Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Five minutes of...well, it was more like an hour

It's been a long day.

I woke up at 5:15 to catch a flight to Atlanta. That was a challenge in itself. I then had to be coherent and pleasant as I directed a local video crew to capture footage of my client's franchise.

After 4 hours of "Can we try that just one more time?" I went back to the airport to catch a flight home.

To say I was beat is an understatement. I wanted to pick up my daughter, put her to bed, and then quickly follow suit.

One snafu: She was with my mother, and they were 30 minutes away at Bible study.

"Don't drive all this way," Mom said. "We're almost done. We'll be gone before you get here."

I shouldn't have believed her. One thing I should know by now is that church service of any type never ends when you think it will.

It didn't make sense to go home, so I picked up my car from remote parking and headed to the rendezvous spot, which was about 10 minutes from my house.

I got home two hours later. First, they didn't leave until 45 minutes after we talked. Then, my mom's ride had to take another person home first. (Yes, it would have been nice for me to know that from the get-go). And then, Mom figured it was easier for me to take her home after we met up so that her ride could go home faster.

By the time I got home, I was ready to scream. I was tired, I was crabby, and I smelled like an airplane.

Instead of taking my usual shower, I ran a bath instead. I planned to stay in for just a few minutes, but an hour passed before I knew it. And so did all of the day's stress.

Calming down made it a lot easier to pack bags and lunches for tomorrow, which I did while making tea. Did you know it takes 5 minutes to brew a proper cup of Rooibos tea?

One hour and five minutes were definitely worth the investment in my sanity.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, September 24, 2010


It's late, and I know I should be in bed. But I'm enjoying the quiet that comes when hubby's at work and daughter's in bed. It's so quiet that I can hear every creak and groan of our old house.

I'm beat. I've been teaching classes as a second job for the past nine months. One evening a week for four hours, I left my full-time job and head to class. It's draining. Because my students are adults, I expected them to be self-sufficient. It was quite the opposite; many of them were starting second careers or had never been to college at all. It ended up taking more time that I thought.

I've had some adventures. There was the guy who paced the whole class, the group who routinely showed up late, and the woman who couldn't understand why she didn't get credit for an in-class project we did the day she was absent. She argued me down for those points. She didn't get them.

Tonight was my last class for the rest of the year. My full-time schedule is about to go into overdrive, and there is no way I can keep up both jobs.

I should be jumping for joy.

Instead, I'm surprised by my reaction. I will actually miss teaching. There was something about connecting with people and sharing knowledge that was fulfilling. I learned as much as they did.

But for now, I think I'll just appreciate the break.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's My SITS Day!

Go Diva, it's your SITS Day!

Go Diva, it's your SITS Day!

And yes, I'm doing the cabbage patch as I sing this...

Welcome to my blog! It's my SITS Day, and I couldn't be more excited! For those who don't know, SITS is a support network for women who love to blog. If you haven't checked it out, make sure you do.

Here's me in a nutshell: I'm the wife of an absolute sweetie, mom to a sassy girl, and a career woman. Some days, though, I just feel like a mess. I started this blog to keep track of it all. Plus, I love to write, so this is a good way for me to keep in touch with me, if you know what I mean.

Here are a few of my favorite posts, but feel free to poke around. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Back to Blogging Day 4 - Who Inspires Me?

It's seconds before the close of Day 4 of the SITS Back to Blogging Challenge. I taught class tonight, so I'm just getting home and settled.

Thanks to Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances.

Today, the challenge asked us to write about a woman who inspires us. I can barely keep my eyes open, so I'm going to relink a post I wrote about my mom I wrote while planning my wedding. My mom has been through a lot lately. She's battled a stoke and come back from a condition that most people wouldn't have been able to beat.

My Mother, Myself - The Sequel

Since Mike proposed, I have been in Brideville. Picking colors. Looking at flowers. Hunting for the perfect shoe. (Check 'em out above - Hot, I know!) And my mom has been at my side for the whole ride. Planning a wedding, I see, brings the mother-daughter dynamic right into the forefront. Because when are personalities more at odds than when standing amidst a sea of white tulle?

I wanted a simple dress. The big puffy styles with the six-foot trains are best left to women who are marrying royalty. Mike is a king, but only to Elyse and me. At the dress shop, Momma kept unearthing lacy contraptions with big skirts. I tried them on to please her.

“Oh, this is it!” she cried when she saw me in a lacy sheath with sequins detailing and a substantial train.

“It’s not me.”

“Are you sure?” She peered over her glasses. “Look at it again.”

I was sure. It took another 20 dresses before she begrudgingly admitted that the first dress I tried was more my speed. It was an ivory column with minimal detailing.

The salesperson came in with an armful of veils and tiaras. “I won’t be needing any of those.”

“Just try a few on.” The salesperson put on a veil and a tiara. “It’s not me.”

“You’re no fun!” Momma snatched off the veil and put on a different one. I frowned and slumped my shoulders. “I don’t like this one either.”

After Momma fussed for a month about my no-veil-no-tiara credo, my aunt helped her to see my point of view. “Remember how awful she used to look in Easter hats as a kid?”

Then there was the guest list. “75!” I announced. By the time my mother made her additions, the list count was up to 102. “I don’t see how you thought that you could have a wedding with just 75 people,” she said.

“Because that’s what I wanted.” My shoulders slumped again.

“Well, now you have 102. You will just have to deal with it.” I dealt with it by cutting 20 people from the guest list. My apologies go out to my co-workers. I’ll bring in pictures, I promise.

A few weeks later, Elyse and I were getting ready for church. It was chilly out, and I had a pink jacket for her to wear. She wasn’t interested.

“Come on Pumpkin, it was a gift.” Her braids hit her cheeks as she shook her head from side to side. “It’s Ralph Lauren!” I said this with a flourish, as if it would make a difference to a three-year-old. It didn’t.

I was finally able to bribe her with a bowl of grapes. Elyse took off the jacket as soon as we got into the car.

“You’re no fun!” I told her as I backed down the driveway.

So another mother-daughter relationship unfolds just as the one before it, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I could not imagine planning my wedding without Momma. She would follow me from here to Mozambique to find the perfect shade of purple paper for my wedding invitation. And all the while, she keeps me grounded, from going over the edge and pulling my hair out over party favors. It’s not a job for the faint of heart.

And sometimes, we do agree. She does love the purple shoe.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back to Blogging Day 3 - Desperation Taco

It's Day 3 of the SITS Back to Blogging Challenge.

This is a post I wrote back in June when it was dinner time and our cupboards were nearly bare. The title, I thought, was pretty catchy.

Desperation Taco

Maybe I should be ashamed, but I'm not. I'm learning, little by little, to accept my strengths and work on my weaknesses when I can. As a mom, I know I should do better, but sometimes things just don't work that way. And I have a feeling that the story I'm about to share happens more often than people care to admit.

I HATE grocery shopping. I rarely have time, I hate lugging all that stuff to the car, and I have a five year old who wants me to buy everything in the store. So it's not uncommon for our cupboards to be bare, especially during the few days leading up to my bi-monthly trek to wherever has the best sale.

Last night, Hubby was kind enough to defrost a package of ground turkey with no plans on what to do with it. There was a half package of taco shells on the kitchen counter. The decision was made.

I looked for a pack of taco seasoning as I fried the meat. No go. I made due with cumin, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. I then checked the fridge for salsa and sour cream. All I found was a lime with a day of usable life left. I squeezed it into a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes.

We had some lettuce, thank goodness. But when I opened our cheese drawer (Yes, we have a drawer for cheese. We love it that much.), I found we were out.

Game over. I could live without sour cream just this once, but no shredded cheese?!?!? I was about to call for an emergency run to Save-A-Lot when I saw a pack of Cheddar & Swiss string cheese.

Game on. I pulled it apart and stuffed it into to taco shells.

And what about a side dish? Then other day, I mistakenly opened a can of kidney beans when I was looking for chickpeas. Those made a respectable helping of refried beans.

This was by far not my best culinary showing, but I'm pretty sure it was the most incentive.

I went to the grocery store this morning. Cheese and sour cream were at the top of the list.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Back to Blogging - Day 2

The Ladies of SITS are encouraging their members to get back to the basics of blogging by asking us to remember what got us interested in the first place. Below is a post I wish more people had seen. Too often, moms stress themselves out trying to be perfect, when we should just be proud of the job we're doing.

As an added incentive, Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances, are sponsoring a washer and dryer (affectionately called Thelma and Louise) giveaway. Enjoy!


It's 2 a.m., and I've lost my principles

When I was pregnant, the slew of unsolicited advice that came my way was relentless. People had cure-alls for pregnancy ailments, gassy babies, fussy sleepers, and picky eaters.

"If you have a happy pregnancy, then you will have a happy baby." (That advice, by the way, is crap. If you have a happy pregnancy, then count your lucky stars and get ready for the fireworks. A happy baby is not guaranteed.)

"If your baby is full before she goes to bed, then she will sleep all night." (For me, this too was a load of hooey. E ate to her belly puffed up like a balloon, and she still woke up every two hours.

These are just examples, and I can't remember half of what I was told. Besides, I had my own ideas. There were some things that I was certain that I would do no matter what.

I would change E on the changing table. I didn't like the idea of dirty diapers all over the house.

I would not let my child get addicted to a pacifier. I was once with a friend, who, at midnight, was driving around the city looking for an open drugstore because her son couldn't sleep without his binky. And of course, this was a one-of-a-kind pacifier that was found only at select locations. I did not need that sort of hassle.

I would be Mrs. Clean, wiping mouths and noses faster than they could get dirty. And my kid's clothes would be sparkling. Hair would be neat, etc.

I would never, never, ever, let her sleep in my bed. My two-year-old cousin spent the night with me a couple of years ago, and she kicked me in the back all night.

Based on this list, some would say that I had never seen a child before. Some would say that I was setting the bar too high. And others would say that I was just plain old nuts. I think I was a little of all three.

What I didn't account for when I came up with these ideals is the sleep deprivation factor. At 2 a.m. when you are tired and confused, you will let just about anything slide.

I have changed diapers right in the middle of the bed, and woke up the next morning to see it on the floor. And of course, the baby was still in my arms, wearing a milk-stained T-shirt.

E isn't addicted to a pacifier; she sucks her thumb instead. That,as far as I am concerned, is worse. Her pediatrician says that she will stop on her own, but I'm not convinced. Everyone I know who sucked their thumb did so right up to their driver's license exam.

Oh, and the hair? Well that's a story in itself. I braid it once a week in the hopes that it will stay nice for seven days. E's babysitter generally has pity on me mid-week and recombs it. I still can't figure out how her braids last so much longer.

I realized how far that I had fallen from grace a couple of days ago when I gave E a little bowl of Cheerios. She spilled half of them on the floor, and I watched her pick them up one by one and pop them in her mouth. And when she offered me one, I ate it.

Most days, though, I think I do pretty well. E is a healthy, happy 18-month-old who carries a purse. I've got to be doing something right.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Back to Blogging - My First Post

The Ladies of SITS are encouraging their members to get back to the basics of blogging by asking us to remember what got us interested in the first place. Below is my first legitimate post. There was a short introductory paragraph I posted the same day, but I don't think that counts! If I had to write it again, I think I'd make it shorter, but I still love it!

As an added incentive, Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen and Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances, are sponsoring a washer and dryer (affectionately called Thelma and Louise) giveaway. Enjoy!

My Mother, Myself
Originally Published April 7, 2005

When I came home from work today, I put on a pair of hot-pink satin pajama pants and an old Delta T-shirt. Anyone who has heard of my sorority knows that I look a mess - Delta's colors are crimson and cream. I tied an orange scarf on my head and slipped into a pair of worn Daniel Green house shoes; they're a low mule with a thick band across the top. I made a funny face for my four-month-old, E, and she laughed. When I saw myself in the full-length mirror, I had to laugh along with my daughter. I had turned into my mother.

Momma wears equally embarrassing ensembles around her house. Cheetah-print robes and stripped socks. Flowered housecoats over old plaid skirts. Faded green sweatshirts and purple pants, all while wearing her infamous Daniel Greens. When I was a kid, I swore that I would not wear such get-ups. But years later, here I was.

When this transformation occurred, I cannot say. It seems as though just yesterday I was a hip and happening single girl, ready to take on the world. But that must have been a long time ago, because I doubt that anyone uses the term “hip and happening” anymore. A friend of mine once said that she believes we resist our mothers' influence until we are about 27, and then we just give in. Why is that? What do we learn at that point that allows us to accept our fate?

As a little girl, I did everything I could to be like my mother. I even remember that I tore up my toy sewing machine in an attempt to make a fur coat like hers. We wore complimentary, but not matching, outfits on Easters and Mothers Days.

Complimentary, but not matching. Of course that all changed with I hit those defiant teenage years. I juggled being stubborn, high-strung, and moody with trying to define myself through fashion. My clothing choices waffled between the homely and the weird. One day I would be searching the racks at a junior's department, and the next day I would be riffling through Momma's closet. The results were interesting, to say the least. Every now and then, people would say that I had my mother's eyes. I tried not to notice.

I tried everything from track suits to business suits while in college, and I settled on a simple wardrobe once I hit my mid-20s. Tailored pants and shirts in solid colors (no prints), and I started to build a unique collection of shoes and purses. Meanwhile, my mother took jungle prints to a whole new level, matching cheetah-print accessories and separates with basic brown and black separates. In spite of my best efforts, people were starting to say that I looked more like Momma than ever. I claimed not to see it.

When I found out that I was going to have a baby last year, I started thinking a lot about motherhood in general, and I realized that some of Momma's characteristics had long-ago slipped into my personality. We have the same inflections in our voices, the same way of cutting our eyes around, and we both fold our hands across our chests in satisfaction when we know that we have the upper hand in an argument. And my determination and outspokenness are growing by the day. People say that we have the same walk, a confident gait that makes people notice you when you enter the room. I can kind of see that one.

Did I accept who I am out of a sense of defeat? No way. I think that practicality starts to set in when you get a bit older. You can't know someone your whole life and expect that person not to rub off on you. To think so is downright silly. And besides, a part of me is still like that little girl of yesteryear: I think that my mom is pretty cool.

There are still a few differences between us. My mother enjoys an occasional trip to the casino. I prefer an occasional trip to the spa. I love to try new wines. My mother loves to find new ways to mix a stiff strawberry daiquiri. And we still don't agree on the uses of cheetah-print in a wardrobe.

As soon as I finish posting this blog, I'm going online to look for some Daniel Greens. My pair is almost worn out. I think I'll get a pair for my mother, too. Complimentary, but not matching, of course.

Friday, September 03, 2010

It's All Coming Back to Me

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about The Thing. For days, The Thing rested on the tip of my tongue, just far enough away from my brain that I couldn't recognize it.

The Thing kept me up at night, had me losing focus. After about a week and a half, I threw in the towel. There was much too much going on in my world for me to be worried about things I couldn't remember.

And then, just like that, The Thing revealed its identity.

I was at a book club meeting with some friends, discussing the August selection. The main character had the picture-perfect life -- handsome husband, smart children, gorgeous home. But after 15 years, she was farther away from achieving her goals than she had ever been. And to make matters worse, she wasn't even sure what her goals were.

A first-time attendee, who's newly engaged and in her mid 20's (Oh, to be young again!) asked "How do you keep from losing yourself in a marriage?"

I could have kissed that girl. She shined a big ole spotlight on my Thing.

Between working a full-time, teaching part-time, and being a wife and mom all the time, I felt as if I were slipping away. These past few months have been so busy that I've forgotten to take care of myself.

Girls' weekend in Chicago was a great start, and so was going to book club last week. This is a three-day weekend, and I'm determined to have some solo quality time. First thing on the list -- White Ayurvedic Chai (my favorite) and some must-see TV. I think I have a whole season of Burn Notice in my DVR.