Monday, September 29, 2008

Memorable weekend

I really hate that I always forget about Monday Night Football now that it's not on regular broadcast TV. That, and the fact that it has been replaced with Dancing with the Stars.

Which, by the way, seems a little off-kilter this season. Somebody please get that woman Samantha off the show! She's a terrible interviewer, and she makes me uncomfortable. I can only imagine what the competitors think of her. And what they say behind her back.

And I don't think I recall there ever being this amount of really, really negative criticism from the judges! Poor Rocco. I think he's hot.

Some of it's well-deserved, though. Kim K. has lost her personality. If she ever had one, that is...I know she's been on some reality TV show, but this is the first time I've ever actually seen her. Can lobotomies be reversed? She's definitely the next one I want to see go.

And for a gay man, Lance sure slapped one hot kiss on Lacey at the end of their routine. And how much does she rock...the female youth (and some not-so-much-youth) of the world heaved a collective sigh of disappointment when Lance came out of the closet, knowing that their chances with him were gone forever. And yet Lacey, Miss Thang, can say she's kissed him. That's one smart cookie right there.

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We got to host two great kids from the U of Wisconsin band Friday night, and were treated to two great halftime performances from the entire band, as well as the local high school band. M & J are both saxophone players, and both seniors. They were both very nice, and we had fun comparing & contrasting the traditions between the UW band and Longhorn Band.

At the performance, the RK had a great time. He was quite impressed after his first real exposure to a real-live marching band halftime show, and I think now he's starting to open up to the idea of participating when his time comes. And...the IB LOVED IT! He sat on my lap the whole time, completely mesmerized...and when it was time for applause, he was the most enthusiastic little clapper of us all. SO CUTE!

The UW band does something post-game called the 5th quarter. And it's crazy. We did the chicken dance, they played 'Tequila' and we were all doing the Pee-Wee Herman dance, and then three of the trombones came and played 'Hey Baby' in the stands right in front of us giving the RK an up close & personal view of just what he could become someday.

And did I mention how cute the IB was?

Watching both bands gave me those butterflies in my stomach, remembering days past. I think what impresses me so much about it is how you see all these kids dressed in the same outfit, and they're just milling around...running to find their spot, practicing their music, chatting with friends. And then...

...with the blow of a whistle, all of a sudden the kids are gone and one big cohesive unit now exists. It amazed me to see it Friday night, even after having been a part of groups just as these for so long.

Marching bands, and those who comprise them, get such a bum rap. They're really great, very cool kids who aren't afraid of hard work, and they still know how to have lots of fun.

After the show, we came back home, the guys ate some of the leftover pizza I'd ordered for our dinner, and we just about killed a 12-pack of beer while watching a baseball game. It was so great hearing their stories, and getting to share a few of mine. We talked sports, we compared our respective bands' traditions... But good grief, do they make me feel old! They were right around 2nd/3rd grade when I was their age. Gah.

The RK definitely thought they were pretty cool. He wanted to show them his room, his trombone, he even got it out and blew a few notes for us. And the IB didn't take long to warm up to them as well. I'm so glad I took that leap and sent that email saying I'd volunteer. While my house never made it to the condition I wanted it to be, I think it went quite well overall. I wish this was a regular thing around this town, but it's not. Just every few years or so does this happen. I hope we're still around to do it next time!

I was pretty bummed for them after watching that Wisconsin/Michigan football game, too. Talk about CHOKE! That had to be one long trip back to Madison Saturday night.

Didn't get to watch the Longhorns play, but I followed them on the computer while UofM was on the TV. That's my boys! HOOK 'EM! Because of their solid barbecuing of the Razorbacks, and a couple of...ahem...mishaps by 3 of the top five teams, Texas is now #5 in the polls! Yeehaw! This is leading up to a very, very exciting Red River Shootout on Oct. 11.

Off to bed now!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My, how the times have changed

Remember this? One of my favorite parts:

"I'm so afraid [the RK]'s going to start liking it better with his dad, too. Last weekend, they went out to eat at Red Lobster. The RK has been begging me to go out to eat there, and I always say no because it's so expensive. They go to the pool at the fancy-shmancy health club they belong to. And Lord knows what else. Their father has no concept of how not to spend money, while things around here are pretty tight."
And remember this?
This man [the IX] has gone hog-wild spending money to the point it makes me wonder if he has some sort of undisclosed source of income. I mentioned in passing a few posts back that he had bought a new car. A brand new 2007 Nissan Pathfinder. This is his third new car in as many years. But this particular type of vehicle he needs now. After all, he now has as many as four kids to haul around. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a Sirius satellite radio box under the front passenger seat. And this last time, he had a bike rack installed on the back. (I asked him if he had a bike now, and he said, no, it's just for the kids's bikes. But then the RK mentioned the other day that his dad and she ride bikes with the kids, too. And after some questioning, it was quite evident that these bikes were not rented.) Oh yes...he went to the Tim & Faith concert, too. (OK...I'll let that one slide...I went to the Rascal Flatts concert the following week.) And not to mention the new shoes I've seen him in, new clothes, etc. And oh yes...he received some sort of new credit card in the mail here at the house not too long ago. I wonder if there was one in there with her name on it, too.

I need to let it go. He's digging his own grave, and I just need to summon the patience to wait for it to all come caving in on him. No, actually, I just need to

LET.

IT.

GO."
The RK had a Cub Scout meeting last night, and the IX came and took him. They got back a little after 8:00, just as I was about to go put the IB in bed. The IX asked if he could talk to me for a minute, and I send the boys upstairs. Here's how the conversation went:

IX: "Would it be at all possible for you to let me have back a child support payment?"

Me: "No, I really can't. I'm really struggling to get these mortgage payments made. And the fringe expenses are hurting me right now...clothes for the boys, trombones, that sort of thing."

IX: "OK. Then do you have any cash you'd let me have to go get some gas?"

Me: "No, I have no cash. But you can go fill up on my credit card, I guess."

IX: "Thanks. I'll be right back. Now I'll be able to come this weekend to take [the RK] to sell popcorn (for Cub Scouts)."

In the time I've been away from here, the IX had to file for bankruptcy. That Pathfinder proved itself to be not that great of an idea, and he had to default on the lease. (He showed up driving a brand new Honda Civic, though. And I learned later on that he got two Civics...his & hers.) Then when Nissan wanted all the money he owed them, he had to file. I had to run to the Secretary of State to put the title to my car in my name. And he's been swamped in lawyer fees, etc.

He actually backed out on taking the boys a couple of weekends ago "for financial reasons," according to his text message.

Now my financial situation isn't comfortable, but it certainly isn't anywhere close to his. I've actually been mulling over the idea of becoming an eB@y regular. Or Cr@igslist. There's all kinds of Indycar memorabilia in the basement that the IX brought home over the years, that I bet I could get a pretty good chunk of coin for. And in my mind, I've always thought that I would just go down there and do it, not telling the IX or giving him an opportunity to take any of it.

But out of the goodness of my heart, last night I offered him the chance to do just that. He didn't sound too excited about the notion, and then he said he's working on getting a night job at that delivery company that have the big brown trucks. I told him that while I don't have much to offer financially, one thing I will do is take over the RK's Cub Scout activities if the IX will have to be at work.

Even if I was able to, I wouldn't give him money. I'm working so hard to get on my own feet financially, and the way I see it, my giving him money would be a bail-out. I thought I was more than generous in letting him fill his tank on my credit card, but it sounds like the IX might not have been able to make it to work if I hadn't, let alone come pick up the RK this weekend. And one thing's for sure...I'll help him make sure he keeps that job. Because it'll have serious repercussions for us if he loses it.

But ya know what? This feels good. Heh. I know I know, that's not very nice. But I'm a big believer in "You made your bed, now you have to lie in it." So seeing his careless and frivolous spending habits finally catch up to him is quite a reward for me. Seriously, though...I hope he learns some better habits from it all.

Gotta run get ready for work.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Chapter 2: Potential Unrealized

I don't really think about him in an emotional way anymore. Well, not so much. It doesn't really create a physical reaction like it used to. The fact is, this was nothing as earth-shattering as my divorce was. It was pretty easy for me to continue on with life as usual.

But I missed the text messages we'd exchange all day. So many of them, in fact, I had to increase my text plan from 300/month to 1000. I've heard some people express their dislike for texting...how impersonal, blah, blah, blah, it is. But I think it's a deeply personal and intimate way of communication. I started feeling this way when I was able to sneak a peek at the IX's phone at one point while he was still living here, and read the intimate texts between him and her. It made me extremely jealous...the type of jealousy that it should be me he's sending those texts to.

So when P and I got into this texting thing, I loved every bit of it. The fact that wherever he was, whatever he was doing, he could open his phone and find a note from me. It's not as obtrusive or potentially inopportune as a phone call. He could read it when it was convenient without interrupting anything. No one else would see it, and everyone would wonder what it was that brought that smile to his face. He could be right in the middle of a meeting at work, sitting on a plane before the cabin door was closed, sitting on a plane just after landing...turning his phone back on and finding it. Or them. Just a wonderful little way to let each other know we're in each other's thoughts.

One of my favorite and most memorable text exchanges (besides this one) involved him sending some totally disgustingly sappy expression of his love for me. Then he immediately sent another one that said something to the effect of, "Can't you feel the love?" To which I replied, "Yeah, so much so I'm about to lose my lunch." His response to this was, "You are AWESOME."

We loved making fun of ourselves, because we both acknowledged the fact that our behavior was what we always make fun of in others. Such a blast.

He got me to play poker for the first time with some of his buddies at work. It was a lot of fun, even though I came down with a stomach bug while I was there and felt like total shit the second half of the night. He drove me home, stayed by my side, and took care of me in my pathetic and completely unattractive state the whole next day.

I helped him with his English, and he helped me with my Spanish. He frequently spoke of taking me to Mexico to meet all his familia. And to the beach.

We were completely capable of expressing anything that was on our minds.

One way we did that, (again with the disgusting sappiness) was through sharing songs with each other. He had a folder on his computer filled with all the songs that made him think of me. The name of the folder was "Texas." (That was his nickname for me. Well, one of them. The other one he gave me while we were in Chicago. "Guera", which is a nickname Mexicans have for those that are fair-skinned.)

We discussed in-depth what we should to for birth control. It was unanimous that condoms SUCK. (My mom says they're like taking a bath with your socks on.) We decided I was going to get an IUD. Fine with me...I loved the idea of 'set it and forget it.' I even had made my appointment at the doctor's.

So then towards late April, I started catching a different vibe from him. I could tell it from his texts. (I guess this is the part that will offer evidence for those who decry the medium so much.) So he ended up texting me that things just weren't going to work out between us, and that I did nothing wrong. This was a Sunday in early May, and he was flying out the next morning for work. I asked him to talk about it with me, and he said he'd call me when he got to his hotel room the next night.

What our conversation boiled down to was that he was worried about his girls (still very young...kindergarten and preschool-aged). He said he's had some red flags go up from what they were saying about life at their mother's house, and that he wanted to devote all of his attention to them. He was going to lobby his ex to begin taking the girls every weekend.

Now I had already started letting him into my boys' lives. I spoke about that earlier. But I had been noticing that he never made any plans with me that would bring me around the girls. I didn't really care too much about it, because things were going so well between us otherwise. I just thought that it just wasn't time for him yet, and I was OK with that. So now he's to the point where he wants to start keeping the girls every weekend, and it turns out there's no place for me in the equation at all. He said he's just scared. I have no choice but to accept this.

So I start noodling around the dating site again, and here's where his reason was revealed as an excuse.

Yup, there he was.

Huh.

I sent him a long email calling him out on it, and how he had proved himself to not be of the character I thought he was. I apologized for anything I might've done or not done that led him to this, and I thanked him for everything...my birthday weekend, and the amazing generosity he had demonstrated with me throughout the course of our time together. I closed it by saying,

"I've learned a lot from this experience. I sincerely hope you've done the same.

Saludos,

Trish"

I still think often about what in the world could've caused him to do this, and many different ideas enter my mind. The most prominent one, however, comes from an incident that happened one weeknight a few weeks earlier when he came over for dinner.

I was not in the greatest state of mind, thoughts of what a failure I am swirling around my head. My kitchen was a total mess, and that, among everything else I felt like I was failing at around this house, got the better of me. I sorta wigged out in the kitchen. The RK was working on his homework at the dining table, and P was on the couch watching TV. It made for a very awkward tension in the air for P. (A few days later, I asked the RK how it made him feel, and he didn't feel the same way. I guess he had just gotten used to it happening from time to time.)

P & I talked about it that night after the boys were in bed, and basically I told him that he needs to let me have my bad days. He agreed that's true.

I guess the one thing that I would want from someone close to me would be not for him to freeze up and let the awkwardness take over, but to come to me and address it right then and there. Offer his assistance; be it encouragement, comforting, or helping me get it all done. But he just sat there, feeling awkward.

And I think that even though we seemed to discuss it completely, it was never settled in him.

That's my main theory, anyway. All the other ones I have don't make as much sense. They're trite and shallow and not even worth mentioning.

I tend to think it was either theory #1, or something I know nothing about.

Whatever...

I still think we had so much going for us. I think there was much fun to be had, and a bright future for us. But again, I'm saying this without knowing the whole truth about why he ended it.

I wonder how things went on his second adventure on the dating site. I wonder how the new people he met stacked up against me. I wonder how & when he thinks of me now. 'Cuz I know he does. We had something amazing going, and I bet he's at least slightly haunted by the memories we made.

I still wonder, but I moved on. Now what mostly resides in my mind are the questions. But I have faith that it's the right thing, even if I don't understand why. My time will come. My prince will enter.

I have faith.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"The Badgers are Coming!" ...and other random thoughts in my head

Today I was at work wasting time when I came across this article from the Washington Post via MSNBC.com. Now when it comes to economics, I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed. My extent of formal learnin' in economics was one semester in high school eons ago with a chain-smoking teacher who could barely make it through class without a cigarette. (Cool class, though. I actually enjoyed it.) And while I don't have the expertise that Steven Pearlstein did to bring the entire global economy into it, what I wrote last night was pretty darn close to what he had to say on the subject. I felt smart. I felt validated. Made me feel pretty darn good.

And then after that, I check out Lone Chatelaine's post for today, where she actually linked to me. That probably made me feel even better. Thanks, dear.

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Now for the section entitled, "What the Hell Have I Gotten Myself Into?"

SH forwarded me an email today (which is the first communication I've gotten from her since before her baby was born in early June...more on that later) saying that the University of Wisconsin marching band is coming to town next weekend when the football team plays UM, and that they're doing an exhibition show at the local high school's football game the night before. They need local residents to open up their homes to them for Friday night and get them to and from the football field.

Yup. I volunteered my home. I requested two guys, who perhaps might make an impression on the RK, given his recent decision. The RK and I have talked about it, and we've made plans to head to the football game that night to watch the band perform. Yeehaw!

I'm gonna have to get the RK to CLEAN. THE. LOFT. I hope the guys are cool with the pull-out bed in the couch up there. Aw heck...they're college kids. They don't care. And I'm gonna have to do a helluva lot of cleaning myself! Nothing like something like this to motivate me, huh?

That concludes this edition of "What the Hell Have I Gotten Myself Into?" Stay tuned for future editions...here's hoping for many more to come!

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I'm going to a concert Sunday night. I'm normally not a big concert-goer; however as I've aged, I'm finding myself wanting to go hear more live music than in the past. I've never liked the idea of spending so much money on concert tickets, but now I'm starting to see the value in the experience.

Anyway, a few years ago, I was turned on to a very soulful singer from Louisiana by the name of Marc Broussard. His most popular cut, Home, never gets old. Go listen to it. Go on. And I dare you to not start tapping your toe at the very least. And what blows me away is he's a 20-something white guy! With that voice? Really?

My second favorite cut off his second album, Carencro, is The Wanderer. I love the lyric,

"And if you would accept me for me/
Then I promise you that there's a better man inside of me"
I just bought his latest album to drop, entitled Keep Coming Back. Initially I'm not as thrilled with it as I thought it would be. I think it's just my own lofty expectations, and I'm sure that as time goes on, it'll find me.

He's definitely one of those artists who is much better in a live setting than in a studio, and I'm just so excited I can't stand it! It's about time I did something for me. The boys are going with their dad this weekend, and I made arrangements with him for them to stay Sunday night as well, and he's going to take the RK to school and drop the IB off at the babysitter's Monday morning. Rawk.

That's it for me tonight. My next post will be, "Chapter Two: Potential Unrealized."

I know you all just can't wait.

Oh no, here she goes...

I have so much to be thankful for. I happened upon a statistic today that was quite disturbing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the July 2008 unemployment rate in the state of Michigan was 8.5%. That's 51st out of 51. The unemployment rate for Texas was 4.7%, which, shockingly, ranks 20th. I would've thought it would be much closer to the top. South Dakota has the top spot with a rate of 3.0%.

I also found a chart with historical highs and lows for each state. For the historically highest unemployment rate, Michigan once again takes the prize, with the shocking number of 16.9% back in November 1982. WOW. I'm glad I wasn't around here then. I've heard stories that there used to be a sign on the interstate heading out of Flint that said something like, "Would the last one out please turn out the lights."

I've also been keeping up with the rather contrary state of existence in my much-beloved and much-missed hometown of Midland, TX. According to the July 2008 Unemployment Rates for Metropolitan Areas, Midland ranks 11th in the nation with a rate of 3.1%, and Odessa is 20th with 3.7%. Ann Arbor, in comparison, is 272nd in the nation at 6.9%, which is higher than the national average of 6.1%.

Oh, how thankful I am for my job! Because of my own little microcosm of turmoil and upheaval, I was forced right out into the biggest economic turmoil and upheaval in the nation, with no degree and no recent job experience to speak of. But God took care of me. My job certainly isn't glamorous, and I certainly don't get paid very much, but it's still a good deal more than min. wage. My house isn't in foreclosure. My babies' bellies are nice and full as they sleep in their warm little cozy beds. My debt, while more than I care for it to be, is not beyond hope, and is not substantially growing. My budget to keep my tank full of gas is nominal (relatively speaking), since I have all of a four-mile round-trip commute.

God takes care of us everyday.

Watching the news these last couple of days has definitely started the wheels turning in my head. These giant financial brokers on the brink of disaster is quite....umm....interesting. As is the decision of the fed to bail them out. Gah. How did this happen?

Before I delve into that, I'm going to tell you a story.

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Once upon a time, a long, long, long, long...OK, it was March of 1973...a little baby girl was born. Blonde hair, blue eyes, and the apple of her parents' eyes. She had no idea of the prosperity that blessed the region into which she was born known as the Permian Basin. Oil was spewing out the bland, dry, mesquite-covered land like fountains on the Las Vegas strip . And money was spewing out of banks and savings & loans. Her father was right in the middle. Life was good. Great. The bubble was growing.

And then one day, the bubble popped. The little girl was now about 10 or so. The fountains ran dry. Once-sparkly, busy, prosperous office buildings that defined the city's skyline, were left to the elements. Even the legendary cornerstone of the local economy, The First National Bank of Midland, went belly-up. Her parents worked really hard to shelter her from any hardship that might be coming her way, but she still knew enough to understand that things were going to change when she overheard her father utter the word "bankruptcy" to her mother. Her father made a change in direction for his career, and as she entered into teenage-dom, she wasn't able to have all the cool designer fashions as the other kids at school...Guess? and Z Cavaricci jeans, five Swatches each complete with SwatchGuards on her arm. She didn't get a car for her 16th birthday and was forced to share her mother's hopelessly un-cool 1978 Oldsmobile which was so monstrous, it barely fit in the garage. She didn't know it at the time, but her mother's plans for her be a Symphony Debutante were nixed.

While nothing was being handed to her on a silver platter, she was a happy girl. She was actively involved in her high school's marching band, experiencing thrilling things such as traveling to our nation's capital to march for our new President. She got to spend three years at The Greatest University in the nation, The University of Texas, until once again, these financial pressures brought it to an end.

Today, she is a well-rounded, responsible woman with children of her own, who has been blessed with a unique and useful perspective of feast vs. famine. She has gained much wisdom through these experiences. She has learned how not to live beyond her means. She has learned how to find happiness in other places than Stuff. And she is so thankful that while she is in the midst of another terrible and destructive economic recession, she has enough for the time being. And she is at peace.

The End.

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Back to the collapse of the country's financial giants: Just how did it happen?

My theory: Sub-prime mortgages and other frivolous lending tactics. This country is driven to have Stuff, whether or not we can afford it. And when things are going good, the banks and financial brokers will dole out money to people, who at the time don't have any adequate means to pay it back. They all just assume things will keep heading in the same direction, and it'll just fall in their laps. Then when that doesn't happen...

How in the world did this society get to a place where it became totally acceptable to borrow so much dang money? What ever happened to cash on the barrelhead? Yes, I have a mortgage. And no, I would not have this beautiful house without being able to borrow the money to purchase it. At the time I purchased this house with the IX, I was fully planning on living in it with him, and not having to pay for it on my own. It's not a big fancy ├╝ber-luxurious place. My neighbors are almost right on top of me. It's covered in...ack...siding. And it pretty much looks just like every other house in the neighborhood. We probably could've been approved for one of the sub-prime mortgages for a much grander dwelling, but we didn't even go down that road. We got a standard, 30-year fixed mortgage. We purchased what at the time, we could afford. And now it just so happens that I find myself facing a lot of hard work to keep it that way.

Anyway...we are a nation of borrowers. We don't like the concept of delayed gratification. And look at where it has gotten us. AGAIN.

I want a deck on the back of my house sooooo bad. But I'm not going to borrow to get it. I haven't bought a stitch of new clothing since I started going on job interviews. (And boy, do I need some new clothes. I dropped four sizes during my divorce and just about everything in my closet would either fall right off of me or swallow me up.) My boys don't have tons of clothes, and what they do have, are hand-me-downs, came from a resale shop, Target, or Meijer. I can't remember the last time I set foot in the mall.

I have no intention of becoming one of the casualties, and I'm thankful that my life experiences have led me to understand a little bit about how it happens. I'm not afraid to buckle down and do what it takes to maintain my 'meager' (by some standards) way of life, all the while thinking I could just about be the richest woman on the planet. Oh, I've got big plans for the future, don't get me wrong. And no, I don't know exactly how I'm going to bring them to fruition.

But let me put it this way...I know how I'm not going to do it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

ROFLPIMP

Ohmygoodgoshamighty, I've got tears rolling down my face right now. You guys have GOT to check out tonight's post over on Dawn's blog.

And as one of the early comments (cuz she gets tons) suggests, this world needs a reason to laugh right now.

Yep. That oughta do it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A chip off the old block

I find it quite interesting that during the course of this blog, I have only mentioned once or twice something that is such a huge part of me. (Here is the only place I've ever gone into any detail about it.)

This is something that has really defined me. Playing the flute was my thang. Not just my thing, but my thang. And I was good. Really good. I was the first alternate for the all-state band in my area my senior year of high school. I played in church. I played in college. Before moving across the metro Detroit area a couple years back, having another baby, and then getting divorced and becoming a single mom, I was actually working to start up a bit of a career at it. I played in a flute choir for five or so years. When my dad passed away, I spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $6000 on my dream flute with the leftover insurance money (after paying off my car and credit cards). I played in a couple of weddings, and got an amazing gig playing in a nearby suburb's 16-performance production of The Music Man. I actually earned about $600 for that! I was a member of the National Flute Association, as well as a much smaller regional flute networking group that had a flute choir that I participated in. I even attended the NFA's annual convention in Washington D.C. a few years back.

It's my passion.

But when the shit really hit the fan in my life, I had to prioritize. And that was the first thing to go. I've missed it. That beautiful instrument has been sitting. Collecting dust. Quite sad. I'm just now starting to feel like everything else might be getting in order enough that I could think about dusting it off again.

But that's not my point of this post. The last sentence of the section of the post I linked to earlier is.

"I'm hoping I can get the RK to follow in my bandgeeky ways."

The RK thus far hasn't shown any interest in music, as a listener, or a performer. I've been quite disappointed in that, but just for my own selfish reasons. He's got to find his own thang, and I've accepted the fact that music just might not be it. He's drifting in a more techy, science-geek direction. He loves the later Star Trek series-es. He can watch the Discovery Channel all the live-long day. He loves studying weather radar maps on the computer. He asks me questions about nature on a daily basis that I don't have a clue how to answer. Despite my own personal letdown, it's been so cool watching him pick his own direction in life.

He just started the fifth grade. In this school district, fifth grade is when they start the kids on musical instruments. I don't think it's mandatory, but my impression is that the majority of the kids go through it. The RK has been rather cool to the whole thing; that is, until the time for his fitting approached. He got so excited about it, even calling me at work the other day to ask if I had gotten the call from the band technician about setting up the appointment yet. So I'm getting pretty excited at this point. It's so great to see my child so excited about something like this!

Yesterday was the big day. For the fitting during the school day, I told him to at least make a sound on every instrument, even though he had already picked clarinet & violin as his first two choices. He said OK. Then when we went back up to the school last night, he got to mess around on a few more (I even made him try to make a sound on a flute). The big winner was the trombone, of all things! He said he had tried one earlier in the day, but when he picked it up last night, he got an amazing sound on it right off the bat! The technician said it was the best sound he had heard from any of the students. So of course, the RK starts getting really excited.

So out of the school we came, the RK carrying a brand new (to him) trombone! And he is just so proud of it. He started working through the the method book & DVD this morning, and is already making progress.

My dream is coming true! However, there still might be one little hiccup in my diabolical plan. The RK has said he does not want to be in the marching band. Whaha? But...but...I WANNA BE A BAND MOM!!! I'm still not too worried about it at this point, because marching doesn't start until ninth grade. I told him not to rule it out at this point, because it's still a long way off. To improve my chances of the diabolical plan coming to fruition, I will probably take the RK to some of the high school football games so he can watch the high school band at halftime. Perhaps that will light a fire in him.

All in all, yesterday was quite a milestone in the RK's life. And I'm just about the happiest mom in the universe! Even if he ends up not pursuing it long-term, it's still going to play a big role in defining who he is and what he will become.

It's so cool seeing him with a trombone. I guess because I had never tried to picture it before, it looks kind of strange at this point. Also, that whole 'defining who he is' thing. I'm wondering if this will really be a something that defines him like the flute did for me?

Finding out will be fun...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chapter 1: Best. Birthday. Ever.

I'm really a little peeved at myself for my long hiatus from this journal. Because now that it's been so long and there's so much to write about, I don't know where to start. One of my 'quirks', I guess you could call it, is that I look too easily at the big picture, as opposed to breaking it up into more manageable, more tolerable steps. I'm feeling like I need to make up for all my lost time on here all at once, and that's quite daunting. I'm trying to talk myself down from it, telling myself, "Just start writing again. Whatever you want. Don't worry about summarizing all the events of the past nine months...just write.

But I do know I want to talk about things that have happened during my absence from the blogosphere as opposed to just setting a new starting point.

First of all, P. The shock of it coming to an end wore off a long time ago, but I'm still very curious to know what was really going through his mind to bring an end to it. Because we were really on a roll! The relationship I was building with him was exactly what I wanted...mature, deep...with a foundation of friendship laid first. We were so good at expressing what was on our minds to each other, and in turn, really listening to each other as well. Right at the beginning, we were so great about not moving too quickly. We discussed it like rational human beings, agreeing on "The Plan." Tee hee...

As you may or may not remember, our friendship turned the corner around mid-January. My birthday was coming up on a Saturday in early March, so he decided he wanted to take me on a weekend trip to a mystery destination. It was a big secret diabolical plan that he worked really, really hard on. It involved tickets. It involved planning activities on Google Earth. (He warned me not to open it on his computer, or all would be spoiled!) He wouldn't even tell me what mode of transportation we would be taking. And I could tell it involved a relatively sizeable dollar amount. He was going to do it up big, and he was having a ball taunting me with it in the days leading up to my birthday!

But that wasn't The Plan. The Plan was that we decided we were going to wait until my birthday trip to...ahem...kick it up a notch, shall I say. And we stuck to it! It certainly wasn't easy, though. But the fact is, we were both in total agreement about it, and that's what was so cool. From the day we made that decision until the time came, he'd send me a text message every morning counting down the number of days. It was quite amusing.

"So Trish, where did he take you???"

I know, I know...I'm getting to that. I came up with all kinds of guesses...NYC, Dallas, California, Boston with a detour to see my mom, etc. But no...we drove over to Chicago! After living up here for the better part of ten years, I'd never been to Chicago. So I was thrilled! And the tickets were for Wicked! He reserved a room in a beautiful hotel, made dinner reservations at the Chicago Chop House (the best steak I've ever had in my life) before the show, found a great little hole-in-the-wall jazz bar for Friday night, etc. It was totally amazing, and I felt like such a queen! Definitely the best birthday I've ever had in my adult years.

Fairy tale, no?

Another way we were so like-minded: our kids. He held my boys in the highest of respect, and asked that when the time comes for him to meet the RK, that I find a babysitter for the IB so the time could be focused on just the RK. He got to pick what we did, and he picked eating at Red Lobster. After that night, the two of them got along great...P would come over after work and have dinner with us, and while I was getting chores done, putting the IB to bed, etc., the two of them would be over here on my laptop shopping for video games on eBay. Or P would help the RK with his homework. There are no words for how things seemed to be going...'perfect' doesn't even seem to do it.

But while I had taken the plunge with bringing him into the lives of my boys, I started to notice that he wasn't so eager to do the same with me and his girls...

...I'll hit on that next time around. As for now, I'm off to beddy-bye.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Year of La Vida Loca

Greetings blogosphere! Gosh, where do I start? That itch to divulge all these thoughts, ideas, opinions, and ramblings going on in my head has been growing to a point where I need to scratch it. So I'm scratching it.

So how the heck is everyone? Is anyone even still out there? Have I been away so long that that I've finally slipped out of my former readers' minds? I guess I have a lot of ground to make up since my last entry exactly 233 days ago.

But I feel like prioritizing my life is crucial. And given the new chapter my life began last winter, keeping up with this blog was just not possible. Working a full-time job and then coming home to take care of my two precious boys had proven to be indescribably time-consuming and....well, exhausting. As I grow older, the one thing I'm discovering is that the first place I start to feel exhaustion is my mind. When all is said and done at the end of a long day, my babies are tucked snugly into their cozy beds, and I would finally have the opportunity to sit in front of my trusty little computer and write, my brain was well on its way to termination of all activity for the day. Trust me...you probably wouldn't have had any idea what I was saying if I had even tried!

But now, I'm starting to feel like I'm getting a handle on this new life of mine. The sense of being completely overwhelmed is receding somewhat, and progress is being made. Slowly, but surely. Right now I'm feeling quite encouraged.

This past weekend was just me and the RK. I asked the IX if he could only take the IB for this weekend so the RK and I could dig out his bedroom from the insane, massive amounts of junk and dust it had succumbed to over the course of the last couple of years. And now, it's beeeee-u-ti-ful. The RK and I have made a pact to not let it get to the state it was in again.

We filled up four garbage bags full of crap. Lots of toys with missing integral parts, strange random little objects that neither of us had any idea where they had come from, etc. And we passed down quite a few objects to the IB. A bunch of stuff went from one bedroom closet over to the other. Lots of books. A few toys. A sizeable amount of stuffed animals. Anyway, the RK and I both have a very satisfied and accomplished feeling tonight over that bedroom. And now, I just need to get my room taken care of. I'm so ashamed of its condition, I don't even care to speak of it. {Shudder}

The RK and I really needed this weekend to spend with just each other. The IB takes up so much of my attention, and often a lot of the RK's as well. So it was really nice to have it just the two of us. We went out to dinner last night, where he wolfed down a full-sized adult burger. He said it was the best burger he'd ever had. Yesterday we ended up being lazy all day, watching movies, napping, playing Wii (that he got for his birthday from my mom back in June). We didn't have to worry about keeping tabs on the incredible two-year-old force of destruction that is the IB. We need to do this on a regular basis, I think. Before the IB came along, it was just the RK for nine years; but what I think is kinda cool is that he and I both agreed it's really hard to remember what that was like now. And in a good way...neither of us really miss it all that much!

So in the interest of not going for the longest post in the history of the blogosphere, I'm going to try to catch up on everything that has gone on in my life this year in subsequent posts, but I'll hit the big points briefly in this initial re-introduction.

First up, my job. It's still going well, but it's had its ups and downs. I've been working really hard to integrate into the dynamics of the office, with mixed results. It turns out I came in right before a huge and unplanned shake-up in how things were being run, and because of that, I, as the very lowest man on the totem pole, ended up taking quite a bit of heat as revelations came out and adjustments had to be made. But I'm still there. And more determined than ever. Again...details to follow.

Next, P. We had a really good run of it until early May. Really good. And then, all of a sudden, he felt the need to come up with some lame excuse about why it wasn't going to work out, and that was that. (Again...details to follow.) I was very hurt and confused, but compared to what I had gone through with my divorce, it wasn't all that difficult to pick up and carry on with life as usual.

..so at that point, the idea of a fun, exciting summer was at the forefront of my mind, and I decided to re-up my subscription on the dating site for a month. I met a few guys, but nothing panned out to bring that 'summer' idea to fruition. And now at this point, I'm perfectly happy flying solo...cuz ya know what? Dating is stressful! I've really been enjoying just being me, not freaking out over all my insecurities, not having the anxiety that comes with starting to let someone brand new into my life. Or shall I say, our lives.

OK, there I hit the biggest points, and will expound on them more in future posts. As well as add some others. I'm gonna keep writing, though, and hope that some of my previous readers will find their way back here (perhaps with a few new ones as well). Because I have been thinking of you, and keeping up with your tales...at least a few of you. So anyway, if any of you did happen to keep this feed in your readers, drop me a comment and say hi! You have no idea how that would thrill me. Maybe I'll finally come completely out of the shadows and start dropping a few comments of my own as well...