2008 - Reviewed

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

Went skiing, just my husband and I.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My resolution was to be in the moment, and while I did ok some of the time, I found it hard to focus all of the time. I will make one for next year…more than one really, in fact I already did. I want to focus on family, health, fitness – and having fun.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?

I did not travel outside of the US this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

Less debt. We were on a great line to be out of debt this year, however getting the house ready to sell and paying lawyers put us up a bit. I want to focus on paying that down so that we can start planning some big trips.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

August when we took Cassie to College. All of October and November when we were going through custody and mental health issues with Brittany, and November 13th, when the nightmare finally ended.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting back into shape.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I am not really sure there was anything that I spectacularly failed at. I wanted to get back into running and that has not really panned out yet, but I am still working on it. Learning to get back into shape slowly has been hard…

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

The typical colds and flu, but compared to last year it has been a wonderful year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The Wii has been fun for the whole family.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Brittany has rallied after a very difficult few months which involved taking her own dad to court…she deserves a blue ribbon. Cassie has managed to hold herself together in the face of all the ugliness – she too deserves a ribbon.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

My ex-husband’s behavior has not ceased to surprise me.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Lawyers. Food. House upgrades.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

New music…and not anything specific either. Theory of a Dead Man, the new All American Rejects, Stroke 9 – I just love music.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

I Hate My Life, Theory of a Dead Man

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier
b) thinner or fatter? About the same, but in better shape
c) richer or poorer? Poorer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Insert x-rated description here.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?


20. How did you spend Christmas?

At home with family…it was fantastic.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

I remained in love, with my husband, and my girls and my boys. No new loves though.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Entourage or The Shield

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


24. What was the best book you read?

I have not read much this year….but really liked World War Z. I hated The Shack.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Slightly Stoopid (kind of liking the reggae sound)

26. What did you want and get?

Tiffany Perfume

27. What did you want and not get?

Sapphire Earrings

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

We have not seen very many movies this year at all. I liked Juno and The Secret Life of Bees.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 40 this past year. My birthday is in January – and honestly I have no idea what we did last year…I am sure we went out to dinner, but I cannot tell you where. I got a watch from Todd – very nice Tag Heuer ladies dive watch.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A job I enjoyed more.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

I don’t have much fashion sense. This year I was in fairly good shape and I took advantage of it by wearing more revealing clothes, but not in a slutty bad way…I assure you.

32. What kept you sane?

Working out, weekends, a great family.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?


34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Well, seeing how this was a big election year, we were all a little bit more interested in politics. It was exciting and historical no matter who you wanted to win. It felt good to be a part of history…you know?

35. Who did you miss?

My mom. I always miss my mom.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I don’t know that I met too many new people. I have a few new friends at work that make it tolerable and have connected with a long-lost friend from my childhood (Hi Deanna), so that is nice.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

Everything is better when your kids are potty trained.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

We say,
we do,
the lies, the truth
and all I need is next to me

Mona Lisa, All American Rejects


Jack Daniels, If You Please

A little quiz for you:

1. Put Your iTunes on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!
4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.

Here is mine:

If someone says, “Is this okay?” You say?
Fly Away

How would you describe yourself?

King of Pain

What do you like in a guy/girl?
Wild If I Wanna

How do you feel today?

Bitter End

What is your life’s purpose?

Proud Mary

What is your motto?

Elvis is Everywhere

What do your friends think of you?

Never Be The Same

What do you think of your parents?


What do you think about very often?

Rock and Roll Music

What is 2 + 2?
Hollywood Squares

What do you think of your best friend?

Bright Lights

What do you think of the person you like?

She Loves Me Not (So strange)

What is your life story?

Having a Bad Day

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Here’s to You (That makes no sense…)

What do you think of when you see the person you like?

Don’t Worry

What will you dance to at your wedding?

Light On (I didn’t dance at my wedding. I hate dancing. So the fact that this is a stupid answer doesn’t matter)

What will they play at your funeral?

What is your hobby/interest?

Gasoline (creepy)

What is your biggest fear?

Bottom of the Sea

What is your biggest secret?


What do you think of your friends?
Carry Me Home

What will you post this as?
Jack Daniels, If You Please

Project Mayhem

When you have insomnia, you're never really asleep, and you're never really awake. - Fight Club

I lay in bed at night, the minutes and hours ticking by, and I think of all the sleep I am not getting. It is a vicious circle: I cannot sleep, so I worry about how little sleep I will get, which leads to even less sleep and more worrying. I don't understand the whole not sleeping thing, and it is driving me crazy. OK, more crazy. And I have tried a lot of things to help with the sleeping. I have tried Benedryl (makes me jumpy and fidgety), chamomile tea (yummy but useless), lavender bubble baths, exercise earlier in the evening, no exercise in the evening, sticking with the same bedtime schedule, going to bed later, going to be earlier, staying up all night in hopes of sleeping well the next night (Does. Not. Work.), getting up when I cannot sleep (which leads to no sleep at all), reading before bed, sex before bed (fun, but not so helpful in the sleeping arena), and pretty much anything you can think of. I feel defeated. Monday brings a doctors appointment though, so maybe there is a light at then end of the tunnel. We are going to discuss this sleep thing and FIND SOME ANSWERS...I hope.

Work is winding down quickly for the holidays...so much that our building is a tomb. It was creepy enough that I finally left around 3 yesterday. I saw 2 people there ALL DAY, IN A BUILDING THAT HOLDS THOUSANDS. I give empty office buildings a creep factor of 7. I was actually worried that the place may have been cleaned out by zombies - and you know how I feel about zombies (Cool! Yet Scary!). Today I am supposed to be working because our customer's business is opened, but our home office is closed - so there is no way I am going to that office. With the cleaning crews and cafeteria workers out along with a severe lack of any working people, the zombies most likely have free reign.

Tonight we open presents - which is awesome, because it means that we will not have to come up with creative ways of entertaining the boys between dinner and bedtime. Presents = instant entertainment for HOURS. I am really looking forward to that. I am not looking forward to the fighting and crying, but hopefully Todd won't do that this year...oh, I am funny.

Tomorrow I fully expect to be ushered downstairs at 3:15 in the morning by little boys who cannot wait to see what Santa brought them. I figure I will still be awake anyway, so what is the big deal.


Most People Won't Like This Post

If you are offended by people who don't believe in God, or who hate the holidays, you should probably stop reading right here.

We don’t have very many holiday traditions. The fact that my faith in God waivers doesn’t help that much either. I am conflicted in the whole Jesus thing, but really have no issues lying to my kids about Santa. Truth be told, I feel there is as much proof out there that Santa is real as there is that Jesus was the son of God/god/whatever. Sure, I think a guy that did some cool stuff that was named Jesus existed...but the son of a holy being? I'm thinking, no. Yes – I know I am going to hell. No, you cannot save me.

So, traditions. The biggest one we have is with the gift tags. Somehow, and we don’t even know why/when it started, we began doing something silly with the gift tags on the Santa gifts. We give each other presents on Christmas Eve from each other, and then on Christmas morning, we open presents from Santa and his friends. I say “friends” because the gifts at our house come from many different people. If you were to review the tags, you would see gifts from The Abominable Snowman, Donner, Prancer, Dusty (The Stripper Reindeer), Achilles’ Heel (he usually gives socks), The Grinch, Max (Grinch’s dog), Santa’s left nut, and the list goes on and on. Again, I don’t know why – but we do it and every year it gets worse and worse…or better and better, depending on how you look at it.

We have tamales on Christmas Eve (a New Mexico tradition carried over from Todd’s mom). We have ham on Christmas day (New Braunfel’s Smokehouse), and lots of popcorn, cookies, and junk food the rest of the week.

We prefer to stay home and hang out with immediate family, doing as little as possible. We try to sneak out to see a movie sometime around Christmas, and we stay away from all stores for as long as possible after the holidays.

We buy everybody a big gift and then around 20 Santa presents. These started out being candy, socks, perfume…and morphed into big gifts too – because I love to spoil my family. I should cut it out though, because with a family of 7 it is getting freaking expensive.

That covers it. I honestly am happy just tucking my head and going full-force into the holidays – hoping to get through them as fast as possible so that we can get back to normal. I am happy when I am done buying and wrapping presents. We don’t go to church. We don’t go caroling. We don’t travel to see family. We don’t watch home movies, or light a fire. We just sort of hang out and do nothing…and well, it is kind of nice.


Everybody is a Genius

Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid. - Einstein

I like thinking about how ridiculous a fish would look trying to flop up a tree. That is a YouTube video I would watch.

I feel like I have spent a lot of my career as that fish, trying to climb that tree. I really do believe that it is time to figure out what I want to do and head in that direction. I have taken the first step - have stepped out of my old job into the abyss. I hope that proves to be wise financially, as I am certain that it is the right thing for me to do for the sake of sanity. I look at my daughter, the one in college, and am insanely jealous. She knows what she wants to do for a career. She has NO DOUBTS. She is 18. It makes me want to punch her in the nose. I am a bit passive-aggressive like that.



"You can't change other people. You can only change yourself"
                                                                - H. H. Getter
I know these words.  I do.  And yet I still find myself frustrated when someone doesn’t behave the way I want them to.  I know that a person is inherently one way, and yet I expect them to act another altogether.  Is it just me?

Unrelated (cough-cough, snicker), work is tolerable.  I am moving into a bit of a different role, and while I will retain a few of my old responsibilities, most of what I am going to do is new to me.  This brings me MUCH satisfaction.  While the job might suck old donkey balls, at least it is something new.  It is unknown suckage.  That is always better than the dreaded known suckage.  I need a new challenge, something different, and this will definitely be a step in that direction. 


Shopping Smelling Shredding

I have finished Christmas shopping about 14 bazillion times so far this year. Every time I think I am done, something else pops up. It is really pissing me off. A lot. I am tired of spending time and money on this ridiculous holiday and I am DONE!


Today we were in the car and I smelled what I could only describe as burning flesh...and NOBODY ELSE SMELLED IT. Todd accused me of having some sensory hallucination. I disagree. I prefer to think that smelling is my super power.


Cassie is home, for a month. This makes me incredibly happy. I worry about Brittany though - she and Cassie don't seem to have much in common anymore - and it is sad to witness. Brittany really looked up to Cassie, looked forward to going to college with her in a few years - has really missed her this year, and Cassie has kind of moved on, or changed, or just not stayed the same (not sure how to describe it - and not sure I even understand it.) I don't think either of them is wrong - they are just growing apart and it is really hard on Brittany. It is sad.


Todd and I had a date night Saturday and it was perfect.


The 30 Day Shred continues to hurt me. I have started wearing the heart rate monitor though, and keeping my heart rate below 150 seems to help. We are on level two now, and it has been tougher for me than the last round. We did it Friday morning and I really didn't recover all day. That wasn't really what I was looking for in a workout. On the positive side, it isn't just me...it is killing Todd too. So I at least have that.


Work may be looking up. More on that if it aammounts to anything.


The boys are starting to 'get' sarcasm. This is a very bad thing for me, as I can dish it out but cannot take it. I am doomed.


We saw a strange and disturbing movie tonight about a mom's soul inhabiting her daughter's body - and the husband/dad struggling with what to do (gee, its my wife so I should sleep with her, yet its my daughter so that is ALL KINDS OF WRONG) - you know, just the everyday struggles of life. Ha. Sick.


Work. In the morning. In like hours. That's gonna hurt.


Not-A-Newsflash: I am an Idiot

I realize EVERYBODY and their great aunt is on the 30 Day Shred train. I have been on it for a while now - having done it 30 days almost straight through and now going for another lap. I decided to do another 30 days, mixing in some running (3 days a week) for cardio. I thought the running would help get my breathing back in shape. See, I have been having a HARD time with breathing lately. Which really annoys me. Breathing is something we are supposed to be able to do WITHOUT PRACTICING. My body has been so busy failing me over the past few years, that this should not surprise me - and yet it does! Lately after every workout, be it weights, running, or The Shred, I am wheezing like a 75 year old smoker for at least an hour. My lungs are not in tip-top shape apparently. I had not noticed it much earlier this year, but that might be because I was not really, ahem, working out. I am not about to stop exercising because of this newish development, but I am curious what it means. Not curious enough to, you know - see a doctor...but curious still.


Pee-Pee in the Potty

I almost hate to say it, for fear of jinxing it...but I think the boys are pretty much potty trained. Yes, it IS about time. They are 3 1/2 - practically dating...and they are finally getting it. Blessed, blessed potty training. It has been a long year.


I am NOT crazy (no, really, I'm not)

I have done my share of bitching about the 30 Day Shred - you know...about how Jillian is a bitch and a whore, and how I hate her, and how I cannot believe that I paid for that punishment. Well guess what I did? I up and PAID FOR IT AGAIN. Why, you ask? Because THAT is what I do. The DVD was scratched beyond repair, and would not play (I blame Brittany, or the boys, or maybe karma) and I could not imagine the stress of finding an equally easily accessible form of exercise, so I shelled out more money for another. I guess that is a testament to how well it works. Right? Or does it just support how crazy I am? Don't answer that.



Thanksgiving was nice in a way. The actual holiday was great, while the days following brought the death virus to various members of the family. I am pleased to be holding down food after a few rough days. Hoo Boy, we know how to do the holidays up right around here.

We did somehow manage to get our Christmas tree decorated in the midst of sickness, and it looks nice. You know, for the first week where we actually remember to water the damn thing.

Work is a mess. I was passed over for a promotion, I have a new boss, and I had to lay people off. Fun all around.

Christmas shopping status: all big gifts for Christmas and birthdays are purchased and on their way. I am still working on stocking stuffers and am sadly deficient there. Needs work. Might just give up and leave the rest for Todd to do. (The more I think about that idea, the more I like it...)

Running Update: Nothing to see here. Move along. I hope to do The Shred-Level 2 tomorrow. That's it. No running. Not tomorrow. Maybe Wednesday.



I am thankful for so many things, and yet it is so much easier to focus on the things that drive me crazy, things that I cannot stand. This definitely supports what I am feeling - that I want to - need to - change my life. Why this is, I do not know. But I refuse to fight it. So -- I will use this opportunity to dwell on those things for short while, figure out how to fix or at least IMPROVE them, and move on.

Family: While I have focused on keeping my family together, functioning, hearts all beating, I have not really spent time improving one on one relationships with those closest to me. I want to spend more time with each person in my life, really lsitening to them and learning from them...not merely existing along parallel tracks. Even my 3 year old boys have things to teach me if I would just watch and listen.

Fitness: This has always been an outlet for me, something I was good at, something that I felt good about. Now I need to tap back into that and set some lofty goals I can feel good about achieving. I have picked out a 1/2 marathon and will work toward a full next year.

Food: We as a family need to get out of the quick and easy eating habits and get back to eating well. We have gotten lazy and are not setting great examples for those around us.

Work: I absolutely MUST figure out what I want to be doing, what makes me happy, and start doing it. I cannot continue to be miserable or just 'existing' in this part of my life. I have been lazy and just followed whatever path fell in front of me. That has to stop now. I need to make some conscious decisions about where I want to be 5 and 10 years from now and actually do something about it. Even if I am not a raging success, I will be happy.

Finances: It felt good to know we had a plan to be debt free, and to see it on the horizon. While the timeline is now longer, I need to remain diligent in being careful in this area so that we can put our kids through college and actual retire someday. It isn't all about the 'now' right?

How about you? What are you going to change?


Run, Run as Fast as You Can.

Running Report: Sunday around 1:00pm. I wanted to do the Shred, but it was in the 60s out, pushing 70 - and I felt like I should be outside. Todd had wanted to run, which helped push me that way too. We ran the Y-trail route to the end and back. It is a little over 4 miles, and I would say I made it about 3 1/2 and then was spent - headache indicated my heart rate was up so I had to stop. It is going to take a while to build up to anything significant. Stupid heart.



Workout Report: 30 Day Shred, Level 1. FUCK YOU JILIAN.

OK. It really wasn’t very hard, I just like saying that. After yesterday’s run, anything would seem easy. I was going to run again today, but I had serious amounts of work to do, which I really should be doing right this very minute. That, or taking a shower. I am sure my family would push for the shower. I however am most likely not going to do that until the last possible minute. Or maybe not until tomorrow.

Back to the workout. Well, there isn’t much to say about it. I muted that horrible woman and listened to Nickleback instead. I am liking their new album – nice mix of up-beat and naughty. Just what I am looking for in music. Workout was easy. Very easy. Ridiculously easy. I don’t think I even broke out into a sweat. Which makes me think I should step it up and run in addition or do level 2. Or just think about how easy it was and do nothing. I kind of like that option.



So you might have to click on the picture to read all of the captions...

Right after I wrote the earlier post about choosing a marathon, I changed and headed out the door to run. Because I was feeling all large and in charge...and you know, stupid.

I deteriorated quickly.

Running Report: Ran the GRIM route. (Gillespi, Ridgeview, Independence, McDermott square). Really effing windy. Favorite song was Nickelback's The Afternoon. Listened to it most of the way on repeat. Time was 35-40 minutes. SLOW.


I need a goal. I was going great with the 30 day shred, and I think I got burned out on it. I wanted to get in shape, and I lost some weight, started looking fit, and it petered out. Now? Not so motivated. I spend evenings searching the kitchen for something to eat…although since I don’t buy much garbage, I end up giving up most of the time. So – I have not gained any weight back really, but I am certainly going to start doing so if I don’t get motivated again. This leads me to my opening statement. I NEED A GOAL.

Based on my current goal-neediness, I found the following Marathons that are a possibility: I am thinking we start with a ½ marathon in April. Notice the use of ‘we’ there? I am expecting my husband to go along with my antics, because that is what he does. He puts up with me. So – ½ marathon in April, followed by one of the following chosen because of the cool destinations. New Mexico has the appeal because Todd has family there and we could take everyone with us. It is within driving distance. The others are further away and are appealing because it would just be the two of us. Obviously the international options would morph into some kind of vacation. Chicago is a nice run which I have done before and has the advantage of being fairly inexpensive to get to, but is CLEARLY less exciting. Thoughts?

June 28, 2009 – Kona Marathon

September 6, 2009 - New Mexico Marathon

September 6, 2009 – Kaua’I Marathon

September 20, 2009 – Maui Marathon

September 20, 2009 – Berlin Marathon

October 12, 2009 – Chicago Marathon

November 8 – Athens Marathon

December 2009 – Honolulu Marathon


Morning Isn't Far Away

I don't seem to be sleeping very well lately. Too much on my mind, and I think I could use a along break from all things requiring my attention for a few days. Or a month.

Brittany's custody issue is cleared up, but now we have to actually find a way to help her cope with her recent realizations. Not an easy task. And also, she has been withdrawn from school. Yes, I suppose she is officially a high school drop-out at the moment. Status as a mother =FAIL. We are going to enroll her in Texas Tech ISD, an online school so that she can get caught up. There was no way to send her back to a full schedule having been out for 5 weeks and have any hopes of her passing. Our options were limited. Very limited. She was of course interested in un-schooling, which makes me laugh. Seriously. That isn't school. It is sleeping late and playing video games. Fun? Yes. School? No.

The plan now is to do the online thing for the rest of this semester and possibly the rest of this school year and then go back. It takes two weeks for admissions and enrollment to be complete though, so time is just ticking by.

We took the house off the market - but for some reason are hell-bent on keeping it pristine - so that is fun. It is difficult to keep the house picked up and clean when there are 6 people, 2 cats, 2 dogs and fish here. The fish are not much of a problem, but I threw them out there so that you would feel sorry for me. Did it work?

And then there is the issue of our 2 3-year-old boys won't stop pooping in their pants. This one really kills me. They are un-trainable! I firmly believe that we received broken models from the hospital and really should send then in for repairs or replacements. Who's with me?

Oh, and I may have I missed open enrollment for 2009 benefits throughout this whole mess, so we might be getting a "surprise" coverage option this year - always a fun route to take. God help me.


Can we all just agree that this is the most ridiculous thing to ever exist?

Hands On

The Adrian E. Flatt, M.D. Hand Exhibit is an extraordinary private collection of over 100 cast, bronze-coated hands. The contrast of sizes, and sense of personal capability, when simply viewing life-size hands is intriguing. Personalities include: Katherine Hepburn, Walt Disney, Louis Armstrong and Winston Churchill - to name a few.

Baylor University Medical Center - Truett Building - 1st floor

3500 Gaston Ave., 214-820-6684


Of melodies pure and true

A family rushes around in the morning – grabbing cell phones, chargers, books, papers. They head out the door a little after 8, eerily quiet, yet adrenalin-charged. After two u-turns in search of a Starbucks, they settle for McDonald's. One more u-turn later finds them at the court house.

Purse, watch, phone, belt, all go through the metal detector. The coffee makes it through without scrutiny. Several policemen and detectives whisk through, flashing badges and setting off alarms caused by what everyone assumes are concealed weapons.

As the family approaches the third floor via escalator, the girl sees the lawyers, her father, her step-mother talking. The family approaches their lawyer and they wait. A few words are exchanged and then they go into the court room to wait some more.

A trial is underway, or perhaps the pre-cursor to a trial. Something “legally” is going on regardless, and it holds their attention for a while. Their lawyer comes into the court room and announces that the girl’s father has agreed to the final custody modification. They will not have to go to a jury trial. They will not have to come back to court.

Papers are signed. Judges and lawyers have discussions. Forensic Psychologists talk with the girls father and then makes his way over to her and her mom and step-dad. Her father follows. A few words are exchanged, and then her father approaches her – he extends his arms, he embraces her. The girl breaks down, telling her father that she loves him, that she doesn’t want him to hate her. He says he loves her too and just wants her to feel better, to be happy.

And they all go home.

Now the girls has to figure out how this new life will work. How to heal the wounds. How to be happy again.


An Open Letter to the 30 Day Shred

Dear 30DS,

I cheated on you. And it was GOOD! I went jogging today and although it was tough, it was nice to be outside, to run again. And while you have helped me improve muscle tone? My endurance is shot - you let me down. FAIL!

Sort of Radio Silence

I am not sure that I should be detailing much out here these days...so I am going to back off of the play-by-play for a bit. Things are moving along, albeit in a slow and expensive way. We are seeing lawyers and doctors, and starting back to school and making plans for the holidays with friends and family. We have taken our house off of the market and are trying to figure out how to dig ourselves out of the debt we have recently taken on. Our plan to be debt free in 2009? That is funny. 2010? Not bloody likely. 2011? Oh, go on with your bad self - quit with the joking. 2012? Now you are just pissing me off.

Lets just say it is going to be a while. Here is to hoping work bonus money heads my way soon. It wouldn't be wasted here.


Oh My God - This Week!!

Today is full of appointments - Psychiatrist, Forensic Psychologist, and Lawyer. Tomorrow promises a plane ride to LA so that I can be in a face to face meeting on Wednesday, and struggle to get back to LAX by 6pm in order to get home around 1am (or I have the lovely option of taking the red eye out of LA, getting in at 6am). Thursday I have to be in court at 8:30am, and just thinking about THAT makes me want to throw up. I am trying to get out of the business trip altogether, but am not expecting much support there.

I am really anxious for Thusday to be over already.



Brittany is sad. She misses her father. She misses her dog. She misses her sister. She misses the old "normal" I think.

I am having a hard time relating lately on some levels - she was miserable there, yet she seems to miss it. Boggling. I am sure this is normal - our brains don't remember bad things nearly as well as the good. Right? Hello survival instinct. Welcome to our hell.

Our lawyer goes to court tomorrow to get an extension on the restraining order. Then we meet with our lawyer Monday for a planning meeting and off to court on Thursday for what could be the first of many visits...or could be the final settlement. It is really up to Brittany's dad and his lawyer. And did I mention that he has a hot shot criminal defense attorney? Yeah - the guy is surrounded by high profile cases - and has defended some big stars. And I think his wife is a senator. So there is that. We certainly have THAT.

We have been told that this could carry on for a year, at which time Brittany is 18 and it is all thrown away and she can do whatever she wants. AWESOME, no? Do I think it is worth it? The 250 an hour psychologist fees and the 250-450 an hour attorney fees? The days out of work and the doctor visits and court dates? The late night worrying and heartache for my daughter? ABSOLUTELY. Absolutely it is worth it if she chooses life...if she gets a chance to grow up and be happy...if she can someday break free of this overwhelming sadness that has taken over her life...it is worth every sacrifice I could make. But...if it is possible...I would really like karma or god or GOD or fate to ease the hell up already, because really now - enough is enough.



We went to a forensic psychologist today.  He was sarcastic and wore blue jeans…  He was what I term “normal” and I like him quite a bit.  Brittany is going to meet with him again Friday and then AGAIN Monday.  Given how expensive this dude is, I am not sure I like the frequency, but if it helps her, it is worth it.  Right?  (crickets chirping)

5 times better reach around? If that isn't funny, then I don't know what is.

The State of the Union

I am a fairly conservative person when it comes to politics. I tend to not want to rock the boat...keep things calm, manageable, stable. I am definitely not a bleeding heart liberal, but find as I age that some of the bleeding heart stands make a lot of sense. And that is what made this election difficult for me. My mind said McCain. It was the known choice. He might not do great things, but we know what to expect and it isn't the worst thing ever. I was all right with that.

But something happened last night...something I didn't expect. Obama won and I was excited. Which kind of blew my mind a little. Todd and I were talking about it, and I feel like this: While I wasn't excited about McCain, I was OK with him being president. He wouldn't change much. He wouldn't rock the boat. He wouldn't do anything to embarrass our country. But Obama - he has a chance to be a legendary leader. He has the ability to shock the hell out of us, to stir things up, to make a huge impression on our lives. And that makes it interesting.

I like interesting.



Lawyer: expensive
Forensic Psychologist Appointment: tomorrow
Court Date: looming
Nerves: shot


Daylight Screw With Us Time

So the whole daylight savings time charade continues to mess with us. Boys were up at 4:something for the day. The whole "gee - this is swell, I will get a whole extra hour of sleep" thing turns into yet another opportunity for our kids to fuck with us. Awesome.

Just to get even with them, at 7pm I told them it was 8 and put them to bed. Take that daylight savings time! Although this may well mean that they are up at 4 again tomorrow...I am not liking where I am seeing this going.



“Please God, god, someone, something, make this easier… make this suck a little bit less… make their lives happier… just fucking fix this already”

And those were the words mumbled in the middle of the night on Monday in the midst of all of my family turmoil. I lay in bed next to Brittany, knowing how much she was hurting, having just gotten off the phone with Cassie, knowing how much she too was hurting, and I had run out of answers, and energy.

I know I say this a lot, but it is so true: There is no manual for raising children, and you have no idea how much this pisses me off. Every day that I don’t screw something up I am happy. How insane is that? How have we not mandated a class for all parents as they approach new and challenging points during their childrens' lives? How are we not forced to take a class on how to raise a toddler, child, adolescent, teenager, young adult? They have breastfeeding classes, diapering classes…and then you are a graduate. WTF? I am woefully unprepared, uneducated, and inexperienced when it comes to dealing with the situations of late.

Some people tell me I am doing the right things. Others tell me I am messing up my kids even more by the things I do. And yet others just shrug and tell me it doesn’t matter what I do, it will be how it will be. I don’t even know what that last one means.

It appears things are fixed, or taped, or glued, or stapled together for the time being. We seem to have a plan, and people are crying less around here over the past few days. That is a good sign, right? I am not sure I credit God, god, someone, or something for any of the calming waves rippling through our house right now, but I have to give the idea some ounce of possibility…right?


Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Cassie is coming home for Thanksgiving. It has been an exhausting 24 hours. May we never speak of this again.


Blown Away

Email discussion with my daughter at college – the one where she said she doesn’t want to come home…

I know you don't understand why I don't want to come home for Thanksgiving, but I want you to know I do support y'all and Brittany. I'm sorry you feel the way you do about my decision, but I think we just have extremely different opinions about the same situation. I'm not sure you realize how difficult this situation is for me, and I wish you could. If you don't support my decision, I just want to let you know that I don't mind paying for my college tuition and a phone. I'm not really sure what this means for Christmas break, but just let me know if you don't want me to come home. Love you, Cassie.

Your attitude about this amazes me. You say you are supporting Brittany - but you are not supporting her in the way that she needs. You are a member of this family, and as such you have certain obligations. And flipping me off by not coming home when I tell you that you need to be here is unacceptable.

I have so many issues with this situation and your email that I don't know where to begin. I did not say that we won't pay for college. I did not say that we would cut you off financially. You were fishing for an ultimatum, one that I did NOT give you. Apparently you want me to make it easy for you. You want to feel justified in your ridiculous actions - and you think that by not coming home, you can play the martyr blame me for all of the issues and your actions, and not have to deal with controversy. Which, by the way, is controversy ONLY IN YOUR OWN HEAD.

Do you think that your dad will be accepting of your not coming home? Do you really think that he will be OK with you staying there and not coming to see him? Do you think that avoiding all of this makes it go away? You don't think that he will be accepting of your supporting your sister and not taking sides? You think that if you support Brittany, your dad will not love you anymore? And honestly Cassie - if that is at all true, how can you care what he thinks or how he feels. If he is worried about Brittany, asking about her, he would want to know that you are looking out for her. He should be proud of you supporting her, and listen to you when you tell him that you still want to come home, and see him - but you need to see Brittany too.

As far as the ultimatum you apparently think I have made or want me to make (which I want to be clear - I have not made): You say that you can pay for college on your own. How will you do that? You will not have a co-signer on any further loans if you go that route alone. Are you prepared to transfer to a college that you can afford on your own, or have you discussed with your father if he will co-sign, or if he can even get the approval needed to do so? You don't have a job. You don't have any income. You are biting off more than you can chew with the statements below. I don't want you to come home because of a financial threat - I want you to come home because you care about your sister and you are respectful of us as your parents and what we have asked you to do.

I am baffled by your response to this situation, and very very disappointed in your behavior. Your lack of concern about this family - specifically Brittany, and continual focus on only your dad's feelings is troubling. I would like to understand it - but you spend no time trying to explain it, nor do you appear to care how I feel. Your sister has all but gotten down on her knees and begged you to come home, and you have made it quite clear that you don't care what she is going through. All she has asked is that you come home and see her, talk to her, help her through this rough time. And yet - you have essentially said that she isn't important to you. I am not important to you. This family apparently means nothing to you.

What has happened to you?

We are not asking - we are telling you to come home.

I'm sorry y'all don't understand, but since you can't support my decision, I have decided that I'm not coming for Christmas break either.

You should ask Brittany how she felt after she found out Daddy didn't believe her. That's how I feel.

This isn't about me believing you. We believe you don't want to come home. We believe you don't want to deal with this. We believe you don't want to make your dad mad. What is it you think we don't believe? Or what is it you think we don't understand?

We are not asking you to come home and even stay with us. We are asking you to come home and see your sister when she needs you. How are you finding throwing out these ultimatums so easy? How is it not acceptable to upset your dad, but perfectly acceptable to not even want to discuss this with us, and further, not want to be here for your sister FOR TWO DAYS. And now, all of Christmas? You have made this all about you instead of Brittany. This isn't about you. Or me. Or your dad. This isn't an ultimatum and it isn't about money. This is about Brittany hurting and wanting you here. This about her crying for help and wanting her sister to help make it better. She would be anywhere you needed her to be for you. If you were hurt or upset, she would put everything else aside just to make you feel a little bit better.

Somebody please tell me how this can be happening? I am baffled. How can she not want to be here for Brittany? How is that even possible? I am not trying to make this anything more than it is - I want her to be here for Brittany. Brittany wants her to be here. I am not threatening anything, I am not throwing out ultimatums. I don't even care if she sees me. I just want her to support her sister...


Oh the fun I have had today with the police. Two run-ins. 2. And it is only 4pm on a Monday. What does this say about the week ahead?


I am driving home from the book store with Brittany this afternoon. I have just gotten into an argument of sorts with Cassie around her not wanting to come home for Thanksgiving and me wanting to KILL HER because she needs to come home and see her sister. My mind is not on driving. My mind is on trying to think rationally through the situation and figure out how to best handle it without coming across as the supreme bitch that I normally am.

I looked into the mirror and saw a policeman behind me. Shit. I just went through this a few months ago – and do NOT need another ticket. I pulled over and went through the whole “do you know how fast you were going” “no” “why are you in a hurry” “I am not in a hurry…I was just arguing with my daughter about why she doesn’t want to come home from college for Thanksgiving and my mind wasn’t on driving and I am so sorry…oh my god TEENAGERS!”

And do you know what? For the first time in the history of…well, ever, I didn’t get a ticket. The officer told me that he has a son in the military and he just went through the same thing with him…and I started crying at the injustice of it all and he handed back my license and RAN AWAY FROM THE CRAZY LADY. It was awesome. And I didn't have to offer up sexual favors or anything. I did have to promise to drive more carefully though.


“Hello ma’am. This is XYZ Police department following up on an incident from last week. I understand one of our officers was out at your home regarding a custody issue with your daughter Brittany. It appears that your ex husband has inquired about filing criminal charges and we needed to follow up with you and let you know the status and find out what has happened…”

I proceeded to tell the officer/sergeant/whatever he was the situation. I also sent him the restraining order, affidavit, and modification documents. I was also kind enough to share with him my ex husbands cell and work numbers. I am so accommodating. I told him what had happened and the guy actually agreed with everything I have done, stating he would have done the same thing. He also thought that Brittany’s dad was not doing anything to help mend the relationship with her. Kudos to that guy.

We ended the call with him apologizing profusely for having to call at all and wishing us the best of luck.

Lady Marmalade

About 15 minutes after I wrote the last entry, I received a call from my boss saying that I was going to have to work all night – on Saturday night. Apparently the universe has a damn fine sense of humor. That is the last time I am saying that I don’t mind work issues in the middle of the night.

So Saturday night found me leaving for work at 9:45pm, stopping at a hotel to pick someone up, and then working in a freezing cold building until 3:30am, returning said person to the hotel and then getting home around 4:00am Sunday. Wow – that was fun. Let’s ignore the fact that it sounds like (based on the work schedule anyway) that I am a part-time hooker. We didn’t really even have to do any WORK once we got there. We just all sat around staring at each other waiting for updates on the work being done. 5 of us. Not contributing. Wonderful plan if you ask me. And by wonderful I mean clusterfuck.


Brittany's Re-entrance into the Limelight

Brittany went out with a friend last night...mostly to feel normal again, and probably to get away from me. She has been attached to me for over a week - and needed some damn space already. This after being grounded for a month. Poor kid. So - she went out with instructions to call in a few hours and be home by midnight. She called by 9:30, called again at 10:30 or 11, and was home by 11:30. And even though I knew she was home, when my phone rang at 4:30 this morning, I was paralyzed with fear that something had happened to her. I sat bolt-upright in bed, grabbed the phone, and waited for bad news.

There was no bad news from Brittany. It was only a work issue that needed my attention - and I have to say that I have NEVER BEEN HAPPIER TO HAVE WORK ISSUES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAMN NIGHT. NEVER.


Filling in the Blanks

Last week I found out that Brittany was VERY VERY unhappy at her dad's house. She had been cutting, had tried to kill herself, and said that she would do it again if she had to go back. I didn't try to understand it - I really didn't and don't care about the reasons. All I care about is taking care of my daughter and keeping her safe.

I immediately set up an appointment with a psychiatrist for the Thursday morning, which is no small feat considering I didn't find these things out until 5:00pm on Wednesday evening. I also made an appointment with a lawyer to discuss how I was going to keep her safe and alive until we figured out what started all of this. The next 5 days are some of the most difficult days that I have ever faced in my life.

When the police showed up at our house Monday night looking for Brittany because she had not returned to her dad's (yes, he called them), I can honestly say that I felt like it was the end - that we would have to send her back...and I didn't know what would happen. I was afraid of what her dad would do, but mostly, I was afraid of what she would do to herself. I knew she would cut herself, and was more than sure she would try to kill herself. How can a parent put their child through that?

We went to court today - or rather our lawyer did. We were awarded temporary custody pending the outcome of a custody trial. They also issued a restraining order against him. Brittany is going to get the help she needs and will start to heal. We will try to help fix what is broken. We are all walking on egg shells and hoping we are doing the right things.

I have learned a few things here:

Violation of a custody order is a civil offense - it is not a criminal offense and will not result in being arrested.

Non-Forensic Psychiatrists and Psychologists back out faster than an SR-71A Rocket Plane when asked for their opinion on custody or anything related to legal issues.

There is very little experience with cases involving a 17 year old that wants to choose which parent they live with - in which one of their parents refuses to listen to them.

Sometimes you have to step way out of your comfort zone in order to do what is right for your children. Sometimes there are no laws or doctors or advise to guide you. You have to follow what feels right and hope you don't fuck it up too badly.

Lawyers are REALLY REALLY REALLY expensive.

You will never have all of the answers. You are winging it when it comes to doing the right thing for your kids.

Wow - this parenting stuff - it is hard.



Depression suicide failure pressure sadness defeat intimidation custody psychiatrist family runaway lawyers headache medication numb court writ police contempt temporary cutting help



Zombie, originally uploaded by ckindsfather.

The newest addition to our Halloween collection has arrived. Meet the Zombie. We also added an 8 foot blow-up spider, a fog machine and a small grave yard. Of course the Scary Clown is back as is the man-eating spider and body-less victim. Next year I think we will add another zombie and expand the graveyard.


The Dark Time

I don't really know what to say about things over here lately. We are in a fragile state...full of discussions in the dark of night while laying in bed: "What should we do?" "How can we make this better for her?" "When will things get easier?" Full of half-glances and walking on egg shells. Full of carefully worded phrases. Full of very little laughter. Full of tearful phone calls. Full of feelings of helplessness and defeat and confusion. There will come a day when we will look back on this as The Dark Time - but the pain of it will fade. I wish that time was closer than it seems right now. Right now? It feels very, very far away.



We are dealing with some pretty difficult things over here...so if you are so inclined please keep us in your thoughts.


Late Nights and Early Mornings

I met an old boss for "drinks" tonight after the boys went to bed. I feel like such a poser going out for drinks, when I don't drink. The whole "let's meet for drinks" thing just seems silly to me now. It was great to see him and some of my old colleagues - but I have to say that getting home close to 11 (OH DEAR GOD - NOT 11!!) feels...late. And ridiculous. And to think some of them are still out drinking and they have to get up in the morning and work just like me. I don't know how they do it and I don't know how I used to do it. Mind boggling.

Waist Lines and My Inability to Understand Fashion

My clothes are big. I love that. I really do. I love that the working out I have been doing is making me more fit...looking better, and feeling better. I however don't like the lack of clothes that really fit me well. I have been researching skirts lately - wanting one to replace my favorite black one from Express. It was form fitting and buttoned up the back. It was simple, yet sort of sexy. It is a size 6. I wear a 2. I wore it today anyway, and it was a HUGE mistake. Damn thing was not exactly in staying-on-mode. So, long story mind-numbingly-longer, I have been looking online to find a replacement - and all I am finding these days are pencil skirts - which have a really high waist. Didn't we just all ditch that for the hipster types of jeans and skirts? Did I miss another fashion change when sleeping last night? God - I should have saved all of my old skirts - because apparently the stuff I wore back in the 90s is freaking BACK IN STYLE????

Anyway, I stopped at Express after lunch to actually see with my own eyes what they are selling and figure out my size...and low and behold...the high waist pencil skirts are IN STYLE. Still finding that odd. But not interested in arguing with those French people about what we should or shouldn't be wearing. Chances are pretty good that they are NEVER going to listen to me. I cannot match socks.

In case you care, I bought this skirt, and this one.


Columbus Day. Zombies Beware.

I do not work at a financial institution, but support one, so we follow their holidays. Today is supposed to be a holiday, a day of not working, a day of rest. Instead, today has consisted of meetings and emails and phone calls just like any other work day. I am not a fan of holidays that end up like this.

If I had actually been able to eschew work today, I would be at Ft. Worth's River Legacy Parks running right now. I was looking forward to an afternoon of running followed by sitting in the park on a blanket reading a book (Day by Day Armageddon - to feed my latest zombie craze). I thought that I may mix in a burrito the size of my head (Hello Chipotle) or the worlds best salad (kisses to you, Corner Bakery) and maybe even take a nap. Doesn't it sound lovely? Sorta like fantasy land? That, I am finding out, is because that day only exists in my fantasies.

Speaking of zombies. I have been reading a few books about them - and we have ordered one for our yard for Halloween this year. This has led to a lot of zombie talk in our house...talk that the boys have started participating in. Which is awesome. Is there anything funnier than 3 year olds talking about zombies? I don't think so.

Cole: Are those ga-zombies* on that book?
Me: Yes. Well - one is a zombie, and one is a good guy. The guy with the gun? A good guy. They one with the face falling off? He is the zombie. The good guy is going to kill the zombie and keep all of the people safe.
Roark: zombies are scary.
Cole: Yes, ga-zombies are scary. But I will help the good guys keep you safe. I will hit the ga-zombies with this bat. And this fly swatter.
Me: Make sure you hit them in the head. You have to hit zombies in the head to kill them.
Roark: When the UPS man brings us our zombie, I will hit it in the head with my bat.
Me: NOOOOO. That is not a real zombie. You only get to hit zombies in the head if they are moving. That zombie doesn't move - you cannot hit him.
Cole: I need to find some ga-zombies. Good bye.

* I don't know why Cole calls them ga-zombies, but it is cute, so I don't correct it.


25 Things About Me

I am not evasive
I do not enjoy playing pretend
I do not like to wait
I seldom cry
I miss drinking
I only see my flaws
I think through things way too thoroughly
I am a firm believer in "beat a dead horse" for no good reason
I love to read, but don't want to make time for it
I wish I had family outside of my husband and kids that I was close to
I wish I had remained in contact with childhood friends
I listen to a song I like over and over and over - until I am sick of it
I expect people to understand me without me having to explain anything to them
I don't like talking about my feelings
I don't like hearing about your feelings
Having children is one of the best things I have ever done
I feel old
I feel more connected to people I read about than some people I actually know
I over-react to most things
I love the tired feeling I get after working out
I hate coming into the office
I am already missing summer
I hate most sports
I love writing, yet seem to struggle over what to write about
Having to have our last dog put to sleep has made me less interested in pets


Shred Update

I started the 30 Day Shred on 9/20. A long 20 or so days later I have only missed maybe 3 or 4 days. I have to say, it feels good. It looks good too. Although now I am suffering from a new issue...please play tiny violins for me...or send the WAmbulance... my clothes - they are too big. I have invested some money recently in new work clothes, and it is freaking expensive. I picked up a dress, some pants and skirts and a few shirts. I also have a pair of jeans that fit very well, but then I have a pair that is a bit big and one pair that just doesn't work anymore. The pair that fits really well? Well, I am embarrassed to tell you the size (2). I thought that maybe the sizing was off...because a 2? Really? But - I am here to say that most of the 4s I tried on the other day (jeans, skirts, pants) were all too big. The really funny thing is that I have not lost a lot of weight, but I am a different shape.

All of this changing shape got me curious...what measurements are most celebrities? How do I stack up? I went on a google-mission and the results were staggering.

Julia Roberts: 34B-23-34
Halle Berry: 36C-22-37
Jennifer Aniston: 34C-23-35
Sandra Bullock: 33B-24-34
Christina Applegate: 35-23-35 1/2
Charlize Theron: 36B-24-36

That is just a sampling... What I want to know, is how do they fit their internal organs inside a 22-effing-inch-waist? What is that all about? 23, 24 inches? Seriously? Can you actually live as an adult built like that? What keeps them from snapping in half? Do you realize that they must wear like a size -4? A size chart I found said that size 24 inch waist is a 00. Is there really anything smaller than a double-zero? Because DUDE - that is crazy.

My measurements are embarrassing at this point.

Enough of that. No, really enough.


I had a dream the other day that one of my boys died. It was horrible...and it felt so real. The one thing that sticks with me from that is in the dream when I had to come back to work - I couldn't face the pictures in here - in my office.

Anyway - the sick dream got me thinking...how does someone ever handle something like that? It isn't like losing a parent - someone we know is not going to be here forever. We just never think about losing our children, and I don't think I am wired to be able to handle that.

Don't you love it when people write something depressing? You are welcome.


Catching Up

I am back home from all of the work travel, was able to head home last Thursday instead of Friday and had the whole weekend here, which was nice. I ended up taking two days off of the 30 Day Shred last week, making it three days total I have missed it in over two weeks. I think I have logged around 15 days...maybe more. Anyway, I am close to 1/2 way. And I see huge differences in my body. I actually have arm muscles. And stomach muscles. And they look GOOD. My legs are more toned - although I do admittedly spend a lot of time feeling pretty sore. It seems like every time I do level two, my shoulders scream at me for a day. I am hoping that the added muscle there will start to make those god damned push-ups easier...but so far I am not feeling like a viking in that area.

I have also lost a few pounds - 5 overall I think. The first week or so I think I actually gained weight. I find that annoying. Now though, I am starting to see it drop off a bit. I didn't really have to lose any, but a few pounds isn't going to hurt me. I only have about 4 or 5 pounds to go and I am at what I weighed at 21 before I had any of my 4 kids...nice. I cannot say enough positive things about the effects of that workout, especially based on the fact that it is only a 20 minute workout! I do however hate that trainer..and her skinny little posse. In fact, I have all but called each of them the "C" word during workouts. Ask Todd - I really hate skinny bitch and think Jillian is personally out to get me. I am not sure he is amused...but it gets me through the workouts.

The boys are good. Cassie seems great - Todd visited her a week or so ago, and said she is happy. Her dad is there this weekend for their homecoming festivities (against Cassie's will) - and I suppose everything is going fine.

Brittany's boyfriend came over this evening. Todd wanted to talk to him, and requested a little discussion with him. I have to hand it to the kid, he sucked it up and sat down to talk to us. He pretty much took responsibility for his actions, admitted he used poor judgment, apologized, and was VERY pleasant all evening. He even played with the dog, played with the boys, and stayed for dinner. Ruling now is that Brittany is grounded until the end of the month (she can have friends over here if we are home, with our permission). The friend of hers that tried to give her the sleeping pill and then said she didn't do it is never allowed over here again - as she is a shitty friend, showing continued poor judgment and lack of being sorry for being such an idiot and almost killing our daughter.

When Brittany is allowed to go out again, she will have to call us and verbally check in every 2 hours. She will not be able to spend the night at anyone's house, and will have a strict curfew of midnight. She will also be giving us a detailed plan for her evening so that we know where she is. "just hanging out" will not be an option. Eventually, once we start trusting that she isn't going to get herself in more trouble - or dead - we will back off of the strictness...but for now, that plan feels right.

We are working on once again getting her a lawyer so that she can move out of her dad's - long story there, but her step-mom has been horrible through this little mess and is repeatedly showing how she simply enjoys hating Brittany as opposed to parenting and teaching her. Her dad is sitting idly by not doing a thing about it, and Brittany is having to take the abuse and neglect...not good.

So - same verse, different day. Ah, circle of life - you kick my ass.


Not workin out

I spent the days in mindless meetings and followed up dinner with much of the same. I need a break. So I am taking one. Nighty night.

Workin out on the road

I brought The Shred with me on my trip. It sat on my desk mocking me until I finally worked out. I didn't bring weights, opting to use two bottles of water in order to feel like a complete and total idiot. Mission accomplished.


Lazy Ass

Day I-have-no-idea of the 30 Day shred: going fine. Todd did the workout with me over the weekend a few times. We did level one the first day and level 2 the second day. I am happy to report that he thought level two sucked as much as I do - so I am not a complete lazy-ass. I moved up to a higher level of weights...although they are still embarrassing light. And I think there may be some visible difference in how I look. There is definite difference in how I feel. The one day I skipped working out, the guilt was horrible, and I had a noticeable lack of energy. Could have been the cold, but I am not completely convinced.

I am out of town the rest of this week for work. I don't know yet if I am going to run when I am out of town, or take the workout with me...still up in the air. I feel ridiculous packing weights in my suitcase...so jury is still out on that one. I need to research the area I am staying in and see what my running options are. I do NOT want to get stuck having to run on a treadmill.

There really isn't much else going one. I continue to push all thoughts of politics and the election out of my head. I just don't have the desire to go there. Not yet anyway. Not that it matters much - I LIVE IN TEXAS.


I am sitting in the car with Roark while he sleeps. The Offspring is playing on the radio. Todd and Cole are in Sam's picking up a few things. Why am I not at home? Well...THEY ARE SHOWING THE HOUSE! I know, I know. I am as surprised as you. You know what would really suck? If someone actually made an offer on it right now. Not really an ideal time to move. Work, brittany, soccer - everything is in full swing around here. But - that is just how things seem to be.

Work...ah, work. It is crazy busy. And believe it or not, the recent financial disasters have caused us to be MORE busy. Which -- yeah! But also - ugh. Am tired.

The 30 Day Shred lives on. I made it 6 straight days and then took yesterday off...but will be back at it tonight. My cold finally got the better of me and I went to bed when the boys did last night. I think I slept for something like 11 hours. Feel MUCH better today. Todd being home helps too. I have still not managed to cook a damned thing...and have take out planned tonight too. I am a winner home-maker.

I kind of want to make cookies...will have to think about that.


A Good Girl

"I love you - you are a good girl. I am sorry things are so difficult now. Love, Mom"

I sent my daughter flowers at school yesterday - wrote the above on the card. I made an appointment with a counselor so that she can talk to them if she wants to. I talked to her a bit yesterday, but she still sounded so sad. And it breaks my heart.

I am taking all of this seriously, trying to be supportive...because I don't what else to do. One day at a time.



My daughter told me something this morning and I am still trying to process it…but it oozes of sadness and depression. It is so hard to be a teenager. There is so much pressure. Everything you do is the HARDEST THING EVER. Your hormones are out of whack. You feel like you should be independent, but yet you are not quite ready – there is very little good about it when you are in it. That is the place she is right now. It is a dark, unfriendly, unhappy place. She misses her sister so much. They had just gotten close, and then Cassie up and went away, across the country, to school. Now, Brittany is left here, left behind. Her life stays the same while Cassie’s is exciting and new. She is left here to deal with her day, to deal with me, to deal with high school.

Do you remember being a teenager? Remember how hard it was to feel like you knew everything, but had control over nothing? I do. And even though I remember it, I really don’t know what to do to make her feel better. I don’t know how to help her – how to prevent her from making some really bad decisions. I am torn about suggesting therapy – an outlet to talk about things with a neutral party – because it feels like I am shirking my parenting duties. I really want to fix it – to help her understand how this isn’t as grim as it feels to her right now…but I don’t know how.

How is it that I can have gone through the same types of things and have no inclination of what to do? God, this whole parenting thing feels so overwhelming sometimes.


Day 5 of The 30 Day Shred - I have to say it wasn't so bad. It was difficult...yes. But I didn't feel like I was going to lose a lung or pass out cold mid-jumping jack. So we officially have PROGRESS. I actually see some definition in my stomach which is fantastic. I don't have the six-pack that the skinny little happy bitch on the back right does, but I am working on it (if you see the video, you will know what I am talking about).


Shred - Day 4

I don't know if you are sick of hearing about my descent into the realm of pain...if so, you sadly have 27 more days of recaps. If not, you have 27 more days of recaps! See how I spin that? Am an educated woman...can do ANYTHING. Well, except thrive while doing that god damned effing bitch of a workout. Today I did level 2, only because level 1 was so hard yesterday. No - you didn't miss anything...it doesn't make sense. I seldom do. Also - I have a cold. Please play tiny violins for me.

Right now House is on. And while it is playing, I am not really watching it. I am sitting here wondering if my knees are going to explode. That workout? Hard on the joints. And yes, Jayson - I KNOW I should ride a bike already.

Tonight brings promises of Nyquil and hopefully a good nights sleep.

Am in pain - Send help

Oh Jillian. Jillian, Jillian, Jillian. I hate you, but I cannot quit you.

Day 3 of the Shred was yesterday. HOLY HELL that hurt. I am not sure I have a functioning muscle group at this point. Lifting a glass is difficult. Pushups? Totally unrealistic. I HATE THE BITCH AND HER WORKOUT.

Today is day 4. I wonder when I will stop hating on this routine?


Jagermeister...not just for breakfast anymore.

There is a bit of a story behind the Brittany episode. It involves about 24 oz of Jagermeister mixed with Monster energy drink, chugged over what sounds like a .25 seconds or something equally as disturbing. This was followed by much puking, crying, begging for her friend to take her home or call me…which nobody did. They did however try to give her a sleeping pill so that she would shut up. Thank GOD she threw that up. She apparently asked them to call 911 at one point before passing out. And NOBODY CALLED ME. Now I am not directly blaming anyone except for my asinine daughter for this drinking disaster, but I do wonder what in the hell they were thinking.

I can assure you that the “friend” of hers that didn’t call me, tried to give her sleeping pills, and then texted me, pretending she was Brittany asking if she could spend the night at a friend’s will never be allowed at our house, nor will my daughter go anywhere with her again. I can also assure you that the 18 year old boy that came to get my daughter, introduced himself to me, and FAILED TO BRING HER BACK HOME - abandoning her with her “friend”, will never date her again. How ugly we make this for him remains to be seen. At a minimum, he will be meeting with Todd and answering some very difficult questions. We are contemplating worse outcomes involving his parents and the word statutory, however I am not sure what course of action we will take.

I do know one thing – when the boys are older and dating, we will have a new rule to add to the growing list for their dates… they will ALWAYS take their date home on time, and in the same condition they picked her up in. I cannot believe that a boy would abandon his date and NOT TAKE HER HOME. I really want to kill him.


Day 2

Day 2, level 2 of the 30 Day Shred... status = shredded.

Holy crap! Level two flattened me. I felt fine today - didn't really feel sore in the least from level one. So on to two I went. About 1/3 of the way through I started to feel like I had been hit by a train. I am sure that getting up for the day at 3am didn't help - and it was 11:00pm when I finally got around to doing the freaking workout...but still. Hard.

Daughters that don't come home

Well - brittany is home finally. Or rather with us getting breakfast. And also? In a WORLD of trouble. She is very hung over and tired and did I mention in trouble? I called the boy that she went out with last night aannd told him 1) if he takes my daughter out, he better bring her home. And 2) if she ever comes home in that shape again - or doesn't come home at all like last night, I will talk to his parents. I might be doing 2) anyway. I am just so upset.

More later after I think of tortuous things to do to Brittany today. Wash windows? Pull weeds? Watch the boys while I nap? Hmmmm...lots of possibilities.

My daughter didn't come home last night. She said she was spending the night at a friend's - and apparently the friend told her parents they were at my house. I showed up at the friends house and neither girl was there. Needless to say - I am pissed. This after getting up with the boys at 4am.


Exercise, Parenting, and Sex

Well - for starters go watch this. This will give you a glimpse into my sense of humor. I cannot stop laughing at how ridiculous this is. And funny. Did I mention the funny?

Moving along - The 30 Day Shred is all the rage these days. It is supposed to be an ass-kicking workout that reduces any participants to tears after a few days. I guess I am starting out in OK shape because of my running - and I did only do level one today...but I am not seeing it. I suppose I will wait to judge too closely until tomorrow, however I don't think it is anything compared to this. Bill Blanks Ultimate Tao Bo really kicked my butt. And that workout was SO LONG. The Jilian Michaels one is only 20 minutes long...so it just didn't feel as horrible. Isn't it sad that we judge exercise by how crappy it makes us feel? The worse I feel, the better I think it must be. Sick.

Today brought with it a trip to Target for a birthday present, a workout tape, and weights. Tonight brought the worlds largest burrito, thanks to Chipotle. Tomorrow brings a birthday party (during the boys naptime - not sure how I am going to work THAT out) and a trip to the library. And then - back to work.

I am solo parenting this week - and determined to do that 30 day thing - well...for thirty days - so I don't how pleasant I will be this for the next few days. Come to think of it - I shouldn't be any worse than normal. I bitch a lot.

Oh - we were talking at work last week...sick people that we are...about places to have sex. Fun places. There were some great ones thrown out, along with the usual: shower, hotel, bathroom, airplane, subway, conference room table, walk-in freezer, dressing room, church confession booth, deer stand (I work with some strange people), woods, park, boat, winery, car, baby grand piano (I just thought of that one right now), kitchen counter, museum/art gallery exhibit, library, beach lifeguard chair... that is all I can think of. What are your contributions?



So after spending a few weeks out of town taking care of nobody but myself, I am finding being back home...a lot of work. I am so tired at night after working all day - that I crash before 9. And sleep as late as possible before starting all over. I am annoyed at having to pick up after myself, make the bed, cook. Traveling, although lonely, is so freaking EASY. Todd is headed out of town Saturday for the week. I think I am tired this week? I cannot wait to play single parent for a week and really get my ass kicked. The nice part though is that the following week I am out of town again. Seems like a lot of travel, but I don't really do much if you look at the year overall...


Company Stuff

Our company announced a 25,000 person layoff today. That is roughly 1/5-1/4 of our workforce. I have a fairly large group of people that work for me - and they are BREAKING DOWN MY DOOR trying to find out information. Which - I DON'T HAVE. Seriously. I know nothing. Now go away.


Sunshine and Rain

I am still in SoCal - about done with work, currently sitting by the pool catching up on email. I am pretty sure I will run later. I actually drove my running path today and discovered that it is 4 miles. Given that have already run that 3 times this week - I am getting to be in MUCH better shape! I have only one more definate meeting today at 6pm and no people to bother me after that. You have no idea how happy this makes me. Room service, jogging, bed, maybe reading (World War Z).

We are supposed to get a LOT of rain in Dallas this weekend - I am hoping it doesn't leave me stranded in CA. I checked into flights out tonight, and I would have to drive to LA and get in at either midnight tonight or 6am tomorrow. Neither option appeals to me. The boys have their first soccer game this weekend too - so it might end up cancelled...sad.

In other news - we dropped the offer on the house in Austin. No movement on our house made that offer seem silly. The housing market is not good right now - which blows. Guess our house will be on the market for a while.


I know nobody

Last night in Malibu - we ate at a nice restaurant on the water. It was fairly casual - Paradise Cove if you must know. Nosey nosers. We were a group of about 22 people, and have been given a fairly large table that could seat 10-12. We were also given a couple of other tables that could seat up to 5 - bringing us right to 22. And then someone else showed up and it got crowded. My boss moved low man on totem pole to the kiddie table and stuck me in the middle of entertainment territory - squashed in with no place to go.

There I was at dinner. In a corner. no escape. Facing 5 people I had just met and was supposed to entertain, get to know, make them feel like I truly cared about them on some level...or some bullshit.

So - I learned that Randy hates cucumbers. He ate like 200 when he was a kid and got so sick he cannot eat them anymore. His wife and son are Chinese and they tend to eat a lot of traditional Chinese food. Like feet. and they eat stinky fruit.

The other guy, Art, wants to be a bartender on a tropical island.

Todd wants to be a professional photographer. and Chris wants to be a feng shui auditor. Those are life-long dreams. Randy also said that he wants to sail a boat. Mr. Miller said he wants to sail tiger woods boat - meaning he only has to drive 2 times a year. The rest of the time he can just goof off. Sounds fun.

When I was asked what my dream job was (that is what i get for being so talky) I couldn't think of anything. A writer would be nice. A artists. Write books. I don't know - that all seems too personal to share with those people. Better to share here where I really know...nobody.

Friday! Where are you?

I ran for the third day in a row. At night again - didn't make it out until around 10:30 and didn't run long. Was back by 11:00. We had a ridiculously long and insane day followed by a long and insane dinner - so having run at all makes me happy. Tomorrow is another day full of meetings starting very early and ending very late - but then things slow down a bit around here...which is nice. I am ready for a slow down.

Lots of work rumors shared and confirmed on this trip - that is always fun. Had a few good conversations with my boss and am spending time with some folks I work with. I know it sounds boring, but it has its good points. I really like some of these people and it is fun to see them. I still miss home a LOT though. Talking to the boys on the phone is not the same as seeing them...and not seeing Todd is killing me.

Friday cannot get here soon enough.


No News is Good News

I have now run two days in a row. While out of town. In the evening - when it is more tempting to be a sloth than to exercise. I get points for that, right? I have run the same route both nights - somewhere between 4 and 5 miles I think. With some hills. Hills are new for me - we don't have much in the way of incline in Plano...we also don't have much smog. Wow that stuff makes it difficult on the lungs. At least that is my story...and I am sticking to it.

This area is beautiful for running...lots of sidewalk and hills and parks. I love the mountains and the cool night air. I am not a fan of the coyotes or the areas of road with no lights...but it is a trade-off.

Not much else to report. I miss my kids terribly. I miss Todd. I miss home. But as far as trips go, this one isn't terrible. Tomorrow is FULL of meetings, so perhaps I will have a different perspective tomorrow night. Perhaps one that states "GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE!!!!"


Welcome to the 7th Circle (now owned by Marriott)

I swear I was just here in California. Oh wait. I was. I flew home last Friday and here I am back again on Sunday. And I am a little annoyed by it all. See...we typically stay at a courtyard or something equal in cost when there is a big group of us traveling together. However last week a few of us were in town for pre-meetings and we stayed at a nice hotel. SO I went ahead and booked a block of rooms for all of this week for a big group of people. And they messed it up but good.

They had me arriving Tuesday night. Leaving Wednesday night. I am actually here now (sunday) and not leaving until Friday. So they are already wrong. I got a speach about how they may not have a room for me all week and may need to send me to another hotel - which is fine. I dont care at this point (note to self NEVER STAYING HERE AGAIN). I get to my room. On the second floor. Right inside from the air conditioning units or the pool filters or god knows what...but they are ugly and it looks like a trailer park out there. HATE THIS ROOM. Oh as a bonus the ceiling is leaking over the second double bed - flaking off onto the floor...very fancy. This room SUCKS. The rate....frightening. Must make it through Friday so I can get out of here.


Travel Revisited

I leave California today to head home. I get home in the late afternoon. I am home approximately a day and then I come back here for a week. I don't know what I was thinking when I agreed to this... it is sounding like a beating now. I did get upgraded to first class - so that is good, right? Do you think it will make it worth it? Oh no it will not.



I bought new black dress shoes last week. I am not really a shoe person, meaning I don’t own a lot of them. I tend to have a pair of black and a pair of brown shoes for summer and then buy winter-appropriate ones in the same colors along with a pair of boots. I will go a few years with a pair of shoes before replacing them. I do tend to go through a few pair of flip flops in a year, but those cannot count…they are cheap and expendable. The dress shoes though – I have determined that they are worth buying nice ones so that they last and stay in style.

So back to the shoes I bought last week. They are this shoe but all black.

They are cute. But holy hell the heels are high. I don’t mean “oh man…my feet are sore” kind of high. I mean “OH MY GOD SOMEBODY KILL ME PLEASE” kind of high. I wore them for two hours last week and was hurting. But I am stupid, so I brought them to California with me on a business trip – and the only other shoes I brought are made for jogging. Not a good look with business attire. They detract from the skirt. And the cuff links. I still have to suffer through those shoes for another day and I am not really sure how I am going to manage. Today I broke down and bought some inserts for the base of the shoe that is supposed to make them hurt less. By the way – they don’t work.

Right now I am laying in the hotel bed with feet that are cramping worse than a 17 year old girl on her period. (You are welcome for that visual. It comes at no extra charge.) I think I may have permanently damaged something in my feet. Send replacements. Feet – not shoes.

I did buy new shoes. They are black. Pretty. Not quite as high. I am testing them today in a marathon 12 hour or longer day. Because I am stupid. Will report back because I know that you care.



I bought new sunglasses. Again. See, I have had this struggle with finding some that worked for me. I had a fairly nice pair for about 3 or 4 years. I didn’t lose them, didn’t scratch them, and was fairly happy with them. And then I put them in the pocket of a running jacket and they went through the wash. They really didn’t function after that. They were scratched and bent, and in general disarray. So began my hunt for new sunglasses.

I started with a cheap pair from a drug store. They were very inexpensive (maybe $10.00). They worked for a day or so while we were at the pool – managing to pretty much block the sun and spare me from squinting in order to avoid burning my eye balls. Then, I began to notice that my vision was distorted while wearing them. Things looked bent or wavy, or something not-quite-right.

While on our trip across the country to Michigan a few weeks ago I gave them to the boys who promptly stepped on them or sat on them, or something else fairly destructive. So on the way back to Texas I picked up another pair at a sporting goods store. That pair was more expensive (maybe $30.00) and was polarized (which they claimed should keep the vision from being distorted). As you can see, I am cheap when it comes to glasses… I just didn’t think I should pay a lot for freaking plastic. Those glasses, however, actually MADE THINGS BRIGHTER. Which – is totally NOT what I was looking for in sunglasses. I wore them about a day and retired them in the same fashion as the previous ones.

While killing time over the weekend while people were invading our home (also known as viewing our now for sale house) we stopped in at another sporting goods store. The boys tried to convince us to let them ride the skateboards they had on display (we did NOT let them – see earlier post on Roark breaking his head as to why we are mean, mean parents) while I looked at sunglasses. Again.

I really only had three requirements: Don’t make things brighter, don’t distort my vision, and cost less than $50.00. It didn’t take very long to find several pair that I liked. However they were all a lot more than $50.00. I have a friend who boasted about his love for Maui Jim’s, so I looked at those and some Oakley’s. HOLY CRAP those things are expensive. Even the cheap ones were way out of my price range. So I figured 2 out of the three requirements filled were not bad, and sucked up the cost. I now own very nice, very very expensive glasses. They had best not disappoint me.

Roark broke his head

His breaking things appears to be a trend at our house. One I hope we can put a stop to soon.

Saturday evening while we were watching the Longhorn football game, the boys were running around the house (literally) acting like three year olds. Dad and Vivian were over, which I am sure had the boys keyed up a notch (as they LOVE Nana and Papa and feel the need to show off around them). I spent much of the day and evening telling them to slow down, be careful, and “stop doing that” – worried that they were going to get hurt. I spend a lot of time worrying about that. And I had just told them to settle down and had finished glaring at Todd as if it was all his fault, when we heard a very loud THUD followed by Roark screaming. He had tripped or tumbled or something – resulting in his head meeting with the corner of a wall, creating a nice little slightly bleeding, gaping crack in his head.

I took one look at his head, imagined him bleeding to death in his sleep (or getting blood on our carpeting) and decided he needed stitches. So – off Todd and I went with Roark to the pediatric after hours place. And this is where it gets kind of funny. They glued his head back together. With super glue. They called it something else, but I swear that is what it was. They simply filled the crack with glue and held it together until it dried. I COULD HAVE DONE THAT MYSELF.

We have spent the last few days trying to keep him fairly calm so that he won’t split it opened again, making stitches a necessity. It has been a pain, especially since he found out we have skateboards in the garage (left over from the girls very quickly passing interest years ago) and want to ride them RIGHT NOW. I just cannot see letting Roark on a freaking skateboard with a broken head.

Bets on what he breaks next? Perhaps next week when we let them near the boards of death?



I have been having trouble with my vision. I really should consider Lasik surgery, but just don't want to go there. I had my prescription updated a few months ago at a new eye doctor because of changes in insurance, and they put me in daily disposable contacts...which I had never used before. I tried them. I hated them. I couldn't see out of them. Things were fuzzy and they were yucky. So a few weeks ago I went back to my old eye doctor, figuring I would just pay out of pocket - because I like her. And she knows me. And I have been going there for, well, forever. Guess what? Eyes are WORSE. 2 months later. Significantly worse. Interesting (ok, only interesting to me).

I am now the proud owner of gas permeable lenses, which honestly - I hate. They are supposed to keep my vision from getting worse and are supposed to help with the damage my eyes have from the steroids and other drugs they had me on last year. Apparently my eyes took a hit and this is the best way to keep them stable. Wow - I had this kind of lens 7 years ago, and I really don't remember them being that hard to get used to. They are horrible. I am sorta wishing I had not gone back to my old eye doctor.

Work-Related Nonsense

I am not really sure what to even say. Work is insane. Our company was eaten up by another company and now we are officially one giant company – and well, although there is some amount of stress in that, it doesn’t really affect me yet. It might not for some time. But it is still out there…looming. Rumor has it that MANY people will be affected by this merger as soon as the middle of next month, and then again in November. The numbers the rumor references are staggering, so it is pretty ridiculous of me to think my job is safe.

And also – my job is killing me. We are busy working on a sales deal which somehow landed me in charge of reviewing contracts. I am NOT a lawyer and I don’t work in supply chain, yet here I am reading hundreds of contracts, trying to understand them. KILL ME PLEASE. No, really. Nobody should know this much about force majeure or termination clauses or rate structures. NOBODY. Me especially.

The next few weeks have me traveling a bit for work, which has its ups and downs. I only have to take care of me, which is awesome. And yet – my family won’t be around, which is sad. I will have time to run – but will likely lay around in a hotel room THINKING about it more than actually doing it. I will get to eat out at fantastic restaurants every night, but will have a hard time sticking to healthy options. It is only a few weeks though, and then I am home and work slows down. So I think I will manage.

Oh – in other job-related news: a bunch of people I know left the company I work for to join a competitor. They are now all being sued.


My Home Town

I had not planned to drive through the town of my up-bringing on our way to drop my daughter off at school in Michigan. I don’t have any family there now and have not kept contact with any of my childhood friends. I didn’t really see any reason to take a trip down memory lane. I did however want to revisit my favorite pizza place on earth. And that is how we ended up in South Bend on Tuesday afternoon.

Todd thought that we should go by my old house, see the area – show my kids where I grew up. I agreed, although I am not a huge fan of “relive the past”. I was surprised that I did not get lost while driving to my old house. I was surprised at how familiar everything felt. And I was also surprised at what a disaster the whole neighborhood was. It was worse than the few parts of East St. Louis we had seen the day before. Boarded up windows? Check. Furniture on the porches? Check. Drunks milling around the corner gas station? Check. The sad part is that I think it was always that bad, I just had no perspective…no other way of life to compare it to.

Memory is a funny thing. My old house and yard seemed so much smaller than I remember. The path to my old school – shorter. The neighborhood – more compact. The area – more run-down. I loved driving through the rest of the town, walking along the East Race, eating at Barnaby’s. I liked seeing all of the familiar places from my youth. But I cannot help thinking about how lucky I was to come out of such poverty in such good shape.