Saturday, May 31, 2008

The North American Tour Begins

And by North America, I mean Wake Forest. And by begins I mean it happened today with no idea when it will happen again.

I was the mom of a rock star today. I was the wife of a rock star today, as well. The mom one was pretty exciting because it was trulythe first time that I had heard Nick jam with other people and it was his first time performing in front of other people. All in all, it was a pretty exciting time. We were at the end-of-the-year BBQ for his Biology class and they had the chance to play for the masses - of 25 people. He was so pumped up that when we left the party, we drove to where Frank and his band were practicing and for the very first time, father and son played together. I was so happy and it was just such a cool experience that I could not stop smiling.
Finally, we found something that the two of them can do together!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Date That Almost Was...

My parents split up when I was 10 years old. With 40 fast approaching, it is safe to say that I am over this trauma. In the time since their 14 year marriage ended, they have both re-married and divorced spouse number 2. I liked my step-mom, hated my step-dad. I never blamed these second spouses for the divorce mainly because they came along way after the ink was dry on the papers.

Time heals all wounds, they say, and I guess that phrase really is true because these two people who hated eachother and made my life a living hell for too many years to count with their "I'm not going if your father is there!" or "Sorry, I can't help you Stace but that would be like helping your mother." Anyone who believes that the children aren't involved in the divorce is just plain stupid. They were childish and mean and because of their issues, my dad was not allowed at my high school graduation party, my mom missed my wedding and the birth of my first child. They hated eachother THAT MUCH that it was worth missing these events. But I digress. Back in October something weird happened. I spoke to both of my parents at the same time. They were in the same room together. They were eating dinner with one another - and no sharp utensils had to be removed beforehand! They were sharing a bottle of wine and having a great time. This was very unnerving to me because I honestly cannot remember a time in my life where they were both together and...happy. The reason for this particular reunion was that they were going to go to one of my dad's cousins 50th wedding anniversary party. Dad had to fly up to NY for it, he stayed at my sister's house and well, there was mom. He knew how much my mom loved his family and invited her to go with him. Okay, it was a reasonable thing. My sister went with them - they were a family unit. They went, they had fun, took some pictures and he went home.

But now he's going back. He's going back up to NY for his high school reunion and asked my mom to go with him! It's not like she graduated with him so she has no real reason to go. But the thing is that he even asked her! ICK!! You know, how about asking her to go to my wedding? How about inviting her to the hospital to meet her grandchild? Sure, those minor events, no, not important enough to let her be there but a high school reunion? Gang way, people, this is BIG! Can't let her miss this one!

Is she going with him? No. Oh, but not because of the hard feelings from the past or because she finds him disgusting or the fact that it's just too damn weird to go on a date with your ex-husband, but because she had already committed to going to the engagement party of my sister's best friend. THAT was her only reason, otherwise, she would have gone.

I so need therapy.

My Disney Diet - Day 18

Okay, so I am starting day 18 of my Disney diet with a personal victory. The treadmill that I am using is a loaner from a friend. I'm only supposed to have it for 8 weeks and that was going to end on Sunday. This coming Sunday. I have not heard yet if he's going to truly take it back. Anyway, when Frank first got this monstrosity home for me, we set it up and the first morning I got on it, I was only able to walk for about 13 minutes and I think I got up to 2.8 mph but only for a very brief time. I walked only 1/2 mile. That was the pattern that first week and I was very discouraged and didn't use it everyday because of that. So Frank got annoyed because he had gone through all the trouble of moving it all the way from Burlington and I think he just figured that I was going to quit. He was kind of right. I used it for maybe 2 weeks and then took 3 weeks off - I had my period, I hurt my back, I hurt my knee, Michael was on track out so I was sleeping in - I had my reasons.

So now I decide to start this diet and lo and behold, there's the treadmill. I got myself back on it and after looking back at that pitiful start I had with it, I can now say that this morning, at 8:01 am, I hit my personal record. I had walked for a total of 40 minutes, had gotten up to speeds of 3.4 mph, and burned 400 calories!!! YEA!!! Carol, if you are reading this, if I never have to give this treadmill back you and I are going to do the Walt Disney World Minnie Marathon in January 2010!

Now if only I could get the numbers on the scale to move with the same intensity as my numbers on the treadmill. Hmmm...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I will survive!

Okay, now that I am over the hissy-fit from earlier today, I can function again. Thanks for your patience.

After I wrote earlier, I had to do something with all of my pent up energy so I decided to do another turn on the treadmill. You know, I never would have believed it but MAN does that help. With the help of an out-dated portable CD player (my MP3 died), I am walking along with a lot of pep-in-my-step. With 80-minutes of music per CD, I have created several just for my walking times. I have 'Survived' with Gloria Gaynor, I've done the 'Last Dance' with Donna Summer. I have been an 'Animal' with Def Leppard, Madonna chants at me to 'Respect Myself', I've even hopped on board the 'Love Train' with the O'Jays. Irene Cara tries to convince me that I'm gonna live forever through 'Fame', while Lionel Richie keeps me thinking about 'Dancing on the Ceiling'. And finally, Diana King 'Says a Little Prayer' for me.

There is something in these old disco-era songs that just makes me smile. I actually smile as I'm sweating my tail off walking. Today I burned 720 calories in treadmill time while only eating 445 calories before dinner. I indulged in some much-needed Chinese after my mentally traumatic day. Thank you, Frank! So next time you need a little smile in your workout, put on some frivolous music that you haven't heard in years. I promise it will make your workout a lot less painful.

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Throw them at someone!

I know, it's not how the saying goes but in all honesty, it's been one of those days!! Okay, I know that I was no angel growing up but SERIOUSLY, I so do not deserve all of the crap being thrown my way as a parent. Today started out great - I did my walk, felt good, ate a good breakfast, got to work and no one was parked in my spot (it's the little things...), and this was the first biology class since last week's big prayer session, and all the kids were great! I mean, everyone was happy, everyone was getting along with eachother; it was a beautiful thing. A girl who Nick had fought with like a year ago came in today to apologize to him! It couldn't get much better, in my opinion.

And I was right. Life was about to take a nose-dive.

Nick asked if I would call the home of the one friend he had yet to make ammends with. I know the kid, I know the family. The parents are a bit on the over-protective/inconsiderate side, but I adore their son. So I make the call grudgingly and when I explained the situation to the mom - and I thought, as a Christian, that when someone is offering an apology, the gracious thing to do is at least HEAR it - she goes in to silent mode and tells me that she will speak to her son and get back to me. Okay. Twenty minutes later, she calls back, questioning all of the things that I had said to her and telling me that my son disrespected her husband 2 months ago! NO WAY! I say. She's like "My husband went to pick ...(son) up and he saw Nick and his girlfriend 'making out'.


Okay, first of all, I'm not seeing how that is disrespecting her husband, but whatever. Secondly, for those of you who know Nick, he is SO not a PDA type of person. He holds her hand, he hugs her, he has been known to kiss her on the cheek, he is most definitely not the 'tongue down your throat/groaping in public' kind of guy. He's just not. Besides that, the dad was in the car waiting for his son so if we want to get technical, Nick had no idea the man was even there so how was he being disrespectful? Disrespectful to me is if this man were there to pick Nick up and when approaching him to tell him to come on, Nick said "Hey, wait" and then swallowed his girlfriends face. But that's not how it went down! I went ballistic on Nick and the girl when I got off the phone and I tend to believe them. Then this mom goes on to tell me that she wanted to come and talk to me about all of this when it happened but the son told her not to. What is it with these moms that let their CHILDREN tell them what to do!! WE are the parents, people. We tell the children what we are going to do, not the other way around!

What I have come to discover is that the circle really seems to have grown to the parents as well. It seems that it is appropriate for some boys to openly fondle girls who they are not in a relationship with but it is not okay to show affection for a person who you are in a relationship with. Yeah, that makes sense. And what's worse, is that this woman actually had the audacity to double check the things that I said with little Koresh!!! And that's not even her son!!! WTF!!!

Honestly, I used to think that my son being friends with kids he knew from church was a good thing. What I'm finding is a bunch of hypocrites raising a bunch of un-gracious, judgemental hypocrites.

Nice world.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Disney Diet - Day 15

I was hungry today. Really hungry. Really, really hungry. I couldn't understand it. I'm never a hungry-in-the-morning person but while I was on the treadmill this morning, I was almost sick with hunger. I ate my usual light breakfast and by 11:00, I was ravenous again! Sitting at the bookstore I was getting slowly drawn to the shelves of chocolatey goodness behind me and almost caved in when I realized that I could eat an early lunch. That's right, I'm allowed! So I make my little lean cuisine shrimp stir-fry and have my snack size cup of fat free pudding, washed it down with a bottle of water and was doing okay. Until 1:00. Now I'm starving again. I did manage to wait until I got home at 3:00 to eat something and even then, I behaved. I ate a half of a small soft tortilla with one slice of provolone and one slice of lean ham, a little spicy brown mustard with some baby carrots on the side and I was fine. I waited a half hour and did another turn on the treadmill and here we are approaching 5:00 and guess who's hungry? Why? I think it's because I increased my intensity on the walking. I was doing an average of 12-16 minutes at 3.2 mph and now I'm up to almost 20 minutes at 3.2. Could that be it?

Okay, but here's how we focus on Disney this week to keep me going: Walking the parks is no small task, so I am trying to focus on getting from ride to ride, with a pep-in-my-step and not huffing and puffing. Besides not wanting to be the fat sister in the pictures, I also would prefer to NOT be the dragging-behind-gasping-for-breath-sister. It's a small goal, but I'm going for it. By this time next month I am hoping to start really thinking about putting a bathing suit on this frame. Yikes.

Think thin, my friends!

Shh...Don't Tell

You know, I sometimes long for the days before the telephone was invented. Because really, no matter how far away you move, people can find you. And by people, I mean family.

About two months ago, my sister and I had a HUGE blowout fight over the phone about her relationship with this man she's been dating. As the argument went on, we realized that the information that we were throwing at one another had come from one source - our mother. Mom now lives with my sister and apparently enjoyed the game of "guess what your sister told me". Yes, while I'm sure she got hours of laughs out of this sick little game, it was quite distressing for me. For instance, when mom would gripe about how much time sister's boyfriend was spending at the house and how much time they spent in bed, I would commiserate with her and add my two cents about how ridiculous they were being. Mom would, apparently, go back to sister and share only my side of the conversation. So when the big blowout hit, I was met with comments like "You are always mocking my relationship!" or "You wish bad things for me". Now, you have to realize that I never said these things directly to her and so I knew who told her these things. Frankly, I try not to discuss anything specific with my sister. We're great at generic conversations - food, TV shows, Disney - but beyond that, I try to avoid it.

So last night I'm on the phone with mom and she's griping about sister, the boyfriend, my nephew, their living situations, all the same old song and dance. And with each topic that she brings up, she starts with "Don't you dare tell your sister this! I'll deny it!"


Excuse me, but she obviously has forgotten exactly WHO is the blabber-mouth in this relationship. So I say "of course I won't" to all of her pleadings but in the back of my mind, I'm pretty pissed. I mean, at the time of the fight with my sister, I told mom that I did not appreciate her ratting me out and the ONLY reason I ratted her out to my sister was for retaliation. We're a mature bunch. So now I have to grin and bear it and force myself to be polite and not remind her of our past issues. For those of you who know me, you know it's hard for me to keep my mouth shut on anything!

I wonder how far away I would have to move to stop all forms of communication?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

One is the Loneliest Number - or it should be!

When my first child was born, all was right with the world. I had the most perfect pregnancy with him, he was a healthy and wonderful baby, a cheerful, easy-going toddler and a wonderful child all around.

What the hell happened???

My days are now spent with an almost scripted existence:

Son: "Mom, can I go to...(girlfriend's house) today?"
Me: "Did you do your school work?"
Son: "Yes"
Me: "Are your chores done?"
Son: "Yes"
Me: "Do you have a ride there?"
Son: "Yes"
Me: "Okay, I'll see you later."

What normally happens at a point to be determined later is that A.) His school work is only half done. B.) His chores are only half done and C.) I realize that I am an idiot who has been conned again. You'd think I'd learn.

By the time he gets home later in the evening, I am near unconciousness due to a long day that began at the crack of dawn and all I really want to do is go to bed. But I have an obligation to myself to make this child understand all that he has done wrong to me.

Me: "Why wasn't your school work done?"
Son: "Oh, I, uh...didn't think that it ALL had to be done today. I'll finish it tomorrow."
Me: "Make sure that you do! And the dishes? Seriously? They were cleaner before you washed them?"
Son: (Thoroughly insulted) What?? They're fine. You know what? Sometimes they're not clean when YOU wash them.
Me: (Too busy seeing red to reply)
Son: "Can I go to ...(girlfriend's house) tomorrow?"
Me: "Sure, just make sure all of your stuff is done."

I should be ashamed of myself for being manipulated like this. So how do you snap a self-centered child out of his self-centeredness? Do you ground him and force him to be alone/without his girlfriend? Maybe, but that's just punishing myself. Do we take away priviledges? Sure, tried that but basically the whining was on par with not seeing his girlfriend. So I am basically being held hostage by this self-absorbed teenager who just doesn't get it!!! Today we explained to him how the increase in gas prices is starting to really hit us and that we cannot take him everywhere that he wants to go. He converses with us like he understands the English language and when you ask him specifically if he understands he says 'yes'. Feeling successful, I turn to walk away when I hear,
"Hey, can I go to ...(girlfriend's house) today."

The pieces of my brain can still be seen embedded in the livingroom ceiling. Being single was much less stressful.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

By the Grace of God

Every once in a while, you encounter a truly amazing human being. The type of person who cares about others and goes that extra mile even when no one has asked them to. I had the opportunity to experience this today.

While class was going on this morning where Nick and 'the circle' were, the teacher took it upon himself to spend an hour of class in the Scriptures. No one asked him to, he did it on his own. I don't know all that was said and done but by the end of class, everyone was talking again! Little Koresh even came out here and hugged me and apologized to me for all of the ways that he offended me! I cried, I honestly cried.

God Bless this wonderful teacher for his insight and the way that he cares for his students. This isn't just a job for him, he cared enough to be concerned not only about the relationships going on in the room but about the kids relationships with God.

How awesome is that?

The Thaw Has Begun

Well, here we are at the second gathering of the teens and it was actually quite "cordial". There were no big conversations but most were pleasant to each other (and to me!) with the exception of little Koresh. I'm telling you, I'm not a violent person, but this kid pushes my buttons like no one ever has. They are all here for class today and their teacher came out to the front desk to me to ask me to pray because he is going to try something new in the class. He would not elaborate but from the way he was acting, I'm sure he feels that he will be met with some resistance. Yikes. So glad that I'm on THIS side of the door. I hear that youth group went well last night and so maybe we are seeing these teen relationships on the mend. I have noticed that more parents are getting involved as well as teachers and pastors. Only Koresh's parents seem to be in denial of their child doing anything wrong. Ever. Seriously, this is what they told today's teacher in a conference last week. I wonder what that's like to have given birth to the perfect child - one that doesn't lie (Ever), is never lazy (ever), never has an attitude (no matter what) - I mean, honestly, what must that be like? Have they even MET their child? As Christians, we know that there is truly only ONE perfect being, and this kid ain't it!

All I know is that I felt a whole lot better coming in to work this morning knowing that people were going to behave. It makes my job a whole lot easier.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Disney Diet - Day 9

You know how when you're dieting, you wish that your loved ones would support you and encourage you? You know how you just ache to have them say "You can do it!" or "I have faith in you" or even "I know how hard this must be for you" (even when they are a stick figure and have not struggled a day in their life with their weight), it just makes you feel good. Until your in to the second week of your diet and have a craving. Then these people become the enemy. These are the people who - when you ask for just a bite of something - will tell you no. And it's not a supportive no, it's a condescending "You know you shouldn't be eating that, fatty" tone. TWICE in 24 hours did this happen to me!

Last night we're eating dinner from Smithfield's and I was happy to eat the BBQ with a spoonful of potato salad, a spoonful of coleslaw and only 6 hushpuppies (I can normally pack away over a dozen!). The fried chicken looked and smelled wonderful. I just wanted a taste of the skin. Yes, yes, I know, that is the absolute WORST thing to eat, but I didn't want all of it, just a small taste. Well, I got lectured like nobody's business over it by my husband and oldest child. Who, might I add, are the skinniest ones in the family. So while they are lecturing me, my young son (who is the favorite right now) slyly handed me a small taste from his piece of chicken. I prayed long and hard to have that child and I couldn't be more in praise of him than I am right now. It was like I was asking to eat the whole damn box of chicken myself! I ate the small taste and moved on - very satisfied.

Today at work, my elder child walks in shovelling a triple cheeseburger in his mouth and stops right in front of me to do it. I will throw him to the lions of "the circle" tomorrow for it. So I asked for a taste, a bite. I don't even normally like hamburgers but what I really wanted were the iced double chocolate cookies left over from a class party, which made the burger-bite the wiser choice. In front of a half a dozen kids the boy carries on about how I need to lose weight and that I can't have any. I was like "Boy, I brought you in to this world..." you know the rest. I did win. I got my taste. It was good.

To get even with me, he was rather argumentative when it came time to do the dishes before dinner tonight and because of his lollygagging, my pasta overcooked and was quite icky. I may find out where the circle is hanging out tomorrow and drop him off there!

But in all seriousness, I have lost 4 pounds in my first full week. I'm still walking on the treadmill. I have stocked up on healthy meal choices and snack choices. I did indulge a little over the weekend with a Gyro on Friday night, a nice roast beef sandwich on Saturday, and sausage and peppers on Sunday and still lost some weight. Yea, me! So hopefully I will not be continuing this quest in the exercise yard of the state prison for involuntary manslaughter any time soon.

Think thin!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Post-Meeting Celebration

Have you ever freaked out about something and built it up in your mind like it is a HUGE deal and then when it's over you're like...huh. Big deal, not so much. All this morning I was nervous. I was prepared with six pages worth of notes about all of the ways this girl and "the circle" have done un-Godly things and hurt my son, I had prayed and I had reviewed every possible scenario in my mind in preparation. The woman and her daughter arrived 30 minutes late. Not a good start in my opinion, but whatever. We go to one of the classrooms in the bookstore and sit on opposite sides of eachother at a table (me and Nick facing them) and I just looked at this woman and said "Talk to me".

She was very gracious even when she was having to say things that were un-flattering about Nick (I was prepared for it because he had told me all that he had done). We calmly discussed how she felt and how her daughter felt by Nick's actions. Now remember, I've got six pages of info that I was prepared to unload, but I held my tongue (a novelty) and decided to focus on the key issues: 1) If someone apologizes and you forgive them, you have to stop punishing them . 2.) No one person - especially a teenager - has the right to 'lead' anyone. If you are friends with someone then no one has the right to tell you that you cannot be. 3.) Lying is wrong. 4.) Cursing is wrong (and offensive to mothers). 5.) No one is perfect and no one is more "right with God" than anyone else. We're all sinners and whether your sin is lying or cursing, God looks at it the same way and YOU'RE BOTH WRONG!

I have to admit, I felt really good about the whole thing. We prayed together at the end and the kids agreed that their relationship is getting back on track. Nick was honest and told her that he could not truly be her friend again until she apologized to his girlfriend for all that was done to her. Go Nick! The girl agreed and they are supposed to meet together on Thursday. We left the bookstore feeling satisfied with all that had transpired and I guess we'll have to wait until Thursday to see if anyone has truly changed. That's the day that little Koresh in with them all and will more than likely pout and carry on when he hears that people are actually talking to Nick again.

If Aaron Spelling were alive right now, I'd so be getting a check for millions of dollars with these plots!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pre-Meeting Feak Out

My mind is spinning. My thoughts all turn back to it. My curiosity is killing me. By this time tomorrow, I will hopefully be in the know of the what and why of the meeting with a "circle" mom. Honestly, I cannot even begin to tell you how ill I feel every time I even think about this meeting. I'm trying to be optimistic and hope that it is clearly just about having a moderator there so that the kids can be friends again. Although I have to be honest, I'm all for the forgiving and all that, but I have really advised Nick to move on from this group of kids because there is way too much drama involved and if it happend once, it's going to happen again.

Oh, what I wouldn't do for some Hostess chocolate cupcakes right now!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Disney Diet - Day 5

Okay, so I'm on my 5th day of the whole weight loss thing. I have given up my drink of choice - coca cola - completely (and I have the caffeine withdrawal headache to prove it), I have been watching what I eat and walking on the treadmill - a lot. I do a minimum of 30 minutes of walking at around 200 calories in a shot. Not too shabby. Combine that with the whole no soda thing and I have cut back 500 calories a day! Yippy! Which, might I add, is considered the magic number of calories to cut in a day to lose weight.

So, how does this all apply really to the Disney trip? Well, besides the hope of not looking so darn fat in the vacation pictures, I'm also in training for all of the walking that I will be doing. See? This whole diet is multi-purpose! So, I'll be thinnner for better pictures, I'll be able to walk more without sucking wind - and we all know that that ain't pretty to see - and I'm drinking more water which if you don't ask for bottled, it is FREE on the big expensive vacation. I'm always thinking, my friends, always thinking.

So on the last scale check, I have lost 2 whole pounds. A healthy amount, yes, but I'm the kind of person who needs to see a dramatic result to keep me moving and motivated. I saw an infomercial this morning for some weight loss/fitness plan where you melt it off. It's a ball and some DVD's. But with this amazing ball and DVD's, you are guaranteed to lose 5 pounds, 2 inches in the waistline and drop a full size in only 3 days! Damn! THAT's the kind of results that I want! But, in all honesty, I'm not very coordinated. I'd probably drop the ball more times than I can count and being that one whole DVD was dedicated to the diet, I'm thinking it's all just a little too complex for me. Plus, it was a whole lotta money. So I'll stick with my treadmill until it's owner wants it back and then I'll switch over to my Power 90 DVD. Sure, the guy is a little annoying and condescending, but I can hit the mute button if need be.

So off I go to walk some more and pretend that I'm walking from Cinderella's castle over to Pirates of the Caribbean. Think thin!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

And in this corner...

Okay, so I'm at work today and bracing myself for whatever teen drama gets thrown my way, when of the mom's want to get involved! One of the "circle" girls mom's approaches me and asks for an 'appointment' to sit down and talk about this whole situation. She's a fairly nice woman; I've talked with her before about the circle drama and so I always kind of felt that we were on the same page. So we pick a date for next week where we will get together - with the kids! - and try and hash this whole thing out. But here's the kicker...she says that she wanted to give me a couple of days to get 'prepared'.


What exactly am I preparing for? I mean, after a while, isn't this all just "sticks and stones"? They're kids! Didn't we all say and do stupid things when we were teens? So, while we're on the subject of being prepared, I hope that she doesn't expect to just sit and pass judgement and blast my son because let me tell you, I've got a boatload of information on her daughter that she may not find so wonderful. This is where I'm kind of sneaky. I mean, I'm friendly to the kids, I hang out with them, and they confide in me. I notice when they say one thing and do another. I notice when they are sneaking off to where they shouldn't. And , I do occassionally look at Nick's my space and facebook pages to see what's going on. I'm not proud of it, but I do it. So, I will be suiting up the armor this weekend and gathering all of the information that I can and PRAY that my son has been honest with me in all that has transpired. I can't even imagine what will happen if I am hit with something that I don't know about during this little pow-wow.

Of all the times to be on a diet....

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Disney Diet - Day Two

Well, it's been two days and I'm not down to a size 5 yet! WHY??? Okay, maybe it's a little soon to be questioning these things. I mean, yesterday was a transition day. I did not eat like a fiend, not did I starve myself. I ate in moderation. Hhmmm...seems I've heard that phrase before. Oh well. I drank more water than I usually do and I actually exercised for 20 minutes last night while watching Dancing with the Stars. I really wanted to see Marissa go all the way. But I digress...

I woke up a little sore this morning from the weights I used last night - that's a good sign, right? Then I got on the treadmill and disco-walked for 30 minutes and burned 185 calories before I had eaten a thing! Yea, me! I had my Special K breakfast, my lean beef salad for lunch, drank 5 glasses of water while at work and then came home and had a small portion of chicken and broccoli with steamed rice, two more glasses of water and walked for another 30 minutes. All in all, I feel good. Sweaty...disgustingly sweaty, but good.

I've got a wager going on with two friends. It's a friendly one and we're all hoping to motivate one another - not sabatage eachother. We have until September 14th to lose 25 pounds each. We are all putting a $25 gift certificate to Archiver's in the pot (we're all scrapbookers). The winner will get $75 in GC's to Archiver's. It's a nice little motivation and considering I'm doing this for my Disney trip, I'll have plenty of photos that need to be scrapbooked! I'm just saying...

I refuse to jump on the scale the moment I wake up and pee every morning. I am trying to limit myself to 2 scale hops a week. We'll see if I can stick to it. Remember everyone, keep thinking thin!

Wedding Bell Blues

It is somewhat official. My sister is going to marry that lying, two-faced...(fill in your own word here, mine's too vile). It amazes me that they can even be planning a wedding when neither of them is even divorced. Call me old-fashioned but the whole thing just makes me want to scream. I got the news via my rather irate mother. She seems to think that the whole thing is ridiculous, too, but none of us can stop the train from jumping the tracks.

Here's the dilema...sister wedding #1 had us all in attendance. My parents were divorced and although my dad did everything humanly possible to diminish my mother's role in the wedding, on the actual day everyone was cordial. The four of us even rode in the limo together to the church. That was the first time it had happend that we were alone - our little family - in several years. Sister wedding #2 had none of us in attendance (except for the bride). Sis and dad weren't speaking, mom and dad weren't speaking, mom wasn't really allowed to speak to either of her daughters and I was too poor to go on a seven day cruise for the wedding. So now we're looking at sister wedding #3. Everyone's speaking! It's a regular love-fest! Everyone gets along and seems to enjoy one another's company. Ick. But I do not wish to go to this wedding as I have stated numerous times in the past. I mean, no one really knows when this is all going to take place but I'm telling you, chances are good that mom and dad will both go and if I don't, it's going to be blazingly obvious. In the past when my sister had a major event planned (after wedding #2), whenever I tried to back out of it - mainly for financial reasons - she would always offer to pay for me because she wanted me there. I don't get it. So if I say my usual "No, sorry, I can't afford it" and she says her usual "It's okay, I'll help" then what? I guess I can demand that I won't go without Frank and the kids. Maybe that would be pushing my luck and she'll be unwilling to go for it. But oh! did I mention how this magical event may take place on a private island in Jamaica where there's a house that sleeps 22 people and comes fully staffed?

Just another reason for me to hate the beach.

Monday, May 12, 2008

You know...the fat sister

I've been thinking for quite some time that I really need to lose some weight. Well, not some, but a lot. Today I looked at the calendar and realized that my Disney trip is four months. Four months! I do this to myself whenever a trip with my family is approaching - I get panicky and automatically start freaking out over my appearance. I always lose some weight before a trip with my sister particularly, because whenever I look at pictures of us afterwards, I always come off as the fat sister. Granted, I've struggled with my weight all of my life and really there was only a time span of about four years where I was skinnier than her. Of course there are no pictures to document THAT TIME! But oh...put on the pounds and there are pictures of us together everywhere!

So this blog will also become my accountability partner for the next four month as I begin...drumroll please...the Disney Diet. Yes, that's right, I said it, the Disney Diet. Who knows, I could make a fortune on this when all is said and done. I'm going to come up with a diet/exercise plan that I can live with and hopefully, HOPEFULLY, I can drop the Lbs in time for the trip. I plan on getting on the scale in the a.m., crying a whole lot, and beginning my day. I already bought my Special K to start the day right! Of course it is the one with the chocolate in it so I don't deprive myself too much.

Think thin, everyone!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hey, Baby...

Those two words start every conversation with my dad. You would be amazed how many different ways a person can say "Hey, baby" and many emotions they reveal. For instance, there is the perky "Hey, baby" which leads me to know that dad is in a good mood, things are going well. Then there's the rushed, slightly edgy "Hey, baby" that means - look, I'm busy. Say what you've gotta say and get the heck off the phone. I feel the love. But then there's the sad, almost whiney "Hey, baby". THAT'S the one you have to look out for. No good can come of a conversation that starts that way. This means that there is doom, gloom and destruction happening around him. There are times when I feel that surely someone must have died to give him that tone and it's usually that business wasn't great that week at the deli or something equally un-dramatic. Today I got that version of "Hey, baby" and braced myself. He was sick this week with an illness that no doctor can diagnose. Okay. By tonight, he'll be out clubbing and partying like it's 1999!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Take two asprin and call me in the morning...

Oh, if only. Monday night I got a headache. There was a storm front moving through and it took several doses of Advil before I felt okay. Tuesday night I had what I thought was just an allergy attack but it's never gone away. My head is packed up, I sneeze alot and the congestion is just miserable.

I have to admit, I am a lousy patient. I don't like being sick and basically I want to take something and have the whole thing done with. By Thursday when I still wasn't feeling better, I went to the doctor. "What can I do for you?" the doctor asked. "Well," I begin, "I think I have a sinus infection." I describe my symptoms and she nods. "What have you taken?" she asked. "Benedryl," I start and she says "It did nothing, right?" I nod. "I tried Tylenol Severe Cold," I add - to which she responds "Not much happened with that, did it?" Clearly she knows where I'm going but we're going to walk in circles a little bit longer. I agree with the Tylenol assessment and finally say, "And the Nyquil only puts me to sleep." Now she's quiet pleased with herself and tells me how all of those things were wrong and how I've danced around what really needs to be done.


If that's the case, then clearly someone better start re-writing the syptoms on all of the above mentioned boxes. I mean Nyquil clearly states that it is the sniffling (got it), sneezing (yup), coughing (a little), aching (not so much), stuffy head (um..YES), blah, blah, blah. Why wouldn't it work? The Tylenol, was the SEVERE head cold medicine. Shouldn't that have made a dent in the stuffy head category? Long story short, she doesn't charge me for the visit and tells me to take the generic version of Mucinex-D and that I should feel better in a few days. It's just a virus, no big deal. Except that it is. I'm miserable. I feel miserable. I walk around with a box of Vicks coated tissues and gasp for breath. Virus, my butt! It's Mother's Day weekend, for crying out loud! I have plans! I'm supposed to go out with friends tomorrow night. Who knows if I'll actually be able to go. The kids are tired of hearing my sneeze. Nick keeps wanting me to go and take a nap and Michael just wants to snuggle with me until he realizes that I have to keep sitting up to sneeze and that just interrupts Sponge Bob. Frank's home and even though we've been through the flu and a never-ending migraine cycle that began in March with him, I'm killing HIM.

I want the kind of cold that people on TV get. You know, where it begins at 8:03 pm and by the time the show wraps up at 8:28, they're cured. That's my kind of illness. How do I get one of those?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Is She Really Going Out With Him?

So I just got off the phone with my mom and my sister. Being that they live together it's like killing two birds with one long-distance stone. Mom is getting her life on track since leaving her abusive husband and it's good to see her making such strides. She has her own business and spends a lot of time taking care of grandma. She seems to be very happy.

My sister is going through a divorce too. It's been interesting to sit back and observe the whole process and I have to admit, it's comical at times. My soon to be ex-stepfather is vindictive. Mom's left him several times (but always went back) and this time she's standing firm and it is making him crazy. He tells twisted stories to anyone who will listen about how HE is the victim here. Then there's my soon to be ex-brother-in-law. He's just sad. Clueless, sad. He thinks that he can be vindictive but it always backfires on him. He tries to be the James Bond type but ends up coming off like Barney Fife. Sad, really.

Now during all this divorce-procedings hoopla, my sister found a boyfriend. Not just any boyfriend, mind you, but my husband's best friend. Ex-best friend now, thank you very much. I was against this from the get-go. I let everyone know - including the couple themselves - that I was against it. I was accused of being jealous, I was accused of clearly having feelings for this man and I was accused of just being a witch. Here's the thing...growing up, my sister and I were not close. We fought over everything. Whenever I had a friend over, she made sure that the friend hung out with her and then they'd both sit there and ignore or make fun of me. So even as an adult, this memory comes vividly to life whenever I let my friends and family mix. I try not to let it happen often - if ever.

So now they're dating and at first I was concerned for him because my sister is not the faithful type. Frank and I both agreed that we did not want our friend hurt. We shared this with him and what does he do? He goes back and shares our conversation with my sister! Creep. This went on for a while without our knowing it, but having mom on the inside, she hears things, and she shares them with me. So we learn to keep our mouths shut and not speak to this sneaky SOB and we learn - again through mom - that he is a moocher. You know, doesn't pay for a darn thing. My sister has money and she works hard for it with her catering business. Now I'm concerned for my sister because I don't like to think of this man taking advantage of her. He has nothing. He's a med-school student who is separated from his wife and living with his mom. Loser is the word that comes to mind...But anyway, this relationship caused problems between me and Frank because he couldn't understand why it bothered me so, and then it caused problems between us and HIM because we realized that he's a two-faced liar, and finally it caused problems between me and my sister because I could not stand to even hear about this ridiculous relationship!

Long story short, we finally hashed things out about a month ago. And I mean HASHED. I spared no one's feelings and really let it all out about how I felt about her, her faithfulness to people, her treatment of me our whole lives and the fact that this man is a liar. Ninety minutes later it was as if a rock had been lifted from my shoulders and I felt almost giddy.

Those of you who know me may ask, "Why bring this all up again? It's old news." Yes it is but lately, I let her talk about their "love" and how wonderful it all is and I know that by this time next year, they will be living together and planning a wedding. The thought of it still gives me the willies. I told her that I won't trip her or yell out anything inappropriate on their wedding day but the truth of the matter is, it's not something that I have any intention of going to. I didn't go to her second wedding, why bother with the third? How many weddings are really necessary? I have no intention of buying a bridesmaid dress and I think that after a while, it's kind of nervy to keep asking people to come to your weddings. How many gravy boats do you need??? While we were talking tonight she was waxing poetic about the relationship and I even stopped making gagging noises (I'm growing) when she speaks. Is it possible to be happy for someone without being involved? I mean, if she is happy with this mooching liar, more power to her. Do I need to hang out with them? Not so much. I mourn the loss of a friendship that we had with this man for 18 years. It really has given my husband yet another reason to dislike my family. We don't talk about it much anymore, but it's still there. I guess when we have to see them - if and when we go up to NY again - it will sort of be like that creepy uncle that you always try to stay away from. You know he's going to be there and you make sure that you are well-surrounded all the time, do the polite thing and move on. Kind of a sad way of viewing a family visit, but you still need to be prepared.

Anyone have a brother-in-law or sister-in-law that you wish you weren't related to?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Would YOU want to know?

Say that you're on line surfing the net. Say that you go on to a MySpace or FaceBook page. Just looking or maybe you have a page yourself. Now imagine that as your checking things out - and maybe checking in to what your teen is looking at - and you happen upon a picture. Not a picture of your child (thank the Lord!) but of a friend's child and it's not a good one. Or a wholesome one. Or one that you'd feel comfortable showing at any gathering of people that you know. No, it's not porn or anything that extreme but it's offensive enough that you're uncomfortable seeing it. Do you go to the parent? If so, how do you approach it? Do you say, "Oh, by the way, I saw this picture while on line..." or do you say something like, "Hey, guess who I saw with a boy on top of her?"

This is just a typical example of what my life is like. I don't WANT to find these things out about my son's friends and yet in the age of the internet, things like this get out there. I would want to know if it were my child posting inappropriate pictures of himself on the web. You know how I know he hasn't? Because NO ONE had come to me and told me! And believe me, Nick had some sort of chip inbedded in him where parents everywhere seem to know when he says or does something wrong and then they run and tell me. At times, I appreciate their openness and how they care about my child enough to want me to know whenever he slips up, but there are times that his actions really aren't as upsetting to me as it is to them. And because I've been on that side of the coin, dare I cross over and become one of those parents that goes to another parent and shows them where they've failed? And yes, that is what we're doing, we're showing the parent not only where their child has messed up but where they failed as a parent to raise their child properly. Harsh, I know.

So, do I print out the offensive pic and show it? Do I secretly e-mail the mom the link to it? Or do I sit back and do nothing? really needs to come with some sort of manual.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Reject here!

Something that a lot of you don't know about me is that I am a secret writer. It's true. I have a love of writing chick-lit and have since the age of 12 and only in the last 4 years have I really gotten serious about it. I sent in my first manuscript, well...4 years ago, it got rejected and then I stopped. Sort of. I wrote, but I didn't do anything with what I wrote until last summer. My confidence was back and I have to admit, I hated the thought of letting my dream die. My mom, who is also a secret writer, was getting back in to her groove too, and so we were helping one another out with the editing process. Well, I helped her, she never did give me her feedback on mine. Hmmm...

So now as I am approaching 40 - do you notice I'm mentioning that fact quite a bit lately? Maybe I have issues - but I have the dream to be published by the time I'm 40. Okay, yes, those of you who know me know I write a bi-weekly newsletter for the bookstore and this blog, but frankly it's not enough. I want to hold something in my hands and say, "Yeah, I wrote this."

Back in August I found an agent. She praised my work, her critique people praised my work and I thought I was on my way. I signed a 6-month contract and waited. And waited. And waited. By the end of the 6th month, I had had enough of her "waiting is the hardest part" form e-mails and decided not to renew my option with her. So I send my stuff to another agency in March and got accepted. Not as much praise but a positive response nonetheless. The catch? They want $425 up-front to get started. Not gonna happen. After some research (she accepted my mom, too) we found out that this agency was a little less than reputable. Sunday afternoon found me bored and so I sat at the computer all the live-long day and tried to find another agency. I queried 10 of them that day. Well, so far I've gotten three rejections this week and I've got to tell you, it doesn't feel good. I know that any writer you meet will say that they have a stack 2-3 inches thick of rejections. Well, bully for them but I still don't like it. I feel like I could be 440 and still never be published! What kind of dream is that???

For now I'll continue to write when I can get the men out of the house so that I can have peace. I'll keep searching for that elusive agent who loves me and sells my stuff fast. Hopefully I'll get to enjoy this before I have to receive the news in my 'good' ear and have to put my teeth in to reply!

Spa Hater

Okay, it's true. I hate spas. I hate the idea of them and the thought of going to one does not fill me with all kinds of gooey feelings of anticipation. I don't know why. My 40th birthday is coming up this December and my sister was gracious enough to offer to take me away for a spa weekend. I am extremely grateful for her generosity - she certainly does enjoy a vacation anywhere - but we have very different tastes. I have two good friends that are massage therapists. I can get a massage anytime that I need. There are several spas around that I go to when I want to pamper myself and get a pedicure. I don't do it often, but I do it when I can. I have no finger nails because ....well, I just don't. So the idea of a manicure holds no appeal to me either.

We're all going away together in September to Disney to the Grand Floridian - me, my sister, my mom, my aunt and my cousin. They are all dying to do a spa day. I'm like, look, you all can go and do that, I'll be skipping down Main Street USA by myself and smiling the whole way! First off, if I'm going to spend $100 on anything, it's going to be on something that I am going to use or enjoy again and again. A 45-minute massage for $100 is not going to make me feel good. I mean, sure at the time, it will feel great. But when I leave that little room and have to hand over my $100, I'm just going to be tense again! No, I'd rather spend that money on souvenirs or scapbooking supplies. That is my idea of money well-spent.

So what do I do about my birthday? Hmm...I honestly told her that I thought the Disney trip was going to be my birthday thing. She was surprised because it's so soon before my birthday but I really think that anything above and beyond that would be a waste of money. Maybe I just lack imagination where a weekend away is concerned. Where would I chose to go for a girls-weekend?

I'll let you know when I figure that out.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

How are you, Madam President?

Thursday night the boys and I were eating dinner when the phone rang. With the help of caller ID, we saw that we did not recognize the number and let the answering machine get it instead. It was a call from Hillary Clinton. Well, not actually Hillary Clinton but someone FOR her letting me know that HC was going to be in Wake Forest on Saturday morning and that I should come and check it out. They were heavy on the words, but that was the gist. So the message ends, I go back to my beef & broccoli.

Five minutes later, the phone rings again. Another unknown phone number to us and I joke to Nick, "Watch, Obama's calling." Guess what? IT WAS! One of his people was calling to inform me that I should ignore the negative phone calls that have been going around about him. I don't know about any of you, but the only call I got was inviting me to a lovely morning out with Mrs. Clinton. Nothing negative about it. Message ends, back to my beef and broccoli.

Saturday morning comes, and although I am not in any way endorsing Hillary, Nick and I decide to go and check out this speech. We leave the house at 7:30 am and walk the 2 blocks up to the Wake Forest College Birthplace. We were told the event was from 8 am - 10 am. So we walk up there and get in line. We're like the 6th people in line - they won't let us on to the lawn yet. We talk with our fellow line-dwellers and wait. And wait. And wait. Somewhere around 9:15, we get to walk on to the lawn and go through security and then get a sweet spot right up front in front of the podium. We are set. Any minute now, Miss Hillary will be there.

Or not.

I'm getting sunburned (yes, at 10:30 in the morning), Nick is alternating between playing air guitar (and not well) with the music on his PSP and singing off key to the music being piped in. Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" was his favorite. Finally, FINALLY at 11:30 Miss Hillary shows up. By this time I am a stark-raving lunatic with red, burned skin, a rumbling stomach and legs that are begging me to sit down. I'm not a happy person and fear that my annoyance is going to show on my face and the Secret Service is going to cart me away for fear of what I might do. But I controlled myself and figured, I learned all that I needed to without hearing a word. She was due there between 10 and 10:30 and was late. She spent the morning in Cary. They were more important. No one informed us of when she might arrive. If I had been considering voting for her before, this morning blew it. Nothing is more annoying than someone who is inconsiderate to other's time.

I did get some great pictures, however. She looks much better in person than she does on TV. It was a great experience for both me and Nick. We watched the Secret Service do their thing and learned what we kind of knew all along. Us little people don't matter much.

I need to go and put some Aloe on my sunburn.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Here an ache, there an ache, everywhere an ache, ache...

Sing it with me! Honestly, I am so far NOT impressed with the aging process. We are led to believe that we will get older and wiser but no where does it say that we get older and achier when we still think that we're young! Two weeks ago I'm in the shower shaving my legs and twisted my knee somehow and had trouble walking for days. Then from over-compensating for the whole knee-thing, I did something to my lower back and butt and found it to be excruciatingly painful to even sit! So I get through the knee and butt thing and wake up this morning with a pinky finger that won't straighten and a boatload of pain in my hand! What in the world! But wait, there's more...tonight I'm cleaning up my room and lean over the bed to grab a shirt and I hear POP! You guessed it...the opposite knee popped and now I hurt down to my toes! At this rate, I'm going to need a nurse and a cane by Monday.

Aging sucks.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Guess What's on the Menu?

I grew up in the food business. For as far back as I can remember, we've always had a deli/catering business in the family. I can remember being at my parents luncheonette rolling meatballs when I was four. Food is a very big thing in my family. You add the fact that we're Italian in to the mix and you can imagine what the holiday table looks like when we're all together!

My dad used to be an amazing cook. He just had the touch. Everything looked good - everything tasted good. When I was a teenager, things started to change. I think all of the years of smoking (both legal and illegal substances) totally killed his tastebuds and the menu's started tasting a little bizarre. There was the time he put heaping amounts of garlic powder in to the scalloped potatoes. Ick. Of course, being Italian we can counter that garlic is good in anything, but trust me when I say NOT in scalloped potatoes. Then there was the spinach phase. It was everywhere - side dishes, stuffed in things, mixed in with the macaroni and in the sauce. My grandfather and I used to put our heads together and pray for a normal tomato sauce to be served with the pasta. Those prayers were never answered.

But the culinary delight that has stood the test of time - and is always good for a laugh between my sister and me - is the puffed pastry. Yes, puffed pastry. It started with a turkey that he wrapped in puffed pastry. There were oohh's and aah's heard from everyone and that just spurred my father on. Soon nothing was safe from the puffed pastry. The funny thing is, it still amazes him. With each new food wrapped in pastry, it's like he's discovered the cure for cancer. "Stace! Guess what I made last night?" The curiosity always gets the better of me because I want to see how far this trend will go. I think the latest was meatballs wrapped in the puffed pastry. Honestly, why? Why would anyone even WANT to wrap a meatball in anything? He never makes any of these treats when I go for a visit. Last time I got a Stouffer's lasagne. Thanks for the effort, buddy.

I don't know which is worse: someone who truly can't cook or someone who should really STOP cooking. I wonder if there's some sort of puff-pastry support group we can get him in to?

Not Guilty, Your Honor....

I went to bed last night at my usual time of 11:30 and was fortunate enough to fall right to sleep. My husband is a night owl and some nights he simply falls asleep on the couch while watching TV and I never even hear when he comes to bed (if he even does!). Last night he did eventually come to bed at around 3:40 am. He's not quiet and after 13 years, the layout of our bedroom can still be a mystery to him because inevitably he will bump in to something - again, not quietly. So he gets in to bed, gets comfortable and at this point I wake up realizing that I need to use the bathroom. Getting old sucks. By the time I come back to bed - and it was MAYBE three minutes - he is deeply asleep and snoring. So I take out my earplugs (which I hate) and put them in. They're supposed to be soft and comfy but let's be honest, a foreign object in your ear is just plain annoying. By the time I get comfortable again, hubby is snoring like a freight train. I move him, I poke him, I gently ask him to change positions because he is snoring and next thing I know it is 4:20 in the darn morning and I am wide awake! Now I get up and grab a drink - which makes me need to use the bathroom again - and I realize that I still have the earplugs in and even in another room, I can still hear him! At this point, putting a pillow over his face is looking mighty appealing because clearly, it's the only way I'm going to get a good night's sleep. I mean, I have to work in the morning and I am one of those people who NEEDS my sleep. Then I have to remind myself that I love this man and he really can't help the fact that he snores. Well, he can, let's be honest. There are plenty of snore-aids on the market that don't require me to put big, green puffy things in MY ears! I can only hope that if I snap that I get a female judge. She'll know exactly what why I did it!