Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Daffodils and Tradeoffs

I first noticed daffodils a couple days ago when Daisy ventured to an area near us that we don't always visit.  Since then, I've seen them all over the place!, from M's school, to along side the roads.  No wonder I love yellow:)   I see some pink starting, too, in some of the trees, and more bits of forsythia coloring the lawns.   So far, these pollens don't bother me, these are not my allergens.   The early joys of spring.
A real thunderstorm yesterday afternoon, also.  A heavy downfall, quick, intense, high winds thunderstorm.  M said she and others at The Barn were looking at the rainstorms "in stripes, there were real actual stripes," moving about the horizon.   "I'm going home to a wet house!," M said she told them.   "Did you tell them your mother was driving through this?"  Driving through and against it, I think.   Gone by the time we drove home, moments later, just the wet ground and cars remained.  
Doug called me last night.   I hadn't noticed until I heard my cell phone rining, smothered inside my purse, Dad calling me for Doug's number.  Uh-huh, what's going on?   Ah, nothing bad.   They'd talked earlier and got cut off.   Doug and I have both moved on to the next best idea for Dad, both of us thinking that if he sells his current home, and then moves into a place, that'd be best.  I prefer to have it fixed up some first, and Doug's not that patient, but at least he's not dropping his concern and attention.   Various ideas about the furniture, and senior homes, and how to's, yeah, he's just now collecting information, that I've tried ages ago, and I tell him I'd like to do this, but with only me interested, it hasn't worked, so I'm glad he's feeling (mostly) the same.   I know a few realtors, so guess I'm to contact them as he was thinking of contacting some "ugly house for sale" type of place, get whatever we can.   Um, it's not THAT bad off........
This whole thing seems to have upset Doug, which ultimately, is good.   He said he's tempted to just walk away, he can't do this again, and in the same conversation, he said more than once that he knows he needs to stop by Dad's more often.   He knows a bit of how much I'm doing (and, this past week,listening to me, too).  He makes a point to tell me how much Dad appreciates Meals on Wheels, good food and two meals a day just not enough fruit and juices, lol, yes, that's our dad, loves his citrus (so I tell Doug how they were late twice last week, and how Dad remembers the waiting but not that they did endup coming).   Somehow, he'd not realized Dad even HAD Meals on Wheels until last week, or, didn't remember.
The idea of Dad living with either of us had us talking about our respective dogs, and then Dad's laundry.   Hey, that IS a logical train of thought, really.  I read something yesterday about paranoia developing in some patients with dementia, and I was reminded of how dad was starting to get with his laundry, fearful he'd not see it again.   I felt it a victory to have two loads of his clothing I think I'll wash a third time just because.  Doug says he had bought for Dad some warmer tops last year for Dad's (May!) birthday (sweatshirts or similar, I forget specifically).   That would help ME so much, as it'd let Dad feel he didn't have to hold onto one specific warm top, so, in theory, Doug will bring those to Dad as an early birthday present this year.  
It IS a gift to have family to spend time on, focus on.   The burden is in all the issues, and all the time required sometimes immediately, that can be involved.   I can see Doug wrestling with all of this.   He tells me that he supposes it's a trade off, me being there often and doing all these other things, taking Dad to the grocery store (or, bringing him the things), and him coming in with the larger assistance for the larger crisis things.   Wonder if Doug still thinks that Dad carries his own trash down, etc., whatever.  Yeah, it has worked.   Doug pays the phone bill, I pay Meals on Wheels, and, I told Doug, I know I'm inheriting that boy Dad has started sponsoring.  "Why is he doing THAT???!!!!"   "I think he's lonely."  Doug takes that in.  A lot of other things here and there.  So, perhaps not as well as it likely could, I do know that. 
And M asks me a "math" question this morning, one she came up with after I'd gone to sleep.   She was trying to graph the hours of daylight over a year, believing that Daylight Savings Time brings about an additional hour of daylight, and trying to show when that occurs, combined with the seasonal shift.   What a good marketing job they've done, if she doesn't realize until I explain it, that the hours of daylight remain the same, no matter what time we refer to it as.   Just the seasonal shift, and, she recalls how the differences are more marked for those living near poles.   Today, she's teaching the Spanish class.   They are taking turns.   M spent time on her lesson plan last night, then switched it all about, oh, I like her latestidea:)   Monday, she HAD to get on the computer, rewrite her "What I Believe Essay," which had been due Monday, but, being she didn't feel she could ask C to call me and have me e-mail the electronic version of her rough-draft (nor letting her even know I"d called her, never mind having her return my call), Mo apparently gave M a reluctant extension.   I love hearing M thinking through her lesson plan for Spanish.:)   I hate the last minute urgent stuff, rearranging what I'd planned for us Monday night.  But, she's SUCH a gift, I SO want to be the one there for her and with her.  
I'm a sandwich generation.   I'm not alone, thousands are in the sandwich, caring for parents and children at the same time.   A lot of this I've done primarily single-handedly.  Not fully.  My mother/Bob have always helped with M, and her dad is more involved now, and Doug is around once in a while in regards to my father.  But.  The day to day, the name of M's friend who loves Reese's pieces (and gets them from M whenever she has that yogurt that comes with them), and Dad's dogwalking neighbor who used to bring up the newspaper, I KNOW these people, not just their names.  I'm the one there for M, all the time; I'm the one there for my father, most of the time.  
I'd love to just take Dad up to his favorite used book store, maybe one day while M's on spring break, as she loves a good book store as much as I do, and Dad does, oh wait.   Dad'll need a bath first, beard trimmed, too.  Need to run him some bottled water today until his water's back on.  Still.   I suppose, we're still all family, and we all just do what we can, including a littlebit of enjoyment in life while we're at it.   Like the bit of sunshine on earth found in a daffodil, and rearranging the game show version of a Spanish lesson plan. :)

Monday, March 26, 2007

so, that's where they're hiding

Ever since I stopped wearing my claddagh earrings in January, I've gotten all sorts of dating advice, even from E, my dear dear male friend, whom I still adore all these years later as much as I try not to.   (E is in a committed relationship, and I even like his girlfriend, it's fine, I don't drool in public, and we dance beautifully together at times, and, a good friend is good, too.)   And, I've given dating advice, lol, yes, even to guys I've dated (if asked/seems appropriate, "exit interviews" can be informative).  

After 2.5 years, ya think I was looking to dash desperately out into the vast sea of fish, so to speak?   Heck no.   I've never been desperate to date, anyway.   Get a grip, we're complete human beings without mates, as much as there can be good happiness and loving relationships with mates, which I'm open to, I'd enjoy having even.  I do like guys, after all.  There is no requirement, however, to be mated up.  Not even if one guest pastor told me to my face that I should switch churches as I WOULD be asked out (gee, thanks for assuming the spiritual needs of my daughter and myself, and, did he even ask me if I was dating at the time, cuz, I was, or if I wanted to date/marry, and, did he suggest this to the other single woman there (nope), who was not a parent, but single, and what if I was divorced and didn't believe in remarriage, he did not even ask me these things).

Long distance ultimately can (and has at times) screwed things up, yet, it has its benefits, too -- including the time factor.   Then again, the right guy, one whom I can feel excited over, over time, somehow, the time makes itself:)   (If I find myself struggling to fit in time with a guy, instead of naturally finding the time, I know he's not really for me.)

I'm open to it, try to keep my eyes open.   But, not desperate.

E and other guys have talked with me about all of this a few times.  Once was at a ceili in January (somehow, E noticed a new single guy for me, but not KuteGuy), and then later in a local gathering spot after class one night in, hmm, February?   E's first home after separating and then divorcing, was in the townhouse of a guy who runs a local dating club.   E made sure he was NOT around whenever meetings were held in the home, lol, hey, he likely wasn't ready to date even.   Another guy met his wife at yet another local dating group, and a seemingly happy and, I believe, well-matched couple I never realized were on their second marriages, met via a dating club or online.  I forget now.  Pros and cons to these.  I mostly wasn't so interested.  I told them that my father used to be a member of Parents Without Partners, and I'm sure that they are a fine enough group (no matter how easy he thought the women were at the time, decades ago), I just couldn't, it was my DADs group, yanno.   A couple girlfriends of mine are big into a Catholic dating club, which I see as more of a social club.  I've been to some events not of the club, but had several attending FROM the club.   (Where "R" is from, who declined to date me as he thinks I've been married before, and I figured screw'off, then, if he can't even find out, besides, he'd likely diss me for not being Catholic.)   Once upon a time, I checked out a few online dating services, and talked with many friends about various ones.   eHarmony is not for me -- there's a 400?? question questionnaire for just one thing, egads, I do not have patience to fill that out, and if I ever did, I'd NOT be a good match with anyone else who did.  (I realize many are happy withthem, and, that is great for those people, I like more control, too, admittedly.) is a good, free one, btw.   I've tried them, got inundated, can't handle all of the e-mails, wish to respect that each person writing to me is a real person (tho the rude ones don't get a response or two guys and one woman guy got blocked by me, three total out of hundreds who'd written me).  Had a few dates, chatted with some other neat guys, some far away some closer.  It even has forums there that are decent and not too difficult to use.   Still run out of a guys apartment all by himself, yet if I was to go back to an online dating site, it'd definitely be them.   I just don't want inundation or dating to be a SEARCH.  Not now, anyway.

E kept telling me, that all I need to do is show up (at one of these dating places/meetings).   "You're attractive enough," he said a few times.  Thanks, E, but I don't want just any guy.  We were walking out of the restaurant/pub, when E tells me that, "There really are good guys out there, they're just probably hiding under the tables."   "Yeah, me, too."  "Well, just don't go hiding under the tables at the ceili on Sunday."  Nah, I was all excited to dance that weekend, until it got snowed out.

I had a really great conversation with BJ last night, one of our best, and truly an important one.  We knew each other for a long time before ever dating even.   We'll always have a connection (red-headed angelic imp, just had to add that, hehe).   And I remember, this is part of why I don't date around.   I want a quality guy (i.e., BJ is a quality guy).

Even if it'd have been fun to run into "KuteGuy" yesterday at a pub ceili I'd planned to attend, his home turf.   It's okay (I needed, for me even, to visit my dad yesterday, and talk with some others).   Saw him at a big ceili recently, he on the complete other side of the room that somehow I never feel comfortable just going over and plopping myself down inserting into a group of already friends, but his group got a table there.   So I did insert myself into a set being formed over that way, that KG was in.  M tells me she doesn't think he's cute.  "Well, he was cuter with his hat on."  He could be seeing one of the young ladies, hmmm, hey, they would be cute together, or, Kute.  Maybe he's best as an occasional dance buddy, and, that's okay.  I can still look!

Apparently, as time goes on, my list of qualifications has altered.   Not that I ever did NOT want a quality guy, of course.   In addition, I want respect and honesty as non-negotiables (and, I will provide the same).   I suppose I've always wanted them as well, finding over time how critical they are.  I'm learning that even if I find no offense to being called a prude at times, I'm also not considered fully traditional.   A friend and I have chatted about a potential guy for me, whom she's friends with.   She reads my journal, knows a few things about me, anyway.   I do like a guy with confidence.  He has to accept that I have a child, and if he has any, he'd best be involved (if possible), nor speak disrespectfully about their mother.  And, yet, the first thing I ask her isn't if he likes art, or outdoors stuff, if he's been divorced or just what, kids, religion, sense of humour, is he smart (intelligence can be so attractive to me, at times), his age, or if he likes dancing and music even.  Nope, none of these do I ask her.  I have to laugh, the first thing I ask her about this guy, is:  "Is he an anal-type of [profession here], or laid back sufficiently?   yeah, I have to ask:)  lol "

I'm clean, my home is clean, I take care of myself (and 6 pets, a child, and, to some extent,  my father).   I crave neatness, but I have difficulty with it.   Some [people with that profession] just have a brain that works in very logical, "anal," organized ways, which is fine, just SOME of them, can get too flustered if who they are partnered with, is not also like that.  I've had guys embrace that aspect of me, and, I've had guys think that they like me, but if I'd just (a, b., or c, basically altering parts of me that I cann't change), I'd be good.   I've cared deeply for a few with that profession, likely know more people in that profession than any other, and none can be stereotyped too specifically, so I won't list the profession and add to the stereotype.   I am very detail-oriented, I love organization, my mind is in part very mathematically oriented (I love the patterns in some of the ceili/set dances, for example), and I very possibly could have been rather anal myself, if not for the ADD, and my enjoyment of creativity (albeit not finishing projects may be a touchon the ADD side of things).

Live and learn:)   I'm okay being single.  But, a few overturned leaves, um, tables, someone may find me, or me him.   I'm not going to live my life as a hermit, and, I've not decided against this guy my friend is thinking of for me, either.  Intriguing.  But, I suppose how "anal-retentive" a guy is, IS one of my questions these days, lol.  

Oh, and no whiners.   That's never been appealing.

(Update:   I realized later, I've never even asked her what this guy looks like, but he does have a nice name!)

forsythias and crocuses (um, there aren't bullets in that, are there?)

Timing can be ironic at times.   Between Doug and I, never mind Meals on Wheels (I'm positive at least 4 out of 5 days, albeit my dad insists it's only 3 last week), and the reverse mortgage guy and the natural gas guy, my father has been visited several times last week.   Oh, and tons of calls, even earlier on Sunday. 

Yesterday, the lovely neighbor of his, dogwalker who used to bring Dad his paper every morning from the end of the driveway hill, hurried up to me after I'd pulled into Dad's driveway and was walking to get the mail.   "We're all worried about Mr. [dad]."  I'm wondering if I should be as well, or if this is in relation to "potential crisis" that was going on last week that we've resolved (it wasn't).   Did something happen within the last hour?  Seems no one has seen lights on at Dads for 10 days.   Not that he always gets them turned back off, if he's turned them on, so they tend to burn out (making mental note to check the lightbulbs).   That someone who told her that he's a good old friend of Dad's even pulled up yesterday a.m.   (Hmmmm, now that's intriguing, someone else trying to solicit Dad into selling the home, most likely, for what old good friend wouldn't try further contact???  I imagine Dad was sleeping, or, not knowing the person, refused to answer the door.)   That the mail has built up.   I remind her that I bring that in to him weekly, albeit last week, both my brother and I had been there a couple times.   She seemed to remember now that Dad can't come down the driveways hill and retrieve the mail.   Even if I do appreciate her concern, truly.   Some seem like scavengers, but she has been kind, caring.   We chat briefly, including with the two dogs who smell Daisy on me.   She thanks me for she knows he'd asked me to bring her cookies at Christmas time, for taking him the newspaper daily.   Dad looks out the front door.   Oh, I'd forgotten my hair cut/trimming accessories (and let her know I meant to bring them).   She and Dad wave and smile.  

Ahh, purple crocuses.  How deep and beautiful they are, spreading a bit from where planted originally, so many years ago.   I retrieve some trash that's blown into the forsythia bushes.   They get so beautiful, just starting their yellow now.  Dad asks me to shut the door after I'm done bringing things in (and trash and recycling out), but I don't fully.   It's too nice out, air things some, before pollens start choking us. 

We visit a while, I trying to reexplain all the financial and paperwork stuff that had gone on the past week.   He also shows me a HUD certificate that has him confused.   The reverse mortgage guy told me that he'd arrange for a telephone counseling session with Dad, and a counseling session is a legal requirement.   Dad has no recollection of it, not now, only the day he had it was he able to tell me, "Yes, I just got finished with them."  He asks me to call them, and I ask if he can, and he's confused.  Hhe also has trouble reading (even if reading glasses are near by).   I read further, hmm, 24/7.....  so I call.   With the certificate is a plan, recommendations.  The guy is nice, they are a neutral source, even if website surveys and such are recommended, Dad cannot do them.    He's not fully comprehending that the crisis is over, just dealing with this now, that they didn't stop it (okay, sometimes he realizes that but questions why not), that Doug and I did.  So, I offer to write it down for him, which he accepts.  

Other paperwork, other bills, including that precious hispanic-looking, hispanic-named boy from hmmm, Guatemala? someplace in South America, but he'd sworn it was Africa, not that he cares which continent, it's just he swore it was some kid in Africa.   I told him that perhaps the television ad showed Africa, but when he called, they may have asked if he was agreeable to helping a child with the greatest need.   I put up the boys photo, to remind us both to be sure his support isn't lapsed.  Ironically, he looks a touch like my brother did as a child.   We talk of soccer and kids sports and Doug's for football outfit.   And birthdays and his mothers would have been this Thursday.   Is it Gregory Peck wh oplays in "To Kill a Mockingbird?"  I try to bring up things he may know and remember, and he did know that movie.  M's reading that book in school right now, a connection for Dad perhaps, help him think some, and we discussed that one for a bit.   (I do plan to rent it for M to watch, cuz, that book is not easy to get through.   I'vetaken to reading it, also, so I can help her, discuss it with her, explain that the 10-foot arc of water off the porch is someone urinating sigh, it never SAYS that outright....)

"You were going to give me the number for Meals on Wheels, I tol dyou they didn't come Friday.  I haven't eaten since Thursday."  "Dad, you just finished a bowl of chili."  A fresh bowl, from the soup bar at the grocery store.   And, I'm learning, if MonW comes later in the day than he anticiaptes, he remembers the waiting and the waiting and them not coming, forgetting that they finally did.  And, he's had food over the weekend, but he doesn't remember it.  "Oh, right.," brushing off cracker crumbs.    It takes a bit of convincing for him to let me take his dirty shirt to wash, more so for his sweatshirt, "I may never see it again."   He asks me again about a sweater I'd bought him when I visited Bolivia, the one with the holes in the elbow needing repair.   And at least one other sweater that I do not have, and I"m unclear if this is some sweater he's remembering from many years ago, or recently and I'd tossed, or one he's misplaced in the house somewhere.   "This one keeps me warm, Robin, what will I wear?"     Luckily, when in Dad's room, I found a nice brown aip up combination sweater/ sweatshirt that my aunt Beth must have sent Dad, or perhaps Doug brought (yeah right). 

Branches in the yard I want picked up, maybe I could but I don't this visit.  I straighten the bird baths, no longer in danger of water freezing and cracking them.  Dad says his lawncare service starts in April, and we agree that they can do this (they've okayed that in the past, if talk with the owner, pay additional).   He seems pleased to hear of the forsythia and only mildly of the crocuses.   He'd always been so proud of his lawn and things that grew there outside.   He'd feed the birds religiously.

We talk more of maybe moving him someplace more manageable.   Selling it and doing that route.   He has his defenses way up.   The reverse mortgage he's not comprehending and asking ME very very basic questions about, is somehow going to solve all of his problems.   Uh-huh.   I remind him not to throw out the papers with the certificate (it's required and he wanted to mail it back to the HUD counselor, saying he's not interested in obtaining a reverse mortgage through them). 

He asks me about the toilet valve.  The valve Doug told Dad about last week, and said he'd told of before (but Dad and hence I, thought that meant shutting off ALL the water in the house), and Doug wouldn't turn himself.   Yeah, okay, Doug helps in a crisis but guess I'm the day to day.  It can work.   Dad had one plumbr come by, who provided an estimate, but didn't turn the valve or water off for Dad.   Dad tells me he can't turn this valve, and while I'm at it, can I replace a few lightbulbs?  Oh, right, yes, lightbulbs, it'll help the neighbors know he still exists.   He tells me what he's been using as a hammer, as he can't turn the valve.   I think he means some type of revolver?   "It's on the sink there near the toilet if you need it."  Dad stands at the bottom of the stairs and I change the hallway lightbulb, let there be light!  Then into his master bathroom, I try to turn the toilet valve with a towel.   I still hear water running.   The other sink, the vanity sink outside the bathroom, is running water.   Oh, right, as Dad's been really focused this past winter about making sure that pipes didn't freeze, he'd leave all the faucets running.   I turn it off, anyway.   There's no more danger of freezing now.   Sometimes housebound people don't receive thesame sorts of "clues" to help their mnds realize the changes in seasons.  Hmmm, still running, so I turn the valve completely in the other direction, which feels more correct for "off."  "Dad, which way do I turn it?"  "To the left."   "Does left mean counter-clockwise?"   "Yes."   Well, I did that.   Change another lightbulb, wiped down his sink some.   Gathered some dirty laundry, admittedly with the towel.

"Robin, did you even go into the yellow bathroom?"  "Huh?"   Oh.  All the time, I hadn't realized WHICH toilet.   There's the revolver, too, which I do not use as a hammer.  I turn it to point away from me.  Yet I still can't budge the valve.   "Do you have a wrench?"  "I can't find one, that's why I used the [name for type of gun]."

A coworker of mine told me she'd look for a wrench ather home tonight, and if I don't have one, maybe I'll just buy one.   Then Dad calls, somehow not asking for me to make calls, but verifying the amount of money in his account, remembering things today from yesterday.   He wants to contact a plumber, and plans to use the telephone book I left him yesterday.  (His other one got soaked.)    He'd called one who said they'd give Dad a free estimate.   If the plumber could give the estimate for other work, but still turn that valve off and unplug the one toilet (yeah, one is plugged again and I can't get it), Dad, that'd be good.   "We don't need it fixed, just have the valve turned off?"  It's a needed first step, not the full fix, and coworker is also trying to help me see about getting someone in for that, sort of, she's swamped with eldercare and single parenting, also.  "Dad, are there bullets in that gun?"   "Are there what?"  "Bullets?"   "Spell that."  I'm surprised he HAS a gun, having forgotten all about it.   "Oh, no."   Well, that does beat the headline, "elderly man accidental shoots self while trying to fix toilet leak."

I did get to try on some bright yellow shoes later, also!   Not quite my style, but I love yellow, and glad it's returning:)   This time of year, BEFORE the pollens / allergens out, is great.  

(Update:  Dad calls me back today, for the latest plumber has left, turning off ALL the water.   Not sure if turning off the valve wasn't sufficient enough to cease the water issues, or if it was too stuck to budge.  The extimate is $1,200 to replace the toilet, from this guy.  The other had estimated $500.   Not sure if there were additional costs included with todays plumber.  He was nice enough to not charge Dad anything for todays visit, however; it would have been $85.   I give Dad another number, which he takes down but he's calling lawncare instead........ I think for indoor work, whatever.   Still no word on when the appraiser is coming by from the reverse mortgage place.   They were scheduled last week, or so Dad thought.  Maybe, maybe that's okay, i.e., have it appraised AFTER this is fixed.  Even if I bring him bottled water and iced tea for now.   It'll be okay.

And I checked out capris at Old Navy for M, ahh, half the cost of Limited Too, and more the actual style M wants.   I have a budget I'll give her, and she can chose items.  Tis spring.  Even some yellow shirts there.  Even if the "theme" for her Easter basket this year, is "blue," and last years was bumblebees.   Maybe it's time to get some plants for us, too.  

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Saturday morning Early Spring Rain

Spring rain. Not a summer thunderstorm, not the heavy spring rains that'll come, not blustery winds, it's "just" rain, like earlier this week. No thought of snow or sleet mixed in even. An early Spring rain.

I took off my soaked socks when Daisy and I came inside, even if I'd only put them on right before we headed out. Seems I'm the only dogwalker this morning without a raincoat. My fabric jacket doesn't have a hood. I didn't drown:)

:) Not even when I allowed Daisy to take us down the path to, well, an area that basically means long uncovered walk and run in field and sniff woods time.

Hmmm, "real" chai tea latte again, cold, but "my" ingredients, "my" version.

Maybe the sound of the rain had me dreaming of Grandma again, and her house. Again. Rain on a tin roof reminds me of Grandma's house, and Grandma. Or, as it's approaching late March, and Easter. Her would-be birthday is coming up next week.

M may dance at one of the local high schools in some show, hmmm, need to check with V about this, as she was the point of contact, friends with the person asking for dancers.

Next weekend is Palm Sunday, already!, wow. So, I dreamed of Gram again, that she'd died recently and we were there in her house to go through things (which I could use to do here, and I did help do there), yet her presence was there, too. I tried to hug her and kept missing:)

And I thought of the PhotoShopManager guy. I really would be just fine with him contacting me strictly for help with a resume and such. That was my original intent. Even if my hormones this past week reminded me I must not have hit menopause yet, lol, and, well, he is a good man, nice, probably fun, and cute, already did freelance work.

. I've been laid off three times, and, I almost forgot, would have been fired (for being too innocent looking, not slutty enough) another time but I quit first.I've learned since that quitting may not be the wisest choice, even if for that job, it meant I could go to homecoming with my nice date, and not work, instead, just to be fired after homecoming, which was that managers intent.

. PSM has no assistance in his small business company for such things as labor laws and reemployment. I had let him know about potential severance pay, and unemployment that could be had if he stays there until fired (without cause), to weigh that against quitting, the pros and cons for HIM.

One time for me, I knew it was just a matter of funding, and we'd be back at work within weeks, which we were. Twice, I lost my job altogether. Once, I get another job within my same company (only one other laid off with me found another job there), and once, it was my part-time job at Woodies. I loved working at Woodies, especially part-time as I could leave it there when I left, unlike a manager.

Woodward and Lothrop is no more. I was in line for unemployment from my company (the short-term lay off), with a toddler M along with me, when I saw some of my full-time Woodies coworkers. Anyway, if I am able to help PSM with this, then great, happy to do it, which is why I offered. Not that I'd turn down a nice latter or beer, either. Just not conditional on it, yanno.

I have the window open a bit. At first, Indie, Tink, and Captain were sniffing the air, along with Daisy of course. Now, she's asleep and it's just Liberty at the window.

It's supposed to be "work day" at church this morning, outside vegetation type work. I've done that in the past, and hoped to again. I actually enjoy that type of stuff, plus, some youth were to go. Sometimes, just hanging and working with someone is important.

Reluctantly, I realized I just can't. If I had 4 hours to spend working on yard workor indoors work, I really need to do that at Dads, or my place. Balance. Maybe it's canceled today, now, with the rain. (Actually, likely not or I may have gotten word of that, and it's not a heavy rain. Still, it COULD be. :) )

I did call Dad this morning, so he would be sure to know the status of the crisis Doug and I took care of for him. Dad thought it was all okay at the beginning of the process oy, oh well, it is NOW. Spent a lot of time talking with Doug this week, which is good (mostly). Not sure if he'll disappear again or not, the one crisis done, see, and Doug IS majorly busy with his new company. But, we got to talk about Dad more.

. interesting for my brother (Doug) to be telling ME that perhaps a reverse mortgage is in all of our best interests. I'd reluctantly concluded the same thing, yet figured Doug would flip out. A lot of other work needs doing on Dad's home, but more idea on how to proceed now, too.

I'd not cleaned-cleaned at Dad's since that visit when he was so daggone out of it. I felt betrayed, him going on a binge like that, once I confirmed why Dad was like that, that day. Mostly, though, he's not like that, and hasn't since. Just ARGH. And the money spent on it that he didn't have, and he shows me a photo of a poor child in some poor country who Dad is now sponsoring. "Certainly I can afford this, it's only (some amount about equivalent to what I pay for him for Meals on Wheels monthly

(I didn't explain Dad's finances and bills to him right then, that no, he can't afford that, *I* can't afford that tho I'd love to, that it's a commitment argh, but I was silent cuz maybe, maybe Dad needs that human connection, too. And to feel as if he's able to touch someone's life himself. Even if a bit remotely.
I'd visit and realize, I wasn't even taking off my coat, as if not commiting myself to staying longer. I'd take the trash down that Dad would bag up, other basic things, but not the hours I'd typically spend each week just cleaning. Dad's been okay since, also, eh, even if his mind is not capable of functioning fully coherently. I tried to explain more of this to Doug, who is getting it, I'm just there more often to see it directly and know, and know sooner.

. I miss Dad, I'm happy to visit Dad, I just don't like visiting the issues. Having some help, someone I can talk fully openly with about Dad, is helpful. Even if Doug does disappear again.

Still raining, two cats on the window cat seat now, Daisy snoring. M's really interested in trying out for a local play production, which involves a lot of time this summer, primarily for when she's with C. Brightly, M asked me, "Mom, what song do you think I should do for my audition?" I hated to burst her bubble....

She'd e-mailed me information, also, so I wrote her this morning some details, how much fun I know she'd have, but to also run it by her father due to this timing and that timing..... and, Ian's wedding:) Hmmm, need to verify with his mother, my aunt Beth, if the US reception will still occur or just what. Wonder if Beth has thought lately of her mother, also, my late Grandma.

Can't believe Palm Sunday is next weekend already! The fresh spring green I plan to paint my bathroom can wait; M wishes to help me, so yeah, I'll let her:) May even wait for her return to pick up some new capris for her, being it's what the girls wear the most in spring/early summer to school and she's primarily outgrown all of hers.

Even if taxes and other paperwork is, sigh, really NOT what I WISH to go over today.

I love rain. And the promise of a weekend to fill up. I'm glad I got in a long walk with Daisy, and some reflective time. I'm thankful (stepfather) Bob's heart catherization last week went so well; he'd fully anticipated another angioplasty or two, and he was okay! My mother is still in pain from her arthritic thumb surgery (they pulled a tendor or ligament from her arm to place between the bone joints in

her thumb, where the cartilage had somehow disappeared (worn away?) and the bones were wearingon each other. But, she's had it relooked at, the next stage in the process of healing. M and I even got to see a morning radio personality at a "free iced coffee first day of Spring" event that was a fun surprise on an otherwise stressful crisis day. Today? It's rain, and putzing around working on things day:) I do hope M's enjoying HER day. And, you, too, any reader out there.
Tinkerbell is reciscovering her tail, pouncing and playing there by herself. She loves it when the BRIGHT bathroom lights are on, supposedly she can see better that way (she's mostly blind). Then, she realizes I"m here on the chair. I'd like to get her in to the feline vision doctor's office. Daisy needs to update her lyme disease shot first (it IS spring again, and she's due), and, I need eyeglasses myself first. Tinks having fun, though. Life is good.
Maybe I'll check out "theme" ideas for M's Easter basket this year, too......

Friday, March 23, 2007

"scrapbooking" some photos

Some older, digital photos I have.   I have been here almost a year now next month, maybe it's time to get these off the computer.  Let's see if it works. 

p.s. -- yes, the wee blonde-headed girl is my daughter, M, and, of course, the final, taller! pretty girl in the Irish dance dress at the end, also:)  (Also my mother, stepfather Bob, and my stepbrother and niece, and BJ cuz we have an eternal connection, and we're both fine with that:) and this is my favorite picture of us).

some year I'll have a NICE camera

Some year, I'll have a nice camera:)  Right now, I can borrow M's digital one, sure, and I have.   Or, get disposable ones.  I've found fairly decent disposable cameras, yet, eh, they are still not GOOD ones.   PhotoShopManager has seen me lose cameras, use them until they are dead, and let M try out cameras and photo taking and otherwise been patient with our not real quality shots, attempts at other photo-related items, these past 6 years.  Always professional, laid back, nice, nice looking, remembered my name almost right away (somehow, that's neat to know and hear), and maybe only once those early years has asked for it again to verify.

Not that I realized it's been 6 years until a month ago.   PSM was distraught; he'd found out that the (very overpriced / twice that of the Starbucks in the same center) rent hadn't been paid via receiving the court summons for his boss, other indications of this shop closing, etc.   He'd just hired someone even, who had quit another job.   We talked a bit that night about options, work, etc.  Ultimately, he stayed for this last month, he'll get severance pay (instead of quitting), and take a months vacation in California.   He'd planned that, anyway.

So I dropped off two disposable cameras on Wednesday, not remembering the reduced hours he'd told me about (so missed catching them that evening before close).  There wasn't time yesterday to pick up my photos and disc, either, even if I'd planned on it.   Too much going on with dad lately, Doug and I working on things.   Today is this photo shops last day.   So, I took a few moments this a.m. to look presentable again, pink and black are good colors on me.

I had a few good moments with M on her recess time, while dropping off the now dry clothes from her dads that I'd washed, and a notice about her CTBS exams Monday and Tuesday (latest notice arrived after I took her to school).   I re-checked my hair I'd let down, which didn't matter for the light rain, soft weather.  Like usual as of late, PSM and I chatted briefly.  Frames and other previously 40% off items were already packed up.   He flies to Oakland on Tuesday night.   Oh, Blue October, I'd forgotten about these.... [photos].   Not great, but hey, proof I'll try to post here:)   He's gone to the 9:30 Club often, seems to know the name Blue October just can't recall their music right now.

"This is the last $25. you'll spend here."  He seemed down.  I pulled out a business card I'd made for myself from Bosses business card, with my particulars.   I hand it over to PSM, "If you ever want me to edit a resume, or provide a reference, let me know."   He's looking at the card.   "I'm not the (Bosses Title); I'm his assistant."   He seemed pleased, went to another table briefly, saying he'd like to give me his card, so I thanked him making sure to mention HIS (first) name, cuz, well, I figured he should know that I knew it.   PSM came back smiling, a big smile, giving me his card.  I put it into my change purse, as I really don't wish to lose it even if, well, we'll just see if he contacts me.   I'm real glad I could make him smile:)   Besides, it's a nice one.  (Admittedly, his last name, which I had not known, makes his full name the same as a celebrities, argh, so guess who shows up on an internet search, the celebrity. Giving a guy my number is bold of me, btw.)

Okay, here are some photos from the past whenever (I'll also try to put them into any particular entry they go with).   Some year, I'll have great photos, in addition to fun memories-type photos:)

So, after some deleting (identifying photos sigh, albeit ones M took may work, later), and some rearranging:

FIRST photo:  Christmas Cat Tree.  Captain is looking up at Billy (with the one green eye, one blue eye, hence the different look in them).

Second photo: Tinkerbell examining the lit Christmas "bulbs" necklace we'd put around her, while she sits under M's lamplight.   (Remember, she's mostly blind, so light stimulation helps her.)

Third photo:  My mother's birthday-dance at Bubba Gumps in New York City last December.

Fourth photo:  M in New York City inside the newly-opened M&M store.

Fifth photo:   Daisy enjoying her doggie-Valentine's cookie (with M nearby).

Sixth through Ninth photos:   Blue October!!!!! with M and me, from the "sound check party."   (Yes, thee first I've posted of me, snuck in behind others here...)  Photo 8 is the best, and happens to include their lead singer (pre-show makeup).

Tenth photo:  M and others from The Barn, while taking a short break from clearing trails at a local park for the horses.   Hmmmm, maybe next weekend would make another nice time for that.

Eleventh photo:  M joined by three friends at M's Big Show.   She was SO happy to have them come!

Twelfth photo:  The debut of the solo dress -- M, and two dance troupe friends, in their solo dresses at a St. Paddy's gig at a local nice and fancy country club.  


Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I was chatting with another parent in my county whom I am still getting to know better (my county with a high percentage of adults with college degrees and beyond in formal education which does not necessarily equate to actual knowledge).   Sufficiently interesting conversation at the time but not sufficiently interesting enough to focus on completely, nor to retell.......   

We mentioned multitasking.

Me:  "Of course I'm multitasking.   I have ADD."

Friend:   "You DO?"

Me:  "Yes.   It's not been diagnosed officially, but I'm way off the charts in any of those questionnaires."   (Hard enough for me to coordinate the rest of my life, never mind getting myself in for a not-critical appointment.  There are other items of higher priority going on.  I have, however, found an appropriate local medical person for my insurance who treats adult ADHD/ADD, when I get there.)

Friend:  "But you seem so smart."

Me:   (Silence while I try to figure out if that's a dig or a compliment.)

Friend:  "Did you go to college???"  (He knew I had, apparently now questioning that assumption if, egads, I had ADD.)

Actually,  have a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management (emphasis on Fish and Wildlife Management).  Give/take 10 years later, I took approximately three graduate classes with the intention of pursing graduate studies once I honed in on the specific course of study that was the most interesting to me.   I found I really liked agricultural econimics:) while teaching natural sciences to middle schoolers held high appeal as well.   (I was quite involved as an advisor in my church youth group at the time, and had been working with my company during and following my undergraduate studies, some "real world" experience.)   However, C and I got pregnant with M, and I knew I didn't have the time and energy to devote to full-time work and study, and raising an infant, apparently now by myself.   She was and is worth my focus, especially then.

People with ADD/ADHD can be just as smart (or not smart) and capable of formal education as others. 


Same day, different people.   Talking of paying for college tuition.  One mother had stepped in "last minute" out of frustration, and helped her daughter with the financial aid forms and other paperwork, got her a big binder and helped her daughter organize everything, explaining things as they went along.   Great!   Later, I realized this mother had not wanted to help with this.   The mother had commented how the girl isn't applying herself, she never completes things, including the financial aid forms and applications and other complicated paperwork, so why should the mother bother helping.   The girl just needed to try harder and be responsible for herself, per her mother who was ready to wipe her hands of this girls "laziness."

I don't know this girl.   She may not be that interested in attending college.   I do, however, know that those financial aid forms are practically beyond ME, as an adult, to fill out (for M's school I have never been able to complete one fully),   At 17 years old when I entered college, the first year my mother helped me out, filling out portions herself that applied to her.   (I did fill out the college applications myself, accepted where I applied, but felt the one place would be too costly.)

My mother has sometimes felt that I should just try harder, too, like this mother is thinking for her daughter.   They are not comprehending.  I do not agree with enabling someone.   When it's help and when it's enabling, can vary from person to person and as time goes on even with the same person (believe me, my brother and I discussed this just last night in regards to my father).   I do, however, know that I try.  I try real hard.   I sometimes spend more time, and try harder, than others, to accomplish the same task.   Sometimes, this is quite frustrating.   Taking longer to complete a task, even with trying to do so, is apparently not unusual.

Sometimes, for a person with a different-ability, it has little to do with how hard someone is trying.   Other things, other tools (behavioral, medicinally, how a situation is set up), can make a difference. 

Update:  I do think that many are mis-diagnosed.  I love the positives of it:)   And, many successful people have learned ways to work with it (including my Boss, and Mike V's friend, "Jim went onto college.  Student president there.  Started his own business.  You can't tell people that."  (Mike said I could include this.)   Some successful people with ADHD/ADD include Kinko's owner, and Robin Williams, tons of others with creative ideas, just after implementing, may want to move on to something else.  Each person is unique.  I prefer the presumption of good opportunities over assuming the worst, with assistance and understanding (for anyone, like a pair of eyeglasses), IF needed.   Especially with children still learning who they are and how they relate to the world, a person sometimes lives up to (or down to) the assumption made for him/her.   Heck, sometimes, having a mind that works a touch differently, can be enjoyable, too.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

the mornings are too early

Right now?  It feels great.   It's also almost 70F, give/take.  Last night, Barn Director said, almost gleefully, "It's Daylight Savings Time, winter's over......." basically saying, let the riders stay.   Oh, joy NOT.   It didn't feel late, Megan was having a grand time, besides, a peacock got caught in the indoor ring!!!, but, damn.   "Mom it had an aqua neck, and it'd turn like this...." after having run down with a bucket of water.  (Animal rescue was coming, obviously a bird that'd been domesticated and lost.)   Having the riders / stable helpers stay an extra hour or so, just delays all the nighttime stuff, like homework and showering and grocery shopping and dinner (the last two needing to be done BEFORE my rehearsal).   They still need to get to bed, and an hour earlier than they feel like it. 

Hmmmm, can E ever dance.   It was fun the bit of rehearsal I made it to, while M did homework, I have made friends with this group over the years.   Anyway!

Yes, tomorrow is now today.   Today was worse in the morning.   Things usually hit M worse the next day, anyway, and yesterday was not only 1 hour short, for the idiotic change in times that I hate, anyway, but 3 weeks early?, but, from her dads house, she needs to get up almost an hour earlier, as with rush hour, it can take an hour to drive back to our area.   By last night, M having lost 2 hours, she was TIRED.   She'd even slept in on Sunday, and they skipped the parade (again, C is not into parades even if M may have been dancing on one of the floats).   I gave her the hugs she asked for, exhausted child who'd missed her mom, too, then sent her on in for a shower, which helped.
I hit the snooze twice this morning.   I'd gotten in early Sunday night, but not last night while trying to wind M down and get her to bed.   Daisy didn't really budge, Billy just got cozier under the covers.   Usually, I tell her, "Down" when I'm finally ready to get up.   She looked at me, and crawled up onto my chest instead of jumping down from the bed.   I get her down, go into the kitchen to feed the pets, and Daisy jumps up on M's bed.  
Daisy is a beagle.  She's not one to miss a meal.   Friday a.m. was not yet morning early, SUPER early so I could have M to the studio a ways away, predawn, in time for their scheduled first news hour live television filming.  (Which was fun!!)   Friday morning, Daisy seemed surprised, but accepting.   If her "grandma" wants to get up and feed her, and wow, a walk, too?  Who is she to complain.  Even if she didn't feel an urge to do anything on her walk for some time, argh, she was up and at'em with me.
Not this morning.   She didn't even come for breakfast, staying with M, almost as if to keep her from getting up and leaving.   I got a fair bit done, and coaxed Daisy for a walk.   LOL, even she is tired, she never turns down a walk, and didn't truly today, either.   She did, however, race inside for breakfast afterwards, likely thinking M had fed her while we were out (I had).   I knew she hadn't done enough, so yes, even with us running late, M wanting to get up on time and school and all, but just so zonked, I did take Daisy again.   She was happy, socialized with her dog friend a bit, and when sufficiently done, perked up when I told her that M would give her a treat if we went back in.   M's ready, Daisy sits by her and wags her tail, all normal and awake again by then, doing her jump/dance per M's command.
Yep, it feels great now at almost 5pm (had to squint, my glasses broken and this pc clock not changed).   Yawn, stretch.   Mini-ceili tonight, small party with live music, it'd be fun (ends early), or just homework.   M's riding.   She loves the barn, loves staying, I'm happy for all that, to hear in her voice how much she's enjoying it.
We have to work out this time change crap, though.   Blech.   There are the same number of minutes and hours worth of daylight, no matter what time someone calls it via a clock.   Not until a few years ago, did M EVER adjust when there'd been a time change, going thee entire "savings time" off kilter.   My neighbor couldn't even get her dogs up, today.   There are more rush hour accidents the Monday after a time change then, hmmm, I think any other rush hour morning, anyway, IIRC.  And, how the heck to get ourselves and our youth in bed on time, when it feels light and early, outside?
 I'd be happy if there was NEVER a time change thing, frankly.   We shift naturally with the expanding daylight, why manipulate it?   I cannot see how forcing all this havoc upon our bodies and our lives, is worth it.


Thursday, March 8, 2007

It's building up now, heading for the grand moments

A big weekend for M is almost upon us, I saw us as I've been taking her to many rehearsals and classes, I make sure she has her things, and pay for them, I'll take her to the studio before dawn tomorrow (yawn!), help take tickets and sell snacks at her big show on Saturday.......   wish her fun for the parade on Sunday:)

If she didn't enjoy it, if she didn't want this, then, she wouldn't.   I could never push a child, my child, to do something optional (unless she'd made a commitment before changing her mind type thing).   Yet, she LOVES this:)

Crunch time is beginning, more e-mails back and forth, does anyone have full-length mirrors, and if so, can you bring them?  Yes, just like for last year.   The last costume came in last night, which looks lovely on M:)   Covered nicely, will show well on stage.  (Oh, will they need makeup for tomorrow a.m.?)

Tomorrow morning, M and her performing dance troupe will be live on a news station bit in the overall Washington/Baltimore area.  (Anyone in the area who wishes to know specifically what time and what station, please just e-mail me; I don't wish to post it publically.)   M is SO excited for it:)   She'll wear this new costume, too.

Tomorrow night, dress rehearsal!  Just, not makeup or hair done.   Typically, hair would be in wigs, but not for this "big show" on Saturday.   The auditorium seats 900 people, and last week, over 500 tickets had been sold, I think???   M is actually more nervous about THIS show.  Perhaps as they'll all be there in front of her.   One of the dances she is in, will be her Cross Reel figures dance, a traditional dance with four pairs of girls, that she and these other girls competited with in December's 2006 Southern Regional Oireachtas.

Saturday, a full show for just the video cameras, and then in front of the full live audience later.   Nicely, it's early enough, not like so many productions are, not too late like their recital nights will be.

Then, Sunday!, the big Baltimore St. Patrick's Day Parade, at 2:00 p.m.   This is what the particular news station wishes to lead into.   M's dance school will hold a party after, renting out a place downtown Baltimore, as per usual.   M will be with C and Sh, so hopefully, Si will wish to dance in the parade.   Typically, C won't bring M to any parades she's been able to be in, much to her dismay.   This year, she MIGHT be able to be one of the dancers on a float, in her solo dress, too.   Time will tell.   I took her one year, so at least she's gone in the past.   And, she went with me last weekend, to the one in Alexandria, even if Why Not? was closed early, as was Bird in a Cage, sigh.

I'm tired right now.  Juggling my father's needs (I so can't do for him everything he needs, even the things he can't do for himself, but, I' try to do what I can do, more shopping for him today, it's just getting it all done, ALL things done), making sure Daisy (and the cats) are not neglected.   Even if there are rehearsals going on, I always make sure Daisy gets a walk and fed and attention before the evening starts.  It's only fair.   Work.   Home life stuff.  Homework!  

Homework for today included M and her group presenting life as an Irish immigrant to other, younger, students in their Montessori school.   I was proud of her for having planned it sufficiently, that all that she personally had left to do last night, was pick up a few "Irish" stickers, and New York City, stickers, and we happened to find some nice Celtic cross stickers for the St. Patrick's Cathedral segment.  Naturally, a bit of garland, and some pencils to hand out, just HAD to be obtained, also.  LOL.

Next week, things will conclude.   There'll be another parade next Saturday, rehearsals and gigs and a mini ceili during the week, and of course a couple on Friday and a mix on Saturday (both M and I have turned down gigs ad conflicting with others), and two big ceili's (one M and V and another will dance step dancing in, maybe / maybe not with Si, also, cuz for some reason, neither C nor Sh can confirm with M).   The last one, we may skip.  Oh, *I* don't wish to miss it, it's with both of my adult ceili/set dance groups and a lot of fun, but, M may be burned out.   She'll get to decide.  There are always other ceili's.  

This year, M has not been asked to perform at school in any of the classes, which is a first.   She instead asked me if we could bring in an ice cream cake, as she saw that Dunkin Donuts makes one with a rainbow and pots of gold.   Ah, maybe:)

The rest of life doesn't stop.   I wish there were more celebrations for other ethnic groups, too.   Really only Chinese New Year (love those parades), and Cinco de Mayo, which I haven't seen a parade for, but I saw a Vive la Fiesta parade in Santa Barbara the summer of 1984 which coincided with the world's Olympics there, and Octoberfest's.  At least I understand a bit more now.   There were more German immigrants than any others, and then Irish.   This parade was originally an attempt to "fight" back, in a way, positively affirm the Irish  heritage against all the prejudice of the times back then.   I'd just like to have more opportunity to learn about OTHER groups, too, for all of us.

Enjoy your weekend, all:)

I could dance a jig!

Well, if I truly knew how.  It's likely best I not:)  I'm wearing M's NEW Irish stepdance hard / jig shoes to help break them in.   I tried a couple Irish dance steps I DO know, from ceili / set dancing, and almost slipped on the carpet.  (Dancers usually put duct tape on the bottom of the heels and tips specifically to avoid slipping and falling.)  Once I wore M's current pair while she practiced with her older pair.  We both just cracked up while I tried to do some of the fancy footwork I've seen others doing so often, so easily for them.

M so did NOT want a new pair.   M's TCRG (certified Irish step dance teacher), Ma, told M probably in January, that M's shoes needed new tips.   In addition to not sounding loudly enough to be appropriate, M pointed out to me some sort of other problem that occurred with them over time.  

And, to be honest, M's feet have finally grown more, so that we now wear the same size.  She also has a narrow back ankle like I do, and the width is on the narrow side.  (My feet at her age were AAA width.)   She can't wear Antonio Pacelli (sp), as their medium is too wide for M's feet.   I forget why Corr's Irish stepdance hard shoes didn't fit M's particular feet so well, or perhaps it was the style.  I ordered these directly from the New York store of Fay's Shoes, which was down for a few days a week or so ago.   (Their main store is in the UK, just like the other Irish dance shoe stores are.)  These came fairly quickly, however, so I'm pleased.   There is a local dance store that carries some celtic-dance items, and we've ordered through her in the past.

But, M had broken in her current pair of hard shoes.  This new pair is comfortable, to me, yet admittedly, they do feel like shoes.  Even with the flexi-sole, which does bend, they'll need to conform more to M's particular pair of feet.  The girls go up on their toes, and the shoes will arch similar to ballet toe shoes.  It's really hard for me to bend them in quite that direction while wearing them.  I've heard of people putting them, bent, in dresser drawers.   M's current pair likely feels a lot more as if an extension of her feet themselves, soft leather.   I'll likely let her wear those for this weekend'sevents, she knows their feel, they conform to her even if a mite small now and the taps not loud enough; she won't have to think about it.   There's not truly time to break these in, yet, I'm excited them came in time, though, just in case.

The coworker who brought me over the box was curious.   So, excitedly, I opened it up to show her.   I tapped the shoes on the counter, how loud!, and she looked them over.   She's Chinese, and has not seen shoes quite like these before.   Yes, the heel is loud, but the toes also heavy and loud.  It's weird to feel something akin to a heel, also under my toes. 

The first jig I ever knew I was seeing,was one danced by my late grandfather.  His son, my father, doesn't care for Irish or Scottish music.  (My mother is primarily Scottish, with some Irish, so I'm both.)   I had to seek out this music community on my own, and still have a LOT to learn.  So, Grandad thought a moment, then decided he'd best support himself between a sturdy doorframe.   He was elderly at the time.  Arms are usually kept straight (think of the man in the movie, Babe, except Grandad didn't dance for THAT long).   Grandad instead put his hands on the doorframe, and kicked up his legs, telling me that this is what a good Irish jig is.

Sometimes, I imagine how proud he could be of M now, or that there I was, dancing in that big parade last Saturday, um, dancing I should say.   I have some relatives who enjoy Irish music, but none in the US that I know of, who play or dance to it, other than M (and my laughable but serious attempt to learn how to play a pennywhistle).  

Update:   Dancing Shoes the third style down are the ones that I ordered for M.   The ghillies, or soft shoes, are supposed to fit "like a glove," very similarly to ballet slippers.  (I just realized, she likely could use a new pair of those, too, yet, they stretch more readily.....  hmmm, when did we get her last pair?)

Their home page shoes examples of dresses and poodle socks, too. 

Each Irish step dance school has a specific dress, the "school" dress, and then once a female dancer is at a particular level, she can chose to wear a "solo" dress in competitions and other events.   Anyone wishing to see the dresses M and her school wears, may e-mail me, or check out my previous entry, (let me figure out how to add that).....  M at feis / Si' first feis

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Today is Wednesday, must mean snow

Today, Wednesday. Must mean snow as it almost always snows here on Wednesdays once our springtime in January ended and winter February began.

Once I decided I'd actually get up and stop rubbing Billy's belly and scratching Liberty's neck, I peeked outside. Ha, just as I'd guessed. From the bed, the limbs still looked, well, brownish black. No snow! And, not snowing.

I surprised myself by telling Indie, "It's winter outside." Didn't I just talk of spring? "No, boy, not today, you're crazy, it's winter outside." I hold him briefly outside, let him see and smell. It didn't seem so bad.

Not until Daisy and I started walking, did the snow start sprinkling down. It's not windy today. A spring bird is chirping a song as if of hope. I wish I could identify it from the sound, yet my hours bird call studies and birding walks failed me this morning. My "ear" isn't that good, much to my dismay.  Other noises seem muffled, as if the cloud cover provided insulation.

Uh-oh. I saw two people, hmmm, boys, older boys, both wearing backpacks, walking AWAY from the direction of the high school. Were they skipping school, were they grabbing some coffee before their particular first class, or, egads, I didn't even bother checking, were schools closed?!

The one young man is wearing two t-shirts, layered fashionably with a short-sleeved one over a long-sleeved one. The other has on a heavy-looking sweatshirt. What IS it with youth and not wearing winter coats? lol    I hear more birds.

Even if it IS extra bitter cold, windchill of negative 35F degrees, in northern New England. (A quote from a teen in the aol welcome page rather sums it up, as reported by William Kates "It's the wind. It's so cold it hurts. You see the sun shining and it doesn't look like a bad day but then as you're walking you get hit with this blast and you can't breathe," said Ben Nestor, 17, who was huddled with four friends waiting for a bus in downtown Syracuse.  "We came downtown to eat lunch.I wished we had stayed home. My legs are frozen," he said.)   
Sometimes, it's good to live in Maryland :)

Besides, M and I have things to do tonight, dance related, of course!, including picking up a costume needed for "Big Show" and t.v. show.  Let her know that M's dance teacher / TCRG Ma, officially invited M to be on the figures team in December's Oireachtas in Atlanta!

Hmmm, maybe 1-3 inches of snow, likely less HERE. Eh, at least she has school:) Those boys scared me momentarily, but, I checked just in case.  Enjoy, all, have a very blessed day wherever you are, staying warm.

Update -- another young man from the same high school was wearing a large heavy coat, even if the snow had stopped by then, restarted by now mid-morning.  Still light snow.   It's pretty, and, life goes on.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Two by Two

Nods to Becky.  I can do this one, there are only simple questions and two at a time!  :)  Justmary answered a long reflective survey in two parts, too long of one for me albeit informative..... 

The mommy Amy at Two by two snagged this one of Becky's from Marie (with potato pancakes that look scrumptious, link to Marie's Muses in the Two by Two link), and I took this from another mommy Amy's private journal  Becky's 2x2 , who also has the public journal about her journey with Sam, highlighted on the left.

Two Names You Go By:

1.  Robin and my middle name (which I like better)

2.  Mom

Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now:
1. a pink long sleeved shirt

2.  dusty-pink clogs

Two Things You Would Want (or have) in a Relationship:
1. Honesty and Respect (okay, two in one)

2. Love

Two of Your Favourite Things to do: (oh, is Becky from the UK, she spelled it favourite!)  Not in order:
1. Be outdoors (preferably not in bitter cold)

2. Dance (what a surprise!)

3.  Read

4.  Spend time with M (so I added two to two)

Two Things You Want Very Badly At The Moment:

1.  To have already gone to the grocery store (with dinner ready, too, as I'm getting hungry plus I need catfood).

2.  Sleep.

Two pets you had/have:
1 and 2.  
Robbie, an orange tabby my aunt Vesta named after me, whom I had along with his mother Erin, theee sweetest dilute-white calico.  I got Erin when I was in college at the University of Maryland, so from a shelter nearest the College Park campus.   I was told she was too young to be spayed, wait about 2 months.   She was just little for her young age, the shelter had had to guess but were wrong.   At least she seemed to like the daddy! :)   Robbie was one of four, the only male the first to learn how to crawl up steps and explore.

Robbie taught Erin how to go play outside (my cats now are all indoors, I'm in a condo, not then).   He'd often bring me presents he'd caught, once, 3 nights in a row.   Erin was observant.   She came in my bedroom window the next summer evening, carrying a bottlecap in her teeth.   Erin gave me that bottlecap, and so I fussed over her even more than I'd fuss over Robbie for every one of his presents.   Erin seemed very pleased, and felt no need to try this gaming thing again. 

I'd left them at my father's when I moved into our own place, infant M and me.  My brother was living with Dad at the time, my dad "okay," a nice house and large lawn with fields behind them.   Robbie once spent literally hours watching behind the couch while Doug read.   Doug finally moved the couch a bit, and let Robbie get that mouse.  

Then Erin got hit by a tree that fell during Hurricane Bertha, or so Doug told me (was it really a car?)  He buried her before I could see her.   Doug was going to move out, so with Robbie acting depressed, I took him back.  M was old enough then, I figured.   Ah, Robbie boy, lived with us until he was 20 and had cancer.  At age 18, the vet said that Robbie had the body of a 12-year old, or something like that.  He'd sit on our patio and the dogs would strain at their leashes, or even run away scared.  LOL.   I was known as Robbie's Mom, until we got Daisy.   I knew Robbie wouldn't live years longer, M so wanted a dog, I let them overlap.   Somewhere, I have a photo of jumpy puppy Daisy and mellowed RobbieBaby touching noses.  I did let Doug know when M and I went to bury Robbie in the backyard there, by his mom, and Doug actually came and I think tried not to cry.


1. Sharon if she reads this entry; Mike if he's in the mood to; Dan if he ever returns from his hiatus, maybe; hmmmmm, not so sure Fred or Mary will, no threat of puppies dying on this one. ;)

2.  Surprise me..........

Two things you did last night:
1. Read physics of avalanches and physics of skiing with M, after we ate dinner, partially during dinner, too, I suppose.

2. Danced two! dances with my favorite dancer, E, (North Kerry Set and Clare Lancers), and a few other fun dances, 6-hand Fairy Reel, 4-hand Reel, and Siege of Ennis, in a rehearsal with my ceili/set dance group.

Two things you ate today:
1. Breyer's blueberry yogurt

2. asparagus

Two people you Last Talked To:
1. Boss as he wrapped up his day earlier (he goes on a golfing vacation, sure hoping it's not nearly as windy there, and that he gets out of town before the snow comes here!  he will).

2. Two coworkers.  One was WhinyGuy saying it's possibly the coldest day all year in Maine, and a bit jokingly that last year on his interview here March 10th there were daffodils blooming.   I told them that this year, they started budding in January, and that it's not yet Saturday (which is March 10th).  He did finally concede that it's a good day for wearing a coat, just not go far enough to say it's cold here.   Uh-huh.

Two Things You're doing tomorrow:
1.  Seeing my missy M!   Helping her be certain to have her homework done for Thursday (two projects).

2. Oh, perhaps going to a lenten class at noon I almost forgot about and I forget each year as the particular day itself rolls by.   It can be on my calendar, I can remember that morning, but noon is somehow so early in the day to be someplace for.  It's for 4 weeks.  In theory, I can do this.  In reality, I'm tired.   Where's the time?   I should make the time.   Can I do this and stop home, too?  Sigh.  Or, I'll visit Dad most likely as I'm not sure I will tonight, needing the grocery store trip first and all.

Two longest car rides: 

1. Maryland to Maine, and back.   Actually, it feels longer coming back.

2. Maryland to Illinois, and back.  Too long.

3. Los Angeles, California, to Portland / Eugene, Oregon (with stops along the way).  So I've added one.  Shoot me.  It was beautiful.  My dad's big adventure with Doug and me after my parents divorce.  My uncle Dan, lived in El Segundo (near LA), and my aunt, Beth, and uncle Len, lived in Eugene at the time, Ian just a toddler then.   Now he's about to marry, and if M and I can go, it won't be via car. :)

Two Favorite Holidays:
1. Christmas

2. Independence Day, in part as it's M's favorite, and somehow, that has me enjoying it more again, too.   It's the holiday for almost everyone (in the US), really, and I've enjoyed it in different scenarios and states, from the beaches of/near Santa Barbara, California, to the stands of Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine, and all those years with M..... it IS quite close to her birthday.

Two favorite beverages:
1. Chai tea latte's apparently, at least this past winter.

2. Flavored waters.

3.  If talking alcoholic drinks -- I don't drink much, but when I DO, a GOOD beer, or a gin and tonic with lime.


M's Fun Irish Immigration Facts

Irish Immigrant:  Fun Facts by M (with notes by me)

  1. President John F. Kennedy’s grandfather was an Irish immigrant.
  2. Annie Moore, a young girl from Ireland, was the first immigrant processed at Ellis Island.  (note: She came escorting her younger brother, their parents already there waiting in New York City.  There is a statue for her at Ellis Island.)
  3. Between the years of 1880 and 1924, 9,000,000 northwestern Europeans immigrated to the US; this included the Irish.
  4. Most northwestern Europeans, including the Irish, immigrated between 1881 and 1900.
  5. There are 20,575,998 Irish people living in the United States today.  (note:  I don't know how recent a resource M used, recent but perhaps a year or 3 old)
  6. The top three states that the Irish lived/live in are New York, California, and Pennsylvania. *(I have not seen this listed elsewhere but in M's notes.   I wonder if she read the stats for Germans instead, or?)
  7. The children and grandchildren of people born in Ireland can obtain dual citizenshipwith the US and Ireland.
  8. Most Irish immigrants stayed in New York while other ethnic groups moved to other parts of the US in search of different jobs, particularly to Boston.
  9. At one time, there were more Irish living in New York City, New York, than in Dublin, Ireland.
  10. The Irish are the 2nd largest nationality group to immigrate to America.  (note:  Unlike many other nations, Ireland had many women emigrate alone, as well as men.)
  11. Irish males provided much of the labor needed to construct railroads, canals and roads
  12. The Know-Nothing party particularly hated the Irish.
  13. NINA (No Irish Need Apply) signs were often posted near “No Dogs Allowed” signs in past centuries.
  14. Today, Irish immigrants with their white skin and English-speaking skills, are more likely to find ready employment than immigrants of some other countries.
  15. note:  many of the Irish were the first to live in "slums," per what I've read of M's research and her resources.


Because I'm Mom, and Mom is cold.

The one television meteorologist said that winds are up to 41 MPH today, another one said 44 MPH, making it approximately 1F degree outside with the wind chill factor.  

Earlier, Daisy was in a mood to move it this morning for her walk, so we walked and speed walked.   I'm glad she wasn't in a sniffing every little blade of grass and tree and the air mode, as I then don't move enough to stay or get warm.   I felt warm inside, not bone-chilling cold, yet my face was feeling windwhipped, getting chapped and colder.  Sometimes, I have to have my fingers exposed, my mittens altered to fingerless gloves, and yes they were feeling rather frozen.

I thought of my whiny coworker, who complained earlier this winter that it was not cold.   How it was x degrees colder in Maine right then.   And it was.  And Maine was, and is today, comparatively, colder.   I've lived in Maine, too.   I think he expected empathy from me.  Yet, it was in the single digits in Maryland the day Whiny Guy was complaining.  "Yes, it IS colder in Maine, but it is still cold here, it's below freezing, that is cold."  He persisted.  Wind chill calculations are not something he believes in, "Because, let's face it, who goes outside in this weather with skin exposed and wind chill factors are based upon how the temperatures feel on exposed skin....."   I offered for him to walk my dog in the mornings before he goes to work:)   He did decline.   Even if this morning, very cold and brisk even through to my legs, it felt good to really walk and move, and I'm not fully certain I'd have traded for anyone else to have taken that time.

Inside, I drink my chai tea latte, fixing M's hot chocolate and our meals.  "I want you to wear a sweater AND your coat today, honey." 

She'd continued to talk excitedly yesterday about a math project, read her seminar papers on the physics of avalanches and of skiing (and had me read them, ask her questions to get her talking and thinking), told me at least twice that she'd be painting the backdrops today for their upcoming play.  But, this morning, not moving, not going to school, having Daisy just stay cuddled by, was M's preference.  Even with the heat on quite toastily, and her hot chocolate du jour, "arctic white."   She's outgrown yet another pair of pants, but the sweater fits, yeah, and she likes it:) 

(I'm just happy that her solo dress is still long enough!  Um, I think.)   I'd checked my e-mail just in case the notice came out, stating which morning this week M and her dance troupe will be on a morning television show.   It's not there, so we re-talk about how to handle logistics if it's on for first thing tomorrow morning.  M seemed a bit anxious.  Her costumes, where are her shoes, anyway, and that if C can't/won't drive her, I am willing to.     "ppppppppppppppppppllllllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! she had written me, lol.   M gets her camera to show photos from New York to C, Sh, and Si.   She also took some GREAT shots from Saturday's parade!   I asked her not to delete any of those.  I forgot to send along the class photo I'd bought for C to have.   I mention to M that maybe she can take photos today, too.   M brightened, "I can take pictures of us painting the backdrop." 

M puts on the backpack, gets her coat.   "M, I think you'll want to wear your coat outside this morning."   It was quite warm Saturday, a beautiful day for a parade.   Colder yesterday.  Today, she needs that coat.   She declines to.  Walking to my vehicle, "See it's not that cold out."   Did she not catch a windy moment or what? 

"Here are my dance sneakers, oh, and back here are my dance shoes."   "Okay, good."  I know where her dresses and costumes are, and now, after dropping off M, I know that her t.v. show performance will NOT be tomorrow which makes life easier.  M talked more about various photo op ideas, and how it's hard for her to sit with her backpack still on her back.   Ah, yeah, I think so.  M gets out of the truck with a goodbye, and without her coat.   "M, take your coat."  Reluctantly, she does, without an attitude or expression, perhaps with a slight sigh, along with the bag of clothes for her dads.

She'll wear the coat or not wear it, but by golly, on a day like today?  The wind was too much for her yesterday outside at The Barn, visiting Chance but otherwise staying inside.   Yesterday, it was windy enough that I could feel it blowing my relatively stable truck.  It may snow tomorrow.   Of course it may snow tomorrow, it'll be a Wednesday.  She's at least taking the daggone thing :)


Friday, March 2, 2007

Tis the Season (To Be Green)

It's March.  The mail courier wears short sleeves today; I was feeling too warm in a shamrock t-shirt and spring-green polartec I had to unzip.   A bit of rain this morning, hopefully it'll hold off tomorrow.   Green, green, green......  still spots of solid ice Daisy and, okay, *I* slipped on this morning.   I tell a coworker that I think this can count as spring, after she comes in, sighing that it's in the 60F's outside.  Coworker, "We can declare it official Spring."   Even if my aunt in Maine told me it's snowing quite a bit there today, even if I hear my aunt in Seattle got snow last night.   Ahhh, tis time for wearing of the green, in earnest, then.

M and I have been booked fairly solid with her Irish step dance rehearsals for "big show," but also for rehearsals for St. Patrick's "Day" gigs (and recital later), and class, and my rehearsals, and, well, I skipped class this week.   I danced, a bit under the weather, but enjoyably, at a St. Patrick's parade fundraiser.  

This week, 4 nights worth of several-hour rehearsals for M, in part to make up for this past Sundays rehearsal cancellations (weather).   Long, but she's smiling and enjoying them, not wanting to miss any.  The dancers tend to hang in the main dance room, some with homework spread out (M did her algebra one night that way), watching each others dances, the fine-tuning of the choreography, the dancing, the music.  The lighting specialist was there the past 2 nights, so every dance was run through, a costume per dance shown, too. 

Except for "knock-knock," whose costumes have not arrived yet.  The background for "knock-knock" will be photos of various doors, popping up and disappearing on the screen in time to the music.  The dancers also use drumsticks (which M has found hard to keep track of, finally just leaving hers at the studio along with some backup ones there).   This is a new dance this year, started on the night co-dancer Amy died in an undertow, developed to this fantastic number.   I hope, in some ways, that it honors her spirit, too.

Tomorrow, though, we'll celebrate.  It's one of thee favorite days for M and me.  We'll join in festivities, green everywhere, gaudily so at times, decorated dogs even (sometimes, dogs will wear spraypainted shamrocks), beaded necklaces, "kiss meI'm Irish" buttons, waving of mini-Irish flags that somehow don't last to the following year intact, and all sorts of merriment.  

There are two BIG St. Patrick's Day parades in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area.   One is in Old Towne Alexandria (tomorrow's).   The other is the Baltimore parade, next Sunday, March 11.   There is also a Washington, D.C., St. Patrick's Day parade, which is fun and fine and we've been to often (I believe it's also next Sunday, March 11 this year), and only a few "town" ones that I'm aware of, one in a town nearby us, that is being held on March 17th itself! this year, which my main ceili/set dance group is in, and M's stepdance school has been in, but has conflicts this year for one thing.

Parade Info is for Olde Towne Alexandria's parade, or, go here:  2007 Alexandria Saint Patrick's Day Parade - Saturday, March 3, 2007   They have a dog show beforehand.   M has school friends, brother and sister pair, who always go with their parents who are college friends with a business owner there.   In March, 2002, the first time "the" flag from the Pentagon was seen in public since Spetember 11, 2001, it "marched" in the parade, as did M and I with my group.   I loved that:)   Of course, "the" flag was way way in front of us, but hey, I still feel honored and humbled by it.  One year recently, the now Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley was the Grand Marshall.  

Last year, M originally fussed about being with us, even walking with us, holding a banner which she sometimes likes, it's not step dancing.  No, it's not.   She's not with HER group.  No, her Irish stepdancing group doesn't do this parade, other groups do.   She was being an 11.5 year old not certain about hanging with Mom and the group that she was now seeing as Mom's group (even if it'd been her group, too, and she got ME started in it).   Other mothers smiled and told me not to worry, which I didn't, and that they wouldn't push M to participate, after realizing encouragement didn't work.  M found her friends watching along the route, however, and I agreed for those parents to keep an eye on her.  The boy thought it really cool M had been in it.  I went back after our group was done parading, chatting with the parents, and M, and us watching the rest of the parade.  Another daughter competes in Scottish step dancing, so I promised I'd look for that girl when M and I went to the Southern Maryland Celtic festival later last year (last weekend of April, typically, big Scottish-bent Celtic festival, piping competitions and Scottish dancing competitions, one of the better ones).   We didn't see her while there, but at the Irish parade last year, it felt like another fun connection.

The Irish stepdance groups who "parade" are sometimes on flatbeds so that they can dance without marching-dancing.  (M's dance school does both, depending upon the parade itself, sometimes marching a parade march, and sometimes the performing troupes dancers on a flatbed in solo or school dresses.)   One of the last groups to go at this one are trucks from the Alexandria Fire Department.  They give out GREEN plastic fire hats:)  Somehow, those don't last through the year, either, so we try to get one.  Especially useful on years it rains more than a mite.

We joined my dance group for lunch, they always go to the same restaurant annually, then M and I "shop."   We may not come home until evening, but there's a great kids store ("Y Knot" may be the name), and "our" ice cream shoppe with homemade ice cream with outrageous prices (but very good).   We'll go by the water (Potomac River, looks into DC), and perhaps the oh, hmmm, there's a large building there with a lot of art in it, and artists workshops.   It's a wonderful town, Alexandria is.  We'd enjoy hanging out there other days, also.  Pricey.   Even the garages charge on SATURDAYS, ugh.  But, I recall M smiling, eating something we'd gotten for dinner, sunsetting outside.   There are specific places she believes we visit annually, forgetting that occasionally she's with her father the weekend of this parade.  That's okay. 

M could have gone skiing tomorrow (okay, I'd have to have had money to afford it, being I not only bought M a beautiful (used) Irish step dance solo dress recently, AND just ordered her new hard shoes).   She could have had a sleepover tonight at a friends, and I would have her do that if M had a rehearsal scheduled for tomorrow, also.   Friend and mother (MegMAID) was happy to have M stay over.  "What's Saturday, Mom?"   "It's the Old Town Alexandria St. Patrick's Day Parade."  "This is the one with the little teeny cars?"   Twice, my ceili/set dance group has been placed somewhat nearby a charitable men's group (Kiwanis????) with their wonderful mini "cars."   When a younger girl, the guys would hand out stickers to children and M got to sit in one of the cars, play in it.   I'm happy that she's come to treasure "our" annual day together.  I look forward to tomorrow, even suggesting in her "spare" time, contacting her friends to see if they'll be there again, too.

I'm pretty certain I know where BOTH of our sweatshirts are, for my Irish ceili/set dance group.  I can guess where my other "attire" is, lol.   I've been so caught up in M's costumes, not focusing on my own which is MUCH simplier and doesn't vary from dance to dance, just from type of performance.   (It's group t-shirts for the warmer parades!)   M has her green/white/orange belt ready:)   Not sure if she'll wear the group attire, or just celebrating Irish heritage attire.   Maybe this trip to New York City and her studies of immigration helped her understand more just what many ethnic groups struggle with, and cherish, upon immigrating here.   Eh, tis okay either way.  It'll be "our" day again.

May the wind always be at yer back, the sun shine upon your fields, yadda yadda, insdert pleasant supposedly Irish traditional blessings here,  and may you be in heaven half an hour after the devil knows you're dead ;)  

For a couple local events, one I've never attended, Shamrock Fest, probably as tickets are $90. and up! but in the spirit (Flogging Molly is playing this year) -- St. Patrick's Day Celebrations Around Washington, DC

Or, if you hear someone insist that s/he knows how St. Patrick's Day is celebrated "properly," lol:

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