Friday, August 29, 2008


I said it before and I’ll say it again because the first time was just for practice. The nest is EMPTY. It is really official this time. D2, as already discussed in great detail, is settled into college life six hours away. D1 called today to tell us she has accepted a job. Not just a job but a job three states and twelve hours away! Why does that make the nest seem even emptier. OK, I’m done pouting. My Harley Stud and I are thrilled for her. She is so excited, she can hardly contain herself. She is (as far as I’m concerned) North Carolina’s newest and best social studies teacher!

She has accepted a position to teach 6th grade social studies, a subject about which she is passionate. The subject is quite appropriate for her. Besides her degree in psychology, she has a lifelong interest in history nurtured by roadtrips that included American History Brain Quest Games, naming state capitals and watching An American President with her mother a gazillion times. What? The movie isn’t real? Blasphemy!

My baby who was able to recite the pledge of allegiance by the age of 22 months (I swear, I have video) My little girl who had her first lesson plan in her head long before she even decided to pursue a career as an educator. Yep, that’s what she is: an educator. WOW! Watch out North Carolina. The sixth grade will never be the same!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Meanwhile, Back at the Gym

Because of my work schedule, I haven’t been able to make it back for a second date with IRON BODIES. Yesterday, I finally got off work early enough make it to the class. The problem was I was there an hour early. So I decided rather than kill time until class started, I would just do my normal cardio routine instead of IRON BODIES but I promised myself I would kick it up a notch or two. I started with thirteen minutes on the Stairmaster at level 6. I usually do 12 minutes at level 5. I know, right? I’m a wild woman! The stairs kill me. I sweat like a pig while climbing and I’m pretty sure that the mental age of my knees is 92. Then it was off to the stationery bicycle where I put in 25 minutes at level 5 doing the hill climbing simulation. I found this to be more challenging and a really good workout. All the while I am being motivated by the ever-inspiring MAMMA MIA soundtrack on my iPod. Once the bike was sufficiently conquered I moved on to the elliptical where I really got into gear. I’m in the ZONE. I am MOVING! My iPod is blaring “Give me, give me, give me a man after midnight”. OK, so MAMMA MIA is probably not the obvious choice for workout music but I find it to be very energizing and “surprisingly upbeat”. (movie?..... anyone?....)

So, I’m working, I’m pedaling, my arms are going. Suddenly I realize there is a thumping in my ears that doesn’t seem to be coming from my headphones. I can’t decide if this is my heart throbbing in my ears and I'm about to have a stroke or if I’m rocking the elliptical and about to tip. As I said, I’m in the ZONE so it was no time to stop and investigate. I kept on. The feet are pumping, the sweat is flying. I’m like a crazed woman. I eventually realize people are starting to take notice. A crowd starts to gather. People are whispering. Then chanting… “Go Smart Mouth, Go Smart Mouth”.

Alright, maybe it didn’t go quite like that. There definitely were people taking notice though. The guy on the machine next to me was giving me the eye. I think this is because I was breathing so hard it was distracting. I did see a couple staring at me and whispering. I imagine the conversation went like this:

“Do you think she is alright?”

“I don’t know.”

“Maybe we should call someone.”

“She looks like she is about to explode.”

“Look how red her face is.”

“Let’s get out of here.”

After the cool-down, I exited the gym victoriously. No gold medal but feeling like a winner. I just hope that later today and/or tomorrow, I will still be able to tie my shoes.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I talked to my mother on the phone last night. That might not sound like such a surprising thing. But those of you who know me personally are wondering if I’ve dropped my basket, lost my marbles, gone off the deep end. You see, my mom passed away 4 ½ years ago. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her several times. And I miss her more everyday. I promise you that there will be many mom stories in my blogging future. She was smart, beautiful inside and out and one of the goofiest people I’ve ever met. I’m pretty sure the goofy gene has been passed down to me and most definitely on to D1 and D2. (I’m so proud)

Last night I had a dream. And it was strange as all dreams are. (At least all my dreams are strange) It’s so weird how situations can make perfect sense in your dream and then you wake up and say, “what the…?” I won’t go into details because then not only the people who know me but everyone will think/know I’m NUTS! In my dream, I called my mom to tell her some bad news. I asked how she was and what she was doing. She said she was fine but that she had some bad news. A family member was rushed to the hospital and had to have emergency surgery. She said everything was fine now and I didn’t have to worry. I didn’t deliver my bad news but assured her that I would be right there. I hung up the phone and then woke up. (sort of) In my half sleep, half awake stage, I was quite distraught over the bad news my mother had given me. Then all of a sudden, I really woke up and was delighted that I had just talked to my mom on the phone. I then tried desperately to go back to sleep to see if she might call back. Of course I knew this would never happen but one can always hope.

During the 4 ½ years my mom has been gone, I have never once dreamt about her. I can’t even describe how good it felt to hear her voice. I can only hope that it won’t be another 4 ½ years before I get to hear her in my dreams again.

Do you have someone you’ve lost who you would love to speak to again? Has this dream thing ever happened to you? Am I NUTS?

For those of you who have asked or may be wondering: D2 had her first day of classes today and as expected, she is loving college life! (and even her room - maybe a little bit) Go figure

Friday, August 22, 2008


Note to D2: You said that I haven’t mentioned you in my blog for awhile. Well, here it is. Like it or not. Settle in because this is a long one.

It’s official. My nest is empty. (If only temporarily) Daughter #1 is visiting relatives and friends while job-searching in another state. Daughter # 2 has been safely delivered to, moved in and (now) hopefully loving college. It has been a hectic couple of days. I am running on too few hours of sleep in the last 72. So please forgive me if it shows.

We got a late start. My husband,( who today I will refer to lovingly as My Harley Stud but in the future may be better known as JackAss depending upon my mood - or should I say his) works from home and was slammed with things to do before we could leave. The stressometer was creeping ever so slowly up the chart with each passing minute that went by that didn’t see us in the car and on our way. D2 had agreed to take her friend, Band Boy, along with us as he was not taking his car to college. Each time Band Boy would call to check on our status, the stress would mount. We had hoped to leave the house at about 8pm but didn’t actually get on the road until after 10pm. There was some discussion that maybe we should wait until morning and leave very early but that was quickly shot down due to Tropical Storm Fay. As fate would have it, TS Fay strategically wound her path in such a way that each Florida University would be affected as thousands of students would travel to their schools to start fall session. The outer bands of TS Fay arrived at our home on Tuesday providing me with a much-needed day off from work and the added benefit of now referring to my home as “waterfront property”.

I should mention here that D2 and Band Boy both went to summer session and drove home together with all their STUFF in just her car. D2 added a 3 drawer storage bin to her STUFF but since she was driving her car and My Harley Stud and I were driving my car, it stood to reason that we should have plenty of room. I should also mention that My Harley Stud is kind of a control freak when it comes to things like packing cars, mowing the yard and all things that include tools or paint brushes. This is fine with me. I don’t like to do any of those things. However, MHS, as I mentioned was very busy prior to leaving so the job of packing the cars was left to me. I really tried to leave room for Band Boy’s STUFF but it’s hard to pack when you don’t know how much cargo you will be transporting.

We arrive at the pre-arranged spot to meet with Band Boy and his dad. They open the back of their SUV and we quickly realize that there is a problem. This is when My Harley Stud turns into the JackAss. Not to make excuses but he has had little sleep, we are about to embark on a 4 hour trip after 10pm and he now has to repack both cars in order for all of D2 and Band Boy’s STUFF to fit. I have to say I saw this coming and offered to make the trip alone. He was completely stressed out from work overload and he would have taken me up on the offer had it not been for TS Fay. He didn’t like the idea of us travelling through the storm by ourselves. He’s very macho like that. So anyway, I let him rant for a few minutes to get it off his chest and then showing an appropriate amount of refinement informed him that he was being a JackAss. He simmered for a few more minutes but eventually was able to at least smile at me when I would mouth JackAss to him.

Quick Note: My brother in law, Brain Buckets, taught me that the beauty of calling someone a JackAss is that even if they have to read your lips, the message is always clear. Not many words sound or look like JackAss.

Once on the road, we quickly catch up to TS Fay who is one slow moving witch. It’s raining, we are tired but we outrun Fay and make it to my Dad’s house at 2:40am. We set our alarms for 6:30am and crash. We’re off again at around 7:30am and TSF is just catching up to us. We have the breakfast of champions: My Harley Stud and I have McDonald’s (and the South Beach Diet dies another death) and D2 and Band Boy have those awful orange colored crackers with peanut butter in them. Finally, we arrive at the university at around 11am.

I don’t know if it’s like this everywhere but moving into a dorm (oh excuse me, they prefer to be known as residence halls) at D2’s university (D1’s alma mater) is a nightmare at best. After being instructed on the move-in process by the very helpful campus policeman, we decided to split up the get things going. We hauled all of Band Boy’s STUFF to the sidewalk in front of his dorm,(oops, I did it again) Band Boy went to check in, I waited on the sidewalk guarding his STUFF and MHS took D2 to her dorm (I’m such a rebel) to get her started.

Mistake #1: I left my cell phone in the car.
Mistake #2: I should have gone with D2.

Checking Band Boy into his room took longer than expected. As I stood on the sidewalk guarding his STUFF, I could see the clouds from the outer bands of my old friend, Tropical Storm Fay, starting to gather. This was when I realized I didn’t have a phone. I quickly took inventory of his STUFF to determine which items I would try to save from the rain if Fay decided to let loose. His guitar and sound system seemed the obvious choice and as I was trying to figure out how I would manage both those pieces, he came out with his key. As Fay started to just sprinkle, we made it into the building. Once his STUFF was stored in his room, I used his phone to call MHS to get directions. It wasn’t a far walk but was TS Fay was still spitting at us. I found MHS standing on the sidewalk with most of D2’s STUFF and he informed me that she took the first load to her room and he hadn’t heard from her since. I grabbed as much STUFF as I could manage and started the trip to her 7th floor dorm room. The door was locked when I got there. I could hear her muffled voice inside. I knocked and waited. No answer, just the muffled voice. I knocked again. She opened the door, cell phone in hand, big tears in her eyes and threw herself into my arms crying. This was BAD!

It’s probably a good time to mention that D2 attended summer session to get her feet wet when the university wasn’t packed with kids. During summer, she stayed in a newly renovated dorm, a suite style, which means she shared a room with another girl and a bathroom with the room next door. Her assigned housing for fall/spring is a community style dorm. This means she shares a room with another girl and a bathroom with everyone on the hall. (About 35 girls)

The new dorm is in an old building. There is a window air conditioning unit. The walls are concrete, the floor is old linoleum and the beds are built in without the adjustable options she had in her summer room. Her roommate had already moved in and the side she had chosen was decorated with all her pictures, knick knacks and pretty bedding. This made D2’s side look even more drab. At home, she has her own room and because her sister has been away at school for the last 4 years, she has had her own bathroom for that whole time. This was a very rude awakening for her. She was absolutely and completely devastated. I could hear the soothing words of her best friend on the other end of the phone. She gave her decorating suggestions and assured her that it wouldn’t be that bad. She promised to help decorate when she came to visit. (BF will be attending a school 2 hours away and they have big plans to visit back and forth.) All the while, she is collapsed in a heap in my arms. I tell her it’s not that bad, it’s going to be great when she gets all her STUFF unpacked and arranged. I remind her she is only here for a year (an eternity in her mind). I do my best to comfort her. Bless her heart, she was just so disappointed. She knew about the community bathroom but had not toured the building; she was so excited to get started on her college life and then was slapped in the face with this “disgusting hole in the wall”. She was not to be consoled.

As a mother, your heart breaks when your children are hurting. You long to comfort them and make all their troubles go away. But at some point, your comforting becomes enabling. I knew her dad was still waiting on the sidewalk clueless as to the melt-down. Band Boy had been delivering STUFF every few minutes during the whole ordeal. I would quickly usher him out to save them both the awkwardness of the situation. I decided enough was enough. I told her as gently as possible that it was time to put on her big girl panties and suck it up. Make lemonade out of lemons. Put one foot in front of the other and make it happen. My new approach was rewarded with the death stare. Eventually the tears stopped. MHS and Band Boy arrived with the last of her STUFF. BB left to go set up his own STUFF. No tears from him but his room isn’t any better. I guess boys don’t care about these things.

We decided it might be best to walk away for awhile. We took her to lunch. She refused to eat at her favorite place because she “didn’t want to associate this awful day with her favorite eatery”. Yeah, she is a bit of a drama queen but she is my drama queen and I love her to pieces, princess pout and all. So in honor of the occasion, we took her to a Mexican restaurant because she hates Mexican food. She felt this was appropriate. I promptly ordered a margarita and was thrilled to find that they were two for one.

Another quick note: D2 doesn’t usually get this worked up about things like this. She is actually pretty easy going most of the time. She was just SOOOOO excited. And then CRASH!

After lunch, it was off to Target to get some things to spruce up the place. A rug, a curtain for the closet with no door and a bookshelf would make things homier. Back at the dorm, we unpacked, arranged, decorated and settled in. She decided maybe it wasn’t so bad. Her new roomie arrived with her twin sister and another friend and they all hit it off famously. Things were definitely looking up.

We took her for ice cream (another South Beach no-no) before we left. It was really good. One of those homemade mom and pop shops. Yummy. While enjoying our treat, I asked her if her roommate turns out to be as good as she appears on first glance, would she still want to move if another room became available? (She is on a waiting list) She smiled and said, “Give me a week and ask me again.” I think she is going to be just fine.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I recently came upon a blog called “Twenty-four at Heart”. (If you aren’t already reading it, take a look) (And THANKS to Midlife Slices (read this too) for teaching me how to add that link!) Anyway, it struck me that we all have an age in our minds where we remain regardless of how much time passes. Mine is 27. Sometime during my 27th year, I finally stopped being my Mommy and Daddy’s little girl and grew up. Relatively speaking, of course. This is a little sad, given the fact that I married at 19 and became a mother at 24. What can I say except, I’m a late bloomer. But suddenly, I was a bitch. And I mean that in the most positive of ways. I can’t say that I still don’t lapse into people pleasing occasionally but at the age of twenty seven I realized I don’t always have to do what people tell me to do, expect me to do or want me to do.

At 27, I was fit, thin, young, not completely unattractive and confident. When I imagine myself in any situation now, I don’t picture the forty-something me, I envision the perkier, firmer version. When I dress to go out into the world, I always check myself in the mirror before leaving. Occasionally someone will take a picture of me and then be “kind” enough to share the photograph with me. I’m always shocked to find that the image in the photograph is much older and heavier than the woman I saw in the mirror before I left the house. A camera defect? I think not. It’s that state of complete denial and a mental image of the twenty-seven year old version of me deeply planted into my brain that I just can’t (won’t) let go.

I’m not alone. I’m sure of it. My grandfather died when I was a teenager and my grandmother came to live with us. She always referred to our next door neighbor as “that old woman next door”. That “old woman” was probably 30 years younger than Grandma. That leaves me to wonder, what was Grandma’s mental age?

Recently while sitting with color on my hair at the salon, my stylist, who I will call Stacy (because that is her name) was getting ready to cut the hair of what appeared to me to be a woman of no less than 90 years. The woman was very thin, with many lines in her face. Her skin showed many (what my mother referred to as) age spots. Stacy asked, “What are we going to do today?” The woman flashed one of the most beautiful smiles I’ve ever seen and said, “Just make me cute!” In her eyes, I’m certain I saw the sparkle of a twenty-something young woman.

So, I ask you, what is your mental age?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lovin' the Olympics

No time to blog! Lovin’ the Olympics! Michael Phelps! How can you not root for him! This is an incredible human being! Life has become: work, gym, cook, eat, clean up, and watch Olympics until I pass out from complete exhaustion. We are a nation of sleep-deprived people for the next few weeks. Be careful out there!


Friday, August 8, 2008


Yesterday it became very clear to me that I am not good at multi-tasking. I really want to be. My life demands it. But I just don’t have the ability to truly concentrate on more than one thing at a time. Does anyone? I see people all the time who seem to be able to tackle several tasks at one time competently. Is it an illusion? Do these people just appear to be extraordinarily efficient at accomplishing multiple jobs at one time or are they failing to perform at their best in all but the one task on which they are truly focused. Or does the entire performance fall short due to the divided attention? These are questions I would like to have answered. So, readers or imaginary readers, as the case may be, please feel free to comment on this post.

While getting gas at the BP near my office yesterday, I was talking to my husband on my cell phone and trying to get the gum off the sole of my favorite sandals. I used my debit card to make the purchase and then (I believe) stuck the debit card into my pocket. About 10 minutes later, driving toward the turnpike on my trek home, I realized that I hadn’t put my card back into my wallet. I reached into my pocket and found nothing. I felt around the seat, still nothing. I quickly pulled over and frantically checked my purse, wallet and the floor. I returned to the BP and checked around the pump with no success. I went inside and asked the clerk behind the counter if anyone had turned in a debit card. He looked at me like I had two heads, smirked and said slowly, “No…….no…….no.” I’m not really sure exactly what that was all about but it ticked me off. I returned to my car, called Bank of America on my cell and went through the steps of cancelling the card. I was shocked to hear that the little snot that stole my card had used it 3 times at a Chinese take-out in the 30 minutes it took for me to realize the card was missing, return to the gas station and report the card.

I’m mad at the kid who saw my misfortune as his fortune. Let me say here that I am assuming it was a kid who took the card because any professional criminal with the semi-good fortune (good fortune would be to find Oprah’s card) to find my debit card would have purchased something more exciting than pork lomein and an eggroll. Anyway, whatever happened to common decency? Is the golden rule an outdated practice?

And I’m more than a little miffed at the clerk behind the counter at the BP for treating me like a naïve idiot. Far be it for me to expect people to practice good citizenship.

But mostly I am mad at myself. I have to assume the card fell out of my pocket at some point. Had I not been on the phone or if I were better at multi-tasking, I would have noticed when it fell to the ground. Hopefully this is a lesson well-learned.

And to the little jerk who took my card: SHAME ON YOU!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

THE SIGNS WERE THERE - I just didn't read them

I have friends that freak out over birthdays. Surprisingly many are men. Birthdays have never really bothered me. I’ve always enjoyed them. I’m for anything that includes a party and cake. I guess I have been in denial. This might explain my complete shock at the fact that I am indeed well into middle age. For me, it’s not the birthdays but the little milestones along the way that revealed the years passing by…..daughter #1 and #2's first day of high school, college applications, last proms, high school graduations, leaving for college…….and more everyday.

I remember the first time I felt the clock ticking: Daughter #1 “became a woman” November 11, 1996. You might think it strange that I remember the date. For some reason, my brain remembers insignificant dates, numbers and commercial jingles from the early 70s. I guess that is why I can’t remember the important things that I should remember. My brain is full of things like, “Wrigley spearmint, gum, gum, gum.” Do you remember that one? I remember this particular date because it was 2am on Veteran’s Day when she woke me with the announcement. I was certain I had prepared her for this occasion nevertheless she was quite distraught and convinced the world as she had known it was over. I remember thinking that it was fortunate that it was Veteran’s Day and there would be no school. She would have 24 hours to get used to the idea before she had to go out into the world as a new woman. My next thought was that while it wasn’t likely, it was now biologically possible that I could become a grandmother. OUCH.

Fast forward a few more years: We are sitting at the table eating dinner when I mentioned that I had heard on the radio that Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were separated. I said that I was disappointed because until that time I thought they would be this generation’s Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Daughter #2 raised her head with a look of complete confusion and said, “The salad dressing guy?”

A few years later: Daughter #2 is studying to take the SAT. The pressure of getting into the college of her choice is getting to her. Her entire future depends on the score she will receive on this test and she is descending into a serious melt-down. When I tried to offer her encouragement, she launched into a tirade about how I had no idea what she was going through; after all I had never had to take the SAT.

I said, “I didn’t?”

I will never forget the look of shock on her face. “YOU took the SAT?”

I nodded.

“I didn’t know it had been around that long.”, she said.

“Well, I did have to dip my quill into the ink to fill in those little boxes.”



So, I guess with daughters like mine, my advancing age should come as no surprise. They have reminded me every step of the way.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mini Mid-Life Crisis

What was I thinking!

After hearing those dreaded words from my physician the other day informing me of my advancing age, I hauled myself into the gym. As I explained to my doctor, I exercise regularly and have for 2 ½ years. I have to admit that my routine has become a bit stale and I haven’t felt challenged for awhile. Maybe I need to try something new. These were the thoughts that were going through my head as I walked into the gym. I am not someone who truly enjoys the process of working out. The whole “runner’s high” thing – never experienced it. I’ve run 6k and 10k runs before………..nothing. My favorite part is when it’s over. But I realize that working out is a necessary evil in my life and I trudge on. The most enjoyable experience I’ve had while exercising has been taking aerobics classes. I think this is because I enjoy laughing even if it’s at myself. So anyway, I stopped at the desk on my way into the gym and asked if they plan to add any evening classes. I was told they do not. The classes are not well attended and they have to pay the instructors. I wanted to say that maybe the classes might be better attended if they held them when average people weren’t at work. I didn’t say that though. Instead, I continued on to the locker room and started up a conversation on this topic with a complete stranger. My new friend suggested that I try the IRON BODIES class that she was on her way to right that very moment. I made my “I don’t think so face” and told her that I thought I might be better matched with a Soft, Round, Cushy Body class. “Do they have any of those?” She smiled very sweetly and told me that the class is a great all over body work-out, you don’t need to bring anything more than a towel and water and you can go at your own pace. Uh, huh. Right.

For some reason that still is a mystery to me, I followed her into the classroom where IRON BODIES was being held. The instructor, Chris, looked like a nice enough man. He welcomed me as “fresh meat” and smiled as he instructed me to be sure to work at my own pace.

The music began. We used all sorts of toys during the class. There were steps, free weights, body bars, and rubber bands. We ran, forward and backward, we lunged, we lifted and moved to the music in ways this tired body has not moved for awhile. At mid-point in the class, as I was gasping for air and gulping down water, the nice woman from the locker room asked how I was doing. As I wiped the sweat from my brow, I told her that I didn’t think we could be friends. She offered encouragement saying that I was doing great. I was not convinced.

I don’t really consider myself competitive but at some point I completely forgot those words “at your own pace”. I don’t know what happened to me. I was determined to keep up with my classmates that have been taking this class on a regular basis. I’m not saying that I was keeping up with them but I was certainly trying. I didn’t quit. There were times I had to slow down to avoid collapsing in an embarrassing heap on the floor. But eventually we arrived at my favorite part: The end. I walked out of the gym on that day proud of my accomplishment. Thoughts like,” don’t tell me I’m getting older.”, “I’ve still got it.” “I finished, didn’t I? “ all went through my head.

Driving home, it occurred to me that maybe pushing myself to the limit on the very day that my doctor tells me that my blood pressure is high and I could be at risk for stroke might not have been the most intelligent decision I’ve ever made. What was I thinking! I think I could be having my own mini mid-life crisis. My “I’ll show you” attitude would not have played well had I stroked out on the dance floor.

Around 4:30pm the next day, I was reminded of my foolish behavior the day before. I had trouble standing up from my desk. For the next two days, I was stiff and sore beyond belief. Returning to the gym was out of the question as walking was barely possible. Oh yeah, I really showed ‘em.

You know, I really thought I was above all this. I thought getting older wouldn’t bother me. And it didn’t until that day that I woke up and saw bags under my eyes that don’t disappear after I’m completely awake, lines around my mouth and excess me around the middle that doesn’t want to budge no matter how much I diet and exercise. Oh and let us not forget the words of Dr. Good News. So apparently, I’m not above it all. I wonder if there a way to approach 50 years old …………….. (someday) …………..without having at least an occasional melt-down? Is there a way to escape this desperate attempt to hang on to our youth or is it something that we should just embrace and go for it?

Will there be another IRON BODIES class in my future? You bet but this time I will go at my own pace with nothing to prove to anyone but myself. And the next time I see a middle-aged, overweight, balding man in a little red corvette, I will still smile but it will be a knowing smile saying, hey, buddy, I’m right there with you.