Monday, January 25, 2016

4 Years Later...

Amazing how you set something aside, intending to get back to it, and you do! 40-ish months or so later...

First, an update:

When I scan back over the length of this blog, and scan I do... I don't recognize that girl and so many of those moments anymore. It is sometimes like the earth opened up and swallowed 5 years of memories, or I was simply more numb than I realized.

James is a high school senior, and to keep this from sounding too much like that Christmas letter you get from your cousin and never really read because she drives you nuts with her overachieving, that's all I'm going to say about that. Also, he would murder me if I wrote about him here.

Nicole lives in Florida, works at Universal Studios and is ... finally... I think... happy.

We said goodbye to Jessie in the summer of 2014. I was not ready to let her go, but then, I never would have been. She picked a time when I was not home and drifted away. It was just as hard as I expected it to be.

The reason I don't spend as much -- okay, okay any -- time here is because I began writing for a living. No, don't go getting all excited. I write the boring stuff that entices you to buy something at Staples or book a trip on Orbitz. It's a decent living and lets me keep a flexible schedule. I will focus a bit of this blog on the irritations of being a freelancer because there are many, and I will also address the positives that come with it. I used to get paid to tell you that... but more about that later.

It's good to be back.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Goodbye Little Man...

I guess I cannot call him that anymore. In the however-many-months it has been since I was here last, he has grown taller than me, moved up 3(three) shoe sizes, spoken in a deeper voice (oh how I miss his Mickey Mouse chatter) and stopped being a little man... *sniffle*

James "graduated" from 8th grade today. Luckily, in our district, they don't actually "graduate" them so I didn't have to get dressed up, drive to the school, fight for parking, etc--all so I could cry in public. I did my crying at home. I have, without fail, cried at every single first day of school and every single last day of school, for both James and Nicole. Yes, I'm one of those moms. The ones who can't manage to get a grip. It has been a rough couple of years for James, academically. Well not really academically--he does rather well--but getting-along-with-teachers-ly. James has become a bit more social minded. IE. he talks a lot, wherein he did not before.

Because I start off each new school year with an email to each of his teachers explaining who James is and his life story (the condensed version) and an entreaty to contact me if there is anything "out of the norm", I get a lot of phone calls. Well, not a lot, but, in my world, any phone call from school is a lot. One or two of his teachers gave me a minute by minute account of what James did or didn't do to annoy them. It got rather, for lack of a better work, annoying for myself. Except I brought it on myself by asking. Lesson learned.

So James is off to high school (*sob), with his mother somewhere lurking there behind him, yelling,"Keep your head up, for God's sake!"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Go Lions... sort of

Every year, Leonard (die-hard Lions fan, even though I was the one who hooked him on football) would say,"This year the Lions are going to do better." Each year he would be...wrong. I, even as a Packer fan would feel (sort of) bad for him. When they went 0-16 I thought about how it would have really bummed him out. Our son (for some crazy, whacked out reason) picked the Lions (over my Packers ) to obsess over.

Last weekend, we went to a local restaurant where they show all of the games all of the time (it's like Football Christmas!) to watch the Lions play the Cowboys. I left out that we are now living in...Houston, Texas. Where you are either a Texans fan or an idiot...I mean Cowboys fan (with a few Saints fans in there too, but they get a pass because a lot of them, like me, moved here from NOLA). Anyway, we were stuck at a table (read pool table covered by a board, covered by a table cloth) with a bunch of Cowboys fans. When the Texans play, the Cowboys don't, in Houston... Unless you have Directv, or go to the bar, but I digress.

We have been going to this restaurant for 3 seasons. The manager, taking pity on my son's aloneness as the only Lions fan in a sea of other fans of winning teams, often gave him a room to himself, with sound (!) because most of the games are televised without, except for one in each room. Did I mention the part where this restaurant is also the home base of the Browns in Houston (they still have a few fans I guess)?

On Sunday we were late...hence the pool table seats...with the Cowboys fans. And it sucked...really bad for 3-ish quarters. From the graphic showing Stafford held to -1 in offense in the 1st to the kicking of the trash can...and then it got really good. And the Houston game ended just about the time things were turning into what looked like an obtainable win for the Lions. And, before you could say "Romo has to go" (I got that one from the fan across from me)a group of Texan fans were standing behind my son's chair, high fiving James with each score. Shaking his shoulders and becoming, for one instant, fellow Lions fans. I think they were more "Not Cowboy" fans but all the same, my son had comrades in his cheering again. (Because he knows I'm kind of faking it when I cheer for the Lions).

James' team is currently 3-1... We are hoping that the 1 stays a 1. For the first time he played on offense last week at tight end. Let's just say he is grateful to be back on the defensive side of the ball. I am amazed at how well he is doing and, also, how gigantic he looks on the field in his uniform. I always tend to look for the little guys, only there aren't very many out there anymore. He is making marvelous attempts at studying, all the while muttering,"I hate new 'pro-active' mom..." Last year, we tried giving him assignment and studying responsibility. Luckily, he passed the 7th grade in spite of it.

A housekeeping note. I am not one to typically delete comments, even the not so nice ones. For the first time ever, I did. I would like to extend to that person the message that they may post anything they wish, as long as it is not excessive in its vulgarity (this was) nor outright slander (this also was, as records show). Other than that, have at me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Friday Night Lights

I forgot how much I loved that movie, once I got all hooked into the television show. James and I watched it last night (I don't think he has ever seen it) and it never ceases to make me cry. I am, somehow, amazed that they never pull it off in the end.

So far, we've been having a really nice, if not sweltering, summer. James got to go to a real live drive in for the first time ever. Just a bit up the road from us is a two screen drive in. I had stumbled upon it be accident (and traffic tie up) last summer and meant to go. A friend called and asked if we wanted to meet her and her boys up there to see Cars 2, so we did. Unfortunately Cars 2 and Pirates was sold out, so we watched Green Lantern and X-Men. It was so very nice to sit outside in lawn chairs as the sun went down. Nothing beats a Texas sunset. We've had quite a few cook outs and the 4th was a great day spent with friends.

We're attempting to plan the annual trip to Cedar Point to visit my daughter. It is hard to do when you think of the scheduling time to see her around her very busy schedule.

My "job" is hilarious and annoying all rolled into one giant 6 pack of beer. No one ever told me how interesting the people who visit a convenience store can be. I am a cigarette pack version of Lucy from "Charlie Brown", although I rarely have any advice after I am told some of their stories... I often find myself walking away thinking, "Darn that would make for a good book." I always seem to have an excuse not to write these days.

This is the birthday/anniversary stretch... If I pretend it doesn't exist, it can't hurt me, right?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Woof...and Wellness

So here come the dog days of summer, and it is only the beginning of June. Luckily we are to cool down to the low 90's by the weekend. Go Team Texas!

James made it through the last day of school (surprise! and here's to a better next year) and we drove out to San Antonio to visit my cousin Patti. I haven't seen her since last year, when illness combined with a couple of hospital induced setbacks occurred. She is better, but it is horrifying to see one who was always healthy so frail and tiny. It is far more horrifying to realize that it was through mistakes that could have been avoided.

Did I tell you yet how HOT it is here?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Longest Last Week of School Ever...

Conversation from this morning:

"Mom, I'm really not feeling well."

"Well, let's get you something to eat and get you woken up a bit."

"Can't I just take the day off? A mental health day?"

"James...there's like 5 days of school left. Just buck up. It'll be fine."

"Come on..."

Here's where I must say, it's a real bummer when your child starts throwing your own (let's call it) encouragement (instead of guilt trip) back in your face.

"Come on James. Do this for me."

"Do this for ME, Mom."

Well, of course, he went to school (not) happily. And, somehow, managed. I swear this last week has already lasted at least two months.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Between Then and Now

When I think back on the last year, I realize that we were busier than it appears when I slog through yet another day. There is so much I want to update, and so very hard to begin.

Let's begin with James. It was a great and awful year all at the same time. I know that sounds ridiculous but it will make sense (sort of) in a minute. He was gobbled up by the Texas machine, otherwise known as football, last Fall. Along with the trepidation of thinking that each second he will be flattened on the field, is the realization that it was really good for him. James, as is a family trait, has anger "issues". His grief often, at 12, manifests itself as frustration and sometimes unabated mad at the world. In football he can gather up a lot of it and throw it out...leaving it somewhere between the hash marks. As long as he doesn't get hurt and/or we have insurance. Yes it's the over protective mother in me. I can't help it. Because we are both big (Go Packers---except he's a Lions fan) fans of the game, we found a restaurant that plays all NFL games every weekend. The management either fell in love with him and/or felt sorry for his Lions fanness and, most weekends, seat him in his own private section with sound, to watch the game. I am forced to watch the Packer game, without sound, on a side screen.

Nicole spent the winter with us. She's I guess what you would call an anti-college student. Spends the winters off, and works the summers at Cedar Point. As usual, she lands on her feet and was promoted to a supervisory position. I can only hope that one day she will revisit the hallowed halls of an institute for higher education. This year, at least, I talked her into getting health insurance through her job.

Me? I've been working a few hours at the corner store. To get out of the house and meet new people. And what people I have met. In three hours at the store, one can learn that A. most people hire someone else to do their lawns (they all heat up their lunch here), B. A lot of my neighbors enjoy a beer...or 24 every day, and C. There's a reason why many convenience stores only allow employees to use the bathroom.