Just so’s ya know, we have taken down every thing else and boxed it up… as of last weekend. We simply haven’t had the gumption to disassemble the tree. Not to worry, we haven’t had a live tree slowly fossilizing in our living room for the past two months. The cat is very happy about the situation, but in terms of getting our holiday decoration packed up for the season in a timely manner ~ FAIL

I’m finally breaking down and shaving my hairy, winter-coat legs this morning. First leg done! Second leg… the shaver’s power charge cuts out on me with only one more swipe to go. I have one smooth leg, and another with a two-inch swatch of old growth forest still in tact. I was already running late so there was no time to get all old school with one of Hubs disposable razors. No, I will not put up a photo of my Yeti leg. Note to self, recharge razor overnight or get up earlier the next time. Shedding my winter coat ~ FAIL.

I’m not sure what happened here, but over the last several months this one tree fork began leaning, and leaning, until it finally simply fell over. The Girls may have helped it a little, being that they are also shrubbery eating mutts. Who knows. The result is that we now have to perform a tree-ectomy and remove the broken portion… because it’s still attached to the roots somehow and is still as green and alive as the rest of the tree. Tree survival ~ Fail.

All efforts to control my weight to date have been dismal. I’m now about 20 pounds heavier than in my ninth month of pregnancy with either of my children. Totally unacceptable. I finally had to get a couple new pairs of jeans to avoid that awful malady ~ camel toe ~ which comes from wearing too tight pants. I do not want to be one of those women. Dieting and weight control ~ FAIL.

I had gotten to where I was only really eating one normal meal a day and still gaining weight. It has been depressing and on other separate levels scary and infuriating. In desperation I finally decided to do something I told myself I never would. I’ve begun taking a diet supplement. I’ve been watching my diet… cutting back on processed starches, sugars, fried foods and large portions. Nothing has worked. Before anyone else who is taking this little blue pill thinks I’m calling them a failure, please don’t be offended. The reason I chose this one is that I have a few friends who have had some success with this plan. I feel like a failure because I could not manage this on my own. Dieting and weight control ~ EPIC FAIL.



I saw this article today about a British couple that recently delivered a second set of fraternal twins. While multiples like that by itself was unusual, what was fascinating about these children is that in each pair one was light skinned and the other dark skinned ~ each taking physical characteristics from different parents.

The story made me think of a friend who recently had a baby girl. She and her ex-husband were also a bi-racial couple. Her youngest daughter has her father’s dark eyes and black hair, but she also has her mother’s ivory skin. Baby S is a gorgeous child.

Talking about how beautiful I though Baby S was, another friend and I struck up a conversation about bi-racial couples and I told her I didn’t think I would care if either of my children fell in love and married a person from a different ethnic or racial background. My friend was shocked.

She is of my mother’s generation and still feels races should not ‘mix.’ I asked her why.

Her main rationale was that by ‘mixing the races,’ any offspring wouldn’t know what at least half of their family looked like. I tried to wrap my head around that reasoning. I think she was saying that if these children grew to favor their ‘other’ side of the family, part of their heritage would be lost? I think.

I pointed out to her that both of my children strongly favored me… and looked more like my side of the family than Hubs. In fact, neither take after their dad that much, or each other for that matter.

Both are going to be very tall. As of a few months ago, WK passed us all, and Hubs is now the more vertically challenged of our bunch. Height was my gift to them ~ both my dad and grandfather were well over 6-foot tall.

WK, unlike the rest of us, has green eyes, where we have dark brown. WK had platinum blond hair when he was younger, JM is almost a strawberry blonde. Hubs has always had dark brown hair (well, it’s more silver now). Those coloring quirks are all from my family branch too.

Using the same reasoning, looking at my kids you would think I made them from kits and not with half of Hub’s genetic syrup. Does that mean WK and JM won’t know what half their family looks like? Have I done irreparable harm to my kids’ psyche by having dominate genes? Should I have search harder for a potential mate with the same physical family traits, the same height, hair and eye coloring, facial structure, blah, blah, blah?

The family resemblance argument was sophistry at it’s best.

Does it really matter who your children look like? Is is not more important what their character is, rather than their characteristics?



The last day of our vacation, or night rather, WK got his wish and it snowed enough for him to make a snow ball. Which he did as Hubs and I packed the car for the long drive home early Friday morning. (So you don’t think he was playing the whole time Hubs and I were slaving away, WK also cleared off his mamaw’s car windshield so she could drive to work with a clear field of vision. He’s such a good kid.)

We thought we were going to have to stay a little longer when we couldn’t make it up the first hill out of my dad’s driveway. After making a very slow pirouette in the ice and snow ~ after fearing we would end up in the neighbor’s ditch or floundering on the road facing a direction that couldn’t possibly be good ~ we managed to make it out to the the highway and relatively passable roads.

Ten hours later, having unpacked what seemed to be a month’s worth of baggage ’stead a week’s, and comforting two very excited Labs, all I really want to do now is sleep. I need a vacation from my vacation.

I have photos to share, and a clogged Reader to address. You all are a prolific bunch. As much as I loathed to do it, I may just have to hit that dreaded MAAR button and start fresh. I haven’t been able to consistently respond back to those of you who stopped by while I was gone either… I feel guilty about that, and will be back to it this weekend.

I have over 100 personal e-mails to open and I don’t even want to think about how many I’ll have when I get to work Monday morning.

For now I will bask in the adoration of my Girls, listen to the dulcet tones of my son singing Steve Miller’s The Joker ~ thank you Guitar Hero World Tour ~ and luxuriate in my own bed curled up with a gloriously phantasmagorical book… the third one I’ve read this week. Imagine that.

It’s good to be home!



The family va-cay is going remarkably well. We may not be barreling down a white water river, plummeting over waterfalls, but we are having a nice bit of down time with the Grans and cousins. We also apparently packed the nice Florida weather and brought that with us too. So… HA! even in here we are enjoying 50-60°F temps.

My dad got VERY sick Friday and Saturday and we were worried that we wouldn’t even get a chance to see him. Monday morning his docs gave him the ‘no contagion’ sign and we’re now up in the mountains of east Tennessee.

I got up this morning to walk around the place and everything was covered in a silvery rime of frost. It was so quiet I could hear myself breath. Low lying wisps of fog scudded across the foothills. I found patches of scuffed up ground where the white tail deer and wild turkey were feeding on acorns.

That’s not something I would find in my backyard at home.

I’m still without reliable Internet connections. My dad has a computer, but it’s dial-up and despite my two hours of frustrated attempts, I was unable to get any significant work done because I kept timing out.

While that’s not so much a problem were IMSO is concerned, I’m still officially working. I know that sucks, but with great power, comes great responsibility. Phaw! All I know is that there is apparently no one back in my office capable of doing my piddly little job.

Again today, I had to log in a couple of hours with the task masters. Fortunately, my dad lives near a much bigger city than my mom and I found a Panera Bread Co. cafe where I could at least sit inside and sip a huge mug of Chai Tea Latte while JM perused her own Notebook taking care of school matters and Googling maps to help her navigate her way to the BF’s parents’ home for New Years.

I’ve been taking lots photos and when I get back, I’ll post some of my favs. It really is beautiful here, even in the winter.

We’re off to visit with Hub’s sister and her family today. Her daughter turned 13 this year. THIRTEEN! Saturday we had lunch with my step brother and sister, my niece and her 5-year-old twins. Yeah, let that sink in for a second. I AM A GREAT-AUNT. Thanks Candace. These kids really need to stop growing up so stinkin’ fast.



I have been without free, easy access to WiFi since Friday morning. There are times that I can’t even get a signal to use my Blackberry. When I can log on I’ve been running through my Reader… you all are my crack and I am honestly amazed that I am having symptoms of withdrawal.

I wake in the middle of the night and instead of turning over and trying to fall back asleep, or find my book and read for a while, I grab that little gray hand-held devil and go skulking.

Even when I can lock onto a strong enough signal, for some reason I can comment on some few blogs and others reject my efforts. Don’t think I’m not wanting to leave my little love notes, I’m trying and it’s not easy. And! and! don’t get me started on how small the keys on a crackberry are or having to remember whether to hit ‘alt’ or ’shift’ to type a particular character. Day-um this is too complicated.

I am in the middle of the freakin’ woods in a home that has no cable connection and where the the only WiFi cafe in town is closed on Sunday! I had to sit out in stupid parking lot as my peeps roamed the aisle of Wal-Mart (which for some insane reason did not have access). I felt all levels of sketchy and hoped the local law enforcement department did not see me as a threat to the peace of the community.

Here I was sitting in a parked car, Neo cranked on the stereo, dressed in jeans and leather, typing away on a computer outside the closed Internet Café-slash-community church. I would have run me off.

Later in the week, when I’m at my dad’s ~ who hopefully still has his computer hooked up ~ I should be able to navigate a lot easier. I will be glad to get home. This no Internet shit is crazy.



The plan is to leave bright and early today for the great cold north. The reality is that we probably won’t get on the road until after lunch. Hubs is bad about starting new projects just when we’re trying to leave to go somewhere… refilling the washer fluid, changing the oil in the car, repainting the bathroom, building an addition to the dining room… things like that.

I don’t know how often I’ll be able to post, respond to comments, or check my reader… both of my parents have decided to live in the back of Nowhere. My mom doesn’t even have Internet… barbaric! Because I also have to periodically check-in for work, and be forced to hunt down WiFi access, I’ll cheat and use that time to also peek in here and there.

We have a long drive ahead of us. It’s about 10 hours to my mom’s, but with three of us taking turns, it should be an easy trip. We’ve got the travel DVD player and a sackful of movies, iPods are charged and we have all the adapters, I have a load of books and so does JM and Hubs, and WK has his car mags. Pillows and blankets, and enough snackage to feed a third world nation have been packed.

Sweaters, jackets, long pants, long-sleeved Ts, flannel jammies and warm socks are loaded into suitcases. I’ve checked and re-checked the Weather Channel and am convinced we will NOT encounter snow. The kids are still hoping.

Fortunately a friend of JM’s agreed to pet sit, so The Girls can stay at home. That’s a huge relief, and will make it easier to make side trips if we’re so inspired.



My mom called me this past weekend to nail down some details about our trip up north. First, we will be visiting with her and my step-dad in their little cabin in the woods. Over the weekend most of my extended family ~ step-sister and step-brother, their spouses, children and grandchildren ~ are coming over for dinner. I am honestly looking forward to this. We haven’t all been together, well… since I can’t remember when.

I’ll get to spend some time with my Ya-Ya sisters and reconnect with old friends and hopefully we will all be better about staying in touch.

We’ll then travel a couple hours further north to visit with my dad and step-mom, and her son and family during the week. One evening we’ll stop by Hub’s sister’s and ‘oh’ and ‘ah’ over how grown up and pretty her daughter is ~ because she really is. It will be good to see everyone again.

The only other extended family I have is one bio-brother. We will not be seeing each other over the holidays, and I am okay with that. We were never close growing up, and continued to grow apart as we’ve gotten older. He was always disapproving of me… my friends, my choices, my life, every thing I did was somehow inferior. (more…)



Taking a philosophical turn while interacting with a inconsolable toddler sounds more parental-esque than writing about your total mental implosion. Having to lay your baby down in a safe place and walking way amid a crescendo of full-lung capacity is not nearly as intriguing as speaking of how they are only young once and they have such pretty eyes or sweet smiles.

Still all you really want is to self-medicate until your tag team partner returns home. Even then you can only hope that he or she will take over so you can just sit down for a minute or two in peace and quiet. But to write about that is darker than you want to appear.

You offer a vagrant a hot meal instead of withdrawing in revulsion because if you stop breathing through your mouth his overpowering stench will bring up the cinnamon-raisin bagel and Venti Vanilla Bean Frappuccino Blended Creme you had at breakfast. Altruistic gestures are a sure Hit magnet while projectile vomiting (unless it’s coming from our angelic offspring) is not.

Have you compose a heartwarming, and perhaps a touch naughty, list of loving attributes to your significant other to mark a special milestone, but neglect to mention you sleep in separate beds, in separate bedrooms, living more as roommates or platonic best friends than lovers and spouses. To divulge any more intimate details would not be good blog fodder or too incongruent with your other posts to the contrary. Sex sells.

Or, has writing about your day-to-day made you more acutely aware, forcing you to look closely at yourself, turning your life into a self-imposed fish bowl, knowing you will be sharing, and having to decide whether to remake yourself so you won’t be lying to the world.

Do you think more about what you say and do now that you’ve put yourself on display for all to see?

I believe I do. I believe that I am more conscience of my actions and reactions. I think longer and harder about what I say and do now because I didn’t necessarily like what I did or said before, and I didn’t want to admit how shallow and superficial I could be.

I do think differently. I do try to see the different angles, the different reasons and whys of something. I’m not changing facts or dialogue, but I am not the same person I was when I first started this adventure.



The other day I went to the express mail store to buy some padded shipping envelops. It wasn’t very busy, but there were two people ahead of me waiting to check out. The second person in line was a woman who had what appeared to be one large shopping bag with a couple boxes in it. She was on her cell phone when I walked up behind her. After finishing her call, she turns to me …’could you please watch my bag, I forgot my purse in the car.’

I said sure and diligently guarded it. By the time she returned the cashier had checked out the man at the head of the line. Again, the woman turns to me, with my three small mailers and gift cards… ‘you go ahead, you only have a few things and I have all this’ …indicating the other half dozen, HUGE boxes sitting on the kioski beside us.

After thanking her profusely, I stepped forward to the cashier. This small kindness saved me tons of time, and being on my lunch break, I didn’t have a lot to spare.

My ticket came to $5.02. I had emptied all the change out of my purse the night before and only had another $5 bill. The clerk said to forget it she’d put the other 2-cents in.

This wasn’t much, but these two random acts of kindness helped renew my faith in the spirit of the season.

After my conniption fit temper tantrum grumpiness on Monday, I needed this. My rants were personal and only meant to help me purge some bad feelings that I would have never vented on the people I was aggravated at. Thank you for all your concern. I can now go about the business of being the peppy and officiously sweet person that I usually am.



Stop asking for my opinion on how to do something when all you do is reject every suggestion I have, especially when you’re offering no solutions of your own.

Just because you think something, doesn’t mean you have to share that thought. You’re not being honest, you’re being cruel.

In the grand scheme of things, your daily crises are so superficial that it takes all my effort to not scream at you to grow the hell up!

Your constant stream of whining and complaining is bringing me ever so close to homicidal overload.

The ironic timing of your illnesses and incapacitating fatigue that is keeping you from doing your work, compared to your extraordinary ability to do something you enjoy, is not lost on me.

If you think that I’m not paying enough attention to you and your problems, it’s because I’m trying very hard to simply ignore you.

Stop invading my space! You are creeping the hell out of me!

If you know she’s a goddam pathological liar, why would you believe anything she says about me now?

There are times when your childish petulance makes me want to punch you in the face.

Under the same circumstances, if I were you, I would not have taken that as a compliment, but as a wake up call. Think about it.