last resort, it seems. She is 24 years old, lives at home with her mother, graduated from college a year ago, and works weekends at a local restaurant/casino type establishment. She says that she is sending out resumes and looking for another job to supplement the weekend gig, but nothing has come up yet. Frankly I question how motivated she is, and how much time she is putting into her job search, because if I send her email or a note on Facebook, it is generally answered within 5 minutes. I know that her mother has her doing work around the house, taking care of their animals and such. I don't think she pays rent and she is driving her mother's car, not having one of her own. Which brings me to my point.

When her mother gets fed up with her, she threatens to take the car away and kick her out, and then it's always "Dad, can I come live with you?" We've always told her that we'd do the same for her that we did for B, and she is welcome to live with us. Today we got an email that "The deadline for Mom taking the car away is coming up quick and I need help. If I don't have a car I won't be able to drive myself to work. Can you please help me get a car?"

I have a few questions. How long have we known about the deadline coming up? How long did we have to start putting out some real effort to get a car of our own?
If you live at home and have zero expenses, how is it that you have so little money in the bank? If you only work weekends, that gives you all week long to go out and try to find some other part time gig that would bring in more money. At 24, it's time to be a grown up now. When I was 24, I'd been in the military for nearly four years. At 24, my husband and his ex-wife (B & L's mom) were married, had a child and were managing their own lives without any help from their parents.

And with a college degree no less, you can do better than bussing tables. Now, in fairness, we helped B get a car...actually we gave him one of ours. We were getting ready to buy a new one, and rather than trade in the old one, we gave it to him. It was several years old and was hardly his first choice but beggars can't be choosers. And we've always said, whatever we do for B, we have to be willing to do for L. I'm willing to help but only up to a point.

Am I completely heartless and cruel because I don't really feel like this is our problem to solve? Am I the evil stepmother? I'm frustrated because I know in my heart, from past experience, whatever we do will somehow not be enough, and we'll be blamed for the whole mess. I've told him (the husband) that he needs to get together in person with L and her mother and stop this email back and forth, between him and L, him and the ex-wife, and who knows what the ex-wife is telling L at home? He said, she said, to the nth degree. The three of them need to sit down and solve the problem. Make a plan and then do it. A little less talk and a little more action.

It's time to be a grown up now. Take responsibility for your own needs, figure out what you want and how to get there, and then go do it. The problem is that B was encouraged, even pushed, to grow up and be a man, get out of the house, go live your life, as boys often are, especially boys of divorced mothers who (either consciously or not) ask them to be the man of the house after Dad moves out. L was pampered and babied and not taught any of the lessons she needed to be ready to take care of herself. She is not prepared to be an adult. I love her and I want to see her succeed, but I don't think that Mom and Dad giving her everything and taking care of everything for her is doing her any favors.

Definitely need to pray on this.

01 April 2009

Can't do it

but I'm thinking about it a lot. I really miss flying. I've toyed off and on with the idea of going back to flying quite a lot over the last almost 10 years, since I flew my last mission as a C141C loadmaster. There are more reasons, good ones, not to do it, than there are to do it.

But still. I miss it. It was fun and exciting. Yeah, frustrating too. And it was easy for me to be away from home for a week or more at a time. No kids, no school, nothing to worry about. Life looks a lot different these days, and if I were to go back, assuming I could even get a load slot in the squadron, it would be hard. I'd have to be away for four months straight for training, then I'd be on active duty and at the mercy of my scheduler and the airplane for another year. C5's don't exactly have a good reliability rate and 4 day trips often turn into 12 day trips, waiting on parts and maintenance.

How would we handle me traveling again? The hub's job pays way better and he needs to be able to count on me being home when he goes to work. Unless we had a live-in nanny, it would just never work. Plus....as much as I miss flying, I don't really think I could be away from the fam for four months without some serious heartburn. If I was mobilized and ordered to active duty involuntarily that would be one thing. But to choose it...I don't know. I want to have a job/career that is meaningful and fulfilling, don't get me wrong. I'm just not willing to do it at the expense of my family. There is more than one way to have a meaningful career. I want to be there for my kids and not miss track meets and baseball games, and teacher conferences and all those things. And frankly, I think they need me here too.

I really do like what I do now. The big drawback is the lack of promotion potential. There is none. Zero. And I do want to get promoted someday. It's time. It will happen eventually, but my co-HO will have to leave/retire and I don't want her to go. I adore her and we make a good team, both as friends and professionally. When she leaves the office I will get the stripe. You gotta take the good with bad, I guess.

Just getting all nostalgic, I think. I left flying before I got all grumpy and bitter about it, so I always remember it through my rose colored glasses. I have conveniently forgotten what a pain it could be at times, how much I hated certain aspects of the job. But when I go back and read my journals from those days, it wasn't always sunshine and butterflies. Things really do happen for a reason, and sometimes, it just wasn't meant to be. Home is where I am supposed to be. While I miss flying and always will, I'm good with being home.

30 March 2009

The sun is shining...

on my street! It looks like spring outside. So the spousal unit and I took advantage of it and hit the bricks for about 2.5 miles today. It was chilly to start and he didn't think he was going to be able to go very far, but he surprised me (and himself!) He said that if he had been alone, he wouldn't have gone as far, but he didn't want me to think he was a total skirt. His words.

In any case, it was a gorgeous day for it and it felt great to get out and run.

School starts again tonight and I'm looking forward to it. I just really needed a break from thinking and worrying about school for a few days, and now I'm ready to start a new quarter. New class, new professor. I've gotten over my disappointment (for the most part) that I did the math wrong adding up my credits and I won't be graduating in a year like I thought, but there are worse fates in life. So I don't feel too bad about taking it easy this quarter and next, only one class per quarter. I'll get back at it in the fall and take more but I am ready to take it easy for awhile. I'm getting closer to graduating and I'm not totally taking the quarter off, so it's all good.

Nothing much exciting or interesting to talk about, just life. Oh, a funny thing happened today. Middle man-cub's homework got lost yesterday afternoon and he was quite upset this morning when we couldn't find it. We promised to bring it to school when it turned up. I asked one my favorite saints for a little help, and St Anthony (patron saint of lost things) came through like he always does. After our run today, the husband and I were trying to figure out what could have happened to the homework. Coming up the driveway, and seeing the empty garbage cans gave me a thought and I checked the recycle bin....they hadn't come to pick it up yet. Sure enough, in between sections of the Sunday paper was his bright blue "homework" folder with the assignment tucked inside. Thanks, St A!

I guess that about covers it for today. Not much going on in suburbia today, but I do have to give a quick shout out to my beloved UNC TAR HEELS who rocked the house last night, even though Yahoo is making fun of one of them for a bad dunk attempt. They're going to take it all this year, I just know it.

23 March 2009

I'm still alive...

and still hanging on the last of this damnable cough. It's gone beyond all semblance of reasonable. But it's almost gone, finally. The worst thing is, I feel like I always need to clear my throat.

I've been incommunicado for quite a while now. But some good things going on here...winter quarter is over, YAY! I'm on spring break, and waiting for grades to come out. I think I did pretty well in history, but literature is really a crapshoot. I worked hard on my final paper and I feel like I did what I was supposed to do. Is it "A" work? I don't know, I think it's pretty close, but I also thought my other work in the class was pretty good, but sadly the instructor disagreed. So, I'll just have to wait a few more days to find out. I did get into the online lit class for summer I wanted, which will complete my English requirement for graduation. Next school year, I will have to suck it up and take three classes each quarter but then I. WILL. BE. DONE. FINISHED. GRADUATED. Could it really be???

UC approved a program that allows outside training, such as military training, to be used for college credit, and I got a TRUCKLOAD of hours toward my degree from my military transcripts. In fact, I have more hours than I need to graduate! But they're not all applicable to the things I still need to complete like foreign language. But still, one more year, and that's it. That is so exciting that I can't really think about it.

In other news, I finally got some closure, if that is the right phrase, on a situation I had with a couple of people I thought were my friends. I pissed and moaned about it here awhile back. I bumped into one of them at the Y, on the track. I was walking with my headphones in, listening to music. The most I'd have done was say hi. She was walking on the track with her nose buried in a book, making a HUGE point of ignoring me. Now, I ask you, who goes to the gym, to walk on the track while READING A BOOK? This pissed me off beyond all reason. For the love of God, don't be such a baby, just say what you've got to say.

Knowing that these two girls are not ones for grown-up conversation (meaning they'd rather ignore you and cut off an entire friendship than just be honest and have the uncomfortable conversation) and phone calls would be ignored and then not returned, I used the only means of communication that I knew they'd see. I emailed both of them and said that I had tried to be patient and had spent the better part of the last several months hurt and confused, wondering what I had done to deserve being cut off so rudely and lacking any input from either of them, I had come to the conclusion that I didn't deserve it. I said that it hurt me and made me sad that they'd both rather write off a friendship than to just be honest and be a grown up, and have the uncomfortable conversation, but that I obviously couldn't control that.

Well, they both wrote me back rather quickly and let me know that I did indeed do things that they didn't like. I was told that my negativity literally sucked the life out of A, and that all we had in common was shopping and enjoying playing with makeup. Wow, could she think of me as any shallower? And J had thought the only thing we had in common was the fact that our kids were friends, but once our kids were not in the same class, that our "friendship" had just sort of drifted away. Both of these lame excuses are, not to put too fine a point on things, BULL. SHIT. Granted, when I was close with A, I was going through what was arguably one of the two worst times of my life. And maybe I didn't handle everything the way she thought I should. But if I'd known that was the parameter of the friendship, I might have done a whole lot of things differently. J is just full of it....we were friends after our kids weren't in the same class at school, for a couple of years.

What I have taken away from it, is that I am longer hurt and upset about the loss of these two supposed friends. Their responses tell me that this whole thing was more about them than it was about me. Neither of them was willing to be upfront about what they were thinking and feeling, so instead they both just blew me off. Yeah, they're related, they're sisters, which is why I keep referring to them as a unit. I never thought of them like that until they started acting exactly the same. In fact, A used to talk smack to me about J quite a bit, and was pretty harsh about her, but now all of a sudden they are super close and I am "attacking" their family? Whatever. Neither of them appears to have any traits of a mature grown woman, and neither of them can be trusted as far as they can be thrown. Lesson learned the hard way. I'm still upset but it's now about the way they treated me in ending the friendship rather than being upset that the friendship is over.

The oldest offspring is beginning to worry me again....a med issue. He is very limited in the types and dosages of meds he can take, he just can't tolerate a lot of them. But he's become habituated to the one he can take, and he seems to be slipping into some unacceptable behaviors. I don't want to be yelling and scolding and correcting all the time, but how he is behaving is not ok. He's going to be 9 this weekend, and it's early still but I'm wondering if he's beginning to deal with some hormones that are making him get a little more attitude-y. He just seems to be incapable of getting himself under control, and behaving appropriately. Or at least, his ability to do that is umm, intermittent. Today was kind of a bad day so maybe it's just one day. Here's hoping tomorrow is better.

I'm training for a 10K in May, and I plan to register for a half-marathon in September and a 10-mile race in October. Running is still my refuge, a place where I can go where it's just me and my legs and my lungs. Pushing myself to see how far I can go. I get away from everything and everyone when it's time for a run, and it's about the only time I can be alone with myself. I'm not trying to fix anything or anyone, I'm not worrying about money or school or the kids or my marriage, I'm just pickin' 'em up and puttin' 'em down. It's kinda cool.

15 February 2009

The bubonic plague

is what it feels like here. Ugh. I've been sick for about a month now, and the offspring are all varying degrees of sick. I have bronchitis, which I have my suspicions may have morphed into pneumonia or something else, but the chest xrays did not agree. I've been coughing my head off, and gasping for air and struggling to breathe each time I cough. The oldest offspring was diagnosed last week with pneumonia and his flu culture came back positive. The middle offspring has had a fever above 103 for the last couple days although today seems better, and the littlest one also has a high fever, with today being better than the last couple of days. But strangely, today the little guy has a really weird rash on his cheeks...it almost looks sort of measles-ish. It's red and spotty, but not bumpy or raised. His fever is down but he's got the rash. Hmmm. WebMD is a dangerous thing, and I don't think I'll go looking for info, because I usually come away thinking we all have massive brain aneurysms or terminal cancer.

So, we're slowly recovering. I can't wait for spring and better weather, although it's been mild around here lately, very not winter-like. In spite of that, I am still very much wanting to hibernate. I don't feel like going anywhere or doing anything. I'm ok with letting the spawn watch too much TV or play too much Wii, as long as they do it quietly, in the other room. Tired and unmotivated, that's me.

This quarter in school is interesting though...I am taking a literature class that is focused on family. Funny, I guess I thought it would be focused on books. Now to be fair, we are reading a lot, but the discussions and the writing we are doing is all about family. After our first class meeting I called my spousal unit on my way home from school and told him that I thought perhaps I had made a mistake. I thought I was taking a literature class, but in actuality, it was a group therapy session. And generally the discussions in class piss me off. I am very much in a minority there, because I'm about 20 years older than everyone else, including the instructor it seems, and I'm not in favor of abortion as a method of birth control, or problem solving or fighting poverty. Yeah, I know! How'd we get THERE in a literature class?! My thoughts exactly. We got to talking about OctoMom one night and being a whacked out neo con, I put in a vote for personal responsibility. Why should California taxpayers be handed a bill for her desire to have litters of children? Have all the children you want....but they are YOUR children, YOU take care of them. And somehow this discussion turned to abortion: if taxpayers are going to foot the bill (or at least contribute) for her in vitro procedures, should they also be asked to pay for abortions? I could not shut up and I was appalled that people think abortion is a perfectly fine way to solve the problem of not wanting to be pregnant. And that taxpayers should be ok with paying for abortions, since if a poor woman can't afford an abortion, how is she going to afford to care for a child? It's ultimately cheaper to the taxpayer to cover the abortion than to cover welfare/assistance for the baby. WHAT THE HELL kind of logic is that? And HOW THE HELL is this related to literature? And then one girl in the class said something about "those really religious people" who oppose abortion and I about came undone. Does having faith negate my credibility? So if I go to church and practice my faith, that means I'm just some fringe kook with nothing worthwhile to say? OMG. I remember believing differently when I was 20 than I do now, and much of what I thought then was stupid. But holy crap. This is our future? These are the future leaders of this country? Oy vey. And it isn't just the abortion thing, I listen to them talk and it seems clear to me that they just don't know much about the way the world works. They are so young and so...me me me. They shout down anyone who disagrees with them, and cannot or will not consider that any other viewpoint MIGHT have some validity. That drives me nuts.
The following week I refused to open my mouth even once. I could tell that the professor was getting irritated with me and just wanted me to shut up....every time I said something, he blew it off and moved on as quickly as he could, and he made me wait till last to speak, every time I had a comment. I don't like this class at all.

I have senioritis SO. BAD. I cannot adequately express how very much I want to be finished with school. But I was talking to a friend of mine last night and she was encouraging me to reconsider going to law school. She's an attorney and she offered to do anything she could to help me get into law school and said she'd help me out. I wrote off law school a long time ago, and found a new pursuit, but now....I'm just thinking. We were also at the bottom of a couple of bottles of wine, at least, but I'm sure that doesn't have anything to do with anything.

And my favorite professor has nominated me for an award at school! That was a great surprise, put a big smile on my face and made me feel really good. I will find out in April if I am among the finalists.

I guess that about catches me up. I've been sick, in school, and hanging out with the husband and the kids. The husband has been on call all of January, and all of February, and just today got called out for the first time in six weeks. Neither of us was unhappy that he went out today, and he'll be back in a couple of days. It was time for him to go out. Maybe it sounds bad but when you are used to your partner being gone for a few days on a regular basis, and then he's home for six weeks in a row, well, there is such a thing as spending TOO much time together. Now I have to get my sick and tired butt and get some stuff done around here!

11 January 2009

A great read

I just finished reading a book that was recommended by my very good friend Rachael, and it was so good I felt compelled to write a little bit about it. Not that my little corner of cyberspace gets all that much traffic but still, you just never know.

The book is called "The Shack." It even has its own website, www.theshackbook.com.
I plan to buy several more copies and give them to people to read and then pass on. I think everyone should read this book. It's a religious book of sorts, but maybe that isn't the best word to describe it. It's a spiritual book. You don't have to be Christian, or Jewish, or Catholic, or Protestant, or Buddhist, or Hindu, or a Muslim to get something out of it. I'd be willing to bet that an atheist could get something from reading this book.

Without giving the plot away, I will say that it is about a man who suffers a great tragedy in his life and how he comes to know God better than he ever thought anyone could, as a result. It made me think about how I think about God: who is He, what would He look like, what kinds of things would He say to me if I had the chance to ask Him questions? I'm a devout Catholic but I also have questions, things I wonder about, things I question and have a hard time understanding or believing. I completely reject the notion that doubts or questions mean that your faith is weak. I have a dear friend who is a spiritual director who helped me to see that it is the truly faithful who question, who seek to understand more fully. In the past, I always thought that it was a sin to question, and I was going to hell if I harbored any doubts about anything I was taught to believe. And God KNOWS if you doubt Him, so don't even consider it! That was part of my fundamental upbringing, and I've learned a thing or two since then. Back then, I was introduced to the Old Testament God who sent plagues and turned people into pillars of salt for their sins.

I believe that God is benevolent and loving and forgiving. I don't believe He is looking to nitpick all of our shortcomings and our sins. He knows we're human and we will always fall. That's the way He made us; of course He knows that. He doesn't really expect us to do as Jesus did, or act as Jesus did. We can't; we're not Jesus. He wants us to love one another. That's it. It sounds pretty simple, but we make *love* so much more complicated than it has to be. All of the bad things that have happened throughout history, where people have done such horrible wrongs to others and committed unspeakable crimes, have come not because God chose it for us, or because He failed to intervene, but they have come about as a result of the gift of free will. God lets us choose. And He, better than anyone, understands that we must experience the consequences of our choices (free will) if we are to learn anything.

I hope that kinds of things I read in "The Shack" are true, or that they are even in the same ballpark. I wonder where the author's ideas and inspiration came from. It's a beautiful story of forgiveness, hope, redemption and most importantly, of love.

Check it out. It's worth the time. www.theshackbook.com