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Location: Upstate, South Carolina, United States

I think that the Meredith Brooks' song, "Bitch," summarizes me rather nicely. Or, if you prefer, X. dell says I'm a life-smart literary scholar with a low BS tolerance...that also works!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Back to Atlanta

Yes, shortly we leave to go back to Atlanta to pick up Chian. I think Grant will be delighted to start getting some sleep again. Chian must have REALLY loved Grant to have kept him up all night...every night...well, except for the Night of the Projectile Vomiting of one of Grant's friends. That apparently lulled him to sleep.

The trip to my brother's place was good. He treated us all to an NHL game...Florida Panthers vs. Carolina Hurricanes. The 'Canes won, so everybody was thrilled. I had never really watched a hockey match before, so it was exciting for me. My nephew caught a t-shirt they threw out to the audience, and that was great. I told him to catch one for me too, but he wouldn't. Bastard :)

We also got to see the movie Night at the Museum, which we all enjoyed. I love going to the movies.

However, now that the holidays are almost over, I have a decision to make. See, I hate...I mean HATE...clothes shopping for myself. I am not a typical woman that way. I don't like to buy shoes. I don't like to buy purses. I don't like to buy jewelry or clothes. Nope. Not at all. If I have spare money, I will by wine, cheese, and chocolate. Or if I have a lot of spare money, I'll go on a trip. Maybe I'll buy some books. That's it. To me, I cringe when I have to buy myself clothes. It feels like such a waste of money. Yet...I'm at a point now wherein I've gained so much weight that none of my clothes are comfortable. I barely have any that I can wear, and the biggest stuff in my wardrobe is tight. I have two choices: diet/exercise and lose weight to fit into existing clothes, or go out and buy new clothes. The cheaper option is, of course, number one.

No, I don't make New Year's resolutions, so I'm not resolving to go on a diet. I am especially not going to go on a diet before we visit Grant. You have NO IDEA how good we get fed when we go down there. I'm NOT missing out on that!!! But...I know I've gained another five pounds between April's Bloggercon and now. When will it stop? My metabolism has officially slowed a little more, and I act like I'm 20 when I eat. I am even bursting out of my bras. You know your bra is too small when you have to shake the girls back into them several times per day. I'm just not comfortable with my body the way it is right now. So...I'm contemplating doing something about it in the near future. It's hard for me to even consider when I enjoy food so damned much. Maybe if I just start exercising that could be enough...maybe...


When we arrived at my brother's house last week, my son immediately remembered he did not finish his thank you notes. He was upset. I still can't believe how much he's grown and matured in the last year. NOBODY can, really, as he's now moved into the "not normal" category for a six-year-old boy. We went to the Monet exhibit in Raleigh, and both of my children were more into it than the adults. I can't believe that they studied every picture, listened to the commentary on one of those recording things you can rent, and discussed the content of the pictures throughout the whole museum. Wow. Jared had a lot to say about the art, but he cracked us all up when he announced, wide-eyed, halfway through the museum, "Hey...this Monet guy's pretty good. He must be one of the best!"

One of my brother's friends has twin boys around Jared's age. She was amazed at Jared's temperment and his ability to enjoy Monet. In fact, it saddened her because she fretted something was wrong with her boys that they were so active and self-absorbed. I had to reassure her that I was in charge of a Mommy's Morning Out program for a while, and HER kids were the normal ones. She seemed relieved to hear it.


You know what? I love how Alex just fits in so perfectly with my family. They all ADORE the man. But what's not to adore? He dotes on the kids like they are his own, he dotes on me constantly, and he's always willing to help at the drop of a hat. He's a good man. My dad cracks me up, though. Whenever Alex leaps up to do something and all the women in the family smile at him for being so helpful, he grumbles, "Alex, you're pissing me off! You're making me look bad again!" It doesn't matter how often he says it--it still cracks me up!

Ok, so it's off to Atlanta again. Woohoo!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Vacation

One would think that I am in the middle of grades still from the lack of blogging. Nope. I actually finished up early last week. I just have been busy hopping around places and getting things done, so my time on the net has been minimal. I probably am suffering from withdrawl symptoms!

We went to Atlanta again to visit with Grant last weekend, and we took our cat, Chian. Grant is going to take care of our cat while we travel to my brother's house over Christmas. I can't take the cat with me because my brother's wife, Deb, has a dog named Spec who will eat Chian. I love Spec, but I don't love him enough to let him eat my cat. Boarding is very traumatizing on Chian too, especially after the last time he was "boarded" was when he had the irradiation treatment back in October. I had a few ideas for pet sitting options, but they all fell through. Then Grant offered to take care of Chian. Apparently, Grant's goals are to get him drunk on whiskey regularly and also to get him to worship the devil. We'll see about his success. Grant is already much more liberal with anything my cat wants than I am. How do I know? Imagine my surprise when I realized that he let my cat onto his computer and let him become a blogger. I don't think my cat will want to come home. We are set to pick him up from Grant around New Year's Eve, but the way things are going, I'm sure that Chian will want to stay.

Last week was Jared's birthday. Thursday the 14th I invited over my ex with the kids so we could have a little party for him. The party went great up until the kids went to bed. Sigh. Oh well. I don't feel like going into details. But Jared did have a great time, and he was happy to open and play with all his gifts. I think each one of my children have particular issues that are important to them. Generosity is very important to my daughter, and material things are not so important. With my son, it is very, very important for him to show gratitude whenever somebody does something for him that he really appreciates. This urge has increased dramatically over the last year, and this last month in particular I have noticed that he keeps wanting to make sure that people realize how thankful he is. I have the only child around who PESTERED me yesterday to start up his thank you notes. He's in kindergarten, but he couldn't stand that his birthday was last Thursday and the thank you notes were not yet in the mail. Poor baby takes forever to write them, too, since he's not had much practice with writing at his age. He already did three, though, and that made him happy. I also have noticed that he'll pick up on a detail of something and then decide to sincerely thank me for it. For instance, I splurged on a Spongebob cake for his birthday. His sister wanted me to make hers, and I did (a candy cane shapped cake decorated rather nicely, if I say so myself). But Jared didn't mention what he'd prefer, and I was too exhausted by last Thursday to make another cake. Therefore, I decided to spend a little extra and get him this cake. It comes with removable Spongebob and Patrick toys, and he really liked playing with them last Thursday. So, this morning he is eating his breakfast, and he solemnly looks up at me and says, Mom, I really appreciate that you bought me the Spongebob cake. It was good, and I like the toys that came with it. Thank you. I love how he can appreciate gifts and kindness. He will thank somebody for opening a door for him or picking out his clothes--it doesn't have to be that somebody buys something for him.

I didn't think he'd end up as the grateful one in this house. Honestly. As a very small one, he was anything BUT grateful. But in this last year I've seen him mature so much. He used to cry a lot when he didn't get his way. Now it rarely happens. He used to toss off thank you as a matter of rote rather than sincerity. Now it's always fully meant. He used to NEVER want to share his stuff. Now he's getting a better concept on how to do it. Remarkable.


Irony can be defined many ways. For example, I have always found it ironic that the only rude redneck in my family--my brother Mark--ended up being the one who doesn't live in America. I remember as a young teen we had a dinner out at this fabulous Thai restaurant, and they presented us with towels to wipe our hands at the beginning of the meal. Mark embarrassed us all by grumbling that he was American so he didn't DO that shit, and he threw the towel on the table. We all jumped on him, and he just bitched back. Then, several years later, he worked for a company that transferred him and his family to Indonesia for four and a half years. THAT is irony. Now he lives in Canada, and he's much more open-minded and accepting about different customs than I ever thought he could be.

Another view of irony would involve bourbon. See, last weekend, I decided to go shot-to-shot with Grant and every brand of whiskey he had (oh, five or six at least). That was NOT a good move. It seemed like a fantastic idea at the time, but the morning after it seemed like a lousy idea. So, I tell Grant, I don't want to see nor taste whiskey again for a LOOOONG time. Then I get home and my mom announces I'm in charge of making the bourbon balls this year for Christmas.


The pecan mixture is marinating in the bourbon as we speak. Even the smell of that stuff made my tummy protest.


I need to redo my blogroll. I really, really do. I will try to do that over Christmas and add some people and take off some blogs that no longer even exist. I won't promise, though, because it's entirely possible that laziness will overcome and I'll do jack shit.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Why My Daughter is Superior

When I see other people's children in action, I often cringe, hoping desperately that's not how MY precious kids come across. But then again, how could they? These kids have been raised to be selfish and rude. Mine say please and thank you and are considerate (they don't do sir and ma'am, but that's because I have always been annoyed by that particular type of politeness for some reason). Mine are adored by other parents and begged to be brought back because they are so sweet. Yes, yes, it is true: my children totally rock.

Now, I will make an exception for Andrew. Andrew is Ariana's "boyfriend." This little boy is the most considerate, kind-hearted, empathetic little boy in the universe. I am amazed by him. I have no idea what Ariana told him about my financial situation, but after Andrew arrived, he made a point of catching me alone in my room. I shit you not. And then he said, very solemnly, I have $20. I would like to give you $20 to help pay for things today. I looked up from tying my shoes, surprised, and said, Andrew? It's ok, honey. I set aside money for today. You can each get a Build-a-bear, and I've got it covered. His reply? "Well, I get an allowance. I have $60 saved already. It's really ok. I'd like you to take the $20 to help out." WOW! Folks, he's NINE. By then, I had finished tying my shoes and I stood up to smile at him. "Andrew, it's all right. I swear. I would be happy to take care of things today. Why don't you save that $20 to buy stuff for your Build a Bear instead?" He nodded, just as seriously, and then went out to find Ariana and her other friend.

I had a long talk with Andrew's mom today and now have a clear picture in my head as to why Andrew is absurdly mature and aware for a nine-year-old boy. He had a brother, two years older than him, who was special needs. This child was like an infant for his entire life, so as Andrew matured and his brother did not, Andrew automatically wanted to step in and help out with his older brother. With tears in her eyes, Andrew's mom described exactly how paternal and caring Andrew had been for the son they had lost. Then she described how three years ago, the brother died. He had just passed right before Andrew came home from school, and he had to see the body of his dead brother...whom he had taken care of for years. Sniff! We also agreed that both Andrew and Ariana would give another child the shirts off their backs if they were in need, and both of them were abnormally giving for small children.

Which brings me to the other part of this post.

The little girl Ariana had chosen to take as her second friend to this event (only two! Are you kidding me? do you know how expensive these damned stuffed animals are?) had been given some money to spend at the place to get Ariana her birthday present. This girl then decided she really wanted to spend the money on herself and give Ariana nothing for a birthday present instead. She basically knew her mother had given her the money for a present, but she was enticed by wanting to purchase more stuff for herself. So she asks Ariana if it's ok to do that, and Ariana immediately tells her that a present is unimportant to her compared to her best friend's happiness. And that this child should, indeed, spend the money on herself instead. When Ari came up and told me this with a grin, I hugged her tightly, feeling very emotional. "But mom! Things just aren't as important as her happiness. So, if she's happy, I'm happy. And that's ok," she replied, surprised by how much I squeezed the life out of her with the intensity of my hug. And then I whispered fiercely into her ear, "I am so very honored to be your mother. You are a beautiful soul, and I am prouder of you than words can possibly express." I was vaguely angry at the girlfriend for being so selfish. But that part was not my business. My business is my daughter's happiness on her birthday, and she was definitely happy. In fact, she giggled and seemed vaguely confused as to why I was so proud of her over it. She didn't do this for attention; she genuninely did it because things do NOT matter as much to her as seeing her friends happy.

Later on, two neighborhood girls came over the second they saw us return from the store. They got cake with the other kids, and ice cream, and then became royal pains in the asses. "I'm gonna leave if I don't get my way!" "I don't like this, I want something else!" "Give me that!" My nerves were then shot, so I was relieved when their fathers came to fetch both girls. Whew! Murder was about to take place.

My daughter's had a great day. She's nine. She has a Build a Bear she really wanted. And she had a nice day with her friends. Oh, and Andrew picked out the SWEETEST CARD for her, plus brought THREE presents for her (just what she wanted, too...good job Andrew!), so to her? Life is perfect. I hope I can help her keep that feeling because this little girl is amazing. And I AM honored to be her mother.