Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolutions

I will be travelling to Michigan tonight and tomorrow and will not have access to post until after the 4th. So, in lieu of some witty commentary on life, here are my resolutions for New Year 2009:

1. Stop making resolutions.

Hope you all have a happy and safe New Year! See you in 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Uncensored

Ok, so I made a vow to never censor myself on my own blog. And, for the most part, I haven't. When I am angry, I think it is pretty obvious. When I am sad, that too comes across, likewise when I am happy. However, there is one subject that I have not blogged about for fear that I would offend. The BF's kids.

Here's where I have to carefully choose my words, for they ARE just kids. But they treat J with such disdain and disrespect that it REALLY gets my goat. They are so sided with the mother (CBE, to us) that they blew off their own dad for Christmas. They are ungrateful for his sacrifices, and they speak very badly of him to his face. I find that I am totally irritated by them and their antics. CBE needs a solid kick in the head for the crap she has been pulling, and now she has the kids in on her freaky behavior. What I find is that I am tied emotionally to J, so I am tied emotionally to how they make him feel. And I find myself affected by their peevish behavior. They quite frankly don't even act like he is their father - just some sperm donor that happens to do laundry and buy them stuff.

I am trying to be objective here, but it is not easy. They are just children - 14 and 8 years old respectively - and they are quite impressionable. They have a steady diet of how their dad sucks fed to them directly from their mom, who finds any and all reasons to point these things out. She obviously cares little for their emotional or psychological well being and only wants to exact revenge on J by turning his kids against him. Ok, done.

So, moving on, the kids are now under her direct spell and prefer to have no contact with him. They have told him quite definitively that they prefer to stay in the rat-hole motel rather than travel to see their grandparents in another state. It's horrifying and fascinating the power this woman has over them. It's like watching a train wreck or the plane hit the tower - you are sickened and disgusted, but you can't stop it no matter how much you may want to. And, you know that it will end badly, but you're not sure exactly how. So you watch, and hope, and offer help in any small way you can.

But here's the thing - I thought we could all get along. The one weekend they spent at my house was kinda fun so I think it lulled me into a false sense of security of our standing. Not that I expected them to jump up and down for joy that their dad was with a different woman, I am not that naive. But since that time, their attitudes have changed drastically towards their dad - and I am not sure how they feel about me (except for the boy, who hung up on me several times that one night - little bastard). I had hoped that, given time, we would be able to forge some kind of bond. It seems now that this was probably a pipe dream.

In 7 days, J will be going to court to face mediation on the custody of these two ungrateful offspring. I don't believe there is a chance in hell that CBE will get full custody of the kids. In fact, I can't believe that a court mediator will allow ANY child to go to a woman who is living hand to mouth in a motel that rents by the hour, with no future prospects for a job or a permanent residence. So that means the children will end up back with J - and I dread their reactions. They already treat him so badly that it makes me cry inside for him. How will they treat him going forward if they perceive him as ripping them away from their mom? And if they hold that much resentment and anger, how will they react to me?

To be honest, with all that J has been through, it may be best that I step aside for awhile and just let them figure it all out. It is hard to write that. My instinct is to be there and try to help fix things. But this is not my mess to fix, and may only serve to complicate matters. I will continue to support J in all he does, and give him "sanctuary" when he needs it, but I realize that my needs and desires will and should play second fiddle to the needs of his kids. I am saying this now, because J and I have had some awesome alone time in the past couple of weeks. I look back and realize that this is because we need it. It will be harder for us to be together exclusively coming up, and I feel that we have had this time to help get us through. Soon it will be back to every other weekend and that will be a tough thing after having him all to myself for two weeks....

And, the kids. They irritate me to no end. I am almost glad they didn't want to go to Michigan with us (god, I hate myself for even writing that, but the truth is the truth). I dreaded them coming along and then hating the trip and complaining non-stop while heaping more verbal abuse on their father. I would have snapped. And I would have said things that they wouldn't have liked to hear. Like, "You know, when you grow up, you'll be sorry you didn't treat your dad better". Yeah, that needs to be said at some point. Then again, if they did come, they could get out of the chaos and turmoil they are in and see how "normal" people are when they don't lie, steal, or cheat to live. "Normal" people that have jobs and can afford homes and...stuff. They need that, too. 'Cause the more time they spend with CBE, the less likely they are to come out of this situation and have normal productive lives.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's The Most Magical Time of the Year

Unless you live in the Northeast and have ice on the roads, that is. I was up and ready to come to work extra early today. As it is, I stayed home until 6 a.m. BIG MISTAKE. Total idiot drivers caused havoc on the roads, tying up EVERY major artery. I kept cutting over to other roads only to find more and more backups. Sigh. After almost 2 hours on the road, I am finally at work and starting to decompress.

Because I want to focus on something positive, I am sending out wishes to my friends for a very happy holiday. No matter what you celebrate this time of year, now is the time to remember that life is precious and we should find joy in all that we do (with the main exception being stuck in traffic for hours - no joy there! LOL).

Although my Christmas will be different this year, it will be wonderful. I have Dino on Christmas morning to open his gifts. Then he goes with his dad. After that, J and I have our time together. Not that we haven't had time together all week, but this will be special. I am so happy that he is in my life. We will probably take a nap, but end up at DG's house for dinner. That should be awesome. I can't wait! That is such a departure from how I felt a couple of weeks ago when I thought that I would have to find something to occupy myself on this day.

Well, need to finally get to work. Please have a safe and happy holiday!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pain To The 10th Power

Talk about embarrassment! While shopping at the supermarket on Saturday, I slipped on a cherry tomato and fell on my right butt and back. Wow! Did that hurt! At first, I as merely stiff, but as the hours ticked by, the pain grew and I simply felt like I was hit by a Mack truck. I could barely move my back. I had also jammed my right shoulder because like a ninny, I put my arm down to try to stop my fall. This caused my arm to jam up into my shoulder and cause my shoulder blade to slam into my mucles. OUCH!!!!

AG called me shortly after and gave some expert medical advice, which I have followed.... ibuprofen and ice/heat. J also was there to knead my back and shoulders almost continuously throughout the day and night. What a prince! He put up with me gasping and moaning (keep it clean!) and catered to my needs very sweetly. What an amazing man I have in my life! Thankfully, we didn't really need to go anywhere short of the karate party and taking DG's roasting pan back to her. I should have taken that time to totally rest, but I didn't.

I have this problem, see. I can't sit idle for too long when I know that there are things that I need to do. Like laundry, vacuuming, trimming the tree, putting the decoration containers away, clearing out the family room, cooking, and wrapping gifts. I allowed J and Dino to help, but I really felt like I had to get it done. Christmas is only 3 days away now. I realized my problem on Sunday, and tried to force myself to take it easy. Yeah, right. I was surprised I didn't take that moment to start putting the crap in the garage into the attic. I may have, if I didn't think that J would totally lose his patience with me as he kept trying to steer me to the couch where my massaging chair pad thingy was. But, I think it was more a need to get order in my life before the chaos of the holidays set in.

It still turned out to be a wonderful weekend, despite the fall. Still, the pain persists. It is definitely less than it was, and I feel with proper stretching and the continuation of ice and heat, I will recover from this. Since I REFUSE to have to see a doctor at this time of year, I am hoping that I can nurse it back to full strength without medical intervention. Sheesh.

Good news: J helped me wrap the gifts for Dino last night. I will wrap more tonight and hopefully be done.

Bad news: since Dino is off and I am not, he is being "farmed out" to my ex-MIL's house today and DG's house tomorrow and Wednesday. Sigh. I don't like him being away from me right now. But, it can't be helped.

Well, gotta try to work now. Typing is not too bad. Just a mild ache in my shoulder. But my wrist hurts from where I slammed it on the floor, so I will try to not over work it. Geez. I feel like an old lady!

Off I go to finish putting my team's gifts together. Have a good one, ya'll!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Feels Like Home

Last night was J's Holiday Party. The party was being held at a hotel in the city. I was originally supposed to bring my clothes to work and go right there, but I decided that I needed to "gussy up" at home. I did not count on the weather being a factor :)

Despite the rain (and subsequent messy roads), I managed to get home, throw on my dress, pack my cute little clutch and heels, and throw on my boots. The ride into the city was ok. Not great, but certainly not as bad as I expected. The rain kept speeds down, which was ok with me since I didn't know where I was going anyway. Once I got to Broad Street, I called J and he talked me to the nearest parking garage...but I had missed my turn, so I had to circle City Hall and go down 15th street. For once, I didn't mind driving into the city. The driving was fine, and there were lots of people out going to and fro.

After walking a few blocks, I met up with J at his office and saw his workstation (ummmm, let's just say he's a little far from a neatfreak) and met a few people. Once I spruced up my makeup and put on my heels (note: next time, wear the boots to the party and change there!) we headed out in the rain.

The hotel was not far, and we arrived in good order. It was a swanky place, with marble floors and a lovely lobby. Once we made our way to the party, it was obvious that a great deal of care and expense was put into the affair. It was really lovely. The food was awesome! And, meeting all of J's co-workers and friends was fun. I am usually intimidated at parties where I don't know many people, but I think with J by my side - and looking damn fine in his suit - made it a great deal easier for me.

We mingled over drinks and I discovered that the people J works with are all really nice people. I was welcomed warmly. Most didn't recognize J in his suit or were totally surprised by him. I was so proud to be there with him. He looked so handsome! Even his butt....lol.

Dinner was extraordinary. Did I mention how awesome the food was? EVERYTHING was great. I even ate sushi! Every morsel melted in the mouth. Then, there was dancing. I was extremely happy to find that J likes to dance. It was so much fun! Not too many people on the dance floor, but that was ok. We had a great time.

The pièce de résistance was the chocolate bar at the end. There were bananas, marshmellows, cookies, pretzels, strawberries and more to dip and eat. Mmmmmmmmmm. YUMMY! By this time, a good number of people left and it was getting late. One of the lawyers came over to say good night and she whispered in my ear, "I'll pay you to stay with him!" She was too funny! Of course, no payment is necessary, at least not in our currency :) TMI? Too bad! LOL

When J and I got back to the house, we were pretty tired. What was cool, and this is the point I wanted to make, was that it all felt so....normal. Going to the party, being introduced, having fun, and then going home with J felt like....home. And, waking to find him snuggled next to me....felt so right. I love this feeling. Better than I have felt in, well, forever! I will cherish this night for a long time.

Looks like Santa delivered my Christmas present early this year :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Geek Chick In The News

Delaware (AP) (edited from previous version)- A self-proclaimed blogger that goes by the moniker of "Geek Chick" has declared that she is not sure what to blog about. With readership in the ones, she certainly feels a good deal of obligation to post witty and expressive dissertations on her life experience. She believes it necessary to warn readers when there is a serious lack of inspiration so that they are not disappointed when they don't find something new. This clearly bothers the 40 year-old mother of one, "I am simply stumped. That kills me! I have a big mouth, I have no trouble talking, so why can't I find something to blog about?"

Blogging has become a world wide phenomenon, with millions of people using this online outlet to share publicly what is going on in their lives. Some are funny, some poignant, and some are nonsensical. There are political blogs, technical blogs, craft blogs and pet blogs. Just about any subject you can imagine is being blogged about at this very moment.

So what makes Geek Chick stand out from the crowd? Well, as she puts it, "I am just one blogger trying to make sense of our world."

Born to relatively low tech parents, Geek Chick discovered her obsession with everything technology driven in the early 80's. Atari, Commodore, and Bulletin Boards (the precursor to Instant Messaging) were all part of her vernacular at an early age. "I was not necessarily a full fledged Geek yet," she says, sitting in her ergonomically correct chair at work, "but I was definitely bitten by the bug. I would come to the status of Geek slowly over several years of development."

Years later, Geek Chick is still learning what it means to be Geek. Gaming, blogging, Sci-Fi, learning to code in the wee hours are all part of the Geek heritage. What Geek Chick has discovered about herself in this journey is that not all Geeks are created in the same way. For her, it was a twisted and convoluted path to Geekdom. Holding jobs such as teacher, medical biller, salad bar girl, and finally IT Help Desk, Geek Chick relished learning the more technical aspects of these positions. Her innate desire to seclude herself became her avenue of discovery. "I never really dealt well with people. I still don't." She says, as she tosses her unruly red curls from her face. "I preferred to hole myself up somewhere to delve into the mysteries of HTML or Java. But, I have learned over the years that you need people. And in my current position, I can't ignore the people that work for me. The difficult balance for me is deciding how to interact and when. That's why I blog, it gives me an outlet for my true feelings so that I can be 'the boss' at work."

Geek Chick is not alone. A simple search using a well known search engine, like say Google, will turn up millions of links to people just making their mark on the world wide web. Most use blogging as an online journal, with personal thoughts, opinions and ideas posted for all the world to read. Reading Geek Chick's blog is like reading a diary. She shares her struggles, her pain, her joy and her triumphs. When something happens that she is particularly emotional about, she posts with passion and sometimes with foul language.

"Yeah, I know. Not so good, right?", she laughs. "Well, one thing I decided early on is not to censor myself. Since we are allowed freedom of expression in this country, I believe that no matter how vulgar others may see it, I am just saying how I feel."

What Geek Chick most wants to do is write. "I used to write short stories, poems, songs, limericks and I even tried a book once. What I am hoping is that by posting on a regular basis, I can develop my writing ability and get back to that. I crave that creative outlet that I used to have."

To that end, the blog "Geek Chick with Sticks" is a mish-mash of different writing styles and topics. One post about her son is poignant. Another about family is witty and dry. Sarcasm is a big component of her arsenal of blogging. She doesn't mind that not all people will "get" her humor. She just wants to be free enough to say what she thinks.

And so, Geek Chick has vowed to continue to blog, even when she feels she has nothing new to say. "I have to keep it up. It's the only way I can get my head straight sometimes. Like when I went through my divorce. It was hell, and I mean HELL for a short time. Blogging helped me through that. It wasn't just the journaling that gave me solace, but the people that posted their comments of support. I mean, where can you get that with complete anonymity like this?"

With that, the fearless blogger returns to her keyboard to attempt to pound out another gem of wit and insight. Blog on, dear Geek, blog on......

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Drama

Poor J. He is dealing with a great deal of c.r.a.p. right now with his ex over the kids. What I found as they spent the weekend with me (or rather, they spent the weekend at my house with J), is that the kids are generally sweet and just looking for attention and affection. J gives it to them, then they c.r.a.p. all over him. It's not that they are ungrateful, just misguided by their other parent. J's daughter seems to have really taken a shine to me - even tells me that I remind her of her dear aunt (whom I can tell she holds in the highest esteem). What really gets my goat, though, is how they treat their dad.

From the time I met J, I could tell that he really wants what is best for his kids. He is not a "hands off" dad by any means. I know that the past was hard on him, and he gave his ex tons of leeway when it came to raising the kids. I know that he came to the realization that they are NOT better off with her. He is fighting a constant uphill battle for their success in life.

I won't go into details, as that is his private business. What I will say is that it rankles me to NO END that he is treated so disrespectfully by the kids. They don't call him "dad", they call him by his first name. This would be sorta ok if they did the same with their mother, but they don't. This to me shows that they don't have any respect for his status as their father. They totally take advantage and it pisses me off. They also get really rough and violent with him, especially his daughter. When he says something she doesn't like, she immediately reacts by punching him or saying he is a loser. This really freaks me out. I have been able to bite my tongue, since it is his place to deal with them. But I know that I will not be able to sit on that forever. I expressed my opinions only to J so far. I did say on Sunday that there is no hitting around me. What I think I need to stress is that my house has some rules - like, we don't hit. We don't call each other names. We don't leave popsicle sticks shoved into the couch cushions (srsly, that freaked me out too).

T, the youngest boy, is much like Dino. In fact, he and Dino get along really well. Dino even calls T his "buddy". Lately, T has been acting JUST like a kid does when they are comfortable with the people they are around - they test their limits and act out a bit. Up until now, he has been on his best behavior. That changed this weekend. Don't get me wrong, he isn't being a hellion or anything. He is just pushing the little buttons that all kids push to see where it leads them. I am more than aware of this :) Thank goodness for my teaching experience! I can draw on that now to set the boundaries that he needs in a way that he can accept from a person that is not his parent.

I genuinely like his kids. I really DON'T like the situation they are in. I can't really blame them. They are a product of the struggles between a deranged mother and a dad that his trying his very best to be what they need. The problem is, they don't realize that they NEED him and the structure he wants to provide. They are fighting him every step of the way. Kids don't understand the grown up problems that J and his ex are dealing with - they make assumptions based on what they see and hear. And they hear a lot. They haven't yet said to me anything that I would find really alarming. But they have to be confused by all of this. And I can definitely see that they are torn. From the way they talk, their mom can do no wrong and their dad can do no right. That has to be really wearing on J. And yet, they are hanging all over him whenever I am around (staking their claim on him, no doubt) or when I call. They have affection for him, they just can't always express it.

On top of that, the ex is causing all kinds of havoc. I have never said this before about a mom who wasn't a drug addict or abusive in some way - but they would be MUCH better off without her. She is dragging them down into her chaos and there is no real way to stop it. At least, not without a court order. What I fear is that by the time the mediation date arrives (Jan. 7th or 9th, I can never remember which), she will have put wheels in motion that will only allow the mediator to make a decision that may not be in the children's best interest.

I know what you are saying - "But GC, you are defending your boyfriend, of course you are on his side." I say to you naysayers, "Duh." Yes, he is my boyfriend and I love him. But I am not blind in this relationship. I see him for what he is - a man trying to do the best he can with what he was dealt. I have seen him interact with his kids and find him to be an attentive parent. I have talked to him at length about options, course of action, decisions. This is really hard on him, and I want to be there to support him while he fights the fight of his life. I hate to see him suffer like this. And I hope he feels the love I give and that it lifts him up some.

The HONEST question I have to ask myself - how much drama can I take? I guess only time will tell. This is it, folks. The drama is here now. And so far, I can be the objective supporter that J needs.

****Update: there are powers in this universe that prevented me from finishing this post the way I WANTED to. I was rushed for time and left out a very important piece - and that is that I truly support and love J and want him to get his kids away from the psycho wench. The drama will come and go, as it does in all of our lives. I am just trying to say that I hope I can continue to be strong for him, and not fall into a wallowing puddle of self pity as I sometimes do when life gets REALLY hard. 'S all.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Shopping Madness

First, let me state for the record that as much as I LOVE Christmas time, I don't love shopping for Christmas. It's kinda a drag. Money is tight this year, but I did squirrel enough away to get Dino the things he wanted. What I didn't do was start shopping early this year, despite my vow to do so. Not sure if it was procrastination or my crazy schedule up to now, or just plain laziness. Whatever the reason, I have managed to get Dino almost completely done. I also was able to purchase a few things for J, and I even got myself a couple of things for Dino to give to me (cause he felt bad last year that I didn't have much to open). I have to still get a couple of things - like for my parents. They are notoriously hard to buy for. Something for my dear friend Fr. John, and also something for my team at work. I know I can get it done, it just is a frenzy and I don't like hitting the stores at this time of year. I doubt my little contribution to the economy will help, but it does make me feel a little bit better about helping to stimulate us out of a recession :) Kidding.

Ok, so I am desperate for ideas for my parents. I reached out to my sibs, and my brother replied that I could contribute money to a fund to get my parents to write out a will. Ummmm, don't think so. Not exactly saying what I want to say during the holidays. I mean, what kind of message will this convey? "Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad, here's a little something to help you when you DIE"....not.

Ok, so here's a thought. I am considering getting them separate gifts instead of one gift. I know my mom loves red, and will wear anything red. My dad, he likes to build models. So, that helps. I am sure I can find something along these lines.

Speaking of shopping, we had a department dinner last night with our VP. Since I get off at 3 p.m., I jetted over to SIMS (for the educated consumer, don't you know) and did a little shopping with one of my teammates. She helped me to pick out something for J's Christmas Party (which, I find ironic that they are calling it a Christmas party since the lawfirm is largely Jewish, but I digress....). I found the perfect black dress and stole to go with it. I even got a faux fur jacket to jazz it up. Nice. Of course, I couldn't stop there. I got this AWESOME beaded clutch. It's really a metal trapezoid shaped box, with a little handle, and black beads all over it. VERY funky and cool. Now, just need to make sure I have shoes...which I think I do. I also found two great sweaters. One of which is a gift for Dino to give to me, the other I am wearing right now. Love it!

Ok, so that aside, I am "almost done" my shopping. I hope to wrap it up this weekend. That would put me ahead of many past holidays. Next year, I SWEAR (sware, even) to start before Thanksgiving :)

On a different note, my baby brother's girlfriend had her baby last night. At 7:34, and weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces and 21 inches long, he is a healthy baby boy. I can't wait to see him! I didn't get in until late, so I didn't get to talk to my brother directly. I will call him today :) Better get that blanket done, huh? LOL

Have a good day, y'all!

Monday, December 8, 2008

People SUCK

I arrived early to work this morning to complete some paperwork on my teammates. It really sucks that I have to take this step to make people do their jobs. On top of that, I discovered someone STOLE my digital picture frame from my desk - but the moron left the remote sitting here. I can't believe that this happened at work! I have heard of people missing things from their desks before, but that was over a year ago. And, our facility management has not reported anything taken in a long time.

I am so ANGRY and upset over this. The frame had pictures of my son on it. WTF????? I know times are bad, but COME ON. This was a personal item for me. I am freaked out and ready to cry.

The worst part is, work won't do anything but file a report. Big FUCKING deal! I feel violated and enraged. I don't have much money at this time and won't be able to replace it. That really sucks, y'all. And, on top of it, all I can do is pray the fucker removes the pics of my kid. That is the part that sucks the most. If they got into our building, they could find ways to figure other things. I hate not feeling safe anywhere, but it's worse when you know that they got into a secured building! Or, someone let them in.

It comes at the worst time of year, too, since Christmas is supposed to be a joyous time. Again, I know times are bad and this is just an indication that some people will do ANYTHING to avoid having to get their own shit. Well, they suck. I hope the motherfucker burns in hell!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Our New Addition

No, not the pop band, silly. That was so 80's! I am talking about our new little kitty. When I gave up my precious pup a couple of weeks ago, I was trying to think of a pet that Dino would enjoy and be able to help care for. DG and I discussed a smaller dog, but any dog would be too much for us at this point. Perhaps in the future.....

So in the meantime, I settled on wanting a cat. I have always been a cat person, and had my own growing up. My last darling, Benji, passed quite a long time ago. Because MFE claimed to be allergic (which I now realize he was not, just a PITA) I was not able to own one until I struck out on my own. I searched the internets for a kitty that wouldn't be too hard to obtain (side note: some of these rescue groups are quite fanatical when it comes to pet ownership - even of a cat. It seems to me that, while sometimes warranted, they go overboard on the "approval" process). I looked at cost, size, type, and known issues. I determined that the best thing for us would be a kitten, but not too young, and one that is laid back, likes to be held and petted, and gets along with other animals. I even considered adopting two kittys that were siblings or raised together.

For the past few days, I promised Dino that we would go to the local pet store to look at the hamsters (which I am against. Why deliberately bring rodents into your house?). Just to look, I made him promimse. We walked to the back of the store and discovered 3 cats in cages from a local rescue. One was older, a HUGE orange tabby. It was pleasant enough, but really didn't seem to care for the other cats. It hissed when they were near the side of their cage. Not good. The other two, kittens that were of the same litter and only 3 months old, were in the other cage. They were sleeping when we approached them, curled up together and oh-so-cute. I picked up the little boy kitten just as a couple approached. The little kitty was sweet, had long hair, and was very fluffy. He wanted to play. I noticed the woman that had come in was saying that the kitty was "hers". I thought this meant that she was giving the cat up. Then an older woman came up to us. She said that she had been there all afternoon playing with the kittens and had come back to get the little boy. Dino was disappointed, but I pointed out that the other kitty needed a home too. I handed over the boy and picked up the little girl. She immediately nuzzled me and started to purr. What a sweetie! After a little discussion, where the older woman stated that she had not wanted to leave the little girl alone, we decided that I would take the girl and she would take the boy. The store clerk informed us that we just had to pay the adoption fee and fill out the form and we could take them home immediately. I was ecstatic! Dino and I got a few supplies and walked out with our new baby.

She settled in just fine. I left her in the carrier for a bit while I picked stuff up and closed off doors in the hall. I set up her food and litter box. Then, Dino and I let her out. She took her time exploring her new home and I found that she had a few favorite places - under the china closet, behind the big screen TV, up on the window sill, curled up on the bean bag chair. She also had tons of energy. Dino really got excited that she wanted to play and he used the new toys that we bought. He played with her for quite some time! He never did that with the dog. I think that dog scared him and the kitten was just perfect for him.

J and his kids came over for dinner and to meet our new addition. His daughter is so good with animals. She has a knack for handling them. I wish now I had gotten some pictures of them with the kitty. His son was enamoured as well. He kept petting her and talking to her. She loves attention and kept purring and seeking for more. It was a very sweet night. They came up with a name for her - "Jingles".

After J and the kids left, Dino and I got ready for bed. Our new little miss followed us around. We got into bed and she snuggled up between us in the comforter and immediately started to purr. She slept there all night long.

This morning, I awoke and got into the shower. I was surprised to see the kitten sitting and watching. She was curious, that is for sure. When I pulled back the shower curtain to grab the towel, soaking wet, her eyes got HUGE and she leapt out of the bathroom in a single bound. It was as if she was saying, "OMG Mom! You are WET, and you did it ON PURPOSE!" She sat and the door and watched until I dried myself off and only then did she venture back in.

DG reminded me that our parents have a cat named "Jingles". When I woke Dino, we decided on a new name - "Mistletoe", and we will call her Missy. She is such a cute little miss, anyway, so the name fits better.

Dino played with her immediately and she followed him around as he got dressed and started to get ready for school. They already formed a bond, and it is so sweet to watch. He turned to me at one point and said, "Mom, I love my kitten. And she likes me!"

I hated to leave her, but she is already litter trained and knows where everything is. I closed off the bedrooms, laundry room, and the bathroom. I left her toys out, and a blanket on the couch for her to curl into.

Hope you find her as adorable as we do!




Thursday, December 4, 2008

What Geek Chick Thinks About The Economy

For those who know me well, it is obvious that certain issues are not paramount in my mind. Politics was one (until I met AG and J), money was the other. I look at money as an aid to my life, not a result or something to obsess about. One of the things that annoyed me most about MFE was his constant neurosis about money. Who has how much, who got what, and where they kept it were the main topics of conversation with him. I used to chalk it up to being born to immigrant parents who scratched and saved all their lives to have a good living. And I am sure part of this is true. But it got to a point where it became fanatical for him, and it totally turned me off. I was not one to fret about such things. As long as I had money to live, I was happy. Because of his preoccupation, he began to influence me and I started to worry about money too. Did I have enough? Was I making enough? Did I save enough? Was my 401K going to help me when I retire?

That last statement is really the only thing I should be concerned with, in my mind. I cannot and WILL NOT live my life wondering what everyone else is doing with their money. But, I do have to think about how I am dealing with money, and that kinda scares me. See, I was not raised in an environment where my parents were very wise about finances. This led to me never learning to manage my money well. So, now at 40, I am on my own once again and starting to realize that my attitudes have to change. I have thought I was better at handling money (and worked really hard on getting myself out of the gutter with debt and my credit score) but I am finding myself starting to struggle again, and I don't like that. I would much rather have a little cushion to make me feel "safe".

I am trying to be realistic here. With me only 7 months post divorce, I expected to struggle some. When I didn't experience any problems right away, I believe I fell into complacency. Now reality is setting in. And I am scared.

Add to that the fact that the economy is so bad. Add to that the fact that I lost 40% in my 401K in that time frame. Add to that the fact that I had to recently purchase a new car, adding to my debt.

Still, I know I will be ok. I will make due. I have plenty of ways to try to make my dollars stretch more and I know I can rework my budget into something a bit more comforting.

MFE, however, is in dire straits. The house is not selling, which I believe is the direct result of him trying to get more out of it than it is worth ($60K more!). He informed me that his credit card debt is still very high (was >$30 K when I left him) and he lost a significant amount in his IRAs (at least 58% from the form I received to sign off on the accounts recently). He also is responsible for the home equity loan he took out to purchase the rental property - equity of the VALUE of the house, not on what we paid for it. Then there is the loan he took to buy me out. That puts him into the unenviable position of being way upside down on his debt. If he doesn't sell the house for what he currently has it listed for, he will not be able to pay off all the loans. He makes less than I do, so I know he has to be hurting right now.

Why do I care, you may ask? To be honest, I am only mildly concerned. I think that he brought this on himself. I believe that what goes around, comes around. For all his preaching and (hey J, this is for you) pontification about saving and having money, he was not following his own advice. He dug himself a really large hole.

What I am concerned about is the child support. I didn't want to "need" it. I wanted to have it for those extras that Dino wants or needs. I find myself in a position now where I actually have to have that payment each month to get groceries or to buy Dino new shoes. That is where my concern lies. I suspect that MFE is crying "poor" now to try to do something to shaft his son. Hell, he tried it before during the settlement negotiations. He had his lawyer offer an amount that was HALF of what it is now, and only when I threatened to go to court did he concede. The man doesn't have an ounce of decency when it comes to supporting his kid.

I know the market will eventually turn around. I have faith in our newly elected president that he will find a way to make this country strong again. And, I am not freaking out about my 401K. It's a long term investment, so it will recover as well. Having this optimism doesn't help me when it comes to worrying if MFE will declare bankruptcy and not pay his child support.

Well, that's enough fretting for now. I must get to work to earn the money that keeps us going. I am going to try to put this out of my mind for now...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Insomnia

Last night, Dino spent the night with his dad. I went to my MK meeting (although not feeling too well) and sat listening to everyone else's success - side note: have not been able to do much with my "business" because of travel and holidays. Not an excuse, just is. I drove home and finally got some dinner. I talked to J and then got ready for bed. And stared at the ceiling. So, I got up and posted some pics from Disney to my FB album. Before I knew it, it was 11 p.m. Egads! I went back to bed and forced myself to close my eyes.

Funny thing about not being able to sleep...you have plenty of time to worry/stew/think. I worried about having enough money for Christmas. I stewed over something that happened at work. I thought about J... a lot.

Here's the thing, to keep this blog real, I have to reveal myself (keep it clean, I am speaking about feelings here). I started to think about things between J and I and I realized a few things:
1. J reads my blog and I have been holding back for fear of offending/embarrassing him.
2. I really want to shout from the rooftops that this guy is fuggin' awesome!
3. I am truly in love with someone. For the first time EVER.
4. Has it really only been 5 months since we first met????

I decided that I have to be true to me and talk about things openly. I am so lucky to have met J! I mean, a guy that doesn't mind that I "expel" in front of him is a total keeper ladies. And, he is introducing me to new things, like folk music and baseball. Still don't get the infield fly rule, but I digress.....

I want to be sure one thing is certain - I am totally secure in this relationship. We are moving at our own pace, keeping each other in check when needed, and generally just enjoying the moments we have together.

However, I wanted to try to put in words the way that this connection happened and is sustained by our commitment to each other. You are probably starting to have heart palpitations at this moment. It's ok. Take a deep breath. Rushing into things is NOT something you need to worry about for me at this moment. I am literally taking each moment as it comes and just going with instinct. Every fiber in my being is sure that J and I have something true and real. What we are trying to do is face it like grownups. We have both come from extreme situations; for me - abusive, for him - insane. So we are truly enjoying the moment of "new love" and getting to feel something that has been missing in our lives since...well, forever.

The thing is, when you feel like you've met your bestest friend and that person TOTALLY fits in with your family, you hold on tight. I used to think that "true love" was a hoax, something created to make others think that they are missing out on something wonderful (which I had for so long). I believed that there was no such thing. To an extent, I can see why people can lose themselves in this heady feeling. It's totally addicting. But J and I need to keep our wits about us since we have children that rely on us. For me, I want to stress that for the first time, I feel like I am in a "smart" relationship. And that doesn't just mean that J is a smart guy (which he totally is), but also that we are doing this right.

J is also someone that gets along so well with my friends and my dear sis DG. Once I got their approval, I felt like I had won the lottery. A guy that totally digs me and "gets it" when it comes to family, AND is able to kick back with the kin? Totally priceless y'all....

Not to mention his cute ass. Just sayin'.

Ok, I know the insomnia is kicking in now because my fatigue is starting to affect my typing and I am pretty sure I am rambling here. See what happens when you can't sleep?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Weird Times, My Friend

Rough night/morning. Not feeling well, and I seem to have lost my new ring that I bought to match my yellow topaz necklace and earrings. This is Dino's birthstone, and it really ticks me off that I can't find it. I just got it before I left for Disney. Sigh.

This morning, because I was looking for said ring, I was running late. I instructed Dino to put on his sneakers and get in the car. When we got to MFE's house, it turns out that he put on his good school shoes with his gym uniform. He can't play gym in them, so I had to run back to the house and grab his sneaks. I drove like a bat out of Hades, but I was still behind by about 15 minutes. Grrrrr. On a different note, the car has AMAZING power (compared to the beast I was driving before). It really is a sweet ride.

So, what's weird? Well, that's coming. Hang in with me a moment....

Wanted to give a quick update about Disney. I downloaded my photos to my PC, but haven't had a chance to put them on the web yet. I will. In the meantime, the trip was AWESOME. Couldn't ask for better weather, better behavior from Dino, and better conversation with strangers. It was like one big happy family. Dino wanted to spend most of his time at Hollywood Studios - on the Star Wars ride. 8x's my friends. Yes, you read that right. We rode it EIGHT times. It was a great ride, so I totally didn't mind. In fact, I kinda encouraged it. He had his faced painted as Darth Maul, then was pulled on stage to participate in the Jedi Academy Training show. That was freakin' HAWESOME. He looked so cute. They were walked through some moves to fight with a lightsaber, then suddenly Darth Vader was there. They each got to battle the Big Baddie. When Dino got his turn, Darth Vader says, "you look strangely familiar"...it was funny. Then, Dino battled him and Darth fell to his knee. Dino then got to use the Force on the Storm Troopers. He was the only one to do that. It was sooooo cool. Can't wait to post those pics.
There is WAY too much to detail here, but I will put up here the rides we got on and the number of times we did them:

Day 1 - Magic Kingdom:
Pirates of the Carribean - 2x
Haunted House - 2x
Peter Pan's Flight -1x (totally not worth the wait)
It's a Small World - 1x
Buzz Lightyear - 2x
Carousel of Progress - 2x
Stitch Experience - 1x
Tram (in Tomorrowland) - 2x
Monster's Inc. Laugh Factory - 1x

Day 2 - Hollywood Studios:
Star Wars - 6x!!!!!
Indiana Jones show - 1x
Great Movie Ride - 2x
Prince Caspian - 1x
Backstage Tour - 1x
Muppets in 3d - 1x
Power Rangers Meet and Greet - 1x

Day 3 - Animal Kingdom:
Dinosaur - 1x
Triceratops Toss - 2x
Bug's Life - 1x
Lion King Show (not a ride) - 1x
Safari - 1x
Fossil Playground - 1x (also not a ride)

Then we went to the hotel and played in the pool. Then went to Epcot:
Spaceship Earth - 2x
Finding Nemo - 2x
Space Mission: Mars - 1x

Day 4 - Epcot again:
Spaceship Earth - 3x more
Soaring - 2x
Circle of Life - 1x
Finding Nemo - 1x
Innovations - 1x

Then we went to Hollywood Studios again:
Star Wars - 2x more
Drew Carey Sound Experiment - 1x
Walked around a bit.

Back to Magic Kingdom:
Carousel of Progress - 1x
Buzz Lightyear - 1x
Tram - 1x
Fast Track - 1x
Haunted House - 1x
Electric Light parade - .04 times - Dino HATED it and we left.

Lots and lots of walking, lots and lots of shopping, lots and lots of eating. What was really cool was that we got to do the rides we really wanted a number of times and we seemed to hit them at exactly the right times for the lines to be minimal, or we got the fast track tix. I can't say enough good things about Fast Track. Really makes it totally worthwhile to get a time to come back later. We got to see a lot of side shows all over the parks, and even if Dino didn't want to meet many characters, I did get a pic of him with the Power Rangers and with Buzz Lightyear (and the Jedis of course).... All in all, totally worth it!

So, are you ready for what's weird?

Life is right now. Specifically the holidays without my son. I don't have Thanksgiving or Christmas with him this year. It's freaking me out. Thanksgiving was fine, though, because J and his kids were with me at my sis's house. That was awesome, to be honest. I really enjoyed the fact that the kids had a good time with my family. I missed Dino, but not as much as I thought I would. I am dreading Christmas, though. I mean, how can I do Christmas without my little boy??? I will have him Christmas Eve and he will wake up at home to open his gifts, but then MFE picks him up at 9 a.m. and I don't see him again until the 27th. It's making my heart hurt. Seriously. I know that J and I will find SOMETHING to do and will most likely go to DG's again (she's adopted me, it seems! LOL). It's just really a bitter pill to swallow that I can't spend the day with my baby.

On top of that, MFE is acting weird. I don't trust him any further than I can throw him. He is trying to be accomodating and is being CIVIL. It's so not like him. He's up to something.....

However, good things are also on the horizon - I will be going to Michigan for New Year's weekend with J and his kids to meet his family. It's really exciting for me. The drive (we are driving, it's too expensive to fly) will be interesting for sure, but with the DS and DVDs, we will be totally fine.

Before that is J's office Christmas party, which is next week. I seriously need to find a dress for that. I shamefully admit that I have gained a bit since October, and I totally need to get back in gear. But I think I can still look smashing enough to impress his co-workers :)

Ok, gotta run. Have a super duper day!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Back to Normal?

Hello Blog World!

Yes, I have been gone a LONG time. So sorry. Work travel, a magical trip to Disney, and Thanksgiving sort of kept me off line most of the past two weeks. And when I did log on, it was only for brief moments....

Synopsis: Dallas was nice (even though I got sick), Disney was awesome, and Thanksgiving was super. Now I am sick. Just a cold, I am sure. Been fighting it for some time and I think it finally got me.

I want to post more, but I am behind and I am trying to catch up on things here at work. I will post more on Disney and such this weeks.

Nice to be back though.....