Friday, December 31, 2010

And So Ends Another Year

I've said it before, but a full year later it bears repeating - January 1st is a lousy time to start a new year.

It's cold, it's grey, the holidays tap our wallets and our energy, and it's another reminder of all the things we didn't accomplish in the year past. Ugh! It's damned depressing. Who can be motivated for anything quite so profound as new year when all you really want to do is sleep until the Spring thaw.

With that said, I'm going to attempt to muster enough energy to write down some tried and true (tried because I try them every year; true because I truly don't know why I bother) resolutions. And one cannot speak of the new without recounting the old so why not a quick recap of the past year just for fun. OK. Here goes. The goals were to:

Exercise More/Eat Less - I must have read that wrong as soon as I wrote it down because it seems I did the complete opposite. I have gained weight that I couldn't afford to gain especially in light of my mid-year bloodwork and I have since taken to driving my daughter to school on days I deem too cold even though we live across the street from the building. It's safe to say that that resolution does not have a checkmark next to it. Back on the list it goes.

Save More/Spend Less - This I have accomplished. Check. While I wasn't able to squirrel away enough to buy a beach house (my imaginary goal) I do have a growing slush fund and my spending it completely under control (trip to Costco today aside). Truth be told, spending has become far less appealing to me; that's counter-intuitive to the Jersey girl consumer I was breed to be and some of my friends and family have yet to come over to my way of thinking, but saving is additive if you have a clear goal in mind... I really want a beach house.

Have More Patience/Be Less Reactionary - Surprising enough, this one gets a checkmark too. In fact, just last week, the principal at my daughter's school offered me a fulltime position as a paraeducator working with children with special needs one on one. When she offered it to me I said that I didn't think I had the skill set needed since I didn't study education in college. She said all I needed was patience to which I replied, "then I know I'm not qualified". She laughed and said I had more than I thought. She's taken note of how I am with the kids and how they are with me and she's impressed. I start my new job on Monday and boy am I going to need some of that new found patience.

OK. Two out of three. Not bad. In hindsight, I accomplished more than I thought.

But the big one still eludes me. At the end of 2009, looking ahead to 2010, all I saw were big milestones and family events each with photo ops and I was cringing for having let myself go. Apparently, not enough so to do something about it, but certainly enough to complain as usual. All those occasions came and went and there are countless photos to prove it. And while I didn't like the way I looked in 90% (that's probably a low estimate) of them, I was present, in the moment, enjoying the blessing of each celebration. I looked like Hell but it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. I think that's called growth.

Now, sitting at the end of 2010, looking ahead to 2011, there is much to consider and reassess. I have a new job that will give me less "me" time and will no doubt be frustrating on most days, but could also prove very rewarding. I started a little online shop a couple months ago that highlights everything I feel strongly about - classic children's clothes, recycling and repurposing, and children's charities - that I hope turns a profit soon (heck, I'd be happy with selling something). And I've recently reconnected with an amazing group of old friends that are excelling in their fields and it's lit a fire under me to get back to what I've always loved, writing.

Remember that? That was the reason for this blog.

"In the back of my mind, I guess I've always wanted to be a writer - poems, short stories, screenplays, novels, children's picture books; you name it, I started it. And therein lies the problem. I'm all good starts that go nowhere.

Will blogging solve this problem? In theory, yes, because there is no real end to the daily musings of life, now is there? Everyday presents us with something new, if only the opportunity to see the old in a new way.

Today is my first day entering the blogosphere. Where will the journey take me? Who's to say, but at the very least, I hope that it makes me a better writer so that I can finally finish one of the aforementioned projects."

Not for money. Not for glory. Just for me. (OK, the money and glory would be a nice perk but if they don't come with the package I'll be happy just the same.)

There is something exhilarating in starting a project that will give you a sense of satisfaction as well as an opportunity for self expression. And the possibility for fame and fortune is nice too ;-) Skip the accolades - I'll take a Beach House!!

Damn, how could I forgot about wearing a bathing suit at the beach house?

Looks like I'm back to Resolution #1.

Happy New Year My Blogosphere Family of Friends! May the year ahead bring you less trials and more triumphs. And may everyday bring you closer to your dreams.
All My Best Always,
Bonnie

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vacationing Without Baggage

I'm feeling out of sorts. I'm feeling unsettled. I'm off my game. Blah, blah, blah. Jesus Christ, even I'm sick of me always bitching about the same sh!t.

Who's pissing me off? Who's putting me down? Who's making me defend my kid, my life, myself? More of the same. I'm a broken record. It used to be fun. A bit entertaining. Now it's a bore. Who cares? is more like it.

I'm fat. I'm short. I thought I was going to amount to more. I'm tired. I'm busy. I can't stand being in the company of most people for more than an hour. I have no answers, no solutions. Only whining and complaining.

I just want to be left alone. By myself included... Wait! Can that be done?

Time away from me. Hmm... let's think about that for a moment. A vacation from myself. Who would I be? The vacationing me or the one left at home? The one on vacation of course. The one without baggage. This just might work. But how?

Just the thought of lying alone on a sandy beach without a single care in the world is bringing my blood pressure down. Deep breathe. Lovely.

But I see out of the corner of my eye... to-do lists and ungrateful relatives and comments about my eating habits and slow moving traffic and burnt out light bulbs and missing gloves and superior attitudes from obnoxious people and... I'm back!

Well, it was nice while it lasted. Just like real vacations. Always too short.

OK. I've got some changes to ponder. I'll get back to you once I figure out how to vent without complaining... Wait! Can that be done?

Here we go again.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Cousin

I received a phone call early this morning.

My 44 year old cousin (and father of five) had passed away. An autopsy is scheduled for today. It seems there may have been complications with mixing medications and he died of kidney failure.

It's just two weeks until Christmas.

I'm not processing this well. Since I received the phone call, I've been shocked, sad, mad, and scared. The latest of which has me coming to my blog. If a man just one year older, with a family the youngest of which is not three, can just die, then so can I. He was overweight. I'm overweight. He had weight related health issues. So could I. So may I. So do I.

As a result of this information stuck in my brain, I have not eaten today. I am scared to eat. Is that weird? I think it is.

I'm not handling this well. I'm really thrown. And I'm scared.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

No One Gives My Kid A "Dressing Down"

My daughter takes ballet. She's been taking ballet at the same studio since our Mommy & Me days when she was just 2 1/2. Now at nearly 9, she loves it. Not enough to want to be a ballerina when she grows up, but enough to want to keep taking it for another year.

This year started with her being placed with the one instructor at the studio that I do not like. One, she has no formal training; she is a longtime student who stayed past the time that you can receive instruction so instead, the director of the studio hired her to teach. Two, she has an 18 month old boy that she is allowed to bring with her to work and whom is babysat by anyone who happens to be waiting for their child's class to be through. (I have successfully avoided the situation by always leaving for a coffee or burying my face in an old issue of People). Three, she is snotty to my daughter.

It began the first day of class. My daughter came bounding out of the room and when I asked "How'd you do?" "I did great. I loved it." Ms. K was quick to correct her. "Well, I don't think this is the class for her. She not quite at this level." Now, while I had to agree with her that she had been misplaced into a class with students at a more advanced level, I was appaled that after she heard the excitement in my daughter's voice that she would shoot her down to me, right in front of her. When we got in the car, she said, "Well, I tried my best." Not quite deflated, because that's not how she is, but not nearly as elated as she was earlier.

We started the new class which did turn out being better because there were girls she knew in the class. But two other mothers and myself quickly discovered that our monthly tuition was paying for "skipping and flitting" lessons and not ballet. There was no instruction taking place. They were learning routines which has little if any actual ballet technique in them. At this point in a young dancers life, with pointe only two years away, learning the proper technique as well as the French words for each should be mandatory. One mother spoke up for the group to the director and now the class begins with 10 minutes of barre work right off. And the class which had been starting anytime after she had played with her son, now starts at exactly 4pm.

Then came Halloween. They had prepared a dance for the parents. We were going to be a little late because my daughter had a dentist appointment. They were told to wear their costumes. My daughter wanted to be Darth Vader which everyone thought was very cool. That was except for Ms. K who said "Oh, um, Darth Vader. You're late." "Yes, my mom told Ms. A (director) I had a dentist appointment." "A-ha." And that was it, she didn't say "OK girls make some room at the barre." She let my daughter stand there in the middle of the room after mocking her (her tone was so snotty) for being late and coming dressed as Darth Vader (instead of a traditional 'girl' costume). Well, it took mere moments for my daughter to come back out of the class room and ask to put on her ballet uniform.

So here we are. The Christmas performance is this Sunday. They have prepared another dance for the parents. My daughter, in front of the entire class, was asked if she has a lavender skirt to wear to the recital. "This is a lavender skirt. It's just that it's reversible so it's not as dark as the others." "Well, can you get another one." "I don't know. But if I can't, can I still wear this." "I guess, but it's not as good." This whole conversation was replayed for me in the car on the way home. My daughter was embarrassed and she should not have been made to feel that way, certainly not in front of the class (and certainly not from a "ballet teacher" wearing sweatpants). In fact, if Ms. K really wanted to address my daughter's dress code she should have come to me, but the fact of the matter is, she was looking for another opportunity to mock my kid. I really believe that.

Why? My daughter is polite and helpful and tries her hardest. Plus she loves it. Why would you act like the mean girl/head cheerleader dressing down the nerd? Why would a person, seemingly an adult, do that to a child? Once, OK. Now it's three times. And that's just the ones I know of.

And can you guess who her favorites in the class are. The class cut-ups, acting like monkeys, screaming and running through the halls, and graceless to boot.

Needless to say, I shot an email to the director of the studio as soon as we got home. It read:

Would you happen to have a spare lavender skirt that my daughter can borrow for Sunday's performance. Apparently the one she has is not sufficient. Having said that, Ms. K should consider coming to me with questions of this nature instead of discussing it with my 8 year old in front of the whole class.

I'm sorry to be so short with you in this email. I've had my concerns about this class but Mother 1 and Mother 2 have already spoken with you of our mutual concerns and many positive changes have been made. I'm just a bit upset that my child, one that works hard, is helpful and polite (whereas others in her class are not) was embarrassed in front of her peers.

She called me immediately. Assured me that she would discuss the matter with Ms. K and that she had a skirt my daughter could borrow. Problem remedied. But situation not resolved.

Check the national news for "Ballistic Ballet Mom Slams Snotty Instructor".

Sunday, December 5, 2010

No, I Haven't Died...

... I've just been busy. And I've neglected my blog and all my wonderful blogosphere friends. For that I apologize.

Everyday there is a list of things to do as long as my arm and I somehow only get my fingertips to my wrist - if I'm lucky. Then the things that were supposed to be done today get moved to tomorrow and so on, until the end of the week has a week's worth of "stuff" to accomplish. Ugh!

I've been trying to put all things Christmas (shopping, decorating, partying, and dare I say, enjoying) into a neat box but to no avail. This year is a bit different between work, school, activities, obligations, saving money, feeling the spirit... well, it can all become a bit much.

In the spirit of saving money, we have decided as a family to forgo the real tree this year. I couldn't see spending $50+ on a dead tree. Of course, I will miss it and this time next year I may demand it, but for now, we will decorate to holiday glory our artificial tree (and burn the pine scented candle I bought instead). Yes, I know, why would we buy a tree every year if we already have one... well the answer is quite simple. I have too many ornaments for just one tree and I like to have two.

Spoiled? Yes. Changing my ways? Trying.

While we're on the subject of money, I have purchased all my gifts (and not to brag, but I have a nose for retail so I never pay full price) and now begins to process of putting them altogether with flare. That flare is the money saving but all too time consuming, baking and crafting to make meager items into gift showpieces. Ones that ultimately earn the response, "Bonnie, you have outdone yourself this year." Yes, thank you, thank you, I'm a bit of a praise hog. But when I pour myself into a project, I think a deserve it.

Conceited? Yes. Changing my ways? I'll take it down a notch but that's all I'm promising.

As for being on task with my rigid calendar, the answer this year, unfortunately, is No. The Christmas cards were out on time - and I must really be ahead of the game because I haven't gotten a single card back. But the decorations are coming out of storage at a snails pace, the outside is still dressed likes it's Thanksgiving, and you'd think that now that we've decided to put up the artificial tree, we'd have no excuse for it not to be lit up with a hundreds of twinkling lights. It is my goal today to get it all out and up.

Determined? Yes, but I'm already feeling the need for caffeine. Changing my ways? I'm feeling old and my energy is lagging so, yes, I certainly need to change.

Without much thought, you can all guess what has gone to the wayside while I'm mired in holiday hoopla. You guessed right, my diet and exercise routine. My what? That would suggest I had a routine. Toast for breakfast, pasta leftovers for lunch, Chinese take-out for dinner, pots of coffee, and I've taken to buying and keeping in my bag, chocolate. What the Hell is that? I need carbs and sugar, well, like I need carbs and sugar. Last time I was at the doctor (a few weeks back when I had bronchitis) the nurse noted that my blood pressure was up. That was after my dentist appointment the day before where they have made a new practice of taking blood pressure and it was up there too.

Have I done anything? No. Have I done less than anything? Yes. I'm a mess!!

OK. My little one is up and ready to decorate. I've got to use her energy to get me going too. Much to do.

I will try not to ignore my blog and get back to posting at least once a week, if only to put to rest any fears that I may have died... I'm alive, just buried.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Not yet December... already stressed. And apparently, that's the way I like it.

Because were it not for the insane level with which I require all things this season, I could probably get through the season without a care in the world. But my gifts have to evoke tears of joys, decorations must feed the soul, Christmas cards must arrive no later than Dec. 1st, handwritten with a special message for the reader alone, embossed with a gold seal, and scented like a Christmas tree. OK, maybe not scented.

This year I've added to the mix my part time position at the school (which I did not have last year), the start-up of my new venture "Two Fancy Fishes", and a bout of bronchitis that still has me hacking up a lung two weeks later.

Don't forget the calendar of party invitations to accept, holiday events and pageants to attend, school fundraising galas to support, maybe some sleeping... just if I can fit it in. This in addition to the regular schedule. Add the fact that every time I start a project, I run out of something I need and you can see my head implode. Oh, look at that, I'm out of tape.

Now, if I could just ratchet down the level with which I feel the need to "do" this holiday season, maybe I wouldn't be loosing my hair. (Uh-oh, note to self, I need to make a hair appointment.) I mean some people throw a few decorations up and call it a day (without stringing a single light). Some people buy the first thing they see and give it to you in the bag it came in (without a hand tied satin bow). Some people don't host parties, don't bring anything homemade to the parties they attend, don't send Christmas cards, don't watch Christmas specials with their kids while having hot cocoa, don't do much of anything... and are not sick to their stomachs right now.

Whew! I need some Tums.

Off to get dressed for the "Garden of Lights" at the Botanical Gardens. It's tradition and I really do love it.

Would I rather be watching TV on this particularly cold night? Yes, but that's not how I do things.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Day To Give Thanks

My favorite quote above all others is "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."

But for this one day, let's assume that the early settlers and the native americans got along. That there was only peace, and generosity, and community, and cooperation, and compassion, and love and trust of your fellow man... be they white or tan.

Imagine if you will, a politically correct, children's Disney-fied version of the Thanksgiving feast.

Ahhh... lovely.

Now hold that feeling of warmth and hope and joy till you feel yourself actually glowing with gratefulness. That's the day of giving thanks. That's Thanksgiving.
*****
On this day I thankful for:

being overweight because it means I have more than enough food.

the cough in my chest and the meds given to me by my doctor because I am still well enough to be productive, have access to advanced medical care, and am covered by insurance.

my husband, my daughter, my dog, and the ups and downs of our daily lives which we navigate together.

my family, my friends who while being the thrust of many a ranting, are still my biggest advocates.

my life. Not too big, not too small, just right for me.

me. I'm still growing and there is always room for improvement, but I like myself. I have much to offer those around me and I look forward to another year being me ;-)
*****
May this Thanksgiving Day find you grateful for all that is in your life, the good and the bad. For it is only from working to change the bad to good, the process and the result, that there can be real gratitude.
Happy Thanksgiving Day! We are blessed indeed.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Grand Opening

And we're off.

It's our Grand Opening weekend at Two Fancy Fishes. Check us out on Facebook.
Yeah! And thank you.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Show Me The Money

I hated the movie "Jerry Maguire". I'm not a huge fan of Tom Cruise but that's not the reason I hated it so much. What I hated and continue to hate (I'm not even going to try to come up with another word because "hate" fits so well) are the endless quotes from this horrible movie that have worked there way into our everyday speech.

"Show me the money."
"You complete me."
"You had me at "hello"."

Ugh! I hate the sentiment of these quotes, the copy-catting of these quotes, and the fact that after 14 years even I'm using lousy lines from this lousy movie.

Whew! Got that out of my system. Now onto the point of this post...
*****
I'm looking for cash. But I'm not looking for a job. I need to discover a way to generate income without changing my schedule.

I love being a stay at home mom. I think it's important at nearly every phase of my daughter's development. This is not meant as a judgement on mothers who work, by need or design, but as a point of reference; I can't do too many major things at once and motherhood plus job would turn me into a mental patient. I'm sure of it.

Now, in order to bring some money in (I'm looking at private school in 3 years, not to mention Christmas in a little over 30 days) but still be available for drop-off, pick-up, and all the after school stuff, I need to work from home. It's the only way. Or at least the only way I can think of.

I've taken huge steps in saving money (curbing spending on all fronts from shopping to heating) but making money still alludes me. I still work at my daughter's school 2 hours a day and that is a nice little monetary bonus to the bottom line. But I can do better.

Retail is in my blood - the buying for sure but more importantly the selling. I host yard sales, sell my daughter's things at consignment shops and on ebay, started an Etsy page for the art work she and I create (that I no longer have the room for). But in all cases, I'm losing money. Either, I can't sell it for more than $1, or I'm giving 50% back to the store, or I'm paying fees on things that didn't sell. Time to reel all these ventures into one. I've started a Facebook store and I've no doubt it will take off. [Check me out at Two Fancy Fishes]

First up, work from home when I want. Second, no start up fees, in fact, no cost at all until I start purchasing for sale (which won't be for some time since I have so much). Thirdly, no advertising just word of mouth. What better place to use the old "and they told friends, and they told friends, and so on, and so on" then on Facebook.

We'll see how it goes. I just put it up yesterday. Other FB stores that do that same thing seem to do very well. Wish me luck.

Now, if I could just get paid to do laundry and go grocery shopping, we'd be rolling in it ;-)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lost & Found

Well, maybe not lost. Perhaps misplaced is a better word. And not quite found. It's there, I just don't have it in my grasp.

What, you ask, am I talking about? Exactly!

Words. Words escape me these days. Here on this blog as well as in daily polite conversation. I've lost the thrust of the story, the line of questioning, the poetic prose (if indeed I ever had that), and the point. Where did it go?

I'm chalking it up to jumble brain. Yes, I just made that condition up, but you know what I mean. Too much going on, with regards to a variety of subjects, all with imminent or impending timelines, some painful while others joyous, all getting blended together in a confusion stew.

Days were that I used to take to this blog to sort things out. Now, I can't form a complete sentence much less a complete thought to help put into order the mess in my head.

I need a vacation. But, oh wait, I have one coming just a week away. A Caribbean cruise in fact. What better way to blow away the clouds of disconnect and uncertainty? No, not helping, only adding.

Chaos is not my friend. Disorder is my enemy. Loss of direction puts me at a standstill. And to add insult to injury, I've lost my words. Words that once saved me from the clutter of my mind. Words that now elude me.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Panic Attack

I'm having trouble breathing, my heart rate is rapid, and I can't relax my neck muscles. I think this may be a panic attack.

Of course, if it were, I'm sure I would not be able to type or think clearly enough to come up with things to type so I must just be having an adrenaline rush brought on by some, we'll call them "issues".

Our anniversary cruise is in 24 days. I've been planning for a year but apparently while I was planning the cruise and travel plans and how to pay for it (well, most of it) I neglected to notice some important points until now.

1) I haven't lost a pound. Not one stinkin' ounce. I've said it before but it bears repeating - I would make an excellent Eskimo. I store fat during times of trial, like a squirrel hoarding nuts for the winter. I'm not sure any of my clothes from the summer (yes, that season just a month ago) even fit now and I'm certainly not going to find shorts and t-shirts when the stores have Christmas decorations next to the Halloween candy already lining the aisles. I am in so much trouble. Let's add to the fact that this is my anniversary. I'd like to be in a photo or two to prove I was actually there. Oh boy, I will certainly be "there"; you won't be able to miss me.

2) I budgeted wrong. And this vacation which I promised myself would be paid in cash will be paid in a 50/50 split of cash/bank of daughter. How my 8 year old wound up with more money than me, I have no idea, but thank God. I'll pay her back with more interest than the bank, but still. It's a little humiliating. What I forgot in the mix was boarding the dog for over a week , spending money (I have no idea how I forgot that), oh, and the nearly $200 for an expedited passport renewal; which leads me to #3.

3) I just discovered (22 days left to check-in) that my husband's passport is expired. He is on his way into the city right now to be the first one in line at the federal passport office and beg, borrow, or steal what he needs to get it done. I have told him that nothing is more crucial that taking care of this situation TODAY. If he hits a roadblock, he is NOT to throw in the towel. He must stay and work it out. Just writing about this is giving me a stomachache.

So these are the top 3 reasons I'm in a panic. There are certainly more, but these are the ones pressing at the moment. Not really helping the whole weight-loss thing given that I am the complete opposite of the person who says "I'm so nervous that I can't eat. The weight is just falling off me." In fact, I've been thinking about breakfast almost the entire time I've been typing. Sick, I tell you. I am sick!

Endeavour of the Day:
1) NO CARBS! At least 1 mile walk (only 15 minutes with video; if I can't free up 15 minutes I am doing something very wrong).

2) Reassess finances to see if I can't pay my daughter back before Christmas. Guess that means everyone on our list (and my longtime blog friends will no doubt remember how long that list is from last year) will be getting homemade gifts.

3) Leave it in God's and the US Government's hands with regards to the passport. My husband just called while I was typing this (weird, huh?) and he is in the city. The office door reads appointment only and opens at 9am. The website said appointments accepted and opens at 8am.

This is not starting off well.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ewww....

You know that face you make when you see or smell or hear about something disgusting? Well, get ready to make it.

My family and I (yes, I made them join me - though no one protested) consumed a ridiculously carb-loaded, fat-loaded, health-free diet yesterday. We started the day with bagels and cream cheese, had McDonald's burgers and fries for lunch (with soda or milkshakes), and rounded out the day with pizza. I can't believe that sometimes I actually wonder how I got to my current weight.

We did it without thought - a "gut" response. We were hungry, no one wanted to cook, there was very little in the house since I needed to go grocery shopping. But instead of going grocery shopping, we chose to leave the house not once, not twice, but three times to pick-up the caloric nightmares we ingested yesterday. God do we need help.

I take this on as my own. It is all my fault. My husband is weak when it comes to food and willing to "fly" if I "buy" so I should have been the one to direct him towards the farmer's market instead of fast food. And my daughter, well, how many kids are going to choose broccoli over bagels... if you've got one of those kids, just keep it to yourself.

It seems that once I'm on a positive upswing with regards to the choices I make with my food and that of my family, I lose steam and find myself dusting powdered sugar off my mouth. What is wrong with me?

Worst yet is that instead of giving me the kick in the pants I need to put me back on track, this post is making me hungry for the cold pizza still in the fridge. I've got issues. There is no question.

I read an AOL article this morning that said overeating will cost you over $250,000 in your lifetime (your shortened with health issues, lifetime). That's my vacation home right there. What am I doing? I'm teaching my daughter the bad eating habits that will last her a lifetime, I'm destroying any hope I have of losing weight, AND it's costing me my beach house.

I've got to make some changes and fast! Now, how to start?

Damn, I can't think on an empty stomach.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Missed My Anniversary!

Two days ago, on September 24th, marked the 1 year anniversary of my little blog... I should have felt this special occasion in my soul but I was too wrapped up with monthly cramps and whether or not my husband was going to make it home in one piece from his sailing trip.

Earlier in the week, while in the checkout line at Target, the movie "Julie & Julia" was on the $10 rack and I picked it up, but I put it back (my new self-imposed spending restrictions prevented me from the impulse buy). But it was this movie, seen in the middle of the day with a mommy friend from school, that sent me straight home to start writing my little blog. A smile is coming across my face with the thought of the happiness and emotional release this "public diary" has given me. Here's a quick year in review...

Eleven posts my first week. Whoa! Clearly, I had a lot of pent up need to purge my mind and stretch my writing muscle. To be fair, 3 of them where really more introductions from myself to the blogosphere but that's still a heavy week of blogging. One of my favorites, and it continues to be relevant today is "Disclaimer":

"Unless specifically noted by title - my daughter, my husband, my friend with insomnia - all individuals described are composites of many people with those same personalities traits. I have sought, and will continue to do so, to not single out any one person to be the driving force of my emotional rants. Luckily, I know so many people that piss me off on regular basis that it should be easy to find material from a collection of sources.
If in the course of reading my posts, you feel personally slighted, rest easy in the knowledge that you are not alone.
Thank you."

Week 2 brought about one of my most popular posts "If The Truth Shall Set Us Free, Why Do We Remain Tied To Our Facades". It was also the first blog post to earn me comments from people other than my friends AND my first unknown followers Nancy of f8hasit and Gavin of Insanity's Musings. It was a very exciting moment to know that not only are people reading your work, but enjoying it enough to comment and follow. That, and they're not just saying it to be nice because they know you.

As the weeks went on, I wrote with some regularity, averaging two times a week, some more, some less, depending on my need to vent or question or ponder. My list of followers grew from just my friends to virtual strangers that have become a sort of blogosphere family. Wendy of Say It With Poetry has been a constant supporter of not only my writing but of me. How strange and wonderful to have a friend you've never met but somehow understands where you're coming from.

I've used this blog to yell about injustice, wonder the why's of life, cry over my failings, revel in the joys of motherhood, complain about the neighbors, relive old memories, and write again. Oh, how I love to write again, especially when it doesn't have to be about anything at all; and let's be honest, sometimes it's an meaningless as you can get. But it's always entertaining for me, and I hope at the very least, my readers feel the same way.

A whole year. Amazing. I've enjoyed every minute of this. Have I accomplished any goals? "A woman seeking enlightenment, a bit of perfection, and the body she had in her mid-twenties." Well, when you put it that way, no, not really. But I have improved my writing, met some wonderful people, and learned a few things about myself, so it wasn't a complete loss. And hey, I'm already into year two of this blogging thing. There's still time ;-)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Old Blue Eyes Said It Best

"Regrets. I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention."

I have always thought that regret was a wasted emotion. Once something has been done or said, it can't be undone or unsaid so why wallow in feeling bad about it - fix it. Be proactive about correcting whatever it is you feel you have done or said in error or in haste or in anger or, well, you get my point. It's been my opinion that too many people use regret as a way to make a bad situation worse and then pity themselves. Pity is another emotion on my waste-of-time list.

So why am I bringing this up? I recently sought the advice of a few friends (none of whom know each other) for a problem I was having. I was upset in the moment and without looking within for guidance, I took the, let's just call it "lazy" approach and asked others for help. I think I was ultimately looking for these woman to just listen and acknowledge, give me an outlet for my anger, maybe even commiserate. But for whatever reason, I happen to open up to women who could not understand my position, had never been in my shoes, offered counsel from not only a different perspective, but a different dimension. I was taken back.

Until this point in my 43 years, I have never met another woman who couldn't at least appreciate my point of view, much less one who couldn't fathom it. How is that possible? The concept still puts a "what?!" look on my face. Had I lumped all women together in one female stew thinking that we all ultimately abided by one set of rules? That doesn't sound like me. Had I not been associating with different women from different walks of life and different view points all along? That doesn't even sound possible. And if that is in fact true, how could I have asked the advice of 3 different people from different phases on my life, the same questions and gotten the same, absolutely counter-intuitive responses. Maybe it's me? Maybe I'm the odd one out? But if that's true, how did I get so far in life with this never having happened before? Here I am again with a big "what?!" on my face.

So back to the regrets. I now, without question, regret seeking out sounding boards for my urgent emotions instead of handling the situation personally. I regret perhaps trying to forge a deeper relationship with people I truly don't have connection with by opening up my life. And frankly I regret opening my mouth in the first place and not thinking it through. Now I have these women in my life that I am exposed to, that know me on a more intimate level, and I have gotten nothing back but... quizzical looks, judgements, and false concern. What?!

I've decided to take the position I should have in the first place and deal with this situation personally. I plan to tell these women that I was reactionary, that I should not have aired my "dirty laundry" to them, and that I am sorry for changing their perception of me and my life. I then will explain that it is my hope that our relationship go back to the way it was before this incident - a "let's pretend it never happened" do over.

Keep your fingers crossed that that works but let's face it, the saying "you don't get a second chase to make a first impression" applies on some level here. I opened up about something I should have kept to myself, to people who did not give me what I needed in return and I've forever changed the landscape of our relationships. I'd say this feeling in my stomach is regret.

"Regrets. I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention." True. But now that I have mentioned it to all of you, I regret doing that too ;-)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What Have I Done

Have you ever made plans... scratch that... Initiated plans to do something with someone and then said to yourself, "Why did I do that?" And you spend the moments (maybe days) leading up to those plans a little sick to your stomach. Well, "HERE I AM!"

Today the kids have off from school in observance of Rosh Hashanah. We are not Jewish so without services to attend, it's a free day in the middle of the week.

Last week, I suggested to one of my daughter's friend's mothers that we take the girls shopping for school clothes. I remember that as the words were coming out of my mouth, I was thinking "I'd really rather it be just my daughter and I but I know this is a store this other mother enjoys and it might be fun for the girls. Besides, she's always asking me to do things and I only accept 50% of the time. She probably thinks I don't get out much. Better do something with her and then I can take a break for awhile." Whew! That's a lot to be thinking as you ask someone to go shopping for a few hours.

Let me back track a bit. I like this person. I consider us friends. But we have fundemental lifestyle differences that prevent us from being closer. The biggest one is she is "a more the merrier"person, and I prefer "one on one". I think the first waters down relationships and makes everything you share together broad and on the surface. I'll explain... if you have 8 people and you're ordering pizza, chances are you'll just go with cheese because everyone will be happy. On the other hand, if there are only 2 people, you may find there is a whole list of toppings you both enjoy and can share. When are you ever going to find 8 people to agree on a whole list of toppings equally? So, more people, less depth in the relationship. Kind of the way I feel about my list of facebook friends. I don't have many, but I talk to all of them. I don't understand people who have hundreds of people on their lists; you can't be "real" friends with that many people.

Now, in the past, I'll say, 9 months, I've seen a shift in the relationship between our daughters. My daughter, while friendly with everyone (and that's truth, not just her Mommy here bragging that she's popular - heehee), enjoys one on one time with each of her close friends. Her friend prefers to add on people to make a group and it's starting to wear on my girl. Just recently, my daughter and I took her friend to the pool to play and her friend left her to find more people to play with. My daughter followed suit but finally gave up. She just didn't want to chase after someone that was chasing after more.

This morning it's just going to be the four of us, but then, just yesterday, the mother asked if my daughter wanted to come over in the afternoon to play... "there is going to a whole group of kids". I said I'd ask my daughter if she wanted to. When I did, she said "I don't know" which we all know is kidspeak for "no".

So here I am, after a restless night's sleep, preparing myself for how I'm going to tell this mother that my daughter would rather not. This is the point where I usually blame it on myself "oh I need her to come home to practice piano or help me with chores" but I think I'm going to just tell her today. Tell her that the kids are growing apart and that my daughter and her friend have spent the morning together and that's enough. That I don't need to spend hours and hours of superficial time avoiding any deep relationship with "fun" and hordes of people.

How am I going to pull that off? What have I done?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

To Blog Or Not To Blog

A blog post a week is my goal. But I have nothing to say yet I feel that if I don't post something I'm going to loss the momentum of last week's 2 posts after many months of nothing. Does that make sense?

I'm uninspired. Well, to put it more plainly, I'm just tired. The last weekend of summer was filled with activities that put me right back in summer mode and it was really hard to get up this morning. Add to that standing on a playground blacktop for two hours at high noon and I'm wiped out. Doesn't sound like much, but believe me, you'd be tired too. Wasn't it supposed to be cool today?

I'm also confused at the moment... somewhere between, should I be angry and what am I supposed to be doing right now. See, it's even confusing to read, isn't it?

I think it's best if I just close down for the night, get some sleep, and see what I can come up with when the clouds in my brain clear. If my mind has sunny skies tomorrow, I will post again. If my thoughts are still foggy, well, there's always next week. Right?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

PS To My Last Post

No numbers this time. That would just make me mortified. My weight has gone up!
I'm exercising regularly. I'm eating better, if not right. Taking my vitamins; drinking my water. I have more stamina and energy. Christ, when I got on the scale tonight, I really thought it was going to be less than last time - NOT MORE!
Shit, for these numbers, I could have been eating pots of pasta and trays of cookies.
I'm at a loss. I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Life In Numb3rs

6 weeks since my last post.
4 months since I've written with any regularity.
2nd day of my daughter's 3rd grade year.
10 years from now she'll be starting her 1st year of college.
2 months until my 15th anniversary.
0 dollars in my checking account since I just paid the balance on our 7-day cruise.
900 dollars is the estimate for regular maintenance my husband's 6 year old car.
31st of the month is payday... it's also bill paying day.
17 years since I was 120 pounds yet 1/2 my closet is still devoted to the clothes I used to fit in.
6.0 was my blood sugar level 6 weeks ago when I learned I was pre-diabetic.
400 more carb-filled calories than I should have consumed today.
43 1/2 years old and it's just occurred to me that I'm solidly middle-aged.
15 hours since I read my friend's blog that got me thinking about paths we take in life... numbers of options offered to us, numbers of decisions made for us, numbers of alternate routes diverted by us. Infinite roads, just 1 life.

I'm 95% happy with the life I've created. The remaining 5% is reserved for the checkbook and the scale both of which I'm 100% responsible in the blame of their current condition and in their potential overhaul. And I'm 99% committed to change... the 1% is for days I "need" a cookie ;-)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Last Two Weeks

These last two weeks have been life altering. It started with a trip to the beach to spend a few days with friends and it ended with an epiphany on wealth and health.

There I was, at the beach, just the mommies and the kids, wondering how my friend could afford a 2nd home at all much less one walking distance to the ocean. When I spoke to my husband that night, he suggested I ask her point blank. "Ask her how she swings two mortgages?" What he didn't know was that they also have a 3rd house that they rent out so actually they have three mortgages. So I asked. Her reply was immediate, "I don't buy anything that isn't second hand, that's cars to clothes. I shop for groceries at the cheapest stores. I don't spend on extras." And her reply, fast and concise as it was, hit me like a ton of brick... I'm to blame for us not having the financial security she does.

It was an awakening moment. All the shopping, all the entertainment, all the restaurants, all the extras, this lifestyle we've come to accept as our way of life, was financially flawed.
And that was it. I was done spending.

Armed with her list of tricks to help me get on track, I came home from the beach ready to tighten the purse strings. First up, no more eating out - which we did at least 3 times a week. Next, extras like Starbucks, movies, ice cream man - gone! Then an itemized list of current debt and how to reduce/eliminate nearly everything. Paid off my husband's car loan with my daughters savings - she'll make more interest from me than from the bank anyway and she doesn't charge the interest rate the dealer does. There are of course, things I am not willing to give up like all my daughters extra curricular classes but I can certainly suggest to friends that instead of getting together to go shopping, we can get together for coffee... at my house instead of Duncin' Donuts.

I hit the ground running and haven't looked back. Just this weekend, while my husband and daughter were away on a daddy/daughter camping trip, I certainly would have spent the entire time shopping had I not had this change of heart. Instead, armed with various gift cards and coupons, I came home laden with shopping bags and only spent $20. Not bad! It's my hope that by the end of the year, our current finances are cleaned up and by the end of next year, I'll have a vacation home. I could kick myself for not doing this sooner, but I'm doing it now so I'm not looking back.

At the same time that I was excited to begin the BIG SAVE, I began having strange physical ailments. It was so bad that I called the doctor to make an appointment - something I never do. When I gave them a list of my symptoms, the nurse asked me if I wanted to come right in or go immediately to the ER. What?! Long story short, and if you've already read my last two posts you already know, I was diagnosised with pre-diabetes.

Much like when I came home charged for a spending freeze, so too was I really looking forward to making the lifestyle changes I needed to ward off or reverse the path to diabetes. I spent the whole afternoon after my appointment researching what exactly it was and what steps I had to take. With proper diet and exercise, I am going to be able to alter my current path. Day four of eating right and exercising. I'm not even hungry, though I still hate working out. This time it's going to be different though. This time, I'm changing my body, not to look good, but to live.

Quite a bit of changes these last two weeks, not to mention 3 blog posts during that time when I havn't written anything in months. "A new leaf" to be sure. All in the hopes of a new life ahead.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

Learning yesterday that I am pre-diabetic has thrown me into a mixed emotion bag.

I had a rush of adrenaline upon hearing my blood work results. A combination of fear and energy. In moments, I was ready to fight, willing to cut out everything from my diet that (I love) had put me in the place I was, and prepared to jump into a exercise routine with (literally) both feet.

I spent the next few hours researching everything the Internet had to offer me in the way of knowledge about the disease, diet changes I had to make, exercises that would be essential to reversing the course I was on... see, I'm already using the word "was".

The warning shots I received yesterday have presented me with a rare gift... I chance to correct what I have been doing wrong for so long, get back to the weight and shape I used to be in, and most importantly, make a U turn on the road to Type 2 Diabetes.

I just finished a 2 mile walking workout. Doesn't sound like much, but for someone who hasn't done any real exercising in month, it's a fairly huge first step.

I also have been closely monitoring what I ate today having made easy to follow menus yesterday. I haven't yet fallen off the wagon.

In the past, it's been easy enough to say, "Oh well, one little slip. I'll diet again tomorrow. I'll workout tomorrow" and then tomorrow never came. Now, everything I do or don't do will have a profound effect on my future. And no chocolate truffle or french baguette is worth that.

Today, is the first day of the rest of my life. I'm ready for the challenge. I'm ready to make the chance.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blood Work Results

Diagnosis: Pre-Diabetes.

I'm still in the early stages of coming to terms with what needs to be done. I have the power to turn the tide and slow down or reverse this disease, and I plan on doing just that.

I'm not a "woe is me" person and I have no patience for being sick. The growing list of symptoms over the past week, (that if I really think about it have been present to a lesser extent for months and I did nothing about it) were the warning shots. It's time to fire back!

If you're reading this, I'm not looking for pity nor put-downs. I'm fully aware that I brought this on myself and I'm more than capable of handling the situation myself. [Anger is one of the early stages of acceptance if you're noting a "tone".]

More on the subject later. For now, I'm going to research what needs to be done.
Thank you for listening.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Directions

Here I am with so much time between this moment and my last post that I don't know where to start. Do I go back to where I left off? Do I just start fresh? Do I muse about things going on in my head or just talk in who's and what's and when's of things?
Do I go right or left at this stop sign? I need some directions but I don't have GPS.

I know I've been wanting to write. I know I've had a lot to say. About what? Well, the usually nothing, the daily complaining, the lashing out at the public at large, the need to vent, the want to ponder. And yet, this aimlessness has left me without a focus and therefore, I am at a loss for words. Not the best position to be in when sitting down to write.

*****
OK. Let's try this. Last night was my high school reunion. I didn't go. No surprise there. I was too embarrassed by the weight... again. Photos were posted on Facebook today and it looks like everyone had a really good time. I'm sorry I missed it. Not sorry enough to have gone. But there's always next time. I'm pushing for a fall/winter event so I can be fully covered by clothes.

[Well, that topic didn't go anywhere. Let's try another.]

*****
I've been thinking a lot about my future and even though I'm 43, I've been asking myself the question "What do I want to be when I grow up?" I know I want to leave my daughter with a legacy to be proud of. Something more than I was a good mother, though that's nothing at all to sneer at. I just want there to be more to me. At my age though, you tend to not allow yourself to hope for the big dreams...
  • I don't expect to ever sing in a Broadway musical... though I have stood center stage on not one but two Broadway stages - there was no audience, but it was still thrilling.
  • I don't expect to own a Manhattan penthouse facing the park... but I have been to Central Park. And if I ever save up the money, I can always stay at the Plaza - for one night.
  • I don't expect to run a multi-media empire like Martha Stewart... but if she puts her name on something, I'm bound to buy it.
These were dreams of mine. Some spoken, others kept secret, but they've all fallen by the wayside in the face of reality.

But, let's be perfectly honest here. I didn't work very hard at achieving any of them so unless they were going to fall into my lap, they were never going to happen. I suppose the trick is to dream the dreams and not get bogged down in trying to make them actually happen.

For me now, it's about creating a life for myself that I can be proud of and my family can prosper from. And I can watch my daughter dream her fantastic dreams of what she'll be when she grows up.

*****
Well, that was a little better. Short, yes, but I'm just dipping my toes back in the water here after too long a break. Hopefully, I've set the ball in motion enough to get back to a semi-weekly post. I do so enjoy it ;-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Got My Way... Why Does That Scare Me?

I just received not one but three phone calls from our church.

The first was from the church secretary asking if I was comfortable with the communion arrangements and assuring me that it was written in the booklet that there could be up to two communicants per mass. She told me that my "shepherd" had called her and told her of my confusion as to why there were two children instead of just the one. I apologized for being petty, that with my renovations and so many out-of-town guests coming and things not going as planned, that when I received the call, I felt like "here we go, something else that isn't going right". We ended the conversation in agreement with what was to happen on Sunday.

Thirty minutes later, she called again. She prefaced herself by saying this had nothing to do with me and was not done on my behalf, but the other family did not want their son's communion in the church, they wanted it in the hall (our church runs 3 masses at the same time in the main church, the auditorium hall, and the small chapel). My daughter would indeed be the only child receiving communion in the church on Sunday. I stopped breathing for fear I would be struck by lightening on the spot. She assured me that this had nothing to do with me. It just worked itself out.

Ten minutes after that, our "shepherd" called. I apologized to her for my behavior the night before explaining where my head was at. I asked if the other family's decision to have it in the hall had anything to do with me. She assured me "no". That when she was talking with them the night before they were surprised to hear her say the ceremony was in the church, when they had requested the hall. [Side note: This all came about because she had asked me if I had their phone number. If she had called them first, discovered the error, and then called me, I wouldn't have known about them at all. And I probably wouldn't have acted like a spoiled brat either.]

So I got my way. Why does that scare me so much? I'm actually holding my breathe because karma will no doubt get me for this one. I'm afraid to ask anyone, anywhere, for anything for at least until the weekend is over. Wish me luck.

And as always, thank you for listening to me vent.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Now I'm Just Being Petty

Renovations on both the kitchen and bathroom are DONE!!!

Cleaning crew comes tomorrow, landscaping gets finished tomorrow, I get my life back tomorrow.

But now I'm onto the next complaint, and it's a really petty one. I just received a call from our church. Our shepherd (the person handling our communion; think wedding planner provided by the church) called to discuss the details for Sunday. In the conversation she asked me if I had the number for John and Sue. "No... who are John and Sue?" "The parents of David who's getting his communion on Sunday too." WHAT?!

Our church has a wonderful tradition of scheduling not group communions but individual communions during regular masses. It's a way to integrate the child into the faith community. They receive communion first on that day. When we started the process, this is what I was told. So now, why is there someone scheduled on the same day at the same time? I had to have been the first person on the books because I called at 8am the day we were allowed to call. What was the point of that if there can be multiple communicants? And now (here comes the ultimate petty part) which kid gets to go first for their first communion?

I mean this is what they were saying all along. The child receiving their First Holy Communion receives it first. Now, when I said this to my husband, he just rolled his eyes and said "Are you going to complain about this too?" "No" (but I am going to blog about it.)

I'm just not getting my way lately, and I'm crossing my arms and stamping my feet and pouting. I may not be entitled but I'm doing it anyway. I just want everything to go right. And as planned. And the way I want. "Too bad, so sad" is all I hear ringing in my ears.

I'm acting like a complete and utter spoiled brat. So be it. I rarely get to, so let me have this. I'll get over it eventually... like next Monday. ;-)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I'm Past the Crying Phase...

...and onto the angry portion of our show.

After yet another sleepness night, I have giving myself permission to LOSE IT! I have been patient, accommodating, understanding. I have taken the high road and bit my tongue when I wanted to correct and reprimand. I have taken out my frustrations directly on my husband and indirectly on my daughter and even the dog. I'M DONE! Today (assuming my contractor shows at all) I'm going to scream!

Yesterday was a typical day in my world the last two months. But let me back track a bit to give you the running start to my foul mood.

Back when we started these renovations we discussed work day schedules. I said he could start as early at 7am, but he had to be out by 5pm because I'm cranky after 5pm (which is true, but more importantly because I wanted a little privacy and unwind time with my family). He wanted to work Saturdays. I said fine. Long story short, he never showed at 7am. Or 8am. Or 9am. His average arrival time is 12n and lately, it's been 2pm. He said that 5pm is too early since he has a project he wants to accomplish each day in order to start the next. Fine, stay beyond 5pm (though at the time, it didn't occur to me that had he began his day in the AM he wouldn't need to work past 5pm).

As things progressed, I would notice that I would leave for work (11:15am) with an empty house and return to an empty house (1:45pm) but things had been moved. He works less than me - the 2 hour a day recess monitor. I'd call (PS I always called; he never calls) and say "are you done for the day?" "Yup." Are you kidding me? How is he supposed to finish by the end date working less than 2 hours a day when there is a list of things to do? Answer: He's not.

The kitchen was supposed to be finished 3 weeks ago. He never showed that week. The bathroom was supposed to be done last week. He worked two hours that day. Both were supposed to be completely completed at 2pm on Friday. He showed up at 1:30pm and left at 3pm. Yesterday he appeared at 3:30pm with his 9 year old in tow. Now I'm supposed to babysit while you do one thing and leave?

Let's move onto his "staff". One is a hardworker but with few skills. Plus he's illiterate (I've never actually met anyone who couldn't read; and certainly not at the age of 55) and so he can't drive without following "A" because he can't read directions. One is a complaining lazy worker with no skills either. He spends most of the time on his cell talking with "his ladies" (3 kids, 3 different woman, not one of them with the wife he hasn't seen in 5 years; oh, and he's 25) and smoking. He doesn't drive at all and recently failed his 3rd written driving exam. Both of these people are go-fers... "S get me a screwdriver." "M vacuum up this dust." They don't do anything else. Both have gotten used to me feeding them. They have gotten comfortable with talking to me as their equal. I'm not happy with that.

My list of things to fix is growing. Many of these items are a quick fix but still they remain on the list undone. It drives me crazy. Finish this project and get out! Showing up at 2pm, working 2 hours, not finishing the job, dust everywhere, tools everywhere, plastic everywhere, talking to me like I'm one of "the ladies", going into my frige for food, taking my privacy, taking my time, taking my sanity.

I'm done, get out!

He's supposed to finish the inside today. Of course, we all know that's not possible with the list I have if you show up at 3pm and work for an hour and a half. Also, his landscape crew is supposed to work today. They were supposed to come yesterday, but they were a no show. Surprise, surprise.

I'm at a full boil now after simmering for 2 months. I'm ready to blow!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I Just Want To Cry

I'm exhausted. I'm cringing. There is a knot in my neck and shoulders. I have stomach cramps. I just had a bout of diarrhea (this blog is supposed to be honest, right?) I am PMSing. My OCD and IBS are both at maximum overdrive and yet, I'm trying not to show it. My skin is crawling. I'm having trouble breathing. I'm on the verge of tears. I just want to go to bed and wake up from these past two months like it was all a dream.

"Bonnie what are you bitching about. You're getting a new kitchen and master bath, right? It's all worth it so just stop complaining."

Clearly, you can't begin to fathom what it's like to live in my brain. The amount of self restraint I've had to muster these 8 weeks has been astounding. I have had to live in a dust-filled, plastic covered, tool strewn construction zone with no privacy and no happy place for over 60 days. You try having strangers in your house all day everyday, coming and going, dragging in dirt and bags of McDonalds for 1 week and let me know how that works out for you. Then do it from the perspective of someone who can't live in chaos without getting heart palpitations. And then do it for 2 months!!

But I did it! I had a meltdown at the end of week #4; my husband bore the brunt of that one. And I haven't had one until today. Tomorrow A is supposed to be done. He even gave himself a 2pm finish time. I'm looking at everything and I'm seeing another week of work. I can't live like this another 24 hours; I'm coming out of my skin!

Is it beautiful? Yes. Do I love it? Yes. Have there been any major problems? No. Would I do it again for another project? Not if I have to live in the house while it's happening. I'm not strong enough to do this twice.

I own the fact that this is all on me. No one is making me lose my mind. It's just that this situation plus my mental make-up equals crazy lady.

Thought I couldn't get any deeper into the freakout pool?... I've invited guests for dinner tomorrow night. That's right, tomorrow night! And friends for lunch next week. And why don't we top the whole thing off with my daughter's Communion Weekend next weekend where we're going to host our immediate, all out-of-state, family of 35, several of whom I'm already anticipating will be inspecting my kitchen's every detail and commenting (that's a whole other post). Am I subconsciously trying to commit suicide? Because that's certainly what it sounds like.

I'd pray for strength, but I don't have the strength to. Best part about paddling my wooden rowboat in a lava river is that I can't figure out how to fix it. That's always been my forte - problem solving. I'm the person to call if you need a fire put out and here I am with my oars on fire. Talk about losing it!

It's supposed to be over by tomorrow. But then there is the clean-up and man is there a lot to clean up. And let's not forget dinner for 7. Somebody pinch me. This has all been some sugar induced late-night panic attack and I need to wake up!

Excuse me... my stomach is hurting again.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Not Now, But Soon

Just back from a whirlwind four days in NJ with my family... my one sister's art show, my other sister's bridal shower, our annual Sister's Spa and Shopping Weekend that this year was a Sister's Show, Shower, & Spa weekend, the first annual Brother-in-Law Golf & Gambling Weekend in AC which is where my daughter and I ended our weekend with my husband... and where I got in the shopping I missed with the sisters.

Needless to say, I'm behind the clock; so far behind the clock. As my friend says, "I'm so far behind, I'm first." The kitchen is nearly done but last week hit a major snag in that my contractor didn't show for all but 4 hours of it. No work got done and I was ranting and raging but only had the energy to do it on Facebook.

Now, I've got a little less than a month to finish the kitchen, start/finish the bathroom, and prepare for my daughter's communion when the entire family will be here. UGH!

Thank you all for your patience. There is much to say and more to come ;-)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Eight Years Ago

Eight years ago tonight, I lay awake in a hospital room, alone and cold and wondering what the future would bring. I was scared and nervous, and I cried tears of panic, though silently, until I feel asleep from exhaustion.

But eight years ago tomorrow night, I was no longer alone or cold. I was too scared and nervous to wonder what the future would bring. And while another night found me crying silently, this time it was tears of joy mixed with exhaustion.

Tomorrow is my baby's birthday. My little girl, the center of my world, the one person who makes me want to be a better person, is turning 8.

Eight years ago tomorrow night, my life changed... and I can't imagine my life any other way.
And now I'm crying again ;-)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I'm 43.

Today is my birthday... and I don't say this in hopes of being showered with Happy Birthday wishes. I say this because I need to say it out loud, hear it, have my world NOT coming crashing down around me, and know that "yeah, it's OK, 43 is OK".

Happy Birthday to me! 43! Bring it on, baby! ;-)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fiction Means Imaginary... I Didn't Imagine This (A Fictional Piece in Questions)

Why? That's it, pure and simple.

Why? Why would you treat me with such disrespect, distain, dislike when I've giving you no cause to do so? Why when you have been handed, on a platinum platter, everything good in your life, would you begrudge me what little I have? Has your lofty position so clouded your view? Do you not see me struggling to keep up and falling behind and yet you mock me for my fight and my failure? Why would you do that? What kind of person does that?

If I looked like you? If I lived like you? Would you treat me as your equal? If I was more attractive than you in your eyes? If I lived better than you in your opinion? Would you treat me as your superior? Is it so beneath you to look behind you?

How is it that you speak the virtues of free expression and individuality but only as long as they are the same as yours? How is it that your worldly lifestyle and vast education have left you with only one opinion? And how is it that you think so highly of yourself that you feel you are righteous is these thoughts with no room for improvement? Are we, the unworthy, damned to be forever in your shadow unless we subscribe to not only your ideas but your ideal?

Why do you discount me for being other than you, albeit less than you in your mind? Why is who am so distasteful that you dismiss me? Why do I embarrass you with my appearance? Do you not know that you disappoint me with your lack of character? Why is my simple lifestyle the subject of ridicule? And why do you think the life you fell into, not earned, not worked for, is a higher position to hold than one I labored for?

How dare you?! How dare you belittle me, ignore me, pretend I don't exist and all for what? So that you can feel better about yourself? So that you don't have to be reminded that at the end of the day we are cut from the same cloth? So that you can pretend you deserve to be who you have become in your own twisted fantasy?

And isn't it funny, almost tragic, that even though you have treated me like less than you, I still am proud of those things you have done on your own and have accomplished of your own talents and abilities? I stand here supporting you, offering guidance when asked (though I know you are only seeking confirmation of your own opinions), singing your praises when warranted; so why brush me aside?

Don't I have a right to feel good about myself? Should I be as embarrassed by me as you? Is that what you'd like me to think? Do I care? How could I not? The fact that you find me insignificant is not the issue, is it? It is that I am unable to free myself from your constant barrage of petty comments or turned backs; how could that not hurt? You won't stop, will you? Not even if I were to become your twin, you'd find a way to put yourself above me, wouldn't you? Never your superior, never your equal, not even giving me the right to be a separate individual; isn't that right?

Should I care? We all know that answer? Will it help to ignore how you feel about me? Perhaps? But I'm already struggling with my own demons, can't you just find it in you heart to give me a break? Must you pour salt in the wounds? Does it give me comfort to know that you are less in my eyes too? A little, but as your flaws are below the surface, I am the only one who sees them; too bad for me, right?

How long will I be angry? Will I find a way to forgive you? Will you even ask for forgiveness? Do you feel sorry for what you've said and done? Or do you just feel sorry for having to endure my existence in your life? It would be so easy for you if I could be taken out of the equation, wouldn't it? You've done it countless times before, not including me, not to mention, I've already removed myself due of my own self doubts - so why? Why edit me out when I'm not even a character in the play? Why discard me when I'm not even playing the game?

I'm exhausted... can I have that, at least? Can I have the right to not want to be just like you? Can I just be me? I Like Me!!!... and there's nothing wrong with that; or am I mistaken? Should I not like me either? Is this an elementary school playground? You don't like me, so I shouldn't like me? What the Hell is going on here?

Have I answered any of my own questions? I don't think so?

Fin

Writing an entire post in nothing but questions was harder than I would have first thought. I'm still not free of these feelings. I had hoped to release my angst on the page, but I may have to continue on this rant another time... though, not in questions ;-)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

So Much To Catch-Up On I Hardly Know Where To Start

Wow! I have really let things go, haven't I. Rants got in the way of previously planned posts, I haven't told you word one about my new job (which is really not "new" anymore), and now I have little or no access to the computer on a regular basis so when I do feel the urge to purge, I can't do anything about it. Today, I'm taking advantage of a relatively task-free morning to play catch-up.

Let's first discuss the easy stuff... the renovations are going very smoothly. Clearing the air with A was the best thing I could have done. We both know where the other stands and it's freeing - guess my honesty post was right; how 'bout that? ;-) This week there is nothing noteworthy to tell you. Now that all the plumbing problems have been corrected, he's just putting the walls up... a task he says is the most boring of all. As for the dust, well, I've come to accept it [that's called growth my friends] and in a strange way, I find it a relief since it gives me an out on dusting altogether.

My job was a struggle at first but now I've really come to love and appreciate these kids. That's not to say that there aren't some days I don't feel like smacking a kid or two, but those days seem to be waning. In the beginning, I was really struck dumb by the difference in age between my still very young 2nd grader and the "mature" 4th graders. I use quotes because they are not at all mature but they think they are very old and cool. The subject matter they discussed on the playground was abhorrent and I voiced my concern to the guidance counselor who basically said, "If they're not killing each other, it's out of our hands." Well, maybe out of your hands, because you're staff but not out of mine. I'm a mother first, an employee second and I'm going to reprimand these kids like a mother to a child; with love and mutual respect and low strong tones. You know what, the kids took the bait. Not only do they show me (a bit) more respect than the other monitors who just yell at them or plead with them, they come to me for acceptance and guidance. It brings a smile to my face to just write this. There is still one 3rd grader who tests me. She's brought me to the yelling place where I lose my authority. But I was quick to correct myself and regain my position. I won't say our relationship will ever be warm and fuzzy... I'm kind of hoping she'll just be removed from the school (I'm not the only one she pushes). For the most part, it's a great way to get paid. I only wish it wasn't smack dab in the middle of the day; it's hard to get anything done.

I suppose any "catch-up" post should include how I'm doing on my diet and exercise. Ugh! I've been much better about what I eat and I exercise somewhat regularly. I'm not losing a thing but I feel better. Is that going to get me into a size 2 by month's end? Absolutely not! But if I feel better, possibly those good vibes will come out in photos and not my double chin or big belly ;-) I'm very uncomfortable having my picture taken with my sisters who are all tall and thin - I always look out of place. All those photo events are coming all too soon. It may not be enough time to lose a ton of weight, but if anyone has chin/neck exercises, please forward them immediately - hahaha.

I still have yet to write "In Support Of Sweating The Small Stuff" and "What Are YOU Bringing To The Table?" - a fictional piece. They're coming. Promise. I just don't have time now, I've got to get ready for work... see how that midday work schedule messes things up. I'm on a roll and have to stop? ;-)

Today is Wacky Tacky day at school. I like to play along but it's going to be difficult to find mismatched clothes when everything I own is black ;-) Off to change. Until next time friends, stay safe and well.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Second Post of the Day... This Can't Be A Good Sign

Previously, on "Blogging To A Better Bonnie"... we left our leading lady steaming as she discovered yet another problem behind the walls and with her contractor.

So I just put it out there. If I'm going to talk the honesty talk, I've got to walk it too.
"A, can I talk to you for a second? Are you cheating on me with another project that you go missing each morning?"
"No, of course not. I've been buying materials and getting second opinions on the problems."
"OK. Just checking."
Well, he was clearly shaken by my question and spoke with my husband later.
"Your wife is tough."
"She is, but what makes you say that?"
"She thinks I'm "cheating" on her by working another project."
"Oh."
"I'm not, I'm just getting supplies and stuff."
"OK."
When my husband retold the story, I asked him if A seems nervous or annoyed. He said, a little of both. So should I apologize? Don't I have the right to ask? Some contractors have several projects going at once but he said he doesn't do that, but given that his other guy has been MIA all week, one can only assume it was another job. Why do I feel so bad for asking the question?

Well, apparently, he's also upset with the fact that I've asked them to be out at 5pm. Today, I said stay as long as you need. He left around 6:30pm after cleaning up, plus fixing a few minor household things like the slow draining tub and the loose banister. I think we both feel a little bad about today.

When he left, I said "So what time should I expect you tomorrow?" trying to gauge if I should push him about being late.
"Between 8am and 8:30am."
Jokingly I said, "Does that mean 9am, 9:30am?"
"No, no, 8am, 8:30am."
I don't know if he took it as a gentle dig or a bitchy slap... we'll just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.

Tomorrow, I'm going to call our homeowners insurance and see if we can't get some money back for the shower leaking. And tomorrow, I'm going to tread lightly. I don't want to offend anyone who has power tools. Certainly, not until he finishes the kitchen.

I Can't Breathe

OK. I know I said I had 3 blog posts in the works on various subjects but I've got to get a few things off my chest and out of my mind with regards to the construction going on in my house.

I can't breathe! Forget that the dust is everywhere and I've given up caring about it... yes, that's right, I'm not freaking out about the dust. I am however, having trouble breathing the dust-filled, toxic smell of burnt linoleum (apparently the method of choice for getting old flooring glue to give is to blow-torch it) and have developed a cough. Don't even get me started on the goop inside my nose.

Let's add to that the fact that my contractor, who seemed "the one" for a number of reasons, one of them being that he does all the work and doesn't farm it out to anyone else, is never here!! "A" drops off "S", his worker, and then he disappears. When he is here, he's either on the phone or staring up into the plumbing in the ceiling (explanation to follow) seemingly thinking of ways to correct unforeseen problems but he could just be napping with his eyes open.

I've heard of contractors and all their flaws. I said, "Not mine. He's gonna be great!" I may eat those words.

My favorite though is the time management. I have said over and over again that time is important to me. If you say 7am, I don't understand that to mean 7am to 7:30am, I am expecting 7am! Here's been the rundown this week:
Monday - Should have been here at 1:30pm; showed at 4:30pm
(Called at 12:30pm to say truck was stuck in the mud and he will be there at 2:30pm.
No other calls.)
Tuesday - Should have been here 7am; showed at 7:30am
Wednesday - Should have been here at 7:45am; showed at 8:20am
Thursday - Should have been here at 8:30am; showed at 9:15am
Not only late everyday, but by these patterns should be upping his lateness to a full hour tomorrow. I'm not happy.

So far, the work seems to be moving, but as I'm looking at people standing around with nothing to do, I have to assume the work could be tenfold by now. The rooms have all been demoed with the exception of the floor in the kitchen which had more to it. Seems the last two owners like to change things up, but not the right way. There were three floors under each others... all of them ugly! There was also two different wallpapers, both eyesores, plus two different wall colors including my own. The bulkhead, which was removed to accommodate my new 40" cabinets instead of the 30" that were there, was hiding plumbing (and problem plumbing at that) so we had to opt for a mini bulkhead and a 36" cabinet - thank God we had that option.

It's 4:00pm now. I've told them to stay as long as they'd like even though initially I said you've got to be out each day by 5pm (I don't need them around when I'm trying to spend time with my family and get dinner together, etc.). But here I am, trying to find ways for them to be here a full day. Oops, I'm being called. Apparently, there is a problem with the shower upstairs above the kitchen.

I'm not enjoying myself.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No Access

I've been sealed out (or at least I will be). I will have no access to my computer during the day while A is here for at least a week until he's finished with the first area of the project.
I will have to vent in the late PM. UGH! UGH!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 1

Today is the first day of my kitchen renovations.

We have lived in this house for nearly 10 years and it was always our intention to gut and redo the entire kitchen. We'd save up money and then have to use it for something else continuing to live with an ugly, albeit working, kitchen. Today, our wait is over.

And while I am so excited it's happening and can't wait to see the end result, there is a pain in the pit of my stomach and I'm having trouble breathing.

Back in October, we removed a wall and added a huge window. Again, it was a project we had wanted to do for year and the finished product was even better than I had imagined it. But for two days (yes, just two days, not a month and a half for a kitchen) I was in serious meltdown. I reposted the blog I wrote during the "festivities" in my home. Please see below to get a taste of what my life will be like in the coming weeks.

OCD requires order; chaos is not my friend. And while I can "suck it up" from time to time (a week at most), it is a daunting task to get myself in the right "head". This project is going to require a great deal of strength on my part and in the meantime, I may become nasty and short-tempered, whiny and weepy, and generally, not myself. I apologize now, as I have and will continue to apologize to my family.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2009

Dust To Dust... To OCD Ridden Meltdown

Small particles freak me out!

I don't bake anything that requires me to flour a surface. Baby powder puts a kink in my neck. And the idea of snorting cocaine is so unsettling. Dusty particles that get EVERYWHERE put me into a mental state so strenuous, I have knots in my shoulders for days after.

As I type, there are construction workers in my home wreaking havoc with my psyche. I'm having a wall replaced with windows in my family room. It's a project I've been wanting to do since we moved into the house 9 years ago and it's going to be beautiful when it's done. In the meantime, I'm losing my mind!

Yesterday was phase one. The brick wall on the outside of the house had to be removed and rebuilt in the configuration of the windows. In order to do this, the mason sawed and chipped and chiseled and hammered, and with every blow, blew fine gray grout and fine red brick dust through every nook and cranny. At one point, I had to squint through the haze INSIDE my house. I would have started hyperventilating but that would have been completely counter productive. Instead, I ran upstairs to the farthest room in the house and shoved my face in a pillow. When the smoke cleared, literally, there was a fine powder over EVERYTHING. I stopped breathing altogether and just left the house. Of course, with picking up the dog from the kennel (we were away for the weekend) and taking my daughter to ballet, I didn't get home until after my husband - my husband, who doesn't care and certainly doesn't notice dust, so there he was sitting in it, eating on it, living with it.... I ran upstairs again, this time to shower off the day.

Today the job should be completed, but I'm already getting the "we've run into a snag" speech so I'm preparing myself mentally for more days of torture (which is just my way of saying, I'm researching nearby psych wards). Today, they are cutting out the inside wall which will mean drywall dust. They've draped the area so less dust will fill the house but let's be honest, dust doesn't discriminate. It spreads itself equally and freely.

I'm having chest pains.

Tomorrow is Maritza's day to clean. I think I'll ask her to start in the family room. She usually starts in the master bath, but I'm going to be in there, showering away the real - and psychological - dust of the last two days.