I'm just a girl trying to find her own custom groove in this world without bending to the expectations of others.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Secretary of State Triage

When did the State hire a triage dude for the DMV? Who created this job and for what purpose? Some guy directing one huge line of people to a series of smaller lines - to hand me a slip of paper telling me that I'm number 89 and to sit down while they call me momentarily? Any fool knows that it will be more than momentarily when the lighted sign glares number 63!

Usually, I do my plate renewals online so I don't have to go through this circus of America's most challenged, but for whatever reason, the website wasn't recognizing my PIN number. A window popped up with various reasons why it may not be recognized and it said, "if your name is Michelle, you'll have to go to your nearest branch for renewal".

As I'm waiting, I'm watching the unfriendly clerks at each of their posts. As soon as they finish with a customer, instead of hitting a magical button and calling the next number, they take their time reorganizing their area and then they disappear into the back for a few minutes. To do what exactly?

Maybe, just maybe, this should be the triage person's duty. To help the clerks with whatever it is that they do between customers so you can get in and get the hell out!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

That's the Way I Roll

Okay, listen up! I'm gonna wake up at 7:22 every morning regardless of what time I went to bed the night before. Upon arising, I'll demand my first cup of "cogety milk" for the day. We'll forego any breakfast until I decide I'm hungry at which time I'll take an order of "faffles" or else you better be prepared to deal with a cranky toddler. You better make sure my cars are available to play with at all times and, oh yeah, Nemo should be playing on continuous loop throughout the day. Naps will be solely at my discretion. On the rare occassion that I do want to lay down, I better have some fuzz to pull or there will be no sleep for me and subsequently, you either. Bedtime will be when I collapse in sheer exhaustion and not before. I hope you're clear on all this, because that's the way I ROLL!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Midnight Rendevouz

About once every two weeks or so, Drew wakes up in the middle of the night. Either because his allergies have him stuffed up, or because I accidentally wake him up with the click of the light switch turning off his closet night light. Once he's awakened, he thinks he needs to get up.

People have told me to just let him cry it out and he'll learn to stay in bed, but I want him to know that he can come to me anytime, even during the night. After the heartache it took to conceive him and the odds we beat having him with us still, I have no problem bringing him into bed with me on occassion. In fact, I love it.

Laying next to me, his soft hand resting in mine, he has to have his right foot laying on my body somewhere. Around 4:00 am, after being kicked repeatedly in the boobs and elbowed in the nose a few times, I'm ready to take him back to his bed, but in the first hours when he is still and I can feel the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest and smell his clean hair, there's no place I'd rather be.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Number on the Wall

A submission for The Scheherazade Project

Life happens like that. You close your eyes to blink and in that instant, your world changes forever. I wonder if destiny really exists for all of us or are the events of our life orchestrated by the choices of others? I wonder what would have become of me if I hadn’t made that call. So many questions that can’t be answered in this lifetime, but it doesn’t stop a mind from wonderin’.

I remember the day vividly. My clothes clung to my skinny body in an uncomfortable wet hug. We didn’t have a car, so we walked the four blocks to Chums Diner. I should have been at school, but mom wouldn’t wake up that morning - still doped up on whatever she was able to get her hands on the night before. I waited in the cold apartment listening to my stomach growl, praying that she would open her eyes.

Finally, Mom began to stir. I held out the medicine bottle, the one she always asked for when her head hurt, and hoped she wouldn’t throw it at me. I knew she didn’t want to be mad at me, it was just her headaches that made her angry she would say. But now she smiled and told me to get my coat.

Other mornings I had to run to keep up with her, but this morning, Mom held my hand as we jumped over the puddles on the way to Chums. She slumped into a booth when we got there and I sneaked off to the bathroom. I knew Charlie would have a plate of French toast waiting for me when I came out. Charlie always looked at me with sad eyes -- like he knew something I didn’t.

In the bathroom, I saw a poster that I hadn’t seen before. I couldn’t read very well, not even for an eight year old, but I could tell by the pictures that the people wanted to help out mom’s like mine. I memorized the phone number. I didn’t read so good, but I could remember things.

I was tired of missing school and having no clean underwear. I was sick of always having an empty belly and dirty hair. I hated sitting alone on the playground on the days I did make it to school. I imagined a life like Brittney Brenner, always in pretty dresses with matching tights, her mother, thin and beautiful, volunteering at school. I wanted that life for me too and I wanted my mom to give it to me. I planned to call that number from Charlie’s phone when Mom fell asleep in the booth like she always did.

After I ate and Mom smoked a few cigarettes, her eyes started to blink slowly. I went up to the counter and asked Charlie if I could use the phone. He looked at me the way adults look at kids when they’re up to no good, but he handed me his phone anyway. I talked to a nice lady who said she’d help us out and told me to stay at Chums until someone came for me. I was so excited. Finally, my mom could be the mom I always wanted her to be. I knew she loved me, she just didn’t really know how to take care of me like other moms. Probably cause she didn’t have a mom herself.

It seemed like a long time, but finally an older lady came into the restaurant with a couple of cops and looked at Charlie. Charlie nodded toward the table where we were and they walked over to us. One police man put his hand around Mom’s arm and she jerked so hard that her knees hit the table underneath. She looked around nervously and then got real mad. She started yelling and swearing and when the police man tried to put both arms around her, she started hitting him and yelling even louder. Pretty soon, they were putting her in the cop car and the nice lady was holding my hand telling me everything was going to be okay.

But everything wasn’t okay. I went to live in someone else’s home that night. It wasn’t a home like Brittney’s and it wasn’t a home like I’d dreamed about. I didn’t get to see Mom again, she killed herself with a bed sheet they told me and I grew up a stranger in someone else’s house. I hate my mother. I miss her.

Was this my destiny?

This Old Life

I've been meaning to post the final pictures of the Blogarita weekend, but I have like zero time to do anything these days. When I do have time, Blogger doesn't want to cooperate and let me upload photos, so that post will probably sit in my dashboard as a draft forever. Along with numerous other unfinished posts.

I think I have mono. It hasn't been confirmed by a doctor or anything, but I had it once ten years ago and I feel pretty much the same way. There's no mistaking the pain in my throat. It's not like a sore throat that accompanies a cold, but more like my tonsils are being ripped away from the tender lining of my throat each time I sneeze or even swallow.

Fortunately for me, I'm finally almost finished with my massive tile job. I only have to grout the backsplash now and I'm out of there. I still have to go back up north to put windows in and install siding, but I'm not sure how I'm going to work that into the schedule just yet.

Cheerleading is winding down with only one game left and not having to deal with outside maintenance now that it's fall has been a big time relief for me. As life goes though, stress never settles down in one area without it ramping up in another. I'm technically, unemployed now. The mortgage company that I work for is closing up shop so I have 30 days to close whatever I have in my pipeline, which is admittedly very little in comparison with last year.

I don't think I would have sought out a career change otherwise, but now I'm contemplating a new job altogether. I submitted a resume to a local newspaper company with a very good reference from someone on the "inside". It's a full time salary on a part time workload which is right up my ally. Not that I'm lazy or anything, I just need time for my other avenues of income. I've been waiting for a week to hear if I'll have an interview and the call finally came today. Sometime in the next two weeks, I'll be called in for the process.

Who wouldn't want to hire a "Highly motivated sales professional with extensive experience in marketing and operations management. Superior organizational, communication and administrative skills to ensure efficient customer satisfaction."???? You'd hire that person, wouldn't you?

Time will tell.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Blogaritaville - Day 2 (Part of it anyway)

We were up earlier than any soul should be for going to bed at 2:30, but nonetheless, once Drew was awake, we were too. With the exception of Nelly, we all looked like shit. Sorry guys, but it's true. Puffy eyes, pillow case lines etched in our faces and hair askew. It was about this time that I realized the convenience of my earlier labors. I had cooked and frozen our breakfast days before, so all I had to do was pop it in the oven and then hurry myself into the shower.

Clew brought stuff for Mimosas, so we started the day off right. The breakfast of champions!

After breakfast we were on our way to yet another scrapbook store, but this time to work on a Halloween project. Here is a picture of Nelly and Chesney intent on their pages.

I know it doesn't seem like we should be eating again already, but we were hungry when we got back from the store and it really did take longer than it seemed to in this post. Lunch was chicken alfredo with garlic bread sticks. Me bending over the open dishwasher in the background is a nice touch, dontcha think?

You'll remember this post by Clew last week. This is the package she was talking about. She had the company deliver it to my house on Saturday. It was my birthday present -- two Willow Tree figurines. One titled "Sisters By Heart" the other, "Heart and Soul". The idea is that we'll each keep one and whenever we see eachother we swap figurines. Cool huh? Thanks sis. I love em!

Then Martie came over so we took some more pictures.

Then we scrapped again until it was time for dinner. Wet burritos and Mexican rice and a tasty black bean and corn salsa dip from Clew and a kind of chili conqueso dip from Ches. Both very delish.

And beer! CHEERS!!!

And finally, this was the lovely (aka butt crack) cake Nelly made for my birthday. Instead of cutting it we ate it like any group of well mannered ladies would.

Then the drinking and shenanigans began, which are best saved for another post......

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Weekend - Blogarita Style

Day 1 ~

I had lots of surprises planned for the girls but Clew surprised me by arriving early on Thursday night. We spent the evening chatting and catching up and dozed off in the living room around 1 am. Chesneygirl and Nelly arrived the next morning around 10 where squealing and hugging ensued. After some chatting we went to see Martie and drop off Drew and our weekend commenced.

Nelly took this picture from the backseat. Apparently, I must have been excited to get where we were going because she caught me going 60 in a 35 mph zone. This must be where her fear of riding with me began. The rest of the weekend, I heard the following statements from the back seat: "Dude, don't hit those people." "Stop sign coming UP!" "Do you know where you're going?" "We're gonna crash!" Etc. You get the picture.

Finally, we were at our first stop. Atlanta Bread Company where we got soup, salad and sandwiches. I had given gifts to the girls with clues as to where we were going for lunch and when we finished at ABC, I gave them their second package with a new clue. Then we headed to Pages In Time, a mega scrapbooking store in my area so we could get supplies for the weekend and then we stopped at the mall.

The trunk doesn't look too bad for a shopping spree but consider that we only spent an hour at the mall. We decided together to forego the movie and just have dinner so we made the short trip to On The Border for mexican grub and margaritas.

Notice my big ol drink and further notice that Nelly is sipping on two! After we were full and a little tipsy, we started back to my house.....

....where we scrapped....

....and ate some more.

Clew brought some cool M&M's to surprise all of us. Look closely at the wording on the candy.

We crashed in the living room around 2:30 that night and woke somewhat refreshed for the next day. To be continued.....


You may or may not know that Clew, Chesneygirl and Nelly were at my house for three days this past weekend and I intend to write in depth about it. Later. I know Blogger and Monday morning picture uploads are not a good combination. So check back later for a riveting tale of adventure and silliness.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Just Like the Pioneers

We've been preparing for winter like little squirrels over here. Just like the first settlers rendered the fat and salted the pork, harvested and canned their vegetables and fruit and chopped and stock piled wood in preparation for the long, cold winters, we've been equally busy stashing away our winter forages too.


We bottled over 30 gallons of beer this past weekend. Wheat, Oktoberfest, Brown Ale, Chai Tea Beer and Red Ale. OH! and we made 20 gallons of hard cider and five gallons of apple wine. We still have to make a couple Christmas beers too. Remember, this isn't all for our consumption. We do give it away as gifts and we have parties. I think we should open our own microbrew pub.

We also spent the weekend canning apples. We got all these apples (for only $20).....

and with the help of my good friend and neighbor.....

We turned them into this - applesauce and dessert apples for pies and such.....
(plus the five gallons of wine)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Paris for the Weekend

During the several weeks when I was gone, I spent a weekend in Paris and the rest of the time jet-setting in Bel Air. Sounds so worldly doesn't it? In reality I spent a weekend canoeing in a backwards little village in Paris, Michigan and rather jet skied in the little knock about town of Bellaire, Michigan where we lived for six weeks. I recorded many things in my journal that I thought I would eventually post about, and maybe I will someday, but not today.

One thing I wanted to do was mention Owen on the anniversary of his death. Somehow not memorializing him on his day was almost as sad as the events of that awful day, but I suppose for healing to occur, you have to let go of some of the pain. So thus, another year has gone and the wound stings a little less. I did find a nice stone and had his name sandblasted on it along with a picture of a lamb to place by the tree we planted in his memory.

Steve is now a senior in high school. The moms out there who have kids graduating or already finished with high school know what I mean when I say how fast the time went, but those with small children look at us and see Steve as an adult and never imagine their own child being that old. I even think that way of Drew while Steve is proof before my eyes that kids grow up so quickly. Steve's a great kid. We've had our share of attitude with him, but the more I observe other teenage boys, I realize how lucky we are. He's a lot of fun to hang out with.

Emily, a freshman now, has received another flattering offer. We were contacted recently by a representative from The People to People Ambassador Program inviting Emily to tour and study in Paris (the real Paris) and Italy for three weeks in 2007. We have a meeting in October, but I'm not certain if I'm going to allow her to go. I would much rather she be a junior or senior for this kind of trip, but I also don't want to rob her of this opportunity. I haven't made up my mind yet.

We received some disappointing information on Drew. The kidney surgery he had last year wasn't as successful as we'd hoped. There's been some improvement, but the stage they are still rating the damage at would require surgery initially in a patient, but he may no longer be a candidate. We're not certain what all this means long term, but more tests are scheduled in November which require sedation. Think of me on November 8. I hate taking him to the hospital.

Work has been crazy. Now that we're pretty much finished with the house up north (we have to go back to install siding) I'm back to ceramic tile. This has been the job that never ends. That's where I'm headed now, so have a grand day.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

One Year

When you reach a certain age, it seems unlikely that you'll experience a major change in your self. I know a person never quits learning, but the biggest "coming of age" events usually happen sometime in the twenties.

Today's date marks one year since my very first post. When I first started posting, I was intimidated, nervous and self conscious. I never expected to be blogging a year later. Looking back through my posts, I can see how much I've grown over the last year. I kind of came into my own without really knowing it.

The self discovery at times was very painful and I grieved for certain things I had to leave behind in order to move forward. With encouragment and support from a handful of special bloggers, I've been able to arrive at a time in my life where I am excited about the future. There were a great number of years when I didn't have that excitement.

I'd like to personally thank each and every one of my readers - both the faithful that visit every day and those who no longer comment - for your support and patience, honesty and care. I look ahead with hope, excitement and new energy to another year in blogging.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Clear September Sky

Like every American, I remember the events of 9-11 vividly. The shock when a plane crashed into the first tower of the World Trade Center and stunned horror when the second plane hit and the world knew at once that this was no accident.

I grieved with the nation as we waited to hear of survivors. But I'm ashamed to say that I also felt cheated.

I felt cheated out of my own grief. Only a very short month before (to the date), we lost Owen. At that point in my life, I wasn't capable of hurting any more than I already did. And I was extremely upset that the rest of the world had moved on, seemingly without me.

When the events of that day pushed my heartache to the proverbial back burner, something inside me became numb. It didn't seem fair that just because my baby didn't die in a tragedy as great as 9-11 that his death should be forgotten. I felt almost as if people expected me to stop grieving my son and join in a collective grief for our country.

Looking back, I realize how silly that sounds, but in that state of bereavement when nothing makes sense, the feelings were very strong. Still though, on the eve of the anniversary of that fateful day, I feel the emotions pulling their tug of war. I grieve for all of the families who lost loved ones at the hands of terrorists and I grieve for what I lost as well.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Ravages of Time

Evidence proves that time takes everything new and beautiful and exciting and converts it to old and mishappen and dull.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A New Scheherazade Theme

The following is a submission for The Scheherazade Project. I've been working on it for a long time. In fact, it's not even for the latest theme, but I want to post it anyway because I've been thinking about it for weeks. It's apparent that I wrapped it up quickly, but I'm sick of it not being done. Also, because I haven't had internet access, I haven't been able to research as in depth as I've wanted. Other than that, please leave any criticism. I'm posting from Mad Hatter's as I still have no computer.

PS: I forgot to mention the theme for the project. We had to work the following statement into a story - "I guess he/she was just born that way."


The year was 1964. Beatlemania had just been conceived and the nation was still reeling from the recent assassination of John F. Kennedy. The war was escalating in Vietnam and Martin Luther King won the Nobel Peace Prize, but I wasn’t wrapped up in any of it. Instead, I was weaving baskets in Bolgatanga, Ghana.

Earlier that year, my parents announced that we would be spending our summer in Western Africa on a mission trip. Though my sister and me wanted to raise our voices in unified protest, we were both smart enough to remain silent. That night, however, in the cool darkness of Beth’s room, we whispered our contempt.

Dad tried his best to engage us in the excitement he and mom shared, but we dug in our heels. When he eagerly told us that it wasn’t customary to eat with or offer anything with our left hand in Africa, Beth quietly raised the middle finger of her left hand behind dad’s back. I smiled thinking of the secret giggles we shared, but the memory evaporated instantly with the moaning from the sick girl inside.

We had been in Bolgatanga for almost two months already and were having the time of our lives. While our parents were busy setting up the school, me and Beth spent our days weaving baskets with our group and sharing stories of America with our new friends.

That fateful day seemed hotter than normal and the biting flies seemed determined to leave our bodies peppered with welts. We slapped at them as we walked along the edge of the razor sharp elephant grass. I asked Neeway what had happened to Siatta’s fingers. Every day during basket time, I watched Siatta work. I couldn’t help staring at the knobby bumps where her fingers should have been and the pink skin stretched and shiny around her black hand.

Neeway paused as if remembering, “I dunno. I guess she be born dat way.”

Then the awful scream, reverberating through the heavy air and piercing my ears painfully. It took only seconds to react and I rushed to Neeway who was now laying in a crumpled ball, whimpering. I saw blood dripping from her leg a second before I saw the green snake coiled at the edge of the grass. My mind raced - Should I try to move Neeway or would any sudden movement cause the snake to lash out again? What kind of snake is it? Is it poisonous? How long do I have to get help. Run. Run and get help.

Now, days later, Neeway lay in a straw bed, feverish and unconscious save the occasional groaning. The Tindaana of the village had been engaged in prayer for the past three hours after the doctor told the family that this day would be critical. Members from the Gruhi tribe as well as surrounding tribes came in constant procession to make offerings and pray for the sick girl.

The calmness in my mother’s voice belied the fear in her eyes as she coaxed Neeway’s mother to eat some Waache, “You’ll need your strength Yamah. Your daughter will want you when she awakes. Eat.”

All day this went on. Yamah’s heartbreaking sobs, mom comforting, dad pacing and me praying that my friend would be okay. I dozed off to the hypnotic chanting of the Tindaana and was awakened to a flurry of movement and excited cries. “She’s awake Yamah, come quickly,” the doctor called.

It seemed hours before anyone emerged from the little hut again, but when Yamah and the doctor reappeared in the doorway, it was apparent they were very upset. Neeway had woke only to speak to her mother before closing her eyes permanently.

We stayed in Bolgatanga for another week to attend the Damba, the festival of thanksgiving, dedication and reunion. The entire tribe was there to celebrate the passing of Neeway from this life unto the next. I was sad. I didn’t understand the celebration while I was there, but over the years I grew to appreciate the value of life and to realize that death is just the beginning.

Temporary Hiatus

Due to severe computer problems, I've been very much unable to blog or even return emails appropriately. I've been making the rounds through my neighborhood begging for computer time, but I never feel like I should be on very long.

This temporary outage should last for another week or two and then I'll be back full force to regale you with wonderful stories of my summer. Hope everyone is well.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Greetings from North Country

"Up north is a state of mind."

I always thought that Michigan saying was a little corny until I spent a good portion of my summer here.

It probably only seems different because I'm away from my normal routine and forced to fill my time with more creative resources than I settle for at home. Still, time seems to move a little slower up here. Late nights and early mornings don't tax the body quite as much and afternoon naps are free of any guilt. The days are hotter, the nights cooler and the air crisper.

Dotted along the coast are idyllic little lake towns with their quaint shops and bistros and their grand marinas and white sand beaches. In between are cherry orchards with glimpses of Grand Traverse Bay beyond, antique shops and road side fruit and vegetable stands. You know you're getting close to another town when the snaking driveways are marked by carved wooden signs sporting names like "The Loony Bin" or "Cathy's Cove".

It doesn't matter how hot the day is, the breeze that comes off Lake Michigan keeps you cool and belies the power of the sun's burning rays. And the smell the breeze ushers in is more relaxing than the scent of lavender in springtime. When the water catches the sunlight and sends it blinding in a million directions, I feel as though I was born to live on the lake and am envious of the gigantic house boats floating in their rocking slips.

At the end of the day, pleasantly exhausted from the sun and wind, I sit watching the big orange ball falling slowly to the horizon, widening a trail of fire over the water. My skin feels tight with new color and the strands of hair whipped free of my pony tail lift in the breeze. Thoughts race through my mind and I think, "Up north is definitely more than a state of mind. It's a feeling - a new memory with nostalgia already built in."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Perspective - A Scheherazade Project Entry

A second submission for The Scheherazade Project. This week's theme: "Don't Fear the Blue Monkey" (Criticism welcome)


The soft, echoing thump of the base could be heard before Shelby even opened the door to the club. She glanced nervously across the street before shouldering her way into the smoke filled atmosphere of the Bressa Del Rio.

Once inside, her eyes adjusted to the dim lighting and quickly scanned for an available table. She wanted something obscure; somewhere they could have their privacy without having to yell over the music. Taking a seat at a table near the back, the band belting out their rendition of Sweet Home Alabama, Shelby wondered again if she was in over her head. Even though she had quit smoking years ago, she longed for a cigarette to soothe her nerves and occupy her shaky hands.

A waiter appeared. "I noticed you're keeping an eye on the door. Are you waiting for someone?"

"Yeah, sorta," Shelby replied, already annoyed with the lanky employee whose name tag said simply, 'Bub'.

"You wanna wait or order a drink?" Bub asked.

When Shelby told him that she wanted a Sam Adams Summer Ale, Bub tried to convince her that she really wanted one of the specialty drinks. She glanced at the door again as he rattled off the list of choices, "......Apple Martini, Rum Runner, The Blue Monkey....."

"Wait, what the hell is a Blue Monkey?" she asked trying her best to sound annoyed.

Not picking up on her irritation, Bub recited the ingredients. "Blue Curacao, Banana Liquor and pineapple juice. Trust me, it will get you feeling right."

She nodded, anxious for the waiter to leave. She needed to think before he arrived. Needed to decide what she was going to do if he actually showed up. They'd been talking for months, her and Ben, but for all intents and purposes, they were practically strangers. She wasn't even sure she'd recognize him if he walked in. Still, she had real feelings for this guy. She longed to feel his touch, his kiss, to be part of his world; but sitting here now, she wasn't sure about any of those things.

Shelby noticed that her drink was on the table and she took a long sip, hoping for an instant buzz. It was actually very tasty and she quickly finished it as the band sang a Pink Floyd song. Shelby tapped her foot to the beat already feeling the affects of the alcohol. She motioned for Bub to bring another.

Where was Ben anyway, she wondered. A peek at her cell phone told her that she hadn't missed a call. It also confirmed that he was half an hour late. Her mind replayed their recent telephone conversations. Did she misinterpret his affection for her? Did she make too much of the poems and letters he wrote to her? She really hadn't thought about what she'd do if he didn't come. She finished her second drink.

When Bub came to suggest a third Blue Monkey, Shelby had to turn away so she wouldn't see the sympathetic look in his eyes. She didn't want Bub of all people to know she was being jerked around and she especially didn't want his pity. "Maybe he got caught in traffic," Bub offered.

Shelby bit back the urge to say something nasty and instead countered, "How about that drink?"

Half way through that one, her apprehension turned to anger. She dialed Ben's cell number. No answer. Shit. An hour and fifteen minutes late now. He wasn't going to come. Her mind juggled the humiliation, anger and disappointment, each emotion a giant ball suspended in the stale air. She threw thirty dollars on the table and hurried to the door before the concerned waiter saw her again.

She was relieved to see a taxi waiting half a block away and she ran toward it, the pounding of her feet echoing in her broken heart. She fell into the back seat with tears stabbing at her eyes. Her throat constricted around a sob but she managed to choke out to the driver, "Just go."

As her cab pulled away, the door to the Bressa Del Rio opened again and a dark haired man walked in. Breathless from running, his eyes frantically searched for a blond woman sitting alone, waiting. Waiting for him.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

It's My Blog and I'll Cry if I Want To

Managing three kids, one of whom has a recently developed an interest in finger painting with his own poo, is energy draining enough; but add three jobs on top of that and you'll understand why I haven't been around much.

Because I have so much going on, neither of my three jobs are getting done adequately or efficiently. The ceramic tile job I'm currently working on is kicking my ass. I've already placed 770 square feet of the stuff and the home owners keep finding new rooms for me to do. I've done a 14' x 14' dining room with diamond patterns in each corner which is connected to a kitchen where I had to lay tile under a stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, and desk AND go around an island in the center of the kitchen and a bar on the other end. This all leads to a hallway and a sitting room where there is a 2 1/2' border around an inset carpet area. Continue down the tiled hallway to a laundry room on the right where it eventually spills into an entryway with a closet. There is also a separate 9' x 6' pantry that doesn't touch any of the other tile. Nothing is grouted yet and now they want me to do a mud room and three bathrooms. My knees and my back are shot and there is a blister/callous on my hand that feels like a rock under my skin from the trowel.

I'm exhausted at the end of the day, but I have still have to meet with clients to fill out mortgage applications, write purchase agreements and meet with the inspectors. Sometime during all this, I have to find time to put the mortgages together. I have to shop it amongst 400 lenders to find the best program that will suit the needs of the borrower. No surprise that I have two extremely hard deals going right now. I searched and searched for two weeks for a lender to finance a particularly complicated deal and when I called the buyer to get the necessary paperwork, she informed me that she didn't file taxes last year. When I told her two weeks ago that I needed them, she said it wasn't a problem. Just like that, the deal is gone and another one is falling apart as I type - after weeks of wasted time, thank you very much.

After the work is done and everyone is fed, bathed and in bed, I have about an hour to myself if I can stay awake until 11pm. I haven't had time to write or blog or read or do any of the things I work into my daily schedule. My outdoor flowers are dead, my garden needs weeding, the vehicles are dirty, the laundry is piled up and the house is a mess.

And if I have to read Clonkey, Bonkey, Donkey the minute I walk through the door one more time, I might indeed lose it permanently.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Short Interruption

To my daily readers,

I am interrupting my normal posts to submit a story in The Scheherazade Project. The story is in the post below. Please, don't feel the need to worry about me or my state of mind. The story was based on how I felt at one time, but I'm okay now, really.


PS: Feel free to leave any criticism.

"Emptiness" - The Scheherazade Project

As the last remnants of sleep lifted from her body and mind, she absently placed a hand on her belly and the horror of the previous day came plunging back. Remembering was more painful than a physical blow as she realized the flat area she rubbed had been swollen with life at this exact time yesterday. Now, the emptiness loomed like a brick wall, stopping her from getting out of bed - from breathing.

She wondered if she could kill herself by simply holding her breath. No, she rationalized, she’d pass out first and her body’s instincts would take over to keep her alive. She imagined the reaction of her family finding her motionless after swallowing a mixture of the pain killers and anti-depressants the hospital had given her.

No one seemed to be grieving the way she was. Nobody shared the emptiness in her body and soul. After all, she never knew the baby that had lived inside her for more than half a year. And she was young, she could always have another. That’s what everyone said anyway, hoping to make her feel better, but in the end making her feel even more desolate.

She was alone. Her baby was gone. Life as she knew it was gone. She twisted the cap off the bottle and let one pill slip down her throat. Then another, and another…until the contents of the bottle filled the emptiness in her belly.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Northern Adventures

Sitting in the woods beneath a black-streaked vinyl awning attached to a 1961 Airstream travel trailer with a couple aging hippies and three dogs was definitely not how I imagined spending my weekend away.

My visions of tooling up the coast, hair whipping in the summer wind, stopping for wine tasting and beach combing were dashed the minute we turned up that dusty, "seasonal--not-maintained-by-the-county", two-track road.

We were simply going to check on a future job site, chat for a few minutes and get back to enjoying our vacation in Northern Wine Country. We didn't intend on staying the whole afternoon, we didn't intend on sharing their vegetarian dinner and we certainly didn't intend on drinking home made beer around the campfire into the dark hours of the night. But that's exactly what happened.

The couple, who were actually an ex-couple but still "get together" regularly were very persistent about our staying. He was a cross between Santa Claus and Willie Nelson with his silver pony tail tucked inside itself and wrapped with multiple rubberbands. She was a thin, long haired thing with yellow, rubbery skin and carried a faint scent of sandalwood. She looked perpetually stoned, but they were the nicest, most generous and genuine people you'd ever care to meet.

We met them again for lunch the next day at a perfect little Micro Brewery called "Shorts" for cheese pizza and a couple Growlers (a 64oz jug filled with whichever home brew you choose) before we parted ways for the rest of the weekend.

More observations and events from my mini-vacation as time allows....

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I'm in much need of a little R&R so I won't be around again until Sunday. With interesting stories to tell, no doubt. Have a grand weekend y'all!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Dear Friend...

...or should I say ex-friend? I've had it with your third grade bull shit! If you've got something to say about me, be a big girl and say it to me. Did you really think talking to my friends wasn't going to get back to me? You're done telling me who I can and can't like and you're done making your stupid little digs. I'm done being nice. I'm tired of treating you with kid gloves. You wanna be my friend? Grow some thicker skin. And a fucking back bone. I'm through pretending everything is okay. You've pushed me too far this time and I'm erasing you from my world.

Good riddance, I didn't much care for you to begin with.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Lobsterfest Report

Lobster rocks! It's a ton of work to eat them, but it is so worth it. They were delicious.

You were right Meritt, we did find all our lobster paraphanalia at Target. We split the cost and plan to share the goodies, so it's just like 2/$1, right? Doesn't the setting look fun?

Even our guys humored us by wearing the corny lobster chef hats we bought. Even though it was 90 degrees and humid. Don't feel too badly for them. They kept cool with Pina Coladas and wheat beer.

Here's the killing. By the expressions on the faces, there's no need to explain the picture. I was standing further away than it appears so I couldn't see or hear anything. Thank goodness for the zoom feature.

I didn't have a problem serving them up though.

You would have been proud Theresa. I made a huge mess with mine and even have a blood blister from the "claw cracker". We also had cocktail shrimp, king crab legs and corn on the cob. We forgot about the pineapple and no one saved room for the ribs, so we ate those the next night.

This was the last picture we took before we retired to the hot tub for the rest of the evening.

Oh, Spinner, I think I would have been better with the whole murder thing thinking they were insects until I read Unacknowledged Genius' comment about eating them.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Lobster Bake

In all my 37 years, I've never eaten lobster. Can you believe someone that has so much adventure in their life has yet to taste this treat? And I'm doing it right, I tell ya. We, together with our close friends, are having lobster flown in from Maine today and are going to attempt to boil them ourselves. We've got all the fixins:

Tools we'll need to dine
Lobster-themed dinnerware
Crab legs
Shrimp cocktail
Ribs (just in case)
Corn on the cob
Pina Coladas
Crackers & Cheese

What I'm not prepared for is the killing of these poor creatures. I was so hoping they'd arrive dead having been packed in ice for their commute, but not so. They are coming in a "live crate" with gel ice packs. They will be alive and kicking. I do believe you have to put them head first into boiling water to kill them but the "screaming" you hear is only the air escaping from their shell. And I heard that you can hear them banging against the side of the pot. The nice gentlemen on the other end of the line tried to relax my anxiety by telling me that they don't have vertabrae or a central nervous system and don't feel pain. I'll choose to believe this because I honestly wont be able to kill them. If left up to me, I'll have six pet lobsters come Saturday morning.

Yes, I know ribs used to be alive too, Mr. A,JA, but I'm not the one that actually had to witness their demise or worse, be the cause of it. I feel a little sick to my stomach even thinking about it. And then, what if I don't like them? OH! I wonder if it's too late to cancel the order.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Allow This MaMa a Little Bragging

I refrained from boasting when my daughter won an award for writing last week and I didn't gush about her high GPA or the speech she wrote for her election to student council, but this I can't pass up. I have to post about her latest honor because I am so proud of her.

She was nominated by a teacher and accepted by members of the Congressional Board to attend the Congressional Youth Leadership Council in January to represent our district. It's a four day conference in which she will learn leadership development (self-awareness, leadership techniques, presentation skills and group dynamics) and then she'll be able to practice leadership skills (conflict management, decision making and project management).

I feel it's an opportunity of a lifetime and she's equally excited about going even though she'll have to make a presentation in front of 430 Congress members and who-knows how many other students. Did I mention she's only going to be a freshmen next year?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Touring the Past

I've been very distracted with childhood memories lately. The start of summer usually does it to me, but this year I've seemed to relapse into a perpetual state of daydreaming. It's not like I dislike my current life, the warm weather has just reminded me of simpler days with no responsibilities - no coordinating schedules and making sure there's food in the house, no laundry and cleaning, no bill paying and worrying about money.

I had such a stress-free childhood really, with so many fond memories that I can't help but long for those times. Life doesn't seem to be as simple for kids today.

Rather than fighting the reminiscing, I decided to embrace it by taking a "tour of the past". I gathered some appropriate CD's and set out on my own. I visited lots of the places that I think about often as well as a few that I haven't thought of in years. At the park, I imagined a younger me, tossing a softball from the pitchers mound and an even younger version of me playing on the monkey bars that sit adjacent to that park.

This was the park where I hit my first home run, and there was the Ice Cream Hut where the coach took me afterward for a malt. The same place I would later be employed - leaning out the window on my teenage elbows looking for cute boys.

There were the Monkey Trails where I rode my bike (against the rules) and ran into a couple of older boys who took great delight in teasing me.

And there was the house with the rhubarb from this post!

The curve on the gravel road where Wendy was killed in a tragic accident after a party.

The yard where we used to play baseball and where I experienced my first kiss.

There was the house of my first boyfriend whom I still think so fondly of, and the porch we used to sit on dreaming about what we wanted to do.

The culvert where we used to wade, catching frogs.

I found the raspberry bushes that we used to pick clean every year.

I even drove past my old house. The trees and bushes are much bigger and you can catch a glimpse of the in-ground pool that we spent so many hot hours in between the shrinking slats of wood fence.

Then I went past my best friend's house and stopped in front of the lane leading to the forest creek that I described in this post and then continued on up to the bank where I opened my first checking account.

So many memories were swirling on the dusty gravel roads making me long for those times even more. A grief counselor once told me of Owen after he died, "you tend to glorify him as a perfect baby, but no doubt, there would have been times that he'd cry and keep you up at night and you'd become frustrated". I thought of this as I finished up my tour. I remember the dreams I had for myself and the life I envisioned myself living and it's not even close to today's reality, but I recalled the statement from the counselor. I know now that I'm idolizing an alternate future for myself. One that surely would have had just as many disappointments and heartaches as my current life. And living that alternate reality, I'd erase all the wonderful things that happened to me as an adult.

Although it's sometimes difficult, I'm on the road that I'm meant to be on, I can rest assured in that.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A Chance Meeting

SURPRISE!!!! Michelle & Chesneygirl Meet!!!

...at the Kenny Chesney concert in Grand Rapids, MI. After whining on Friday about not being able to go to the concert, Chesneygirl sent me to an eBay link that had tickets up for auction. She then gave me her cell number in case I was able to win them. I didn't! But, I found another person who was desperately trying to part with four floor tickets and I snatched them up. I called Chesneygirl to tell her the good news and we made tentative plans to meet at the BOB, where I would call her again to find her.

So we headed downtown at 5pm and parked relatively easy despite the fact that it was a sold out show and the Art Festival was also going on. One of my neighbors went with us and we got in the long line to gain entry into the BOB. That's when I was certain I saw Chesneygirl in line. I recognized her hair from the back - I'm really not sure how, so I called her cell phone to see if it was her. I saw the girl fumbling for the phone in her purse and she answered, "Hello?".

"OMG, where are you?" Me

"I'm just going into the BOB." CG

"I KNOW!! I'm right behind you" Me

We spent the next hour and a half taking pictures and chatting while I tried to win "Sand Bar" tickets and then we walked to the concert together where we immediately got separated. She did manage to find me between Dierks Bentley and Kenny to rub in my face how awesome the Sand Bar really was. Pthththt. I didn't see her again after that.

But it was so awesome to meet you Chesney. You're just as fun in person as you appear on your blog. And maybe, just maybe, we'll meet you down at MIS in your big ol party bus! :) Here's a picture of Kenny when he entered back by where I was. Let me know if you want me to email you any pictures.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Rhubarb and Kittens

I was eleven years old and the day was hot and dusty. A day made for chewing on stalks of grass and drinking lemonade. It was the first time I'd seen and tasted rhubarb. Every season when the weather first gets warm and humid, I can't help but think about that day. And I can't have Rhubarb without thinking of that mattered-eye kitten.

I was in grade school and life on a farm was something that I longed to have. I loved animals and I was at the age where farm chores seemed like fun, not work. I preferred to be barefoot and the dirtier I got, the cooler I felt. I was afraid of nothing. Put me on a horse with no saddle and I'd hang on to the mane and squeeze my little knees into the mare's sides and ride as long as she'd let me. I'd bounce up and down against the horse's back as she would trot and prance through mud and then loosen up my grip as she made the beautiful transition from bumping to a smooth full on run.

It was hot that day - even for a kid that loved being outside. After dinner, we went out to the pasture to walk the top of the fence. I feared falling inside and having the bull chase me, but the thrill of the danger won out and I walked the entire length, back and forth almost hoping I would lose my balance and fall so I could scramble up as fast as I could, heart racing.

Finally bored with the fence walking, we hopped down and strolled into the barn. The hay smelled sweet and the barn wood dry. Little rays of sun sliced through the wood slats and cut a laser of illuminated dust in the otherwise gray light. We gave bottles of milk to the calves who were "bla-a-ating" to be fed and monkeyed around with some farm tools before we meandered out the front doors and down the rocky driveway.

It felt even hotter on the dry gravel road and our feet kicked up clouds of dust that stuck to the milk that had spilled on our legs. The horseflies were annoying, trying to bite at our sweet, sweaty skin.

There, near the ditch across the street, the leafy plants with the long, purpley celery stems came into view. "What are those?" I asked.

"That's just rhubarb," Beth said matter-of-factly, "Try some. It's good."

It didn't look good, but my sense of adventure took over and I broke off a stalk, cleaned it with my dirty shirt and chomped the end off. It took only a second to register that it was sour. So sour that it stung the hollow part between my jaw and my ear and I spit it on the ground.

That's when we heard the mewls coming from up near the house. We followed the sound to a lilac bush next to the front porch where we found three tiny kittens. They were black and grey striped and probably about six weeks old. We drug them out from their little hideaway to cuddle and play with them, but we noticed one in particular didn't have her eyes open. It didn't look right. She was trying to open them, but had all this dried, crusty matter over them. We scooped her up and brought her to the house where Grandma Schaendorf fetched a warm, wet washcloth and slowly began wiping the kitten's eyes. After her tender care, the little girl that we named Crusty opened her blue eyes and blinked a few times as if thanking us. Delighted with our new friend we took her back outside to join her siblings where we sat for several minutes playing with them.

The mosquitos were starting to swarm in the long grass and we eventually got tired of slapping them away and headed back home to get cleaned up.

While this kind of day doesn't sound quite as appealing to me as it did at one time, I love reliving the events over and over in my head.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I Wish--That--I Knew What I Know Now (boom boom) When I Was Younger

Floating cotton on warm, lazy currents
The smell of dry meadow grass parched by the afternoon sun
Dust swirling in dissipating clouds around bare feet
The droning dissonance of summer insects
Blurred images across the hazy fields
Whispered secrets

The coolness of the forest shelter
Harsh landscape variations
Hot, dusty feet sliding into the creeks motion
Cool water flowing like silk through toes
Sunlight dancing between leaves
twinkling in callow eyes

A sense of security
A sense that all will remain
And then we grow up
Forgetting the magic of childhood
And the beauty of it's simplicity

© 2006 Michelle (nnm)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

These Kids are Going to be the Death of Me

Picture added to satiate Plimco's morbid self. Take great delight in the pain and suffering of my baby. Of course, it doesn't look all that bad 3 days later. If you don't look directly at the blister, you can see it better.

I've been to the doctor's office every day this week followed by a subsequent trip to the pharmacy. Monday was Emily's turn to be seen. She has had a wart that we cannot get rid of with over the counter treatments, so we had to go to the peed. It was no big deal as Drew had his well-baby check up that day too, complete with shots. Emily's wart was too close to a joint to freeze, so we were prescribed some stronger acid to treat her which cost about $60.

Tuesday, Drew has a reaction to his shots. Or so I thought. After he started pushing on his leg and crying, I took his pants off too see what was bothering him. His little thigh was sporting a hot welt about the size of a coffee cup. I called the pediatrician who told me to bring him in right away. Turns out that he has a staph infection from the needle. I know, believe me, I was pissed too. The doctor traces the borders, takes a picture of it, administers an antibiotic and gives a prescription to continue at home with instructions to take him to ER if he develops a fever or if the welt grows past the markings.

Wednesday, Steve gets sick with "the worse sore throat ever". Drew's bump has grown by an inch is hot and leathery and even has some blisters on it. I make another trip to the peed's office with all kids in tow. Steve has strep and receives an antibiotic and Drew gets a stronger medicine to fight his infection. A powder antibiotic that I have to reconstitute and give to him for ten days. At $80 a day.

Today, fortunately, everyone seems well. Drew's leg has visible improvement and he's no longer grumpy. Steve's throat is feeling better and Emily is doing acid. One bright note, Drew can't catch Steve's strep because of all the antibiotics he's on. Let's hope I don't get it too.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Island

Mackinac that is, pronounced Mack-e-naw for those of you who aren't from the north. Mackinac is a beautiful place to go, even when it's cold and rainy. It is very touristy in the summer months, but it's also a little like stepping back in time.

After a 20 minute ferry ride across Lake Huron, arrival on the island is the beginning of your horse or bike transport. It's the only way to get anywhere unless you want to foot it, which sucks when it's blustery cold and the rain drops are slushy.

The only motorized vehicles on the island consist of an ambulance and a fire truck which ironically, crashed into each other as they were racing to meet some ferry passengers that got a little roughed up on the turbulent waters.

Shops! There are shops and bistros galore on Main Street and what is a quaint little setting during the day turns into Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras at night. There is no cover charge for most of the bars and the alcohol flows like water. Since no one has to drive, there isn't any holding back when it comes to limit. What people fail to realize though is that they still need to ride their bike back to their residence or hotel after 10 or 12 rounds. I seriously think biking is more dangerous than driving a vehicle when you are drunk. About 1 a.m. things get really interesting. We're talking some metal mangling, knock-the-wind-out-you bike crashes.

The wedding was beautiful, but cold. It was right on the water so the bride was wrestling with her veil for the entire ceremony. At one point, it was wrapped around her head twice and I sensed a bit of panic from her when she couldn't find her way out. The music didn't work, the kids freaked out and wouldn't sing their solo and the rose petals we threw went up and blew away instead of making a romantic path for the newly married couple to glide over. At least the sun came out during the exchange of vows before the skies opened up in time to transport all 50 guests in carriages to Main Street for the reception. The bride looked like an Afghan dog when it was all said and done.

Despite the weather, we had a good time with our friends on the island. I can't seem to catch up on my sleep though. I feel exhausted. I'd like to post pictures, but looking through them, there aren't many that I feel comfortable sharing. I have a special one for you, Dribbler that I can't post here either. Think Ronald McDonald.

Here are some pictures I can show:

The view from our hotel.

Main Street.
The docks.

And I couldn't resist taking this picture on the ride home. Is this a suggestion or a warning?

Humorously, there was no squeegee in the bucket!

Thursday, May 18, 2006


This may seem spur of the moment, but I will be gone for a while.

this video about safe sex in my absence. (Note: If you are offended by cartoon characters "doing it", you don't need to view.)

PS: The link does work but apparently the site is having some difficulty. Keep trying.

Golden Boy

At seeing the title, I know you got really excited, Itchy, thinking that I was gonna do a write up on your lovely retriever. But, alas, the post title is in reference to a Seinfeld episode in which Jerry loses a treasured article of clothing (his yellow shirt, "Golden Boy") to the rigors of laundering.

I have a "Golden Boy" that isn't going to survive many more wash cycles. A pair of work out sweats from abercrombie. Not Abercrombie & Fitch, mind you, but abercrombie, as in kids. You can see why these are a prized article of attire. What an ego boost to actually have fit into something from a kids store. Granted I got them five years ago and they are really stretched out. Still, I won't be able to squeeze my ass into a new pair of anything from abercrombie ever again.

So I don't want these pants to fall apart any more than they already have. Both the knees and crotch are very thin - almost to the point of transparency. (I realize I'm opening myself up to all sorts of obscene jokes by mentioning the areas of thin material, but it's the truth.) The hem is worn away and the back of the cuff is all but gone. It's at least one inch shorter than the front of the pant leg. The band at the top has opened up to reveal the place where the drawstring once was. The stripe down the side of each leg is holey and tattered. But they are thee most comfortable article of clothing I own. They stay put when I bend over and they don't display half my ass when I sit indian style.

I've quit running them through the dryer and opted to hang them instead to increase their wearable life, but I still fear time is running out. It will be a sad, sad day when I can no longer wear my beloved pants.

© 2006 Michelle (nnm)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Brought to You by the Letter "T"

Chesneygirl had this on her blog the other day and assigned me the letter "t"

Here's how it works: You take your assigned letter and then write 10 words that start with that letter and explain why they are important to you. If you wanna play, let me know in the comments and I'll assign you a letter.

TIME: Time is very important to me. I appreciate it's value very much and I hate to waste it.

TRUST: Equally important, it is very hard to regain once it's lost.

TRUE FRIENDS: There is nothing like the comfort of a good friend.

TOWANDA: AKA, Clew. She's more important to me than I can ever describe.

TREE: Well not all trees, but the weeping cherry tree that I planted in memory of my son Owen. I don't sit by it everyday, but I would be very upset if something happened to it.

TOM: My step dad. He's important to me because he is so important to my mom.

TASTE: Never really thought about that one, eh? But it's pretty important. Life would be pretty bland without it.

TOP SOIL: At the present time as we are putting a lawn in and battling very sandy conditions without it.

TALKING: Talk therapy with a friend is the biggest stress reliever in my life.

TRIALS: Although they are no fun to endure, they do tend to make you aware of the good stuff in your life.

TRIUMPHS: Coming through the trials a whole new person.

Look at that. I didn't think I'd make it to ten and I somehow ended up with eleven. At least I didn't have TALLYING listed here as something important to me.