Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Hmmm...Why has MG Been MIA This Week Again?

I'm floored by how much time I used to have for blogging....I'm lucky, now, if I can get to my computer before midnight, or if I can sneak some "illegal time" in on the computer at work. Between all of that, the various sports, OT, rehearsals, gigs, and "alone time" with PC, I've run out of time. My band played at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn this weekend and it was fantastic. We debuted an original song written by PC and a very good friend of his, JK. PC and I joined forces for a duet on Johnny Cash's "Jackson" and rocked the house. The band was AMAZING. We've got some great video, too. Hopefully I can find a way to get it uploaded - THAT would be cool. I'd LOVE for you, who aren't in this area, to have the opportunity to see us.

This was a weekend filled with singing. If I haven't written about it, I'm participating in this local talent search contest. I auditioned the day before I got my teeth pulled, passed that, and moved on to the first elimination round which was on Saturday. There were 24 total participants, broken into two groups. The first group competed the previous Thursday evening. Our group went Saturday afternoon. There were many high school aged kids competing (all of whom could hold their own, I must say), and of the "older" crowd, I was surprised to find that I was the youngest...there was a woman who is 41 and a gentleman who is 47; I felt a little better, to say the least. I had a scary performance of "Broken Wing" by Martina McBride, but apparently, I was the only person who thought it was scary. I got the call Monday afternoon that I was chosen to advance to the next round. WHEW! I was also fortunate enough to be the picture on the article written about the competition. Click here to read the article - my name's not in it, but I think the picture says it all.

The next round will be held on Saturday, May 6 at Slaton's Supper Club in Oak Park. For those of you in town, 25% of my total score comes from audience members' votes. If you can be there, the contest starts at 1:00, the place is small-ish, so seating is limited, but WOW, I'd LOVE to have you there!

SmallBoy is doing very well, btw. His OT started a listening therapy with him. This involves CDs with varying frequencies that he listens to 2x/day, 30min/time. It hurts my ears, and LargeBoy's ears, but it seems to relax SmallBoy and PC - we'll have to try it on Girl and see what she thinks. Ex is still a moron. He has completely stopped coming to OT, even for the 20 mins or so that he used to come. He's not shown any intention whatsoever of bringing SmallBoy back into his house anytime soon, but ya know...he's a ....well, a word that's not suitable for public consumption.

Well, that's where we are for now. Check out the article and the pic. If you're in town, I would so very much love to have you there. I entered this contest at the urging of PC and Girl who, had I not acquiesced and sent in the entry form, would have sent it in for me. I have a couple of friends who would have done the same. Hugs & Kisses to all of you. Miss you tons!

Friday, April 21, 2006

What's Going on in MG Land

Hi everyone - I hope everyone's holidays were wonderful. It poured here in Chicago for Easter, but that was fine, we were all busy inside stuffing our faces and enjoying our family. The second round of Spring Break, for Girl & SmallBoy this time, is beginning to draw to a close, but began with a bang. Girl ended up getting into a bit of trouble with her friends and losing all of her privileges over break - heh heh heh...ok, so I shouldn't chortle, I've been grounded for a month once, it stunk. That same day, however, SmallBoy and Princess went into the city with PC & ET and had a blast! They went to Millenium Park, saw "The Bean" (for those of you outside of this area, I'll post a pic later, but suffice it to say The Bean is a seamless structure, covered in a reflective metal, shaped like a kidney have to see it), walked around, had a picnic, climbed the trellis (a family tradition from MY family which I'm so happy to have shared with PC's family), and came home exhausted but exhilirated. Now THAT's a great way to start a break! Girl went to the White Sox game (only because the other parent had already spent money on the tix), and that was that.

This week has been busy with OT, psychologists, cub scouts, softball practices, rehearsals for my band's gig tonight at Fitzgerald's (if you're in town, come on over!!!). INSANITY I TELL YOU! Lots of discussion with Smallboy's therapist, but that is for another post altogether, but I will sum it up with this: We all agreed that Ex has no plans to come around to acceptance and reality anytime soon and that the goal now is to find the best ways to help SmallBoy handle this. This, we will accomplish in many ways, as there are SO many people who love and adore SmallBoy and are willing to help us out!

I've missed you all so much! My mouth is pretty much better, still some jaw pain, but only on the right side - it'll kill after tonight's gig, though. Tomorrow morning I have to work at 8 (UGH, after a late night singing...), then off to a vocal competition (come out to Molly Malone's in Forest Park and vote for ME please, if you're around 1:00 Saturday - tomorrow!!!!), then off to sing at church for 5:00 mass, then, on to a wedding reception - OY!!!!! I'm exhausted - you?

I'm dying to catch up with all of you and I promise I'll swing by and read as soon as I can. Miss you Miss you Miss you!!!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Playtime With Peeps

As I drove down the roads, abandoned of their usual morning traffic, I was, the only sorry sap heading in to work today. I needed comforting, so I turned on the radio and was listening to the morning DJs discussing, what else, Peeps! I knew there would be no channel surfing, I was staying tuned in, not touching that dial - no way, nu hunh, no sirreeee Bob! Last year I had done a Peeps post (if I manage to figure out where it is in my archives I 'll link it for you), so I listened to see if there was going to be something fun.

As I expected, there was talk of the Peeps explosion - both in terms of their marketing and how they are no longer just for the Easter Holiday anymore, but for any and ALL holidays, and, well, for those of you familiar with exploding Peeps in the microwave, that would be the other meaning. My family is full of Peeps Geeks. They will let them get stale because they're not "in the mood for all that sugar", but then when they dive in, they pop them in the nuker to "soften them up". This led to exploding Peeps, and now it's a tradition in the MommyGuilt Household.

The chatter and chuckling kept streaming through the radio as they further discussed the highs and lows of Peeps (yes, the sugar highs and lows). Then THE caller called.

"Have you ever heard of Peep jousting?"

You can imagine the squeal of laughter coming from my wide open car (it's going to be 80 degrees today!) when the caller explained the "sport". I MUST preface this with a WARNING: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, CAN START A FIRE!!!!! Here is the premise for the "game," if you will: Place two Peeps on a plate and "arm" each with a toothpick (for jousting, of course). Pop them in the microwave and watch as they expand. Whichever "player" expands far enough to jab his opponent first, wins.

I was almost doubled over my steering wheel laughing SO hard! It made it MUCH easier to come into the office today! Have you done anything unusual with YOUR Peeps?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Cast Your Votes for an Amazing Woman

I have come to realize what a HUGE resource the blogosphere is. TONS and TONS of people who are willing to help you out at the drop of a hat. This comes in very handy when you need support...or VOTES! A friend of mine, Veronica, is one of 10 finalists in the Swiffer Amazing Woman of the Year contest and she needs YOUR VOTES!!!! She truly IS an amazing woman, but I'll let you read all about her when you click here. She needs YOUR VOTES! I would tout her praises, but her story tells it all! Go read! GO VOTE! I thank all of you for your participation....and I KNOW that if Veronica could thank each of you personally, she would do the same!

Monday, April 10, 2006

I Did It

I'm very pleased to tell you that I went through with it, I didn't wuss out like I thought I would...I got my wisdom teeth pulled on Friday. I am back at work today with a large sized bottle of Ibuprofen in my drawer, rolls & jello in the fridge for lunch. I forgot my ice pack though, but I can grab some ice from the freezer if I need it.

No major swelling, at least not of chipmunk proportions. I have stitches in my mouth that feel like I've got food stuck in my teeth - it's making me batty!!!! Head is POUNDING! Everyone keeps saying I should have taken the pain pills before I came to work, but that would have knocked me on my butt - either that or I'd be puking all morning from taking it on an empty stomach. I'll live, though, I'm a big girl.

The instant relief of NOT having those teeth in my mouth is amazing. Everyone took great care of me this weekend. PC treated me like I was a queen, and the poor thing is coming down with something nasty, himself. SmallBoy spent Friday night and Saturday at GR's house (cuz it was a weekend for Ex). They made me a giant bowl of jello, some homemade bread, and some homemade cinnamon rolls...making of the bread from scratch was actually really good OT for SmallBoy. I didn't see much of Girl and LargeBoy. When I got home from the appointment on Friday I was rather, well, hazy. I know they were there, I remember talking to them and probably telling them and asking them the same thing over and over. Being teenagers, though, they had "stuff to do" after returning from Ex's house.

I'd much prefer to not be at work today, but I don't feel like spending another non productive day at home. If I'm going to have a day off of work this time of year, I'd prefer to be doing fun things like gardening or going to a WHITE SOX game! Right now, though, my head is pounding and I should probably TRY to get some work done - "try" being a very very key word there! I have a feeling that I'm going to be in a lot of pain after spending the day on the phone - might have to have some pain pills later - ICK! So, happy Monday to all of you!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Garden Jones

I love owning my own home - even with all of the issues of fixing this and replacing that and plumbers and contractors and electricians (ok, headache now) - but it's this time of year, for the last two years that my heart breaks and yearns for my old house. It was a 3 flat that my former in-laws owned. Even after my divorce from Ex, I lived there (for a disguting pittance of a rent, really nice). The yard and garden were MINE. I had total control. When I was going through my phase of really hating my marriage and pondering the divorce, I relandscaped the entire garden - nothing fancy schmancy, but I did it and it was beautiful. I had a grand design in mind that would require years of care and patience and love, but it was MINE. I started under the lilac bushes (grown into trees) with, what I lovingly deemed Daffodil Hill. A friend of mine owned a gardening business and so I ordered all of my bulbs through her. I loaded this mound of dirt with several varieties of daffs, knowing that they would be fruitful and multiply over the years. I wonder what it looks like now.... I can just imagine...I don't remember all the names, but yellow on yellow daffs, white with pink daffs, white on white with frilly fringe daffs..never particularly fond of orange on yellow, but that was just me...OH I'm jonesin'!

To the right of Daffodil Hill, I had a rose arbor on which I was growing clematis. I know I thought about starting a climbing rose on the other side, but I don't recall getting around to it. ANYWAY, I had a little walkway through it along which I had teeny tiny little species tulips. If you're not familiar, they look kind of like pointy crocuses. Itty bitty little tulips. The images in the picture above are mayyyyyyybe 6 in. high. Most of the ones I had were this color, but I had some that were a fuschia with a purple stripe (where the red is in this picture). They were so dainty and petite. I had planted some in the front yard, too, around my tree, and as a border in my front garden. The downside was that with their size, they tended to get trampled - but they were really pretty while they lasted.

My pride, was my roses. I only had a few bushes and one or two climbers, but I LOVED them. They never failed me and did not require the gazillion hours of upkeep and maintenance that I hear people talk about. I fed them, but not traditional rose food...oh, sure, every once in a while I would spoil them with some miracle grow but mainly, a big ol' bulb of garlic planted at the base at the beginning of every season and then, again, about half way through the season. It kept the bugs away, it kept my roses happy. OH...and I fed them banana peels. LORD did they love banana peels...maybe that's why LargeBoy has such a distaste for them, because I made him eat so many so I could have the peels! LOL My roses made me happy, gave me a sense of calm and serenity. Taking care of them, watching new buds spring up, pruning them....I loved them so!

TULIPS!!!! Wherever I could place them I planted. I have a special place in my heart for tulips. They ARE spring. They are new life. They are sunshine. They are happiness (good grief, I'm starting to sound like a cheezy 70's song). I could never have enough tulips and I never really got to the ones I wanted. I had, in the front of my house, 30 or so tall pure white tulips with the pretty fringe edges - not the parrot kind, nothing gaudy , either, but a pretty fringe. I had planted these on - get this - New Year's Day (keep in mind I live in Chicago). They were phenomenal. It was a beautiful little pond of white and green. Someone on my block had taken a picture of them and had given it to me. It now sits in a frame in my living room over my piano (a true place of honor). I had a great many tulips, but only the basic ones. My grand scheme was to build my garden with early to late blooming tulips, short to tall and sleek and, ultimately, to get some of the gorgeous, elegant, black tulips and the deep deep purple ones. Never got there, though.

I have a garden that I "developed" at my new house. I dug up the ground,killed the grass around the area, dug up the walking path. I transplanted what I could from my old place, including my rose arbor. Sadly, roses don't transplant well, so I had to leave them behind. My friend transplanted some things from her garden as she readied her house to put on the market - she brought me some GORGEOUS daylillies, some bearded irises, and a few other goodies. I've got my stepping stones in place, I've got clematis, I'm grooming a new climbing rose, planted some baby narcissus....but it's not the same. My garden cannot thrive. The soil is different because of our location (in the same neighborhood that was home to a petroleum plant many decades ago), PLUS, my spigot doesn't work. No, not a simple fix either (why would it be). When I moved into my house, it was on the coldest day of the year - I believe it was a record low. The underside of my house, above which is the kitchen, is not insulated (long story for another blog), so the pipes froze. The rest of my house recovered without doing much more than requiring a warm up, leaving the water drip overnight, etc....the pipe to the spigot wasn't as lucky. It broke. This leaves me to have to water the entire garden using the old fashioned fire line system...empty milk gallons, pails, water buckets, etc....not easy to do when you have minimal time.

I miss my old garden because of all of the hours of work and love I put into it. It was HUGE with lots of room to grow. I know that this one will, someday, show that love also, but I find myself kind of heartsick for that one. I have a hydrangea that I need to plant, I'd really like to put in some more perennials, but I have no way to water regularly....need to replant my grass too...HAH! Can't run a sprinkler! I pray that some of you out there have some suggestions??????????

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Spring Break #1 is Over

Sadly, neither Spring Break #1 or #2 involve ME being on break...that's what I get to do Friday afternoon after I get my mouth all cut up...I mean after I receive relief by having my wisdom teeth removed from the overcrowded mouth in which they have made their home for many, many years....if I don't chicken out or have to cancel the appointment because there's no one available to do my job in my absence (even though I have a formal request for the afternoon off signed by the boss lady). Spring Break #2 starts for Girl and SmallBoy the Thursday before Easter. But I digress...

LargeBoy headed back to school on this cold and dreary Monday morning, after a long and relatively good weather enhanced week off of school. We saw him for, maybe 6hrs - of actual "awake AND at home" time over break, but he had a blast. The still dark sky, a combination of resetting the clocks and a night full of thunderstorms, and a "late" night, presented a rude awakening for LargeBoy this morning when I woke him at 6:45 to view the Crap-it's-Monday sky (and to get his ass moving for school). Lovely lovely day.

The weekend leading up to the official end of Spring Break was quite fine, though. The weather could have been a bit better, but considering I live in Chicago, it could have been MUCH MUCH worse! 5:00 on Friday couldn't have come fast enough. The director and associate director of our office had been out of town at a conference all week, my staff had taken the cat's-away-mice-will-play attitude, not realizing that K. and I had been left in charge, my Friday was TOTALLY stressful trying to schedule THIS week and blah blah blah...needless to say, by the time 5:00 rolled around I was ready to get the hell out of Dodge. Silly Me. I had forgotten that I had volunteered to help out at a Girl Scout function Friday night. Girl's troop was doing a service project and volunteered to babysit for a "Moms' Night Out" for the school parents. Well, the response was SO overwhelming, they had 83 children signed up, that the leaders needed help supervising the girls who were "running" the evening. I was DREADING this. I had been working with a staff who had been acting like children all week (ok, so , really, only two of my staff...but it was a staff of 4), in our office we work with kids with learning disabilities stemming from many a source, including behavioral issues from PTSD. I wanted to go home, open up my wine, slide into the bubble bath (a la Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman), and just forget about the world for a while. I was NOT looking forward to 83 screaming children ranging in age from 3 to 9. When I got there, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, it was a zoo. There were children all over, some having a blast, some having tantrums, some bullying, some off in their own world (SmallBoy), but surprisingly my newfound skills, after learning all of these wonderful new techniques to use with SmallBoy, snapped into place. We got the kids playing games, tantrums were "easily" dealt with, and everyone was happy as clams...especially when we saw the parents slowly starting to trickle back in.

Saturday was Girl's play, Closet Monsters, peformed by her school's Drama Club. She played a character very similar to herself - tomboy who always wore her hair under a baseball cap, didn't take crap from anyone, and loved to speak her mind...yeah, pretty much Girl. There were SOME differences, but suffice it to say she pretty much played herself. She did a great job and I am SO very proud of her. She and her Step Sister are both in the drama club together. Step Sister's role was that of a girl very concerned with her looks, and beauty trends, skin and hair care, makeovers, etc...In this picture, Step Sister had just "done" Girl's hair and Girl's character wanted NOTHING to do with it, so she IMMEDIATELY shook it out, rolled her eyes, and put her baseball cap back on her head. It's nice that even with all the crap going on with Ex, that she and Step Sister are friends and have a great deal in common. It's nice for Girl to have a "big sister".

LargeBoy spent Saturday with SmallBoy - who was JUST loving it. LargeBoy "borrowed" Chicken Little from a friend and the Boys watched it together, played the games on the DVD, played games, wrestled, had alone time from each other - as long as SmallBoy knew his brother was home and wasn't leaving him, he was happy. It was SO nice to hear him laugh and giggle and just be SmallBoy again - not crying, literally, distraught over when he was going to see his brother again - gee, you think the whole abandoment issue with his "father" is starting to get to him? Now, at least, he knows that Spring Break was just that, a break, that LargeBoy adores him and would NEVER EVER leave him. He was SO scared, though. It just broke my heart.

Sunday we spent celebrating Princess' 7th Birthday; fittingly, her birthday was Saturday, April Fool's Day. To FULLY appreciate that, you need to know Princess. For her birthday celebration we had some killer rib tips from Uncle Bub's and ET made some barbequed chicken with (one of) his secret bbq sauce(s). The Maalox was flowing like water last night, but DAMN it was worth it. We gave Princess some more of Girl's GIGANTIC stash of American Girl stuff - those of you with only boys, be VERY GRATEFUL that you will never know what AG is. She loved it. We went outside and discovered a family of bunnies - 3 or 4 "fresh outs" and a mama. We made sure that SmallBoy and Princess didn't get too close, so that Mama would return. Oh...DUH...the pinata! THAT was hysterical. Princess went first because it was her birthday, of course, then SmallBoy, Girl, ET, and eventually, after a couple of rounds, Meem had a turn, too. Apparently this pinata was made very strong. It lasted through Girl - who plays fastpitch softball and has a killer swing, through ET - well, self-explanatory if you know him, and lasted through a baseball bat beating, too. Once it finally broke open, though, the kids filled up bags and bags of candy. Hopefully my dog won't find it. It was a wonderful afternoon and everyone had fun.

Today, well, back to reality. The weekend was a nice escape, though. I wish weekends were longer, though, so we can enjoy OUR lives more instead of our companies' lives, enjoy our CHILDREN more. I hope you, too, had a wonderful weekend.