Saturday, February 28, 2009

I'm crabby.

I didn't sleep well last night, which is surprising because my husband is now home and I am very happy about that! He showed me his weapon (it's really heavy and has a sharp snap as it chambers the next round) and his badge, and he's all official now. It's very cool! He works at 6 a.m. and he's oh so thrilled to have to get up by 4:30, but he only works until 2 p.m. I had crazy, nonsensical (in a scary way) dreams all night, and after waking from each one a different one would start. Not even worth describing them really, because there was no rhyme nor reason to any of them. They just startled me, shook me up, or confused me. When the alarm went off this morning I did not want to get up, so I didn't. Eric took the kids to bowling, and I stayed home. Worked on laundry and read for a bit.

We don't have the CRX back as yet. The parts needed to be specially ordered/found to make the various repairs. They say it should be done by mid-afternoon Monday. That'll work, because Eric will be home by then (he has to pay for it after all, teehehee). In the meantime though, we had to scramble this afternoon to figure out vehicles. I had to work, Cliff had to work, and Eric had his bowling tournament. I ended up dropping Eric off at his buddy's house, and went to work from there. Unfortunately I was 15" late for work and that kinda sucked, although they took it in stride. Spent my afternoon putting up shelving and display cabinets and wire basket. I even have a "battle scar", which isn't helping me to type: I caught my thumb on my right hand in the endcap of a basket and it snapped it but good, right along the bottom of the nail and on either side of it. Ouch! We get our first delivery trucks of the new stock in on Tuesday morning, and I am working Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and Saturday afternoon. Eric is thinking he starts school this week, with classes on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, so I sure hope the third car is fixed by then. Brianne needs to get to work, I need to get to work, and Eric needs to get to school!

Brianne is in Oklahoma for the weekend. A friend of hers bought her a plane ticket to come visit for the weekend and she took the opportunity to go. I hope she has a really nice time. Rei and Kimmie and Aurora have gone to the mall, Cliff is at work, Eric is bowling, and Patrick is here with me. Not sure what the heck I am supposed to do for dinner--who is eating, who to plan for, etc. and I was kinda surprised to come home and find a couple of Cliff's friends still here napping on the couch with him gone! Go figure!

I am a bit frustrated, ok, really frustrated with the high school right now. Reimond has been assigned Saturday detention for next Saturday and I feel like it was a punative move by the assistant principal, rather than a disciplinary one. He hadn't taken his med before school (forgot), and I wasn't able to run a refill to the school (his backup supply there was gone), so he had to wing it on Wednesday. I told the nurse when she called me how I'd like things to be handled, and she agreed. In his last hour, Rei was off task and distracting. He got sent to the office, and the Assistant Principal was talking to someone, so he sat outside the office where he was told to. When the bell rang, he came home. The next day I was called and told that he was assigned Saturday Detention (3 hours) because he had been distracting and off task, and because he left the office without permission after the bell rang. I talked at length with the A.P., and I told her what had happened; she essentially made me feel like I was a horrible parent because I don't force feed Rei his med in the morning (it's his responsibility to take it and if he forgets the backup is at school). That really bothered me alot, because I know I am a good mother. Anyhow, in reading the paperwork that came home regarding this action, they made it sound like he was being punished for leaving the office without permission, after being off task and distracting in the classroom. I looked at the photocopy of the assignment he was drawing on; he was drawing (it's a coping mechanism), but he was also answering the questions on it, even showing his work. I have stewed on this for a few days now, and I finally wrote a letter to the A.P., the Principal, and Rei's special ed case manager, pointing out that I fully support reasonable and logical consequences, but in this case I feel like he is being punished for not having access to his med. I do not now, nor have I ever in the past condoned his meds being the end-all and be-all of controlling his behaviors. I know he has to make an effort to control himself and make good choices, and all the med does is slow him down so he can do so, but I also know that there are times when he really needs it for that purpose, and if the environment isn't adjusted, he has a harder time making things work for him. I would have supported a one hour after school detention (one hour off task = one hour making it up after school), or being in the ISS or special ed room for the day, where he has less things to distract him and he is able to stay focused (less stimulating environment). I don't think a 3 hour Saturday detention, served 10 days after the fact, is really going to teach him anything other than that he is powerless. There is a long list of even more severe consequences if the kid doesn't serve his Saturday detention, so I said in my letter he would be serving it, despite my thinking it was unfair, but I felt that they needed to rethink their approach as well. I think it just stinks when a kid with a documented disability (as defined in his IEP) gets punished because he wasn't able to take his medication that helps to control it. Maybe I'm wrong, but someone has to stand up for him. Eric read the paperwork and my letter and he supports my stance.

I really want to kill Leina right now. She's in her kennel because she's wet and muddy (her coat as well as her feet) and I want her to dry before she is allowed free rein again. She is barking her fool head off and it is driving me nuts! Po pulled a fast one too and snuck out the door as Cliff's friend Anthony was trying to bring Leina in the house, and Patrick got a good run in chasing him, so he too is in his kennel. He doesn't usually bark like she does though.

I am trying to decide whether I want to open a bottle of wine or just make some herb tea. I am feeling so tense right now, all I want to do is cry. Chocolate would be good too--maybe I should make some cocoa... I hate feeling all bundled up and cranky and irritable. I need to just hide away til it passes so I don't take it out on anyone by being snappish or mean. And I would like to be happier when Eric gets home from his tournament. And food! I haven't eaten since breakfast, so I am sure that is a part of it too... HALT, isn't that the psych acronym? Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired... Maybe I am all 4 of them right now.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm procrastinating.

Yes, it's true. I'm procrastinating around doing a few things I should be doing. I should be doing laundry. I should be making up my grocery list. I should be headed to the gym for my 30 minutes on the treadmill, followed by a stroll around the commissary as I purchase the aforementioned groceries on the list. I should be cleaning up the house and getting things ready for my husband to get home tomorrow night and our resumption of "real life." And I am doing none of them.

Why? I hate grocery shopping with a passion. I worked in that industry for more years than I would like to count and I've had my fill of aisles of groceries, making choices, and carrying them to the car and putting them away when home. I just don't like it. I don't mind cooking, or the cleanup that goes with it, but if the ingredients could magically appear on the shelves of the pantry and refrigerator I would be a happy camper. One of my pet peeves is that if I buy something that is "tasty" for everyone, it disappears overnight and I rarely even get a nibble. Another is that the empty containers don't get properly disposed of unless I am right there to supervise/nag about them. That's why I no longer buy soda--I get tired of cans everywhere in various stages of being emptied, and of things stacked by the sink because they then "magically disappear." It's a vicious cycle. Other kinds of shopping I enjoy totally. I like going to the mall, to the BX, to Target. I even have broken down and shop at Walmart on occasion (shudder) because they carry groceries and staples of household necessities. But I hate grocery shopping with a passion. Still, the lack of fresh fruit, milk, cereal, and bread is staring me in the face, and I know it needs to be done. If I wait for Eric to get home to do it (and he'd drag me along with him to do it anyway), it'd be Sunday evening before we get on it, and that isn't gonna cut it. So it's up to me to do it today. And I don't wanna! (stamp feet, pout).

The laundry really isn't too overwhelming and I will finish it today. I just don't want to do it right now. Going to the gym is actually enjoyable and I don't mind doing that either, but if I am already on base it just makes sense that I get the groceries too... And the housework? Meh, it'll get done one way or another.

Part of my procrastination is because I have a headache. I'm trying to figure out if it's just a tension headache (had some issues over Rei and his meds this morning at the high school, and he has Saturday detention scheduled for the 7th), or the start of a migraine (which can be triggered by tension, the weather changes we are under, and hormones, which may or may not also be an option), but my head aches, my eyes are bugging me, and I feel nauseous. Doesn't help that Midnight just threw up on my carpet in my bedroom either... Yuck! Maybe I should just take something for my head and go to the gym, then fake it at the grocery store--get the bare minimum we need and come home to deal with the rest later...

I took Patrick to the dentist yesterday for a noon appointment, but they forgot to mention that Aurora was supposed to be there too, so I went back this morning to take Aurora and Reimond. Rei has a cavity that needs filling so we have an after school appointment set up for April, and I have a referral for all three kids to be seen by an orthodontist regarding braces. I will get that set up for soon because I do feel that it's a priority. Liisa had them and has such a gorgeous smile now. Tony had them too, but took them off himself because "they bugged him" and he now regrets that he didn't stick with it. Patrick and Aurora have such nice smiles, but they are self-conscious of their teeth, (as is Brianne, but unfortunately she needs to take care of the braces thing on her own now). I also got Eric set up for an appointment for next week as he had a filling fall out while in AR, and despite 2 appointments down there for a temporary fix, he is having some pain and swelling and needs to get it fixed ASAP. I suppose I should get an appointment for me too--I know it's been at least 3 years or better since I have been in...

I'm bummed because Eric has a bowling tournament to go to on Saturday that I was gonna go with on, but I have to work from 1-5 and he is leaving at 1:30ish to go. I'm glad he's taking this opportunity to bowl with his friends, even if I can't be there too. He works Sunday morning, but I am going to try to get to church with the kids. Aurora has some band fundraising stuff she wants to take there, and she'll take them to the bowling alley too on Saturday morning. We went to the Ash Wednesday service last night and it was somber but nice. I am glad we went.

Ok, even the computer screen is bugging my head so I am gonna go for now. I'll fill you in on the rest maybe tomorrow!

UPDATE: I took a prescription pain med I have for migraines and it did the trick. I then went and did the grocery shopping to the tune of $165... It isn't cheap feeding 5 kids! And I didn't need to get dog or cat food today, so that was all food for the family. Now I can justify playing a little bit, whether I get on the computer and play Everquest with Eric, or I cross stitch or knit on the sweater from hell... Looks like we are going to get a severe storm. The skies are black, and it's spritzing raindrops. Eric told me on the phone that he has fully qualified on his weapon and is very ready to be done and come home. I agree. I am ready to have him home too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's a wonderful day outside

and I am so glad to be out and about in it. I have to head off to do a few things this afternoon, but just wanted to take a minute or two to write. I have lots and lots of stuff tumbling through my mind.

The school just called and Rei is out of his meds (I keep some backups there if he forgets to take them in the morning before school); sounds like he was doing fine until this hour, where he has a sub that he isn't getting along with and it's frustrating him. Using problem solving skills, he is going to talk to the social worker and see if he can be in the ISS room to do his assignment, where things will be a bit less distracting for him. I am going to run by the school too and drop off more meds for him. I like it when he is proactive instead of waiting until he gets in to trouble to have them call me!

Just got a letter in the mail from Eric's lawyer. He was supposed to attend a hearing yesterday regarding the visitation issues, but because he is in AR at mandatory training the judge granted a motion for it to be continued until next week. Now he has to take a day off from work so he can be there. It's over the "missing week" from last summer, when it was just not feasible for the kids to go to IN (because of the wedding and then their school needs), as well as making plans for this summer's visitation. It has been suggested that Aurora doesn't "need" to take driver's ed this summer and should be told she has to take it during the school year, and that while Patrick having a job would trump visitation, until he has one he is expected to go too. It will make me really sad if the court rules against the needs/desires of the kids. I know in MN once the kids reach a certain age (I think it was like 12), they were entitled to a say in visitation and custody arrangements. The hardest thing for me to fathom, as a mother, is that this is NOT about the kids and what is best for them! Their thoughts and wishes are not being considered at all! If it was about them, and spending time with them, then, at least in my opinion, more effort would be expended on coming to visit them, participate in their lives, and contact them on a regular basis by phone. As my mom always said, "if I'm not important every day of the year, don't knock yourself out trying to make it happen on specific holidays." I realize it takes efforts on both sides to make things happen, and I am willing to accommodate and be flexible, but I do think that the kids should come first and be heard! Just my opinion...

I didn't make it to the gym yesterday because I ended up chauffering Cliff to get his cell phone warrantied out, and ran to the bank, so today is the day to do errands on post. After running to the school, of course, to drop off Rei's meds. I am loving my Zune (microsoft's answer to the ipod) and it's "Walkfit Channel"--dance music that makes it fun to work out to. I am really enjoying having it on! Can't wait for Eric to be home for keeps Friday night because he is going to go with me to the gym and show me how to safely and effectively add in some of the weight stuff to build up my arms, shoulders, and back muscles. I am not looking so much at bulking up as I am being healthy and fit. As I head towards 50 I want to be the best I can be. My dad and his oldest sister had their first bypass surgeries in their early 50's and I don't want to follow in their footsteps in that regard. I know I have some of the genetic markers in my system that makes me prone to heart disease and I want to keep them at bay for as long as I can! That's my goal anyhow.

Ok, 'nuff procrastinating. Time to go!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Back to the routine...

Monday morning, the kids are at school or work, and I am enjoying the quiet of the house and the sun streaming in through the windows. Just the kind of morning I like best. All I need is a cup of coffee to complete the picture, and that is brewing now.

It was a good weekend in many ways, and it was rough in others. Eric's two oldest children are experiencing growing pains in different directions, and each has things going on that can weigh on a parent's heart. I know it was hard for Eric to leave last night to go back to Arkansas for his last 5 days, but we both know 5 days will pass quickly, and then he'll be home. Truthfully, it's nothing earth-shattering that is going on, so no one needs to worry; just normal teenage behaviors and struggles with "where do I fit in and belong" and "what am I gonna do to make it work for me." It's more "trying" than anything, at least for me, but then I have been through it twice already with Liisa and Tony. Despite having perspective, it doesn't make it any less stressful though.

Eric and I "ran away" to Olive Garden on Saturday night. We had a fashionably late "grown up dinner," complete with a glass of wine, and we just enjoyed each other's company. We had planned to run over to Outlaw Blues afterwards, only to discover that it closes at 11 p.m. on Saturday nights! I had thought, from the name, that it was a night club and restaurant. It's apparently not. It's primarily a restaurant. We need to find a nice club around here that we can go to for music and conversation (preferably Blues or Jazz or other non-Country music oriented genres--Country is fine in small doses, but I dislike the twanginess of it sometimes). We didn't want to go to a bar just to go to a bar, so we headed home for 11 p.m. and made it an early night. Sunday we slept in, finished his laundry to take back with him, and played Everquest together. It was a nice afternoon (albeit interspersed with the teen drama a bit).

I don't work until Saturday afternoon, 1-5, so I am planning that this week will be focused on continued tidying and de-cluttering, working on some needlework projects, going to the gym, and parenting. The kids have no school next Monday, so my guess is the weekend will be very busy too, with lots of plans for mischief and other activities... I need to enjoy the peace while I have it! I am so glad to see the end in sight of Eric's training, and that we can resume family life here with some sense of normalacy. He will be working 6-2 on Sunday, 3/1, then 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. on his regular rotation three quarters of the way through March, when he returns to overnights... Figures his day shifts encompassed most of his training in AR. Oh well, we can make it work! And he starts school again next week as well. Did I say things were resuming to normal???

Coffee is ready! Yay! Time for a quick cup, then on to rest of the day!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tidbits and miscellany...

Eric is home, and went to bowling with us this morning. After being a "parent" (as opposed to being a coach) while the kids all bowled, he bowled a few lines with the kids and as he put it, "couldn't catch a spare to save his life." He thought he had a bowling tournament tonight but he doesn't, so we are going to go out instead on a date. That makes me very happy!

At bowling this morning young Alex was so excited to see us. He informed me that "Mommy and Daddy had a card for me" (I don't think he was supposed to tell me), and later asked his dad if he could give it to me. It was a lovely thank you card from the coaches and youth bowling teams for donating the quilt, along with a gift card to a new restaurant/night club I have been wanting to check out, the "Outlaw Blues Bar and Grill." Eric and I may check it out tonight! I also had an opportunity to talk to the woman who won it, and she was very happy with it. It was good to know it has a home where it'll be appreciated.

I got my first paycheck, for a whole 10 hours of work. It wasn't alot, especially after taxes, but it was nice to see. Eric asked me if we were going to frame it... I said I'd rather spend it! I worked 10 hours again this week, and work only 4 next week so far (Saturday 1-5). I'm going to give a call to the manager and see if she needs me for any other hours next week, but if not, that's ok too. I did make a few purchases on Friday after work: 2 patterns for doll clothes and a pattern for a summer dress for me, and 3 yards of fabric to make said dress out of (white background crinkly rayon with large lilies for an all-over print; has a very soft drape and is ideal for the pattern!). I also got 2 craft organizers, one each for Brie and Aurora to keep their cross stitch in (got them for $3.50 each!), and a booklet on making knotted bracelets out of floss/string/hemp, something else I thought the girls would enjoy. I get a 15% discount above any sale prices, even the liquidation prices (which surprised me; I figured that was as much a discount as I could get). All in all I spent about $25, but was quite pleased with my bargin hunting.

So very frustrated with the dogs this morning. Last night I vaccuumed and mopped the entire main floor, and it looked fantastic. I figured we were going to have cold weather the rest of the week, so the mud would be minimal. WRONG! It sleeted this morning and the dogs tracked mud all over the clean linoleum this morning, as well as tracked some of it onto the carpets, again... I swear at times I would be better off letting the mud build up and throw down grass seed... I know it isn't their fault. But there has to be an easier way to manage it! I am open to suggestions (we do already wipe their feet with a towel when they come in to try and limit the mess). On the flip side I couldn't help but laugh when today at the bowling alley I got an automated phone call from the city of Minneapolis telling me that a snow emergency had been declared and parking restrictions would be enforced. They got almost 7 inches since Friday night, and my brother said it took him over an hour to shovel the front walk and steps! I don't miss that at all!

Brianne is at drill for the weekend, her second weekend this month, Cliff is working all weekend long as well, and we are basically done with our weekend obligations. I AM gonna have a family meeting with the kids though about picking up after themselves and each other. I spent almost three hours cleaning the main floor last night. They need to understand that they have to contribute to the whole, and if I start hearing "It's not my mess, I am not gonna pick it up" I am gonna remind them that two can play that game and they do not want to go there with me... I wonder how they would feel if I boycotted doing stuff for them?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wierd weather...

I just cannot get used to the weather differences between here in SW Illinois and MN. We were in the upper 50's this morning, and we are now in the mid 30's... I don't know how to dress on any given day, and I hate having to carry coats and other gear, but I also hate being cold... It's very unpredictable! It doesn't help that it's grey and gloomy too--I don't mind the cold when it's clear and sunny. This weather is just depressing!

Work was interesting today. We are clearancing out everything in the store, so everything has a sales price attached to it. It gets confusing keeping track of all the multiple buttons that need to be keyed in after scanning the item, and to be sure we are giving the appropriate discounts. I had a woman walk away from the counter because I couldn't cut off the 15" of extra fabric left on the bolt (we need to keep at least a yard on the bolt for sale, and we also have a 2 yard minimum cut right now--strictly for the liquidation). The irony was if she bought that last 15" I would have given her an extra 10% off the sale price of the entire purchase. People are funny like that. I had other people who were happy to buy the entire bolt, just to get the extra discount on it! I spent all shift on the cutting table today, which I really enjoyed, but I do need to spend some time on the cash register as I need to brush back up on those skills too. I was bummed because there was some fabric I saw that would make a wonderful summer dress, but someone else had the same idea and grabbed it before I could. Oh well, saves me a little money. I think I am going to go in tomorrow (my day off) to look at patterns as they are $1.99 each, and at the very least I can get more doll clothes patterns for my nieces and Alexis. And then, if something on the clearance aisles should loudly call my name, I can purchase without guilt (I browse while working but don't feel right tucking stuff away for later on).

I think I am going to make chicken fajitas for dinner tonight. I have been craving them lately and got some lovely peppers on sale at the commisary the other day. Rei has confirmation class tonight, so I have to get going on those pretty quickly. Brianne and Aurora have been working on cleaning Brianne's room. I am so glad they are finally getting it in order! Once they have that whipped into shape, I am going to start riding the boys to do theirs too. Still not getting as much help as I would like from the kids, but I have been saying no lately to things when they haven't been helping me, and I think/hope that helps them to at least start thinking ahead a bit. I don't think it's unreasonable for them to pitch in, although I also get tired of their keeping tally--"it's not all mine, so I shouldn't have to clean it up...", or "why do I always have to ....... and XXXX doesn't....." I blew up the other night and said "you need to do it because I asked you to, and I will be asking others to do other specific tasks too, whether it was theirs or not as well!" I added in that it is not a contest or a score-keeping of who does the most/least and I am fully aware of who does what, and will deal with it accordingly--to let ME be the parent and give the orders... I get so tired of being countermanded or seconded! I don't need an echo or a stool-pigeon!

I am so glad Eric is coming home for the weekend. I really need some time with him, and even more, I really need a break from the kids! I think he has a bowling tournament this weekend to go to Saturday night, but if nothing else, I can tag along on that. I just need some being "taken care of" time too.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bein' lazy on a Tuesday morning

The kids went back to school today after having President's day off and it's nice to have some peace and quiet. This weekend was rough, and I am not sure why. Nothing really significant happened (other than a lot of passive resistance to helping me with chores), and I was a crabby, cranky bear yesterday (I think the kids have other names for it). As I told Eric, I was just restless yesterday. I couldn't really settle into doing anything in particular, although I did vaccuum and steam-clean the carpets in our bedroom and closet, a job well-done if I say so myself... When I thought about it, I realized I was wandering the house looking for Eric. I did that at my mom's all the time after my dad died. I knew in my head he wasn't there, but my heart was still looking for him, and I think that's what I was doing this weekend with Eric. I was looking for him, even though I knew logically he's in Arkansas. The week days aren't so hard to have him gone. His working overnights has me semi-used to being alone in the evenings and we talk on the phone. But weekends feel different somehow. He works every other weekend, but I think it's the combination of having the kids home, knowing he is alone in a hotel room, and feeling stressed out here sometimes... All I know is if we had a local coffee shop in town that I could have run away to yesterday for a few hours, I would have gladly done so. I was desperately wishing for a break! I just didn't want to drive for miles to take one.

Today is a better day. I am gonna finish up a couple of things here, then I need to run to the library and the gym (both were closed yesterday), get a few groceries at the commisary (we need milk), and focus on the day-to-day stuff I generally do. It's grey and gloomy outside, and while we are supposed to have a high of around 55, it looks like rain to me--a good day to coccoon in with a hot drink, a good book or project, and an afghan. All that's missing is a fireplace! I work tomorrow and Friday, 9-2, so I need to be sure we are set here with what we need to have done. It's nice to have something to look forward to.

I'm not sure what is in the works for the weekend. Eric thinks he might be coming home, which would be wonderful, and then there is only one more week after that to go. He's home in 10 more days for good!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday recap... :)

What a busy weekend it's been! First I am proud to announce that my wall quilt was very well receive by the bowling alley and raised $215 for the youth bowling league. I worked on it until 3 a.m. Saturday morning (hemming on the binding) and my fingertips are sore and needle scarred, but it was well worth it. I was so nervous dropping it off as all I could see is the "flaws" and I was so worried they'd say "you want us to really raffle off this????" But it got ooohhed and aaahhhed over, and I had the pleasure of seeing people look it over and buy tickets as I drank a cup of coffee. The reception it received did my heart good. The woman who won it last night is active in the bantam section of youth bowling (gives stickers out to the little kids when they score well), so I am sure she will appreciate it. Even the manager of the bowling alley bought tickets! What a relief it's done, and it did well. I had told Eric I hoped it would make at least $200, so it exceeded my expectations for it. Considering it was raffled over the course of only a single day, to people there for youth bowling in the morning, and the Valentine's Day Couple's tournament that afternoon/evening, I found that to be impressive.

Secondly, you could have knocked me over with a feather this morning at church. Reimond, Aurora, and Patrick all were servers, and I helped with the fellowship after service. It was Reimond's first time as a server and it was so fun to see the three kids together helping out. Rei did well and said afterwards that it was really fun to be participating instead of just sitting. There was another woman helping for the first time with the service and communion as well, so people were kind to small errors. I had made a pan of bars ("Heath Bars", out of the St. Peter's Lutheran Church cookbook) that turned out nicely and disappeared fairly quickly. As fellowship was drawing to a close, Rei asked how long we needed to stay. I said until the kitchen was cleaned up and closed, and HE started washing the dishes! Patrick then grabbed a towl and started drying... I was dumbfounded! I was so proud of them, and the looks the ladies (and some of the men too) gave them were priceless! It made my day to have them pitching in like that!

Reimond went Friday to Saturday to a hotel in St. Louis for an Animae convention (cartoon/manga-style comics and cartoons). He went with Kimmie, and they shared a room with a few other older kids (friend's of Kimmie's family). He had a wonderful time! He came home animated (forgive the pun) and really feeling like he was a part of things, like he found a group of kids he really fit in with. It was amazing to see how happy he was, and to hear him talk about all he saw and did. I had told him what my expectations were of him for attending this event, and he did what he was supposed to. I was so glad to see he had fun and made some new friends. Aurora told him he was "never allowed to leave for a weekend again" because "it was too quiet around here without him!" I told her next time maybe she should go too! It was very quiet around here though, and I am not complaining in the least! Brianne spent time with friends and went out each evening; Cliff worked and then met up with friends as well; Even Patrick was out with friends Friday and Saturday night and had a friend stay here last night. Only Aurora had a low-key weekend like I did, and yet she and Brie went out for the day yesterday and tried on Prom dresses at the mall.

Poor Eric is bored to tears in Arkansas. Hopefully he and I can spend time today/tonight playing Everquest together online to help him pass time and us "be" together for a bit. He and I talk on the phone regularly, which I appreciate (he's so thoughtful!), but I miss him the most on the weekends.

I am very frustrated with my cat Rosie at the moment: this morning when I laid out my clothes on the bed to get ready for church, she chewed a couple of holes into the bodice of my relatively new cashmere sweater that Eric got me just after Thanksgiving... She's never chewed clothing before, and I don't know what made her do it today. It's not totally ruined, but it cannot be repaired to be invisible... I need to get a clear iron-on patch for the back of it (to stop it from unravelling) and I can then maybe try to reweave it a little bit... No matter what I do it's going to be noticeable, but I can wear it for casual wear, just not for dress any more... Grrrrr!

I told the kids that today is going to be a chores and homework day, all afternoon and maybe into the early evening. Then they can play tomorrow (no school, President's day). I got midterm grades on all of them. Rei's were not as good as I had hoped (although looking at his scores I see where he needs help); neither were Patrick's, although it is clear he is doing better than the end of last semester. He and I went over them and discussed where he too needs to be making a better effort. Aurora's were very good, as expected. I did get a jolt on Saturday when I was informed there was someone at the door for me. The mail carrier was there with a registered letter that I needed to show id to receive, and sign for in three places... It was from the school telling us that Patrick would not be eligible to graduate in May, which we already knew and had made plans for, as well as a statement of how the school will support him in any way they can to help him complete his goals for fall semester next year. I was relieved that it was something so simple. I had initially got scared it was from a lawyer or something-- a la "You have been Served".... This I can deal with!

Oh, one other neat piece of news: Andrea (my daughter in law)'s mom got married on Valentine's Day to her long time boyfriend! I think that is wonderful news! Tony, Andrea, and the babies live in the lower level of their house, and helped with the reception yesterday afternoon. I wish them many more years of happiness together!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Done with my work week for this week...

I worked a grand total of 10 hours this week. All of it orientation related. I'll work 10 hours next week too. They have hired a ton of people to help liquidate the old store and get the new store set up so there were many of us standing around awaiting a turn on the cash register, and I didn't even get near the cutting table today, although I did move bolts and bolts of fabrics around. What I found interesting is many of the employees don't even do sewing/crafts, or do only very general/basic things. In many cases the customers know more than many of them do about the products being sold! That really surprised me! My knowledge-base came in handy today to the extent that I couldn't be "tricked" about what goes where for ringing up purposes (e.g. notions/quilting supplies/craft items) as just about everything in the store is being sold at discounted rates. There were a few items I saw today I would love to have, but I didn't feel like standing around trying to shop after I was done with my shift, and we are not "technically" allowed to put things aside as we see them to pay for later on (we could do so back in the olden days at Hancock). Realistically though, there isn't anything I NEED at the moment, despite some of the nice prices, so I passed on making purchases. My feet really hurt though--I have not done that much standing/walking around in a long time!

I like a number of the people I work with, and I think this will be a fun job. One of the trainers stated I should help teach classes when we are in the new building, and I said "maybe." I don't want to take on more than I can manage until after Eric gets back and we see how his work and school (ITT) schedules are going to affect family life with me working too. My schedule will be more defined when we are in the new store--right now we have so many people on we are tripping over each other! And I think I need to pack a little lunch for my 5 hour shifts--the closest place to walk to is either White Castle or Steak 'n Shake, but both are still a little ways away and too far to really get to in a 15 minute break if you walk there and back, wait for your order to be filled, and have time to eat too. I grabbed a snack at White Castle today because I was feeling light-headed and knew I needed to eat, but it wasn't "timely" to do so (although no one yelled either).

Eric's ex never made it down to see the kids on her last holiday, and we had to send her a list/schedule of what the kids have available for visitations for the rest of the school year and the summer. She isn't going to be happy. Aurora wants to take driver's ed through summer school this year, and it's a 6 week program, Monday thru Thursday; then she has band camp the last week of July and first week of August, and registration and pictures etc. are the following week after that, with school starting August 20th. Patrick is going to get a job for the summer so that he has an income, and it will help to qualify him for work-study in the fall. The kids have a full summer already planned, so trips to IN are going to be short when they are able to be fit in. I really don't know how it will all work out. We plan to take it a step at a time. I am so glad there are no conflicts with my ex over Rei. That would make things even more difficult I think! Keep your fingers crossed something can be worked out that is agreeable all the way around.

I really need to get working on finishing up the wall quilt. I have 3 blocks left to quilt, and 4 bowling pins to go around, then the border. With minimal interruptions I should be able to finish it by tomorrow evening. If not, then I will be quilting til it's done--and napping after it's dropped off! I could use a nap right now! I'm happy with how it's coming along though, and I think, despite it's flaws (that I see clearly), that it should go over well. I hope so anyhow! I have invested a lot of time and energy into making it!

The kids should be home from school any time now, so I am gonna get going on my stuff... Lots to finish up on today!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I had planned to spend the day quilting....

I really had! But things kept getting in the way, like needing to email some stuff to my spouse in AR, addressing and writing notes in various snail mail correspondence (birthday cards, valentines, a sympathy card), and writing a long and newsy email to a friend with whom I have lost touch somehow (I hope the email address I have for her is one they still check! I would be sad if it ends up just sitting in cyberspace somewhere after spending almost 2 hours writing it). Sometimes people come into my head and my heart and I feel like God is giving me a giant push to communicate with them somehow, so I say a prayer for them, then write a letter to them (or send a note etc...) or call. In this particular instance I tried calling the last time I was "nudged", and I ended up leaving a voice mail. I figured this time I would try an email and hopefully it will find it's way there. This friend I wrote to is a very special person to me. We met as freshmen in college, in an honor's seminar on psychopharmacology. We were both pre-med. I ended up dropping out of school, marrying, and having kids in the short term, while she did go on to med school, and got both her MD and an MPH (Masters in Public Health). I am so proud of her! While in med school she met her husband, and they married and had kids. They have moved around some, and at some point in time, we lost touch. I miss her! We did a lot of growing and changing together as young women, and we anchored each other when the seas were stormy at times. Our lives have clearly taken different paths over the years, but I am hoping we can bridge this chasm and reconnect if it's meant to happen. She used to live in Quincy, IL, about an hour and a half to two hours north of me now, and it was to her house that I took my first independent road trip with my "three kids" (Reimond was just a baby, maybe 9 months old, and she had just had her first baby). We drove a route to get there that has since become quite familiar to me! Anyhow, that, and laundry, and dishes have taken precedence over quilting, and now I am procrastinating further by blogging...

I spoke to someone at my new job today and they said my start time tomorrow has been adjusted to 9 am instead of 8 am... I am excited and nervous both. Nervous because it's a new job, in a new place, and if I am honest with myself, it signals permanence. I have a solid work history and a history of job loyalty--I don't change jobs like they are disposable--so to me this is the final step of acknowledging that Mascoutah is now home. It feels good! And it's a little scary too. I would still like to find something in my field, but Eric is also suggesting that I look at school options to finish my degree. That would be good too, and would expand what is available for me to do. Deep breath!

Ok, enough procrastinating! Time to focus on quilting, interspersed with doing the dishes and changing around the laundry. It's do-able!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Thoughts, rants, and observations...

It's been one of those days. It is warm outside (I think around 70), it feels humid, and the wind is just horrendous! (Blew my shopping cart practically out of my hands at Target as I walked to the car). I opened my bedroom window just a smidge so that the room can get some fresh air circulating and the wind is just howling as it courses by. Not to mention, all the pets in the house are trying to squeeze into the small space in front of it, knocking things over, just because of the scents wafting in...

I chose today to run my errands, and I ended up with three pairs of slacks (St John's Bay, J.C. Penney's) in Black, Khaki, and Navy blue, in a lycra enhanced twill; 2 identical white blouses (because I liked them), also St John's Bay brand; a beautiful buttercup yellow lacy cardigan sweater with three-quarter sleeves (from Christopher & Banks); 2 plain white camis from Target (to wear under the blouses); and THREE pairs of shoes (2 pair were on clearance). One pair is in black, a shoe-boot style with a low-moderate heel; one pair is in brown, also with a low/moderate heel in a slip-on style; and the last is an adorable pair of medium heels, strappy backed, to wear to church, in brown. I had to throw away a number of pairs of shoes because they had been soiled by the dogs when they were on the floor next to some boxes, and while I probably won't replace all of them, I did need a couple of pair for work that I can stand in for long hours, and I wanted the heels--contrary to public opinion, black does NOT go with everything... Sometimes you need brown! I have some other white collared shirts packed away in the garage if I can get to them, so I think I am now set to start working on Wednesday.

My one vent about shopping is this: if the average woman wears a size 14, with the bulk of women circling sizes somewhere around that (12-16, or if we want to be generous in our range, 10-18) why is it that you can never find decent priced clothing within those sizes? Macy's was the worst about it today when I was looking... The few things I found in my size and the style I was looking for were so out of my price range I just had to laugh! And I was shopping in the Women's Department, not Juniors... Even at Penney's, where I found exactly what I was looking for, they had only ONE of each pants in my size, and I really had to hunt to find them! I found it to be highly discouraging. Now I admit, I would like to be a minimum of 20 lbs lighter, and if I can ever get there again I would love to lose a total of about 40 lbs. That would certainly make shopping easier, as those sizes are everywhere. But even when I was lighter I had a hard time finding clothes that fit because I have a bigger frame (broad hips and busty)... It gets so discouraging sometimes to shop. No wonder when my mom found something she liked she bought it in 2-3 colors!

I don't remember if I posted in here about the bad accident I saw the aftermath of near the air force base last week, but today while I was driving to Target I saw a cross and flowers there at the site. I guess I was correct in assuming the driver of the car that rolled over didn't make it. From the damage I saw I had thought it would take a miracle for the driver to get out ok... Made me sad though. Brought back memories of Liisa's friend Matt dying almost a year ago in a similar type of accident, and of how blessed my friend Erika was to survive her roll-over in November.

Other sad news we received, my much-loved sister-in-law Jenna lost her mother the end of last week to cancer of the liver. My heart just hurts for her loss. I remember how hard it was to get over losing my dad 14.5 years ago. Please keep her and her family in your prayers. This is the first major loss my two nieces have experienced in their young lives, and I know it is hard on them as well. Jenna's mom had a long, full life, and I certainly have some nice memories of her the few times we all got together over the years. She will be missed greatly.

My husband returned safely to Arkansas Sunday night, and now I think he'll be there through the end of his training. It's ok, the kids and I are managing fine. Just so long as they help out a bit more now that I will be gone some. I am really excited to start working and now that I have my wardrobe figured out, I am ready to go! The biggest issue will continue to be transportation for everyone, but hopefully we can juggle things so that it all works out until we get the CRX fixed. Once Eric is back 2 vehicles won't be quite enough for all of us!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday morning...

It's been a full weekend. Eric got in a bit after 10:30 pm to So. St. Louis, and we got back to the house around 11:30 pm Friday night. The kids were glad to see him, as was I, and it was hard to go to bed. It was even harder to get up the next morning! Aurora had to be to the high school at 6:15 for her ride to Carterville, and we got the family up by 7. We loaded up the car with 7 of us to head to the bowling alley to watch Aurora and the girl's team bowl in the sectionals for the state tournament. Brianne had drill, but the rest of us (including Kimmie and Anthony--a friend of Cliff's) went. Mascoutah ended up in 4th place overall, so no going to state as a team, but their top bowler, Amanda, held first place in the individuals (moving to second in the 5th game) for the tournament, so she will go as an individual. One other on the team held 4th place individually for much of the tournament, although her stats too dropped in the final 2 games. Aurora bowled well and bowled consistently in all 6 games, but struggled to get strikes (she generally picked up all her spares). 9 pins on the first ball seemed to be her forte yesterday and she seemed somewhat bummed by it. Eric was thrilled to be there and the kids did a nice job providing a cheering section. It made for a long day though--it was an hour and a half drive each way, and then 6 games... We actually had a hard time finding the place, after making a late start, s0 we didn't see the first game, but did see the rest. One observation I do need to make: there are a lot of RUDE parents in this world! People were very inconsiderate of others who also were trying to watch their kids... I was seated on a chair where I could see somewhat easily and a whole slew of parents walked over and planted themselves, standing on chairs, right in front of me. Did they think they were the only ones who wanted to see???

Surprisingly enough, everyone had a fairly early night last night--we were all tired out! This morning Eric and I were up somewhat early, as he had laundry and stuff to do before he heads out again today to go back to Arkansas. It doesn't look like he'll be back next weekend, but it's ok. As much as we are glad to have him home (and he is happy to be here), it's a long drive for a short visit. We are going to leave here around noon so they can be on the road back to Little Rock by 1ish.

I am plugging away on the wall quilt and Eric is impressed by it. I put a couple of hours in on it last night and will work more dedicatedly on it today. I have to--it's gotta be done by friday. I think I can do it. I also need to remember to go shopping for clothes for work over the next few days. I tried to go Friday afternoon to Kohls, and took Rei and Aurora with me. They each walked out with three things that were on clearance, but I found nothing suitable for me! Kohls is one of those places that is hit or miss for me--sometimes I can find wonderful things, other times nothing at all! JC Penney's and Sears. here I come!

Friday, February 6, 2009


Just some dribs and drabs to post today...

I think I figured out the peeing issue (as much as I can anyhow). The little unspade female cat is in heat, and I think it was her way of letting my (fixed) male cat know it. Last night I went downstairs to get some dinner and came back to yet another, this time relatively small, puddle, ON THE BARE MATTRESS where my previous cleaning efforts from the morning had all dried and no longer (at least to my nose) smelt of cat urine... Once again out came the green machine and enzyme remover, the mattress got scrubbed as well as I could do so, then I laid a doubled thick towel over the spot, put on the now clean mattress pad, and made up the bed (I had to sleep somewhere--so I slept on Eric's side of the bed!). We'll see if she's done marking for now.

I spent a good three hours yesterday cleaning the closet and rearranging things. As I had noted yesterday, the animals have all been destructive in there on some cardboard boxes, and I discovered one of the boxes peed in housed my jewelry boxes and other sundy items that had been on my dresser back home. This led to a full scale cleaning outburst, where things that couldn't be cleaned were tossed (the "Fly Ladies"-- would be so proud of me!), things that still needing storage were placed into plastic covered bins, and the rest was put on my dresser (which still needs to be cleared off of stuff stored on it by my beloved spouse that I am clueless about). I discovered I really need a better jewelry box because one for sure was a casualty (and everything from in it is now jumbled into a clear plastic shoebox) and the other is one from the 50's that had been my mother's; it too isn't in great shape but was salvaged. Eric is gonna be so surprised when he sees what I have accomplished!

Eric is coming home for the weekend. I have to meet him in So. St. Louis around 11 pm tonight at the McDonald's near his buddy's apartment. Tomorrow we are going to go as a family to Aurora's bowling tournament. The girl's team is bowling in sectionals and if they do well they will be headed for the state tournament. Then Sunday afternoon he'll head back to Little Rock. It's a lot of travel for just a few hours home (about 6 hours each way) but worth it. He has laundry to do and I think just really needs to be home. I know I have missed him dreadfully.

I am headed to the high school to drop off Patrick's bowling gear... The kids took the bus this morning but he "forgot" to take it with him, even after telling me he was going to; How does he think I am gonna be able to lift it in and out of the Pilot myself? That stuff weighs like 32 lbs! I even make the guys carry in the dog and cat food for me as the 20 lb bags are almost too heavy for me! Then I am swinging by the laundramat--Brie had Eric's good sleeping bag on her bed and Laina decided to piddle there (this happened almost a month ago now and Brie still hasn't cleaned it up--she has been sleeping everywhere BUT in her bed since then...) I am sure Eric will be dealing with that when he gets home--I have tried but she isn't listening to me on that subject... Anyhow, the sleeping bag is too big for our washer so I will need to have it cleaned by them. Then, I am off to the gym. I have made a promise to myself to go every other day and use the cardio equipment for 30 mins. On my off days I try to be sure I am being active as well. I realized I have gotten to be almost "too big for my britches" and this sedentary lifestyle has to change. Working will help too as I will be on my feet most of the shift.

Which also reminds me, I have to go out and get a couple of things for wearing for work. My white blouses and my slacks are "too dressy" for helping to close down one store and set up another, so I might as well go get some serviceable black, blue, and khaki slacks, some white shirts, and some non-high-heeled black shoes (I have a pair of brown ones that are darling and very comfortable). Good excuse to do shopping later today, and Kohl's is advertising a fantastic sale from 3-7 pm tonight...

Lastly I need to be sure I keep quilting. I lost good quilting time yesterday in all my cleaning, but it had to be done, and yet the deadline is looming for it to be finished as well... Just gotta stay on track I guess!

And I am off!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Any advice out there for marking animals?

I am so very frustrated right now I could just cry! Last night when I got home from grocery shopping and picking Reimond up from Confirmation class I discovered a warm, yellow Pee spot, right where I generally sit, on my side of the bed, on my white down comforter and duvet cover. It is also where Batman tends to sleep when I have the left the bed unoccupied for any length of time (which is why I generally make the bed--I hate cat hair on the sheets). This morning the kids were running late and I had to get up and drive them (another vent I won't go into at the moment), so I didn't make the bed up; just got up and drove. When I got home, all cold, shivering, and ready to dive back under the covers, I discovered that once again there was a warm, wet pee-spot in that exact same place from last night, only this time on the bottom sheet and soaked through to the mattress... I grabbed the bissel green machine and cleaned it well, including using an enzyme remover on it to get rid of the odor, but I am so upset right now I would like to just get rid of all the pets. Every single one of them!

My assumption is that it was NOT one of my cats that peed on the bed--it was in the spot that Batman primarily sleeps in, and he won't soil where he sleeps, nor will Rosie. That isn't to say that they haven't contributed to soiling things at times (like rugs or dirty clothes on the floor), but in this particular circumstance I don't think it's them. And the male dogs have been a pain of late: snarling and snapping at each other, marking the edges of things that are hard to clean, and trying to escape (Po has taken to camping the door and the second he sees a hint of light has been charging it and pushing his way past whomever is standing there trying to get in or out). I am tired of mess, of work, of stress! Maybe it would be easier if the kids took an active role to both clean up after them, stay on top of them and their needs, and took some ownership of their pets, but with Eric gone it's fallen on me to do it all and the kids (ALL OF THEM!) only grudgingly assist when directly told to do so. It's not fair to the pets, and it isn't fair to me! The worst part, in my opinion, is that they scream and holler when it's their stuff getting wrecked, but if they took some pre-emptive action, it probably wouldn't even be happening to the degree that it is right now (e.g. picking up their rooms, putting the dogs out when they get up in the morning, walking them now and again so they get some exercise, cleaning up messes when they see them instead of ignoring them until an adult notices...) I can't do it all by myself--this house is too big and there are too many pets! I get to the point, like today, where I want to even get rid of my cats, whom I adore, just because I am so tired of their being destructive (they are closed into the bathroom/walk-in closet at night because Batman likes to leap off the headboard onto sleeping individuals, and Rosie likes to chew paper); They have ripped open some cardboard boxes in there so Rosie can chew them and they both sharpen their claws on them, there has been pee found in random places (dog and cat both), and Batman likes to lick/chew the vinyl mini-blinds...

I am just so tired of mud, hair everywhere, soiling, mess, and added work... Any advice/suggestions are appreciated! If you need me, I will be in the laundry room trying to figure out how to "line dry" the duvet cover when we have no clothesline, and washing too much bedding (the stuff the kids used from the weekend's sleep over is also bundled and on the floor of the laundryroom for "someone" to take care of...)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

25 things about me...

This is floating around Facebook and I was on the receiving end of a "tag." I worked pretty hard to write it out and posted it there; I thought I would also post it here as not everyone is on facebook...

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1. I am not a terribly spontaneous person. The craziest and most spontaneous thing I have ever done in my life was to meet someone online playing an MORPG, fall in love with him, quit my job of 16+ years, marry him, and move 600 miles from everything and everyone I have known and loved, all in a year's time. I have never been happier or more content!

2. I love talking to people. Everyone I meet has a story to tell and I want to hear them all! This is despite the fact that I tend to be very reserved and am uncomfortable in most social settings unless I am with people I know well. I prefer to meet people one on one rather than "work a crowd" and will often sit quietly as an observer rather than try to be the center of attention or introduce myself randomly to others.

3. I am a woman of strong faith and rely on God's grace to see me through any and all situations life throws at me. He has never failed me, and I can provide real life examples of His actions in my life (like me walking into a store to buy thread and walking out with a part time job today). I trust implicitly in God's timing being perfect, despite my own impatience for things to happen as I'd like them to, on my timetable, and I know that He will always provide what I need.

4. I am a product of my upbringing. I am a "preacher's kid" in the classic sense of the label and I do believe that there is an appropriate time and a place for certain modes of dress or behaviors rather than this "I'll do as I please" approach many people have today. I also believe in respect, dignity, and that no one is beyond the gift of redemption. Everyone deserves another chance or an opportunity to change.

5. I believe all children deserve unconditional love and acceptance, as well as structure, instruction, and accountability for their actions. It is the bedrock of my parenting style, and I have been blessed with many children (both of my body, and of my heart) who call me "Mom" with love and respect. I love being both a parent and a parental figure to others.

6. I believe that the past provides the foundation of who we are as people, but doesn't define or limit who we become. The past is a stepping stone from which we move forward, and it is up to us to decide what direction we want to go. We were given free will for a reason.

7. I was brought up with an old-school work ethic: you do your job to the best of your ability, you take pride in what you do, and you give an honest day's work for an honest day's wage. I am dumbfounded by the work ethics of some of the "young people" (teens/twenty-somethings) I have met or worked with who think they should get top dollar for doing as little as possible, who think nothing of calling off work "just because they don't feel like going in," and, who feel it isn't in their job description to be considerate of others they work with. It frustrates me to no end, because I have often been the one covering for them/cleaning up after them because the job needs to be done.

8. My first marriage was the marriage that made me into a grownup. When it ended in divorce I was devastated, but it forced me to re-evaluate who I was as a person, and what I wanted for myself out of life. I became someone I really like as a person and have discovered strengths about myself I never knew I had. In this new marriage I have found the person I want to grow old with, and I feel more complete now than I ever did in the past.

9. I don't really like soda or ice cream, but sometimes I get a craving for it and have to go out and get some! On the other hand, I love both dark chocolate, and sweet wines in moderation.

10. I am a talented needlewoman and can do just about anything I set my mind to with a needle and thread. One of my dreams is to have a studio that houses all of my passions and supplies in one place, along with fantastic lighting, lots of windows, and comfortable seating, where I can create to my heart's content, as well as share my passion by teaching others. One of my greatest pleasures in life was seeing the look of success in kid's faces as I taught them to knit or crochet, or stitch when I worked at the treatment center.

11. My needlework reflects my moods, and I have a project to fit every need: things requiring major concentration for times of escape, as well as things of mindless repetition to help pass time and offer prayers or meditation. That's why I keep so many works-in-process at any one time, and they do all eventually get finished.

12. My children and grandchildren are my pride and joy, and my reason for being. In them I see reflected the family members I have loved and lost, and they contain the best (and at time the worst) traits of both sides of their families. I love them unconditionally even during the times I might not like them very much...(LOL) and I am so proud of the people they have become!

13. I was bullied as a kid by other kids for being different. In elementary (and to a lesser degree middle and high) school I was beaten up, I was teased mercilessly, and I often dreaded going to school because of it. How was I different? Coming from a small town to the city, being a PK, and having parents who were the children of immigrants, I didn't dress as others did (I got my first pair of jeans at age 11), I was smart and studious (some might say a nerd), I was eager to please, and I wanted desperately to fit in. But I just didn't. Kids are not kind to those who are different. Eventually I found my niche, but to this day I prefer people who are real to those who follow the herd.

14. Unlike a lot of women, I have loved being in my 40's. It has been such a wonderful time of life for me, where I have done things I have wanted to do, felt confident in who I am as a person, and found satisfaction in how far I have come in life. As 50 approaches in a few years, I am not terribly afraid of it or of what the future holds for me. The ONLY thing that I find a bit freaky about it is my youngest son will turn 18 exactly a week before I turn 50; we will both hit major life milestones together.

15. My only regret about my new marriage is that my husband and I won't ever have a child together. Given our ages and where we are in life it wouldn't be practical even if it were possible (it's not). But that doesn't mean I don't think about it at random times and wonder what it would have been like had things been different.

16. I love playing video games and find great satisfaction in being a guild leader in an online role-playing game. I love the social aspect of it and the interactions we have along with the fantasy of being "alive" as someone completely different from my real life persona. It also adds some spice to my relationship with my husband, and being a gamer has opened many a door with depressed, introverted, troubled teens... When you speak a language they understand, communication begins!

17. I love to read. While my favorite genres are science fiction/fantasy and murder mysteries, I also love anything with suspense in it, things that provoke me to think, or things that move me out of my comfort zone.

18. I love to learn. I am an internship and a master's thesis away from my MS in Clinical Psych, and while my goal is to finish it in the next year, I am also considering getting an LMFT for practical purposes, and I still would love to get my PhD. A goal of mine is to do research and teach, as well as have a clinical practice. Maybe when I grow up... I have always wanted to be a "doctor", ever since I was a little girl.

19. I have been very blessed in my friends, some of whom I have been friends with for over 30 years. I don't have a lot of friends because I tend to be selective, but the ones I have I treasure and hold close, despite the miles that exist between us. Email and cell phones have been a blessing in helping to maintain communication, as has blogging and other forms of social networking, and I love it that real friendships come in many forms (i.e. role models, mentors, soul mates).

20. I have also been very blessed in my family. My mom says I am very like my dad, which I take as a huge compliment, and my mom and I are very close. I have 2 wonderful brothers and a sister I adore, and their families are as dear to me as my own is. Whenever we gather together there is laughter, love, and communion. We all feel a part of the whole that is bigger than each of us individually, and yet we all matter and when one is missing it is felt deeply. I am also a part of a larger extended family of in-laws all of whom I love and respect. I am blessed with an extensive "family of the heart".

21. I wish I were more athletic. I have always been a klutz--if there was a way to do it less-than-gracefully, that would be me. I once tripped over a grand piano, on stage, at a school concert! I envy people who feel comfortable in their bodies and enjoy sports/exercise/dance etc. I do my best, and I am not afraid to laugh at myself, but I just am not comfortable nor enjoy things that require gross motor coordination, muscle control, balance, or agility. I do, however, like watching some of it.

22. Working with severely emotionally and behaviorally disturbed teens has taught me more about life, determination, strength of character, and challenges than I would have ever learned in any other setting. The things that some of them had to endure would break your heart as well as your spirit, and yet for the ones who succeed, hope is an ever-present source of strength. I am humbled and honored to have been a part of so many young lives, and it is a source of pride to know that I have positively influenced and affected their lives as well. While I know we cannot save everyone, it is a comfort to know that I have at least helped to "plant seeds" and "shore up foundations" that deserved selvaging.

23. I believe that no education is ever wasted. It might not be used as intended, but the skills learned and the processes absorbed become a part of who you are as a person. I also believe that there are many forms of education, and formal education (e.g. college) is only one of many. A person can be highly educated but still not be wise, and someone with no formal education can still be a mentor and role model to others.

24. I believe everything happens for a reason, even if we cannot ever see clearly the big picture. I also believe that we influence what happens by the choices we make, even it if is only how we chose to respond to that which we have no control over. We are responsible for ourselves and need to be accountable for our decisions, good or bad.

25. I try really hard to live what I believe rather than just "preach it." My dad taught me well, and I hope I have made him proud.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I have a job!!!!!

I am still a bit in shock over how it came about, but I guess God had a plan and I was open to accepting it~

I went into JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Fairview Heights (near our mall we go to) to purchase some varigated machine quilting thread I had seen in passing, when I saw a table set up at the back of the store. One of the employees saw the quilted wall hanging backing (I had brought it with to match thread colors) and asked me to show her what I had; I got lots of ooohhs and ahhhs over it, and then asked about what hours they were looking for employees for (they are closing the store I was at and opening a bigger one across the street), and they said all kinds of hours. I explained what I was looking for (part time, mostly daytime hours while the kids are in school) and they encouraged me to fill out an application. Next thing I knew I was interviewed by one of the women I had been chatting with, then the store manager! The manager offered me a job on the spot, was willing to accommodate my hour needs, and was thrilled that I had retail experience (years of working in a "superette" with my dad, and even 2 years working part time at Hancock Fabrics, both cutting fabrics and running the register). She was impressed with my quilt and that it was my own design, and she said I would be an asset at the new store! The pay is minimum wage--$7.75/hour, and I said I would like to work just 20-25 hours/week (because of Eric's crazy schedule right now with his being gone, and later on when he is in school and working his regular shifts). She said even though initially they were looking for people to work 8-5 while they set up the new store she would be fine with my leaving at 2 so that I was home when the kids get out of school (and that I could leave at 2 during orientation too), so I am content with that. Eric is pleased that I will be adding to the family coffers, and that I will be doing something I enjoy, if not necessarily in my field of expertise, and I feel like this was the work of God, who put everything in place for me to just walk into and say "yes" to. As I said, I am still stunned!

So I have a job, and will be starting next Wednesday, the 11th, at 8 am. I need to double check my blouse situation as I need a white collared shirt, and blue, black, or khaki pants, which I do already have. Things are falling into place! (I told Eric finding a job was one of my goals while he was gone!)

Pictures of the wall quilt in process:

Here are some pics of the quilted wall hanging I am making for the bowling alley. It is appropriately title "Stars and Strikes," which is also the name of the bowling alley.

The blocks are a variation on the traditional pattern called "Cat and Mouse", where I adapted the coloration to reflect stars within the X's (strikes), and I used a different color for each star. I wanted it to look like the strikes (and stars) were floating around the bowling scene. I designed the bowling ball and pins myself, and they are fused on and buttonhole stitched. I hand quilted the boards of the lanes and I hope to echo quilt around the individual pins between the strikes, as well as inside the black of the strikes and the stars. I really need to get going on this because I have to have it done before Valentine's day, as that is the day it'll be raffled off. I am really happy with how it is coming along, and I hope whomever wins it appreciates and enjoys it. I tried to keep the color palate somewhat neutral so that it will fit into any decor.
On a side note, we are doing fine here. Eric sent me a half dozen long stem roses for our 6-month anniversary, which I was totally touched by (and didn't expect!), although he did tell me not to expect flowers again for valentine's day... He thought (and I concur) that they would mean more to me coming yesterday than on Valentine's day.
Ok, time to hit the shower and focus on my to-do list! As Eric says, "time is moving faster than I am!"

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ground hog day...

Unlike the movie, this day isn't repeating itself, but it is already overdone and it's only 8:20 a.m. I didn't sleep well last night, as we had a smoke detector with a dying battery beep all night long, beginning at 1 a.m. I admit, being the klutzy person that I am, I couldn't find my way to standing on a folding chair to try and remove the offending alarm from the ceiling until I can get out to buy a new battery later today, so I just dealt with it by trying to ignore it. I think it was after 2 that i finally fell asleep. Got up this morning with the alarm at 6:30, to find that the boys were not yet up. I yelled at them, and even tried to turn on their light, only to be told they had no power in their room (hence no alarm going off). Well there I was, left to rousting them every 10 minutes for the next 30 minutes until about the time we normally leave the house, when they finally got out of bed. I got them to school about 4 minutes before the bell rang... When I got back home I spoke briefly with Eric, as I wanted to know if we had any 9-volt batteries in the house, as well as where the fuse box is, so I can reset both the boy's room and Brianne's, which also has no power (I am clueless as to why there is no power to either room).

I have to admit, I am really crabby today. Lack of sleep tends to do that to me. I am a girl who needs a solid 8 hours these days. All those years of running on 6 or less hours a night have taken their toll and I need my beauty sleep! Didn't help either that the kids had a houseful of friends over all weekend long, and they ended up"trashing" (meant euphemistically) the house. There were nine kids here overnight on Saturday night (5 being ours, 4 being friends of theirs), and nothing got put back where it belongs. Blankets are all over the floor in the living room along with discarded hoodies and other sundry clothes, empty soda bottles and dishes, wrappers from candy and fast food, and empty bags; the table and island is a catch-all for overflow; dishes are piled on counters and in the sink (and to think I did a huge load of them yesterday morning!), and the laundry room is filled with dirty clothes (and maybe clean clothes too--I am not sure who is doing laundry at the moment)... The entire house looks like an extension of the kids' bedrooms, and I am frustrated! I asked them to pick up after themselves last night and it looks like nothing got done--BUT THEY DON'T SEE IT!!!!! We have the cable TV's phone people coming out this morning and I am embarassed to let them in! The "loft" area is a little better, but not by much, as the kids were primarily in the living room, but still. The only rooms that are halfway decent are mine and Aurora's.

I admit, I spent most of the day yesterday in my room on the computer, playing Everquest with Eric, talking to him on the phone, and watching the superbowl game. He was bored and lonely in his hotel room, no one grabbed him for brunch or (as far as I know) to go to the superbowl party at a nearby bar last night; so we entertained ourselves long distance, as in the olden days, by playing online together and talking on the phone. We needed that connection between us, and it was very nice. Plus, with the kids all over everywhere else, I kinda needed a sanctuary! The kids were really good--not too loud or rambunctious--and it was so fun to see Patrick have his friends here overnight, as well as Aurora inviting a girlfriend over yesterday for the afternoon, but I admit, I am frustrated they didn't do more to pick up after themselves before bed last night... Brianne did treat us to Subway for dinner, which was thoughtful of her, so I didn't need to cook and I did appreciate that. But still, I didn't use up all those dishes! And after feeding multiple kids all weekend, I now need to go restock cereals, OJ, lunch meats, and bread... I guess I forgot how much work running "teen central" is!

I have the dogs respectively kennelled or up here by me for when the serviceman arrives, and I hope it's soon. I wish I had a better time frame than a 4 hour window... I'd like to take a shower, or run to do a few errands, or even go back to sleep, but I know, ala Murphy's law, that the second I get settled into something he'll arrive... So I am trying to keep myself awake and "doing" something... Wish me luck!

On a side note, I think Midnight has taken me up as a replacement for Eric while he is gone, because he has been sleeping right beside me where ever I happen to be, even to sleeping on the floor on my side of the bed rather than on his pillow on Eric's side, just "because." I think he misses Eric. I know I do!