Category Archives: All About Me

A Gift

Yesterday was my birthday. I’ll wait while you shout ‘Happy Birthday!” and “I wish I’d have known!” and “I feel bad I don’t have a gift!” If anyone is thinking of singing, please don’t. Sadly I think the traditional Happy Birthday tune is quite dreary. But I certainly appreciate and accept your good wishes. <insert gracious nod here>

Got all that out of the way? Good.

I’m giving myself a gift. I told myself I was giving it starting today, but then I forgot. And the day is nearly over (just past 9 pm as I type this). So I figured by putting it in writing, sending it out over the wire and all, I’ll be more committed to my own gift.

Best of all, the gift I want to give myself won’t cost a dime.

It’s to treat my body well.

This means making a better effort at eating right, mostly. I’m already an avid exerciser. By avid, I mean I enjoy running and try to do it more days than not. Truthfully life (job and kids) and weather interfere more than I’d like, but I can still run further and faster than the average bear. I do want to start doing weight training. My arms are flabby and I have back fat up the ying yang. Needless to say, I don’t like how that looks.

Today I did not eat well.

Meals, I eat pretty healthy. I like pretty much everything. Food and I do not have trouble getting along. I love fresh fruits and vegetables, and appreciate creative food preparation and pairings. Flavor and variety are good!

But I also have a massive sweet tooth. Mostly in the form of chocolate. I’ve gotten into some very bad habits in the last few months due to that tooth (and its friends), and the pounds have crept on. This must stop. I deserve better than this.

I love myself. I love my body. And the best way to show that is to feed it good food and to keep the junk out.

There. It’s in writing. And after I hit “Publish” it will be out there for all my thousands (cough, cough) of readers to see and I will be committed.

We deserve it.


Hello everyone,

Yes, I’ve been away. No, actually I’ve been right here, but I’ve been sadly neglectful of this blog. I check in daily (multiple times if you must know) on Facebook, and I gave myself an iPhone for Christmas that is my new favorite toy (text me, baby!), but this blog has been gathering dust. I feel sad about that.

I also have had a bazillion things going on.

My  mother and I had a very big fight over Christmas. I say big fight but nothing (really) happened. However, we have not spoken since then, aside from a brief conversation when she called me yesterday. Frankly, it’s easier having her out of my life. She says she wants to talk about what went wrong, but I’d rather not.

Krystal turned nine (NINE!) a few weeks ago. While we dispensed with a big party this year, we did do a special event with a friend over the weekend and had a family dinner on the actual day.

I helped organize – no, actually I planned and executed the whole thing – a Facebook-inspired reunion with some women from my high school. I was not particularly popular (nor was I unpopular) or even that social in high school, so you may wonder why I did such a thing. I can’t really tell you, except to say that it was a ton of fun to meet a group of women for the first time, who I knew 30 years ago. We are all different now, but we will always have that common bond. We are already planning our second outing. I am happy to report that I like who I am now.

Belle will be turning six (SIX!) in less than two weeks and I registered her for first grade yesterday. Which let me say I am looking forward to immensely because my exorbitant child care costs will dry up to almost nothing (comparably speaking). And the everyday logistics will be far simpler too. One chapter will be closing, and one opening soon.

I have been dating. A lot. And it is tiring. I seem to have a knack for sending men I like back to their ex-girlfriends (it’s now happened three times. so far.) But there is one man who seems to be rising to the top right now – I may talk more about him later. Or you can check out my dating blog if you’re interested, but not this minute because that one has been neglected too.

So, I’m no longer away – if you’re still out there I’d love to know it!

Taking some “Me” Time

So, update time!

Last year in my dipping-toe-in-the-water-of-dating I determined pretty quickly that I just didn’t have the time to date. My life is very full and busy. I hold down a full time job for a salary, am parenting two still-young children on my own (a full time job in itself), maintain a home, have now two dogs and all the extraneous life pieces that go with all those things. Finding time to squeeze another person into that seemed near impossible.

Until I met Tim that is. I’ve already chronicled our first date and want to let you know that I will not be chronicling any more like that (phew, right?) but we’ve seen each other three times now in less than a week. Things look really promising, although it is still very early. At any rate, I am very much enjoying getting to know him, and finding the time to see him does not seem to be a big obstacle at all.

Yesterday I ran in a local road race. It was a 4.7 mile run (yes, and odd distance) and the longest I’d run in quite awhile. But it was a perfect fall day, and the course was through some well-maintained paths along a canal near where we live and it was beautiful and relaxing to run. I finished strong and it felt great the whole way. I’m hooked on the racing bug and am going to look for the next one soon! I had a sitter for the kids and it was really nice to get out and have some time for just me.

Woe is work, woe is blogging, woe is me

Hey, thanks for stopping by! Doesn’t my post title sound so welcoming and happy? Makes you want to dig right in and read, huh?

Let’s take it from the top, shall we?

Work. Hey, I’m working, and that’s a good thing. I’ve been with my company for over 13 years and have done lots of different things. I enjoy a livable wage, excellent benefits and an extremely flexible (and mostly autonomous) working environment. Those things are precious to me! So why am I woeing about it? Well, I made the mistake of checking my work email on Saturday. My boss had sent out something to me and a few other people regarding a topic that he hadn’t had a chance to weigh in on the day before. In the email, I felt quite chastised, somewhat unfairly so. He also left a certain decision up to a coworker of mine, one who is nearly 20 years younger than me, and who I helped train when she was hired three years ago. I’m the oldest person on my team – a lot older than some and only a few years older than others, and mostly I’m OK with that. What I’m not OK with is being seen as the weakest member of the team, and that’s how I felt. I’m not ambitious at this point in my career – my out-of-work life takes a lot of my energy and time, and I’m happy to do my work for 40-45 hours a week, but that’s it. I need my non-work time for, non-work! But I feel odd about being surpassed. I like and respect this particular coworker a lot. She’s also young and single with plenty of time and energy to dive into work….sorta where I was at her age. If I still felt as valued as before I might not mind so much. But I don’t feel as valued and I do mind. And I don’t know what to do about it.

Blogging. I still read all your blogs (and more!), but I haven’t been blogging much myself. It’s not that I don’t have things going on that I could write about (whale watching! new dogs! new roof!) but I feel less…….inspired. Facebook has been meeting my need to chronicle and connect with much less actual effort on my part. Let’s be honest – the fun part of blogging is reading comments, and when people don’t comment it’s more like writing a private journal, which doesn’t really need to be done in public. So I’m not sure how much longer I’ll keep this. Or maybe I’ll start a new one. I don’t know yet. How have you all handled lulls in your blogging muscle?

Me. Well, believe it or not,, aside from what I said above, I don’t feel all that woeful! Life is pretty OK right now, and while I’m not happy that fall and winter are here/on their way, things are good. We have some exciting things to look forward to as a family in the next few weeks and months.

How are things with you?

Just a quick, stress-filled update

We booked a family vacation, with another family, a year and a half ago. Ever since it’s seemed so far away that it would never arrive. Now that we are 3 days away from leaving, there is suddenly not enough time left to deal with everything that needs dealing.

Belle’s lice situation is not under control, as I had hoped. On Sunday I pulled 10-15 live ones out of her and am starting to freak out. I called the doctor to ask for a prescription treatment, since the OTC one obviously did not do anything. They did give me one, after much begging on my part, but I must say they were way too nonchalant about it all for my taste. It would be one thing if we were going to be home, but I am not dealing with this on my vacation!

Things at work have taken a sudden and dramatic turn for the well, dramatic. Call it Murphy’s Law if you will, but many of my projects are in crisis and need my full attention. Which is so nice since I’m blogging about it during working hours. Like how I do that? I need some sort of release, or at least that’s the story I’m telling.

I have to find time to mow the lawn, do laundry, get to the bank, pack (!), get the dog to the sitter and all the other little things that need to be done before you go away. Newspaper and mail have already been stopped. Our flight leaves very early Friday morning, so I am oh-so-quickly running out of time!

I swear, if the lice would disappear I think I’d feel a lot more in control….

A House by another name….

Let’s see, in my adult life I’ve rented an apartment, owned a house and owned a condo. I’ve even done some of those things more than once, though always just one at a time. I’m no real estate tycoon!

When my ex and I divorced, and I was moving out and away with Krystal, I gave serious thought to buying a condo versus a house due to not having to worry about outside maintenance. But a friend talked me into giving my child a yard and a neighborhood, and in the end I agreed. I bought the house we live in now in September 2005, which just incidentally coincides with the absolute peak of the real estate market in my area. Lucky me.

It’s becoming clear to me that I am not cut out to own a house. Parenting two kids, working full time (and a dog!) are taking up all my time and energy. Finding time to mow the lawn, worry about a new roof (which it seems clear I now need), painting, siding, yard work and all the worries that go along with home ownership are pushing me closer and closer to the edge.

OK, so here’s where it gets dicey. Major brain spillage ahead:

I want to move to a warmer climate (Florida, or if I can get a relocation package through work, I’ll take North Carolina). I do not have a timeline for this, but due to external factors, we are probably looking at 3-4 years. Unless I get laid off, in which case that may accelerate things – after all, if I have to look for a job anyway, I may as well look where I want to live. Right?

Alternatively, I don’t want to have to live through another New England winter! And certainly not in a place where I have to worry about shoveling/plowing my driveway.

My roof likely needs replacing. There is a spot on my bedroom ceiling and the whole thing looks pretty ugly from the outside. In today’s buyers’ market, I’m sure I’d have to replace it before anyone would buy my place.

I need to do some landscaping in the front of my house. The mulch around my foundation plantings gets splattered up onto the ground level windows every time it rains and makes the house look dirty and dingy. I need to put down rocks instead, but man that sounds like a lot of work. Just thinking about it makes me tired.

My “lawn” is just green stuff that needs to be mowed. I’m not sure how much of it is actually grass. Lots of clover and other stuff. But it does look pretty good for 24-48 hours after I mow it. I sometimes think I should invest in some sort of lawn service to increase my “curb appeal”, but the thought and money involved don’t appeal to me terribly much.

Are you wondering yet why I bothered to buy a house at all?

Oh, and because, as I stated earlier, I bought my house when prices were at their highest, I’d be lucky to sell my house for little more than what I owe on it, provided I actually sold now. Which is one of the drivers to waiting a few years before the move south. But that’s so logical.

As is my way, I’ve done a lot of browsing online. I’ve found some condos in our area that sound appealing, and I’ve even driven by a few of them to see how they “really” look (pictures in a real estate ad can be so deceiving!). The girls have started asking, “Are we moving?” and the answer is not so easy. Probably not, at least not now, as much as I’d like to. And by “like to”, I mean to already be in a new place. The thought of actually packing and moving makes me want to claw my eyes out.

Oh, and if I act now (before September – so not happening) and move to a place with full day Kindergarten (which is not available in our state, but we are very close to a state where they do offer it, and which I’ve considered), I could save myself a year of private Kindergarten tuition for Belle, which amounts to no small sum.

Do I sound totally flighty yet?

And yet, I don’t want to move the kids twice. I can’t imagine, knowingly and purposely, moving now (unless we stayed in the same school district), and then completely relocating in 3-4 years. Plus, moving for a short time period like that would eat up closing and moving costs, making it financially inadvisable. There I go, getting all logical again.

I just want something to be easy.

Finding my Funny

I love to read funny stuff. I love to laugh, whether with friends, with a movie, a book or a blog. And I think I’m pretty funny, though usually in a dry or sarcastic way. Subtle even. (Is there some missive along the lines of “If you have to tell people you’re funny then you aren’t?” If not, there should be!)

But it occurs to me that most readers of this blog probably don’t see the funny side of me. My blog tends to be a place of introspection. And while I often am in “telling a story” mode, and sometimes inject a funny (to me) thought or two, my sense of humor doesn’t really come out here.

I am wondering why that is?

At work we use an instant message application quite frequently. On any given day I have 4-14 chat windows going with various co-workers. The conversations in them range from stricly utilitarian asking and answering simple (or complex) questions, to “water cooler” type conversations about a TV show, the weather, the latest kid antics, work politics, etc. In these I am definitely very funny! Just ask my co-workers! Why am I funny there, and not here? I think it’s because of the more conversational nature of chat, versus the one-way experience I have here. I’m not a “popular” blog, and even though I know I have more readers than a casual reader just stopping by might guess based on the number of comments I get, it’s still mostly me just typing into the ether. I think I need the banter. Someone says something that sends my mind in a direction and it brings out my dry wit (she says so modestly). I can’t seem to play off myself in the same way.

I wonder if there is a place to learn to do that? I’d like to find my funny here on my blog.

Thursday Thunks

1. Do you tend to have a guilty conscious? Oh yeah. Sometimes I say my middle name should be guilt. I can manage to feel guilty even about things that can’t possibly be my fault. Like when a cop car drives down my street – are they coming for me? Even though I’ve done nothing wrong….

2. Do you still have your wisdom teeth? Nope, they came out just before I got braces. Impacted too, so I had to have actual surgery (in the hospital!) to have them out.

3. Peanut Butter – creamy or crunchy? Creamy, baby, all the way!

4. Get up off your butt. Take 5 steps. Which leg did you start out on? I just tried this 3 different times, and it was the left, two out of three. I’m guessing this is because of my military background (Left, Left, Left-Right-Left). But who knows.

5. What color is your favorite kitchen utensil? Do I have a favorite kitchen utensil? I guess it would be my chef’s knife, which has a black handle and a typically silver knife blade.

6. Did you watch the Michael Jackson memorial/funeral? No, I was working. It’s not quite that I wasn’t interested, but I have a strong aversion to feeding the media frenzy surrounding it all.

7. Do you know anyone who graduated from high school this year? No, not this year, but I do know several who will graduate next year.

Were you invited to their graduation party? Did you go? N/A

8. White with black stripes or black with white stripes? I believe a zebra is black with white stripes. But other than that I have no idea what you mean.

9. If we were to call your 6th grade teacher, what would they say about you? I’m sure most of my former teachers would describe me as your typical goody two shoes kid who was smart as a whip and that they expected I would do more with my life.

10. Can you draw a perfect circle? Perfect? No, but why would I need to?

11. What was your favorite scratch & sniff sticker scent? Gee, I must confess I have never given this a whiff of a thought.

12. What does your sibling do for a living? I have no living siblings. My sister worked at Burger King (she called it the BK Lounge) when she was in high school.

13. How many light switches and electrical outlets are in the room that you are in right now? And this is interesting why? One light switch and 6 electrical outlets. I think. I might have missed one behind a piece of furniture.

14. Do you know sign language? Only a few signs, like more, cat, socks, butterfly, thank you, you’re welcome.

15. Do you step on cracks in the sidewalk? Yes, if that’s the way my stride goes. I don’t go out of my way to step, or not step, on them.

16. And the sheets on your bed look like….? They are light blue (the ones on there now anyway), and are wrinkled. That’s all.

17. What is something that everyone else has, but you don’t? Patience. Time. Freedom.

Reading Rediscovered

In my pre-parenting days I was an avid reader. Mostly popular fiction, but I liked to think I was more literary than say,  my mother, who seems to read a lot of what I call romance novels. My favorite authors include Jodi Picoult, Wally Lamb, Pat Conroy, Elizabeth Berg, Barbara Kingsolver, John Irving, John Grisham, Nelson DeMille and many more I’m not going to hunt down right now. I visited my local library frequently, putting books on hold, picking up new ones, returning read ones, and the librarians knew me by name and sight. I didn’t have much of a social life, but I could always entertain myself.

Now that I’m a parent I read to my kids constantly, of course. As they get older we get to explore chapter books that I actually take some enjoyment from as well. We’ve read Charlotte’s Web, Black Beauty and Misty of Chincoteague, which I read as a child. But we’ve also read books written since that I’ve enjoyed as much or more than they have such as Frindle and Holes. Right now we’re reading Three Cups of Tea, based on a true story.

Since becoming a mom, my own entertainment has drifted towards television. What with investing in Tivo, and later transferrring to Comcast’s DVR service, I’ve become even more TV obsessed. Last year’s writers’ strike had me joining Netflix, and I got to see a lot of series I’d missed the first time around (Six Feet Under and Arrested Development being highlights).

When my favorite shows had their season finale’s in May, I had nothing to watch. A lot of nights I’ll put NESN on and catch the Red Sox game while I sit with my laptop on my, well, lap, but even that gets old.

Then I learned that one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Berg, had a new book out. I requested it from the library. It came in, and I read it. A friend on Facebook posted about looking for book recommendations, and I wrote down all the books people suggested and looked them up. A lot of them sounded good to me (and some were by authors I love that since I haven’t read for pleasure in so long I hadn’t known about!). When I returned the first book I took out a few more. I am now 2/3 through The Hour I First Believed, by Wally Lamb and am really enjoying it. I missed reading. I’m glad to be doing it again.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even cancel the DVR service?

Nah, let’s not get drastic.

Swine Flu

Swine flu – heard of it?

I have it.

I have a post in my head about it all, but my energy level is so low this is all I can manage. The doctor says 7-10 days before I feel human again.

Hopefully be back sooner rather than later.