Monday, December 14, 2009


Let me just paint you a picture.  Plaid pajama pants.  Summer plaid, not winter.  Black furry boots.  An old grey thermal shirt, bed hair, no make up.  You may imagine a bra if you like, but there's not one in sight, so the picture just gets better and better.  Throw on a very old fuzzy coat to go outside and rescue the porch pot that I decorated from the garden, where it fell, add in the crabapple juice that dripped all over me, and I think you'll have an accurate picture of how I look right now.  Oh, wait.  There is a strip of black duct tape stuck to the side of my coat, because I also had to fix the artificial tree on the screened-in porch, the tree that broke in half on day ONE of it's existence (thank you, 61-mph winds) and did not seem to withstand my first mend-attempt of thin floral wire and bending the branches around the broken trunk.  I'm sure duct tape will be MUCH better.

So that's how I look this morning, a Christmas vision, but I have to say, it's been the most Christmas-y I've felt all season.   I have a list of things to do today, but they're all pretty fun.  We baked yesterday, so I'll have fudge for breakfast.  Cards are arriving, which I LOVE, and the house looks very festive.

It was in my kitchen today, that I first really felt that Christmas was here.  My IHome was blaring (really, really blaring) while I was coming in from the aforementioned tree debacle, and one of my grandmother's Christmas songs happened to be playing.  I stopped, I stood in all of my loveliness, and we sang together in the kitchen.  It was rather like when Natalie Cole sang "Unforgettable" with her dad, except that I looked horrendous, and my grandmother outsings me by a country mile, and there was no TV covereage.  When I listened to the words of that song, "Christmas is a Birthday Time," I felt totally and completely in the season.   I always think how nice it is for my mom that she gets to hear her mom sing, anytime she wants.  Isn't technology fantastic?  And if my grandmother were here, I think she might look at me in my drippy boots, my ridiculous shirt, my messy hair and say, "Darling, you look beautiful."

Many of my friends now share the wonder of these tunes with me.  In fact, just the other day, the other BEST day, Lisa got the news that she had kicked cancer's ass FOR GOOD while she was listening to my grandmother sing in her house.  Angels everywhere.

I'm lucky that I can press a button and hear her voice.  But if there's someone that you miss, just stop in your kitchen and say hello.  It will put you in the spirit for sure.

(below:  a picture of my grandmother, Ruby Wright, singing in my grandfather's band, Barney Rapp and his New Englanders.)


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Top-Ten

Dear Friends,

I love Thanksgving.  I love the drive to my parents' home, the full house of family, the cooking, the smells, the sleeping-late, hanging out with my sibs, and the parades.    It's easy for me to get a little overwhelmed (read: crazy and overtired) this week as I prepare for the holiday, how about you?  Let's all take a deep breath, and take a few minutes to remember those things we are grateful for, big and little.  Here are mine:

Christy's Top Ten Reasons to Be Grateful, 2009

10.  I am grateful that my car battery died.  It died in my garage, yesterday morning, when I had very little to do.  The wonderful man from AAA came and replaced it for me right at my house.  I am exceedingly grateful that I wasn't at a McDonald's in Columbus on the way to Cincinnati for Thanksgiving, or driving somewhere late at night.  Did I want to buy a new battery yesterday?  No.  But am I grateful to have one?  Yes.

9.  I am grateful that I have been given a writing challenge this November.  To those of you who have come across me when I am babbling and drooling, I apologize.  It's almost over.

8.  So thankful for the abundance in my life that is present in both little and big ways.  This Thanksgiving, there will be no need to rent movies; we can watch "old"ones from our own collection.  I observed the kids sharing their collection of video games for the upcoming car trip so that they would each have "new" stuff to play with.   Without breaking my neck (or the bank) shopping, there were plenty of clothes, more than enough food, and even a few treats to throw in for the road-trip to Cincinnati.  Less really can be more.

7.  Speaking of the road trip, I am always grateful for those four hours in the car.  This year, I feel like the kids are stretched to their little limits,  I've been packing (and writing) and Adam's been traveling.  When we all finally settle in, claim our small personal space, and hit the road, we are a happy family capsule traveling south on I-71.  I like having my people all in one place.  We can talk, we can sing, we can laugh.  It's a good start to the long weekend.  And I usually eat a cheeseburger at some point.  (I also look forward to napping for a good bit of the drive, while Adam drives us safely to Cincinnati.  Sometimes I am asleep before we leave Hudson.)

6.  I am grateful for our parents.  For my mom and dad who are currently preparing for the onslaught of . . . us.  They're about to get hit from both sides with children and grandchildren.  Brace yourself, Grandma and Pop!  Hide the remotes, get the game table ready, don't carve the turkey without Abby, and prepare for the Thanksgiving madness.  For Adam's parents, who come in a pinch and steal the kids for overnights, it is a true blessing to have you nearby.  (Although, you are currently in South Carolina, which makes me less grateful and more jealous.)

4.  This year, I am thankful for this gorgeous weather we've been having.  Even as it starts to look a little damp and gloomy out there, I can't imagine how we got so lucky with all of those warm, sunny days.  It has kept my spirit lifted, and made the days fly by!  (Which is not a good thing, as I count the shopping days left until Christmas.  Yikes!)

3.  I have the world's most excellent friends.  Near and far.  You support me and lift me up on a daily basis in so many ways and I adore you.  Grateful does not even begin to touch it.  (Brothers and Sistas, include yourselves here, please :)

2.  My friend Lisa is healthy.  Thankful.  Thankful.  Thankful.

1.  I'm more than grateful for my crazy, happy, healthy, normal, silly, wonderful, surprise-me-everyday kids and husband.  Adam, Jono, Abby and Sam. . . you are the joys of my life, and I adore you, you turkeys.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Have a safe and wonderful holiday surrounded by your family and friends, and please know that I count you among my many, many blessings!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Words, Words, Words. . .

I'm so excited to go to the H1N1 clinic today!  Okay, I'm really not.  I'm just trying to put my heart into the goal of the afternoon.  Flu shots.  Whoopee!

Hey, are you one of my writing friends?  Next year, you need to join me on NaNoWriMo ( if I've recovered by then.  National Novel Writing Month has consumed me, overtaken me, and has the potential to completely kick my ass, but I'm moving forward, word by word.  Today's count, 30,014.  The challenge is to write 50,000 words by November 30th.  Just write.  Don't edit, don't re-read.  Do these people not realize that there is a Thanksgiving holiday coming up?  How can I work in my 1600-2000 words a day when there is sleep to be slept, birds to be carved, movies to be seen, parades to be viewed?  I'm desperately trying to "UP" my word count so that I have some sort of Thanksgiving cushion, or else please come find me on the Monday following Thanksgiving at the Hudson Library.  I will be the one in a sobbing heap on the floor, trying to find a way to write the last 10,000 words before mindnight!  Bring diet Mountain Dew.

On days when I find myself behind in my writing, I tend to set up my days with bursts of writing, and small breaks.  Write a thousand words, take a break.  Repeat.  Four or five times.  The other day, my breaks were things like, "do laundry" and "pay bills."  By the time I was finished with five cycles of writing, I was craving air and a new vantage point, but I was well ahead of the game, and had gotten lots done in my house as well.  Can I keep it up?  We'll see.  I might need to work in better breaks, like "go shopping," "take a walk" or "do a shot."  Just kidding.  Kind of.

Yesterday, I was sick, and wrote over 5,000 words.  Or, at least, I think I did.  There was lots of DayQuil involved, so come December re-writes, I might find pages and pages of complete nonsense.  Or brilliance.

A very cool thing happened on my other blog.  (If you only read this blog, don't feel like I am cheating on you.  Come and read:   )  Anyway, I was quoting a book that I am currently reading and very much enjoying, The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton, and guess what?  Meg Waite Clayton herself commented on my blog!  It was very lovely and unexpected.  And in this month of NaNoWriMo, it was nice to get a boost like that.

Remind me, please, when I am a published author, to turn around and do the same for someone like me.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I Love Mornings

       So,  Jono's H1N1, Halloween, and Abby's birthday totally got the best of me and the blogosphere, but I say, good morning to you!  It's a cold, November morning, and I know this because I just got back from driving my two big kids to the bus stop.

     This was unexpected.

      This is Adam's job.  He was out of town for several days, so for most of this week, I got up with the two oldest kids and got them to the bus stop, which happens to be veeeerrrryyyy far away from our house, and on dark, cold mornings, I am generally opposed to allowing them to walk.  Even though they probably could.

     Adam returned last night from sunny Las Vegas, and even though I know he spent most of his time wandering trade shows and in meetings, I prefer to call it "sunny Las Vegas" and imply that he was lounging by the pool.  I just assumed that he would rise-and-shine with Abby and Jono this morning, as per usual, and drop them at the bus stop on the way to work.  So last night, I settled into bed knowing I could sleep until a blissful 7:45 am.  It's been a busy week.  And then, from the other side of the bed, I hear this.  "Gotta go in early tomorrow."

     "Early?  Can you get the kids?"
     "I can get them up."
     "Can you take them to the bus?"
     "Probably not."
     I re-set my alarm.
     "Christy, they can walk to the bus-stop.  It's fine."
     "It's too dark.  I will take them.  It's fine."  It was not fine, but I am excellent at hiding my feelings.

     So, this morning, at about 6:30, Abby starts her yelling.  MOM  MOM  MOM  MOM.  I hear you, sister. I'm coming.  The bus, however, isn't coming for 20 minutes.  I take my time getting downstairs.   I throw on the world's ugliest fuzzy slipper mocs, and a fleece.  My hair is lovely.

     "Let's roll, Chafes."
     Heading through the laundry room, I see Jono's full hamper by the washing machine.
     "I see you left me a gift today," I say.
     "I wanted you to have something to do," he retorts.
     "That's sweet."
     "I know."
     "I think I'll just teach you how to do your laundry."
      "I like the way you do it."
      "Not true.  When I do it, you say, 'I have no where to put all this clean laundry.' When I don't do it, you complain about no having clean underwear."
     "That's true," he admits, "or I wear the same pants for four days."
     "Or you wear basketball shorts for underwear."  Jono cracks up.
     "You wear basketball shorts for underwear?" cries Abby!  "When I see you in the morning in basketball shorts is that underwear?"
      "Why are you looking at me in the morning?  Perv."

     Abby in the back, Jono in the front, we get into the cold van and head to the end of the street where we park and wait for the bus.
     Abby touches the handle of the back door and Jono yells.
     "DON'T GET OUT YET, DEEB!"  That's his name for her; we don't know why.  I'm sure it's horrible.
     "I'm not!  Geez!"
      "Settle down, Jono.  One of you can get out, one can stay in.  Whatever."
      "Mr. Handley (name changed for protection) won't recognize you anyway," says Abby.
      They both crack up.
      "What's that about?" I ask.
      Apparently, they explain, yesterday the bus driver asked Jono who he was, where he lived, and if he had ever ridden the bus before.  He's been riding the same bus for four years.  And, Mr. Handley knows Adam.  I guess it's not really a case of "who you know."
     This cracks me up.
     Jono continues.  "He only drives a bus because he was bored in his retirement.  Now he's bored and pissed off.  He could have been sleeping late and pissed off.  Now he gets up at 5:00 am to drive kids around and be pissed off."
     "Kill him with kindness, Jono.  Get on the bus and say, 'Good Morning, Mr. Handley' every day."
      "We should get out," says my back-seat passenger.  There is a group of kids assembled at the bus stop, but no bus in sight, yet.
      "Frick, no.  I'm staying where it's warm."  I shoot him a look.  But I'm trying not to laugh.  Frick?
      "Jono, watch it."
      "Aren't you glad I used SOME decorum?"
     In the distance, there are blinking lights, and quick as one of those blinks, my big kids are out of there seats and running to meet the bus.  I wonder if the bus driver recognizes them?
I'm going to guess, frick no.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Thoughts on Halloween

     Oh my God--who made these delicious brownies with orange-tinted frosting and Halloween sprinkles AND candy corn on top?  Me?  That was fantastic of me to make these.  I love them.  They looked so beautiful in the pan, and then turned into a horrid lump (OF GOODNESS) on the cake plate.  It's Halloween.  I shall dub them "monster brownies" and call it a day.  Every bite that I deny taking as I walk by the plate is more delicious than the last 10 bites that I denied taking.  Mmmmmm.  I hate you, Weight Watchers points.  Hate hate hate hate.  I will love you tomorrow morning when I come back to you like a long, lost love, begging for another chance at our relationship.  Offering apologies, needing another try.  But tonight, it is an affair with the brownie pile on my counter.  Halloween Heaven.

     My daughter is a goblin.  Truly.  And if my parents have ever claimed NOT to wish a version of my teenage self on me, well, either it didn't work, or I was never a demon, because a demon-spirit of some form has entered my daughter right at the scariest time of year.  Tonight, she stood outside of the car at the dance studio stomping her foot at me, lecturing me, yelling at me, and then accusing me of being worked up.  Sorry, Miss-I-Want-To-Go-To-The-Marine-Corps-Ball-With-A-Boy-Who-Invited-Me-Via-Email, but I'm not worked up.  I'm just driving you to dance and YOU'RE worked up and making a Super Tween Fool of yourself in the parking lot.  Have a brownie.  Get your period.

    Swine flu has left the building.  And a 15-year old boy (or as Lisa texted me recently, "boyman") is truly that.  A boyman.  Boys aren't any fun when they are sick.  Girls, when sick, are fun.  We like trays of treats in bed, magazines, television, games, and conversation.  Men (and boys) apparently, only want 100,000 different beverages and ESPN.  So boring for me while Jono had the swine.  But I am glad that he seems to have weathered the nastiness well.  For all of the news coverage, I must say, it wasn't too bad.  Knock wood.

     Abby and her friend were picked to paint a window in town for Halloween.  So nice-- a sparkly pumpkin, some clocktower bats (you have to know the town), some ghosts.  Jono is retroactively pissed, reminded suddenly that he and his friend Connor came up with a window idea in the 5th grade and I wouldn't let him sumbit it the drawing.

     "Jono, you drew a black man in a pumpkin costume.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, it was just a weird entry."
     "Mom, it was Snoop Dog.  You should have seen Connor's first picture.  It said, 'Happy Hallo-wizzie."

     And so, Halloween weekend approaches and Abby will turn 12 the day after.  (I'm sure she'll be lovely as the gifts and cards begin to arrive.)  This time of year, I am always reminded of the night I went into labor.  Jono, at three, had just finished trick-or-treating, dressed as a cow.   I was admitted to the hospital just after midnight, where the entire staff found it funny to be dressed in costume.  Or maybe I was just drugged.  Either way, I didn't really care for it.  I didn't then, nor do I now,  want anyone near my hoo-ha with green hands, get it, Dr. Frankenfinger?

     And these are my thoughts this Halloween week.  To you, and yours, Happy Hallo-wizzie.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sam Fell Down and I'm Going to Bed

Mike's Mojito.
Melba toast and Laughing Cow cheese.
Laptop, phone, TV remote all on my bed with me.  Ahhhh.  Life is good.

It's 6:23 pm.  Listen, sometimes a girl needs to call it a early night :)  This balloon boy story totally wore me out (I'm so glad he was found safely in the attic, but is anyone else cynically suspecting the parents of seeking cable TV fame?  Former WifeSwap contestants?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?)

Another reason I am tired:  yesterday, Sam fell and hit is face on a cement step, and to quote one of the witnesses, "he was a tiny, little, sad, curly, bloody hot mess."  And that same little mess curled up with me and slept all night in my bed with two wet washcloths.  A very early dentist visit this morning, and aside from two extremely loose baby teeth, a giant fat lip, and lots of small cuts and bruises, he's fine.  Apparently, however Sam fell, he did it exactly right.  As most of you know,  he learned that skill from his mother.

Six days of 'cillan,
Five bloody washcloths,
Four drinks of Yoo-hoo,
Three trips to Drug Mart,
Two new Lego sets
And a junior chocolate Steak-n-Shake shake.

And on that note. . . I'm calling it a night. :)  Mike's Mojito Premium Malt Cocktail

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Friday, Busy Friday!!


I drive Lisa to the hospital for a cat scan, and after, we go to Corky and Lenny's for lunch.  It is here that Lisa says these instantly infamous words to Chad, our waiter:  "If you try to take my plate, I will stab you with my fork."  So subtle.  We stop for some shopping at Anthropology (giant flower pins are in, so are ruffles, so are jodphurs)  and then at the new Northface store.   I drop Lisa at home, and check the time.  1:48.  Can I make it to Target for Sam's khaki pants, and back to the bus stop by 3:00 to meet Jono and drive him to Solon for his 3:30 doctor's appointment?  Yes.  I drive fast to Target, get pants (and a few other things) throw them quickly into cart, check out, drive home, meet the bus, drop Abby at home, instruct her to get Sam off of his bus, and drive Jono to his well-visit.  He is well.  And aside from the moment where Jono uses the word "bi-atch" to describe someone to the doctor, the appointment goes pretty well.    (Ah, fifteen.  How I love you.)  We walk away with 15,000 prescriptions for asthma medications, and the instructions that I need to let Jono handle his respiratory health and possibly fail.  Oh, and he has a nickel allergy, which explains the rash on his belly, near where his cheap belt-buckle must be rubbing.  Nickel, peanuts, morphine, opiates.  Why not?  The doctor tells him he can never be a drug addict, because he'll be one big, walking hive.  I was kicked out of the second half of the appointment, but I think it went okay.

We stop at the grocery store for a birthday card, gum, mints, and a zucchini.

We stop at McDonald's for Jono.

I make it back to Hudson around 5:15, in time to drop off Jono, comb my hair, change my sweater, and pick up Cindy for a friend's birthday dinner.  We have a drink first, get hit on by an elderly man at a bar, after which Cindy invites him to an Elder-Life event at church, and tells me that I'll be serving at that particular event.  Sounds good.  We leave the bar and head to the dinner at the Chinese restaurant.  It's so nice, except that I get 100 phone calls and texts from Adam, whose car has broken down on the side of the highway.  Two rainy hours, two tow trucks, and one police car later, it is determined that I do not have to go to the dealership; he has a ride home.   Then Abby calls.  Her sleepover friend has arrived, but the mom has not just dropped her off.  They're waiting for me in the house.  Ah.  Adam was supposed to be home but he's with the tow truck.  I leave the restaurant in a hurry, drive home, and find my friend Shelia seated in my family room talking to Jono, while Sam entertains her with his new magic set.  Abby and Mairead, Sheila's daughter, are dressed in last year's Halloween costumes, laughing hysterically.  They are preparing for. . . wait for it. . . "Leave a Zucchini on Your Neighbor's Porch  Day."  There is nothing to be done but to allow it to happen.  I offer Shelia a glass of wine, but she declines, and leaves me to deal with the sqaush on my own.

It is 8:43.  My children have not been fed, since Adam never came home.  I call Donatos Pizza.
"Thank you for calling Donatos.  This is Jim, pick-up or delivery?"
"Delivery," I say.
"You're on Pinebrooke?"
"Hang on," he says.  I hear muffled sounds, questions, talking.  "We don't deliver out there anymore."
I don't know what to say.
"It's a Hudson address," is what comes out of my mouth.
"Sorry about that," says Jim, whom I picture as a skinny teen-ager.
I hang up.
I call back.
"Thank you for. . "
I interrupt Jim.  "Jim, I just called about a delivery on Pinebrooke."
"Oh, yeah," he says.
"Listen, I'm not going to be ordering from you, but I want to understand your delivery radius, since I live a mile and a half away from you."
"Hang on."  I hear muffled conversation again.  I hear something like, "do you want me to tell her that?"
He comes back and says, "Yeah, I talked to our manager and our map doesn't even go that far out."
"HOW FAR OUT?" I say.  "Do you deliver to the schools?  To Stow Road?  To the high school?  I'm closer than all of those."
"Yeah, that's weird."
That was the resolution?  "Yeah, that's weird??"
I called Pizza Hut.  I was told that an AWESOME delivery guy would delivery my order in 30 minutes. And that's exactly what happened.

I feel as strong need to call and talk to the manager at Donatos.  But I feel even more strongly that Jim is 15 and his manager is 16.

At 9:00, I call Lisa to tell her everything.  Adam on the highway, the ridiculous pizza story, Sheila beating me to my house.  Lisa is tired.  She listens.  Then she tells me to call her in the morning, she's going to sleep.
Saturday, she calls me and asks, "Did we talk last night?  I think I was asleep.  Stupid Ambien."
I told her all of it again, adding in the zucchini details.  It's okay.  All I needed was a listener.  And a pizza.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Summer, Over and Out.

Just thinking about my friend Lisa tonight.  She is having a scan tomorrow; her leg hurts.  But after this long summer of battling cancer, a scan is a scary thing.  Cancer sucks.  On the bright side,  I know Lisa gets to drink some delicious barium tonight and tomorrow. . .mmmmm. . . fantastic.  She heard it was better refrigerated.  Serve chilled, over ice. . . sounds great.

I know the scan will be fine; she's had good news lately.  She's just sick of hospitals, and I'm sick of them for her.  

It's finally fall. . .we've gotten to the point where we can look BACK on this summer.  It's over.  Lisa has been waiting for sweaters, mums, pumpkins.  For Halloween.  Thanksgiving.  Christmas.  All things that signify that this summer is gone.  

Vermont Only 2008 Fall Foliage ReportGo Lisa.  Go get your scan and come back to the bubble.  We have lots of autumnal things to do.  I'm not sure what that means, but I'll figure it out. . . 

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's a Tivo-Wonderful World

Hey, friends.  Thanks for all of the comments about my headache.  I feel much better today, and am catching up on TiVo and cleaning a closet, which is a good sign.  Which reminded me that I wanted to post a list of my favorite television shows in case you are in need of something new to add to your fall TV line-up.  We have three TiVos in our house, for the very simple reason that I don't always know where I will be when the urge strikes me to watch a recorded program.  I like to record shows in the basement so I am motivated to get on the treadmill, and so far, that's worked twice.

Here are my recent favorites:

Network Shows:

Grey's Anatomy 
The Biggest Loser
Brother's and Sisters ( Note:  I really need Rob Lowe and Calista to get along this season.  Remember the show "Mad About You?"  Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser spent a whole season fighting and the show was really more like "Mad At You."  I don't care for that.
Desperate Housewives
Dancing with the Stars
Modern Family
Flash Forward
So You Think You Can Dance
Private Practice
Amazing Race (If you TiVo, remember to record the show that follows, usually Cold Case, because football runs long, and you will miss the end.  Just a tip.)

I watched the first Episode of Mercy, but I wasn't thrilled.  I didn't hate it, but I wasn't waiting for it this week, you know?

I wish there was a political drama.  I really miss The West Wing.

I sometimes catch the Monday night sitcoms with Jono, and I always love How I Met Your Mother, and we both love The Big Bang Theory.  It is VERY well written.  There's a new show on Monday. . . Accidentally on Purpose.  It's funny; Dharma is in it, and she always makes me laugh.

Some cable favs:

Flipping Out (so, so, so, so crazy.  I love it.)
Project Runway

I'm sure there are others--  Lisa, what am I missing???  We both like those design shows, like Top Design and Design Star, but I don't think they're on right now.  Also, Kathy Griffin: Life on the D-List, but it bordered on uncomfortable for me this season.  And that takes a lot. . .

I also TiVo Oprah and Days of our Lives, but I only watch these when I feel like it, usually when I'm folding laundry and making beds.  Easy to delete episodes that don't interest me.  Lately Oprah's been awesome. . . did you catch the Whitney 2-parter?  Crack is WHACK, Bobby!!!

To answer the unspoken question, I don't watch all of these all the time.   I pick and choose.  Mostly I choose to watch.  Thank you, TiVo, for giving me the option of pause and rewind, morning or night.

I just didn't want Tuesday to go by in case you didn't have The Biggest Loser on your schedule.  Speaking of that, I'm still hoping for a Medium Loser edition.
If I could just have 3 weeks on that show. . .

And of course, starting in January, Tuesdays be an official holiday because American Idol will be back.   American Idol

Gotta scoot!  Have a good day, everyone :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Mellowcreme Pumpkins CandyFINALLY,  I am sitting in my bed, watching Desperate Housewives.  I have just escaped from the noise and confusion of downstairs, and made it safely to the haven of my bedroom with my laptop, the newest edition of Oprah magazine, a Tervis Tumbler of ice water, and 6 Brach's Mellowcreme pumpkins.

Deep breath in, deep breath out.  And again.  Breathing in the good, breathing out the bad.  I am two days post-migraine. . .  badness, be gone!

It was noisy down there.  And I'm the first to admit that this is the pot calling the kettle black, or at least a very dark shade of navy.  I am a noisy girl.  I escaped football (which I really do love) and headed to the basement to watch television in the cool darkness, and then down stomped the children for a ping-pong tournament.  Ping-pong is. . .um. . . loud.  There was a Jenga tower collapse, iTunes playing on the computer, and more television.  Even Abby doing the dishes seemed extraordinarily loud.  I was grateful for her help.  I kissed her on the cheek, and it echoed in my head.

Sam went to bed after hugs all around.  One down, two to go.  Although, I was fairly certain I would be next anyway.

Obviously, I am in need of one last painkiller and a good night's sleep to fix this final day of coming down from the pain.  "And a back rub," I told Adam.  He agreed, since I spent a good part of the day updating his iPhone since I happen to be good at that kind of stuff.  More noise, more screens, more buttons.  Ergh.

Why is Sam back downstairs?

     "All of the continents are falling off of my Earth balloon.  South America fell, and then Antarctica.   The label for the Arctic Ocean fell off, too, but I stuck it back on."  He is holding the construction paper continents in his hand.  
     "We can fix it all tomorrow, Sam.  Put the continents on your dresser and I will help you glue them tomorrow."
     Off he went, with the whole world in his hand, or much of it, anyway.

     It was 8:44.  I knew I needed to scat to bed if I was to have any time alone upstairs before everyone came loudly upstairs.  A mad rush to gather my things.  Water, magazine, computer, purse, and a quick dip into the bag of pumpkins that most everyone thinks are gross except me.   Post-headache, I can't think clearly.  I want 6 pumpkins.

     Here's the thing about my stupid headaches.  I hate them, clearly.  I didn't feel well on Thursday, and I took some pain medicine, thinking, "something's coming."  And then it did.  Did I cause it to happen?  There are days I talk to my mom and she'll say, "Do you have a headache?" and I say, "No, why?"  And then about 2 hours later I get one.  She says she can tell by the way I'm speaking or acting.  I should try to use my mom like a headache Ouija board--you know, call her to find out when and where the headache will strike so I can use preventative methods, or at least, hideout and be prepared.

     Jono is ransacking his room for clothes, I can hear it.  I hope his baseball pants are clean because God knows I'm not going back downstairs.  I checked on Sam and he's sleeping with his head at the foot of his bed, Earth balloon dangling from the curtain rod.  Abby is asleep, and Adam will be upstairs in exactly 4 minutes, because that's the way he rolls.

It was noisy for a while.  It was peaceful for a while.  And now it's bedtime.

Good night stars, good night moon
Good night iTunes, good night Earth balloon :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

When you Give a Girl a Pancake. . .

Text from Cindy:  I miss you.  Can we have breakfast?
Text from Me:  I miss u too.  I have to do errands and take shower.  What time?
Cindy:  Leaving for Perkins 8:50.  Lisa coming too.
Me:  Skipping everything.  See you there.

It is Friday.  On Wednesday, I walked with Lisa and Peg, and Lisa and I went to Perkins after for breakfast.  On Thursday, Lisa and Peg and I walked again, and all three of us went to Perkins.  Now it's Friday.  Here we go again.

Backstory:  For a couple of years, Cindy and Lisa and I frequented Perkins a lot.  A LOT.  We have a waitress, Kathy, who is more like a friend now, who takes care of us, knows us, and more likely than not, loves us.  And we love her.  This past year, we've been there less, for a variety of reasons, but when we all go together,  it's like nothing has changed.  This summer, Lisa has been fighting cancer, and she has been visiting Perkins with her husband after treatments at the Cleveland Clinic.  Kathy has become yet another member of Lisa's Kick Cancer's Ass support group.  Now we hug her and she is "in the know."  It's good to have a pancake connection "in the know."

When we approached the familiar hostess stand this morning, we asked to be seated in her section, but in the sunshine, please, out in the glassed-in porch area.

"Could you please tell her that the president, vice-president and treasurer of her fan club are here?" said Cindy, to the hostess.

Kathy came, with three diet Cokes.  Often,she just brings a fourth for whomever needs it first.  Sometimes, a pitcher.

She teased Cindy about working too much, we discussed Grey's Anatomy, but not the end because Lisa hasn't seen it yet.  And then down to the serious business of ordering.

Cindy first.
"An egg white omelet, veggie.  But I don't like mushrooms."
"Toast or pancakes?" asked Kathy.
"French silk pie."

Then Lisa.
"Kathy, I really want The Traveller, but you don't have it anymore except on the Over 55 menu.  But my body is kind of working like a 94-year old woman lately."
"It's fine, Toots."
"I want that."
"Sausage or bacon?"

Then me.
"I want what I had yesterday, please.  That wrap, but I can't have ham.  Can you sub veggies, please?"
"Can I have Egg Beaters?"
"You got it.  Fruit?"
"Not today."

"Isn't anyone having pancakes?" says Cindy.  "Darn it."
"You can all split a side," says Kathy.
"Perfect," we all say.

We always split a side of pancakes anyway, and she knows it.  It's nice, though, that she tries to let us pretend to order our own meal.

She brings Cindy's pie first.  Cindy runs and swims about 100 miles a day, so the pie probably is burned off before it hits her stomach.  Lucky.

Then three plates, one pancake each.  
"I gave you the pancakes free, girls.  Somehow the pie took the place of the. . . oh, never mind," says Kathy.  We all applaud the free pancakes.

More diet Cokes.  Breakfasts.  More good discussion among ourselves, and with Kathy, when she has time.

Lisa announces that she has coupons, which is a new addition to our Perkins outing.   One for a free entree, one for a 4.99 premium omelet.

"Yes," says Kathy, "you can use them all.  "I'll ring you up so it works out best."

The bills come with stickers and smileys.  We pay.  I think we leave tips that probably amount to about 80%.

It's good to have one pancake on a plate.  It's good when Kathy knows what you like and why.  It's good when Lisa has an appetite.  It's good to gossip and catch up next to the window in the sunshine.  It's good when the waitress is a friend and she hugs you.  It's good to start a weekend with pie in the morning.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ahhhhhhhhh. . . .

Weekend.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

I woke up to the sound of sawing and buzzing and nail guns outside my window.  The fence is being built.  Adam is rebuilding the fence picket by picket, and today, Jono will begin to help him prime and paint, a deal bartered a few months ago when Jono needed "help" replacing his broken phone AND a broken window in the same day.

Some fence background:  about a week ago, I stamped my foot on the front porch and begged and pleaded the case for a second gate in the fence, at the other end of a long walkway.  I was told it could not be done.  Would not be done.  Absolutely no way.  But knowing my husband, I was pretty sure that what he meant was, "sure."  And I kind of figured that on the day the fence went up, I would see my new gate.  That's just the way it rolls with him.

Abby had dance class this afternoon, so I took her to the studio, and read my book club book for a while in the parking lot.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.  That was nice little 45 minutes of nothing.  An enjoyable read so far, too.  (The Senator's Wife, by Sue Miller, in case anyone is interested.)  Then, haircuts for the boys, which I always need to attend for fear of all curls being lost forever.

My mother-in-law came to pick up Sam for the evening, and Adam and I are going out tonight with our friends to celebrate the fact that my best friend's cancer appears to be gone, gone, GONE.   She has kicked cancer's ass, fighting like a girl, and it's been a long hard summer.  So tonight, we can have a moment of . . . ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.

But just now, I was walking by the fence.

And there's no second gate.

Just rails and posts.  Beautifully constructed pickets, gorgeous design.   Hey, who knows.  Maybe Adam has to put the whole fence up and THEN he has to construct the gate separately and insert it.  I mean, really, what the hell do I know about gate construction?  I'm the first to say that I know absolutely nothing.  I know that he did not want to dig some sort of additional giant post hole--didn't want to fight with the earth anymore-- and I totally get that.   Actually no, I don't.  I just want a gate.  Truly, gate or no gate, it's been cool today to see my husband, my father-in-law and my son working together.  Even Abby primed some pickets.

Hey. . . MAYBE I'm getting the gate for Christmas!  And it's a big surprise.   Ahhhhhhhhhh. . .  I'm on to you, Adam.

You and your "one gate fence."  :)   (Doesn't he look like a "two-gate guy???)


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pandas and Pink Drinks and Percocet. . .OH MY!

Yesterday was a horrible, crappy, no-good, terrible day.  No question about it, no way around it.  A couple of emails that hurt my feelings, a couple of icky situations to navigate, a couple of kids home from school, normal mom worries, a bomb threat at school, WHATEVER. . . but by the end of my day, I was wiped out.  Done.  Spent.  Christy Chafe-- Over and Out.  And by 7:30 PM, I shut it all down and went into hiding.

Not in a closet, or under the bed, but from my computer, my phone, my cell phone, my Facebook page, my family, and the news.  I went upstairs, put on my jammies, washed my face, and climbed into bed.  I took the rest of my drink from dinner up with me.

At dinner, Adam had said, "That's a very pink drink you've got there.  What is it?"
     "Mike's Hard Lemonade."
     "Aren't those yellow?"
     "These are special.  They're the Breast Cancer Mike's."

AS IF I'm going to drink a non-cause-supporting beverage.  Please.

Anyway, back to my hiding in plain sight.  Me, my Mike's, my TiVo, my jammies, and about 17 magazines camped out in bed for the night.  Why, on this of ALL nights, do I have no good chocolate in this house?

And two Percocet, but let me explain.  I am sometimes a walking headache, which I know is a sentence that can be read two ways.  But really, I get baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad headaches.  And to be perfectly honest, I was THRILLED to get a headache last night, because I could reach for the pain meds and know I would snuggle into hiding and eventually fall asleep.

But not before enjoying some Entertainment Tonight, of course, and a new show called "Shark Tank" which I totally recommend.  (At this point, Sam and his panda, Fred, have joined me in bed for a snuggle and Sam is enjoying a little later bedtime, and a mom who is a tiny-bit out of her mind.  I am explaining the concept of the show.

     "You see, Sam, those people with business ideas are like minnows, and that panel of business executives, they're like the sharks.  That's why it's called "Shark Tank."
     "You mean the investors?" he said.

I pulled the covers over my head.

I skim through a TiVo of "Flipping Out," which is so beyond crazy that I am madly, madly in love with it.  Another blog, another time, I will tell you what is on my TiVo list.  It's not pretty, and it's not educational, but I love my TiVo.  Okay, my three TiVo's.

I tried to flip through "Vogue."  Then "Us," then "People," but I was too tired to turn the pages.  So lights off.  At least four more magazines were on my feet.  Could. Not. Kick. Off.

Adam came in the door and stopped short.

     "This is not like you," he said.
     "I know," I said, muffled into the pillow.  "I'm all done.  Stupid day. I hate this day."
     "I know you do," he said.  "Hey, can I use your laptop?"
     "Sure."  He opened it and sat down on the floor.

Here?  He was typing in my hide-out?  Soon he left.  Either that, or I fell asleep.  I'm not entirely sure.

I have to say, it's harder than I thought to hide out from all of these things that connect me to the real world, or at least, my button-click-world.  And it's easier than I thought to escape to things that really matter.  Snuggles, sleep, peace.   This morning, I eased back in, slowly.  Got the kids off to school, stopped for a quick sugar-free Red Bull (okay, slowly is relative,) went to the library, and not until about 10:30 did I open my laptop, look at my phone, check back in.  Big deal, right?  A few hours, taking a break.  But it makes a girl see how easy it is to be too connected to meaningless things, to be too reachable sometimes, and how much can be gained from taking a small step back into her real, panda-filled, occasionally-prescription-drug-influenced, TiVo-wonderful world.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Labor Day Weekend and the Lake's Gone MAD!

It's Labor Day Weekend at Indian Lake, and it's SUNNY, which means there will be boating, there will be swimming, there will be eating and plenty-o-cocktails.   Apparently, it also means that the wildlife has gone stark raving mad.  There was a crazy-weird spider perched on the doorframe of the cottage yesterday (some sort of "Orb Weaver") which almost sent my brother Rayo into the next county to enjoy his Labor Day festivities.  There have been large blue herons landing precariously in trees, and for the first time in many years, a white duck.  I don't want this to sound duck-racist, but when I was a young girl, the whole duck population was white.  They have been gone for years, and truly, I have no idea what happened.  Did they breed with other ducks and change the look of their "people?"  Do they find a better lake?   Indian Lake has been home to many Mallards and brown ducks (I'm sure there's a much more technical name, but for now, I will just refer to them as the "common brown duck") for years and years.  One, in particular, that I am not fond of at all, for he quacks his fool beak off at almost exactly 6:00 am every morning.  You might wonder how I know it it is a boy duck, or the same common brown duck?  I just know.    Anyway, yesterday, floating together in perfect harmony, a brown duck and a white duck.  It was just so nice to see ducks getting along like that.  I say, Happy Labor Day, ducks.

Everyone is also constantly on Bald Eagle watch, for the eagles have landed and nested at the lake.  This has caused my dad to have 100 pairs of binoculars at the ready, including one GIANT pair that make him look like The Fly when he uses them,  for any given bird sighting, or in case a neighbor is doing something shady.  It's like, "Hey, is that an eagle?  Oh, what are those people carrying in their boat?  And it looks like Bonnie and Joe just got here."    Last night, we were trying to get him to focus in on Jono's game score in Mentor, but no avail.  Sucky binoculars, Fly.

We've added Nerf Darts into the equation this weekend, and though I tried to get Sam to stop shooting my nephew, Gabe, Gabe informed me that he was totally open to being shot anytime, anyplace.  So the rule is, only shoot the dartboard and any person who is okay with being shot.  If you don't want to be shot, just tell someone.  Real world, take a note.  If you don't want to be shot, just tell someone.  Problem solved.  

Also, the whiffle ball bats have become light sabers, and apparently, if you put yours down, you have officially "quit" and others can double up on their saber-ness.

There has been some power garage-sale shopping.  Abby and her cousin went trolling for treasures and came home with. . . um. . . treasures, let me tell you.  A purple shag rug and a color-changing fiber optic lamp.  "I've always wanted one of these rugs," she said, as it's draped around her neck.  Shudder.  I'll be washing her.  And the rug.  "I really want to get rid of  my rug anyway, and this is perfect."  I think of the 8 x 10 Pottery Barn rug in her room and how it's not going to be replaced with a $2 purple yard sale rug.  "Super!" I say.  The lamp is glowing in the cottage bedroom that Abby shares with my niece and it is kind of funky.  My nephew bought a $1 electronic organizer.  The possible-pleatherette case was totally worth the price.

The duck is quacking at me, so I'm going to head downstairs to begin the Labor Day festivities.  But don't worry.  It's not 6:00 am.  It's more like 9:30 am.  But it's 5:00 pm somewhere. . . .


Friday, September 4, 2009

Open House, Open Mind?

Reflections on Jono's High School Open House:

English:   I sat in the desk, listening to Jono's teacher talk about the coursework for the year.  Poetry.  Short story unit.  Vocab.  Romeo and Juliet.  "Oh," says the teacher, "We're not only going to READ the play, we're going to act it out.  With costumes.  And watch the movie."  Adam whispers to me, "I am SO glad I don't have to do this again."  I say to him, "I wish I could take this class."  I picture myself as Juliet.

Biology:   There is a big tall desk in the front of the room with lots of projection equipment and a faucet.  It looks exactly like the science lab in my high school.  I am flashing back to Mr. Heim who was probably about 27 years old, teaching me Honors Biology II.    How did a baby teach me anything?  That explains why I don't understand cell respiration.

Gym:  I hate this I hate this I hate this I hate this.   Hated it then, hated it now.  Please don't make me climb a rope.

Spanish:  No comprende.

Algebra:  Seems like a nice guy.  I could do this, I think.  I could maybe give this a . . .  oh, who the hell am I kidding?  Where's that nice English class again?

I now know why I still have dreams about school.  You know, those horrible "did I take the test, have I ever attended those classes?" dreams.  Adam and I got lost 10 times at open house.  Our 10-minute classes were overwhelming,  the 5- minute "switch" times weren't long enough at all,  and the hallways were long and scary.  When I am in the elementary schools, I feel to big for the space.  Here,  though it was an amazing place, I was completely out of my comfort zone.  I felt younger than the children who were guides.  What a testament to the fact that the high school is raising up confident, strong students.

Jono is in for an amazing experience.   But would I ever want to go back to high school (except for one quick cameo of Juliet?)   NO GRACIAS!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Attack of the Dawn Doll

     So, this morning, I'm minding my own business, running to Target to return one of Abby's less successful shirt choices, pick up a pencil sharpener, find jeans for Sam, and get Klondike bars.  It was a perfectly productive morning, and I was heading out of the store, and there she was.  The woman who, two years ago, asked if I was pregnant, when I most certainly was not.  Oh, Lord, help me now.  She even called my name to get my attention.  Can't I just let a bad bygone fat day be a bad bygone fat day??     We engaged in the small talk, the chit-chat, the "how's school, how are the kids, blah, blah, blah" but the whole time, I'm seeing us reflected in the Target window.  And here's what I'm thinking.  "She's no bigger than a Dawn doll, and why is she attacking me?"  All chit-chat aside, I'm sure the undertone of the whole conversation was, "we both know what you did, and now here we are."  Does anyone else remember what a Dawn doll looks like?  About one-third the size of a Barbie, way smaller then Skipper, the oft-forgotten sister.  And that is exactly the size of this woman. a pocket Barbie.  I could technically put this woman in my pocket if I needed to.  I checked myself out in the window, covertly.  Hair? Fine.  White v-necked tee?  Good.  Boobs?  Good.  But ohmygod there is a giant, aqua, bulky fleece tied around my waist and I look like I'm wearing a fuzzy life preserver.   I wanted to scream in the middle of our conversation, "I took a 2 mile walk this morning and it was 50 degrees when I left and it's almost 70 now!" or maybe "there's no baby in here!" but I didn't.  I just made a silent, solemn pledge to stop tying sweatshirts around my waist.    
     I'm disappointed that the Dawn doll got the best of me.  I should have just offered her a Klondike and been on my way.  

Monday, August 31, 2009

Welcome to my Real World

Welcome to my new blog.  My alternate blog.  I have a blog that I love to write called "Notes from the Journey" which I hope you will read.  (Link below.)  But here's what happened.  My friend Lisa would read the blog and say, "That's really true, but it's not the whole story.  I know what REALLY happened and you need a place to blog about the real stuff." So it is from that conversation that this blog site was born.  The real stories, the good, the bad, and the morning uglies.

 I don't really want to start my new blog by saying that I'm tired and a tiny bit cranky, but that's the truth.  This back-to-school schedule is settling in, and for the first time, the back-to-school supplies were more "are you kidding me?" than "hey, that's cool!"  The cashier at Staples said to me, "Wow, twelve dollars. . . that's one of the best school supply ring-ups we've had."  I glared at her.  Staples was my seventh store.  Twelve bucks my ass.  Does that count the $5000 calculator and the gross of binders I had to buy?  Some of you know that I had a severe and unprecedented reaction to the binder buying last year, and it didn't get any better this year.  Nope.  Not better at all.  They are ugly, expensive, hard to manage, bulky in backpacks, and sometimes they pinch you.  I hate you, binders.

So what you should know about me going in is this:  Jono has just started high school and he plays baseball all the time.  Really.  All the time.  Yesterday, I was at a double-header at a field located next to an Auto-Zone and behind a VFW hall.  It was 57 degrees and it rained the entire time.  Apparently, I wasn't quite dressed for the August weather in my pants, socks, shoes, long-sleeved shirt, fleece, and blanket.  I watched a majority of the game from the van where Sam listened to Radio Disney and he played Solitaire on my phone.   It is not the first time I have been in love with my van and my phone.

Abby is in Middle School this year and she loves dancing, penguins, and all things about the ocean.  She has started spending an extraordinary amount of time washing and styling her hair and we have entered the world where I know nothing about her clothes (which I just bought) or her hair (which I may cut off.)  Sam, who has just started 2nd grade, was home sick today.  It's the 4th day of school.

My husband, Adam, loves golf and cars and our kids and me.  Not necessarily in that order, though sometimes I do accuse him. . .  He travels quite a bit, works long days, but always wants me to write. I think he'll be happy with this blog, at least until I use it for evil.  Mwwwaaahhhh,  haaaah, haaaah.

A few more details.  My parents are addicted to Farmtown on Facebook and I'm realizing that although I can't get in touch with them by phone, I do see on Facebook that "Ray has achieved inspiring farmer level."  Good job, Dad.  Mom, I'm sure you're doing great, too, but I haven't seen your update.  I've lost them to Facebook.   Last weekend, my dad was at the computer and I said, "Are you on Farmtown?"  And he said, "No."  And then his computer bleated.  Like a goat.  Liar.

I have good friends.  HELLO, FRIENDS!  I LOVE YOU!

I have a great family, brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and lots of aunts, uncles, cousins.  You name it, I've got it. HELLO, FAMILY!  I LOVE YOU!

That's about it for me.  I'm going to hope for a peaceful sleep.  I've been very dreamy (and not like McDreamy on Grey's Anatomy) . . . like I'm dreaming all the time, every night, multiple times.  What does this mean?  I've tried going to bed early, staying up late, not eating late, drinking, not drinking, and popping a couple of painkillers.  (Note:  I have not tried all of these together, but now that I think about it. . . )   Anyway, the dreams continue.  Maybe I'm meant to discover something wonderful while I'm sleeping.  I'll let you know.  Sleep well.