Life is good

MB and I have had a wonderful visit since his arrival on Thursday. I wish he weren't leaving on Thursday.

We took the boys to a carnival on Saturday and simply had great "family time." He survived the initial exposure to my church family, mostly because attendance was low due to the 3-day weekend. Good friends came over for lunch on Sunday -- and stayed until 8:30 p.m! It's amazing to me: Nick and I used to play bridge with P&B, and P was one of Nick's colleagues. But MB has just slipped right into a comfort zone with them; the day was utterly relaxing.

I finished writing Nick's story Sunday night; yesterday, I was utterly exhausted. Yes, we'd had the all-day company, but I think I was more emotionally exhausted than anything. I need to go back and tweak a few things in the chronicle of Nick's last days, but the hardest part is done.

There's not much on our agenda for the day: N goes to school, and S doesn't. We'll make a trip to the hardware store and putter around the house. I'll probably haul more mulch around. And as always, a mountain of laundry awaits me.


I've been tagged!

For my nonblogging friends, that means that someone has posted a list of things and said that now it's MY turn to do so. My friend b, whom I've yet to meet, tagged me to complete this list

I AM: at peace. The storms of grief have subsided for now, and my boys are doing well. And MB is here.

I WANT: my boys to have amazing lives. I want them to look back at their lives when they are old with happiness, and few regrets. (copying what BinBoston wrote)

I WISH: I didn't always feel like I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders

I HATE: that my boys have lost their Daddy.

I MISS: Nick.

I FEAR: making the wrong decisions for my boys. I don't mind screwing MY life up, but I don't want to mess THEIRS up.

I HEAR: the wild chirping of the birds in my backyard.

I WONDER: what my friends will think of MB when I take him to church on Sunday.

I REGRET: that Nick and I never finished reading the book we started reading to each other on our honeymoon.

I AM NOT: crazy; I'm a widow!

I DANCE: like I've got 3 left feet -- any fool can dance with 2 left feet; it's a unique ability to be as clumsy as I am.

I SING: anyplace, anytime.

I CRY: out to Nick and to God.


I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: awesome Brio and Lego railroad tracks.

I WRITE: to clarify my thoughts, to express myself.

I CONFUSE: Bionicles and Exoforcers.

I NEED: to stop spending so much time in front of the computer.

I SHOULD: be better about brushing my kids' teeth. (again, copying from b)

I START: each day with a sigh.

I FINISH: each day with a prayer.

people I tag: Since I'm new to this, I'll tag only GoGoYubari.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I don't generally read the horoscope, but this one caught my eye in today's Washington Post:

Capricorn: Consider that perhaps there is no other person qualified to advise you. After you journey to the top of the mountain, you will not meet a wise sage, guru or holy man, but an enlightened version of yourself.

Eeek! (In a good way)

MB is getting in his truck and driving East today, which means he'll be here tomorrow! I wasn't expecting him until Friday, or maybe even Saturday. I have a lot of work to do before he gets here!

Too much to list, in fact. So I'll just work work work, and report back what I have accomplished.


Some days, lists just don't help

In particular, that would be any day that S is home. An accurate to-do list for Tuesdays and Thursdays would look like this:
  • Play dinosaurs and dragons.
  • Pick up A.
  • Fix B.
  • Play dinosaurs and dragons.
  • Clean C.
  • Fix D.
  • Play dinosaurs and dragons.
  • Pick up A again.
  • Pick up E.
  • Clean D.
  • Play dinosaurs and dragons.
  • Pick up F.
  • Pick up F again.
  • Play dinosaurs and dragons.
  • Fix D again.
  • Play dinosaurs and dragons.
  • Play dinosaurs and dragons.
  • Play dinosaurs and dragons.
Wish me luck in accomplishing everything on this list!

Updated, 9:22 p.m. -- I played lots of dinosaurs and dragons today.


Does anything tell the passage of time so clearly as clothing?

I have a mountain of clothes to wash... another week has gone by.
I need to pull summer clothes out of storage... the seasons are changing.
Most of S's clothes are too small... he's approaching his second birthday since Nick died.
Time, it moves so relentlessly, but feels so fragile.

Anyway, I will be dealing with clothing today:
  • Washing that mountain
  • Folding it, because with company coming, I can't leave it on the guest room bed
  • Switching seasonal clothes from the boys' rooms
  • Going through old clothes to find things that S can wear
But first, I'm going to get a cup of coffee, read the comics, and volunteer with the 2nd graders.


Edited, 9:35 p.m. -- Well, the mountain is clean. Unfolded, but clean. I blew off the rest of it though. Instead I spent time digging in the dirt, potting the last of the annuals I'd bought last week. I've paired lantana with French marigold -- it's really lovely!

I should update you on my in-laws' responses to my chronology of Nick's death. I called my MIL yesterday, and left a message regretting any pain this might cause her, but stressing that it was something that I needed to do for myself and for the boys. She sent a really nice (!) email this morning, assuring me that she was not at all upset by my doing the journal. She simply is still deep in her grief and can't face writing it down or reading about it. Nearly 2 years later, she still has 8 inches of unopened sympathy cards.

I got an email from the older of Nick's two sister's, saying she admires my courage in writing the tale of his last days, but she herself does not have that courage yet. Maybe in the future she will be able to contribute to what I'm recording, but she can't do so now.

I haven't heard from the younger sister, and I don't expect to. Which leaves my BIL and his extremely negative response. After reading the email from my MIL, and being absolved of any concern I had of having made a mistake or handled things badly, I thought more about his response. I remembered something very important: When Nick lay comatose in the ICU, his brother refused to go in and see him, even for a brief "goodbye." He refused to approach the open casket at the viewing and funeral. I don't want to remember him like this; I want to remember him as a live and vibrant man. So his reaction to my writing about Nick's death is completely in keeping with how he responded to Nick's dying.

I was relieved to realize I don't have to worry about having hurt anybody or having been inconsiderate or self-centered. I know that nobody can tell me how to grieve or what I have to do or not do, and I was going to continue the chronology anyway. But it's good to know that I wasn't totally out of line. For once.


I haven't been sleeping well again. Insomnia seems to come in cycles during this grief thing, and I've been in a sleepless phase for several weeks now. I really hate that. Really.

My BIL gave me a lecture about a website I put up where I describe Nick's week in the hospital. He told me it should be a celebration of his life, not a recounting of his death. "So when this site is done, will you be done grieving? You've got to let go of it and move on. Talk about his life and what a great man he was, not about his death." And my MIL sent me a terse email that she is too deep in her grief to contribute to the telling of the story.

Whatever. I just don't care. I'm too damned tired to care.

Not true, of course. I just need to vent. I will call my MIL this evening and talk with her, just to make sure she's not as upset with me as my BIL is for starting the site.

That's all for today. TTYL.

Not much to say

Just letting my Four Faithful Readers know that I'm thinking of you!

A new look?!

I never liked that icky orange. So I found a more appealing template and spent most of the day modifying it. It still needs to be tweaked a bit, but let me know what you think.
So far today I have
  • Gotten N off to school
  • Taken S to the ear-nose-throat doctor
  • Replenished my wine and vodka supply
  • Watched donuts come off the assembly line with S
  • Hauled 4 barrows full of mulch around the house
  • Spread the mulch painstakingly and evenly around the sprawling roots of a huge silver-leaf maple tree, with layers of newspaper underneath to keep weeds from sprouting; the 4 loads covered somewhere between one-third and one-half of the area that needs mulching
  • Prevented S from braining the toddler girl across the street with a kid-size cultivating rake
  • Gone crazy looking for MY cultivating rake... where the bleep could it be?!
  • Worked on a new blog project, about which you will hear more later
Now I have to feed S and pick my VW up from the dealership.


The best laid plans


I had it all worked out. Housework in the morning; writing after that; parent-teacher conference at 1:00; gardenwork in the afternoon. It was going to be a terrific day.

But NOOooo. N has been complaining about tummyache and nasal congestion for a week or so, and I finally decided to take him in this morning. He's not sick:
Well, my tummy doesn't hurt now, but it did yesterday... I can breathe out of this nose, but there's a blockade here... No, I only want to throw up when I see something disgusting like when someone has pooped and peed and not flushed the toilet... It WAS hurting when I cough, but not anymore... I stick my finger up my nose to get the snot out, but there isn't any, it's clogged all the way down here... My mom gives me Sudafed but I forget to take it...

True confession: By the time the exam was done I was practically rolling on the floor with laughter. The doctor -- good man that he is -- told N that he should just stay home and rest today. I don't really mind but I sure am annoyed! I think any parent would understand what I mean.

So, let's see what the day brings. TTYL.

Twenty random things

... with apologies to B in Boston, who did this yesterday.
  1. I love keeping fish, even though I'm not very good about keeping the tank clean.
  2. When I entered college, my 10-year-plan was to earn an MBA and a law degree -- both my undergraduate and graduate degrees are in theology.
  3. My dream AFTER college was to open and run a retreat center, raising my children in Christian community out in the country somewhere.
  4. I believe that everyone should wait tables at some point in their lives, to learn some humility and appreciation for those who serve them well at restaurants; I've done it twice and it is exhausting work.
  5. Gardening lifts my spirit like nothing else can.
  6. You know the line, "You had me at 'hello'"? Well, Nick had me at "Oh, she's much better looking than Columbo!"
  7. But the deal was really sealed when he whirled from my bookcase with a huge grin on his face and said, "You like Robertson Davies!"
  8. I used to think all vodkas were the same. I know better now...
  9. I have a sweet tooth, a terrible kids' sweet tooth: gummy bears, Skittles, Necco wafers, SweetTarts, smarties, marshmallows, all that stuff that's nothing but sugar.
  10. I don't like seafood. I'll eat crustaceans to be polite, but don't give me mussels of any sort.
  11. The two places in the United States that stir my soul are the Grand Canyon and the Sonoma-Mendocino coast of California.
  12. Snow! Glorious snow! I love the snow!
  13. And rain and thunderstorms.
  14. When I was 9 or 10, there was a HUGE thunderstorm. I opened all the doors and windows of the house and put on Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra at full volume. My mother came home, stood in the living room for a moment, and said, "Good choice."
  15. I went to my first opera at age 8, Aida. I can still picture the extravagance of the Grand March and the beautiful vast emptiness of the tomb.
  16. The first song I can remember singing along with on the radio was "Parigi, O Cara," from the Verdi opera La Traviata.
  17. The first music I can remember identifying on the radio was Schubert's "Trout" Quintet.
  18. I was buying a t-shirt after a benefit concert that he gave when Harry Chapin looked at me, said, "Beautiful," and kissed me on the lips. I cried when he was killed in the car crash.
  19. I cried when the Dallas Cowboys fired Tom Landry.
  20. I am a football fan. I love the Dallas Cowboys, but I will cheer even when their opponents make a really good play -- unless it's the Redskins, of course.
  21. This is fun... I could go on and on.

Dreary Monday

Rain, gray clouds, bright bursts of sun, gray again. A good day to stay inside and get some work done. I've already volunteered in HardPlace's classroom and gone to the grocery store, and I'm waiting for 3 cubic yards (!) of mulch to be delivered. In the meantime, I'm going to reconcile bank statements and credit card bills. Oh joy. I've also updated my companion blog, for those of you who care.

Yesterday was a blah day as well. HardPlace wanted to go out for sushi lunch after church. I don't like sushi, so I suggested we go home for lunch but go to a Greek restaurant for dinner. He pitched a fit, just perfect for Mother's Day. I decided we'd stay home... grrrrrrrr. While I was emptying the dishwasher though, fuming inside, I thought about that paralytic and changed my mind.

"We're going out to dinner, and because it's Mother's Day, we're going to a restaurant that I want to go to." By then, I was in the mood for a good burger, so we went to Hamburger Hamlet. Yummm.

Updated, 3:05 p.m. -- I just heard this song on and feel compelled to post the lyrics.

For Ron...
Maybe you don't know me any more than I know you,
And I wouldn't blame you if you walked away.
I've been watching you all evening with those teardrops in your eyes,
And it touches me much more than I can say.
You know I hate to think that someone could have hurt someone like you
And if I was him I'd be right by your side.

And [if I were there]

Lay your troubles on my shoulder,
Put your worries in my pocket,
Rest your love on me a while.
Lay your troubles on my shoulder,
Put your worries in my pocket,
Rest your love on me a while.

Saw you in the corner from the moment I walked in,
Saw your lonely face across the room.
No, I won't forget you and the way it could have been.
No, [I won't forget him, and you won't forget her]
Why'd you have to leave so soon?
Why'd [they]
You know I hate to think there's someone you loved instead of me
Cause at times like this I'd be right by your side.
C[But]e at times like this [I'll]

Lay your troubles on my shoulder,
Put your worries in my pocket,
Rest your love on me a while.
Lay your troubles on my shoulder,
Put your worries in my pocket,
Rest your love on me a while.

Rest your love on me a while.-- Conway Twitty
All together now: "Awwwwwwwwwww."

Updated, 6:10 p.m. -- Do you know what 3 cubic yards of mulch dumped on your driveway looks like? Neither do I; but my poor neighbor does! The nursery delivered my order to 4 Pentha's Court instead of 1 Pentha's Court. Grrrr. If my neighbor and I weren't both reasonable people, this could get ugly.

Today is for the kids

It's easy for us widows to feel sorry for ourselves on Mother's Day (and Father's Day).

I always hated this Hallmark Holiday:
  • First when I was single and my hormones were screaming that I wanted babies
  • Then when I was married and Nick and I found we couldn't have children
  • Then when we adopted our boys and Nick wasn't very good about planning something for Mom (Uh, do you want to go out to dinner somewhere?)
  • And now -- well, it's sort of obvious, don'tcha think?
Last night, MB reminded me that Mother's Day is about the kids. And he's right, of course. (shhhh... don't tell him I said that!) So today is for the kids, which means I won't spend time online and I won't spend hours in the garden. Today is for the kids, celebrating the fact that I am a mother who adores her two boys.

I'm reminded of the Gospel story of the paralytic at the pool of Bethsaida. Jesus asks if he wants to be healed, and he complains that he doesn't have anyone to get him to the water when the angel stirs it. Jesus tells him to just get up and go. Well, I think Mother's Day is like that pool: I don't have anybody to make Mother's Day happen, so I have to make it happen for myself.

Peaceful Mother's Day to all my widowed friends.

Dinner with the widows

I posted this on another blog this morning (my in-law's family blog) and thought I'd put it here as well.

I had dinner with my widow friends last night.

I wish I could tell you what an amazing feeling it is. When I first thought about participating in a support group I went "yuck." I don't want to be surrounded by a bunch of folks as miserable as I am, people with whom the only thing I have in common is unbearable tragedy. I don't want to sit around looking gloomy all night.

But from the very first moment that I met another "young widow" I realized how wrong I was. Even if this is a person I would never know otherwise, even if it's somebody that I would not pick out of a crowd to be my friend, that one thing we have in common forms an unbelievable bond.

I think of it as knowing somebody from the inside out. Usually, when you meet someone, you start by learning the surface things: where they live, what they do, what kind of music they like, what their hobbies are, etc. Then over time you might learn something about their inner life, about their spirituality and how they approach life, about life-changing events.

Among widows, it's the reverse: I already KNOW what the life-changing event was. And I see how they have moved along the grief road, how their spirituality has shaped and been shaped by the loss of their spouse. As we share our stories and talk about our experiences, I see their inner workings, learn things about them that most people never learn about their friends. I might know someone for quite a while before I learn what his or her "job" is, what music she likes, etc.

But dinner with the widows? Is awesome! We laugh with each other, REALLY laugh together. We've shared our deepest pain with one another, so laughter also comes from the deepest place. Each of us understands the frailty of life, the utter absurdity of it all. And so we treasure one another, give thanks for one another, cry together, and laugh together. Above all, when we come together, we celebrate life.

Good morning!

I so enjoy dinner with the widders! We had a really small group last night, only 7 of us. That's the smallest group we've had since we started getting together last year; usually we have around 20 people. I missed seeing some of my buddies, but the intimacy was nice ... we were able to visit with each other more and hear everyone's stories.

It's a shiny clean morning here after an overnight rain. I plan to spend a lot of time outside. I have a long list of things to be done in the garden, but I don't know how much I'll actually get to. My two priorities for the day are pruning the azaleas now that the blooms are done and planting some more annuals that I bought this past week.

BUT FIRST, I have to work with S to clean N's room. He dumped Legos everywhere last night and explored his little heart out. N was very relieved when he realized that I wasn't going to make him clean up the mess.


A simple day

  • Get boys to school.
  • Pick up IB's mail and deposit any checks.
  • Clean my bathroom.
  • Clean boys' bathroom.
  • Clean powder room.
  • Clean guest bathroom.
  • Clean kitchen floor.
  • Clear lawn of debris from yesterday's rainstorms (4 inches in 1 hour -- too bad it wasn't snow!)
  • Change everyone's sheets.
  • Run loads and loads of laundry.
And my reward for all this work shall be ... Dinner with my widder friends!

Worn out

My apologies for not posting yesterday. (Yes, I got some flak from a few of my Four Faithful Readers.) I was emotionally drained after the crying session with N.

But I got a lot of work done around the house, so that's all to the good.
  • The playroom is clean.
  • The bills are paid.
  • The kitchen is clean.
  • The garbage and recycling are at the curb.
  • The dining room floor is clean.
  • The living room floor is clean.
  • Etc. etc. etc....
I have to go back and clean up the back room again. S delights in tearing it apart. I've actually put a child proof knob cover on it, so this time it will STAY cleaned up. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

I'm getting into the full swing of spring gardening. I do love it. I'll put up pictures sometime next week, after all the beds are mulched.


It all started with N giving me attitude about compline. He wasn't disruptive during prayers, simply disrespectful -- so I lengthened it by adding psalms until he shaped up. Afterward, I let him know (again) that his behavior was unacceptable. He started yelling at me saying that I didn't understand anything, and I asked him to explain it to me. Back and forth we went for a while, with his saying horrible things that don't need to be repeated, until I said,
We do compline because it is part of who we are as a family. Your father and I prayed together every day before we were married, and we started doing compline every night before you were ever born. It is part of what shapes our family.
I know that! And I'm not part of this family! I just want to be alone!
He stormed out. I let it end there and went to the kitchen to wash the dishes. I started crying and sobbing. N came in.
Well, Mom. Is there something you want to say to me?
Don't you think you should apologize for making me cry?
Don't you think you should apologize for making me cry?
Don't you want to make me happy?
N, it hurts my feelings when you say the things you did, even though I know you don't mean them.
I really do mean them, Mom.
I know. And it makes me so sad. ... Do you know why we do compline? I do it because it's the last shred of our life with Daddy that I can hold onto. We always prayed together, and that's one thing that we can continue to do to keep him part of our lives.
I know, Mom. And I'm sorry. I didn't really mean those things I said.
I sent him up to bed and went to kiss S goodnight. N was in his room crying while I was with S.
Can I come in?
Yes. ... Mom, I can't remember him. I miss him so much, and I can't remember the sound of his voice. If I could only talk to him again and see him again. I can't remember what he looks like, except in pictures. I would do ANYTHING for him to come back and read one more story to me. That's all I want, just one more day with him. I love him so much and I really miss him.
And the floodgates opened. For the first time since Nick died in August 2004, N cried. He really REALLY sobbed for his father. For all the pain and loss and grief. And he let me cry; he didn't tell me to stop crying, the way he did at the beginning. The two of us cried together for over an hour, as we looked at pictures and hunted for things that belonged to Nick that N could have... a belt, a book, a calculator.
Mom, this [very good thing of our crying together and looking through Dad's things] would never have happened if we hadn't been fighting.

A new bird!

I got interested in birdwatching years ago, when Nick and I lived at my sister's house in the country for a year. I would sit at my desk watching so many different kinds of birds, and I wanted to know about them. By the end of the year, I could tell one species of sparrow or finch from another, and I'd learned something about bird behavior.

I only got around to hanging birdfeeders at this house this past January -- actually, I'd hung one almost right away, but S promptly destroyed it. ** sigh ** Anyway... I spend a ridiculous amount of money on birdseed, because I won't buy the cheap stuff. I pay a premium for the "waste-free" variety so that my yard isn't littered with sunflower shells. Today, I got my reward!

The rose-breasted grosbeak is not a rare bird, but they aren't very common in suburban areas around here. And I have never seen one before! It's a really striking bird, a little larger than a cardinal, and when it's in flight, the back and wings are marvelous display of black and white.

This little fellow made my day!

Note: I had posted this earlier today, but when the bird came back I thought I must have been mistaken, because I couldn't see the bright red chest patch. I was so disappointed.

Well... He's back! He's got the red patch! He is a grosbeak.

I can't explain why birdwatching in general makes me so happy, but it does, and seeing a new bird is just plain exciting.

Survey says ...

My friends say, "Surely you have more than Four Faithful Readers!" I laugh and explain that the phrase is simply a way to talk to the people who read this blog without getting a swollen ego. But curiosity has gotten the best of me: I would really like to know who visits my blog on a regular basis -- not by name, just in general terms. (I really appreciate that some of you post and let me know you're there; as I said yesterday, it means more to me than I ever thought it would.)

So imagine, if you will, the game show Family Feud. We want to find the most popular answers to this question:

How did you find my blog?
I'm a YWBBer ... you gave me the link or I saw it on the board.
I followed a link on another widowed's blog.
I searched for widow blogs.
You gave me the link ... I'm a (nonwidowed) friend or family member.
I was randomly browsing through Blogspot.
Other: Please post a comment to explain!
Free polls from
While I don't want to change the phrase "Four Faithful Readers," I may have to. I won't define the following terms for you: You know how to describe yourself!

I am ...
A Faithful Reader
An Occasional Browser
An Unexpected Visitor
Free polls from
Thank you, my Four Faithful Readers, for allowing me to indulge myself today. I'm off to clean the bathrooms before taking the boys to Quarry Day:

The Rockville Quarry: 5 miles long, 1 mile wide, 900 feet deep
The 100-year old quarry in our community opens its doors to the public once a year. Aside from the requisite free games and food, they give tours to the bottom of the quarry and have the most astounding machinery and HUGEST trucks on display. I think I enjoy it as much the boys do.

Just don't forget to breathe

This is one of those days when I have so much to do that I could spend all day making my to-do list. So I won't start the day with a list. Instead, I'll report back what I have accomplished. Check in later to see how my day is going.

2:00 p.m.
  • Boys dressed, fed, and off to school.
  • Went to Lowe's for all kinds of things.
  • Replaced wheel on wheelbarrow.
  • Replaced seat on toilet.
  • Two loads of laundry done; two to go.
  • Picked up mail for IB; deposited a check for her.
  • "Dressed" my bedroom for spring, swapping out the bedspread and shams.
  • Put away all the clothes in my room.
  • Called about pre-K for S next fall.
  • Called the lumber wholesaler again.
4:45 p.m.
  • Another load of laundry done.
  • Stairs cleaned, from basement to 3rd floor.
  • Kitchen floor cleaned.
  • Kitchen counters CLEARED and cleaned.
  • Papers cluttering kitchen counters sorted for recycling, filling out, or filing.
  • Toys cluttering kitchen counters PUT AWAY.
  • Miscellaneous detritus on kitchen counters GONE.

Every now and then a bell goes off and I realize the obvious. Why do I blog? Because I have nobody to talk to. I had a comment exchange with Ali on the Young Widows Blog, and it just hit me: I blog to keep from feeling so utterly alone. DUH.

Nick isn't here to talk to about my day, to bounce ideas off of, to share my thoughts and musings, to CARE about whether the kitchen is clean. As much as I adore my boys, interacting with a 4YO and an 8YO just doesn't bring the same satisfaction. When my mom is visiting or MB is here, I don't have the time or need to tell everyone what I've accomplished or what I've been thinking. I'll post things when I have company because I want to, but that feels so different from what I do on a regular basis.

I'm so damned lonely... You, my Four Faithful Readers, have no idea how much I need you. Thank you for being there, for keeping me company on this wretched road we walk.

-- Pentha, wishing us all a measure of peace today
  • Take S to ear-nose-throat doctor
  • Repair wheelbarrow
  • Plant forgotten bleeding heart
  • Laundry (what else?)
  • Schedule haircut for both boys
  • Vacuum poop from fish tank
  • Unclog boys' toilet
  • Organize bills
  • Book a restaurant for next week's widder dinner
  • Take garden photos for Bosnia Bound, who is now In Bosnia (i.e., BB will hereafter be referred to as IB)
  • Update IB's blog with instructions so she can post pictures on it

Just another day at home. And I've already hauled the garbage and recycling to the curb, as well as another load of stuff to give away to the local charity (AmVets, this time).


Updated, 5:15 p.m. -- Hmmmm... not quite so productive as I'd like to have been. Still to do...
  • Repair wheelbarrow (I did get the wheel off, which took longer than I expected)
  • Plant forgotten bleeding heart
  • Schedule haircut for both boys
  • Organize bills
  • Book a restaurant for next week's widder dinner
  • Take garden photos for Bosnia Bound, who is now In Bosnia (i.e., BB will hereafter be referred to as IB)
  • Update IB's blog with instructions so she can post pictures on it
IB actually called me today! And I was able to call her yesterday to wish her a happy 50th birthday. I miss her so much, but it's great being able to talk to her for free through the wonders of the Internet. Okay... Looking at this list, there are some things that I really have to do TODAY! "I'll be back."

Updated, 7:30 p.m. -- I got a few more things done (the haircut appointment and dinner reservations). I'm embarrassed to say I can't remember IB's password. I know the gist of it, but can't remember exactly how it goes. Oh well.

Right now, I'm sitting on the front porch with a screwdriver (the drink, not the tool), watching my boys play with a few of the neighbor kids. It would be great, except the 3 big kids are picking on S. He wants to be part of their play, but their idea of playing with him is to use him as a toy, not as a playmate. Sigh. It's hard to be 3-1/2.

A phone call from the unsuspecting

Is Nicholas in?

Who's calling?
This is Renee with a courtesy call. Is he busy?
He's dead.
Ooh. Oh. I'm so sorry.
Thank you.

[long silence, with background noise]
I hang up on the poor woman who has no clue what to say next. I guess death isn't an option in her script. [Roll Eyes] I used to feel so bad for people (yes, even telemarketers) who called asking for Nick. Now, I pull no punches and rather enjoy their discomfort. Guess I've become a heartless old widow.

Who is MB?

MB has said that he likes that I've been mentioning him more in my blog. He has even given me permission to reveal his identity here. I've told him that he can do so any time he wants, but he thinks that if it's simply in a comment, nobody will read it. I guess he wants the whole world to know!

We've kept our relationship off the YWBB for privacy's sake, although he will probably say something about relocating to Maryland -- then the gossip will fly! I think that all the people who have actually met us know that we are a couple, but there are a great many people with whom I chat/email who have no idea that I'm even in a relationship.

So, you decide:

Should I tell you who MB is?
Yes, I'm eager to know.
No, I already know -- let's keep it our secret.
No, I like not knowing.
No, he should reveal his own identity.
Free polls from
Yes, I am being a brat!

And as for the normal business of this blog, I'm simply going to go to yesterday's unfinished to-do list.

Updated, 2:30 p.m. -- I've been told that my poll is flawed. There is no option for those who already know AND want me to reveal his identity. Since I can't change the poll without losing current responses, here's a second poll, to be completed ONLY by those who already know who MB is.

If you already know who MB is, do you want me to tell the whole world?
Yes, you brat!
No, he's a bozo.
Free polls from
BTW, I'm also considering these polls as an accurate measure of how many people actually visit this site. I think the counter has got to be including webcrawlers or something. So, if a real human is reading this page, please vote in one of the polls!

Updated, 9:20 p.m. -- I yield to the collective wisdom of my readers.

Meet MB, also known as My Bear, Ron, Blue Eyes Crying, Sad Ron.

Hmmmm... Any other aliases I should know about, dear?

Career Day

My son's school had career day a few weeks ago, and the posters are still in the main entry hall: lawyers, engineers, traffic cops, librarians, astrophysicists, doctors, dentists, etc. As I was walking out the door after volunteering, I decided that next year I will offer to make a presentation on being a Stay-At-Home Mom. We've all seen the list of things we need to be able to do in that capacity, but I think it might open the eyes of the kids to look at what their parents (mothers!) do every day while they are at school.

Grocery shopping: Must know nutrition, how to identify good produce and good cuts of meat; must also know what the customers (kids!) will eat and how to prepare it to their tastes; must be aware of sales and be able to read labels -- not all products are created equal!

Food preparation: Must know nutrition and what the family wants; must be able to read and follow directions; must be creative and able to substitute ingredients; must know 5 different ways to serve chicken; must know how to cook without creating a huge mess to clean up; must know how to select the proper tools for what is being prepared

House cleaning: Must be strong, be able to identify stains and know how to clean them, must know what cleaning method to use on what surface/object, must be able to tell the difference between pieces of bionicles and transformers

Clothing: Must know children's sizes and preferred styles; must be aware of price and value of clothes; must spend hours looking for just the right shirts for picky boys; must know when to shop online and when to shop in person; must know fabric content for comfort, durability, and care of clothing.

And so on... I just want to go through all the things we do for our families that get taken for granted and describe everything that is involved, break out all the pieces of information we have to have, decisions we have to make, things we have to do. I won't actually volunteer for career day, but dang I'd like to.

At any rate, so far today, I have (and I'll spare you the breakout of what was involved):
  • Put together a mini photo album of our family for N to take to school, because he's the "Star of the Week." I was really glad he wanted to include lots of pictures of Nick.
  • Gotten the boys dressed, fed, and off to school
  • Stopped at the drug store on the way to S's school because I forgot to give him cough medicine before we left home
  • Vacuumed out my car at a service station (I spent 90 minutes yesterday CLEANING it)
  • Refilled the bird feeders
  • Put N's bike in the trunk to deliver to school
  • Volunteered in N's 2nd grade classroom (and delivered his bike)
  • Vacuumed out my car at a second service station because the suction at the first one was as pathetic as the little shop-vac I have at home
  • Thrown the floor mats into the washing machine. I hope it doesn't damage them, but they're so disgusting anyway...
Other things to do today:
  • Clean the fish tank -- MB sent me 4 gorgeous clown loaches; it's great to have them but the tank is suddenly crowded and dirty
  • Reclaim the house after having the boys home all weekend!
  • Put away my clothes
  • Fold and put away laundry
  • Call the lumber wholesaler (again)
  • Call a nursery to deliver a cubic yard (at least!) of mulch
There's a lot more to do, but I don't think I can get to it all. First, though, I have to eat breakfast (it's already noon) and read the comics. TTYL.

Updated, 9:19 p.m. -- Well, aside from reading the comics, the only thing on that list I accomplished was cleaning the fish tank. And boy did I clean it! It looks terrific; I'm sure the fish are much happier. I also scrubbed a tube of glue stick off the family room floor. Grrrrrrrrr.

I've had all kinds of interesting things running through my head the last few days, and I can't think of one of them right now. Oh well. I'll surprise you with them at some point. Sleep well, my friends.