I'm a leaf on the wind...watch how I soar.

A convo with Bean this a.m.

Bean: Do you like the Earth?
Mommy: Yes.
Bean: A lot?
Mommy: Yes.
Bean: I like the Earth all the way to the Moon and back. That's how much I like the Earth.
My little eco-warrior in training :)

The girls were on TV this a.m. ... tho just barely: http://bit.ly/ADJxj ... if you look closely in the baby room, you can see O climbing on me instead of participating; in the gym, there are a couple quick shots of Bean. Both girls love doing yoga, in spite of what O shows the KXAN viewership. In the baby yoga room, the camera guy commented that it was like herding cats - I told him cats were easier.

Bean executed her poses not a the flow-y, leaf-on-the-wind way, but instead in a choppy, jump-to-it way. My girl is not a flow-y girl. But she really enjoys it and often breaks out my yoga mat at home. She's dubbed my favorite pose (warrior) "star wars pose", combining the star pose with it :)

I've been feeling kinda down about the divorce lately; a vastly improved relationship with Dave has kind of blurred my edges and made me nostalgic and a bit sad. And it seems everything I stumble upon online just does something to underscore it. I hope no-one takes it to mean that our much friendlier divorce needs to change - because I don't want that at all. It's just a new adjustment for me. We went through such a rough period of interaction that the return to the post-divorce relationship we said we wanted has been really nice; but because it's so much smoother, it makes the reasons for divorce a little less clear.

Help me out here, Spock, I don't speak loser.

Unfortunately, I do.

So, flew to Sarasota Thursday, landed, went to Kelly's and we hung out drinking beer and catching up.

Friday morning was the beach with Kelly and her girls and Kerri and her boys. The plan was for the kids to play while the grown-ups chatted, but Mother Nature had other ideas and kicked up some good-sized swells. I spent a lot of time in the water with Kelly's older daughter (9), who also happens to be my goddaughter. I did get in a nice long walk with Kerri from Crescent Beach to Siesta, though that wasn't really enough time after so many years. But she had to work that night and again Saturday, so the little bit of time had to be enough.

Kelly and the girls and I went back to her folks' place (they were out of town), spent some time in the pool and relaxed a bit. Then I got dressed and dolled up for my reunion and headed down to Casey Key. After a ridiculously long wait at the little bridge on Blackburn Pt road, I got there. I walked up to the entrance of the restaurant, panicked and went back to the car.

Why? I couldn't stop thinking about how I was just kind of the loser who left in tenth grade, and why would anyone care what I had been up to or what became of me. I had a 'what the hell am I doing here?!?' moment that I couldn't talk myself down from.

And I left.

I left because I was a coward who couldn't bear the thought of standing around like a dumbass if no-one really talked to me. I hate typing all this - it makes me feel like such an ass now, but I've never held back before so why stop now. Usually it doesn't cast me in such a bad light, though.

So, yeah - pansy supreme, that's me. I've had "I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me" in my head all evening long, as I procrastinated on blogging and copping to my loserdom. Even contemplated the old "I had a headache" line, but figured I needed to own the decision.

My Friday night was, instead, walking around on Island Park with Kelly's younger daughter, then hitting St. Armands Circle for some strolling, shopping and ice cream from Kilwin's. We got home around 10, and everyone crashed.

Saturday was a blast - Kelly dropped the girls off with friends for the day and night, and she and I ate, shopped and were somehow overserved when we went out at night. Breakfast at Yoder's, shopping downtown, Publix subs for lunch, sunset at Sharky's, beers at The Hub and Gilligan's and then dancing to a totally attention-starved 80's cover band at The Beach Club. (Seriously. Attention starved. Like after every song "Let's hear it Beach Club!" and stopping after the opening bars of something everyone really liked and not starting again until everyone was screaming for it. I started screaming "love me! LOVE! ME!!!!")

Sunday morning came around a little too early, but I got packed, hung out a little with Kelly over coffee, and then headed for my sister's house to see her and grab some lunch before I hit the airport. It was great to see her, too, though she at least knows how to make a plane reservation and come to see people in other states. Unlike some best friends who shall remain unnamed.

And then back to work today, where my jet-lagged brain didn't catch up until probably 2:00 or so. Next time, I burn an extra day off and make sure to give myself a day off between vacation and returning to work - because I was more or less worthless today and really, really don't have time for that with so much on my plate.

At least I had my girls back tonight, and between all the hugs and kisses and O's babbling, I caught a few good ones from the mouth of Bean:

I was born first so don't push me around Miss O because I'm growed.

Mommy: Can you tell me about what you drew?
Bean: It's art.

Bean (about 'sugar bugs' on her teeth): Why can't I see them?
Mommy: Because sugar bugs are microscopic.
Bean: That means I need a microscope to see them.

Mommy, can you turn the light on for me? I'm scared. My mind plays tricks on me. Minds do that sometimes.
Yes they do, sweetie. They even trick you into thinking you shouldn't do something that you really should have.

I'm not soothing? I can be soothing. I could soothe your ass off, pal.

I have some thoughts that will be shared *privately*, but let me just say that sometimes, I feel like kicking people in the shin. Hard.

Two days from now I'll be chilling, poolside, in the balmy Sarasota and enjoying a beer with my BFF. I cannot wait. I haven't seen her in almost 10 years, and it's a long overdue visit. I'll be down there for my 20th high school reunion - oddly enough, from the school I left after 10th grade. But Pine View is a kind of special case, where most of us were there from 4th-10th, so my leaving my junior year isn't the same as if I had only known them two years, yanno?

I'm really looking forward to seeing my old classmates; I'm looking forward, too, to time spent with Kelly and Kerri, to being in my old stomping grounds, to seeing my sister, to the sunsets and sand and emotional recharge of Siesta Beach ... And hopefully to not burning to a crisp when I go to the beach on Friday. I think it's been just shy of a gazillion years since I've been to a beach. Actually, it's only been since I was on a cruise about 5-6 years ago, but still. I'm fairly certain there are vast tracts of skin that have forgotten, entirely, what the sun is.

I'm also looking forward to getting my iPhone at work tomorrow. My poor boss - it was supposed to be for when I was there 90 days, but I'm going on vacation after being there two months :) So my punishment is an iPhone; that way I can do work when I have some free time. Because I'll have sooo much of that. I figure it'll be great for airport time.

And I'll have a QWERTY keyboard!! Yay!! Do you have any idea how hard it is to text on the old Razr I have? It's so sad.

Actually, I'm a little stressed about taking the time while I have so damn many balls in the air, but it is what it is. I'll bring my laptop and the new phone and maybe be able to stay on top of a few things. Sort of.

And, since it's way overdue, a couple pics of the girls.

And yes, she is out cold


I've got beer. You want some beer?

Ahh .. a little Los Bad Apples, a little Blue Moon ... it's a tough life but someone has to live it. All business meetings should include beer and martinis.

(FYI, I was all about the Blue Moon and *not* the martinis. Martinis + Blue Moon would equal very bad decision-making. Even in the marketing world.)

Nothing says summertime like a weiss beer with orange slices. Nothing. Kels, you may argue that Corona says it better, but you just need to come to terms with being wrong. And nothing says "solid bidness skillz" like weiss beer and bidness. I even built a bridge over troubled waters.

Yes. I am *that* good.

Work is crazy - I'm coordinating a career fair, 11 career building classes and a community event for 500+ people. Oh, and yeah - still doing my 'regular' job of copy writing, branding and client communications. I'm two weeks out from the career fair and only have half the employers I need confirmed; and 30 days out from the communit event (The Pink Slip Festival) and still identifying balls I've dropped on that one. I said I had event planning experience when I landed this gig, but was pretty specific that it was corporate events, so I'm a bit over my head here.

Doesn't make my job any less fun, just a bit more overwhelming at times. I'm falling asleep thinking about all the stuff I need to do, dreaming about work and waking up remembering something *else* I have to do. Le sigh. I have 'to do' lists everywhere and if it's not on the list and no-one reminds me, it's in the dead zone - hopfeully I'll remember, but if I don't, hopefully someone will ut me some slack.

I have a 9:30 meeting tomorrow to wrap up more Festival loose ends, then need to get back on the phone lining up companies and recruiters for the job fair on the 8th. Oh, and did I mention I'll be out of town the 25th thru 28th? I will. And likely with limited or no Interwebz ... ah well, it's extra motivation for Dan to get me my damn iPhone :)

On Sunday I got to see a coupe of the guys I went to college with; they were in town visiting (one was in Kileen on bidness, the other now lives in Houston) and Dave invited me to spend a little time with them when I dropped off the girls. It was really great to see them - it's funny how those of us who go to college a little later really don't change much over ten years. But man, do situations change. Last I saw these guys, I was getting ready to get married; now I'm dropping the girls off at Dave's for his turn on parent duty. But sitting and talking to those guys was just like talking to them in 1999 while we were all studying at Marston Science Library at UF or over-indulging while we tailgated for Gator games.

Makes me even more excited about seeing my old middle/high school friends at my reunion this weekend ...



I am too. damn. busy these days ... I'm just going to do a quick update and try to get back to the blog later.

Discussion at Bean's school went well. Long story short, Bean's back in the 3-3.5 classroom while the owners/director handle the situation as they see fit. We've been asked not to talk about Fight Club, so I'll just let it go for now. When the situation changes. I'll fill y'all in.

Bean is delighted with the demotion - she walks into that class and gets treated like a rock star by all the kids. When I picked her up Friday, the teacher gushed about how great Bean was all day - not sure if she's going out of her way to be a cheerleader or not, but whatevah. If they treat Bean well, that's all I care about.

More later, just didn't want to go another day without at least a brief update. Thanks for all the support for Bean and I!

Tomorrow's the day

Thanks for all the outrage on Bean's behalf. I feel terrible dropping her off there, but Dave won't be back until today, so I'll meet him at the school in the morning. Hopefully the talk will go well and this will be Bean's last week with the devil woman.

I got an incident report yesterday that she deliberately shut another girl's arm in a door. And then I had to listen to Miss B start in on me about how Bean's becoming more aggressive. Now Bean's always been much more, ahhh, *tactile* than her friends. I think it's part of her sensory-seeking tendencies - we've talked about this before, haven't we? - and a friend pointed out recently that I really need to be more mindful of her sensory needs, as this shapes behavior.

So anyways, Miss B's comment and subtle criticism made something gel in my brain that I'd been working on, distractedly, all day - I wanted to know what the effects of shaming were on behavior.

What I found was consensus that a percentage of shamed kids become more hostile, that they act out their hurts in an aggressive way, in large part because they're being shamed about more appropriate ways of expressing their emotions. If Bean's feeling shortchanged and can't cry, that's a lot of emotion and energy to hold in, so it comes out somewhere else. She's definitely my daughter in that she really doesn't hold things in, so if she's getting beaten down for crying, that emotion is going to come out somewhere else.

I need to touch base with Dave again, as he has concerns that we don't have a Plan B in place if we give an ultimatum, but we could figure something out. The bottom line is that I am unwilling to have Bean in that class beyond this week. They can move her back or forward, but she is not staying there.

I am also going to be very clear that this teacher has been in consistent violation of their "no shaming" policy for a minimum of 6 months, and that I believe she's damaging to children and has no place in education. I'm loosely, loosely considering notes in the other two kids' folders to make the parents aware of the treatment their kids are experiencing ...

Yeah, it's "only" three kids out of maybe 18-20 that are experiencing this treatment, but there are another 15-17 who are being taught that belittling and humiliating people is fine and dandy.

I sent a note to Dave saying that if he didn't want to be involved in the "no Miss A" portion, I could tangent that to a separate discussion, one I'd do alone. I'm not sure if he feels as strongly about it as I do; frankly, I don't really care. He's on board for the Bean portion, and I appreciate that. But I feel like I really need to advocate for all the kids, and not just my own on this one.

I'll close with something a bit more lighthearted - a Beanism in potty humor:

Mommy! Look! It's a loooong poopie.
(One minute later)
Look! A whole family of poopie!!

What are you, pissed?

Sometimes I wonder if Bean is psychic.

Psychic. Not o.

While I am struggling with the whole 'what do I do about preschool?' dilemma, she solved a big chunk of it for me by relating this about her fabulous teacher. You know, the one who tells kids they are babies, who told Bean she was acting like a two-year-old when she cried ...

Out of the blue this a.m., the following convo with Bean:

B: When I cry at school, or when Alex cries or when Tasha cries, all the kids look at me us.
M: Why do they look at you?
B: Because Miss A tells them to stop, be quiet and look at us.
M: Really. What does she say?
B: "Everyone listen to Bean(/Alex/Tasha)"
M: And what do the kids do?
B: They look at me and they smile.

I left it at that this a.m., because I just wasn't sure what to do with it ... but as they day progressed, my initial 'let it go' thought was replaced by a growing anger. As I drove to the school, I called my mom for her take, and she was pretty unhappy with the notion. She suggested I call Dave and let him know.

So instead of going in full-bore, I had to wait to talk to him. That's probably better, because sometimes I shoot a little too quickly from the hip.

On the way home, I talked with Bean about it more and learned that the kids smile and laugh, they sing "Bean is a baby", tho supposedly Miss A tells them not to. (A bit like closing the barn door after the cows have gone, if she's setting Bean up for ridicule and shame in the damn first place.) I also learned that Miss A's actual pronouncement is more like "STOP! Everyone look at Bean (Alex, Tasha) cry because they really like to scream and whine." Nice. Real effing nice.

There are three kids who don't mock Bean during all this (Julia, C is one of them. Ayssa and Mia are the other two), but the others do. The saddest part to me, almost sadder than what happens to my own kid, is that the Tasha that's being exposed to this is new, and crying because she misses her parents, according to Bean. Seriously. Let's definitely mock that ... awesome teacher.

Okay ... I talked to Dave and now I'm supposed to be mellowing on this so I can go in tomorrow and do the teaser "her dad and I are very concerned and want a meeting" thing with the school owners (I just can't take the acting director seriously, for whatever reason ... ), and not ratcheting myself up so I can go in roaring in full mama Bear mode ...

What a load of horse hooey.

I love videos like this, because they make me feel better about how few "enrichment" activities I do with Bean. Everywhere we go, she learns stuff ("Mommy, would you like to tell me how they make airplanes?"), but I feel bad, sometimes, that she doesn't have more 'stuff' to do. Ballet, soccer, that kind of stuff.

I've been thinking a bit about Bean's preschool experience, trying to decide if she'd do better with "more" structure and learning (a la Montessori) or if a less structured, more play-based thing is better for her.

She's kind of like a mustang, to use an analogy she'd really appreciate if she got it - she's wild and unpredictable with moments of calm. And I'm torn between whispering and breaking. My general approach with her is whispering and earning her trust/respect, but when I'm frustrated with something she does (like not listening) I sometimes switch to 'breaking' mode.

Either way will yield a similar outward appearance: you can ride either horse. But one has been cowed into submission, the other, not so much.

Sigh. Parenting is just hard work sometimes ...

More later; been working on this since yesterday and just want to post something so I can get ready for work. I'll close with some Beanisms.

(Playing with her Ponies)
"Thank you for saving my life. That was pretty nice of you. I love you and I care about you.

"We better let our whole family come in. The whole group of horses.

"Only 8 seconds! 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Assignment complete - we're all in the house!

(At lunch at Subway)
"Ow! I just bruised my spinal cord!

- And I just realized I threw away the napkin I jotted the rest of her lunchtime jems on. Crap. There were some good ones, too. -

(Doing clean-up)
"Mommy! I just licked a bug off your table!
(Seriously. And she was delighted in both the action and in the reporting of the action.)

(Watching Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, and hearing Kai-Lan's Mandarin word for dig as 'waaa') "Waaa??!! What in the ... ? That's not a word!"

We burn the house to the ground, collect the insurance. Plus, fire? Pretty.

It's hard to top off your daily work field trip in a week that began with lunch at McCormick & Schmick's, followed by lunches at Cool River, Daily Grill and Thursday fillet mignon at Flemings, but when you walk in on a Friday and the first words out of the boss' lips are, essentially, 'want to blow off work at 2:30, head to Alamo, have a burger and a couple beers and watch "The Hangover"', you've totally scored.

Unfortunately, with previews and a late start, I was scrambling to pick up the girls on time. Hopefully I didn't smell like beer when I got them! I was okay, but had that special beer perma-smile working. Those mid-day beers, followed not by more beer but by water, on top of the fact that I was pretty tired from O's poor sleep the night before sealed my fate and I was out cold with the girls by about 8:30. O generously slept through the night and got up just after 5, so while I'm defiitely in need of coffee, I'm not in need of the all-day caffeine drip I usually am.

Now that Miss O has been at Bean's school for awhile, a lot of the teachers that know Bean well have had a chance to interact with O. Whereas the comments I've always heard on Bean have focused on her being either smart or outgoing, O's comments tend to be primarily "she's so cute!!" and "wow, she's really laid back". The intensity difference between her and Bean is pretty remarkable sometimes, although these same folks aren't treated to the vague 'point and grunt' that I am, nor are they listening to the ten minutes of screaming for some horrible thing (yanno, like me not holding her for every second of the day) that I just walked away from for; to me, she is definitely *not* laid back. She is the most easily upsettable, high-stress kid I've ever dealt with. Drives me insane.

It's funny how perspective makes so much difference. O at school is an entirely different animal from O at home; and I guess, compared to Bean's high intensity, always "on" personality, she probably seems pretty mellow. To me, tho, Bean is the laid-back one and O is the bundle of stress. Just because Bean's always "on" doesn't mean she's not laid back, if that makes sense? She's just so much easier to deal with, in my opionion.

After Thursday's hail fun, it only makes sense that I should have a perfect storm of badness ensue elsewhere. I have one of those Kaboom things in my toilet so I don't have to scrub. It has a couple flexible plastic tubes. I also have an almost-four-year-old who sometimes forgets she doesn't need a *whole roll* of TP to wipe. So when one flushes the toilet and it doesn't drain, then one of the flexible Kaboom hoses comes loose and lodges under the flapper, one is left with a good two inches of water (or more, depending on how quickly they notice it) on their bathroom floor.

I'm just thankful I heard the water before I left for work. There was *nothing* stopping the continual flow and I'm not even bothering to contemplate what 8 hours of overflow would have done, if 5-10 minutes did the 2 inches.

I'm pretty sure this was just a flukey thing, and the stupid Kaboom thing is now in the garbage. Had there been major plumbing badness on top of the potential full-roof replacement, I think I would have just torched the place.

After saving the My Little Ponies, of course.

And now for something completely different ...


After forever without rain, we get hail + thunder right at bedtime. Thankfully, O went to sleep pretty easily, but Bean didn't.

Brought her out to watch the hail, and checked the weather only to see dopplers indicating possible tornadoes way too close for comfort. Started to do a little "just in case" bathroom prep, told Bean she could help by putting what she cared about in there. In retrospect, prolly not such a great idea, as death my My Little Pony impalement would have *really* pissed me off.

The tornadoes skipped us, but the 15-20 minutes of hail finally did at least a small part of my roof in. I've got water dripping from the a/c vent in the eat-in-kitchen. You know - on the tile. Which is sooo safe when it has puddle on it.

So I was doing basic bathroom prep and Bean was making repeated trips with Ponies when I heard her fall and *smack* the floor. I got out there, helped her up and realized that she was dripping blood. I first checked her mouth, then nose and then saw the little gash on her noggin :( Head wounds really bleed ... I kept her up about 30 minutes after, she seemed fine, pupils were even, she was coherent, no nausea.

Note to self - when Bean is told to put what she cares about in the bathroom, that's a lot of trips and she may run to get all her horses and MLPs in there. Next time, let her watch the hail ad don't tell her what's going on.

So, tomorrow's to-do list? Call insurance company, call roofer. The fun just never ends.

What about home schooling? You know, it's not just for scary religious people anymore.

Trying to decide how squeaky this wheel should be at Bean's school ..

I've gotten more reports from Bean on some of her current teacher's gems, like the subtly sexist "boys holler and girls scream" to the notion that "I act like a two-year-old when I scream, and whine and cry."

I'm also getting pressure to embark on a subtly shaming anti-nose-picking campaign, and a direct report from Ana that she uses it. I get that Bean's almost habitual insert finger, hunt, remove finger, suck routine isn't the yummiest or most sanitary thing around, but for god's sake, the kid is about to turn 4 - isn't there some "ick" wiggle room?

Based on the grapevine, the next class up is more of the same, where the teacher focuses on the negative.

I'm also kind of fed up with disruptive boys. There are kids in her class that spit on her, kick her and jab her in the face with sticks - which seems slightly more problematic to me than nose-picking ... and - coincidence or not? - all those offenders are boys and I've yet to hear Isabel report that Ana is as hard on them. To be fair, Bean's scratching injuries have come from girls and boys, but really; does compulsive booger-eating really seem like the thing to focus on?

So I'm torn between the "this is just the way it is" kind of thinking and the "my kid might do better in a different environment" thinking. I bounced it all back to Dave, too, since he should have input and an opinion; so I'm in a holding pattern for now as I think on it and wait for his response.

I get that there will always be compromise, and I'm also not one to push my kids too hard ... but if skipping a 6-month interval could put Bean with kids that are slightly more mature and would challenge her a bit more, I'm not sure whatthe harm would be ...

I've got a few emails and 'winks' to respond to from match.com and chemistry.com ... some have potential, a few, not so much. I'm just pretty well booked up over the next week or so, so I've not been chomping at the bit as much as I would be if I had this weekend off.

Okay, so who else needs a breakfast taco primer? Check this out, and be prepared to feel hungry ... in fact, I might make time for a stop at Rudy's this a.m. ... I'm tellin' ya, another few months and I'll never be able to move from Austin. The music, the food, the climate, the outdoor spaces ... this truly is a fab place to live. And eat, which everyone knows is my second favorite pasttime!

Actually, you were sleeping the sleep of the knocked unconscious.

Back to my uber-exciting social life. I know y'all were hanging on the edges of your seats waiting for it. It's okay to admit it, embrace it and holler your "don't open that web site, girl!"s at the monitor. I 'talk' at people online, too.

I'll work on getting more silly pictures of me; pictures that are at least moderately flattering and don't make me look like Pizza the Hut ... even with just the one pic, tho, I'm pretty popular. Not always with people I'd like to be popular with, as I've landed my share of rugged outdoorsmen, and there's really nothing about me that says "let's go butcher a deer." Yanno?

My bleary-headed-ness this morning must mean the the girls are back. After 5 nights of good sleep, I'm trying to function after going to sleep at 10:30, waking at 11:30, waking again at 12:30 and being up for at least an hour, waking at 3:30 and being up for a good half hour, and then starting the day at 6:30. The first three wake-ups were courtesy of the lovely Miss O, the 3:30 was Bean, waking and realizing she was alone in there and 6:30 was O again.

I can't be too mad at O this time, as she was waking with a cough that shounded a bit like a restricted airway. I've back of my head suspected she's allergic or reactive to *something* over here (no-one say cats - there are 4 of them and maybe one or two would have even a remote chance of finding a good home if I had to place them). Both girls came home with some congestion, so I need to check with Dave on whether she was coughing like this at his place.


It's still good to have them back. I haven't seen them since I dropped them off at school last Thursday a.m.

Melissa, did I ever answer your question re: custody? I can't remember ...

Ooo - just got a text from the boss offering to pick up coffee and breakfast tacos. Salvation.

Questions about Prenatal Ultrasound and the Alarming Increase in Autism

I'll take a break from my usual vacuous posting and Buffy quote post titles to share a repost from my friend V over at wrongshoes.com:

From Midwifery Today - Questions about Prenatal Ultrasound and the Alarming Increase in Autism: http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/ultrasoundrodgers.asp

I tend to be pretty skeptical, but there's *something* to blame for the skyrocketing autism rates. And a quick skim of this article suggests that at least numbers-wise, they may be (or have been, since it ran first in 2006) on to something.

Interesting to me was the "huh" bit about could U/S be linked to the increase in birth defects involving the genitals and urinary tract? Since both my girls have some degree of vesicoureteral reflux, that little question certainly gave me pause.

Not to scare or upset anyone, I just didn't want to not pass this on. I've never been completely comfortable with U/S (which is why I never had the 3D U/S done, or any of the "glamour shots" type U/S that they do in malls and by appointment at OB offices), but never thought of it in terms of real harm.

I'll be thinking on this one (in my webbed-thought way) for awhile .. what say you?

And she would *flirt* ...

Ummm ...


Perhaps the convergence of Bean's favorite fictional character and mine is just a little too effed up to contemplate ...

So match.com ... and winks ... do I wink back, o wise and experienced mdc'ers? I shot a couple down with the 'polite no thanks', but do you responde via email or do the flirty wink thing if you don't shoot 'em down?

Come on, you've been dating for what, like 200 years?

So I signed up over at match.com and their other site, chemistry.com ... I've gotten more hits there than I ever got over at eHarmony, but I'm still hesitating on paying for the service, ya know? Although I'm not really sure how else grown-ups can actually meet other grown-ups ... sigh.

Some of the pictures and usernames tho ... now I know why y'all were advising wine and friends. I hated filling out the 'about me' stuff, too. I would have definitely done better with wine.

But some of the guys seemed normal and at least meet-for-lunch-able.

My chemistry.com analysis had me as a "Negotiator", and here's what they said about me:

You are a big thinker. You easily take the large, long view of almost any topic. You are comfortable juggling myriad facts. You tend to synthesize material easily and to think in webs of factors, not straight lines. You are imaginative and enjoy theorizing.

You are also socially savvy. You are good at both talking and listening. And you generally read people's faces, body postures and tone of voice accurately, so you tend to intuitively understand what people want and need.

You are also highly compassionate. You care deeply about others. So you sometimes make personal sacrifices to be a supportive friend or colleague. And you like to work to improve the world.

You enjoy new ideas and novel experiences. You are flexible, affable and open to adventure. And you admire impulsive, spontaneous people, despite your tendency to plan ahead.

You dislike conflict. You seek "win-win" solutions. And with your skill as a negotiator, you adeptly bring peace to the chaotic world around you. You are a warm, insightful and often exciting companion.
I sound like a fab catch, huh? Does that really sound like me?

They said my best match would be a "Director":
Daring, original, direct and inventive. A non-conformist. Skilled at abstract thinking and short-term planning. Often assertive and quite competitive. Tough-minded and efficient.
There are two guys "interested" in me, but I have to cough up $$ to find out more about them. Harumph.

The whole exercise has revealed two truths: I need some more (flattering) pictures of me. I also need to work on my figure a bit. Blech. I don't do diets so I'm going to have to carve out workout time. Wish me luck with that. I won't have time for the whole go to the gym and then shower routine on the mornings I have the girls, and I generally only have one or two weeknights when I could do something after work. So it has to be an at-home thing, and I absolutely *suck* at home-based exercise.

Who wants to be my virtual personal trainer?

Texas, y'all.

(Mom, don't look.)

My Texas friends will get it, mostly. My not-so-Texas friends, possibly not.

They're super cute on, too.


Country music; the music of pain.

In all of my years, I have never been to a country-western bar/dancehall/whatevah.

While it's not at the top of my return visit list, my evening at the Midnight Rodeo was fun, provided some entertaining conversation and even more entertaining sights and was way, way better than sitting home. (Kels, no reason for a phone call this a.m.)

Even if I did get home around 1:30 and have to work today. Sleep is for the weak, right?

My boss, Dan, had already offered Linda and I the couch at his place if we felt like getting too drunk to drive, but I dismissed that with "And then I can do the walk of shame down the credit union hallway ... *with my boss*." So I paced myself and made sure I was okay to drive. We had all met up a bit farther north beforehand so we could ride in one vehicle and we topped the night off with 1 a.m. Jack in the Box.

Highlights of the evening included Dan's 24-year-old cousin saying "That's been what, 15 years?" when I told him that I hadn't really been out drinking and dancing since I was in college (ouch.) and Linda, the licensed massage therapist, explaining a 'happy ending' to a very young and very innocent-looking deputy sheriff. I'm still trying to wrap my head around how that even comes up in the course of conversation ...

I was absolutey out of my element, again, but this pushing boundaries thing is kind of fun. Don't think I'll be standing in line for Enya tickets or suddently thinking "yes! my favorite way to vacation - a relative's couch!" or anything, but when it comes to going out and having fun, I'm willing to expand my horizons. A little.

And match.com, huh? I may have to have the girls over, make a pitcher of Micheladas and start surfing ...

You're here on a date?

Points to Miss O again - she did wake up once around 9:30, but after 5-10 minutes was back to sleep and slept until around 5:45. She (and I) would have probably slept later if Bean hadn't gotten up to play at some point, and started banging Ponies on the table in her attempt to "get it all ready and make everything beautiful."

Because it would have been tragic if the Ponies were in disarray.

Dave's got the girls again this weekend, starting tonight. And I need to figure out how to find a date. Or dates. Or at least some single chicks to go hang out with, and not the crowd I was with last weekend. If I thought my odds of success were low to begin with, they did nothing to improve my average. They may have dug it deeper in the hole ...

I am so, so out of practice on the whole single social thing. eHarmony? Meh. I might try one of the other online dating dealies, but I'm not necessarily looking for lifelong compatibility here - I just want to go on some dates. And if I go too much longer without dating, I'm afraid my standards will start circling the drain.

I love you more than all the other fishes.

Man, Tuesday was rough; O woke me up a bit overnight Monday and into Tuesday, so I netted about 5 hours of interrupted sleep if I was lucky. Last night, I fell asleep with them and dozed from maybe 8:30-9:15, then got up for an hour before I went back to sleep.

And was up at 2:00. For no reason. And couldn't get back to sleep. I was yawning and tired, but subconsciously, I think, I was waiting for O to wake up, so I couldn't fall back to sleep. At 2:45, I was 'rewarded' - but it was Bean who woke up. I brought her to my room, took off her splints and eventually fell back to sleep.

O didn't make a peep until close to 5. Yay O! Boo mommy for being so conditioned to waking up :(

Some Beanisms:

Monday night, as I tucked her in and said goodnight, she kissed me and whispered: You're the greatest mommy I've ever seen!

Monday night again, when I left to get some cleaning done;
Mommy: I have to go clean. Sleep well. I love you!
Bean: I love you, too. Clean well.

Tuesday morning, coloring me a picture and scribbling some 'writing': This says dear mother, you read stories very nicely and very calmly. Sparkly Toola Roola is only for the girls. Sincerely, Bean.

She cracks me up.

Both girls started hot lunch delivery at school this week. Dave inadvertently packed a fail-safe lunch Monday a.m. (he forgot) so the girls missed out on Monday, but receceive their lunches yesterday. Bean did great, eating all of hers, and even O ate most of hers. They had beef taco roll-ups, corn and pears, all big hits with my kiddos. Today is supposed to be fish sticks, so I switched the girls to the vegetarian menu (veggie nuggets) instead, just in case they have issues with fish. They've gotten small amounts of seafood with me and I haven't seen an issue, but I don't want them to eat a ton of fish at school, KWIM? Their dad is pretty seriously allergic to it (or was, he had allergy testing a while back that said he *wasn't*, but I don't know if he's really tested that theory), so I worry they will develop issues as well.

Bean had happy faces all over her daily report - for eating well, for taking an hour and a half nap and for having a "great day today!"

She's cracking me up - she's named one of her Ponies "Flower Tuna" and she keeps talking in third person about what Flower Tuna and Pinkie are doing. Not Pinkie Pie, because she knows she doesn't have the 'official' Pinkie Pie. This one is just Pinkie. And Flower Tuna. Y'all just missed the Flower Tuna song ... priceless.

Fire bad, tree pretty.

Ahhh ...

Coffee, a relaxing get ready for work morning, the distraction of looking at flights and hotels in sunny Florida ... I am so damn jazzed about getting to hit the beach, see sunsets and reconnect with old friends. Especially my bestest friend in the world :)

I found a hotel across the street from the beach, and now I'm back to playing with flight times. I thought I had booked already, but I had merely made a reservation (I didn't *hold* the reservation which, we all know, is key). I'm nervous about anything less than an hour layover in Atlanta, but if I stick with one carrier, an hour should be safe. There won't be that insane sprint up and down concourses ...

As I look at departure times, I know I want to be there in time for sunset Thursday night, so I can either get there around 6 with a late morning flight, or I can get there in time for a late lunch with an early a.m. flight. Since I'm usually up around 6:30 anyways, getting up an hour earlier to make a 7:00 flight doesn't seem *too* awful. And then I could grab lunch at The Main Bar and snarf down a Famous Italian or three.

Melissa, I hope your kiddos are better. You asked about my and Dave's custody arrangement. There's all sorts of options as far as summer and vacations go, and since we just make it all up on the fly, I've never bothered to pay much attention to that part. But the basic agreement is 'extended weekend possession' - he has the girls from Thursday evening through Monday morning the 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends of the month. So on 5-weekend months, I score two weekends off in a row. May was funky, because he technically had Memorial Day weekend this year, so he would have had 4 weekends in a row if we hadn't split that weekend up a bit.

I am, apparently, ridiculously fortunate that both he and I are far more concerned with the girls than we ever were with pettiness, in that we've always been very flexible with each other on any changes we need to make due to travel, other commitments, etc. From listening to other folks, this is not the norm. But even early on, I could be mad at him for one thing, but still be totally accommodating if he needed/wanted to leave town on "his" weekend. And vice versa. And now that our post-divorce relationship has settled into a pretty easy thing, we can just talk and if one of us wants to modify something, we do it.

Since we're back on the subject of divorce and details ... while I was indulging in Micheladas in the shade with Dan this weekend, he asked if I was happier now post-divorce.

It's a strange question, as I was not the divorce-seeker, and I fought to save my marriage.

It's a strange question, too, as I don't come from the position of "my marriage didn't let me be me". I always maintained my 'healthy boundaries' and never felt consumed or overrun by my marriage. To me, it was never about losing myself in another person, or surrendering my own wants / needs / identity to someone else. So, in a lot of fundamental ways, my post-divorce life isn't that totally different from my pre-divorce life.

But after I got through all those disclaimers, I realized that - you know what? I *am* happier. Of course, the free weekends rock, but it's more than that. It's the total freedom, the not having to compromise with anyone. He really believed I never compromised, but there was a lot of compromise on my part, it was just more subtle than his.

Does my happiness necessarily mean the divorce was good for me? I don't know; to me, marriage and relationships necessitate some loss of individual happiness in the quest for the common good. So it's only logical that life outside of a couple should be happier than life within it. The solo life is free of so many stressors and pain factors that come with a relationship; giving yourself over to someone else means exposing yourself to hurts and heartaches you wouldn't have on your own.

You gain a lot from relationships, too, but having had a variety of solo- and relationship- perspectives on 'happy', I think people are generally happier when they're alone. It's easier to be happy when you only have one happy to worry about; as soon as someone else's happy is tied to your pleasure cruise, everything gets more bogged down and more complicated. So it's easy to say "look how happy I am now that I'm divorced". Of course you are. I am. Is it superior to the more muted 'happy' of a relationship? I'm not sure ...

Maybe that's the "good" thing about divorce - maybe when you start new relationships you do a better job of maintaining your own identity, your solo happy, and the group 'happy' is less muted ...

That's a lot to think about on a Monday. I'm not sure my brain is really functioning on that high a level. It's back to the fire and the tree.

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