Thursday, November 27, 2008

Blessings in Disguise

Yep, I'm reflecting.

This time, it's about events over the past year that seemed like curses, but ended up being blessings.

1. The hubby getting laid off at the company where we both worked -- that was really rough. Especially since I had to get up and go to that place, sit in meetings with those people, and maintain a professional stature. It ultimately resulted in us selling the house, packing up our belongings and moving to another state. But today, we get to have dinner together almost every night, at a decent time, and I get to be at home when my kids walk in the door after school.

2. A company-wide re-org. The first round of layoffs meant there was more work to do for everyone who was left, and new roles for just about everyone at work. It was a pain in the arse, but somehow the people who were shuffled into my day-to-day happenings turned out to be some of the very best girlfriends I've ever had.

3. 'Initiatives'. There were so many pointless, go-nowhere initiatives that ended in disaster, but it also prompted The Margarita Sisters to create a 'Q2' initiative of our own. Thank God for those Thursday margaritas -- I'm totally convinced they're what got me through the darkest days. They're also what made me thankful to have the job I had.

4. Backaches. I've douched my lower back so many times over the past few months that I finally got off my keyster and joined the gym. I'm still a gob of goo, but I feel so much happier, more content, and healthy -- and I'll never take for granted having a body that works.

5. Clumsiness. It's a hereditary trait that has plagued me for my entire life. The most recent incident involved accidentally slicing my finger clear to the bone, spending Sunday night in the emergency room, and wearing a splint to prevent me from bending while the stitches heal. It has 'inspired' the rest of the family to pitch in on Thanksgiving with their own homemade dishes. It has also gotten me out of any duties that involve cutting things with a knife. This year I'm the one drinking beer and watching the football game....and it feels very nice.

I'm sure if I thought about it longer, I'd be able to come up with at least another five things for which to be grateful. But my red-headed son wants to get on the computer so he can watch YouTube and play Runescape. Thank goodness for red-headed sons.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Good Pain

Bri has been dancing around the house --- she's so happy now that she's in a new school, and her transformation over the last three days has been amazing. Tomorrow she'll get braces put on...another milestone.

So. Now that the fam has found their stride, I'm going to spend the next 8 weeks putting my all into my own transformation. I've signed up with a personal trainer, joined the gym, and ready to start feeling that good pain again.

Reminds me of the saying, "Change is good." It's painful, but almost every big change I've made has been for the better. It's true for this move -- I missed my old life like crazy, but I'm starting to get the hang of this one. And liking it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


She loves her new school! It's full of her "peeps"! We still have some paperwork and testing to complete this week, but it looks like she's going to be happy there. I'm thrilled. And now I can look into schooling for myself.

This week has been a major milestone -- I'm feeling like we're finally starting to settle in. TJ told me he loves having a "home momma" this morning. I met with a chiropractor yesterday, and my back is feeling a bit better.

Hope is on the horizon....I hope we can say the same once the election results are in.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New School, Take 2

I've been shopping around for private schools for several weeks now, and as a public school kid, I have to say I've learned an awful lot about how difficult it can be to make the right choice.

Hopefully, the one we've selected for Bri will suit her learning and social style. It's a small school -- 85 students total (from k-12th grade), and only 8 students in her grade. She's not nearly as nervous as she was the first time around. She just seems relieved to be making a change.

Tomorrow will be the first day of a two-day trial -- the instructors and other students will be evaluating her to make sure she'll be a good fit for the school. If she makes the cut, she'll be riding in every day with Ryan -- his job is just two blocks away.

Crossing fingers. Please stand by.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ode to Meesh

In the span of two days, I've discovered my first gray hair, thrown out my back and sprained my knee. I thought this sort of thing was supposed to start happening in my 40's, but it looks like I'm just "lucky."

It probably doesn't help that I told my kids I don't feel like dressing up for Halloween. I am SO not following in the footsteps of my girlfriend, Meesh. I don't know her exact age (and I really don't care), but she's by far the youngest soul I know. She's the most energetic cheerleader at her kids' high school performances, she takes regular tap dancing lessons every week, and she shops for sexy lingerie with her co-workers. She's a risk-taker and an adventurer, and she's every bit as youthful as my 20-something friends.

She's an inspiration for so many reasons -- this is just one that's particularly meaningful to me right now. She's going through a rough patch right now with both work and family, yet she manages to push herself through even the worst of times. I'm not sure what she'd say her secret is, but I've noticed she's a stickler for going out on a limb. Trying new things, even when it's uncomfortable. Just being around her makes me feel a bit braver and a whole lot better. Since the first day I met her more than five years ago, she's become a dear friend and a mentor.

On second thought, maybe I'll don the Halloween costume after all.

Friday, October 17, 2008


My butt has been stuck to the couch for a while. I've been an Internet addict since I discovered two sites that scan the rest of the web and then share the day's best sales, discounts, etc. I'm a sucker for a good deal, and now I'm hooked.

Yesterday, though, I did something different.

A friend invited me to go for a 7-mile hike in her favorite "forest." The leaves are so beautiful here, the birds are still chirping -- it was absolutely blissful. We were walking at a good clip -- enough to make it uncomfortable to talk. And there were lots of hills. My face was purple at the end of the trip.

And I feel victorious! It was so energizing just to get out into nature -- when I'm walking (or, in the old days, running) and not talking, the creative thoughts and ideas start flowing again. So that's why I've been so creatively constipated -- body and mind need to work together to make great things happen.

Peace out -- I'm off for another hike.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pee Tee Ayy

I attended my first PTA meeting this week. I figured since I'm not working right now, it was my duty.

Now I know why I avoided it in the past....and I've got to find a way to get out of this.

The President likes to run things in military fashion -- no one is allowed to speak unless spoken to, and he makes sure that if someone drops the ball, they'll be punished.

The first meeting lasted 3 1/2 hours. 45 minutes of that was spend discussing whether or not the school needed a new popcorn machine. I seriously considered grabbing the pen out of his hand and stabbing myself in the eye with it, just so I could excuse myself from the meeting.

It finally ended at 10:30 p.m. (hello, don't any other parents have kids to put to bed on a school night?), and I darted out of there as fast as my legs could carry me.

The next morning, the deluge of emails began....and it hasn't stopped. The subject? PTA Prez's son has had diarrhea for three days straight, so he won't be able to fulfill his own assignments. Umm...just wondering if he'll get after himself for dropping the ball or not. And his poor kid -- can you imagine knowing that dozens of adults know every detail of your bowel movements? Dontcha think they might make some comments around their kids, and that it might get back to the poor diarrhea-havin' kid? Sheesh. Sometimes parents are so stupid -- even if they are 'community leaders'. I think I liked it better when I was irresponsible and ignorant about the daily happenings at school.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Road Kill

It's been a while since I've posted -- bad, bad girl. I'll do better. I figured there wasn't anything interesting enough going on to write about. Then I showed up at a recent football practice.

I'm not really a football mom. I don't understand the game at all. I just know to cheer when my kid is running with the ball. That's the extent of my expertise. Which makes me the oddball when surrounded by other moms and dads who live to watch their babies kill each other on the field.

My kid hasn't been getting the ball a lot lately, so I've been doing a lot of people watching. And eavesdropping

So far, the best conversation I've overheard was a discussion between a player's older brother and one of his neighbors. The two were debating the best ways to skin roadkill (this, I learned, includes squirrels, raccoons, turtles -- just about any animal that crosses the road). The kid was bragging about how his dog had caught a squirrel the night before, except he didn't like the way his mom cooked it.

I'm not kidding.

"Sheet," the father offered. "Yer mom prolly dint skin it rat." He then proceeded to offer step-by-step advice on how to best prepare all manner of roadkill. "If yer huntin dog catches 'em, yer lucky. But you gotta git in the house and cut it up quick, before it spools. And you gotta make sure you use yer sharpest naf. It's reel good in a stew."

He didn't stop there. "If you kilt it, be careful for the bb's when yer cuttin it. You can't never pick 'em all out. Ma cuzzin broke his tooth out from not watchin' fer the bb's close enough."

On and on he went in glorious detail. I couldn't believe what I'd stumbled upon.

The hubby had warned me that we were moving to the sticks, but I had no idea our new home would be this....sticky.

We're still adjusting to the cultural isms of this place. It's different from anywhere else I've ever lived, and in a weird sort of way, the people are growing on me. Between football and the PTA, I've met all kinds of people. For the most part, they're nass. Reel nass.

But I'm going to be careful about accepting dinner invitations. With all of my new social obligations, I can't afford to lose a tooth.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back in Session

I just returned from dropping the kids off for their first day of school -- another beginning!!
We had the greatest night last night: Ryan made his special Greek dinner (always a hit), we had a nice bottle of wine, and spent the evening talking about new beginnings.

Both kids are a little nervous about starting at their new school, but somehow talking it out and describing how they'd like for things to go made it a little easier to go to bed, sleep and get up in the morning.

These are the days when I wish I could be right by their side, pushing away the bullies and making school life a little easier for them.

But alas -- it's not to be. I just have to sit back and hope that they've developed the life skills to be resilient. And cross my fingers for them. And push back the tears -- my own.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Starting Over

Ok -- I've finally come to terms with it. I'm completely starting over.

It's been difficult trying to create a new routine for myself, especially since the old one was so familiar. I'm in foreign territory now, though, and not just in a physical sense.

The move from Texas to North Carolina is still fresh, and for the most part, I love what I see: Nature in every direction, people who take their time to greet strangers, and cultural opportunities galore. But I miss my old life, especially the work friends who have become my lifeline.

And the Career Mom-turned Homemaker Mom job is so foreign. I'm so thankful to be spending more time with the kiddos, but I've been uncertain about how to fill my days. Up until now, I'd been hanging on to my usual routine: wake up, check work email, shower, slap on clothes and makeup, drive to the office. There was comfort in the routine.

Now, the sky's the limit, but I've felt guilty for sleeping in. Guilty for not being more productive during this break. Guilty for not being able to find a job that's similar to what I've been doing for the past 15 years.

Somehow that changed, though. I watched a movie last night where the lead character said most people have three different different careers in life. It clicked. I'm not really lost, I'm just on the path to my second career. And despite the uncertainty I feel about so many other things, there are no doubts in my mind about what I want the next career to be. A soother. A healer. A listener. I'll find it in the world of skincare.

Sure, it's starting over. But that's what I've been longing for, for a long time.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Gone Fishin'

I'm officially without my daughter for the next three weeks. We drove for three hours to drop her off at Appalachian State University, where she joined a couple hundred other 7th graders to get a taste of college life. She was so excited to be there, to make her bed in her dorm, set up a few personal items, then get her mom, dad and little brother the heck out of there. I miss her already.

But we're making the most of this time apart -- 3 weeks without her. TJ is looking forward to a few weeks as an only child, and we have plans to go fishing every morning at 7 -- there's a pond about 100 yards away from our townhome and it's planted with catfish, bass and snapping turtles. We spent a couple of hours there tonight...and pretty soon, all of the neighbor kids were joining in. Ryan spent the entire time re-baiting hooks for all of the kids. What a guy.

I don't know why, but something clicked tonight: this is our time to take it all in....I've been a little lost without a job to go to and responsibilities to fulfill, worrying that I'd never be able to find employment again...but tonight, I got lost in the simplicity of casting the line, catching a fish and releasing it back into the water. I really, really need simple things right now. They're filling my soul...and I'm starting to realize that this time is so short-lived, I need to let go of the worries and just enjoy it. So that's exactly what I'm gonna do.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


It's been raining for three days straight. Each time we think we're going to host a fireworks show, our promises are dashed by Mother Nature. But we've been enjoying the rain shows from our front porch.

I continue to be amazed at how therapeutic the simple life is for us. Fishing at the local pond, watching old movies with the kids on the couch, eating popsicles at the community pool....these are the things that fill me up these days.

I'd be lying if I said I'm not worried about the future. If I'm not worried about something, I'm not myself. But I'm catching more opportunities to live in the moment, and I'm getting a little better at allowing myself to stay there without feeling guilty.

The secret? Accepting everything that is good....letting the small but beautiful moments seep into the skin and flow into the soul. I can't repeat it when I'm trying too hard, but it seems to naturally happen when I shut my mind up and allow myself to enjoy the moment.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


TJ met a friend last night -- a redheaded, freckle-faced, turtle-loving friend named Bryan. I took one look at him and decided he could be TJ's twin...mannerisms and all. Then I found out that he IS a twin, with a sister named Breanne, who loves reading and softball and all of the things MY Bri is into. As soon as they were all introduced, they went upstairs to their bedrooms and I didn't see them for hours.

I met their mom, too. She and her husband just moved here in April from New Jersey. They, too, came from hectic careers, too much commuting and a big mortgage. They, too, wanted a do-over in life. So they're simplifying. She and I spent a couple of hours visiting over a glass of wine last night. And -- get this: she loves margaritas, too!

It's amazing what a difference just one good friend can make. Now I've got someone to show me the shortcuts to Super Target and give me the skinny on local orthodontists. Now TJ's got a buddy to toss a football to. And now Bri's got someone to mentor about life issues and convince that vegetarianism is The Way. (We'll see how that flies.) I'm crossing my fingers that Ryan gets along with the other hubby....then we'll be in business.

The girls had a sleepover at my place. The boys are at the townhome across the street, doing the same. This is bliss.

Bob Marley's song, "Don't Worry About a Thing" comes to mind. So, the washing machine's broken and the house hasn't sold yet. But still, I really think Everything's Gonna Be Alright.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Broken Down

I'm on a roller coaster ride. A few days ago, everything was going as planned. Today, nothing is going right. The offer on our home was withdrawn. The washing machine and dishwasher are both broken. I threw out my back, and Bri's bike was stolen this morning. I am so bummed. I know if I get up and moving outside, my outlook will change. But everything hurts today. Ugh.
Tomorrow's going to be better -- it has to be.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I've been purging clothes in my closet and household items I've accumulated over the last 18 years of adulthood. A full 2/3 of what I've owned is now at the local Goodwill, because those things just won't fit in my new surroundings. It feels like I've lost 15 pounds. I can finally see my wardrobe choices, and it feels so good.

When I was 15, chronically tardy for school and full of teenaged rebellion, I was forced to work off my poor citizenship grades by heading out into the wilderness on a hiking expedition called "Survival." All I had with me for a full week was what I could fit into a backpack: A sleeping bag, toothbrush and a change of clothings. There were 20 or so other delinquent students who were in the same boat as me.

For the first couple of days, Survival was sheer hell: tromping through rocky and swampy terrain and building blisters on my heels and feeling the true ache of hunger was more tortuous than anything I'd ever experienced. I was utterly miserable, and I had no other choice than to trudge ahead. But by the end of the week, I'd learned how much I was capable of. I realized how much I'd taken for granted, and most important, how much I can do without and still find a way to be happy. That feeling was like nothing else in the world. Ultimately, I repeated the trip four more times before graduating high school -- voluntarily, as a student expedition leader.

Those experiences got me through a lot of tough times. It taught me about my own strength, about teamwork and determination.

That was 20 years ago, and unfortunately, I've forgotten a lot since then.

I didn't realize that the clutter of things I've accumulated has been weighing me down for years. Which is why it feels so good right now to be able to clearly separate what I need from what I think I want.

I need my sweet hubby -- my best friend for life.
I need my kiddos -- to love, nurture and just be with them is such a privilege.
I need my dear friends -- their unconditional acceptance, wildly unique/entertaining perspectives on life, and sense of humor can't ever be replaced.
I need to explore, to learn, to be open to new ways of thinking, new friends and new possibilities.
I need margaritas. (Kidding -- but not really.)

Tonight, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude, peace and calm. All of it is because of the people I love, not the things I've got. I wish I could bottle this bliss and pass it around for all to experience firsthand.

I'd call that potion "Enough" -- and the would always be plenty of it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


To my margarita friends:

I have held off from posting since last week, due to superstitions that I may jinx the good news that I am about to announce:

Thanks to you, sisters, and the positive mojo you spread throughout the homestead (and in the ground), we have an offer on our home. WAHOOOOO!!!!! I owe it all to you ladies -- not just the sale of the home, but the wonderful memories you created for me and my kiddos the last night we were together. Bri would not stop saying how cool my friends are -- and I couldn't agree more.

I'm neck-deep in boxes today -- moving day to the semi-permanent spot was yesterday. I have a new phone but am still having trouble finding a signal. Though I have found that if I crawl into the tub in the master bathroom (ha! Master. You should see how big it....isn't) and sit on a pile of towels, I can successfully place a call.

So I'm hoping it'll work today. I'm planning to call in for the Q2 initiative (have y'all changed the name yet?) to thank you for everything. The positive vibes you left at the house, the care package you sent (can I tell you how many items have already come in handy?) and most of all, for the friendships each of you have offered me. I miss you like crazy -- all of you. I don't know how I'm going to deal with not seeing you every day. But the new place is pretty charming, and I'm going to be sure to carve out a little bit of pre-fun for your upcoming visits to see me. :)

Here's to margaritas, mojo and memories. You made it all happen. How can I ever repay?

Thursday, June 12, 2008


It's four days into the move. We're still in a temporary place, so it just feels like I'm on vacation. With the kids, the husband, the dog and the turtle.

I continue to be amazed at how much comfort the dog is bringing me. I never considered myself a dog lover (it all dates back to the painful death of a puppy when I was little -- I vowed never to get that close to an animal again), but little Hershey's making me a believer once again. Since I quit my job, he's been by my side every moment. He's my little chocolate shadow -- my buddy who asks for nothing more than a walk and some dinner scraps (and maybe a couple of licks of red wine, when no one's looking). As I write, he's curled under my blanket, his wet nose brushing my leg every now and again to let me know he's right here. Where I need him, for as long as I need him. He's pure, unconditional love -- and I'm grateful to be spending more time with him for a while.

I still miss my margarita sisters. I even miss my job, a little. But I'm finding comfort in the simple things -- my family, my friends and my four-legged friend.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I'm neck-deep in boxes this morning...the time has finally arrived for yet another move. It's exciting to think about the possibilities of a new adventure, but right now I'm lost in the details: disconnecting services, change of address forms, and what to do with all of the random items (loose screws, spare change and the like). My back is killing me.

I know from doing this so many times that it's gonna get worse before it gets better, so I'm gearing up for a challenging 6 months. That's about how long it takes before we start to feel settled. I can't believe I no longer have a job. I miss my friends already. So much is different already. Tomorrow I'll be more positive. Today I just want to be schlumpy.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Kumquat. It's one of my all-time favorite words. I try to use it as often as possible in sentences, especially while at work. It helps pass the time, and I like the way it feels and sounds coming out of my mouth. I also enjoy the reactions I get when I insert it randomly in conversation.

Tutelage. That's another word that's fun to say. What about you -- what's your favorite word?