Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Lunch Time

This is the month of Thanksgiving here in the states, so I feel it's only appropriate to state at least one thing I'm grateful for this month, so....

One of the things about my job for which I am so grateful is my lunch time.

Hmmmm....that doesn't sound too good, does it?

But, seriously, I can have some really great lunches because I'm close to some great places....

like home is just 10 or 15 minutes away, so Pat and the kids can come meet me whenever I (or they) want.

I'm also close to a park my kids play at sometimes. Although this creepy woman started hanging out there during lunch, too, so I've stopped going.

There's also some great eating places in the neighborhood, like one of the best burger joints, and a fantastic Thai restaurant, and a really good salad place when I'm feeling healthy.

But there's another place that I absolutely love, and it hit me a few days ago how lucky I am to work so close to this. I go there and sit on a park bench or a picnic table and read or try to do some writing,

and I have this to look at...

and this...

and this is one of the places I used to go to write when I was a teen and an early twenty-something and I wrote that sordid soap opera for years....

and now I work just 5 minutes from there.

That's just one of the things I'm grateful for -

a beautiful respite in my day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NaNoWriMo - It's a No Go!

This year I decided to join Nanowrimo

a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month: "Thirty days and nights of literary abandon!"

Since it started on November 1st I have...

Cleaned the house

Baked a cake

Baked muffins

Organized my files

Written so many blogs I actually have a backlog

Offered to work as much overtime as needed

Walked the dog so much she now refuses to go out

Redecorated the house

Knitted a scarf

Started exercising again

Joined Procrastinator's Anonymous

And I've written exactly 2248 words out of the 25,005 words I'm supposed to have written on my novel.

I don't feel like I'm getting anything done.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Yesterday my husband was hit with some sad news.

One of his music heroes - who had turned into a friend - passed away yesterday.

This is my own little tribute to that friend.

My husband Pat moved from his home state of Utah to Texas in 1991 to pursue his dream of playing guitar. Once he arrived in Texas he discovered the blues: Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Howling Wolf...and then there was Stevie Ray Vaughan. A guitarist who kicked the blues up to a whole new level.

Not long after arriving, Pat formed a band and began touring, which eventually led to a high profile gig (in the blues world anyway). He played in several countries and all across the states, meeting many people he admired, even B.B. King. I think that's the only man who's ever brought Pat to tears - until yesterday, that is.

Another musician Pat met was Doyle Bramhall, the songwriter and inspiration for many of Stevie Ray Vaughan's hits. Pat met Doyle through Chris Hunter, Doyle's step-son, who played drums in the same band with Pat. Pat and Doyle talked, hung out, and played together. Pat gained great respect for Doyle pretty quickly. He was mega talented, and unlike so many successful entertainers, carried himself with no conceit. Pat always prided himself that Doyle (the man who partnered with Stevie Ray Vaughan) loved his guitar playing. Pat played on one of Doyle's cd's not long after they met.

I wasn't able to spend much time with Doyle, I only had a handful of times with him, but there is one memory that immediately came to mind when Pat told me the news yesterday. About seven years ago, Doyle and his wife Barbara were visiting in town. With a 5-year-old Savannah in tow, we met up with them at a local Starbucks to give them some baby clothes to take back to Chris for his little girl. After a brief conversation they invited us to lunch. They were hungry for Tex-Mex (and who isn't in Texas??), so we took them to our favorite haunt. Doyle was so friendly, and spoke easily with our little Savannah, and had me crying with laughter as he told past stories from the road. That lunch led to a full day together: all five of us driving around the city, talking, laughing, and sharing stories and food. Both Doyle and Barbara left a lasting impression on me and I was always happy to see them when they came to town.

I'll forever be grateful to Doyle for the compliments and confidence he gave my husband,

for the way he welcomed me,

for the way he talked with Savannah,

and for the music he gave us.

RIP, Doyle.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sound the Alarm!

Like many moms, I constantly compare my parenting skills to others.

I try to emulate their patience, and then I snap at Sarah when she won't quit pulling on my shirt over...and over....and over.

I work so hard to be more attentive to my kids, and then I shush them when I'm watching Modern Family.

I try to be more health conscious to keep their bodies growing strong instead of wide, and then I stop at the nearest drive-thru and order burgers and fries.

One thing all moms do, though, is have days when you think you're going to absolutely lose it!

The other day while I was cooking dinner and getting tomato sauce all over my favorite white shirt, Savannah kept coming in asking for various snacks, Sarah was hanging on to the back of my shirt like she loves to do, Pace was crying at my feet wanting to be held, and telemarketers wouldn't stop ringing my phone.

I had a sudden urge for a glass of wine...a piece of chocolate...something that would give me a quick respite.

Then I remembered an article I read in a parenting magazine about the rise in the number of women who have become addicted to prescription pills.

Is it bad that I wanted to search for that article so I could get some tips on which pills work best???

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Pros and Cons of My Career Change

In March of this year, after much deliberation, I left my full-time job at an organization where I had grown, gained more and more responsibility, and actually surprised myself numerous times with my ability over the past ten years. You can read about my pain-staking decision here.

A couple months ago I took a part-time position as the Office Administrator for a local church. Yes, that means I’m the church secretary, but my official title is “Office Administrator,” and I’m sticking with it.

Over the last few days I've been thinking about the good, the bad, and damned-near ugly that has come from my career change. I guess you could say I've been trying to verify that I made a good decision. Here's what I've come up with so far:

1) No more traveling! I felt so guilty leaving Pat home with three kids each time I traveled and my trips were getting ready to increase. It also didn't help my guilty conscience to have a three-year-old screaming, "Don't go, Mommy!" when I walked out the door.

2) Less stress. I’m no longer receiving threatening e-mails from my Senior Vice President, which means I no longer grind my teeth (or plot someone's demise) in my sleep.

3) Less time at work and more time at home. I work four days a week, I'm able to sleep in a little later, I must close up the office for an hour lunch each day, and I get out of work before rush hour hits. These are my dream hours!

4) No make-or-break decisions. I don't sweat over the big, suffocating, eye-twitching, budget-making or breaking decisions anymore. That is someone else's job now.

1) No more full-time pay or benefits. Bye-bye, new boots and low co-pay! "Honey, I know you like to climb on the table, dive on to the couch, and then roll off on to the floor all while sucking on a lollipop and holding scissors, but Mommy really needs you to stay healthy right now. She needs a new pair of shoes."

2) No more traveling, which means no more free five-star meals or facials, or massages. If there's going to be any spoiling, I'll have to do it myself. However, see Con #1.

3) Being called a “Church Secretary.” Yes, I know that’s what I am, but for some reason it drives me up the wall when someone calls me the church secretary. See image above.

4) I have to watch my language. I’m the church secretary, you know. And, man, is that hard! Especially when I want to cuss someone out or throw this dinosaur of a computer out the window.

Overall, though, I have to say that I'm really glad I made the decision to leave and I stuck with it. My bank balance may be smaller, and I may not have all the little perks that I did before, but at least I sleep well at night, don't dread the mornings, and have more time to hang out with my kiddos....which is the best PRO of all!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Extra Credit

Today's post is once again for Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writing Workshop.

Today I decided to combine two of the writing prompts into one blog: (1) elaborate on one of the 22 things I've done (#11), and (2) write a blog with eight lines. I get extra credit for this, right?

And now...

The Story of the Deaf Guy in Eight Lines

I worked in a hot tourist attraction selling t-shirts in the West End

A magician's shop that employed some cute guys who possessed the sleight of hand was right next door.

One day one of those cute guys brought over a new, even cuter guy who could not hear or speak.

This new, cuter guy kept looking and smiling in my direction and I thought, I need to learn sign language and fast!

So I bought a book and studied day and night

One of the magician’s who noticed me flirting with the new guy pulled me aside and whispered, “You can’t go out with him – he’s been charged with sexually assaulting a minor!”

Unfortunately, it turned out to be true and my fascination with him vanished like Copperfield’s assistant.

A good thing came out of all this, though, when a deaf couple came in to my store a few months later and I was able to communicate with them!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Last Trick-or-Treat

Last night was a fairly traditional Halloween for us: a dinner of mummy dogs and chips followed by trick-or-treating and lots of candy eating. Although we opted to skip the scary movie and watched "Castle" instead. Savannah & I have grown to love that show!

For the last couple of years, my sweet, soft-spoken Savannah has taken to scary costumes. This year she was a blood-sucking zombie basketball player.

Sarah wanted to be Rapunzel, but, alas, we were unable to find the long, flowing hair for our fair maiden. She finally agreed to be a fairy princess.

Pace, still not quite able to communicate, had absolutely NO say in his costume.


Oops! I mean, maybe next year, little guy.

He went as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

His costume turned out to be the hit of the evening, and all I did was add a headset to a Cowboys outfit already hanging in his closet. Touchdown!

But the event of the evening that really woke me up was at one of the last houses we visited. Pace and I were slowly making our way up the path when Savannah and Sarah raced by us.

“Trick or treat!” they both proclaimed.

Pace and I waddled up (I swear, Pace walks like an old penguin.) as Sarah received her candy. The lady looked up at me and said, “Where did your older one go?” I looked around to find Savannah standing on the sidewalk with her dad.

“Anyone who says trick-or-treat gets a piece of candy. Would you give her this?” the neighbor said placing a candy bar in my hand. I took it to Savannah and asked why she left.

“I’m just too old for this, Mom.”

And that was that.

I now have a kid that’s too old to trick-or-treat. Wait…I need to stretch out my creaky knees and put on my reading glasses. The words have suddenly grown blurry.

So the plan for next year is Savannah will stay home and pass out candy while the “kids” go trick-or-treating.

She’s growing up, folks, and I can’t stop it.