Monday, April 21, 2008

One-word survey.

Maybe I can do this one!  The idea is to answer all of these questions with just ONE word each.  Hmmmm.  Thanks, Amy and Angie for the inspiration:)

1. Where is your cell phone?   purse

2. Your significant other?   trusting

3. Your hair? long

4. Your mother?   judgemental  (alive)

5. Your father?    accepting (dead)

6. Your favorite thing?    touch

 7. Your dream last night?   rain

8. Your favorite drink?  citrus [original answer: gin?  (wait, that IS with lime... and ,well, water), but gin and tonic with lime isn't one word]

9. Your dream/goal?       Peace

10. The room you're in?   undescribed

11. Your ex?  un-confident (I don't mean BJ here btw, nor the one I referred to in Angie's comments ha but I was trying not to copy her and say hot)

12. Fear?   heights (ditto Angie's)

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years?  happy

14. Where were you last night? E's

15. What you're not? typical

16. Muffins?   blueberry

17. One of your wish list items?   enough

18. Where you grew up?   Maryland

19. The last thing you did?   parented

20. What are you wearing? skirt

21. Your TV?  exists

22. Your pets?  family

23. Your computer?   fritz

24. Your life?  lived

25. Your Mood?   melancholy

26. Missing someone?   sometimes

27. Your car? none

28 Something you are not wearing? pantyhose

29. Favorite Store?   Target

30. Your summer? unwritten

31. Like someone? yes.....

32. Your favorite color? green

33. When is the last time you laughed? evening

34. Last time you cried?  today (sort of, as in not actual tears and all, but I felt like it for M, who had a medical appointment)



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Being Alive

I was thinking I was only feeling half-alive yesterday morning.  Then I thought of a friend who has an immediate family member who can barely breathe, as a "normal" state of being.  That border of being alive, physically speaking, and not.  I thought of some others who were NOT outside walking their dog, in part as they could not do such a thing while I can.  My head was and is full of pollens which triggers all sorts of allergic reactions and asthma difficulties for me, and M.

Then it occurred to me; I'm not half- alive, I'm overly alive.  Over extended last weekend, overly-sensitive to our world, overly alive?  My body reacting to the pollens and triggers, my body overly-processing sugars at times (hypoglycemic), so I watch those and balance my food and carbohydrates, I fill up my life with so many things and interested in more!, my skin has more sensory perceptors per square inch than anyone in my entire high school science class, retested to be certain.  E has decided that he won't smoke bad-tasting cigars any more, which had been a rare treat for him, anyway, and I told him twice to go ahead, "I'll have to tell [friend] that he's ruining my love life!," and was surprised when I told him the other night, "Oh, Sam Adams?" after we'd kissed hello.  (I can ignore his occasional cigarette, but that cigar taste was nasty even the next day and both of us brushing teeth and using moutwash a couple times.)

And I try to stay aware of M, not "hovering" too much, but being aware as we share and I guide her to, basically, making good choices in her interests and greater family and community interests, to enjoy life along the way, and ultimately to not require me any more.  In time; not yet.  And I'm never fully leaving her life just trying to help her grow, confidently, utilizing her skills, appropriately.  So, I've noticed her texting and cell phone usage and her increased need for sleep and her not being as fully on top of her homework as usual, heck, not even her Spanish, huh?  Yet my restricting her cell phone usage to more normal hours and such, met with not just an upset or disappointed child, but almost hysterics, as if defensive of her friends not just socializing.  I'd tried to give her parameters previously, we talked of more sleep time and it's not that I don't care about her friends, but my primary responsibility is HER, etc.  She knew I was serious enough about restricting her cell phone usage that she discussed this with friends, and tried to rationalize with me as she had some during the past couple weeks.  I reminded her that the times and phone #'s of calls and texts show on our bill.  A bit more irresponsible for her moments, minor really but different for her, I wasn't too happy; I relayed that, also told her she was thinking ahead and being responsible for something she DID do on her own initiative, how proud I was of her at the show, etc.  Being a full-weekend of recitalling, and I not always right there with her, she kept her cell phone then.

Monday night she didn't plan out her homework well, still tired from the weekend, and from a very early start last Friday for charity work the class did in D.C., and hmmm, odd hours for cell phone usage.  I was tired, too, yet had wanted to spend some time with her in a positive way.  I went to take her cell phone away at a reasonable hour for the evening.  Drama, hysterics, defensiveness.  Yes, she's 13, but this is all NOT like her.  She knows I won't actually talk with her if she's yelling, even if not yelling at me.  She went into her room to cry, and I ended up getting her to agree to having the door reopened (I had that capability, locks on my side), and to go in.  She also knows I won't hurt her.  I DID hug her.  And we talked.  And I stayed hugging her while she cried.

All this stress on her.  She didn't tell me whom, but I know it's "Al."  I know his dad is an alcoholic and some of the other family stresses.  M did finally break down and tell me that he'd been either considering or planning to commit suicide, and she and another (unnamed), had essentially talked him out of it.  I had told her a few weeks back that if he's in a situation that needed an adult, who all she could contact (not necessarily ME), and she had said someone did know.  I DO know he is getting professional help, et al, yet I asked her, too.  And reminded her that while she's a good friend, she's not a professional and for her to take this on all by herself is a lot, is probably too much.  She feels convinced he won't do this now.  Such crying.  Such a good -hearted child, who cares.  Sometimes TOO much yet I can certainly understand that.  How to help her set boundaries.  I hold her face in my hands, look right at her. How to let her know how special she is, that I love her, that I believe her and that suicide is very very serious (I did tell her that two people close to me had done that and it still hurts but that people hurt so much inside of themselves that they don't realize that others will hurt).  That God used her to help Al, that God put her in that place and time, to help be the human touch for His will.  A lot of talking.....  Then I told her that I'm sure that there is a feis in Colorado (where Al may be moving), but I couldn't promise anything yet being that I don't even have a car right now.  And she laughed. 

Then we talked again about the cell phone, that I'll entrust her to stop using it at x time at night, and if there is a crisis, she has to let me know that, at that time, or some other exception (such as actually using it for homework), and if I see she hasn't done this, then I will be taking it.

Today is the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings.  A murder-suicide.  A lot has been said and thought and researched about that man, what coule have been done, what should be done in future situations, what is legally and ethically okay, what is going over the line.  His parents still hide in shame and I feel for them, too.  The pain of losing a loved one is no less when the person has died of suicide (and of course, the horror of knowing that the pain of ones own loved one led to also killing others ack -- of course I feel for all of those lost on that day and don't diminish anything from those shot, whether wounded or killed).  My coworker's sister still attends, eager for her graduation next month.  May all those on the campus now and past and future heal, always remember, while continuing to move on.

As I mentioned, there were two people close to me in my life over time who have committed suicide.  I worked through my thoughts on Lori some years back, my elementary through high school friend, who couldn't face the agony of her life after her college freshman year.  The other, well, the initial parts are all worked through, sure, but it's still hard to think of his pain, and that he's gone.  I prefer to see him laughing, driving a boat, doing something he loved.

I look at my cell phone bill -- M and I went over our minutes about a week ago and have about 1 week left.  We've only gone over about once previously in years, a vacation month. She and I have both been careful since then (some ofours are "free").  But, I look at it a bit differently now.  It may be .40 a minute for the minutes we've gone over, primarily HER going over, but, what is the cost of a life?  "Al" is still here, and I give God thanks for that, and that M did finally tell me, too, so I can better help her (or him if needed). 

Suicide is a leading cause of death for teenagers (in the U.S., at least).  Whether or not he fully intended to do so, Al was still in need of help, of attention.  That shouldn't be, cannot risk being, ignored, but taken seriously.  Just in case.  I am thankful for all survivors.

May all of those in pain today, find some peace and relief from suffering.  May all those who can live life, may you take a moment to not focus on the negative, but feel grateful for the good, to appreciate your mental and physical and, hopefully, your spiritual health.

As I sneeze and tear up for the pollens from the new life growing outside; the cherry trees in my neighborhood are beginning their blossoms of pink in a blue sky.  I thank God for always giving me sufficient personal reasons to stay hanging in there and living life.

p.s. -- I'm sure that there are great suicide groups, helplines, survivor groups (or those for families), teenage suicide stats, and links and such out there.  If anyone wishes to add any in the comments, please feel free to.

p.p.s. -- in other news -- on this date in 1862 - American Civil War: A bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia became law.  A very important moment of overcoming, perservering, and moving on (even before The Civil War ended in 1865).


Monday, April 14, 2008

life could be worse

The pizza tasted a mite like paper, actually.  But I was sitting on a parkbench, in the sun, watching tourists go by.  Only one asked me for help as I was walking about, inside the barricade "flower planters," searching for a street vendor; which way is the White House was a rather easy one for me.  I got her turned around.  Life could be worse.  I don't quite understand why the woman I'm filling in for, tends to sequester herself inside.  Even if taking more than a moments time away from the desk, she goes underground to get across the street no matter the elements.  I wish to embrace the life outside, the cool pollen-filled air, the life of the city.  It's a pretty day today.

Last week, I got two pieces of news the same day, both of which will alter the course of our lives a bit from that day on.

"I hate to make these kinds of calls, Robin........"  Yeah, I knew what to expect even while I had to appreciate the severity of my Blazer's demise, and how it hung on for SO long.  Two gallons of antifreeze/coolant in the motor oil, a blown head gasket, well.....  she's dead.  I liked her, too. 

When I had a down moment, I almost cried.  At least I had good news for M, a reason to smile.

The same day, "Ma" also e-mailed then later called.  M is almost definitely going to the Oireachtas this year, as a solo dancer!  But, no promises this far in advance; I quite understand.  I only relayed to M that she'd been invited officially to Oireachtas Camp this summer.  It's with hope that M gets that final 1st place (in her treble jig), to earn her way to Preliminary Championship.  If not, however, she's placed 1st in her reel and in her hornpipe, repeated times (at the Open Prizewinner level, qualifying level for Preliminary Championship level).  That's what Ma's really looking for, as those are the two dances that M's age group dances at this year's Southern Region Oireachtas, plus continued good dancing and hopefully even more improvement.  It's really quite exciting:)  Orlando this December -- here we come!  Or, M.  (She's scheduled w/ C that weekend, but hey, it'll work out.  I did tell Sh that M was going to Oireachtas Camp.)  Ma laughed when I told her I'd planned already for M to be "pretty sick" those days she'll be missing school.  It's not an excused absence if they aren't sick, or immediate family member dies or something, and that could mean she loses credit for the class.  Stupid rule, IMHO.  "So, she's starting to come down with something now, right?"  "Ha, yeah, I think so....."

And, the 2-days of recital this past weekend went well, lots of details on, but summary = M's happy with it.  She's happy and eager to spend 2 almost full days doing a healthy activity (with a party w/ dance friends Saturday night and sleepover w/ 3 other girls, leaving me a chance to join E at an out of town ceili, surprising a couple guys but it's all good, a too full weekend but.).   I'm very proud of M, and told her and a friend that they should both be proud of themselves.  This sweetheart of a girl went to last year's Oireachtas for the first time, and recalled!  She suggested that M make an Oireachtas goal. 

I have no money for a car.  But, right, life could be worse:) 

Monday, April 7, 2008

Dam Building (I'm told this is real)

The Dam Notice


This is an actual letter sent to a man named Ryan DeVries regarding a pond on his property. It was sent by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Quality, State of Pennsylvania . This guy's response is hilarious, but read the State's letter before you get to the response letter.

SUBJECT: DEQ File No.97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County

Dear Mr. DeVries:

It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity: Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond.

A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A review of the Department's files shows that no permits have been issued. Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.

The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at downstream locations.

We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted.

The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the stream channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 2008.

Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff. Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activity on the site may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action. We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feelfree to contact me at this office if you have any questions.


David L. Price
District Representative and Water Management Division.

Here is the actual response sent back by Mr. DeVries:

Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County

Dear Mr. Price,

Your certified letter dated 11/25/07 has been handed to me to respond to.
I am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at 2088 Dagget Lane, Trout Run, Pennsylvania .

A couple of beavers are in the (State unauthorized) process of constructing and maintaining two wood 'debris' dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of natures building materials 'debris.'

I would like to challenge your department to attempt to emulate their dam project any time and/or any place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.

[image] [image]

These are the beavers/contractors you are seeking. As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they must first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity.

My first dam question to you is:

(1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers, or

(2) do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request?

If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through the Freedom of Information Act, I request completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued.

(Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.)

I have several concerns. My first concern is, aren't the beavers entitled to legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said representation -- so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer. The Department's dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event, causing flooding, is proof that this is a natural occurrence, which the Department is required to protect. In other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling them dam names.

If you want the stream 'restored' to a dam free-flow condition please contact the beavers - but if you are going to arrest them, they obviously did not pay any attention to your dam letter, they being unable to read English.

In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more dam rights than I do to live and enjoy Spring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection lives up to its name, it should protect the natural resources (Beavers) and the environment (Beavers' Dams).

So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until 1/31/2008? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then and there will be no way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them.

In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention to a real environmental quality, health, problem in the area. It is the bears! Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! The bears are not careful where they dump!

Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.



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I've been tagged! / I'm it!

Sheria tagged me -- They're asking about me!  (take a looking around her whole journal when you have some time).

The rules are:
1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1) What was I doing 10 yrs ago?  My daughter, M was going to be 4 years old, wow, has time changed in 10 years to her going to be 14 years old.  I was (am) a single mom, and my life revolved around her needs.  It's possible I co-taught Sunday school that year, or another year, I did work full-time, drove her to and from her Montessori preschool, her dance classes, various outings in the greater DC area such as Glen Echo Park, and my mother/stepfather watched her every Friday (sometimes more). 

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):  (other than a lot of work things done and new being done, as I did work today, and basic things like walk and play with Daisy and clean up a hairball, and herd cats at breakfast time and give Tinker treats.... Doesn't mean that left time to get all the rest of this done!)

Check e-mail and M's facebook (still with friends I've known for years so, good); write this!

Request M's immunization records so I can complete her public high school registration (got the form, talked w/ her pediatrician's office, prepared the cover sheet, and been trying to fax it.......).  (And RE-call the high school which someone seems to have lost my number, along with RE-calling the orthodontist -- guess both are for tomorrow.)

Get M's dance stuff and mine, and anything else critical from my vehicle, into E's (yep!).  Leave the key so it can get towed (yes, a separate trip as I forgot.)  Get mine towed after talking with mechanic -- except I'm conserving my cell phone minutes so intended to do that from a landline and, um, haven't....

Pay some bills (ok, one got paid, will total up others first).

Card to my uncle Len (um, I'll pick one up......)

Call my brother (sigh, that repeats itself daily until I will finally call him; I have something to SAY now, an update).

RSVP that I can help for a feis, M's recital (all days), response about a gig (but a high school play is that night)....

E's car back to him after I pick M up from "the" barn.  Wow, I got some things done!  I wanted to send him a sweet note, too; the weekend was GREAT.  It's been a long time since I had a M'less weekend that was GREAT.  I'll freshen up before we return his car:)

3) Snacks I enjoy:  Anything right now, almost; I'm hungry.  (Hey, I did errands at lunch -- see to do list!).  Strawberries, peanut butter, cheese w/ or w/out crackers, warm blueberry scone with margarine, whole avocados (ok, or homemade guacamole with good chips and salsa), Bailey's over ice:)  Well, I'm saying it counts as a snack.  E didn't mind me drinking the remainder of his this weekend while he drank Samuel Adams.... 

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:  Other than catch myself up financially (anyone w/ a spare couple thousand?!), do what I can for relatives (including consider a private school for M but eh, this public one IS good), retirement plan and college plan for M (and me? go back to school?), travel.  ALSO sponsor MORE kids from Plan, gosh, I'd have to really think this one through.  Fund a scholarship (or two) at M's school.  Even a million is a lot.  A lot of charity work and organizations -- animal sanctuaries and humane society help, schools and medical care for underpriveleged in our own country and in South America.  The working poor who make just too much to qualify for aid.  Help increase the scientific knowledge of our youth, give them more tools for learning, expose their minds to it in a way that's exciting.  I'd get good financial advice and try to truly make a big difference.  This could be awesome. 

5) Five of my bad habits:

Easily distracted.  Forms are typically beyond me -- hey, this was a real effort to complete!  I often put off what is difficult to deal with (emotionally or just tedious-difficult).  Sometimes, that's how I cope, but it can also delay things too much too often.  Disorganized in many respectsand struggle with that.  Sometimes I can appear reserved or uncaring when I'm just trying to take it all in or perhaps feeling shy / intimidated, and may even care a lot.  I'm not as close with God as I should be and want to be, so haveeven gotten in the habit of NOT attending church since my dad's memorial service, not any church (but I'm working on that one).

6) 5 places I have lived: 

Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Montgomery County, Maryland (all over, name a town or burg or city and I may have lived there, and do currently)

In and around College Park, Maryland

Goleta (near Santa Barbara,) California

South Portland, Maine

7) 5 jobs I have had:

I won't get into my full-time job or company that I've been with since 1980, not publically.  I'll say I most enjoyed the public outreach (constituents vice media) aspects and working with the youth.

Theatre ticket seller (live theater, not movie).

Administrative help for the Olympic Boardsailing Exhibition in 1984.

"Certified body fashion fitter," lingerie department, Woodies (Woodward and Lothrop).

Hostessing, waitressing, from Roy Rogers (the hostess outfit was a "cowgirl" theme), to Ledo's pizza with mixed drinks ha.

Volunteer at a local MNCPPC park.

Volunteer youth advisor at my (former?) church.

8) 5 peeps I wanna know more about, noting I can't "tag" people who have been tagged already, and a few bloggettes are just not able to take the time right now for this, plus I'm limiting myself to public aol journals just because it's easier, SO:

Marc:  Sober Gay Poz Ex-Con  (he's just too interesting NOT to include)

Dan:  The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind (because he seems to be photographically inspired lately, not prolific)

Happytail: Thoughts of an (almost) middle-aged veterinarian, or is it mother? (whether or not she plays along with this game, her journal appears to be underread and yet terrific sense of humour).

Rebecca:  In The Shadow Of The Iris (one of the best blog writers ever, and a really cool and supportive person)

Angie:  Peyton's Water (who doesn't really need explanation!-- adding -- as she's already known and loved! but, fyi, she also has ADD as does her one son in particular, and is well, a mother trying to do right by her kids and the world around her)

and so I picked 6, sue me:

Kathi:  The Patchwork Quilt (who has several journals, including some about Soldier's Angels, in part as she's a military stepmom, and lives just one state away so SOMEtime we'll actually meet up!)

Okay, go for it!









Saturday, April 5, 2008

the cat's out now

"E[name] offered me a ride." is what I said. Actually, it wasn't quite in that exact manner but that's close enough.
The proverbial cat's out of the bag now, I suppose. I'd sent an e-mail yesterday to the coordinator for my main dance group's outing today. Sometimes they like RSVP's for making reservations, and just to know. I'd responded that "we'd" be there at the ceili, not sure about the dinner, let me know if he's looking for a head count for the dinner social. So a woman friend in the group calls me this morning to offer me a ride, referred to by the coordinator.
The coordinator hadn't picked up that I'd said "We'd" be coming. The woman isn't stupid, and I'd have enjoyed riding with her and her husband. This event is at least an hour away. She's also too polite to truly comment, even if she DID repeat it back to me.  "Oh, thanks J, I have a ride...."  "Oh, with whom?"  "E[name]."  "E[name] is giving you a ride?"  "Well, E[name] offered me a ride."  "Oh, oh, um, I ah, I only asked as I wanted to be sure it wasn't [coordinators name] as he asked me to call you and make sure you had a ride."  Later, E laughed, "She's one of the smartest people I know."

I then steered the conversation on to her husband -- while it's been kept private, I heard about his mini-stroke. I'd been quite concerned about it. We ended up talking at length on that, so I'm glad I told her I did know. He'd had this over Easter weekend, went online to search for symptons, and they took a cab to the "better" hospital for these things. He was at class this week and I got paired with him. I could tell in his speech though not so much in his movements. I'm SO glad he got treated well and so soon, and that it's truly going tobe FINE for him.Yes, I should take my low-dosage aspirin....

I've read and heard on the radio that relationships of different ages (over 10 years, and we're at 14 years difference), get as much scrutiny as mixed-race relationships. Hmmm, I'm not sure about that one. I'd think same race, different ages, would receive less. But ? M does not understand why I went hiking with E. Others have told me he's too old for me. We'll see how, and who, in our dance groups react. Some will be surprised, it never occurring to them. I know a couple of the guys have picked up on my interest in E. More so ones who take note of ME, not any of the others I suspect. Some ofthe women won't have thought of it, either. So, he's so well respected, yet "Dora" also well liked (and I do respect her, I can appreciate the courtesy and respect in their relationship that much more NOW than I possibly even could previously).
I adore this man, and have. I had a great time with him, again, last night (watched The Mexican, as I have that on VHS and it's not a kids movie and he said he'd put his DVD player together but eh, his VHS/VCR is already). Just hanging out. (Not that anyone should care but no sex; it's even great doing other things.) He DOES sometimes look old. He usually looks real cute. I'll be proud to be arriving with him tonight, and it'll be comfortable enough. And, we'll get to dance!
(Dancing is, of course, also helpful for blood circulation, general exercise, and for the mind-- not only as exercise but doing patterns both aid against dementia. Really. And endorphins can aid against depression.)
E finally let his mother know that he's not seeing his "friend" "Dora." In E's time on all that.

For our Irish dance community, let the scrutiny begin.

Weather today: gorgeous! I have the window open, and Daisy hasn't left it. Thecats noticed, also. I took an allergy pill. I'll call Doug -- I'm happier now that I've heard something finally from Dad's reverse mortgage company that I'm hoping is good. (I've really stressed.)
There is an Irish Dance group performing at "the" Tidal Basin this afternoon, around 3-4pm, should anyone be down that way. That is a real honor and treat -- likely as part of the cherry blossom festival. Yes, some are still out there. This is D.C.'s best season. I won't make this. Not sure just when E will be bringing his car back for me to run errands with. I didn't ask for that; he offered. I suppose then I'll pick HIM up for tonight's dinner and dance.

I also wish to write my Uncle Len. Oh, I've been MEANING to, anyway. Just busy, sick, busy, too anxious and stressedover some of my dad's affairs, etc. Len is now preparing his retirement. His disabilities are too great for him to recuperate and return to teaching this Spring. His primary care doctor told him not before fall. Big changes there for him and my aunt Beth. But, now they know. He will always be a teacher, really, just not officially technically. He's passed the torch, successfully, to
to his son, Ian. It wasn't the way they'd want Len to go out, of course. My anxiety attack earlier this week had me really thinking, wow, if I had these often? And, Len is having a lot of other unexplainable medical issues. My heart and concern has been going out to him, but I need to hand-write that to him.

M is finding more ways to use her cell phone when at her dad's; seems her newest boy interest is inspiring her. She even got online a bit last night to pull off digital photos I'd emailed her, for a project due Monday. I also printed them out, and photocopied other photos, for her to take on Friday. "Oh, THIS photo!" Glad she liked them. Ha. And general cleaning. And figuring out what I'll wear tonight. I'm not worried. I want to look nice, but I'll feel great, anyway. I'm going w/ E. :)
have a great day, all. kitty cuddles for me right now, birds chirping outside. Maybe I'll pick up some flowers...

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Friday, April 4, 2008

update in the rain

Of course E wasn't upset with me for losing his car key.  Of course, I'd already spent tons of time trying to find it, and he thought maybe I would after I returned home.  Well, I DID look again, just because, but.  And, he laughed with me about it.  Good:)  I suppose he had on his practical, work voice on earlier.  (Or he'd chilled.)  He DID send a couple e-mails I didn't see until this morning, "Losing keys happens to everyone, Robin, including me.  Don't feel bad. Give me a call if you can.  I'm going to leave here at xxxx.  E[name]"  Okay, well, THAT's good.

After not finding a neighbor to drive me down to E's home a few miles away, which, I admit, I wasn't eager to ask I started out with Daisy.  E joked that he'd double-check to make sure he actually brings the spare key with him.  We were going to meet halfway.

In the cold rain.  Not a misty rain, but RAIN rain, before it got dark.  Daisy kept freaking out at the sounds of the street even if the causes of the noises were safely IN the street, and us safely AWAY from said street.  She'd calm down and sniff, sniff, smell, squat, sniff like beagles do, walk along with me, and then panic again.  Sigh.  Poor thing looked at me, tried to get free from her collar and pulled to go HOME.  So, I let her lead me and we ran most of the way back.

With this delay, I tried to walk faster to make up time.  E had left his home already.  After a bit, I got into a groove with my heart and legs just moving forward, passing everything I could spend a moment looking at now instead of usual when I'm driving by in an instant.  Gosh, this almost seemed romantic if it were about 20 F degrees warmer, us both walking in the rain to meet up.  Was that E?  That silhouette of a man coming my way, what if it's not him (well, I'd still say hello).  He put his hand up to his forehead to block the rain, likely squinting.  I moved the umbrella a bit so he could maybe see my face.  Yes, this was E.  With the rain jacket tied about his face, his glasses sprayed with rain water.  He still had on his dressier shoes.  He apologized for having me walk in the rain, saying he was going to walk me back, anyway.  I'm thinking that I'm the one who made HIM walk, and miss his dance class, as I'd lost his car key to a car he is letting me borrow.  Why is he apologizing?  Yet, I'd hoped he'd walk back with me, and I could drive him home.

I stay walking just about as fast, as E likes to walk fast, also.  This stayed good until almost the end when my sciatica felt tingy, so I hobbled walked and he slowed down.  It was a little too wet for hug-walking, or holding hands.  He liked my idea of stopping in Starbucks. 

I knew M was happy to be home, warm, dry, fed, with no homework due, supposedly working on a composting project for Monday and folding laundry, but really chatting with friends via IM and texting.  This included the boy she now likes, who has liked her for years and she thought was pathetic and all of that stuff, who'd gone on the group movie trip I chaperoned over Spring Break.  She's shifted her friendship somewhat from J now, who doesn't really get along as friends with, hmm, I'll call him Al (you can call me Al, call me Al eh he may hate that song).

So, there we were, a middle-aged woman and a bit over middle-aged man, half soaked through, wet hair, sitting there in Starbucks over hot plain coffee (him) and a hot apple cider-like drink (me).  The dry high-schoolers were filling up the place, not that it mattered.  I imagine M wanting to work there in a couple years; she already wants a paid job as do many of her also not quite 14-year old friends.  E had brought the key (good).  We got to talk, things like, "Does that include us?" when asking about the # of people from our main dance group attending a ceili this weekend.  We'd already talked about "outing" ourselves; neither of us cares who knows, we're both comfortable (or, we think so).  Thaw out, and hold hands a little bit.  Ask me about tonight as M is with her dad (albeit today he said that he understands needing time to oneself and he'd put me on the spot last night.  I'd like to see him, though).  We did then walk in the rain again the brief bit further back to his car near my place, and I dropped him off at his home.

Daisy was anxious to see me and go OUTSIDE.  Indie had to wait until this morning.  M updated me on which bathing suit she likes the most in Delia magazine (yellow, of course), potential graduation dresses, and what photos of herself as a young child she wants to use for her Spanish presentation next week, while still IM'g and texting.  This level of electronic communication is still new for her; she knows I monitor it.

M's a really good kid, I'm SO proud of, on the verge of high school.

E's a really good man I'm happy to have in my life, also.

The future is upon us.




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Thursday, April 3, 2008

big things that aren't, little things that are (big)

Yesterday morning, E apologizes again for not having bought fresh milk.  Not that I require it in my chai tea latte mix I keep there, that comes rather pre-dry milked; I just like adding more.  He calls up to me, "Will non-fat dairy creamer work?"  He'd scrounged for me.  I'm really not worried about it, but gosh, that's so sweet and considerate.  So I smile, "Yes, it will be fine, E[name]."

The engine in my vehicle may have finally died yesterday.  Naturally, the day after I'd spent $48. in gas I can't truly afford.  Just 2 days after the new registration had been due, which I had to pay an enormous $180. for a bit over a week ago (unused portion can be refunded, still, sheesz, who can afford to eat after paying that much? this is the cost everyone pays, somehow).

Last fall, my vehicle overheated, and replacing the water pump wasn't sufficient to fix the bit of engine damage.  It's gotten worse.  After E spent about an hour one pre-dusk evening trying to determine what is wrong with the antifreeze/coolant situation, he told me to call him if I get stranded.  (Later, he and his brother put clues together and figured it's a blown head gasket.  I don't know what a head gasket IS, but I know it's a critical part to a car's engine.  When the emissions testing failed, it'd said the third cylinder had problems.)

So, yesterday I'd re-checked and thought I'd topped off the antifreeze levels, then headed to p/up M from "the" barn, connected to her school.  Going uphill on a windy, 2-lane road with vegetation on the side (no place other than the road), it started losing power.  Yikes, is this the transmission, or, no, not quite the same feeling....... it's not blowing warm air yet it's not overheating.....  I prayed, and God let me get across the road into the road  that's the entranceway to the school (and a neighborhood).  In the MIDDLE, but out of the main street that'd have been dangerous. 

I called a coworker to look up E's work #, and I did call him.  It was really nice to have someone to call.  I would only have had the mechanic I use, otherwise.  A couple parents stopped to ask if I was okay, could they give M or I a ride (locally), did I need to use their cell phone......  One parent stopped with his large-sized pickup after picking up his daughter from "the" barn, asked me what was up, and said he'd be back with "the boys" to move me into a safer location off the road.  He did, and they did, and they asked questions and tested things and wow, it started back up.  I drove up to "the" barn, turned it around before it started putzing and died again. They re-tested the antifreeze including via the hose there, more questions.  They, too, think it's likely a blown head gasket.   This parent /guy just DOES, and I appreciate that, too.

I walked back out near the main street, so that E could see me.  I'd tried E's cell phone, which I'd asked that he turn on.  Seems it was dead.  Ha.  Well, he wasn't too lost.  He volunteered to take us to M's class an hour away (WOW).  She actually missed her class-class, but made all of her needed rehearsal time.  Not that she was up for dancing.  Not feeling top notch and very tired.  Some of the dancers even came up to me, sad to hear of the car.  Wow, so sweet of EVERYONE.  E and I went to dinner, bringing M back leftovers.  I was stressed and blood sugar low so I ate some before we talked car talk.  And other talk, including finances, and more fun things.  E decided he'd let me use his car for a few days; he uses public transportation for work, anyway.  I'd get my vehicle in to be looked at, after removing some things, get a cost estimate and timeframe for either replacing an engine or finding a new vehicle.  "I just have to have faith that God will get me through this."  That combined with the idea that, really, compared with some of hte problems in the world, I'm alive, I can walk and talk, etc.

I was a bit hyper in the dance studio, talking with other parents, excited E was with me, feeling badly he'd come that far but wow.  I was showing off photos, the group photos of the performing troupes, "See, here's M dancing at Strathmore [Center for the Performing Arts] last summer,"  "Here's their photos from the pages used in the program at the Oireachtas...." while she and the others danced in the other room.  The Comhaltas (CCE Feis) opened up yesterday, and then capped in a record time of approximately 6.5 hours (last year was record time of about 12.5 hours).   I'd gotten M registered, phew!, and much of the parental-talk in the studio was about this upcoming feis.  Many did NOT make it in on time, yet 48 dancers from M's Irish dance school DID.  MegaMAID had returned from a CCE Festival this past weekend, where she met some people E and I both know, or who E knows.  (She had a great time! and is eager to do more ceili/set dances now, so yeah.)

We drop E off at his house, then drive home.  "It's okay for me to leave my dance (shoe) bag in here, right?"  "Yes."  I'd drive her to school this a.m., class tonight.  Throw her prop of an umbrella in with the bag, shut the doors, and press the "beep" button to lock everything.  I have no idea what happened to the car key since then.

I have looked where I walk Daisy, we've gone through all sorts of areas in the house.  Last night, this morning.  I didn't sleep well, worried about this and I still haven't called Doug back about Dad's house issues (OY).  Shaking my head, I feel like such a doofus.  E sent an e-mail about how nice it was to have dinner with me and to hear the banter between M and I as he drove us back home, to only put as much gas in as I'll have immediate need for.  I decide I'll have to see if I can pick up his dry cleaning for him today as otherwise he'll be out of clean office shirts until next week, assuming I find that key.

E was looking at fading microfiche from about 40 years ago, to research information, when I tried to call.  Later, I finally left him a voicemail saying I hated to leave him a message with this question, but.....   PHEW, a bit ago, he called and he does have spare keys.  Plural.  At his home, of course, which TODAY he's locked.  He didn't seem happy, but he also seemed accepting of this next step in the process of the somewhat crisis.  I so did not wish to bring him into any crisis or financial angst or anything that smacked of "irresponsible."  It's not, though, it's lack of money with a light at the end of the tunnel once I'm not paying tuition.  He tells me how it's basically noble and etc. of me to have sacrificed this for M. Well, I had to; her entire life is altered positively for her attendance there.  She has a good foundation now.  Just I'd like to appear to be running our independent lives successfully, at least for a couple more months until we have more time under our belts.

Last night, I responded to his arm around me, with my arm around him.  That black leather jacket is soft; he was looking really cute.  "So, are you my knight in black leather jacket?"  He didn't seem to mind (then).  :)  And, in time, maybe we can laugh that I (OF COURSE ACK) lost his car key...... 

Of course, both E and M anticipate that I will stay looking for it today / tonight.  Sure.  Just, maybe can we also plan for the backup plan of the extra one?  I was trying to get M back from HER class in time tonight, to let E go to HIS.....  he said he didn't need to, heck, I wanted to pick up his dry cleaning for him today while at my lunchtime that didn't happen, but oh well.  THIS isn't such a big thing, ultimately.  That I could call E, that he's trying to think of me and keep me happy by searching for non-dairy creamer, and driving M to her required rehearsal for the recital?  THOSE are the big things.......

I still feel like a doofus.  And need to call the mechanic, that I owe money to but he's being super nice about it.........