Thursday, April 30, 2009


I've been well acquained with the wee hours of the morning my whole life. My mother used to tell stories about how, as a baby, I never wanted to go to sleep - my little motor just kept on going, wouldn't sit still, couldn't go to sleep, my eyes would be droopy, I'd be cranky as hell, but I just would NOT (or was it COULD NOT?) go to sleep, so Mom would have to "spank" me to make me cry so I would finally, FINALLY cry myself to sleep. (By "spank", I mean she basically just swatted me on the butt once just loud enough to make a noise that scared me and hurt my feelings, then I would cry myself to sleep). This means I figure I've been an insomniac my whole life.

The most insidious, horrible thing about insomnia, surprisingly, seems to me to not be the actual lack of sleep. For the most part, I feel better after 2 or 3 hours of sleep than I do after 8 straight. True, eventually my body crashes and just has to get more sleep, but - for the most part - the lack of actual sleeping hours isn't what makes insomnia suck so bad. It's the doubt, the self-recriminations at 3 a.m. that come slinking into my room to torment me. In the bright light of day, I'm fairly able to put one foot in front of the other and not stress too much about past, stupid mistakes. At three a.m., though, every mistake I ever made, all the way back to when I was in elementary school, comes to perch on the side of my bed and tell me what a dumbass I am. "You broke up with so-and-so, and now you're all alone. What if he was supposed to be the one, and YOU screwed it up? I mean, look at you, when's the last time you were on an actual date?" is a familiar refrain. As is, "What the hell do you think you're doing? Do you actually think you can be a good mother when you can't even manage to do the dishes consistently every night?" is another. I even get flogged for stupid or mean things I said to my sister and mother as a child, things I never meant in a million years, idle childish threats and spewage that - if only I'd known how quickly they'd be gone - I never would have said or done. So I go back over (and over and over and over) these same mistakes, wondering if they ever forgave me. And of course, it's too late to ask them now. Yet in the light of day, these are not thoughts I would normally have. I get so tired of my own thoughts, mistakes and what-ifs that I grab a book and dive in, struggling to block out all those voices in the wee hours until finally, FINALLY, at 4 or 5 a.m. the book slips out of my hands and I fall asleep, only to have to get up 2 hours later.

I sometimes don't know whether I should laugh or cry when I come to work and all I hear from coworkers is "Gee, you look tired." No, I'm not tired. I wish that's all it was. I'm drained. I'd give anything to only be tired for once. I'll take tired over being sucked dry from things I said or did eons ago anyday. At least you can do something about being tired.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Last Night's Concert

Jamie's strings concert last night was great. Not only was his group performing, but ALL the strings students from 43 schools were performing! This consisted of about half of his school district. So imagine a gymnasium filled with more than 1,300 orchestra students, and that's what I heard last night. Performing were 5th grade string students from 20-some elementary schools, 12 middle school orchestras, and 5 high school orchestras. The high schoolers started us off with "The Star Spangled Banner." Then the 5th graders got to perform "Do Re Mi" from The Sound of Music and "All That Jazz" from Chicago. The evening's theme was "Broadway;" every school performed at least one song from a Broadway musical. In addition to the aforementioned musicals, we heard selections from The Music Man, Fiddler on the Roof, Grease, and Phantom of the Opera. Phantom was the finale performed together by all five high schools (one of which was the districts performing arts magnet school). It was a medley of the more popular songs. What was neat about it was that about halfway through, the middle school bands joined in on "Music of the Night," then the last 25 bars, the 5th graders joined in, as well. There's something pretty powerful about hearing 1,300+ musicians play together that'll give you goosebumps everytime.

Unfortunately, a transportation snafu meant that, at the last minute, I had to get Jamie from the house and go pick up another student and rush them over to the concert. I didn't have time to find my digital camera to record the concert. However, I was able to catch some of the 5th graders' performance on my cell phone camera. As luck would have it, I chose exactly the perfect spot to sit, as I was almost directly across the aisle from where Jamie wound up sitting, so at least you can see him. The bad thing, though, is that for some reason my camera recorded the video sideways and I can't figure out how to rotate it, the sound quality stinks and seems to be a bit faster than the video, and the memory ran out before I could get any of the rest of the concert. Naturally, after I got home from the concert I found the good camera right away (figures). I plan on recording Jamie playing solo sometime this weekend and posting it for you.

For now, here's the less-than-stellar video from last night.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


A lot of times, I feel like the odd man out when it comes to family. Both my mother and my father came from fairly large, close-knit families. Dad had a gazillion siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. My mom had only two siblings, but a lot of cousins, aunts, uncles and multiple generations living within a few miles of each other. It was only natural that they all would be close. However, when my siblings and I were small, we lived hundreds (if not more than a thousand) miles from grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Sure, once a year each side of the family would hold reunions our parents would drag us to, but for the most part, my brother and I stayed pretty much to ourselves. Jodi was always game to play with cousins and chat with extended generations, but she had the benefit of being older and having had more time to get to know them. Once she died, Joel and I were pretty much the weirdos in the family and preferred to stay away from everyone else, unless forced by one or the other parent to "make nice" and visit. At least, I'm pretty sure Joel felt the same way I did, but since I'm not a mind reader, I won't pretend to speak for him, and the rest of this post is about me and my thoughts only.

When Jodi got sick, we moved closer to Mom's family and most of Dad's relations. It just so happened that University of Kentucky Med Center was one of three hospitals in the country at that time who were willing to conduct this "experimental" treatment called a bone marrow transplant for people with leukemia. This meant Dad's insurance wouldn't pay for it, though, which also meant we had to find a way to raise the money to pay for it. I don't know exact figures, but I do know Mom paid on that surgery for YEARS after Jodi died.

Our moving got us closer physically to Mom's family, but not emotionally. Mom's parenting style was vastly different from everyone else's - plus, she was wrapped up in trying to get Jodi well, so she didn't really have time to take us to each relative's house for visits. Pretty much we saw family at the yearly reunions, occassional brief visits when they'd come to the house or the hospital, and then again at Jodi's funeral. The only exception to this was my mom's mom, Granny, who stayed with us during the day so Mom could spend a lot of time at the hospital with Jodi, and later Granny stayed with Joel while I was also in the hospital donating the bone marrow. But Granny was more of the "children should be seen, not heard, and ask no questions" variety. This was in direct opposition to what my mom believed.

After Jodi died, and my parents split up, we didn't see much of family because Mom - understandably - was often working her butt off to keep us fed and a roof over our heads. When Mom was home, she was generally too tired to go driving all over the country to visit family. So this meant we grew up with limited contact with our families. Yeah, we knew (pretty much) everyone's names and the general area where they lived. We knew (basically) their "begats" (Gordon begat Gordie, Randy, Danny, etc.; Dean begat Deanna, Tonya, etc.) and who was married to whom, but that was the end of it for most of them. No knowledge really of their religious beliefs, political stance (other than that the older half were conservatives, and the younger ones were uber-liberal) - no real sense of who they WERE. Hell, I didn't even know until AFTER my son was three years old that my Uncle Dean (one of the few I had gotten to spend some time with and liked) was actually my Godfather as well as my uncle.

I feel bad for Jamie that I'm the only (biological) family he really knows, although he loves his Uncle Joel an awful lot. He yearns to know more about his uncles and aunts. He didn't know he had cousins until 2005, when he met my Uncle Alvin's grandkids on a visit back to Kentucky for my friend Ann's wedding. My ingrained habits of isolationism and stubborn independence (well, mostly) have negatively affected him. For that I am sorry. However, I am grateful to those of you who haven't given up on me and, biological or not, have insisted that we are family and are loved by others. You are wonderful gifts to both me and Jamie. Words cannot express how much you are loved and appreciated.

Monday, April 13, 2009


My OFFICIAL graduation date is December 19, 2009! Yippeeeee!

Just a quick note to let you know recent developments. Only ~4 more weeks of school left. Currently, I'm borderline between A's and B's in the grades department in all my classes. These should go up once I turn in my papers and such that are due in the next few weeks. Also, I recently got official word that my requirement that 30 of the last 36 hours be at TWU has been waived. This means I can take two required classes at San Antonio College this summer, and four this fall at TWU, then I'm DONE! Woo hoo! Now the only question is what the hell to DO with my degree in the current job market, and how long I should wait before starting up my Master's degree. I guess before I do that, though, I should decide what graduate degree program I'm interested in! Decisions, decisions!

In Jamie's school news, he has about two months of school left, and is trucking right along. We turned in his class choice slips for the media magnet school today. Since we haven't heard from the rocket science magnet school, we're assuming he didn't get in. That's okay, though; he can always reapply next year. No big deal. Both magnet schools are housed in the same campus (and even share some of the required pre-requisite classes), so it won't be difficult to transfer later. Jamie took his math standardized test last week, and is confident he did well. He has only one standardized test left; he'll be taking his science test at the end of this month.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Brief Update

Once again, I'm in a hurry and don't really have time for an in-depth post, but I want to bring my loyal readers (all 10 of you) up to speed on what's going on in S.A. So here goes:
  1. Becca, Tom and Christopher arrived late Saturday night/early Sunday morning after a long drive and a few mishaps along the way. I'm SOOOOO excited to see Becca! It's been something like 13 years since we last saw each other!
  2. Jamie and Christopher are getting along great, and got to have a premature Easter egg hunt in the back yard on Sunday. This allowed the kids to have fun and the adults that had been driving for two days to unwind.
  3. My degree plan at TWU now officially states that I am 12 credits shy of graduating. WOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  4. I've been pushing really hard, trying to earn high enough marks in my classes to graduate cum laude, but I don't think it will happen. I think I may be a few points shy, but really close. However, I'm trying not to be disappointed; I think the fact that a single mother working full-time and going to school is graduating at all is cause to celebrate. But there's still this little tiny bit of me that is sad that I won't be able to claim graduation with honors.
  5. Jamie got accepted into an interactive media magnet middle school! He had applied to two (both on the same campus) - one dealing mainly with computers and media (graphic design, web page design, student news broadcasts, etc.) and one dealing with science (building and launching rockets, chemistry, aerospace design, etc.). He's really excited, but is eagerly awaiting word from the science magnet school before making a decision. I'm VERY proud of him!
  6. Jamie's report card came out this week, and he brought all of his grades back up to his normal range (in one case, this involved raising a grade more than 30 points!) He is more like his old self, and seems to be working through the issues he had with Papaw's death, and the trauma of everything. Did I mention I'm proud of my boy? I did? Well, I'll say it again - I'm proud of my boy!
  7. I've scheduled Jamie's appointment to get his braces on for this June. Dad's house is sold, and I have the money now to pay for it all at once (you get a discount). To keep me from spending it, and to allow it to make some money (a very little) in the mean time, I put it into a risk-free CD at my bank to allow it to earn some interest between now and June. Once he gets them on, I'll be sure to post a picture so you guys can see him in all his metal glory. :-)

Okay, it's after midnight and I have to be at work early tomorrow so I can get off work early. I must say good night now!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I'm a Cruel Mommy

I got Jamie good this morning.  It was rather chilly this morning (down in the 40’s) and Jamie was complaining he was soooo cold, so tired, etc. etc.  Seeing as how it is April Fool’s Day, I decided to play a little prank.  I told him that we had a freak snow storm in the middle of the night, and that school was cancelled because the roads were covered.  I think he only believed me because he was still half asleep when I told him this.  The fact that it was freezing cold in the house helped back up my claim.  Jamie jumped up out of bed and ran to the front door to look outside.  Of course, when he opened the door, there was no snow, just a very cool wind.  When I yelled “April Fool’s” he gave me the look.  The one that I’m sure I’ll be seeing much more of as he enters his teenaged years.  This look clearly states, “My mother is a freak, and I am a long-suffering saint for putting up with her shenanigans.”  Seeing as how we’re going to be stuck here for another 2 years or so while Jamie is undergoing his orthodontic treatment, I figured today would be the only chance he has for the wild hope elicited by the words “snow day.”  May today be filled with lots of great, harmless pranks for you and yours.