Thursday, November 30, 2006

Back to Normal, well, our version thereof:)

So so much going on.   Having M away for 6 nights was not something I really wanted to face, even if I really do wish her to have a relationship and time with her dad.   I suppose if he "allowed" more communication, if she were simply made comfortable and allowed to actually contact me whenever, and I let her contact him whenever, that'd help.  (She had time on Thanksgiving but not even given my message I'd called, once to her cell and once to his home where they did stay later for hours.)   Nicely, she got to ride for 1.5 hours that a.m., her dad brought her down, she didn't get 3 hours in, seems he had something going that way, anyway, so yeah that it worked for her.   That was a nice surprise.   And, she and I did chat the next day, which was great:)   Still. (Little Si was actually in the hospital nearest M and I for 3 nights, poor thing.   M didn't know this until picked up for visitation, the 3rd night Si was in the hospital, by Sh's father, to go see Si.   If C, or Sh had simply called, I could have taken M by to see Si, or had M call her, something.   The dance school had it on the school message board even, others knew.  Thankfully, Si is well now and home.)   And, so is M, home now, and has been so life feels normal again:)  Daisy was SO SO SO glad to see M! and vice versa.

Helping my father out a few times, and gosh that gets so daggone overwhelming never mind M and my stuff.   Every time I unclog a toilet, it reclogs even blech, never mind everything else.   Enroute there last Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving, he called me.  I was thinking he was calling wondering where I was, but he was hearing the traffic reports and was worried about me stuck in all this traffic and rain, telling me it's okay to not come.   I was practically on his street by then.   He didn't realize it was Thanksgiving traffic.   "The" day was too nasty for hiking :( and I watched the parade, finally figuring out it's not two stations covering it, it's two parades duh, glass of nice wine (tried to drink another glass, good wine but gosh I just can't drink), piece of sweet potatoe pie, pice of mincemeat:)   Good conversations with friends...... (plus my mother, and with Doug).  Glad Mom didn't ask me up there, cuz we'd had a good time the Sunday before, let's just go with that (albeit she asked if I was visiting my father, and at the time I thought I might, even if he said I didn't need to.)   Grey's Anatomy and Scrubs.   I was burned out.  I needed this, even if no way could I do that all the time, i.e., "nothing."   I think I slept 3 hours even.   Also wondering if I was starting to shut down some, not able to deal with the enormity of "it all," so to deal, shutting down / ignoring some / feeling a bit numb?

Then a nice call with M Friday, I at work cuz what the heck, trying to be productive.   (Si in the background showing me the hole from the IV in her arm, lol, and her stuffed animals.   After, M told Si that M wanted to talk with her mommy now, and we did:)  Got home and wham, a lovely NOT notice......... a money thing I thought was being handled a different way.  I checked it out.  Got ticked.   I'm NOT shutting down, I'm fighting this stuff.   I have 1.5 years left of M in this school, we've made it this far, we WILL make it, and I will be sure that we do:)   It was like a smack in my face, just glad it triggered me the oomph, way.  Besides, I was rested from Thursday, lol.  

It's still a lot.   Even Meals on Wheels, which I've recontacted, had a 2 page detailed application form, all his financial information (they charge on sliding scale but also take food stamps), which I faxed in and yet still -- NO word from them.  This particular group is apparently the one assigned to my dad's neighborhood, so?!  I first called them 2 weeks ago, after being referred to them by two other VERY nice Meals on Wheels in the area here.  She talked with me briefly, and said she'd call back that morning or by the end of the day, and hasn't.   One MoW charges $29./week, not sure of the other.   I'm told that many of them don't charge a thing, a friend is shocked that any do charge.   I imagine they are run individually.   Working on other things for him, also, piece by piece, step by step, just cannot all at once.  Oh, and his mortgage, sheesz, they're trying to say it's not over 3 times/ month what it was originally, which makes it a few hundred MORE than he even brings home a month!   That's just outrageous.   And, even the almost twice more he thought was due, he made the check out but with the 37 cent stamp.   Now I have 39 cent stamps cuz I actually remembered to buy them:)   Real pretty, snowflakes on them.  Need to mail mine, too, cuz, sigh, didn't have the stamps.

Working with school about new financial arrangements there, too, working other things.   Step by step.   Wish I had more time at HOME, too:)

Ah, but yes, back to normal, having my child sleeping on her pillow, warm under blankets and her dog, sometimes hard to wake up:)   This a.m. she asked for chai tea.   It works for us, and the lighter dosage of caffeine helps us focus and wake up, Oregon's Own? I think? makes a sugarfree version so I'm not overlyhyped with sugar, cuz I like the Westsoy Vanilla Soy Shake milk (M's is sometimes the soy, sometimes regular milk, whichever, lol).  M gets her calcium.   Sometimes she's liked warm applesauce, or even oatmeal, some years hot chocolate, today, she asked for chai tea (latte). :)  

Two nights ago, she could not stop the dancing, even while getting ready for bed, she was doing her figures dance, well, one of them.   We did watch t.v., a PBS special on the evolution of dogs with DNA discussion, etc., mostly we're not.   Talking of Christmas present ideas, fun to create.   Homework.   She's on top of her homework, yeah, with one exception.  Oh, forgot her algebra book Tuesday night oy, all ready to do it and upset with herself.   I didn't get upset with her, suggested she get to school early and talk with Mr. L about it, that she'd just do 30 problems the next night (usually 15/night of their chosing).   She did get 8 done at school, and told the teacher.   He was fine with it, saying she was ahead, anyway, so only do 15, not 30, and she'd still be ahead 1-2 lessons worth.  Cool:)   Reading her books (Silent Spring and final parts of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn sheesz, isn't it time to be done thaht one, oh, it's long okay).   They blew up stuff the other day, lol.   Diet Coke and Mentos, measuring it all.  M's group's went up 7 feet tall, the highest of the class.

M showed off Chance to me.  He's the new horse at the barn, which the Director told me she'd bought with M in mind.  Yes, M's sad news the other day is that Fancie is / will be sold.   She was being retired, anyway, so at least she's been sold to people we know.   The daughter is sometimes friends with M (the girl has some issues), and the father isn't excited to ride in the cold, so invited M to come over "anytime" to ride, not that "anytime" really works, but M was happy with it.   The Director told me that she told C that M is really becoming quite a good rider now, that she encouraged him to watch her riding, and provide more financial support (he left his e-mail).   I'm glad he got to watch her a few minutes that day, and I've told him to feel free to come watch her ride, also, so this is good.   Maybe, just maybe he'll be more comfortable supporting M with riding, as well as the Irish stepdancing (albeit that could be more b/c of Si, I'm not sure, but hey).   M and other girls were talking about the upcoming school horse show, which M still needs to ask her dad about, and would need to borrow a jacket for (no money for one even with her tack shop gift certificate she has yet to spend from last year).  M has a team ready for the no date yet Orienteering, too:)   She's so happy at the barn.   There and dancing, constantly dancing.

Oircheatas is this weekend, a lot of planning for that, which I think deserves its own entry.  

Life isn't so easy right now, but, I'm working on it to make it better and, well, stay working:)   Oh, and kiss-upmanager was told by my boss to chill out, telling me he'd "talk her off the cliff," lol.   We're all fine.  I stayed diplomatic, teamwork, etc.  

I have some (work) classes and a new software to play with.   Visio is fun:)  Not actually new, and I've had it on my work pc for a while, but never got to play with it before and I figured most of it out even.   

And, funny moments, Billy eyeing me in the bathroom, then jumping on the sink to capture his intended "prey" (an item of mine), and run off with it in his mouth while I take chase.   I kept calling him Ziggy lately.   A white cat with one blue eye and one green eye, like Billy, was a stowaway for 17 days IIRC?, landing in a new country.   David Bowie has one blue eye and one green eye, so the scared cat was named after Ziggy Stardust.

Chaos of good and bad, and I refuse to let the bad overwhelming stuff get me / keep me down.  Enjoying my daughter and life,and will stay hammering out the rest of it.....   :)

Friday, November 24, 2006

I'm late, I'm late for a very important date....... well, not really

Being Guest Editor this past week, had me learning a lot about aol journals.   It's been rather fun:)   One thing I found, is that there's a weekend assignment.  I sometimes wondered where Dan pulled his assignments from.   Weekend Assignment #140: You're Late!   Anyway, this guy has weekly assignments, and seems as if others do as well.   Have I ever been late to something important?   And, do I wear a watch?

Think about this.   My head is going in several directions at once.   On top of that, I'm distracted readily.   I have learned coping mechanisms, calendars and routines are my friends, for example, trying to always put something away in the same spot each time to remember where it is when needed, etc.   Still.   Okay, time's up -- yes, of course I've sometimes been late to something important.   One trick I"ve heard this past year is to focus on what time I need to LEAVE by, not focus on what time I need to BE there by.   Slight shift in mindset, it does help.   (I can also focus real quickly and zoom once I realize I have x minutes left before leaving, a trait my child hasn't learned quite yet.)

Thee worst time when I've been late is likely during the custody, visitation, and child support series of trials and court dramatics full of meetings and days of depositions and investigations anyadda yadda yadda.   One of the first court meetings is when both of our lawyers, and us, approach a judge to get a preliminary temporary agreement in place while we hash out all the rest of the bs.   I forget what it's called, but it's highly mighty important.   And, I knew that and respected that.   One of the many other original meetings of sorts I had was either the mediation date (somehow I'm remembering it as that and yet I didn't receive notice of the first one......... yeah, um, never showed is different from late, but I didn't receive notice so couldn't help that and went to the next one, early, and all agreed that one session of mediation was more than enough), or the "how to be a good co-parent" class.   I forget now which.   I had the dates correct for each one of these, but I had the times reversed in my head.    The class or mediation or something, was scheduled for early afternoon, and my preliminary hearing thing, very important, was scheduled in the morning.   I had them reversed, thinking I had all morning to get myself prepared for my afternoon preliminary hearing.   My e-calendar is at work, and these notices would come to my home.

I got a call from my lawyer, "where are you?"   Huh?   SHHHHIII...........    I did show up, while they were still fussing at each other.   My lawyer was so ticked, as his lawyer was ready to ramrod me completely, flip custody possibly, everything I think, oy.   (M's father has never lived with us, and didn't spend a lot of time with her previous to this, regular but not exactly coparenting, flipping custody would make no sense.)   It would have been really bad.   Anyway, my lawyer got ticked and it was a good thing, cuz I needed her to stick up for me.  I'd have been as browbeat by his lawyer as I always felt by him.   It worked out, the judge there was more realistic than his lawyer.  He allowed time for recess or whatever, too, to wait for me, oy.   But.  It'd have gone better, however, if I'd showed on time or early.   If I had not gotten those times mixed up in my head.   It was a very important thing to have been late to.   I'll never forget that.   (And didn't mix up dates/times for anything else for court!)

Watch?   Eh, I'll go in phases.  I like to wear one so that I can read what time it is when I wake up.   Yes, I have a clock.   I can't always see that far, however:)   I don't sleep with my glasses on, or, um, rarely.   Otherwise, I tend to use other clocks, or my cell phone, or the radio dial in the car (which I can see as I have my eyeglasses on then).   Also, if a watch battery dies, it takes me eons to get it replaced.   When M was first born, I had been wearing my watch constantly, but it hit the back of her head wrong when she nursed.   I thought about it, realized we had no concept of time, anyway, going on, and stopped wearing one.   Until many years later when I found another one, pink!, I rather liked.   Right now, I have one I plan to give to M, whenever I get a new battery put into my pink one, lol.   It's a slapwristband thing with beagles on it.   It's wrapped around my purse strap at the moment.  :)   I know when I plan to leave here by today -- I'm walking a neighbors dog tonight, and she'll get concerned if I'm not there early.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

the festival:)

MEANT to post this after Veteran's Day weekend.   M performed at a large Irish festival, with enjoyable enough musicians (not the top known / recognized musicians), and a fare amount of local vendors selling goods or providing information for their particular local (or international) Irish-related charity.   (Yes, tis the one Fred thought of attending.   Eh, another place in time, perhaps.)

My mother asked me the day after how it went -- knowing she wasn't feeling well enough to come see it.  

How did M do at the Feis? 

Oh, this was a festival, so a performance.    She had a lot of fun and did well:)   M seemed real happy and as if she was having a lot of fun with it.   Si did well, also.   The (name of city) Irish Festival was very well attended, crammed in at the (location).   Someone estimated a 700 people audience, but I suspect that was really the total crowd, as I can't imagine that many fit in that one (main) stage area.   I HOPE I got some good shots:)  

I heard Sh ask C if they could PLEASE stay a bit longer, did they really have to leave right away as she wanted to be able to watch the next show a bit (another local dance school stage got moved to same one as M's).   (That school, like many, focus on only the traditional Irish dances, and yet their intended audience never received an announcement in the other building, that this school's performance was being moved.  What a shame.  Level 5 excellent dancers so it was a nice display.) 

It wasn't a pleading, but that and the general interactions seem to me as if it really has been Sh pushing for this, or more so, pushing it for Si, that C really still dislikes the whole idea of it being IRISH dancing, but the girls didn't pick up on this that I know of.   I'm sure both would have enjoyed the festival, too, I know M would have, but hey.   Like you said the other day, it lets M get there, which is good.

M was in three dances, Techno which you've seen I think but some different choreography this year, can-can which may have been in (Big somewhat Professional Performance last year) but M was NOT in (had missed too many practices for the e/o weeknights that C refused to have her attend and refused to switch nights for).   Cute:)  They do a bit of a chorus line kick for part of Can-Can to Irish dancing.   And Runaway Groom, which has been MUCH improved upon since the youngest company out of the main studio did it last year.  K  plays the bride, and at the end she has to act disgusted and throws the fake-flower bouquet at the boy, too.

Si and another young girl, who performed together at another event M's troupe performed in, did a beginners reel.  It gives the older dancers a "shoe-change" moment, a chance to breathe.  Ma even had them come out and bow again.   I asked Sh later if Si liked this.   She laughed, "What do you think?!"   (Even if Sh appeared to be in haste to have M just go with her and me be gone, M and I were figuring out what dance items I was taking with me, and putting them away, and what ones she'd just stay wearing, such as wigs, tiara, and socks, at least.)

So, anyway, they had fun, I did chat with M some (brought her water, which we found out after was being given away free at the festival).   It was inside and she was sweating, as were others.   I had worn a embroidered sleeveless top under the green polartec and ended up wearing just the top, so I know in those dresses they got hot.   Before the performance, I got to wave to her and blow a kiss, and we ASL'd some small greetings I forget what now.   She'd smile when she danced and happened to look my way.  

I did find a nice book store/vendor there but also found their online store.   CelticReader I think it is, I have it saved.  Some interesting stuff there, and I've bought from them previously.   This festival seems to use many of the same vendors annually but I haven't been to this one in 2 years I suppose it is, M wore one of Ma's performance dresses that year, and Eileen Ivers played with them, too.   I can see why Ma enjoys Eileen Ivers, in part as Eileen and Ma both look towards world music and other musical styles, and incorporating them into traditional Irish music, just having fun with it.


Monday, November 20, 2006

how Thanksgiving went

Cuz I may as well relay how it went, eh?

I like the comments, btw, so thanks:)  I do feel more in a fish bowl now, however.   Not that there wasn't that possibility previously, so I have kept very careful to leave out identifying stuff, but still:)   Makes me feel a bit weird about it all, eh, sometimes.   I'm more writing to help me sort out my thoughts, or to save my thoughts, not necessarily the same thing.   My journal "blog" isn't fancy and gussied up, in part cuz I don't really know how to and just haven't had time to learn it.   D's Designs have fantastic designs but how to tag something?   Could be fun, but that's okay.  I'm just trying to write.   I'm not worried about an audience per se.   It's exciting to connect with others, if I'm reading someone else's or s/he is reading mine, and the entry can make one smile, or think, or related, or feel something.   THAT I like:)

M went back to school and she wanted more weekend time, felt this weekend was too short, woke up 4am even.   I hope to finally nail down a plumber for Dad, and re-call Meals on Wheels.   And get child support (crossing fingers, was due Nov. 1).  This means waiting for the mail carrier, hopefully the one who knows me:)   I'll juggle money around if need be to try to cover the tuition due without bouncing anything else.  For lunch today, I imagine Bob eating at least one mini-sandwich with the rolls and turkey, or maybe he'll just use regular bread, but I imagine these rolls are good for filling up.  

It was a good day yesterday, I even (are you sitting down?) had fun.   Mom was in a great mood, a bit anxious at turkey coming out time, as it wasn't as ready as it should have been even if cooked longer than recommended by then.   It didn't really matter, though.   There was enough sparkling cider for two rounds.   We used the fancy glasses, and M gets joy out of having this special drink for special meals.  We played two board games after pie, which was a little while after dinner.   Laughing even.  There was an all vegan pumpkin pie, with whipped soy topping, for my niece, and the replacement mincemeat and apple pies.  

Yep, somehow, the apple pie M picked out carefully yesterday, got tilted, slid all to one side, and she so preferred a nice looking one.   Spacecadet me (Dizzy (last name) Space Cadet was a nickname C and a couple other friends of mine called me in high school, lovely, lol.)   We left the house without the frozen mincemeat pie I didn't wish to drive all the way back AND waken Daisy to retrieve.    Dad was happy to have the other apple pie, so I simply rebought an apple and an mincemeat pie, from the second grocery store, as the first didn't have these OR Borax OR chandelier lightbulbs.   Having more constant visits with my father seem to be a good thing there.   He even reasked me what I did upstairs Saturday, and was happy to know that the one toilet / bathroom is usable again.  

I came upon Mom and M talking about the solo dress M tried on yesterday, was there a photo taken (um, no, being we know what it looks like, etc., but I think I know a website where it's on), what the price is (which M got wrong lol), how well it fits, etc..   Mom asked me privately what I'd told the woman.   Heck, we want that dress; it's the right fit and style for M, and it's good colors for her facial features, too, plus with a good history:)   The girl who outgrew it is possibly thee sweetest Irish step dancer we've ever met.   I enjoyed spending time talking with her and her mother again.   Oh, it's a GREAT price, too.   (Many of these are in the thousands of dollars, and this, in the few hundreds.)  I told Mom, honestly, that we told the mom selling the dress, that we just had to figure out the money, and she promised to contact us if anyone else became interested in it.   I just don't know if my mother still plans to purchase one for M or not.   Or, splitting the cost I could suggest, too.  

I just wished to get through the day first:)   And, it was fine.  Even chatted very briefly with BJ at one point, and talking with my SIL was good, too, been a while for anything extended with her.

All of us, well, us going to NYCity, talked a few times about what specifically we're doing there.   We'll have 1-2 hours inbetween designated stops.   My niece has never been before, so naturally has many potential ideas while also uncertain which to chose.  I guess it's all still on, then.   No mention of any possibility of it not being on.   My mother was animated and happy, never fussed or bristled at a thing all day. 

This afternoon on the car radio, the disc jockey joshed with a caller about Thanksgiving preparations and shopping.  The caller has her turkey yadda yadda yadda.  I'm thinking that I'm SO glad to be done with all of that now.   The dj mentions that she has it under control, too, that she'd picked up her vodka and earplugs, so she's all set.   ROFL to the point I actually called her about it.   She was glad, for she'd been uncertain about it as soon as she said it, afraid she'd offend someone.   We chatted about how it's okay to not have a Hallmark holiday, and people sometimes set themselves up with perfect expectations.   How she loves her mother, but.  (I didn't mention mine.)   I called my aunt Vesta, Mom's youngest sister.   Vesta laughed, too, "bring back memories?"   Well, not for ME drinking vodka, but hey.   Whatever gets us through, and if we're all happy enough and healthy enough, right?   She asked how it went yesterday at my mother's, happy for us and surprised, "What was wrong with her?" lol, just told Vesta that perhaps my mother felt particularly thankfuldue to her recent scare in the ER, I don't know, but even M noticed, and we all enjoyed ourselves.

My cousin like a sister cousin, and her kids, my Goddaughter and my "nephew," will join her, as will my late cousin, Dougie's kids and their mother.   I'm real glad, and think I'd love to be there with them:)   Then I see the mail truck by my set of mailboxes, and get off the phone, asking her to say hi to my Uncle Kenny.   I stand there, patiently.   This is the carrier who doesn't really know the people as well as the main mail carrier.   He doesn't chat.   A third one I think may also be deaf.  I see an envelope with C's handwriting on it put into a slot that I think is mine, and my department store bill, and, ha, everyone else gets The Washington Post mini-blurb but me, yeah, cuz I already get their full paper, daily.   I'm hopeful, and yes!, he asks me which box is mine.   I get my mail! with the calendars with Daisy and Billy and Tinkerbell, and the child support check!    And other bills.   I turn around again, and notice a fork on top of the boxes.   And, something, else, oh my, those are MY KEYS!!!   The green Girl Scout leather tab is, well, partially white, and the mailbox key and another key are a bit rusty.   I look around at the men mowing the grass, knowing one of them had the thought to place these items where they'd be found.   These guys had been leaf blowing at TOO early, BEFORE the legal noise ordinance time, this a.m.   Now, I'm grateful:)



May as well continue this roll:) 

I don't like the entire focus on Santa, as I feel he takes away from Jesus.  I even have a sweatshirt with santa in the manger with "what's wrong with this picture," which I wear Christmas shopping:)   I've chilled since having a child of my own, apparently not willing to give up the tradition of surprise presents on Christmas morning, and the stockings.   Even as young adults, my brother and I would get Christmas stockings.
I'd insist to M that Santa wasn't real, but was a representation of Father Christmas / Kris Kringle, a good man who lived in the past and etc.   I didn't want to lie to her.  She decided she wouldn't believe me:)   Yes, actually as an older child re-asked me about Santa's existence, and when I retold her about it all, she told me a bit later, that she decided she did not and would not believe me.  LOL.   I never told her Santa existed, and I've not told her the past couple years that he doesn't.   I know she understands, now, as she's snuck presents under the tree for me "from Santa." 
So, we just both go along with the fun of it, now.  That likely is the best, anyway, just have fun with it:)
Just don't tell me that having Santa someplace is the religious equivalent of having a menorah.   Or that including a song about Rudolph the reindeer, however much I love that song and that movie, what a classic!, is religious.  That just insults everyone, really.
Admittedly, Charlie Brown Christmas is, IMHO, thee best Christmas movie.   Great music, too.  


Am I Irish Catholic?

Ah, perhaps I'll explain.  My very Irish Catholic grandfather loved academia  yet destined to work the family farm, perhaps his brother was chosen to be the priest, not clear.  (Each family chose who would be what for the boys.)   Certainly, his middle name was Joseph:)   Very typical.   When he emigrated from Ireland, via South America, he wrote his college application on a napkin, and met my grandmother.   It was not typical for a woman to attend college, but her family was well educated, her mother a teacher and her father a doctor who traveled on horseback and died from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.   (Doctors and teachers ran in that family, and my father's middle name is in honor of a family member who was a doctor in the Civil War / Confederate side tho I try to console myself that he was a doctor, not a fighter).   My great-grandfather was a Quaker, so my grandmother had originally been raised Quaker.   After his death, my grandmother's family, a single mother headed, moved in with her cousins.   They'd not see the tree itself until Christmas Day, and it was apparently fantastic, the stories she'd tell me about it down in Georgia, opening the doors to a huge hall or room, or it seemed huge to a young girl.   They converted to Methodist at that point, and my grandmother died a very devout Methodist.
My rebellious Irish grandfather further scandalized the family by marrying this devout Quaker-born, Methodist US woman, AND, going by HER religion.   It was important to her and not to him, so they raised my father and his three siblings as Methodists.  
My mother, born and raised in Maine as a (New England styled) Baptist, her mother dying when my mom was 9 years old, and her widow father who was apparently content with his children continuing at the local church of their youth.  He had flaming orange hair, grew up as the son of the innkeeper / inn owner and orchard owner and, heck, mountain owner (rumour is it may have been the payment for fighting in the Civil War, not clear).  Mostly Scottish descent, some Irish.   (Her mother may have had some French in her, not sure.)  (That's Sebago Lake in the background of my not-stellar photo, btw, as seen from Douglas Mountain, Maine.)
Mom met Dad in a church in D.C.   Mom is the only one in her entire family to have moved out of Maine, well, other than some ventures by a few into neighboring Vermont, that is.   Living so close to my other grandparents, her mother deceased, Mom agreed to have my brother and I baptized Methodist.   We attended Methodist churches until my parents had other issues going on.   I remember singing in the children's choir at the church that happens to be next door to the one I'm a member of now.   We're technically Presbyterian, M and I, but more as the church fits our needs well, and seems to fit my beliefs.   There are some higher theological differences between Methodists and Presbyterians, in part on pre-destination, and I think I may actually believe the Presbyterian way.   I usually refer to myself as Christian, or, if pressed, as Protestant.
So, long story short, some of my family is Catholic, and, some are not.  Even some of my first cousins descended from my late Irish grandfather and my late grandmother are Catholic, marrying a Catholic and raising their children in that faith. 
As for Irish politics, I'm with the Catholics there.  Even have a few relatives of mild infamy.   Oh, I mostly wish for peace.   But, I do believe that England should get the (*&^%$ out of Ireland.  :)

Christmas Questions

Actually called for 30% chance of snow at my mother's last night.   We didn't see it before we left, however.  (It was actually a fun time! the best in many years.)  Heard this song in a department store on Veteran's Day, 75ish degrees F outside, and they were playing WHAT?!  I'd have been fine with a touch of snow last night, however.

So, now that it's after MY Thanksgiving:) I feel okay doing some Christmas-related stuff.   I got this from Sharon; she calls it a tag.   This Momma's Drama  My answers are below, and as typical, wordier than required:)

Your Name: Robin

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?   I don't like milk chocolate, so yes, definitely egg nog:)   Rarely do I add bourbon to it, only if I'm at a party and not driving.   We keep it in the frig, sans alcohol, all season long.   M will get herself a cup and add nutmeg on top, just because:)  If it gets her to consume something at breakfast time, what the heck, eggs and milk aren't bad, in moderation!  (We get picky, too, preferring the taste and texture of egg nog withOUT corn syrup, which is harder and harder to find.  This year's "find" is limited to Lactaid.) update: and Horizon's organic
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?    Depends how much time I have.  I prefer them wrapped.   I love that look, I love wrapping papers and details, and so often, underestimate the time.  M has snuck a few items under the tree, when she thought I wasn't looking, "from Santa," and hers are always wrapped.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?  Probably colored, but, I really like the all white look.
4 . Do you hang mistletoe?   NOPE -- I have 5 cats, so not risking mistletoe in my home.  It'd be decorative in the office, but, um, NOT looking for any romance there!
5. When do you put your decorations up?  Whatever weekend M's home and we have a moment, lol.   At least, for the more important items, so she can share with it, especially for picking out and bringing home a tree and decorating that.   After Thanksgiving proper, I may go ahead and bring out the Christmas pillows she made me one year.   (Ya mean, you actually put away decorations?!  Ha, occasionally, some don't get put away but stay up all year.  My father used to put the decorated (artificial) tree in another room, and bring it out again at the right time next December.   That does actually work........   (This year, I've bought him red wreath hangers and will find cheap yet festive wreaths for his double front doors.)  This year, we may bring out some things, but not decorate fully until the week or weekend before Christmas itself.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?   Dish?   As in, food?  I couldn't care less about it.   I suppose making Santa's plate full of whatever favorite goodies of ours we have around at that time.  I have a few favorite actual holiday dishes, i.e., plates, however:)
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?   In junior or senior high, I suppose singing in the youth choir on Christmas Eve, the magic, the feeling of the Holy Ghost/spirit there, and the candlelit sanctuary, the glory of it all.  
One high school Christmas, a stuffed Garfield joined our home, with my mother, Bob, and my brother visiting, and I remember feeling happy.   Garfield looked a bit like my cat, Sundance.   Yes, there is a connection between my screen name and his name:)  Good boy he was, triple axle was his shelter name, orange tabby who loved watching car races on t.v. even and would chase the edge of my robe, even literally climbed a wall once.
Of course, in my youngest days years before my parents split, it was fun to open gifts on Christmas morning down by the tree.   One year I got up super early and found huge boxes in the dark that ended up being a toy kitchen for me.   My dad never did get the water to work in that sink:)   I was either 4 or 6 years old that year. 
I have some not favorite ones, also, my father not caring for church (perhaps as his mother, the late grandmother I refer to, was SOOO into it), and he wasn't exactly to be counted on to be sober.   My brother would just go into his room.  It was, however, still Christmas, or Christmas Eve as the case may be, and I had to learn to take comfort in that, God still with me, and all of us, never truly leaving any of us alone.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?  I found "other" wrapping paper hidden under my parents bed.  I was asked not to tell my younger brother, Doug, and I didn't for a few weeks, anyway:)   I didn't like the dishonesty of it all.   I forget how he reacted, or my parents.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?  Depends upon M's schedule (with her father and with me), when she and I "do" presents and at what home (various relatives on our side).   Sometimes we've needed to celebrate Christmas Eve morning w/ some of the family, or perhaps Christmas afternoon with someone else, etc.   So, just depends.  We prefer opening gifts with each other and our pets on Christmas morning.  My late grandmother liked the idea of opening one extra gift on Christmas Eve, so when we were with her, certainly we'd go along with it :)   One year she even stayed with us, oh, she'd get as giddy as a child, and M rather little.  It was fun.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?  With only non-breakable items, being we've had young kittens the past couple years, and as late in the season as possible. :)  I like homemade ornaments, too, and lights.   I have a few from my late grandmother but I'll have to check if any are not too fragile.   We don't put up garland.   I like the look but hate the cleanup, and, well, cats like to eat it.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?   Love it
12. Can you ice skate?    Of course!  :)   It's one of my favorite sports.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?  Anything my daughter makes for me.  I did, however, ask for a truck one year as a child, and did receive it.   I enjoyed girly toys, too, but I remember that green truck fondly.   I must have loved that kitchen set mentioned previously, also, as it's one of my earliest Christmas memories.   Either that, or just the amazement as to what these huge boxes must be.
14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?  The hope for peace, the miracle of Jesus and the spirit itself.
15. What is your favorite Holiday Desert?  Making, okay, decorating after making, sugar cookies with my large collection of cookie cutters.   It's the one thing that I LIKE to do in the kitchen, and I've passed that tradition down from doing them with my mother, to now doing this with M.   For eating, my mother's pumpkin log.:)     
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?  Ha, see above.  Also, midnight service on Christ's mass (Christmas) Eve, with candles and singing acoustic hymns and communion, with M.   I'll never forget her first 11pm (into midnight) service, as a very young girl, hoping to see the senior high girl she adored who was singing a beautiful solo.   She felt that spirit, that "magic" and specialness of it all, taking it in, her eyes wide even.   We also open up stockings before anything else, well, other than walking the dog, on Christmas Day morning, with food.   That's the important "meal" for me for Christmas, just fun stuff (it always includes cheese and crackers, too, not only sugar items, and sparkling cider, sometimes fake-sausage biscuits, sometimes other items even pancakes, whatever!).
17. What tops your tree?   An angel puppet I made as a child.   She has a pink dress on and gold doilie wings and a halo.   Not sure for this year, as we've agreed, thus far anyway, that our "tree" will be the cat's jungle gym carpeted tree.
18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving?  Giving, usually, it can be a lot of fun to chose something outspecial and indivualized.  One exception is if M gets joy from having me enjoy something she's given me, that is fun, too, admittedly.  
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? "Silent Night," hands down my entire life.   For a more modern one, I am partial to "Better Days" by the Goo Goo Dolls.  To me, both get right to the essence of it all.
20. Candy Canes, Yuck or Yum?    Well, yeah!  :)   As in, yum.   Even horses like peppermint.
21. Did you wait in a long line to purchase a Playstation 3 this season?  NO reason to whatsoevver that I can think of.   It's not even something we'd care for.
22. Have you ever waited in line to get a high demand item?  No.   Material items are just not worth that, to me, and possibly even go against the real reason of Christmas, depending on what and how the focus is.   If I wished to get M something with that high of demand, and it was out by the time I got there, I'd wrap up a photo of it instead for "the" day.   Hmmm, then again, if the high demand item was tickets for a show, I may stand in line for THOSE, lol.  :)  (and, ah, have!)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

maybe I should clarify somewhat

maybe I should clarify somewhat.
Not trying to sound destitute:) We're not, blessedly. M could certainly get a new skirt or a dress, sometime. It wasn't on my mindset then, we'd gotten her two pairs of reasonably- priced yet good pants that fit and will do well, and a top. We'd spent money for Thanksgiving, for today, and a sack of potatos for her school one on Tuesday:) Her school tuition is due tomorrow, and I don't have November's child support. We'd even picked up some craft items and other things at a dollar store, too, M feeling creative for her two "gift exchange" parties.   I didn't have more money for a skirt or skirt outfit right then, without charging it which I avoid.  

I have chosen for M to attend that school. It's very important to me, and at this point, to her, too.
I just can't get any extras very often. I spent a bit more this week for her friends birthday present, and she paid for the hamster itself (for her FRIEND's home!  Apparently it wasn't super clear, but Bubba was never intended for OUR home, but M's FRIENDS home).
I want to be sure to make the necessary things. The skirt may be needed in her wardrobe, or a skirt, but not yesterday was it a requirement. :)
Hugs today to everyone, and yes, we're running out to church so of course, I'll hear real soon if she's truly lacking dressy clothes, lol. Or, she'll wear one of her new pairs of pants, which is entirely acceptable in her youth group. They're not jeans:)

life goes on, M singing Steve Perry ack, she's tended to like every song of his she hears.   Here I thought she had good musical taste:)

Before the Day

before the day (title)
Of course, the day has begun. I've been up for hours, awake since dawn started appearing and the animals started moving about in anticipation of belly rubs and ear scratches and, of course, breakfast. But my daughter snores and Daisy has rejoined her after our nice walk. Some chores done.

I have decided not to try pursuing a part-time holiday help job right now. Takes the stress away of feeling I REALLY needed to get applying SOON. Any regular reader knows I'd be half nuts to consider it with my limited time, but, my monthly budget has no squeeze room.

(I think I'm missing child support this month, too, due November 1st. It may have come Friday or Saturday, however, being I missed the mail carrier both days.  I'm still missing my main set of keys which include my mailbox key, so I have to time being home for when the mail carrier, the one who knows me, delivers the mail. Usually misplaced items show back up by now so I'm getting more worried. I almost lost my spare set the other day; Boss found them on the floor near my desk oy.)

Two pairs of pants I'd bought M don't fit, so she has just two and that doesn't work unless I'm doing laundry almost daily. She and I both really like the one pair, too, good jeans gotten for great price. I can't find that receipt, so maybe M will just keep that pair until she is that size:)   Returning the other pair in my "spare" time later this next weekend after Thanksgiving proper.   Doing laundry mid-week is hard enough as it is; I'm often rewashing clothes that sat wet in the washer, waiting to get into the dryer.

I felt so badly when M also wanted a skirt yesterday, not even a fancy one or expensive, just a new skirt, and I had to say no right now. She doesn't require a skirt right now, but she likes them, and honestly I'm not sure that any of her dresses /skirts fit except a summer one.  Nota big deal, really, just would be nice to let her try it on, it was classy and modern and more grown up but not sleazy, not worrying about an extra $20-40. once in a while. (It looked great with that winter vest, too! M didn't complain; she understood.) Even when putting back the red polartec-sweats she can really use. (I'll look for them to go on sale.)

Oh, and a solo dress. And her school activity fee, and gosh I'd forgotten, dentist coming up for her. (Mine's long overdue.)  

I'd enjoy someplace like PetsMart, with a 20% discount, that'd help my petfood budget!, then again, what pets want most is time and attention.

I don't wish to go insane, working a place that'd not send customers home until midnight. When would I sleep? When do they sleep?  I'm much less grumpy when I get my sleep, heck, I'd likely eat poorly, and insufficient sleep most certainly wouldn't help me control my ADD.  
And, I won't take time away from M, not much, anyway. So, how often could I work, and would it really be worth it?

Maybe after I get my father more situated.
Two Meals on Wheels called me back right away, giving me such relief, and hope, both saying to please contact them again to let them know how it went with the one for my father's region, that they'd help if need be. The one for Dad's area did call me back, but said she'd get more info, hopefully by that afternoon if not later that morning. This was last week, so, trying not to be discouraged, I'll call again Monday. (Note a link in my sidebar to a national locator for food programs such as meals on wheels.)   Amy told me that in her area of New Jersey, Meals on Wheels is FREE!   Seems that they are lowcost, or free, run individually.  One for my father would be $29./week for two meals. I forget if that one is a one hot and one cold meal a day, or what. I do think this would be of social AND nutritional benefit to him:)  I'm so excited for it to work out.   It just hasn't YET.

And getting those utility aid forms completed for him, what a nightmare to me, who has trouble with forms to begin with, and I can't tell if it's one form for all, or different ones for each. Would it benefit for him to get to a doctor FIRST, so his new prescriptions could be included, that he may receive?   I think I can't wait. His bills this month are higher than his income, his mortgage outrageous.   I felt like a heel having him repay me for some of the groceries and supplies I'd gotten him recently, but, I needed that.   Even if I KNOW I'm covering him for the first half of December.   He doesn't have it.  

At least I got his range working again the other week (bought matches and relit the pilot lights), and ha, his one toilet unclogged:)  Of course, some overflowed so THAT wasn't exactly fun. M was proud of me for having fixed it, however.   M fixed Dad's cell phone to ring instead of just vibrate. She pointed out that she figured out that on Nextel phones, it's buttons on the side that control this, not via menu.  I'm not getting Nextel ever for my purposes. Too confusing for me.

Resoaking up water from his kitchen, needing more lightbulbs, the list is non-ending. Getting a plumber through church is still in process, and would go much quicker if I had more time.  My father really needs me to spend more time moving him along, not less. I cannot stay doing this alone, and he needs so much more, his plumbing needs even more crucial now "Dad, do you know where the mop went?"  "Oh, it's upstairs, I tried to mop the bathroom floor up there; there's water on it." UGH.  I did what I could, for now.  Found a tub at a dollar store, which helps. The main grocery store wanted a minimum of $10. for their buckets. The good thing is that Dad tried, too, had iniciative. The bad thing is that he failed to remember to mention it until I asked about the mop, and doesn't seem to fully comprehend the importance of this. I cleaned up what I could in THIS bathroom, too, but it needs a lot more. 

Maybe a part time job after I have a chance to go through things in my home more completely. I've started, of course. We give things away here and there, or toss out.
"Samoas! We got Girl Scout cookies; a Girl Scout gave them to us!" It made my morning last weekend to hear and see a young Cub Scout bouncing about, excited for the 3+ cases of cookies I'd left outside our front door for his pack's food drive. Of course, they were tested first, just to be certain they were still good enough to eat:)  Hehe.   Besides, can't go giving anyone something one wouldn't find acceptable for oneself; I do strongly believe that.
M had orders for all of these, the second or third round of orders, but the GS cookie season seems to stretch so long, and coordinating getting them all to everyone, individually, a 3rd time, and money, it just gets to be too much.

Step by step, those steps again:) I have places to take some of this other stuff, just needs to be DONE.  Like my dishes in the sink, just needs to be DONE, more time.  Never mind painting my bathroom, and putting up blinds, both of which we have supplies for and not yet the time:)

Narnia movie last night, until M got too tired. She enjoyed her friends birthday party Friday night.  Last night, M was resting on me, along with two cats and a dog (before we got M into her bed). We'd gathered Thanksgiving meal supplies for this afternoon, talking with my mom and my SIL (really my stepbrother's ex-wife but what the heck). M started her day off with drumsticks and hardshoes in a choreographing / rehearsal session for dance which would wake anyone up.

I like it NOW. Quiet, typing but also getting things done. I have to multitask, sweeping or folding laundry or something, while I'm typing. We'll get to church, and enjoy it:) then drop Dad's frozen foods off to him which ended up staying in my truck yesterday and not brought in there. He's fine w/out them, butmay as well have them. Besides, I can dump water out of various pans. Then, Thanksgiving at my mother's:)

Actual Thanksgiving Day I think I'll take Daisy out for a nice long hike at one of my favorite spots. Check to see if the barn can use a spare hand, so others can celebrate with their loved ones. Relax. Maybe take some banana bread to my father. I'm careful not to announce this to IRL people, so they don't feel obligated to invite me over, or me feel obligated to go. I'll celebrate with M today:) miss her on "thee" day, but hope she's having a great time with C and that part of her family.

I'm hoping today goes well. My mother is all excited for it, so that's real good.  M is excited, too.  We'll drive up there with my SIL and niece, which will limit my mother's chances for digs against me. 

Mom sent an e-mail yesterday that I didn't know how to take. I thought the offering of aspirin from my dad to her, had triggered her simply wanting the rest of the money he owes her. She wrote that we may have to cancel our trip to see the Rockette's if she doesn't have that back. Mind, at the time, she said she knew she'd not see it, so if it could just be repaid her whenever the house sells.   My first reaction is that she's trying to have me think, oh no, we can't not go!!!! let me get him to write a check! Well, heck, he is negative money for the month as it is, not as if he wouldn't be happy to repay her.

He did repay just over half of it, so that's good. He'd gotten some refund check in about the time we went to Maine.   Mom always implied (or said?) she'd get M her solo dress (for dance), then was saying she can't without some money reimbursed. Well, planned to repay her some, anyway, and that was a lot of money he repaid her thus far.  Mom still nixed the idea of stopping by in PA for M to try on a dress enroutehome, which was the idea on the way up.  She'd gotten, um, not really liking our company (or mine more like it) any more it seems, by that point in our trip together, I guess. I don't know, but I hate that stuff. Visiting her family in Maine brings out all sorts of emotions for her, I do know that. AND, she is due the money, AND it's HER money. Just, ACK.  

Ends up, she's acting all happy and everything, and yet saying she'll be really ticked if she has to cancel the NY trip, hmm, so maybe her recent heart/ER scare has her with more bills now. She has insurance, but I don't know what it'd cover.  I'll let M bring up the great solo dress she tried on yesterday, well, Mom knows of this one already, but not that it's been tried on. I don't care if we go to NY, except that I know Megan and my mother really wish to, and yeah, it'd be a lot of fun. Minus the leaving HER town NLT 5:30 a.m. part. I may have M spend the night before, so my mom is less stressed. She won't care if I'm late (and miss it), but she'd be upset if M missed it.  Well, unless she'd be out the money spent on me.   It is her Christmas gift to us, and near her birthday so us spending the time with her in a manner she choses is also our "time" spent with her, too.

Mom did reserve a room overnight for the Oircheatas in 2 weeks, which is so not needed for M's purposes now. They posted the schedule, and M is on early Saturday, and late Sunday. We live so close by. The idea was for M to be able to enjoy the event more fully, and give Mom and Bob a chance to rest during the day, etc. They'be both real supportive of M, and that's good.  Mom says she'll keep the room, so I'm thinking it's for her purposes more.   The awards won't be given out until late in the day.  

Maybe Mom is overextended, so fine, we'll cut back. Maybe she's just wanting her money back. Maybe, it's something inbetween. 

But, for a couple more hours,I don't have to worry about that:) Shower, wake up M. Oh, wait, sleeping dance diva is stirring. Only Daisy is snoring now, lol. Okay, what's for breakfast? (My second one, I have to eat two a day.)   Actually, a nap sounds good to me right now, too:) Gotta hustle now. Have a blessed day, all. Maybe I'll see the construction business owner guy today at church who may help me at Dad's, too.....

Friday, November 17, 2006

"Bubba" the panda hamster

Actually, I heard the OAR interview this a.m., just busy every since.   My break times today have been spent tweaking my list of other journals.   Oops, I found out AFTER doing this, that I was to limit myself to 6-8 suggestions.  LOL oh well:)   This has been fun! and lifts my spirits. 

Daisy, our beagle, and I, run into Brandy, whose owner commented that "This is going to be a good day."   Yes, it is!   The sun is back, the crows have reclaimed the tops of trees, cawing away.   I save a drowning worm.  Daisy practices agility under downed branches, missing two squirrels chasing each other then catching the scent of something else VERY exciting.  Off she takes me.   (Cat) Indie didn't join us today.   Oh, he did join us again one recent morning, but still mostly peeks outside and stays inside.   I let him breathe in the air by leaving the door cracked open, only to find Captain in the bushes, lol, come on in, buddy.  

M was trying to wrap a hamster cage and supplies.   "Herding cats" for breakfast, I'd been glad we didn't also bring home the hamster last night.  

At the time, I just didn't wish to keep "Bubba" in my truck that long.   Good thing, too, for the storms last night caused much flooding, a bridge washed out delaying us almost 40 minutes enroute to dance rehearsal.   (Teacher Ma calls us as we're going home, "If M is running that late again, I feel badly, I don't wish her coming all that way for almost no dancing, just have her stay for the next class."  This is the class we'd LIKE M to be in, we think, but AFTER Oircheatas is over so Ma can concentrate more on others, too.   M made the work on new steps which they'll finesse tomorrow a.m.)   Various traffic reports, freight train derailed disrupting travel between B'more and Washington, car fire on 270, beltway/495 completely closed down in one direction....... we're all alive, no running out of gas.  I slipped in a cd by Dan Nelson, featuring music from Narnia and M "rested."

Ah, yes, "Bubba" is a panda hamster I relented to having put on reserve.   M is going to a sleepover birthday party and the parents okayed the birthday girl getting a hamster, which the girl has already named "Bubba" for some odd reason.   M thinks it's cool.    M has always wanted one herself, or other small rodent.   "Are you nuts, child?  We have five cats and a beagle, and you think a hamster wouldn't feel stressed if it stayed alive in our home?"   "PUULLLEEZZZEEEE."   The night before, we'd dined with friends, MegMAID of Shawn's ZandB blog, actually.   Lovely company, relaxing time I've so needed.   The girl there has a cute hamster, too.   I discuss finances with M, who finally agrees to contribute $10. reminding me that she's been friends with birthday girl for 8 years now.

Billy investigates the empty cage and "helps" with the wrapping paper.   M thinks calling Billy, Billy Bob, is cool, too.   Kids.   Wow, she woke up happily and early to reels repeating itself on her clock radio, yet somehow still running out of time to pack and dress and wrap.   If we don't focus on what we're doing to get ourselves ready, it's easy to not be finished by thee goal, especially with anything else added, such as subtracting $10. from allowance owed and wrapping odd-sized gifts.   Of course, I agree to help so she could dress and get to school on time, so now I'll head out to finish the wrapping, or, rewrap what the cats unwrapped, and pick up its new inhabitant.  Bubba, the panda hamster. 

Update:   M looks out the door into the cold, "Mom?!"   Five squealing preteen girls soon run down the driveway.   Birthday girl, arms wide open, "Bubba!  Bubba!"    As the ad says, "priceless." :)

The parents invite me to join them for dinner, where I learn that the dad is almost as excited as his daughter for her to have pets.  She was also given a betta fish, Bubbles.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Guest Editor!

I love a heavy rain; it'd be great to curl up under a blanket, hot mug of cider, cat or two purring away, and read:)   These days, much of my reading and dvelving into others thoughts are via the aol journals.  I'd forgotten all about the idea of there being guest editors, and am surprised and a bit excited to have been "found" and asked!  So, thanks, Jeff / MagicSmoke:)

Quick notes:   This journal was started 7 months ago, mostly to just write out my thoughts as I seem to be in front of a computer much more often than I have a pen in hand.   (Usually the pen is in my mouth.)   I'm a 45 year old single mother of a fantastic 12 year old daughter.   She and I are both involved in Irish dancing.  I have ADD, which is a bit obvious if you try to read some of my more circuitious (sp) or rambling entries.   I also care for my 73-year old father who has dementia and lives alone, for now, anyway, until I can figure out how to pay for any other options.  

Some of my "must read" journals I so enjoy and have on alerts include:

Let's start off with Giving TreeThe Giving Tree  Canyonsun04 is coordinating the good spirited of us in Journal-Land with those who could use a helping hand, or perhaps another item or two.   I personally know of someone only from online AOL who was laid off of her job and unable to get coats for her children, until someone else nominated her to The Giving Tree, and two others had spare coats to send along for her cold family.   (Her journal is private now, or I'd definitely feature hers on here.)  Tis the season for thanks giving -- please do check out Giving Tree by Canyonsun04 :)

Fred is a relative newcomer, who already has developed his own sort of online journaling fanclub:)   Intended to be a place for Fred to write about his forays into the dating world after being divorced, his journal has since evolved into tidbits from his life, starting in Russia and emigrating to the US, and searches for love, and who he is, through college and today.  Look back a bit and you'll even find a romantic recipe much too ambitious for my domestic, um, "skills."   Sit by the fire and sip wine kind of read indeed.    Those Eyes That the Cherubim Drew

Mike's journal I stumbled upon while he wrote of taking care of his elderly mother.   He's a single non-custodial dad with custody issues many of us sometimes have, who also plays air-guitar to classic rock and tries to see the humour and good in life (at least, I picture him as always smiling), seemingly always debating whether or not to make that next blind date.   He had quite a childhood to overcome (THAT journal is here: Crystal Clear Days of Insanity).   MikeV009's main one is:   I'm Going Sane in a Crazy World

Single parenting is the theme -- Sharon is a single mother of four children, living in the greater Amish area of Pennsylvania.   Her journal captures her emotions as she and her children grow, through her illness and past a cheating spouse, with love and hope in her heart.   This Momma's Drama gave me the encouragement to start journaling myself.

When Mary does post, it always has me either touched, or laughing.   (Check out her entry "don't date a man with four kids" if you're in a place where you can crack up out loud.)   Just a few words from her, and she's captured completely the essence of the love between a father with Alzheimer's and his doting daughter.   It helps me to hear her.   Just Mary

Milwaukee's best includes Dan's homage to his bit of world, and cheese, can't forget the cheese.   I wish sometimes that I had the computer and writing skills that Dan does.   I almost always love his entries, wry comments and perspectives and light-hearted pontifications on his world and life.   Deafcat makes me think of mine, even his writing of an unrelenting spider had me smile, a week or so later, when I had just the beauty of an aging spiderweb to keep me copany for a couple hours. The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind

I hope to add more later.   Jeff, aka, MagicSmoke's e-mail asking meto be guest editor went into my SPAM folder, of all places, so I didn't see it until a bit ago, almost past his requested deadline.   Back off my break and back to the world of meetings and printers, and hey, even some sunshine coming in now (but still a tornado watch, so be careful out there).

-- Robin

Guest Editor part II!   The rain is gone!  Even before I dashed off yesterday, I KNEW I wished to add more journals, my Uncle Len corrects me, bia my aunt Beth, that this is blogging.   Nor did I realize I could add non-aol blogs.  

The funniest non-aol blogs I know of is written by dance-parent Shawn, taking pokes at the inside world of Irish stepdancing, particularly if competing (in feiseanas).   Zebadiah and Beauregard's Front Porch  Check out "do you have what it takes to be a feis mom."   Admittedly, I've had M's stepdance shoes and my dance shoes (for ceili and set dancing) in my truck for two funerals in one month this fall..... I'd have prefered weddings, which merited me a score of 19.   We've since traveled to the Rhythm of Ireland feis, and for some reason will stay overnight in Arlington for the Southern Regional Oircheatas, so I may score higher soon.

In the "I really wish he'd write again" category -- I could so relate to the descrition of a day living with ADHD, and he gives some practical medical information as well -- a very good writer.  The aol journal:  Confessions of a Madman: Insights into Living and Coping With ADHD and also the blogspot one:  Mending the Dream:Out of the ADHD Nightmare

Looking for blogs in all the right places - check out Paul / plittle's Carnivaol.   He collects blogs to feature on a weekly basis CarnivAOL

Struggling for a better life out of cocaine clutches, for herself and her daughter, is Jenn.   God give her the strength to stay fighting the good fight.   Please lendher some support and hope that she CAN do this:)   She's been living with her daughter and her now deceased grandmother who had Alzheimer's.  Jenn's Lost Life and her previous journal is:  Jenn's lost life

Ever bored and wondering what it'd be like to visit some town in the US?  I followed them during their road trip -- hey, they live in Maryland, too, just got out for a bit.   Road Trip 2006

Flat Stanley is on the move -- what stories he could tell?!   Great kids project.   Perhaps more hosts and hostesses will contribute, too.   The Flat Stanley Project

Briana ends her quick read journal with an entry about a road trip to her new life, one without her recently deceased alcoholic father.   She's a kid.   I suspect she'll find a new voice somewhere, sometime.   Briana's Journal

Journals new to me which I've been enjoying and hope to read more of! include:

Barbara lives in a unique Texas town, with faith and introspectionLife & Faith in Caneyhead

Ginger cheers up residents in an assisted living center, in ways that work best for THEM, cheering up her readers while she's at it.   Assisted Living Center Activity

Well read, but with reason - good prose and other writing abounds in Rebecca's In The Shadow Of The Iris

Going to be a bright, bright, sunshiney day:)   Enjoy your weekend reading, everyone.  -- Robin

p.s. -- Not having seen a Guest Editor spot before, and given no guidance other than to try to include non-aol and those with limited readership, I didn't know I was to limit myself to 6-8 selections!  Oh, well:)  Gives you more to chose from.


Thanksgiving feast on a tornado watch day

Grey rainy warm day -- perfect for tornados apparently.   While multitasking here, as always, getting one call, "the barn" called me on my cell.  Not about reenrolling, but that she has to cancel classes today.   M will be very disappointed, safe, but disappointed.   She loves her riding, and looked forward to class today.   Wait, this means, I'll have to pick her up after school! it means her daycare is canceled! oh, we can use a few hours to just us.   I'll miss some of staff meeting, but my boss will understand, he's a family man, the "younger" viewpoint on how to manage employees.

In a few moments, the Thanksgiving Feast.  I'm not really crazy about lunching with tons of people.   I suppose I'll go comb my hair first, put on a dab of lipstick.   No winter holiday party this year, being it'd be me doing it with people assigned to help me, and my boss really liking the idea of our traditional, 7th annual secular Thanksgiving feast, i.e., no one overtly enthusiastic about it.  I admit, I built the Thanksgiving feast up to him, also, cuz I feel it's been an important tradition here for many.   Our hundreds of employees are mostly introverts, and many won't travel home or have others visit them and may be alone on "the" Thanksgiving Day.   It's a good thing.

Have to admit, controlling manager was annoying me yesterday and today, so I ignored the one thing, took a breathe, and handled the rest in a way that seemed appropriate (nicely).   Talking with another manager, the interim boss for me whom I know well and knows HER well, he told me "You should have been a diplomat.   She is just being controlling, that's her thing."   lol   It was SO nice to hear someone else say that.   And, oh yeah, Boss told me he told her that he wants ME doing those things, too:)   I was wondering if he'd ever pick up on it. 

Still smiling at nyboots journal "leaf day," too.   I love fall leaves, even in the blowing grey clouds and almost leafless trees of today in the heavy warm rain.   Assisted Living Center Activity   I may have to take inside to Dad a few of those colorful leaves at his house, so he can see them, too, well, that may also confuse him as to what the heck I'm doing, lol.   He wants M to come by and fix his cell phone, also, as in, get it to ring and not vibrate.   She's likely the only one who can figure that out.   Perhaps AFTER the tornado watch:)



Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Steps and Balance

Been busy with a lot to write for this past week, later.   Caretaking means balancing ones own needs in there, too, along with my father's, and the dog's and the cats' and especially M's! but I'm not always so good at taking care of mine.   Breathe, BJ writes that sometimes he just needs space to breathe (in life cuz he's really busy right now), and how am I....

M dances and I get some dancing in and I see that as helping us balance out our lives in a way to keep us sane.   And, finally, I think I get it.   To take steps, one needs balance.   To obtain greater technical and fun accuracy with ones steps, includes refining ones balance as well.   To take greater steps, the next step by step by step, as I'm trying with my father, but in life as well and in walking and dancing, balance is critical.

Thanks, God:)   For the glorious site of fallen Japanese red maple leaves at Dad's house Sunday that I just had to rake off the driveway to be outside, and Daisy walks especially on Friday morning near M's school after dropping her off there.   Children were laughing from the playground behind the main building, beautiful warm mid-70's day predicted.   That teacher must have decided to let her young students play for 15 minutes before starting her class, understanding the balance needed of academia and physical / social time, or, well, play and swinging on such a fall day :)   I wish I had time for this every weekday.   For M dancing in the large festival on Saturday, I heard an estimate of 700 but I suspect that number was way too high an estimate of the particular audience watching her and her dance school's show.   She had fun:)   I'm so glad.   It went well (Si dancing, too).   Thanks, Lord.   For the youth pastor calling me back after our first conversation, checking on the status of things at Dad's, for I'd called him amongst others, yes, I finally broke down and am asking for help.   Doug hasn't, for he has his own issues, but, to have others call me back, it's great:)   Thanks, Beth, for her continuing support.   And even for my father, who in the midst of me spending 5 hours there mostly cleaning up the soaked kitchen floor, et al, but some shopping and mail, and getting his feet traced, too, for remembering the social aspect.   The balance.   That upside down Jenny plane stamp he's told me of forever, recently found (or a copy of) on an absentee ballot in Florida.  I'm glad he'd noticed that article.   He pulled out his stamp collections and showed me the "what it should have been" stamp, and retold me the story of the sheet of 100 upside down ones:)

Taking lots of steps lately, I sometimes feel as if I'm going to just SSSSSSNNNNNAAAAAAAAA getting close to adding that PPPPPP on there, but not yet I haven't.  Somehow.   I can't do this all.   Some steps forward, some steps in place, but, if I don't remember to balance, if God's not there with me, or with M, or whomever, we couldn't dance:)  (i.e., couldn't stay living life without falling)

Sometimes I do feel as if I'm going to break, I can't do it all.   I've known that.   This slap of a reminder that if I DON"T take care of myself enough, too, I can't take care of others, well, "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!"   Rainy pouring days, bright warm colorful fall days, all of them.   Life goes on, and I am not alone.  

Besides, I have Algebra to try to remember with M lol, and discussions as to just what the last chapter in Animal Farm truly means, and yes, okay, we can go shopping one night for she'll need a birthday gift for a classmate this weekend, and me pretending I can stepdance (very laughable as if "dancing at Lunasa") and silly stuff.   These things aren't chores; time with her is a joy.   Even if balancing.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

so which month is this?

National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, 2006

The current President George Bush proclaimed on October 30 that November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month.   Rather cool, I suppose, not sure if this means people will do more for it, but hopefully so.   At least it's more recognized now, which is a good step.   Now to include other forms of dementia along with it:)  (My fathers dementia is still undiagnosed officially, but from all I've read, which a slew of information yet TO read and absorb, he does have cognitive impairment, and it's the dementia caused by mini-strokes (he's had a few of those).  

November is also Eat Healthy Month!   Oh, yum, yum:)   Does this mean we can eat Thanksgiving-meal foods all month long?!

It's also deer mating season, which is all the more obvious for having to be extra careful lately while driving.   These young beautiful creatures:)

Is any of this related?  Perhaps.  I DID have venison for Thanksgiving one year in Maine.   Alright, so that was dinner while waiting for some of the family to return home, before the age of cell phones, and turkey was later on.   Venison was on hand, the men anxious and figuring they should feed us kids (or perhaps they got hungry themselves).   Quite the Thanksgiving memory overall, lol.

Oh, ticks are out, too -- found one deer tick on my hand this a.m. and then M found one on Daisy.   (Found another on Daisy the next day as well.) 

Dad says........

Dad says, "I didn't think you'd come so late."   I got his groceries at lunchtime, not enough time to drop them off until night.  M is in the car reading; I tell him she's asleep so he doesn't feel badly as she doesn't wish to come in.   (He may ask her the same question over and over, the same questions as last time, or smell badly, she feels uneasy around him.)   She'd be reading at home, too, it's schoolwork.   Too much schoolwork.   She's in a good mood, though, we got in a nice talk again on the ride from dancecarpooling (Bob took her there yesterday, my mom sounding MUCH better, but best to have Bob this week).
Dad says there's no light (for the outside light), but I see a bulb and put it in.
Dad says, a bit anxiously, "I can't pay you for these."   "I know that, Dad."   He remembers he has $10. left in his account, but not that I'm the one who figured it out for him.   "I'll pay you when I get paid again, you know I don't get my social security money until the (day of month)."  "It's okay, Dad."
Dad says, "The valve is downstairs in the basement.   You can't do that, it'd turn off all the water in the house."
Dad says, "Doug didn't look at it," re: the clogged toilet.  UGH.  I can't unclog it myself.....   Dad says, "I didn't ask him about it," for other items.   Like clipping Dad's nails which somehow have grown a ton in a short time.   I dump the pot of water into the sink, couldn't Doug have seen that filling up overflowing onto the kitchen floor?   It didn't used to drip constantly, see, and Doug didn't realize that's what I meant now, but he put in new light bulbs in the kitchen.   I know Doug couldn't see the newspapers at the end of the driveway, so I brought those in, soaked in the rain which Dad lays out to dry, and his latest mail.   The leak doesn't bother Dad somehow.
Dad says his stove doesn't work.  Huh?  Since when?  I will check the burners when I go Friday, bring matches.   I didn't know what I'd do for certain on my day off of work, but it seems too obvious now, as M has school.   I'd asked him if he has a tea kettle, thinking he could use it for his instant coffee.   Dad says he puts his coffee cup in the oven.  Oy.   These don't bother him.
Dad asks, "Did you call the mortgage company?   I have written down, here, take this," his fingers pointing to dates scrawled on a paper as to when he'd sent checks in and when they've cleared based on his bank statements he's looked over and which are laying there as well.   This is very lucid and organized of him, his accountant days showing forth.   I retell him that it's okay now, that his October check DID clear, that he's caught up to date.   He holds out the paper he's worked hard to prepare, so I take it anyway, telling him I'll call them.   Dad says what I'm thinking, that neither of us understand why a company would say they're going after a foreclosure for missing one solitary payment, and yet also cashing the supposedly missed payment.
Dad says, "No one visits me, I'll change later.  I'm fine."   Both his children visiting in one day, he's worn out, yet, he had that shirt on the other day, also.   He WILL have people coming in for the plumbing, but I don't press it right now.  
Dad says, "Here are $3."   He points to three dollar bills on the table by the couch where he sits.   He usually keeps his cash on top of the piano, right now it's less than $10. cash in dollar bills I know, so he'd planned this.   "I want you to get a bottle of this aspirin for your mother.  Didn't she have a heart attack?"   This is the lower-dosage aspirin Bayer with calcium that he's been taking, and he has me take when I visit, too:)   And, I do.   "Didn't you say they gave her an aspirin?"   Well, she didn't have a heart attack, her siblings have, but they did give Mom aspirin and other medicine when in the ER last Friday.   I try to figure out how to spin this for my mother.   Dad means no romance by it, it's just because he thinks it'd help, and he cares about me, and holds no hard feelings for my mother.  His world of people is so small now.
"Here, take this $3., I want you to buy this for your mother."