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A day in a life…

Riding a bike in traffic…

Week before the layoff...

Week before the layoff...

I started this entry a billion years ago, or so it seems. I had it open on my laptop, vowing to finish it THAT day, then the NEXT day, then the next… but there it sat.

Eventually, it became a bit obsolete.

What I planned on writing was: “Having a baby again after so many years has been just like riding a bike… except this time around it’s like riding a bike in traffic.”

And that was to start a colorful bit about how I was doing great as a mom, but had a bunch of extras going on at the same time. And that’s true… I did pile on the extras. And on and on and on.

Not only did I have my 2nd child after 19 years… but I decided to change my job of 15 years and my town of 25+ years. Yup, we up and moved, so I could start a brand new exciting position of an assistant to the president of a winery in Sonoma county.

I was very nervous… what if things didn’t work out? How would I feel leaving Dublin behind, when I left for work every day? How was I going to find the time to move… to pack… to unpack… to nurse…. to sleep??

And that’s when you just sort of jump, both feet, into the deep end and go for it.

Alas, yadda yadda yadda… the job didn’t work out. A month and a half in, no notice, I was let go. I worked my arse off for my boss and BOOM… one morning I have a job and that evening I didn’t.

I got a real taste of the rat race. The 110mph kind. And I didn’t like it and it showed. It’s not that I have an aversion to work… absolutely I do not. However, 110 mph is where crash and burn happens… I’m more into going the speed limit!

So here we are, having moved to Sonoma county for a new job that is no longer.

All of a sudden, I’m a full time mom, by no choice of my own. But here’s the thing: I’ve WANTED to be a full-time mom…. it’s just that financially it wasn’t an option. Now that it’s forced to be an option, I’m really conflicted. I’m excited to be at home, but at the same time I feel horrible that I’m not going to be able to financially contribute more than unemployment. I don’t even know how much that will be, never having been on unemployment before.

To review: new mom, new town, new job, new termination, new unemployment…. new challenges.

My brain is still whirling from being let go from a job that I was trying so hard to master. I’m depressed, I’m happy, I’m anxious. I don’t know if I’ll try and jump into another job full-time, or just go part-time. I don’t know if we’re going to move out of this area, since we were only here for the job. I don’t know how I’ll live without my weekly Starbucks (costly) treats. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself…

Don’t expect me to become an extreme couponer anytime soon… but I do need to figure somethings out. Meanwhile, I’m going to try and write more.

THE BIRDS!


Walking from my car into my office has become quite treacherous! For they’re everywhere…. the… BIRDS!

Parent birds that have taken up habitation in the bushes next to my works parking lot dive bomb anyone who would dare to tread near a nest. I actually had birdie feet touch-down a few weeks ago. The bird made contact with my head! I nearly screamed, because I didn’t see it coming. That little bugger was uber stealth like!

I sometimes think about those birds and their fierce instinct to protect their young. Their bravery to go up against creatures of all sizes and species. Their consistency makes me wonder if they even believe in lunch breaks! I’m beginning to doubt that they do.

Yet when it comes time to let the little birdies learn how to fly, they hover, all the while allowing the little birds to hop about autonomously. I wonder what sort of pep talk they give…“Fly higher than a cat leaps” might be a favorite chirped saying.

I see a lot of similarities between the birds and their human parent counterparts. As a parent I know I’ve gotten my feathers ruffled several times. There have been many-a-situation where I would have loved to dive bomb…. if only I could have been able to fly!

Watching our children grow and leave the nest has similarities to birds…. we watch, we hover… we hope they fly above the cats claws. But it’s not easy being a spectator, there’s still that dive bomb instinct. But we don’t….. we just hope and pray that we have given our children enough know-how to figure things out…. Or, to have good enough communication with them that they don’t hesitate to yell at us, “Need a little help here!!”

I look at my daughter and am amazed. Over night she’s turned into this mini-adult. True, in a few weeks she’ll be legally an adult, but she’s in those early stages of adulthood and barely through the doorway that separates her from her youth. This 18 year adult is going to be very different from who she’ll be when she is walking through the 21-year-old-adult doorway. And that is still just the start of the metamorphosis into the full fledged adult she’ll someday become.

I’m hovering….. in the background, letting her start to make her own decisions. And it’s more intense than any sporting event or horror movie. Yet this hovering is allowing me to observe this most intriguing young adult. It’s like this chess game and I’m impressed by her thought, surprised by her reasoning and proud…. very-very proud of her deductive skills.

I wonder if birds ever look at their young and think, “Wow! That was some good-crazy-arse flying! Way to dodge the claw, bird, way to doge the claw!!” Or, if they’re just happy that they’ll be able to get to go back to their favorite perch and scout out some worms.

Sugar… Come Back to Me!

It’s like that typical (awesome) scene in a movie, where the man purposefully kisses a woman. You know what I’m talking about? He sees what he wants and with eyes locked on his target…. He sets out across the room/field/train/spaceship/car/Texas to get it… never stopping until there is lip-lock, and if he’s lucky… tongue.

This describes the scene playing out in my brain every time I pass the tray of cookies in the kitchen. But I resist. I RESIST. There will be no tonguing the chocolate chips for me.

For the first time in my life I’m doing a sugar fast. No sugar for a whole month! I had no idea how connected sugar and I had become. This time apart has left me to reflect on what a volatile relationship we actually had, sugar and I… one with quick spikes of highs and the inevitable crashing lows.

It was evident early on that I couldn’t easily quit sugar. I was 18 and working in a donut shop. People would warn me that I would eventually hate donuts, but instead I just kept finding new ways to love them.

Fast forward *cough*21*cough* years and here I am, trying to find the strength to say no to the sweet temptations sugar provides.
How it’s going thus far….

SUGAR I MISS YOU! Let me count the ways… Caramel Macchiato, Chocolate Cookie Dough Ice Cream, Peanut Butter Cookies……. Ohh OOH ooooh!!!

These are just a few of the items I’ve put on my subconscious ‘to do’ list for when the month is over. Until then, I pray that my subconscious doesn’t take over and I become a subconscious eater… like a sleep walker that eats.

Leaving the Nest…. without going splat!

“Oh gawd, she’s not ready!”

Last Christmas my sister gave me a beautiful incense holder. It was a tall wood tower that you lifted off of a platform. In the platform was a small hole where you’d place the incense. Once lighted, and the tower in place on the platform, the incense smoke would stream out of the holes located on the roof of the tower. Lovely. Well, it WAS lovely, until I went away for a weekend leaving my 17 year old daughter in command!

I noticed it right away. As I walked in the door and placed my bags down on the living room floor, my peripheral vision and the eyes in the back of my head were all a flutter checking the place out and narrowing in on the table which holds the incense burner. I walked over and KNEW something about it was askew, but since it was newly acquired I couldn’t quite figure out what was missing….. Then I saw it! I turn to Sonora and ask, “What the heck happened to the top of my incense burner?!?!?” To which she calmly replied, “It sorta burned off….”

This is the first time I found myself uttering inside my brain, “Oh gawd, she is not ready….” A thought I’ve been repeating, like a mantra, several times since what is now referred to as the ‘incense incident’.

My heart races… the panic has set in…. it’s the last inning and while it appears that team Competent Parent is ahead, the inning is not over with yet…

The realization that my BABY girl is months away from being legally old enough to vote, buy tobacco, get married, get divorced, rent a house, work full-time, finance a car, get a tattoo, or bungee jump out of the nest WITHOUT parental consent…. is enough to make me hyperventilate, let alone question if I’ve really done a good job in the life-prep-work called parenting. I find myself throwing at her “last minute” tid-bits of “life lessons” that has her no doubt convinced that I’m preparing to change all the locks the moment the clock strikes midnight on her 18th birthday….

The race is on to impart all of that knowledge that must have slipped through the cracks. I mean, if I never properly taught her to light an incense (SONORA…. you BLOW OUT the fire on the end of the stick!!!) what else have I neglected to share?!

Perhaps I should prepare a Final…. A test she must pass in order to earn her 18-year-old-I-am-an-adult-and-don’t-need-no-mamm’s-signature status? I think this is a good idea!

I will quiz her on candle lighting, dishwasher loading, turning off the oven remembering, do not spill bleach on the carpet technique-ing, and how-to-keep-your-animals-alive multiple choice questions….

Oh gawd, she’s not ready!!

Cougar-ish Town

Coworker: Sandy… can I ask you a nosy question??

Me: Sure, what??

Coworker: Your boyfriend is younger, right??

Me: Why yes…. yes. he. is. (smirk)

Coworker: Sooooo, have you watched ‘Cougar Town’?? (smirk)

Oh gawd, is he looking for a fact-checker?!? Because I am NOT a cougar!


Confessions of a reluctant cougar….

Confession #1

A year and a half ago I joined an online dating site. During the initial setup, I set my age perimeters to younger than my (then) 39 year old self. Oh-yes-I-did!

When my sister found out that I was talking with a (then) 28 year old, she gave me a tongue lashing for setting my age preferences at an unrealistic range. I pointed out that my age range was only 5 years in either direction and that the 28 year old must have set HIS age preferences at an unrealistic range. (ha-HA!)

Confession #2

When I went on a date with the unrealistic-age-range-setter, I did NOT know it was a date.

It started with a billion hour IM session. I had never IM’d for longer than 10 minutes. I found it boring. Then, along came Scott. He initiated it with a comment about Morrissey and I was hooked. I was literally falling asleep at my keyboard, because I didn’t want to end the conversation. Eventually the IM session ended, but only for the night. A few days later, in an email, he said I should size him up over drinks.

I don’t know why I didn’t know it was a date, but I didn’t. Perhaps I was afraid if I went in thinking it was a date, it would turn out NOT to be a date and I’d wind up disappointed, or worse yet embarrassed.
Confession #2.5…. I tend to over-think things! In the end, I told myself that I was just meeting him as a friend….. UNLESS….. he kissed me.

Confession #3

He kissed me.

As he leaned in for a kiss, my first thought was, “Yesssssss! This IS a date!” But ever the conscientious fact-checker, I ever-so-smoothly brought up my doubts. No, not DURING the first kiss, but shortly afterwards. He laughed and confirmed our date night status.

Confession #4

I believe in signs.

We walked laps around Sausalito that night. It was while we were walking up a long set of stairs that he casually points at something and says, “Look”. I follow the direction of his finger, expecting to see a shooting star, a cat, or a pretty building…. but no…. it was a floor to ceiling bedroom window and through that bedroom window there was a man, standing like Leonardo Dicaprio… this man WAS king of the world! But, unlike Leonardo, this man was standing naked, at the end of a bed, pounding the hell out of some woman!

If that’s not a sign of good luck on a first date, then I don’t know what is!

Confession #5

Dating someone younger does NOT make you feel young. However, being with someone who “gets you” makes you feel ageless.

I’ve been dating Scott for over a year now. I’d be lying if I said that it’s only when other people bring up the age difference that I remember that there is one. I have my moments where I can practically feel the fine lines sprouting around my eyes. Then there are the mornings I go into the bathroom, take one look in the mirror and internally shriek…. Class-5-tornado-hair AND fine lines is enough for me to want to permanently install a keg of Oil of Olay over the bathroom sink. But then, I stop… take a deep breath, brush my hair into a ponytail and remember the wise words I once read from an interview of Antonio Banderas. He said, “Wrinkles are beautiful too….They are like carats, the more the better….” It’s even more affective if you can imagine him saying this with his accent…. Mmmm…. Um, sorry… I just got distracted for a moment. ANYway, I’m not sure if my fine lines will ever be sparkly, like diamonds… perhaps that’s just a Hollywood thing. Regardless, it’s a nice reminder that age can be beautiful too.
So yes, I’m dating a younger man…. But does that make me a cougar?!?? Hell no!  Anyone who know-knows me, KNOWS I’m a dog person! And, as fate would have it…. He’s a dog person too!
Lucky-lucky- me….. RAWR!!!

Optomistic Lemming

There’s a great scene in the movie ‘(500) Days of Summer’ where a split screen demonstrates the intersection of expectations and reality. They meet and right when it seems as if they might merge on the same path, they often go their separate ways…..

And so it was with the expectation and reality of my New Year resolutions: They did their meet and greet and almost hung out for a week or two;  though, I suppose it would be more accurate to say that they just discussed getting together. They met at the threshold and exchanged numbers, but reality is screening my calls.

What I’m trying to say is, I’ve not been sticking to my New Years resolutions. Hell… I can’t even remember what they are!

Statistically speaking, I am a lemming. Scan the Internet for various New Year resolution stats and you’ll find that around 90% of all optimistic reolution-ers do not follow through with keeping their resolutions. People can talk the talk, but to walk the walk would mean exercise and that my friends holds the number one spot on most resolution lists (exercise more)…. which means it’s not going to happen!

You might think the blog entry ends here, with my weeping whimper of defeat…. BUT NO! I’m going to go and review my list of resolution’s and come up with a plan-o-action. BRB!

I’m back.

Shit.

This is not going well.

Don’t believe me?? Please join me in taking a little look at the dueling Expectation Vs. Reality of my 2010 New Year’s resolution’s:

In the left corner, you will see Expectation, weighing in at 121 lbs., very svelte… yet curvy and optimistic. In the right corner…., please say hello to Reality! Reality weighs in at 133, remarkably curvy…. less svelte, but still optimistic.

Expectation and Reality shake hands and they’re off!!

Expectation:

Walk the dogs AT LEAST 4 times a week!!

Reality:

I’ve walked the dogs four times….. in the last three weeks.

Expectation:

Cook a REAL dinner at least once a week!

Reality:

I just loaded my freezer with frozen dinners.

Expectation:

Lose 10 pounds

Reality:

Make that 13 pounds, since I’ve gained three pounds since writing the list!

Expectation:

Read more…the old school way!

Reality:

I’ve put a stack of books on my bedside table. They need dusting.

Like I said before: shit.

I AM NOT A LEMMING….. I am NOT a lemming….

To be continued…

Why New Years Resolutions Suck Godzilla’s Yoo-hoo

The clock struck midnight and my mind was a flutter: a new year… a clean slate…. now what??

I knew that the New Year’s celebrations brought with it the moral obligation to complete a promissory note of self improvements to be done in 2010. I decided to be like Scarlett Ohara and put it off until the next day. January 1st came and went, as did  January 2nd through the 15th. I did my best to procrastinate writing my perfunctory glorified to-do list because I knew I had to come up with something good and different. I did not want to write the same-old-droll-boring-crap resolutions that I always write. Actually, I would have been happy to leave my unwritten list in a resolution’s purgatory had it not been for my boyfriends little nudge to get it done. And now that it’s been written, I’ve been cursing myself for not writing in any loop-holes!

What did I come up with? Let me show you:

Sandy’s New Year’s Resolution’s for 2010:

1.Walk the dogs ATLEAST 4 times a week!!

2.Cook a REAL dinner at least once a week!

3.Lose 10pounds

4.Actively submit articles for publication with the goal of having one published each month.

5.Read more…the old school way!

A nice little list, yes?? NO!!No, it is not a nice little list. It was while walking my dogs IN THE RAIN that I decided New Year’s Resolution’s are timed all wrong.

Let’s think about this,shall we??

What are typical New Year’s Resolution’s? Dieting, budget better, quit drinking, quit smoking, save money, take a trip,go back to school, change jobs,volunteer more…. I’m sure I might be leaving out some obvious choices, but these are good enough to prove my point. My point being: January is a stupid month to start any of these listed items!

Dieting? What about all the Christmas candy that played gift filler? Am I to just toss it? Do I save it for next year’s pre-season brouhaha’s? Or, do I save it for Halloween and hope the kids at my door are so candy hungry that they overlook the happy fat guy with the red suit on the wrappers??No! It’s sacrilege to toss Christmas candy…. for it is written…. (somewhere) that tossing Christmas goodies is sinful, unless of course it’s a fruitcake (which is mandatory re-gifting).

Better budgeting? Two words: Tax season. There is nothing like starting a race at the finish line of your last race to put a kink in your stride. And do you really think taking a grown-up security blankie away during the tax season is a great idea?Banning security blankies (i.e.: cigs and wine)during January through April is just mean. Give it back mommy, give it back!

The bottom line: timing is everything, and for New Year’s resolutions the timing is just plain wrong. January is a suckie month to start anything that is not cold related. Build a fire in January! Drink some hot cocoa in January! Buy a sweater to hide those extra holiday pounds in January! However, no, no, NO…. do not start your resolution’s in January!

AND just like that…. it came to me, the beautiful loop-hole I was looking for. It occurred to me that when I wrote my New Years Resolution’s, I did not state if I were talking about the calendar year or….. the FISCAL year! So now it seems as if I have given myself an extension…. because given the choice of starting in January or waiting until July,I think I’ll choose July!! 😉

Honey, Honey…

When I was growing up, my parents would often reference a 1980’s movie “Fatso”. Perhaps you’ve never heard of this movie? For some, it’s a cult classic about eating, being a part of an Italian family, and watching the lovable Dom Deluise. In one scene, Dom’s character calls his support group over to help him through a crisis. They all gather in his living room and the conversation begins to drift deeply into talking about food. All during their erotic food talk, they are each drinking the hot water with lemon that they are allowed to drink on their diets. Pretty soon the lemon is not enough to satiate their cravings and the Dom character asks his brother for honey. His brother reminds him that the honey is kept behind lock cabinet doors, indicating it is off limits. In an “I mean business voice”, the Dom character orders his brother, “Junior, get the honey!!!” Chaos, mayhem, and the inevitable food orgy ensues…

My parents loved this scene and would often expound upon the “get the honey line” The running joke between my parents would be to suggest that this, or that, food item would be better with a little honey.

Today, after coming home from the vet with my newly labeled “overweight” dogs… I found myself thinking that same line. As I mentally went over what the vet had told me were acceptable snack items:

Carrots, plain. Apples, plain. Canned pumpkins, unsweetened….

I found myself saying, “Poor dogs… I bet this would taste better with a bit honey on it.” But they didn’t laugh…. perhaps they haven’t seen the movie.

I felt I should cover my dogs ears while the vet was expounding on the reasons behind why they were not an acceptable weight. When she leaned down and explained how my dogs had fake wastes, accentuated by their larger than recommended chest section. OUCH! Lola, the heavier of the two, seemed to take all of this in stride, until without even slowing down, or issuing a warning, the vet stuck a thermometer up her butt. Um, the dogs, not the vets.

Lola looked at me with a, “are you kidding me?? are you f*cking kidding me?” Sort of look…. and I thought,”well at least it’s distracting her from all this weight talk.”

It’s embarrassing to answer the questions about my dog feeding habits. Yes, I fill up their bowl whenever it is empty. Yes, I feed them scraps off of my plate. Yes, I will give them treat after treat… because it’s fun to throw it at them and watch them catch it mid air. My dogs eye/mouth coordination is da bomb!

Feedings will now be limited to one in the morning, and again in the evening. The vet suggests that this will be harder on me, the owner, than it will be to the dogs. Yeah, tell that to Lola when she gets her 2 a.m. munchies!

We are now signed up for a small town doggie version of “The Biggest Loser”. My dogs had their weight recorded, their before pictures taken, and instructions on their new diet. As I held the diet plan in my hand, my inner competitor kicked in and I had thoughts of donning spandex and an in-your-face Jillian Michaels like attitude. “I said give me 20! Now lay down! Roll over, repeat!! You’ve got to want it dog!! Roll over, repeat!! You’ll be running laps dog!! Do you want it?!? Do you want it?!? How bad do you want it….”

Ok, maybe she’s not that much of a bitch, it’s been a while since I actually watch the show. But, from what I can remember, she was pretty scary!! More than likely I will channel Bob Harper and just cry WITH the dogs and help show them their true potential… that seems more like the dog way.

Meanwhile, I give the frozen carrots a shot. The vet made the mistake of saying that they can eat these throughout the day. It sounds a bit like the Atkins diet, where you get the unlimited amount of veggies. I take two frozen carrots out of the bag and toss them in the air. My dogs do their magic and in a synchronized fashion they both catch the frozen carrots mid air…. then…. simultaneously they both spit them out! After a little sniffing, they give the carrots another try. They decide like them. I toss them another…. then another… boy, this is fun…

Color Blind….

Have you ever lost something, like…. um… your keys?? You try and retrace your steps and places you might have left them. You close your eyes and picture your kitchen counter and that dish towel that you tossed, ever so carelessly, onto it. “Ah-ha!”, you run to the counter…. lift the dish towel…. and….. it’s…. not there. Hmph! You close your eyes again, this time remembering how you plunked down onto the couch and you vaguely recall the sound of something dropping…. “But of course! Under the sofa!” You then run over to the sofa, get on your hands and knees, and peek under….. but…. nothing.

And so it goes….. you seemingly can SEE your key in your minds eye every single place you can think of imagining it at.

Tell me that your brain does the same thing. Please, let me not be the only one who has a brain with a sick sense of humor!

I bet you think this mind spew is about my losing something again. But it’s not. It’s about colored paper.

Supervisor: This is to be printed out on Goldenrod, you’ll need to print it again.

Me: That’s not Goldenrod?

Supervisor: No, it’s Buff… you need to print it on Goldenrod.

Me: Oh….

Supervisor:
Goldenrod has orange hues in it.

Me: Oh….

And now I’m back to cursing my joke-playing-minds-eye. The copy room is loaded with paper, none of which is labeled. I’ve not memorized the names, nor the shades of each stack of paper. Once they are stripped bare of their wrapping, I am lost as to their identities. When I see them all together, I can , with some effort, distinguish the subtle variations. But, when they stray from that room, like today, my mind cant seem to tell them apart. I feel like I’m going to have to make a cheat-sheet color wheel, like a Mary Kay consultant testing for skin tones… I’ll whip it out, hold it to the paper, and whisper, “yesssss….. this one, no…. wait…. this one! This one is a perfect match. We have ourselves here a perfect shade of Astrobrite Cosmic Orange.”

Meanwhile, I will just have to fake it. I will learn to read my supervisors face… watch for the disapproving facial twitches that suggest my hand move one level up to the next shade of paper…. slowly bringing it down, hoping beyond all hope that I’m not mistaking Merry Mango for Melancholy Melon.

Working class dog…

Poke.

Poke.

Poke.

It’s my dog, the quiet one. She doesn’t whine loudly like the other one, she’s a bit more subtle. Though, just as persistent as the other one… the one with the loud voice.

Poke.

Poke.

Poke.

She’s back, like a 9 month old, who can only give you garbley gook and crying. Though, to be fair, there is laughing too.

Poke.

Poke.

Poke.

I think it would be easier if she could talk. But, unlike the 9 month old, she’ll never grow into her words. As a result, I’m left to counting down my list of things she might want…

“Outside?? Do you want to go outside??”

“Hungry, are ya hungry girl?? Hungry??”

“Walk?? Do you want to go for a walk??”

Though, I never… under any circumstances…ask about the walk, unless I’m ready to commit. Because, of course, they ALWAYS want to go for a walk. We can come home from a walk and they’ll want to go for another walk, with as much enthusiasm as if they had not been for a walk in a month.

Poke.

Poke.

Poke.

I checked her food, it’s fine. Her water, fine. That leaves only two things: play time or walk time. The fact that I am running low on energy and have already had a glass of wine poses a big problem. The lack of energy suggests that I could easily not have enough strength to manage two dogs and the glass of wine suggests I might lack the coordination.

The only option left……. house cleaning.

My dogs only leave me alone under one situation. No, not sleep. No, not eating (duh). No, not while I’m talking on the phone. All the afore mentioned situations are not immune to the interruptions of either one of my dogs. The only way…. ONLY way…. I can assure not one interruption is if I’m house cleaning. What the frick? If I want total cooperation from either mutt, I need only pick up a dish, a dusting rag, a vacuum cleaner, or get to work with some kind of scrubbing and all of a sudden my attention whore dogs decide that they need to give me my space. If I had a husband, I would swear that they were in cahoots. But I don’t, so I’m baffled.

Poke.

Poke.

Poke.

I’m devising a new plan. I’m wondering if they will catch on if I were to sprout a third arm, a mechanical one, complete with dusting rag and unending movement….

Poke.

Poke.

Poke.