Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Are We There Yet?

This past weekend, Atlanta was blessed with the prettiest weather of the summer season. The oppressive humidity and chance of rain we had experienced all week was replaced by clear skies, low 80's and no humidity. It was the perfect time to get out doors.

I called the kids and my good friend, Diva. We decided to picnic at Stone Mountain and then attempt to stay for the laser light show. Stone Mountain is a historical landmark on the east side of town that tourists know for it's granite carving of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. For the locals, it's a place to spend a summer Saturday evening, complete with kids, for only 10 bucks per carload. We decided to meet at Diva's and depart from there.

Now, I've lived in the Atlanta area for seven years and have been to Stone Mountain a handful of times, but I had never driven myself there. Diva's husband, along with my son in law, decided to be the true essence of masculinity and offered to drive. We piled up two wheelie coolers, a soft sided cooler, a handle bag from Panera that was as big as the side of a barn, three kids (two of them under the age of four) and two blankets and headed out. All that was missing was the partridge in the pear tree. Sil needed to stop for beer on the way out, which left Diva's dude as the captain of the ride. While I will be the first to tell you DD is an exceptional artist/musician, I have come to the conclusion that he has no idea how to maneuver around Atlanta. I drive expressways at break neck speed and am familiar with back roads that seemingly take you no where. He drives 60 mph, while listening to obscure music on his iPod. One hour and 10 minutes after we departed the driveway, we arrived at Stone Mountain. This commute is a standard 40 minutes for any one else.

Since we had to park on the lower 40, we strapped on the soft sided cooler, wheelie cooler, Panera bag and Diva's kids to our hips and began our hike. I say hike because once again, we are on a mountain. One third of the way there, I'm panting, my heart is racing and my arm is coming out of the socket from dragging the wheelie cooler behind me. DD is the essence of good humor and begins asking "where are the Sherpa's"? We burst into laughter.

Close to the entrance of the park, we meet up with my family, the other wheelie cooler and brace ourselves for the last hike into the park. Once inside, we grab our piece of real estate, produce enough food and beverage to feed a small army, and settle in for the show. My grandson, hater of all things loud and "boomy" (see post about July 4th) is amazing calm as he plants his bottom in the lap of #2. We watch other people and laser light show. We sing to the music and whisper to each other. We have a wonderful time.

The best part? Before departing the park, we empty the coolers of what has to be 80 pounds of ice and replace it with tired, but happy children. Success!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Do You Remember?

Recently, I had a conversation with a co-worker about trying new and different things. This desire to participate in activities other than the norm was inspired by the fact that I am in a rut of sorts. She and I agreed to do at least one thing per month that was outside our comfort zone, or in my case, my zip code.

So, thanks to Facebook, I was invited to a dinner that included people from my old hometown of Miami. It seems this lovely social network has made it possible to detect, track, stalk and then invite folks who are only being polite, to share a meal. I received my invitation from an old neighbor, that I actually liked, so I agreed to go. I also figured it was mid month and my time to do something new was running out (especially since said co worker went to a museum over the weekend).

My high school years were somewhat successful. I managed to make decent grades in honors classes, I sang in the school chorus and had an occasional boyfriend. I didn't wear braces, wreck my car or get caught skipping school. I considered this acceptable and hoped the other folks that were on the guest list would agree. I scanned the list of invitees and when no arch enemies appeared, I agreed to go. For moral support, I enlisted my sister, Vampgal, and my brother to go with me. In typical fashion, he bailed at the last minute and Vampgal and I were left to fend for ourselves.

We arrived at the home of classmate and were greeted by three lovely women. Instantly, a glass of homemade sangria appeared in my hand and pictures of children, theirs as well as mine, appeared on the table. We exchanged pleasant conversation, an occasional laugh, one or two stories of unemployment and a lot of "do you know what happened to" and "do you remember". The house began to fill with other folks from SRHS, all showing signs of aging with hair that is greying, children that are leaving the nest, waistlines that are expanding and stories of parents that are dying. This group would've never sat at the same lunch table in high school, but here we were, sharing the same table some 30 years later.

The night was uneventful, non threatening and enjoyable. I managed to accomplish my goal for the month and even exchanged phone numbers with a gal that I fully intend to have lunch with. Vampgal survived knowing absolutely no one and my brother didn't miss a thing because the girl he was so interested in catching up with was a no show. Even City-girl, my co-worker, said it counted even though it wasn't as cool as the museum.

Now, what to do next month?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Life is hard

For those of you that know me beyond my blog, July was a very difficult month for me and my family. My brother-in-law, "Carguy", passed away after a short illness. It was a grueling 10 days of surgeries, ICU, all day and half the night vigils, followed by bursts of hope, silliness, laughter and hospice. Through it all my younger sister, Vampgal, was an incredible example of grace under pressure with a side of you have to be kidding me.

Carguy was 40 and Vampgal 25 when they met and fell in love. Me, I was hardly a fan. I thought he was old (I was 29), a bum (even though he had a successful automotive repair business) and just all around the wrong guy for my sister. When I first caught wind of their relationship, I drove to his place of business and told him to stay away. Thank goodness he didn't listen to me then and hardly listened to me after that.

Carguy was patient with me and Vampgal as we have this twisted sister relationship. (When you add in my other sister, Dance Mom, it only gets more twisted). He survived me, my daughters, my relationship with Sparky, and my moving in with them when I moved to Atlanta in 2002. He taught my girls how to swim, shoot tequila and aim a rifle. He taught us basic car repair and maintenance, patience and the need to take care of ourselves. Unknowingly, he also taught my daughters that they should be cherished by their spouses. This is the lesson that may take years for them to realize but I suspect his leading by example will be forefront in their minds.

Seven years ago, I moved out of Carguy's house and purchased the house around the corner. I always felt drawn to its' quirky layout, small house, big lawn qualities. Maybe I didn't want to be alone in a new city and having Vampgal around the corner was comforting. Hopefully now I can return the favor when Vampgal is feeling alone. Whatever the divine plan is, I know we will approach the hard times with a sense of family, humor and love.

We miss you Carguy. I promise to return to this blog to it's silly, random self but I had to tell everyone about you before I could move on. Pet Earnhardt for us and I'll keep an eye on Vamp. XOXO

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rocket's Red Glare

So how did you spend the Fourth of July? Around my house the day can consist of just about anything. From time at the pool, to working on the house, to cookouts, to fireworks, it's usually a pretty fun day. This year was no exception.

By some act of Congress, both of my girls were off of work and available the evening of the 4th so we decided on a bar-be-que, followed by fireworks. My two year old grandson is intrigued by fireworks and will even tell you he likes fireworks, right up until the time it gets dark. So rather than trek to a public fireworks show where there are 1) massive numbers of people 2) a line of cars that can stretch the Grand Canyon 3) too few bathrooms and 4) a panic stricken toddler, we settled on fireworks at home.

Here in Georgia, the good fireworks are illegal so I purchased $ 40 worth of the legal stuff and came home feeling pretty good about myself. Sil (son-in-law) took one look at my purchase and yawned. He wanted to have nothing to do with this lack of fire power so he and daughter #2 took off for Alabama. Three hours and $ 200 later I had enough explosives in my garage to damage any Federal building.

As dusk fell upon my humble abode, I grabbed my "baby grand" and popped in his latest Disney favorite. We opened the blinds so we could see the grandstand that my children had assembled. They took my lawn furniture, cooler, flame thrower and fireworks and set up camp. My neighbors came out to witness this spectacular show as I was listening to the strains of the Aristocats. Ooooo, Ahhhhh - the fireworks had begun.

About 15 minutes into the show, I hear high pitched voices, followed by expletives, men yelling and feet pounding. I see flaming balls of fire coming over the banister of my front porch. About this time my daughters and niece come charging into the house - almost hysterical. It seems that one of the fireworks that Sil purchased became unbalanced and tipped over. As the grass in my neighbors yard (not the neighbors that were watching the spectacular but the neighbor that always calls the police) began to burn Sil and Sidekick run to put it out. As fate would have it, at that time the rouge firework spun and began shooting at my house, my children, my neighbors, our cars and the grandstand. # 2 swears one went between her legs as she was running, Sidekicks' truck was hit, my neighbors had taken cover behind that very same truck, etc., As I step out my front door to access the damage, # 2 yells that one of my lawn chairs is on fire. She extinguishes the fire with a beer, I take a headcount, turn on my garden hose for insurance purposes and retreat to my seat on the sofa. About this time Baby Grand looks at me and tells me he "no likes" fireworks. You know what Jack? I'm not sure I like them anymore either.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sign Here Please

Last week, we had our annual "State of the Union Address" at work. It's really an off campus luncheon with presentations, a meal we don't have to pay for and assigned seating. Not a bad deal as it's only once a year - note the word annual - and the food is good. This year, they even added entertainment. I knew this in advance as I was approached by a co-worker who asked for my participation in having my handwriting analyzed. I thought this could be cool. She gave me a paragraph regarding purple people eaters and monkeys that could read. The only instructions were to copy the paragraph as it was written, in cursive, then to sign my name. Even I can do this.

Now, I have never been one to believe in much outside of a supreme being, God, or what we used to call our Higher Power in recovery. I've never visited a psychic, had my palm read, my future seen in playing cards, or had anyone read my tea leaves, my coffee grinds or my bathtub ring. I met a self proclaimed gypsy once in a 12 step program but that's a topic for another time. I was noncommittal about "Psychic Cindy" and quite honestly didn't know what to expect. As the event broke for lunch, the entertainment began.

Slowly but surely a line of women began to form in front of Psychic Cindy. I was meandering around the event and didn't think much of it, expect to notice the men wanted nothing to do with this experiment, until I saw a co-worker visibly shaken. When asked, she told me that Psychic Cindy mentioned her dear departed brother and reassured her that it was an accident. Hardly the type of thing you expect at a work function. This revelation along with the fact that she accurately guessed about two weddings and one coworkers desire to live in a foreign country made me nervous. What had she seen about me in my handwriting sample? Does my handwriting give link to my idiosyncrasies, my insecurities, my inability to choose paint colors, the fact that at this very moment I could use a glass of wine? I decided to see for myself.

I made it to the front of the line and introduced myself to Psychic Cindy - I really wanted her to guess my name since she's supposed to be "tuned in". Instead, she greeted me and told me she couldn't give me the results of my reading as it was going to be revealed publicly, in front of my co-workers. Holy crap! I swallowed hard, got up and walked away.

Fifteen minutes later she began describing "this person", aka, me to the group. She said I was "indecisive right now and trying to make a major decision but was unable to go forward with it at this time". She also mentioned sneakers, which I had on my feet, that I may visit Florida, I went in May, that I had close family relations and speak to my mother daily, which I do, that I may have new window treatments, I had purchased a new blind six days before this event, that I loved sunny airy spaces and like to have plants around. Have any of you ever seen my backyard? She went on to include that I like music from the 40's, not so much, but that I listen to the radio, which I do, that I may have something new in the bathroom. Does paint count? All in all, she was about 90% accurate, which is pretty darn good from someone who didn't/wouldn't guess my name.

Is there a downside to all of this? Yes. I wanted her to mention that I would soon meet the man of my dreams followed closely by winning the lottery - not necessarily in that order. Much to my dismay, she did not. I hope to remedy this by inviting Cindy to my home where I intend to have a slumber party with my daughters, sisters, mom and few close girlfriends. Maybe if I liquor her up, my future will be brighter!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

How Low Can You Go?

Have you ever had one of those days? I mean a really crappy day? I had one today. Being as it was a Saturday, it was unexpected. Saturdays are meant for meaningful chores that I don't have time to get to during the week like shopping, grilling out, hanging with friends. Not today.

It all started with a wedding. I was supposed to go to a wedding today for a co-worker. However, I had nothing to wear. So, I got up early - my first mistake on Saturday - and went to the mall. It never entered my mind that today was the day before Father's Day. My wonderful dad passed away 3-1/2 years ago and all of the "Dad's Day" displays just depressed me. I already never have a day go by when I don't think of him and seeing all of the goodies for dad just made matters worse. Boy, did that sent the tone for the day.

Back to reason I was shopping. For those of you that know me, I have an interesting figure. My top is at least two sizes larger than my bottom so I NEVER venture into the dress department. With that said, I'm a "separates" type of girl. Right now, my ass is as fat as ever, but it still means shopping in two different departments. My shirts/blouses are from the women's department and my pants/shorts are from the ladies department. To make a very long and discouraging story short, after making 15 rounds from one department to the other, I came home with nothing. The wedding was off. However, I got a really great deal on pillows.

Next came the guilt about RSVP'ing to an event that 1) you didn't attend and 2) all of your co-workers will be raving about on Monday. I consider calling in dead. And for those of you that are curious, for not being Jewish, I do the "guilt" thing really well.

Next came the guilt about the size of my body, followed by how many diets I've tried and failed at over the past 10 years. This was closely followed by the thought that the last time I was at a wedding, I was three years into a relationship I thought would last forever (it didn't, see Mr. Former). Up next was the fact that I haven't been on a date in almost a year. On the heels of that was all of the things I hoped to accomplish when I moved here almost seven years ago. Instead of focusing on the things I have done, I ending up focusing on my failures and shortcomings.

To rid myself of my demons, I headed to the grocery store with #1 and I ended up leaving, in tears. # 1 was patient and blessfully silent on the ride home. She put away the few paltry groceries I managed to buy and I went to bed for the balance of the afternoon. When I awoke, I decided to give myself the balance of the day and evening for my pity party.

Tomorrow, I promise, will be better. I will start yet another diet and put on makeup strictly because it makes me feel better. I will allow a few tears when I wish my dad a happy Father's Day. I will watch the birds land on the feeders spread throughout my back yard and listen to the sound of my grandson laugh. I will call my best friend and be kind to my mom. I will find creative ways to avoid the almost 100 degree heat we are having and I will focus on what's right with me instead of what's wrong. More than anything else, I will promise myself to say "no thank you" the next time I receive an invitation to a wedding.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Painted into a Corner

So, it's that time again. Every time I begin to get restless, I work on my house. So far this year I have painted my kitchen cabinets (I couldn't afford new ones), had laminate flooring installed in some common areas, and planted what feels like one thousand bulbs - most of which have been eaten by squirrels. I've decided my next project will be painting the downstairs powder room, along with my bedroom. My heart is already beginning to race.

You see, it's not the mechanics of painting that stresses me out. It's choosing the color. My dad was a 30+ year employee of Benjamin Moore Paint, my brother has his own custom interior painting business and I even worked at a paint store in my youth. All of this life experience means nothing when it comes to picking out a color. In fact, it is so much more than that.

Case in point, my powder room is a half bath located just off the dining room. The color scheme in the dining room is blue and white. Do I continue the scheme? Do I go in an opposite direction? If I paint it a light color, does it give you the feeling of being in an area twice it's real size? If I paint it a dark color, does it give you the feeling of being in the lavatory on an airplane? What about art work? Will my current bathroom art complete the look or will I be forced, once again, to find something pleasing to look at while attending to business? I'm beginning to sweat.

When I bought my house in 2002, the master bathroom was a masculine gray. Within a month, it was painted a screaming yellow canary color. Can you say "I'm awake"? The bedroom itself was a non-discript off white. I elected to go with a soft pink, as if to add an exclamation point that my years with Sparky were officially over. It was the first girlie bedroom I had it 20 years. Now, I'm over the pink and looking for something else. So, I stopped by the paint store.

Now, I'm surrounded by color samples with names such as the following: "Ray of Hope" - if I don't choose this color, am I hopeless? "Minty Green" - makes me think of mouthwash. "Summer Dragonfly" - I can hear the buzzing already. "Lemon Whip" - I'll whip your ass. "Captured Moment" - I'm stuck in here. "Vintage Merlot" - did someone mention wine? Last but not least, there's "Rivers Edge" - screw it, I'm jumping in.

I'm not sure why choosing a color is as difficult as choosing a spouse, but it is, at least for me. The good news is if I make a mistake, it can be fixed with $100 and a weekend.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Vacation - All you ever wanted

I recently returned from a vacation with daughter # 1. Although # 2 is usually invited, this was a birthday present as # 1 recently turned 21. She was mid-semester at the University of Georgia the weekend of her birthday so, as a present, I invited her to one week away from the home front. We settled on Central Florida as our destination - home of The Mouse. It seems that Myrtle Beach was celebrating Bike Week the week of our vacation and you don't want to get me started on a biker trying to make off, or out, with # 1 while Mama Bear is in the same zip code.

We arrived at our destination at 4 o'clock Sunday afternoon. The temperature gauge in my car read a balmy 93 degrees. Within 30 seconds of exiting my air conditioned car, I had frizzy hair, sweat in between my ample bosom and # 1 was bitching about why we chose Central Florida. God, I LOVE vacation. We managed to schlep our suitcases up to the third floor and settle in. One hour later, we were bellied up to the Tiki Bar, as I said, she just turned 21. Two hours later, the rain began. It rained, and rained and rained.

I came to find out that the state formerly known as the Sunshine State was involved in a drought similar to the one here in Georgia. Allow me to be the first to tell you that Florida's drought is officially over. I haven't seen that much rain since I left the Sunshine State to become a resident of the "Y'all talk funny State" in 2002. We saw sideways rain, torrential downpour rain, thunder and lightning rain and "Mom, I can see the sun" rain.

So what to you do when it rains the entire time you are on vacation? If you answered "drink" you are correct. Although our days were filled with meaningful tasks like shopping, going to the movies, visiting The Mouse, relatives and playing cards, the nights were filled with alcoholic beverages. We managed to visit the Tiki Bar at the resort, repeatedly, along with Margaritaville, where I unashamedly sang Jimmy Buffet songs out loud, and Howl At The Moon.

Howl was a favorite place for me many years ago. (There used to be one in Coconut Grove). It's a dueling piano bar that has dueling pianos (imagine that), the phrase of the night (which changes frequently), bar specials and lots of young people. It is NOT a spectator sport. Patrons request songs, learn nasty lyrics to favorite songs, sing out "you bitch, you slut, you whore" while singing Happy Birthday, etc., The biggest issue of the night was watching young men attempt to hit on # 1 while I was at the same table. Case in point, I leave to use the restroom and when I return, # 1 has received a note from Admirer that reads "you are sexy" and has a smiley face on it. I grill # 1 to share with me who Admirer is and she remains firm. There is no way I will learn who he is as the possibility that her mom will embarrass her is too great. I relent and send up two dollars to quite possibly the cutest piano player I have ever seen, along with a request for Mustang Sally. He obliges me, I begin to sing and dance and Admirer gets a glimpse of what it might be like if he hooks up with # 1. Needless to say, # 1 and I leave in the company of each other, no one else.

We ended up leaving the state formerly known as Sunshine a day early. With our early departure, I missed out on the opportunity to see an old friend/flame who had offered to give us surfing lessons. Rats! That would've been fodder for another blog.

Would I do it again? You bet. Only next time, we're inviting # 2 to join us.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Laughter, the Best Medicine

I recently ended up in the neighborhood Emergency Room with a wicked case of Vertigo. I experienced "the spins" eight or so years ago, but not to the extent of what I had this time. I was scared, disoriented and puking without regard to the fact that I even threw up on my shirt. My eldest, a pre-med major in college, met me at the front door of the ER. I was happy I recognized her face and even happier that she could fill out the necessary admin paperwork as I was too swirled to do so. She guided me through triage, where we were met by my younger daughter. Let the games begin!

As in most families, my girls have the same two parents. They are only 18 months apart in age, but they live on different continents. # 1 has taken the college route and is all about medicine. # 2 was a teen mom and has settled in nicely to the wife/mother role. It's what happens when they are together that makes me a little nutty.

Picture if you will - a stretcher with a 45+ year old woman on it being rolled into a room in the ER. On this day, there was only a trauma room available. My eldest is physched to be in a trauma room without the worries of a real life trauma. Even though I am having my own personal trauma, this doesn't matter as I am not bleeding profusely. To # 1, it's all about the stuff! # 2 becomes my mouth piece since #1 is so involved in the workings of the room.

Enter the ER Doc. A nice lady who is asking about my medical history for the 2nd time in one hour. She asks if I have ever suffered a stroke. I point to # 2 and say "no" but she almost gave me one a few years ago. Crap! I think they gave me truth serum along the with nausea medicine. Fast forward two hours and now a real trauma comes in to the room the next to mine. A gunshot victim. Yay! My daughters are enthralled. # 1 is listening to the voices and procedures # 2 wigs out because the victim was found in front of a dumpster. And so it goes.

The crowd in my room grows as I am joined by my younger sister. Soon there is a lively discussion over who gets the comfortable chair. # 1 steps out for Wendy's and my son-in-law brings # 2 spaghetti. Me, I'm happy not be puking anymore. We argue over who calls my mom and at what time. (I think they drew straws for that while I was dosing) My sister loses and has to call mom. The night wears on and on. # 2 is on a rolling stool clearly labeled "Staff Only". She has a blood pressure cuff wrapped around her leg and is looking for a pulse. We hear hospital staff coming to the door, she flies off the stool, trips and does her best to look innocent. # 1, along with my sister, is laughing her ass off and I just want to go home.

One or two more diagnostic tests and I have been sprung. No driving, no working and absolutely no having fun over the next few days. Little does the doctor know that with my girls, fun just happens. No drugs are necessary.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Man Card

Today I was approached by a young man in my office who had a question. Not a work related Human Resources question, but a question he said I was qualified to answer because I am a mom. I took his comment as a somewhat convoluted compliment and told him to fire away. He wanted to know if he needed a tetanus shot. It appears that when he let his dogs out on his lunch break, he sustained a scratch/scrape on his finger. Upon inspection, I found no evidence of this so called "scratch" and assured him I thought his need for a tetanus shot was somewhat overstated. He asked me if I was sure. I made sure I answered him - in English this time - and told him again, "no shot necessary". He thanked me for my time, this whole transaction took 10 minutes of my life that I undoubtedly will never get back, then he went and asked another "mother".

Now, I'm not a guy, nor a nurse, but I'm pretty sure I know the difference between a sissy and an injury. Case in point, my son-in-law cut his finger this weekend helping remove carpet from my lovely home (a future Home Improvement blog to be sure). He bled profusely, wrapped it in a paper towel and whined loudly when I insisted on seeing it, as well as putting a bandage on it. That's a injury! Real blood, followed by "it's nothing" and "no, I don't need stitches". Do you see the difference here? Anyway, I think I'm going to call in my employee's man card.

It probably doesn't help that my first job outside of the mall was in a hardware store. At this job, I learned how to fix a toilet (just ask my college roommates), hook up the water supply to my ice maker, repair PVC pipe, learn to tell the difference between a wood screw and a drywall screw, etc., In conjunction with learning these skills, I was ignored when I approached a male customer to ask him if he needed help and he asked if I shouldn't be behind the register. Hmmm.

I am well aware of my limitations in the "man" department. I still have trouble starting my lawn mower (a dear friend of mine says I can't start it cause I don't have testicles to grab while yanking on the string). I needed help replacing my garbage disposal and relighting my pilot on my gas furnace, the whole open flame + gas thing freaks me out, but for the most part, I am self sufficient. My question is, if I have managed to gain all of this "man" life experience, why can't a grown man figure out 1) if he needs a tetanus shot 2) believe me when I say he doesn't? I'm not sure but I suspect it's because my testicles are disguised as breasts.

Hey, I have an idea in regard to starting my lawnmower...

Monday, April 20, 2009

What Day Is It?

Okay, so today is my anniversary. Well, it would be my anniversary if I would've stayed married. I've managed to get well beyond my "divorced" status probably due to the fact that I have been divorced a lot longer than I was married. What's bothering me today is the "alone" factor.

Since my venture into Facebook (see earlier post), I've come to find out that all the really cool men in my life, meaning the ones that actually left an impression, are no longer single. Take for example my first love. Twister. Twister and I were an item in my youth. We had passion, vision and different religious backgrounds. He was catholic, I was not. He was going to heaven, I, according to his mother, was not. Needless to say, the bliss of young love didn't last. I married Music Man, Twister married someone wretched and off we went. The last time I spoke with him, his "girlfriend" from the Philippines was waiting for her US Visa so she could come to the states and begin their happily ever after. Hmmmm

Then there is Music Man. He is the father of my girls and we continue to be connected. He was, and still is funny, charming and able to push all of my buttons without batting an eyelash. He lives nearby and is married to someone I don't hate. It's like winning the bonus round!

Next comes a string of fine men I knew in my previous life. TC, who was dear to me and helped me realize there is life after divorce. A wine lover with excellent plumbing skills, a love for music, and a softy where my girls were concerned. He's married. K-man, (see TC), a true friend who showered me and my girls with green carnations on St. Patrick's Day and presents wrapped in the Sunday Funnies at Christmas. Not married but not available either. Macho Man, my bff's ex, a deep thinker who was whip smart, a foodie and music lover, but not always compassionate when he needed to be. Not married but soon to be a father. And of course, Mr. Former. Do you see the pattern here?

I'd hate to think these men left an indelible impression on me without me having returned the favor. I know some of my finest moments were spent in and around their company. I have friendships, at least surface friendships, with all of them. My life is better having known them and I would like to think they feel the same.

So why is it that they, with all of their faults, are halves of a whole, peas in a pod, ying to the yang when I am alone? Just something for me to ponder on this noteworthy day.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Judging by our Feet

During a recent conversation with a dear friend and co-worker, I came to the conclusion, again, that we (women) are our own worst enemy. We lamented on how our perception of our bodies delegate how valuable we are or whether we should even attempt to date. I know it doesn't make sense but we are so concerned with our outward "beauty" that it resonates down to our feet.

Case in point, a few weeks ago I was in New York visiting my oldest and dearest friend. She hosted a party at her house during my visit. I had an idea about photographing our feet. No, I don't play host to a foot fetish, but I've always liked my feet. Here's how it played out.

Imagine if you will, a house full of party guests, half of whom are women. We've been drinking for a least two hours, sang the words to every commercial or 70's TV show we could think of, discussed how we met our significant others and shared our drunken views of politics. I mention my idea, break out my camera and ask for participants. Suddenly, all the women are sober and are rationalizing whether or not to participate. "I haven't had a pedicure all winter", "but my feet are gross", "if I take my feet out of my boots, I'll never get them to go back in", "you're weird and no, I won't take my shoes off". I reassure them that the picture will not indicate the owner of the foot, just the willingness to participate. I tell them that I'm not doing this because I'm drunk, but because I believe our feet are the unsung hero's of our bodies.

As a child, my feet ran across hot sand at the beach, hot pavement on the way to the ice cream truck and stuck in the spokes of my brother's bicycle. As a teenager, I painted my toe nails (still do), wore toe socks and danced at my senior prom. As an adult, my feet carried me down the aisle, into the hospital to deliver my children and into divorce court. As a middle aged lady, I have given up "sexy" shoes for sneakers, still opt for bare feet on my way out to my hammock and allow my grandson to stand on the tops of them for an added inch of height. I abuse them by standing on them too long without shoes and reward them with spa pedicures. They are mine all mine and I love the way they look.

By adding a little more pressure and a little more alcohol to the ladies at the party, I was successful in getting about two thirds of them to participate. Today, I celebrate my feet and their ability to get me out of bed when I don't want to, to church on Sunday, to the dance floor when the music calls and for being a true reflection of my beauty, unlike the rest of my body. I also celebrate the women of East Meadow, NY for indulging me in my experiment. Judging by their feet, they are all beautiful!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dance More

Today is a dreary day in Atlanta. I've been told it's the beginning of 4 to 5 days of rain, which we desperately need, but I will find totally depressing. In order to be more proactive with my somewhat tempestuous mental health, I was contemplating how to battle the little black clouds that will soon be swirling around my head. Since it's inappropriate to have a cocktail at noon on a workday (which creates swirling of another nature), I've decided to dance more.

For those of you that don't know me - I don't dance. I move my feet, swing my arms, nod my head, etc., but I definitely don't dance. Rather than moving like Beyonce' or Janet Jackson, I move more like Kevin James in the movie "Hitch". It's a series of movements that have been known to leave some people speechless, others snickering and my daughters totally embarrassed. In my defense, I haven't injured myself since Line Dancing was popular.

Which of my female friends hasn't felt the inexplicable high of dancing to "Mustang Sally" in the dingiest of bars? There's something about the about the way that song begins that just summons my feet to the middle of the dance floor. Forget about the fact that the last "modern" dance I learned was either the Macarena or the Hustle. I hear the first chord of that song and I surrender the urge to fight. My sister, my girlfriend(s) and any other person of the female persuasion suddenly join me in my plight. Arms are in the air, booties are shaking, hips are gyrating and we're singing to each other at the tops of our lungs. During this daring show of female fortitude I, we, forget the boyfriend (or lack there of), kids, laundry, conference calling, blow drying, nail breaking, menial tasks of my day to day life. Instead, my life becomes all about the music, the dance and sheer unadulterated joy I have in not giving a hoot about who's watching and what they are thinking.

Dancing is good for my soul. It inspires me. It leaves me feeling like I can survive another day, hour or minute. It chases my blues, and sometimes the men who take me to the dingiest bar, away. It refreshes, reminds and requires me to be happy. What better way to survive!

Sorry, but I have to go. I hear Boot Scoot Boogie in the radio. Time to DANCE!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mr. Wonderful

They say there is someone for everyone and I have been thinking about that a lot lately. Not sure what has brought it to the forefront other than the fact that I have no life. My normal day consists of getting up way too early, driving literally across town to my job, finding creative ways to keep smart people from doing or saying things they will regret, driving back across town to my little home, entertaining my grandson for a few hours a couple of nights per week, attempting to have a meaningful conversation with whichever daughter may be in the vicinity, finding cereal and milk that isn't spoiled, enjoying a glass of inexpensive (read cheap) wine, then finding my way under the covers. Granted I don't follow this same path every night, but I do follow it frequently. Which leads me to the question, would I have time for Mr. Wonderful if I did meet him?

Who is my "Mr. Wonderful"? I have no idea, but here are some examples of who he is not. In the past year I've had the opportunity to date four men. Contestant #1 was a successful business man. Good looking, one year my junior, kids, an ex-wife (who appeared to be content as an ex) and a drinker. Now mind you, it's not my place to say he drank too much and I did match him drink for drink on our first date. But given the fact that he passed out on our 3rd date, I hollered "next".

Contestant #2 was Santa. No, really, he was a professional Santa as well as a massage therapist, electrician and Harley dude. I'm a fan of Harley dudes but was taken back by the fact that he only talked about his work. He had kids, which I rarely heard about, two ex-wives that I didn't want to hear about and a need to get married sooner rather than later. Next!

Contestant # 3 was a Cajun. It was my first experience with the accent, which was challenging but fun. However he was a never married, kid-less guy living in a bachelor pad at the age of 47. Plus are flip-flops ALWAYS appropriate? I'm thinking not so much. Next!

Contestant # 4 doesn't really count because it was only one date. I liked him. He said I smelled like coconut. I guess he yelled "next".

So who is my Mr. Wonderful? I suspect I've met pieces of him time and again. He's taller than me, has a wonderful sense of humor and is tolerant of mine. He isn't married. He doesn't care if I drink wine and he can hold his liquor. He no longer finds it necessary to smoke pot. He believes in God, encourages prayer, has a car that works, and he works as well. If he doesn't have kids, he's okay with the fact that I do and supports my strong sense of family. He doesn't let his dog sleep on my bed and he picks up his underwear because I won't. He finds the fact that I'm nutty part of my charm. He allows me to cry when I watch Steel Magnolia's without making fun of me. He understands stretch marks, ta-ta's that aren't what they used to be and the fact that sometimes I wait too long before I color my hair. He enjoys music, allows me to sing in the car and respects the fact that when I have a song stuck in my head, I sing it out loud until it's stuck in someone else's head.

Have you seen him? Do you know him? I'm currently accepting applications.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Yesterday was my annual smashing of the ta-ta's a.k.a. my mammogram. I go every year, somewhat willingly, even though it's about one my of least favorite things to do. Since I'm 46, I am no amateur at this surprisingly mean and uncomfortable test. However, no matter how many times I go, it still surprises me. With the advancement of medicine in the past 100 years, you would think someone would come up with a method to look at breast tissue without requiring you to have your breast compressed in a vice. Here is a recap of my recent visit...

Hello Miss Meandering Mind. My name is Squisher. I'll be conducting your breast exam today. Please remove all clothing from the waist up, then allow me to place this band-aid like tape with a b.b. in the middle right on top of your nipple. Oh wait, is that a skin tag I see? I will need to place b.b. embedded band-aids on all of those too. Now, step up to the machine, rest your right breast on the plate, relax your shoulder, tip your head back, turn toward me, step in closer, drop your left hip, do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around. Ready??? Hold your breath and don't move. Now not wanting to be rude, I think to myself you have my boob in a vice! I can't even begin to breathe much less move from this god forsaken position so just shoot the film why don't you. If, by some miracle, they manage to get a good "picture" - which translates into the fact that my body didn't begin spasming out of the sheer pain of being held in place by this horrendous machine - I get to remove my now flattened breast from the plastic plate. Don't leave it up there too long Squisher says, or it will stick to the plastic. Are you kidding me? Leave it up there too long? I just want to grab it before it detaches itself from my rib cage. Now, we need another view.... and so it goes. Just to add insult to injury, as I get out of my gown and into my clothes, I cannot find the b.b. embedded tape that was placed on my right nipple. I suspect it shot off and flew across the room when I was holding my breath.

I complain about this procedure but go willingly out of respect for my body, my daughters and my remembrance of Maw-Maw, my wonderful neighbor. However, if I hear one more guy complaining that they had to bend over and cough, I just might put them in a vice!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It's Only Television

It's been an interesting week. First, the Atlanta area was hit by a freakish snow "storm" on 3/1/09. I use the term storm with some creative license, but for Atlanta, anything more than frost in the morning is cause for concern. Since there was actual snow on the ground for more than 24 hours, apparently all we had to do was watch television.

Monday night was the season finale of "The Bachelor". I have to tell you that I followed the show the first two, maybe three, seasons. I watched until Trista found her true love and my almost true love, Mr. Former, emailed me wistfully how he so would like to be like Ryan. He discreetly told me how he longed for the ability to open up and pour his feelings out for me like Ryan did for Trista. My remembrance of the show was that he drew her a picture. Regardless, I stopped following for a while.

This season, Jason (last season's reject and a cute guy from Seattle) and the first single parent to ever be on the show, was there to find true love. He had the garden variety contestants, which contained a few weirdo's, some lovely ladies, one or two psychos and at least a "ho" or two. In the end, it came down to Melissa and Molly. Everyone at work was rooting for Melissa and quite frankly, by T.V. standards, they looked like the perfect pair. She was charming, beautiful and had a pretty good day with Jason's little boy. In the end, he dropped to one knee and presented Melissa with a fantastic Neil Lane engagement ring. Unfortunately, the next thing we saw was him breaking up with her on national television, a mere six weeks later. Oh, the horror! Not only did he break up with Melissa, he told the host he still had feelings for Molly.

Now, I am far from perfect and I have never had the opportunity to have my pick of 25 men at one time, but I do know that finding love, for me, has not been easy. Is it possible to fall in love with the two people at the same time? I honestly do not know. What I do know is that it sucked to have my marriage come apart in my "public arena", which included family and a few close friends. I feel bad for Melissa but suspect at the tender young age of 25, she will have many opportunities to find someone who takes the time to get to know her, outside of the TV arena, and fall in love. My best guess is he won't propose to her in New Zealand, but more likely over a romantic dinner or maybe at the beach. Melissa needs to cut her losses and run. The saddest thing isn't that Jason was conflicted and changed his mind, it's the fact that the Neil Lane ring was to die for!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Facing Facebook

Recently I was enticed, or shall I say bullied, into joining the Facebook revolution. Being a somewhat mature 40 something woman, I wasn't convinced that this was a networking tool I was interested in. My daughters, both young and hip (is it hip to call them hip?) decided I wasn't too old to have my own account. Then when an old friend of mine attempted to contact me through my daughter, that became the deciding factor. Sign me up I sighed.

I would comment on how easy it was to navigate the enrollment process but I paid my daughter, Melanie, to do it. Since she is still living at home, as much as a full time college student with a part-time job lives at home, she's the one left with the daunting task of trying to get me familiar with something that is 2nd nature to her. (We had a similar issue with the camera on my cell phone). After days of "take down that picture!", "how do I reply?", "why do I keep seeing this?" and "why are folks throwing beads at me?", I finally became comfortable with the basics.

Facebook in and of it self is strange. Is it really necessary to comment on your day to day activities? Rather than just getting on with the task at hand, I find myself trying to be clever. Typically when I'm tired, I just go to bed. Now, all of my Facebook friends know that I pass out like clockwork at 10pm. It's pathetic. The voyeuristic characteristics are undeniable. If you post a comment on somebody's "wall" anyone with friendship access can see your post. What's worse is they can read the response as well. I feel like a spy. Just call me Agent 99. Who needs a sidekick that talks into his shoe when I all have to do is read your wall?

Don't get me started on the whole "friend" status. In high school, which is what a friend of mine says Facebook is like only 30 years later, I had maybe a dozen people that I truly considered friends. Now when someone you remotely knew sees your name (I don't even post my maiden name) BAM!, instant friend request. What are the rules of etiquette for the friendship dance? Must I accept your request? What if I don't remember you? What if I didn't like you then and suspect I won't like you now? Is it okay to ignore your request? It's very stressful for me.

On a positive note, in the four weeks that I've been on Facebook, I've managed to wrangle 43 friends which is astounding because I didn't realize I knew 43 people. I've had the opportunity to reconnect with 5 of my 12 friends from high school. I'm even happier to report that most of them have gained as much weight as I have.

Will I continue with the day to day banter of being on Facebook? Time will tell. In the meantime, what's a clever way of saying it's time for dinner?

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Replacement

How unusual is it to be able to be okay with a life that has moved on?

Recently, I saw my former flame, aka Mr. Former, with whom I had had a five year relationship. It was the first time our paths had crossed in seven months. Ironically, he had married the very day I saw him and I met his new wife, Mrs. Former. Happily, on the surface, she appears perfect for him. We were surrounded by mutual friends, many of whom warned me upon my arrival, of the nuptials. "They may be joining us". "Are you going to stay"? "Are you alright"? "Are you sorry you didn't marry him"? Good grief, I thought you people knew me. I suspect those of you that do know me realize I would be nothing but the kind, gracious southern woman that my momma taught me to be, bless her heart.

As the evening progressed, Mrs. Former and I had the opportunity to talk. albeit, in the ladies room. She was curious about me. She knew of my meager existence and the time I shared with Mr. Former, but she knew little else. She was surprised that I was friendly, forthcoming, eager to share a small overview of my life with Mr. Former and a down right "nice girl". Guess what, my replacement has many of those same qualities.

I am happy to report that we (she & I) danced, sang and laughed our way through the evening. She, in the arms of her new husband, and me, in the cradle of a Coors Light. Not exactly the same happy ending, but happy none the less.