A Journey Home

It's been too long since I was last home. I miss my oldest son and my mom desperately even though I talk to them on the phone almost daily. This Saturday, I'm renting a car and heading home for a full week. I have many plans to see friends, some work to do in the basement we used to live in, and my very tall boy to wrap a hug around.


Allow me a moment to vent...

I quit smoking over a year ago and I was only able to do so by using the nicotine patch. Before I moved in with the BF, I told him he'd have to quit smoking. I realized later that I should not have put that condition out there since he chose to lie about quitting rather than tell me he wasn't able to do it cold turkey. I'd rather live with a smoker than a liar.

So last week he tried to convince me that smoking was cheaper than buying the patch. WRONG!!! Let's do a little simple math, shall we? 

1 pack of Camel Wides @ $5.00
x 14 packs smoked per week = $70

2 week supply of NicoDerm patches = $35

REALLY?!?!?! Smoking is CHEAPER?!?!?!?
Looks to me like it's FOUR TIMES MORE!!!

So after pointing this out, he didn't bring it up again. Everytime I say there's something I'd like to do, but we can't afford it, he says "as soon as I quit smoking..." Am I stupid to think this is EVER going to happen? 

I was a pack a day smoker for 20 years and quit with 3 weeks of the patch. I would NEVER assume that it could be that easy for anyone else, but once you realize that you can't quit cold turkey, then for crying out loud...TRY SOMETHING ELSE!!!

A Fool's Quest

Today I must accomplish two things. 

  1. Grocery shopping
  2. Purchase a Reel Lawn Mower

Why a reel mower? Several reasons actually. 

  • Cost much less than a motored mower. 
  • Do not create air pollution. 
  • Far less maintenance required. 
  • Pushing a reel mower is a good workout for me. 
  • My 8 yo son can manage cutting the lawn if needed. 
  • I don't have to pay the apartments $20 a week to cut my yard. 
  • I can work on my tan while mowing.
  • I can wait until the sun goes down to mow and not worry about waking the neighbors.
  • I can mow the grass in the rain. 
  • Piss off the boyfriend because I'm not giving him ANY say in the matter. 
So I have to wonder, given all these valid reasons, does anyone else have experience that might make me think twice? 


Oh, for the love of honey!!!

I'm a subscriber to the "local honey to treat seasonal allergies" school of thought. I know, there are many who think it's hooey and that's fine. In my personal experience, it's helped. Be it placebo or valid, I DON'T CARE! It works for ME.

Since moving from Indiana to Nashville, I don't know where to FIND local honey and I still don't know my way around very well because I don't get a chance to GO ANYWHERE! I would LOVE to visit a farmers market and there are plenty, but this whole "no car" thing prevents me from doing MANY things that I would LOVE to do, like volunteering with the flood clean-up. 

Son, Doodle, is a Cub Scout and should be out there doing community service as that is what scouts do! And as a Den Leader, I should be helping him and those in our pack to serve the community they live in. Opportunity abounds right now to make a difference in the life of another. 

An acquaintance of mine likes to spout quotes about charity and good will, but I have yet to see said person actually PERFORM any such acts. I try really hard not to judge others, I really do. But I sit here frustrated because I can't do more and those who CAN do, are only talking about it! 

All I want to do is be able to meet and be a part of the community I now call home. Aside from a few scouts parents and a couple of neighbors, I still don't know anyone here. If I had a car, I could get out and become a part of it. I do use the bus, but the route is too limited to be effective. 

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How to get an 8yo boy to tolerate Fairies...

Saturday was Doodles first time at the TN Renaissance Faire. 

He was all excited about being a "wizard" which to him, meant wearing his brothers Obi Wan robe (Ep1) and all black. Yeah, I know! Who knew wizards were emo?

So we get there early and it's all he can do to endure the wait for the gates to open. Then the actors appear for the gate show and he jumps right into it. I was sure he would just start making up dialog to contribute. Once inside, he couldn't wait to see every booth and play the games. He tried archery and with a little help from mom, he was able to at least hit the hay bale. And it was so much fun to see him impressed that Mom actually KNEW what she was doing. He even clapped for me. 

Every time we came across one of the Fae, he ducked behind me trying to avoid them. The Blue Fairy cooed at him and he blushed. This continued all day. "Mom, why they are talking funny?" "They are speaking the language of the Fae." "Ok, if you say so."

He declined getting his picture taken WITH the Queen, but I did get him to stand about 10ft in front of her and get one. Later, he waited in line for 30 minutes to have her "knight" him. When she asked his name, he spelled it out for her just as he does for everyone he meets. So of course, that was how she knighted him. :) Sometime after that, we passed her on the path and he gave a low scooping bow. I LOVE MY KID! He really got into character. 

The knife throwing show was, I think, his favorite. But mostly because we sat up front and he traded banter with the performers for quite some time before the show began. He felt like he was part of the show. He loved it!
And he DID get to perform on stage himself. We passed by a storyteller just as she was asking for a "prince" and "princess" to help tell a story. He gladly joined in. The storyteller was delighted with him. At the end of the day as we were leaving, she even thanked him for his excellent performance as the prince. 

As the day came to a close, and the crowds thinned, we came across a swarm of fairies and finally he agreed to let me snap a picture. Do you see that blush in his cheek? That was NOT from the sun. :D He had found himself so endeared to the whole fantasy, that by now, the fairies were all part and partial to the day. And he finally allowed a photo. 


The trouble with cute boys

Recently had two young guys move into the other half of the duplex we rent. The older one is adorable in a Johnny Rotten, very tattooed kinda way, (he's a stylist and straight) and the younger reminds me of a lost puppy. They are both good kids, but last night, "Puppy" drank too much and ran his mouth to the wrong thug.

About 3 am, I got a call from another neighbor up the hill, asking what was going on. Thanks to the genius of noise-cancelling headphones, I was clueless and chose to remain that way and go back to sleep.

This morning, there were 4 police cars and a crime scene van out front. The longer they were there, the more concerned I got. "Johnny" was standing outside, so I broke down and asked what happened. He hadn't even been home when it all went down, but the apartment is in his name. "Puppy" got has ass royally kicked. X-Box stolen, windows destroyed, blood on the front porch. Wasn't a pretty sight. His back is pretty messed up, and he's sporting one helluva shiner, but no broken bones.

Chalk it up to young and dumb. I just hope he learned something. He's a good kid, just getting his own life experiences.

The Art of PowerPrep...FAIL!

Today will be a marathon cleaning and cooking! I have a lovely menu planned for Saturday night dinner with my darling visitors and I am so excited to have them. But I knew that if I cleaned too early in the week, I'd just be redoing it all today anyway. SO, today, I will be baking pita bread, pre-cooking beans, scrubbing floors, de-soap scumming the shower, and making sure all the lego blocks have been wrangled and returned to the kiddo room. 

I have my lists made, cleaning supplies are stocked and waiting, the coffee is brewing, and not a lick of energy to do any of it! I guess it really doesn't matter how well prepared I am if I didn't get any sleep last night. 

Ah well, I'll sleep on Monday! :D Off to caffeinate and start the bread!


The good, the bad, and the UUUUGGGGGGLLLLYYYYY!!!!

Those who know me, know that I'm not super-girlie. In fact, I can go months on end without wearing makeup or jewelry. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE both. I have too much of both. Blame my artistic nature and love of beautiful things. 

This morning, on GMA, they were talking about bacteria in cosmetics and they all got grossed out about the cultures that were grown from their own products. So I started looking for images of really gross things at microscopic levels (cuz I'm just weird that way) and ya know what, scary, gross and harmful can be beautiful too. This image isn't an awesome piece of modern art ...it's Chlamydia! Yeah...EWWWW! (although it does inspire me to paint).

No seriously, IT IS! Not that this would form in your makeup (oh god I hope not!) but it did get me wondering...what do you consider to be beautiful? Your children? Nature? Sounds? Smells? And what is "ugly"? 

I loved the television show Ugly Betty, which recently saw it's final season, but I always hated the name. I know the whole premise of the show was that "different" does not equal "ugly" and I applaud the writers and creators for their amazing work and how well they wrapped it up. I managed to hold back the tears during the last episode until at the very end, they took away the "ugly"...I bawled! 

Recalling all the story-lines and plots that this show covered and all the characters, I considered: were any of these fictional people really "ugly"? Even "Willie" had her genuine human moments. So what is true ugliness? 

One of my favorite childhood anecdotes that always comes to mind when discussing ugliness; me, mom and my sister were up late one Easter Eve dying eggs. It was REALLY late and as tradition dictates, we get silly when tired. Well, the eggs cracked during boiling and we didn't have extras, so they got colored too. Someone decided to use those to make egg salad or deviled eggs or something. As the eggs were peeled and cut, mom observes that the dye made it well into the center of the egg, and said "Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes ALL the way thru". Now, this may not amuse you nearly as much as it did us, but "all the way thru" is still a standing inside joke with me and mom. 

Think about the past week and tell me one example of beauty and one of ugly that you experienced. I'm curious to know. 


Midnight Margaritas!

Since I was pregnant with my first child on my 21st birthday, I didn't get to have a proper "coming of age" ritual of getting shit-faced on the big day. And after he was born, I didn't do a LOT of drinking, at least not on a regular basis. Then seven years later, the Hobbit came along. Again, I wasn't much of a drinker. I didn't feel comfortable compromising my judgement and fine motor skills while a young child was in my sole care.

BUT NOW...son #1 is 15 and son #2 is 8. Both are perfectly capable of wiping their own tooshies now and dial 911 if needed. So I choose to indulge!

In fact, the kids enjoy "Tequila Night" they think I'm funny. Now, keep in mind, I never drink too much and I ALWAYS drink at home. I am the embodiment of "Enjoy Responsibly" so don't judge.

My goal is to try every brand of tequila that I can find in the under $100 price range. So far, I'm about 50 labels in and Milagro Reposado is still the top! No, not 50 at once. This is an ongoing quest that began last summer. I'm not a lush!

I'll have to do a tad bit of research to see if I can't come up with a list of all the brands I've tried so far. Also...always taking recommendations and FREE SAMPLES are always a good thing!!!

My Spirited Child

A few years ago, I realized that my youngest son is more intense than other kids. I thought it was just because his older brother was just so very mellow, but no, he's just MORE. Luckily, about that time, I came across the book Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.

I am not big on self-help books, but this one really helped me find methods that work for dealing with outbursts and temper tantrums. If you are a parent, I suggest you read this book, whether your child is "spirited" or not. There are some very helpful anecdotes from other parents.

I won't say this book changed our lives, but it certainly did help ease some of the stress I was feeling. Now, if I can only get the Hobbit's daddy to read this book, perhaps we can have a bit more peace in the home. *fingers crossed*


The Mythical Inner Cleaning Ninja

I am expecting company this weekend. My first visitors since moving from Indiana to Tennessee. As anyone who has ever moved knows, it can take a VERY long time to actually get settled in. If you're a Virgo, twice as long. For example, I have rearranged the kitchen cabinet four times. But the apartment was a mess and I can't have my friends see it like this. So I busted out my Inner Cleaning Ninja.

In preparation for my guests, I had planned to clean the carpets. My vacuum cleaner (second hand) has never performed well and I got fed up with it, so I took it apart. If you have issues with loose hair, this is no easy feat. And I, of course, gag at the sight of loose hair. If it's not attached to a living being, I will get sick. I'm getting more neurotic with old age. Last night, chewed out the BF because he trimmed his beard and left a mess all over the bathroom. I can't brush my teeth when there's loose hair anywhere in sight. Hobbit is the same way. Neither of us could brush our teeth in the bathroom yesterday morning and I've procrastinated cleaning the bathroom because of this mess. ANYWAY, I got the vacuum cleaner de-haired (shudder) and it works a helluva lot better now.

I was also given a used Bissell that appeared to be a decent machine. Unfortunately, it was missing the pump belt AND the rotating bristles rendering it useless and making me highly frustrated. My only consolation...I didn't PAY for the damn thing. So now I guess I'll have to resort to carpet cleaning foam which is in NO WAY nearly a good enough clean for me, but without means of hauling a huge rental steamer home, I don't see it getting REALLY cleaned.

Poor Inner Cleaning Ninja has been denied and is now on strike.



This morning and yesterday morning both, I started my day in dream state. By this I mean that I started waking just enough to not only remember the most vivid of details about the dream in which I was immersed, but was able to control the dream.

Me, mom and the boys were moving into this amazing house that an elderly woman had left to us. She wasn't dead, but close to it and wanted to see that her belongings made it to their rightful owners before her demise.

The house was full of delightful treasures from the past such as a strange old tricycle that was sized for an adult and had no pedals. Beautiful porcelain bowls were on dark wood shelves. The house itself was three levels and set into the side of a hill. The uppermost level was the kitchen, living room, and bedrooms. It was arranged very peculiarly. We were apparently living in a guest house because we were moving our belongings by carrying them across a large yard. There were men around from museums laying claim to the antique furniture and paintings. They were like children in a toy store.

In my dream, I was seeing the inside of the house for the first time. Many people were there to help, so it was a very lively and chatter-filled atmosphere. I set a box down on the kitchen table, wiped my brow and looked around. Time to explore.
The kitchen looked like that of what I would romanticize a French farmhouse kitchen to look like, High cabinets, long white sink, large cast iron gas stove, heavy wood table, a bank of open windows facing an overgrown garden and a scraggly old cat meowing for attention. It was bliss.

From where I stood, I could see three adjacent rooms. First, down a few steps, was a sun-room filled with potted plants and white wicker furniture. There was a forgotten bundle of knitting tucked under a rocker. Second, a cool dark pantry with shelves high with home-canned jams, pickles and lord only knows what else. Third was the dining room. This is where the enchantment turned to fairy-tale status.

The walls were wainscot. The chairs were high and they were gold and ivory. The table was long and polished. Above it hung a gleaming chandelier. This room was from a different time. A china cabinet boasted stacks and stacks of what was probably some fabulous rare place-settings. I ran my hands across the tops of the chairs imagining the men and women in their best silk sitting around this table being proper and chic.

Past the dining room, a sitting room. Already cleared of it's furnishings appeared larger than it really was, which wasn't at all small to begin with. The heavy velvet curtains still hung from the high windows. The fireplace clean, but faint scent of ash lingered telling me that it had been used recently.

Beyond this was the formal entrance. Large, marble, white, and empty. An open hallway leading to a few other rooms. Opposite were I stood, a door. Nothing fancy, just...a door. My footsteps echoed a little too loudly as I crossed. I felt like Alice exploring Wonderland. Curiouser and curiouser.

The other side was not at all what I expected. The air seemed stale here. I stepped down a short flight of steps into a 1970's basement. I don't know how else to describe it. There were two large armless chairs covered in orange and brown plaid set on a raised platform. There was dark wood paneling on the walls. Symmetrical metal wall art. Shelves from floor to ceiling covered in dusty old paperbacks and LP records. In the center of the wall was a honest to goodness hi-fi stereo system complete with 8-track. I'd walked into yet another time capsule that conflicted entirely with the first.

To the left, a narrow hall. Mom comes in and I ask her if there are any rooms that would make a fitting studio. She grins the biggest grin I've ever seen on her face and tucks her arm under mine. Right this way. Down the hall we go. A few more steps down. Past more doors of rooms being packed up. The air seems to lighten, become fresh again. Then the hall ended in double doors. Dramatically, mom throws them both open and watches my face for reaction. I'm stunned.

The lowest level of this bizarre house is an enormous ballroom. It's larger than any school gymnasium I've ever been in. The parquet floor is polished brightly. At one end, there are windows that reach the entire two-story height of the wall. they are filled with very old thick glass, the kind that is heavy at the bottom from years of slowly flowing glass. Banquet tables are lined up in front of what appears to be a projector screen at the other end. I presume the last time this room was used was for a business meeting of some sort. I can imagine a bunch of giggling children with their sleeping bags and popcorn enjoying a movie night. I'm lost in the possibilities.

A man in coveralls pops his head in the door as if looking for something. He looks a bit like a popular teen heart-throb that I don't particularly find attractive. He sees me standing there taking in the room with amazement. When I see him he grins and jokingly asks if I care to dance. How could I not want to dance in this wondrous space. We spin around the floor in a very fast waltz and laugh ourselves breathless. He's not a very good dancer. We collapse to the floor to recover.

And I wake, disappointed.