Wednesday, October 28, 2009

That's So Tacky, Yahoo!

I was reading an article today on how Patrick Swayze's widow, Lisa Niemi, has been since Patrick's death. She addressed a conference of women and stated she's felt sadness on a "cellular level" and that the pain of his death made her pain watching him suffer from cancer feel like "an intellectual" exercise. I feel for the woman's pain; it's only been about a month since her husband of 34 years died. Then, I got mad. I noticed the sponsored links Yahoo! put up for this article. VERY TACKY, YAHOO! The powers that be should really screen their sponsored links better! See below for a screen shot of the article. I've circled (and arrowed) just how stinking tacky and insensitive a link it is.
If you can't read it, it's a link for a dating site called "" or something to that effect, and the tag line reads "Widows, find sexy singles near you!" WTF, Yahoo?!?!? This is so tasteless! You really need to find better screening software to choose which ads go on what stories. Very, very sick (and not in a good way)!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Better Days

I'm in a slightly better mood than I have been for the past couple of days. I'm still sad about the poor kitty, but realistically, being sad isn't really going to do anything about it. She's still dead, poor little thing. Reminds me of a story about Jamie. Shortly after Mom died, we went to church and out to lunch with Tooz, Ann, and David. Jamie was only about 2 or 3 at this time. We always went to The Plum Tree for oriental food (food to die for, it is so good!), and we always opened up our fortune cookies and read them aloud. Everyone opens up their fortune cookies and reads theirs, then Jamie "read" his aloud. He said his fortune was "Grandma is dead. She is still dead." And it was so sad, and so funny at the same time.

We overslept this morning, and missed Sunday School. I have a neighbor gentleman who is 92 years old, blind in one eye, and has osteoporosis so bad he can't stand up straight. Yesterday, he was out trying to weedeat his back yard because the grass was about 2 feet tall. I walked over with my weedeater to do it for him. He's a stubborn old cuss, and didn't want to let some "little chickie" do it for him. Eventually, I convinced him to let me "help" him do it, then got him to sit down on his back swing and rest while I "finished up" for him. I actually did the majority of it, but this way, it let him keep his pride. Of course, technically, I'm not supposed to be doing stuff like that because of how allergic I am to grass and my knees and back issues, but I couldn't in good conscience let that old man do such hard work. Anyway, this meant that last night I had to take some pretty strong painkillers and a strong antihistamine so I would be able to sleep. It's hard to sleep when your back is killing you and your head is so stuffed up from allergies that you can't breathe! So, these strong meds made me oversleep this morning.

But, we still managed to go for regular church service. When we got there, I saw one of the ladies I've become friendly with during Christmas Cantata rehearsals. We were talking and out of the blue she said, "You know, you really should come up into the choir loft and sing with us this morning." I was hesitant at first, but she explained that I could pick up the sheet music from the choir room before service, and it would be fine. So, I sang with the choir this morning, and have been told that I "better" be up there with them each Sunday. Knowing how much I love to sing, of course I didn't say no!

Jamie is feeling better and is up the street playing with his friend Remo. Remo goes to a different school than Jamie now, and both boys have so much going on that they only get to see each other about two Sunday afternoons a month. Here in a little while, Jamie's BB is picking him up so they can go grub around in the garden at Bill's house. Jamie treasures his time with Bill, and I treasure the peace and quiet! While they're gone, I'm going to be here at the house, doing homework and getting ready for Cantata rehearsal.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Not the Best Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday, and it wasn't the best one I've ever had, I have to say. First, Jamie is still sick, so there's all the worry about getting him feeling better (and all the whining and clingyness I have to deal with because he doesn't feel good), and then there's the fact that I still had to go to work. Then, when I get to work, I find out I'm going to have to stay late. I was originally told it would only be about 30 minutes. NOT! I worked 2.5 hours later than normal because we had a report that had to be turned in that day for a legal case. Grrrrr!

Then, when I got home, I had to help Jamie type up and submit via e-mail the school assignments that he didn't turn in when he was supposed to. This is the end of the grading period, so everything had to be in by today. If he had been well enough to go to school, he could have turned them in then, but I'm keeping him home again to allow him to completely get over the crud he has, as well as to not pick up more germs while he's still trying to fight off something else. Anyway, this kept me up until around midnight.

Then, this morning, I discovered that the poor, sweet kitten that I've been feeding at work and trying to find a home for had been hit by a car and killed. I couldn't take her home because 1) I'm severely allergic and so is Jamie, 2) our dogs would have eaten her alive. I tried taking her to a no-kill shelter, but they didn't have any room. The city pound is so overrun with strays that it euthanizes all unadopted animals after only 3 days, so I couldn't take her there! I had found a program that would have come and picked her up, but they couldn't come out to get her until next week. So now it is too late for that poor, sweet baby. She was not a baby-baby kitten, but wasn't full grown yet, either. She was very sweet and friendly, obviously domesticated. She just showed up one day about a month or so ago. Two weeks ago she disappeared, and I was hoping someone had taken her home. But I kept putting food and water out for her, just in case. Then this morning, she was hit right in front of my office building, right where I could see her laying in the road from my desk. I cried like a baby when I saw her!

Now I'm all head-achy and feeling discombobulated. I hope it's just from the crying, and not because I'm coming down with whatever Jamie has. When I get home tonight, I'm parking my butt on the couch and not moving unless I absolutely have to. Hopefully that will shake this tired, achy, sad feeling.

I'm sorry this is such a down post. And all those who sent me facebook birthday wishes, I haven't forgotten you, and I sincerely appreciate your wishing me a happy birthday. Love to all, and I promise to try to be in a better mood when I post next time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Here we go again. Jamie is sick - coughing (so hard he throws up sometimes), sneezing, achy all over, headache, and a slight fever. Could be a cold, could be flu. I kept him home today to monitor his symptoms, and also so that he wouldn't pick up any other germs due to a weakened immune system. If he does not improve, I'll take him to the doctor. But for now, I'm just pushing fluids and keeping an eye on things.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Odds 'N Ends

There's not a whole heck of a lot to report down here in Texas. We're just going day by day, doing what needs to be done. Here's some snatches of the happenings in these here parts:

  • Jamie's first orchestra concert of the year is next Thursday, October 29. This means that twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, all the orchestra kids have to be at school at 7:40 a.m. for rehearsals. Luckily, Julie (Spencer's mom) and I have split up the days so that we only have to get up early and take the boys once a week each. This helps greatly, because on my mornings, I wind up being a zombie all day!

  • Jamie is still doing pretty well in school. This is the last week of the first nine weeks, and he has six A's and two B's. The two B's just showed up today, so I'm hoping if he turns in some of the assignments that didn't make it from home to school, apparently, he can bring them back up a bit. I was really disappointed when I saw he no longer had straight A's, but then I shook myself mentally and reminded myself of what his grades were before he started middle school, and decided I shouldn't be disappointed at all. I also reminded myself that the B's are in the two classes he struggles the most with (English and Reading) and decided it was pretty durn stupid of me to feel disappointed that he's doing as well as he is. After this stern talking to, my overachieving tendencies have calmed down and vowed to stop trying to make my kid be just like me, when he isn't.

  • In talking with Jamie and his English and Reading teacher, it has been discovered that Jamie has had little to no instruction in sentence structure and spelling while in elementary school. He is not the only one. It seems almost all the kids in Jamie's grade are struggling with things that should have been basics in elementary school, but were barely skimmed due to certain national initiatives that stress math and reading comprehension skills but don't do squat about writing and spelling. So, the entire 6th grade team is revamping how they are approaching English and Reading lessons to include grammar, sentence structure and spelling lists. Jamie and I are going to be working at home with some practical applications, such as writing letters to family, sending e-mails, writing short stories, etc. If I know your physical and/or e-mail address, don't be surprised if you receive a letter/e-mail or short story from Jamie in the mail. I think that would be excellent practice for him to get used to applying grammar and using a dictionary to look up words.

  • In two days, I will chronologically be 33 years old. Mentally, I feel about 100.

  • Cantata practice is going well, and I'm having a lot of fun. While I'm in cantata rehearsals, Jamie plays in the teen room with some other kids, then goes to AWANA when it's time. He's almost finished his whole workbook, and consistently is praised by his teachers. We also attend Sunday School and church services (except for two times I had to miss - once because I had to work, and once because I had a migraine). We also now have started going to Wednesday night services and Bible Study when our homework loads allow.

  • Work is chugging right along. We're staying busy, and the load seems to be increasing. This is fairly normal for this time of year, and will continue to get busier until just before Christmas. My only problem lately has been staying motivated. I'm seriously brain dead, and can't wait until my upcoming vacation days. I'm taking off the entire week of Christmas, half of Jamie's spring break in March, and the entire week of July 4th. We don't have plans (or the funds) to travel much during those days, but instead are planning on doing local activities, cleaning house, and just generally spending some family time together. I'm sure movies and board games will factor in there some, too.

So, that's it. That's our "exciting" lives down here right now. Not a whole heck of a lot going on, but I'm thankful that we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, a job, and - most importantly - little to no drama right now!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Things I Do for My Kid

(10-16-2009: See update at end of post)

It's almost 11 PM on a school/work night. I have to get up at 5:45 AM so I can get ready for work early before I have to take J and the other kids in the carpool group to school for a 7:30 AM orchestra rehearsal . (I'm so thankful this is only in the couple of weeks leading up to concerts. I'd murder someone if I had to do this every stinking week!) I haven't been sleeping well in the last couple of weeks. Wake up in the middle of the night for no reason and simply cannot go back to sleep. This means I'm cranky and sleep deprived at ALL TIMES.

So, you ask, why are you still up at almost 11 PM on a school/work night when you know you have to get up early in the morning and already are not sleeping well?

Because at 10 minutes before 10, J came running to me and said, "Mom, I have to give a speech on Einstein tomorrow (he picked the topic) and I'm supposed to have a visual aid. So I made a timeline with a picture. But I was having trouble with the printer (I should note here that it's a cantankerous b-witch), so I didn't get it done. And I forgot to ask you about it before we went to church tonight. So I won't do it. It won't affect my grade.... too much. I just didn't want you to yell at me when you saw my grades." (I can see them online as soon as the teacher inputs them) .

Me: [Sigh] Did you save your timeline?
J: Yes, it's on my thumb drive.
Me: Gimme.
J: Huh?
Me: Give me your thumb drive so I can fix the printer issue and print it out for you while you hurry up and go to bed.
J: Huh?
Me: Okay, word of advice. When Mom is cranky, tired and in a generally bad mood, it is NOT a good idea to make her repeat herself when she offers to do something super-duper nice for you.
J: Huh?
J: Oh, right! Thanks!
Me: [muttering under her breath about ungrateful kids and sleep deprivation. Cackling evilly to herself at the thought of what he'll have to put up with one day when he has kid(s) of his own]
J: [runs up behind me and squeezes me around the middle in a big hug] Why do I get the feeling I owe you big-time for this?
Me: Because you do... And you will... FOREVER.

UPDATE: After all the crap I went through, staying up until way past I wanted to, HE DIDN'T EVEN USE THE HANDOUT! Class was rushed trying to get everyone' speech done, so he claimed he didn't have time to pass them out. I told him he darn good and well better hand them out today (10-16-09) in class and make sure his teacher gets one. I also said that he will never, ever get any help from me ever again when he tells me about a problem at the last minute. He has known about this speech and the requirements for three weeks. He could have told me at any time prior that he was having problems. But he didn't. He waited until the last minute. So, unless he comes to me with a problem at least two days in advance, he's not getting my help. Now, this statement will be modified in cases of true emergency - such as computer crashing at last minute, etc. etc. But for something that he had known for several days he was having trouble with, he will get no help. It's time he started figuring out consequences of waiting until the last minute. Then again, Momma is a major procrastinator, but it works for me. It isn't working for him.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


As I type this, I've had to lock down the doggy door to the back yard. As I was brewing my coffee, I noticed a very large skunk meandering back and forth between my yard and the one behind us. The weather turned very cool overnight, and I think the skunk mama has realized that winter is approaching. I was concerned at first at seeing a skunk during the day (immediately thinking "rabies!"), but I did some research online, and watched mama skunk. She wasn't acting weird or drunk. She was digging and foraging. So I realized the cold snap made her realize she needs to lay in some provisions for the winter. Skunks will come out during the day in the fall to stock up on supplies for winter (I did not know that before). The weather gurus and newspapers down here have noted that the late-coming moisture to our area plus cold air from the north mean our winter this year will be a bit colder and longer than it has been of late. Guess mama skunk gets the weather report down in her den, because she is certainly trying to prepare for it!

I survived the huge reports I've been working on all week. Partly this was due to the fact that my boss called one client and informed him that their report won't be ready until Monday. Only bad thing about that is that means I have to work on that report over the weekend. Luckily, I have all the same software and templates here at home, so all I have to do is grab the stuff off my desk at work and bring it home to work on it. Jamie won't be bored while I'm working on it because he's going with his BB today to hang out and do "guy stuff." After my report work is done, I'll do homework. This way, I can spend time with him when he gets home.

Cantata practice is going well. I'm really having fun and meeting new people. We work hard on the songs, but we laugh a lot, too. Some of the songs are so beautiful they move me to tears! There are some very talented people in the choir, too! We also have a few who "make a joyful noise unto the Lord" - but that "joyful noise" isn't necessarily always in tune! But that's okay. I'm just glad to be singing again.

Six weeks into the school year for Jamie, and he still has straight A's. I'm very proud of him! Every day he comes home and is full of all the "cool" things he did in school that day, and what he's learned. He's utilizing some of the things he's learned in his technology class to make me a birthday present on the computer. He won't let me sneak a peek yet, but I know - whatever it is - I will love it because my boy made it for me!

Well, that's all for now. I have things to do today - reports to work on, homework to do, house to clean, naps to take, etc. I'm also going to try to cook some things to freeze so we can eat them later this week .

Thursday, October 01, 2009

How This Single Mom Talked to Her Son About the Birds and the Bees

*This post is for my friends, and for all those single moms out there who are getting ready to have to talk about sex with their sons. I don't know anything about talking sex with little girls; I do know it was awfully hard to talk about it with my son, but necessary! When having the talk, just take a deep breath and dive right in. If you worry and wonder what to say, then you'll delay the talk. And by the time you get around to it, your son will have already heard a bunch of misinformation from friends and siblings of friends, or even get the wrong idea from TV. BE WARNED: THERE IS SOME VERY FRANK TALK IN THIS POST!!!!

A while back, I had "the talk" with my son. My son being my son, he asked questions, and things got a lot more specific than I was necessarily comfortable with, but I took a deep breath and talked about it anyway, because there's no one else to do it. At least, no one else I trust to tell him about "things" in an appropriate manner. When people discover I am a single mom, and put two and two together about where my son is on the "puberty" scale, they get a sympathetic yet horrified look on their faces, then ask - just how do you have "the talk." The answer is, quite frankly.

His middle school is getting ready to have a six-week long sexuality and maturity class. They've been talking about it at school, sending notes home for parents to sign giving permission for students to participate, etc. So, the other night, J asked me some more questions about sex. Again, not the favorite subject of this single mama to have with her pre-adolescent son, but I did it anyway. I talked frankly and openly with him because I want him to make the right decisions, and for him to have all of the facts.

This meant that I stressed to him that yes, sex feels really good when done right. But I also stressed that sex isn't just a physical thing, that it involves your emotions; when you have sex with someone that you don't really love, it can really mess with your head and your heart. I also stressed that there are many types of love (from friend-type love, to sisterly-love, to puppy love, to I wanna marry you and be with you forever love), and that - when you are a teenager with hormones raging and erections happening at the drop of the hat - you don't know what the right kind of love is; your body is raring and ready to go and thinks lust will do just fine. It won't. Once you have sex for the first time, you can never get your innocence back again. It changes how you see the whole world. This is something special that should be shared with the person you want to marry and spend the rest of your life with, not just any girl who hapens to be nearby when the urge strikes.

I also stressed that there are all kinds of consequences of having sex. At this point, he chimed in with "I know. You could make a baby." But it isn't just that. I explained in great detail how having sex before your mind and emotions are ready for that kind of shift in thinking can make you feel bad about yourself, or make you do stupid things to be with the girls that will let you have sex with them. I explained that his body may be waking up and starting to mature, but that his emotions haven't, and probably won't be until after the hormones have finished going crazy in his body. It's best, I said, to wait until the emotions and the physique are somewhat on the same level before having sex, so that you know how to handle it, both mentally and physically.

I also explained that if you have sex with just anybody, you could get a disease, and explained all the different kinds of diseases one can get from having sex - from diseases that can make you go crazy, to ones that put blisters all over your privates, to ones that kill you by killing off your immune system. I also mentioned that there are more ways to get diseases than just penis/vagina interactions. I mentioned that anytime a private part gets close enough to any other part of someone else's body that they touch, a disease can spread. And yes, he looked at me quizzically, so I had to explain a little bit more than I would have originally liked to.

I then told him that there are tests you can get taken at the doctor's office to make sure you don't have any of these diseases, and that - before anyone has sex - BOTH people need to have those tests done before they do anything so that they both know they are healthy and won't make each other sick. Even if both people say they have never had sex before, both need to be tested. The reason? Like "House" says, "EVERYBODY LIES." I explained how when he's young and hormones are going crazy, he may not remember to get that test done, and would need parental permission (I didn't mention that I wasn't 100% sure of this part) to have such a test done anyway, so it's best to just wait until you are a grown up and have found the woman you want to marry before requesting the tests. Then you get married, and then you can do what you've been wanting to do.

Of course, I also explained that - even if both people somehow manage to get the test done, even if birth control and/or a condom is used - there is still a chance that the girl could get pregnant. I asked J if he wanted to be trying to raise a baby when he is still a kid himself... Did he want to be changing diapers when he'd rather be changing clothes getting ready to go out with his friends?... Did he want to be spending what little bit of money he has on baby formula instead of on a new computer program he wants?... I explained that, while he was wonderful and I have loved every minute (okay, give me some parental license to stretch the truth here) of being his mother, if I had been a teenager, I couldn't have been a good mom to him.

Granted, this was a lot longer of a conversation than I wanted to have with him at this point in time on this subject, but I wanted to make sure he heard it from me, straight out, in an honest (mostly) and frank manner. The more questions he asked, the more details I gave. I was not trying to scare him out of having sex ever, but instead wanted to impress upon him that sex is not all sunshine and roses. There are real decisions to be made, and real consequences involved. Initially, it made me a bit uncomfortable, but the more I talked, the less I was thinking about how this conversation made me feel, and the more I concentrated on being able to give him the information in a way he could understand.

Some may criticize the fact that I had this conversation with an 11 year old. However, kids are starting younger and younger these days. There are now monitors posted in the bathrooms at the middle schools because they were catching kids having oral sex and actual intercourse in the bathrooms - and it isn't just here, it's EVERY WHERE! They have to separate the grade levels into separate bathrooms because of older kids holding down and forcing younger kids to touch their genitalia and worse. As much as I would love for my son to not know anything about or even think about sex until he goes to college, that is an unrealistic expectation. So I would rather he hear it from me than from a friend's older sibling (who may or may not give the proper information), or from some older kid putting his hands on J.

So, single moms, or married moms whose husbands are deployed or working in other countries or whatever, that's how I talked to my kid about sex. I hope this helps you in some way when it's your turn to have this talk with your kid(s).