Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Year in Review

Hi - testing pictures feature

Monday, December 24, 2007


Not sure if this a good idea (the layers of technical difficulties in transmitting my words, fragile bits and bytes). But I'm trapped on hwy 16 in South GA and it seems a good time for testing.

So it saves well enough, in draft form. And edits. Tho I wish I had my new laptop already. This blackberry should act as a modem and allow me access anywhere.

It's been almost 4 years since I bought a new system. Actually a refurb. I need to take the leap to a new sys anyway. May as well be now.

What I dread is the research. Mostly because hardware interests me SO little. Its like cars, I like driving a nice ride, but don't want to give it much thought. When I need power I want it there.

Like cars I know more than average about hardware. Shrug. Still breaks on me. I just know a little more about how.

So blogging by thumb is for the birds (grin) but works in a ponch.

Maybe now my muse will lay off. (Or my OCD)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Isn't it laconic?

Great lyrics - and enlightenment

and for kids

Boxes and Committments

[this is an entry I started in early December and couldn't get quite right. So here it is, hopefully a bit better than first draft]

Besides being on time, I’m concentrating on saying less.


. . . . .

Of course blogs don’t count!!

More often than not I forget, and get busy with networking, cleaning, unpacking, travel and baking, etc. and forget when Gwyneth starts going on about something, aiming to hook me into it, that I can pretend it’s Little House on the Prairie, and just listen like Ma would, and keep washing dishes (imagining myself in a long dress and apron, hair neatly done, not jeans and chipped fingernails and crazy pulled back hair), and perhaps nod.

New mantra: “What would Ma do?”

I now have a "Pa" in the house, and it’s interesting to see if he will take the stoic, gentle role I want him to.

I began a new book the other day by Ken Follet – The Pillars of the Earth (great stuff) and have embraced his opening line: "Nothing happens the way you plan it.

In fact I came across a principal that defines a part of this idea – ... it's Harsstacht or some such. Will have to look it up. It basically says that everything will take longer than estimated.

I am SO relieved. Do you know how much guilt comes into a Project Manager’s life from underestimating?? Do you know how many times I’ve had to chew people out for what, it turns out, was not their fault?!? More on that later. I digress.

Nothing goes as planned. A corollary, perhaps, to Herschadt’s law.

So I would like Keith to be kind and firm to Gwyneth all the time – you know, beatific, unlike me. Just so the record is clear, I want this for all the adults in my children’s lives: teachers, care givers, sitters, parents, step parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, everyone. Hell, I want this for myself too.

"Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle." (John Watson)

Cardboard cutouts and boxes
I have decided that two things have to occur for a true commitment to gel – first the kids and the S.O. (significant other) in your life (or VSO in my case) must get along. Even tho they will have to work out issues, basically they have to decide it’s ok for the other to breathe on the planet. Maybe not all the time, but most of the time.

Kids and step parents has to be a dissertation, and I'm not up to it this morning.

Secondly, you have to be willing to throw away the boxes.

You can accept a ring, meet the family, and even buy a fish together (“Ralph”), but if anyone insists that we keep the unpacked boxes, “just in case”, there is stuff to figure out.

Happily, I’ve been meeting family (and better still, liking them) and he’s been meeting mine – immediate family, check. Soon he’s going to meet more of mine. Stay tuned for an update after the holidays.

The boxes, ach. I do hesitate, tho I don’t say it out loud. But perhaps this is because I’m not sure of anything anymore. As much as I can, I know that this is a great man. He’s human and all of that (see: “Argument over Whether He can Insist on Opening the Car Door for Child who is Like her Mother and Makes up Her own Mind”) .

It won’t be entirely smooth sailing. It’s always something. But he davens, he hugs me, he shows up, and he breathes through tense moments. He laughs at me and with me, and he knows how to build a life and sustain it. He can make stuff with his hands, and camps and bikes, and cycles :) and can stop profuse bleeding or set a bone. He isn’t too proud to scrub toilets, and not too brilliant to learn something now and again. He isn’t afraid to call me on my mistakes, but is generally kind and firm (if a bit overreaching – that New Jersey brashness that both makes me laugh (hard) and offends my southern sensibilities).

Like I said it isn’t perfect, he isn’t and I sure ain’t.

The boxes are going. I’m staying. Life can be grueling, the job hunt is tough work, as is unpacking and working out parenting issues. But there is more good than bad, more safe than precarious, more peace than turmoil, more love than frustration.

Life is good, even when it freaks me out.


I worked in the yard all morning – two hours that is.

It was wonderful. Broke a sweat, got leaves under control (not entirely cleaned up, but manageable now), moved boxes. Breathed in the sunshine.

Box herding involved getting empties out and new Important Ones queued up for inspection. Oh the joy of going for a large one, in a pile, and finding it empty! Small pleasures of moving.

Of course the best reason to work in the yard was to avoid dishes. It worked beautifully, and the satisfaction of a hot shower will also take precedence. Maybe some reading to round out these hours.

Sure, I’ll enjoy a clean kitchen soon. Some of you know it’s a fairly recent phenomena in my life. I was 35 before I began to appreciate (sometimes) cleaning ugly remnants of gastronic indulgences. Now I see it as a small way to bring order out of chaos. All cleaning seems this to me now, and the older I get the more I value orderliness, discipline, routine.

Don’t get me wrong, I can and do slob and procrastinate with the best of them – witness four alarms that must be synchronized, along with my "iron will" to get me out of bed.

I do enjoy the cleaning in small steps now – is a great coach on this. As is recovery. Just do the next right thing. Take care of what you can control. And Judaism teaches “Don’t create false idols.” To me this means cleanliness may be next to godliness, but it’s surely second or third…

I like that I can look at the yard when it was covered in leaves, and remember that internet joke about G-d and Peter (or an archangel, depending on your bent) who was reporting that humans were cutting down the trees that were divinely provided, and raking the beautiful leaves that were a gift from the heavens and even cutting grass. The punch line is something about, believe it or not, “then they fertilize the ground so it will grow more grass!”

Down here in Atlanta I think it is perhaps better to leave the leaves honestly. In a drought, surely it is better to stringently leave well enough alone.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Travels with gnomes

There is something mind bending about hurtling through space to have a great meal and hauling progeny with you. I find my mind on the dogs, on the houses, on the job hunt and wonder that the roller coaster of my life is just so freaking weird.

I think other people probably consider their lives strange, too beyond imagination, but not everyone. I also think I tend to exaggerate when big changes come, especially ones completely outside my control.

This week has been traveling to get big kids, hangin out one day and shopping for Chanuaka, traveling again, eating The Meal - after brother in law broke his ankle in pick up basketball - and cleaning and then grazing... for days...

Now we are in recovery mode - another day of shopping (interview clothes) and I'm into knitting gifts ... and bracing myself for returning the kids to Nashville.

It's been nice to finish two books, think a bit, consider being better about staying in touch with everyone.

I needed the time to just be.

Once Gwyneth starts her new school on Monday, I'll be able to turn to the more important, if mundane matters. I think the satisfaction of rolling up my sleeves and digging in is the only way I know to keep the dark shadows of deepest fears at bay. I'll do the usual networking, interviewing (some for info, some for jobs) and connecting.

In addition, (knowing myself and what works very well) I'll also clean, bake and unpack. Still haven't made it in for the "salon" visit, but at least the clothes are bought :) I get a jacket and slacks, Gwyneth gets a new outfit for school!

All my knitting goodies are also good comfort! Have filled a room with hand-crafts : besides yarn and fiber for spinning, there is sewing and scrapbooking supplies. Baskets, art. Collections of witches and sheep/lambs. I have my clothes in my own room, (yippee!) and books of course, always books.

Ah - music will have to have a corner too:) I, for one, thought that the final installation of Harry Potter should have included music as one of the Deathly Hallows, or some similar strongest magic to defeat Voldemort! Went to the symphony a couple of weeks ago - heavenly.

Pictures to be posted soon. New skill on new blog space.
be well,

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Soul Searching and Soul Food

A Recipe for Moving Forward

Ok - so the next step is dealing with details. Like "what do I need to know to make the next decision", contemplate the ingredients. What do I have, what do I need? Do I have the right tools in my virtual kitchen?

And then a long long drive. Let it all settle in a bit.

I'm thinking Athens. And hang out with friends who have known me for several lifetimes.

And then just sit some more, piddle, knit, bake maybe. Clean... but not in any pointed fashion.

Maybe keep driving - go see Aunt Linda, my grandad's one acre in sandy ant infested South Georgia. Go to the beach. Sit.

Go to Charlotte. Sit and drink tea. Hang out.

Show up in St. Louis for a court date in December - old business trying to get a rental deposit back. Hope for an easy win and cash they owe me :) Be worthless otherwise.

Tie up loose ends and finish thinking by the Winter Solstice... maybe I'll re-read some old wise books... you know, where you read and don't really retain anything...

Celebrate Chanuaka. Practice my Hebrew. Just be at services. Soak it all in.

I think I'll get my hair cut. In Macon (an hour south of Atlanta). By my cousin. Family with benefits . Simple stuff. The stuff of life.

Comfort Food

Ok - here is a normal response to change: eat your favorite foods. Disregard calories.

this morning it was cathead biscuits and sawmill gravy. Came out alright, but the biscuits could do with a tad less wheat flour. Aunt Betty, Queen of Southern Biscuits, would stare if I told her I was trying to make biscuits with wheat. But I'm stubborn that way. Something about the wheat cancels out the sausage gravy fat :)

Here are my recipe sources and notes:

whole wheat biscuits
I added some wheat germ -

sawmill gravy,,FOOD_9936_153,00.html

1/2 cup of beef bouillon (1 cube) and 1.5 cups milk and beef brat wurst (2)
pepper and premixed flour into cold milk

simmer down to right consistency

Monday, November 12, 2007

Whose time zone?!

I swear it is 11:26 pm here.

So the server farm (google) must be in Oregon.

I'm reading A Three Dog Life - memoir recommended by Stephen King. Left 3 other books behind in the bookstore for this one. Delicious.

Amazing how my writing takes so quickly on the tone of my reading. Like speaking to someone from another land, after few drinks. You pick up the accent and seem foolish to those not in on the subconscious joke.

I am also reading:
  • Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
  • Freakanomics - Steven Levitt and Stephen Durbin
  • Dogs Don't Bite When a Growl will Do - some dog people
  • The Woman Who Laughed at God, a History of the Jewish People - Jonathan Kirsch
  • Good to Great - Jim Collins
  • Mindful Knitting - Tara Jon Manning
  • A Woman's Journey to God - Joan Borysenko
  • If the Buddah Got Stuck - Charlotte Kasl

Just finished the last - well, skimmed the ending chapters. Love this writer (Charlotte Kasl) but she is best in small doses. Something like Karen Armstrong, A History of God.

Reading as truffles.

I told my lover tonight of this blogspace. It came back to me as a small regret later. Not that I don't want him here, but as evidence of my struggle to be in a "real" couple again. I gave something up - some privacy perhaps.

I asked him today what he would miss most about living alone. "Walking around naked." he replied easily, once he decided to be really honest. He's such a guy.

I think I'll miss having time to do whatever I want. As in not having any sense of obligation to do anything.

In spite of my whining to myself, being alone was cool, when it happened. Living with three kids didn't give me much true time to just Be. But some.

And maybe I won't so much miss my own time, as the life I had - and this moving in and making a new home is forcing me out of limbo. As long as I didn't unpack I could pretend that I really hadn't moved on without ... without those very large muscle groups.

They moved me constantly, the "big kids" who, after all, aren't so big. They were under foot and skin and sinew. They were - are - taking up large regions of the grey mass that gropes for words tonight.



Bedtime is done

At last.

Now with 2 kids in my personal diaspora I treasure these inane moments even more.

Me: kiss G goodnight after reading in her bed. Not to her but alongside, while she clutches one arm. I comment that I'd like to be able to move that arm. My kiss reeks of wine. She holds her nose.
"I'm off to write with my bad breath."

G: "Wait. You're off right?" (eyes dancing, giggling, knowing she is making a pun and loving making me laugh)

Me: "You aren't allowed to make me laugh like that."

We crack up together.

I am still grieving something Patrick gave up last month. He fell for lacrosse, and I am impaled by his quitting, since there isn't any near his new home.

Lacrosse doesn't exist in the backwoods of Tennessee (go figure).

And I remember giving up on basketball because we had a goal, but no way for me to learn to dribble on grass or the gravel driveway. I didn't think being vertically challenged would stop me. I'd read novels on being good and fast. Of course I was neither.

Swimming was harder to give up. I swam like crazy (and later found out, gracefully) only to lose each and every race. I was good, but slow.

School crowded it out, grades, majorettes, boys as well, I'm sure.

The loss of things I love doing all flooded back when he gave up his dream. Always the pragmatist.

I did get to swim again in college - a single course reminded me that goggles, simple device, let you slip off, meditate as it were, a kind of swimming chi gong.

I think it kept me killing some roommates, especially sweet Paul who dated a screamer. (Actually it was hysterical, quiet Paul, hiding naked in closets so her husband wouldn't know).

tonight I am rife with words.

Whining from the room next door. Sigh. How I miss my kids.

Too good to be true

Online Etymology Dictionary - Cite This Source - Share This
1638, from Fr. sardonique (16c.), from L. sardonius (but as if from L. *sardonicus) in Sardonius risus, loan-translation of Gk. sardonios (gelos) "of bitter or scornful (laughter)," altered from Homeric sardanios (of uncertain origin) by influence of Sardonios "Sardinian," because the Greeks believed that eating a certain plant they called sardonion (lit. "plant from Sardinia," see Sardinia) caused facial convulsions resembling those of sardonic laughter, usually followed by death. For nuances of usage, see humor.


I exclaimed loudly after Keith almost wrecked the truck last night. "I knew it!" he said, "You're a believer!"

"What?!?" I yelled, gasping for air. "Yeah," realizing I'm still alive "I believe you're a *&^% idiot!!!!"

Gwyneth is with me, reading and laughing, and says I should use a "beep" instead of *&^%.

We are going to read more HP tonight - on the 7th and final installment. Alas, Dobby has just died, and I can completely sympathize with his surprise at being fatally wounded (OOPS! spoiler alert!)

Having just been laid off from my new glizty job, I've gone from serene to pissed off in 72 hours flat - ok, it's more like 80 hours, but who's counting?

G says I can't be stressed when I don't have a job

ps. she adds, "You can't be serious. 'Here lies Vicki, a free elf.'" I'm off to look up sardonic.