28 February 2011

Screw the Oscar's - It's a Bloggie!


While some of you were watching the Oscars - picking apart the celebrities for their imperfections and mocking their fame - something really important happened.

Besides me falling asleep in the recliner at 8:30 ...

Band Back Together won a Bloggie in the Best-Kept Secret Weblog category.

It seems kind of corny to spew a long list of thank yous, but I do want to acknowledge those of you who who retweeted and reblogged my pleas for votes (Jay and Lust Not Found come to mind, but I know there were many more of you).

Band Back Together, conceived by our own Aunt Becky, is unlike any other blog out there. It's a place where people can share their stories - those sometimes dark, always empowering stories many of us keep locked up most of our lives. Those stories that need to be heard. Those stories that allow people to connect - to feel less alone - and to find resources they may not be aware of.

I'm not ashamed to admit my own personal pride in Band Back Together's Bloggie win. Three years ago I never imagined being a part of something so meaningful to so many people - not as a contributor and certainly not as an editor. But far more important than my personal contribution? The stories. The stories of every single person who has been published, every single person who will be published, and every single reader who stops by and feels some validation, some comfort, after reading a story.

I am so privileged to be a part of that.


27 February 2011

Sunday Secret



25 February 2011

Friday Wrap-Up


There have been some significant policy changes at work that have impacted my ability to stay connected during the day - specifically a new "Electronic Media Use Policy" or, "Don't you dare log on to the internet or pick up your cell phone between the hours of 8:30AM and 5:00PM."

The official policy reads, in part:

Company computer systems, e-mail, internet connections, etc. are to be used for Company business only. Personal cell phones must be turned off or silenced during working hours, unless used for business purposes. Personal cell phone calls and/or text messaging is prohibited during work hours. Exception: Employees may have reasonable personal use of e-mail, internet connections and personal cell phone during non-business hours (i.e. lunch hour).

Violation of this policy may result in revocation of internet access and/or immediate termination.

I get employer concerns regarding productivity, but ... ummm ... yeah ...


Speaking of work, performance reviews were given this week. To say mine was mediocre would be an overstatement, and I deserved the less than wonderful rating.

What I find bothersome is that the area I took a (deserved) BIG hit in has been at the same level for three years, but suddenly became an issue this year. It would have been nice had it been addressed during my first (or even second) year of employment here as it really is a critical job function.

More on this debacle next week. It is post-worthy.


I've been going to the gym for 4 weeks now. Although my weight loss has been minimal in those 4 weeks (just short of 6 lbs total) I have seen a positive impact in other areas. I seem to have quite a bit more energy, I feel better about myself because I'm doing something to improve what I don't like, and I've seen noticeable improvement in my "bum knee" pain and discomfort.

I also took the plunge and signed up for 8-Week Lose Weight Challenge that begins March 1st. They are awarding prizes for the highest percentage of weight lost both at my local gym and nationally. I've set a (stretch) goal of losing 10% of my body weight over the course of the 8 week competition.

This is when my competitive nature can actually have a positive outcome.


Guess what I'm doing at lunch today?? No! Guess!! What? You don't like this game? Fine ...

I'm getting a manicure ... again ...

I've decided that this is "luxury" I am going to indulge in every other week. After all, my hands are, in my oh-so-humble opinion, one of my best features. It's an expense that is fairly easy to squeeze into my budget and it makes me feel special ... and I'm slowly getting used to allowing myself to feel special.

Oh! Are any of you familiar with the Shellac™ Manicure? I have to tell you that I am beyond impressed with this polish system. Not only is it completely dry when you walk out of the salon (with ZERO dry time), but it is by far the longest lasting manicure I've ever had. Today marks two weeks from my last manicure and my nail polish looks as flawless as it did on day one.

Pretty cool!

So ... what do y'all do to make yourselves feel special on occasion? Anyone have any inexpensive yet satisfying ideas (don't go there)??


24 February 2011

HNT - Colors


Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.
~ Andy Warhol


23 February 2011

Real Value


I've kind of stopped writing posts in response to posts written by others because ... well? Seems someone is always getting bent out of shape when I do that, but I'm making an exception today.

Karen (Smiling Through It All) wrote a post yesterday that I have to address. When I read the title - Haves and Have Nots - I immediately felt my eyes bulge and jaw clench. I have a soft spot for Karen, although we've certainly had our ups and downs in the cyber world, but when I read that title, my first thought was "Here we go again."

I'm pretty sure there was even an eye roll thrown in for good measure.

Karen was addressing her most recent visit to a hospital that provides care to a wide socioeconomic range of people, from those who have private insurance and the ability to pay their bills, to those who do not.

I was certain I knew where her post was going, but I went ahead and took the plunge, accepting that I'd be pissed off when I finished reading. Then it happened. There was one paragraph that caught me off guard:

Today I as sat in the dental office and truly observed those around me. I was wearing my $200 sunglasses, my $180 jeans and carrying my $300+ pocketbook. I checked facebook on my iphone and passed some time reading on my Nook. Other people in the room were wearing dirty, clearly second or third hand jackets and holey shoes. Again, on the surface we are getting the same care, but you really have to wonder if that is true. As I thought about the disparity in the room, I felt a strange combination of elitist-ism and embarrassment.

I'm going to just put it out here and say that I have always felt Karen was somewhat elitist. I know that is a word with serious negative connotations, but in Karen's case, I don't believe it's intentional. I think she's just been extremely fortunate to not have had to face many of the life struggles others have. It's difficult to understand where someone has been when you've never been there. I get that.

But in that paragraph (you really should read the whole post) I saw something in Karen that I've never seen before - something that I could connect with. It was good to see that Karen was aware of her surroundings and the vast discrepancy of people in her own back yard.

I was feeling really good about the post.

I shouldn't have read the comments.

There was one left by Becky at lifeoutoffocus. In all fairness, I don't know Becky. In fact, I had never even heard of her before yesterday. I did visit her blog ( Life out of Focus), trying to get a better grasp of the type of person who would write (in part):

I grew up in a poor household and would have totally been jealous of you and all you have. Now that I'm adult and married a guy who works hard and have held down my own job for years and have worked hard too ... we're middle class ... sometimes upper middle class on a good day ... I have $300 purses from Coach, Oakley sunglasses ... an iPhone .... etc ... and I know my sisters and other family who are still stuck in that rut look at me like how you think those other people looked at you. And yet I feel exactly how you do...I worked hard for this. Nothing has ever been handed to me...esp since I had to come UP to get here. I appreciate all I have because I remember when I didn't have so much. I will never make apologies for what I have and who I am. Neither should you. I respect other people's positions in life too and wish everyone could have a good life...but some people also aren't willing to work for it either...others do and that's the best they have and that makes me sad. Either way...bring your Nook and your phone and sunglasses. Never feel like you have to hide it. You're not flaunting anything...it's not like you're walking in with 100s just falling all over the place.

And all that I could think of was really? REALLY? You are trying to justify your disgust with those people by allowing yourself to believe they think poorly of you? Really?

Those of you who have never had to spend a chilly November night sleeping in your car at a Wisconsin rest stop because you had nowhere else to go? Those of you who have never had to stand in line at a food bank so that you could feed your child? Those of you who have never worked a non-union, factory job for minimum wage? You are more likely the "have nots".

When I see people carrying their $300.00 Coach bags, iPhones and iPads, I am not envious of what they have. I may, for a brief moment, consider the groceries I could purchase if I sold their Coach bag on eBay, but I don't covet their things.

I have life experiences that they may not have. I have the ability to truly feel empathy for others. I have so much that is far more valuable than those Oakley sunglasses, and yet the Becky's of the world? They will likely walk right by me assuming I have nothing of value.

Everyone has a story. To lump all of those people into a giant bucket labeled "not willing to work hard" or "jealous of me and the things I have" is short-sighted, irresponsible and quite elitist.

It makes me wonder who the haves and the have nots really are.


20 February 2011

Sunday Secret



19 February 2011

Vote Early, Vote Often


I don't normally do this stuff ... in fact I'm not sure I've ever asked any of my readers to vote for anything in the 3+ years I've been blogging, but this? This is different, because it matters!

Band Back Together - the group blog I help edit - is up for a 2011 Bloggie (Category: BEST-KEPT SECRET WEBLOG). What happens over at Band Back Together is done out of love, respect and a belief that every story matters and every story should be heard.

Clicking on the image below will take you directly to the voting page. Scroll down to the BEST-KEPT SECRET WEBLOG category and push the button.

Voting ends at 10:00PM EST tomorrow, February 20th, so click! NOW!!! Please???


Friday Wrap-Up (Saturday Edition)


It's been a while since I wrote one of these, probably because I have far too many loose ends these days. It feels like nothing is wrapped up which, in my world, equates to feelings of chaos.


The DCFS interview went ... well? I don't know how those things are supposed to go. I was interviewed over the phone - Cam was interviewed on the same day at school. Questions to me included things like, "Do you support Cam's use of drugs by buying them for him or supplying money to him so that he can buy them?", "Do you have a criminal record?" (at which point I was required to give my SSN so that they could run a criminal records check), and my favorite, "Do you understand that if we find the allegations of child endangerment to be founded, we will remove your son from the home?"

If you read this Sunday Secret, you know how I responded.

I have yet to receive the final determination from DCFS - they informed me that they have up to six weeks to provide their results from the investigation. We shall see.


I'm trying to take a little better care of myself these days. I'm going to the gym almost daily and, occasionally, spending a little time and $$ on myself (last week's mani/pedi was a start).

Yet there is one thing on my To-Do List that would go a long way in taking care of myself that I continue to procrastinate ... routine medical and dental visits. I'm starting to consider that my "downness" may originate from an un-addressed medical issue ... which concerns me ... and makes it difficult to make the call.

Bottom line? I'm afraid I'll find out that the way I feel will either be diagnosed as crazy ... or worse yet ... normal.

I think I'd rather find out I'm crazy.


I want to take a minute to acknowledge the amazing generosity of two of my readers (you know who you are). Both, after reading my Big Fat Ugly Cow post, took it upon themselves to help me, take care of me. They each sent a care package containing things I think they both knew I would never buy myself. One included a letter - a letter I read regularly for inspiration and support.

I was taken aback by the heartfelt generosity of them both, as well as that of each of you who left comments on that post.


I think it's time for peanut butter toast! Have a great weekend buckaroos!


16 February 2011

HNT - Spoiled


“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

~ Epicurus

On Friday, I did something I haven't done in years - I treated myself to a spa manicure and pedicure. There was a moment of guilt - spending so "frivolously" - and then? Then I realized that I am worth it!



Worry Is Like A Rocking Chair


It's nothing major.

I haven't had to visit the local food pantry since November.

My rent, utilities and student loan payments are current.

I have a job.

Cam and I are both healthy.

In the grand scheme of things, I have no room to complain. None. I know that, and knowing that evokes waves of guilt.

I feel like I'm hanging on by a thread.

One paycheck. Hell, two unpaid sick days, and it will all collapse. A minor car repair will send me into financial crisis. Summer camp registration is looming and resources are slim.

I am tired. Tired of living life this way - the threat of ONE.MORE.THING crumbling the house of cards. The anxiety - the constant worry - I'm not as good at hiding it as I once was.

Cam said to me the other night, "Mom, you always think of the absolute worst outcome, even when there is no probability it will happen!" He's right. I do.

I do this because I've convinced myself that somehow, if I can just predict the worse possible outcome, and then it should happen, it won't catch me off guard. I'll be able to handle it because the element of surprise will be eliminated.

If it doesn't happen? Well? Then I'll be pleasantly surprised and even if the outcome is undesirable, it won't be as bad as it could have been. Viola! It's a win either way.

Of course, spending all of this time "preparing" myself for Cam's cab to crash on the way to school, for my employer to fire me for one too many mistakes, for a direct deposit not to hit my account on time ... all of this "preparing"? It keeps my brain from doing what it needs to do. I am constantly distracted - when driving, when working, when walking through the grocery store.

"Just stop it" doesn't work. I cannot (if you prefer, will not, since everything is under my control, right?) just stop. Trying to stop gets me right back to that place that evokes those waves of guilt.

I should be strong.

I should be grateful.

I shouldn't worry.

I think I'm ready to admit that maybe this is bigger than me and the fifth of vodka that has become my constant companion.


14 February 2011

I Should Have Known Her


I received an email from my Dad last week. It was a link to my Aunt's (his sister) obituary. Normally this would be one of those times where y'all would offer condolences ... yadda, yadda,yadaa ... but this? It's different.

See? I never knew my Aunt Caroline. I met her once, when I was 9 or 10. I can't even remember what the event was. A wedding? More likely a funeral. I remember thinking how odd it was to learn that my father had a sister that I had never heard about. That was the first, and only time, I ever had any contact with her. Five minutes.

There was some sort of falling out between my Dad and his sister many years ago. I don't know the story. I'm not sure it matters.

What does matter is that when I read this obituary it brought no emotion. No sadness. No grief. No longing for a little more time. I felt no different than I do reading the anonymous obituaries in my local paper.

I should be grieving.

I should have known her.

The lesson? It isn't that my Dad should have handled things differently. No, the lesson is much more personal than that. I cannot help but see the parallels to Cam's complete lack of knowledge of his father's family - the Aunts, Uncles and half-siblings he's never met.

He should know them.

They should know him.

I owe him that.


Caroline R. Leininger, 73, of Wenatchee, WA, passed into the arms of Jesus on Sunday, February 6, 2011, at Central Washington Hospital. She was born on Christmas Eve of 1937, in Wenatchee. Christmas was her favorite time of the year. Even with her failing health, she labored to decorate the tree to perfection. She spent most of her life in the Wenatchee area, graduating from Wenatchee High School with the class of 1955. She was a member of the National Honor Society and was an accomplished violinist with the orchestra. Caroline had a beautiful singing voice and performed at many weddings, churches and other gatherings. She studied under the voice teacher, Mrs. Christie, of Spokane. She married and had three sons, Gary, David and Gordon.

She married a second time in 1974, to Louie Leininger and they recently celebrated their 33rd Wedding Anniversary. After several years of marriage, she went back to school and studied art, instructed by Bob Graves of Wenatchee and later with Stephen Sei of Moses Lake. She did beautiful oil paintings, watercolors and pottery. She leaves behind a legacy of beautiful art. Louie and Caroline resided in Moses Lake for 28 years. It was there she became known as Aunt Bee, due to her participation with a local radio station. She spent many hours discussing the Mariners and the Seahawks with Dave Heaverlo, host of the KWIQ sports show. They debated past, present and upcoming games, trades of players, and her opinions were passed along to many other fans.

She is survived by husband, Louie; son, Gary and wife, Kathy Page; son, David and wife, Roxsell Page; and son, Gordon Page. Also, one brother; one half-sister; cousin, Virginia Anderson; as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Memorial Services will be held at Telford's Chapel of the Valley on Friday, February 11, 2011, at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Cancer Care of NCW, P.O. Box 2044, Wenatchee, WA 98807-2044. Arrangements are by Telford's Chapel of the Valley, East Wenatchee.


13 February 2011

Sunday Secret



10 February 2011

HNT - Will You Be Mine?


“The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.”
~ Jalal ad-Din Rumi




08 February 2011

Who Let The (Therapy) Dogs Out?


Meet Charlie.

Charlie has started attending school with Cam (and the other 80 enrolled students) every Thursday.

Charlie is a Therapy Dogs International, Inc. (TDI) certified therapy dog.

I have heard of dogs being used in hospitals and nursing homes to help improve morale and healing, but I had no idea they are being used in what is called Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT), nor that a 2007 meta-analysis found that animal-assisted therapy improves outcomes in autism spectrum symptoms, medical difficulties, behavioral problems, and emotional well-being, and that counseling and school settings are becoming common places to see therapy dogs.

Recent studies indicate that AAT can:
  • Increase verbal interactions among group members.
  • Increase attention skills (i.e., paying attention, staying on task).
  • Develop leisure/recreation skills.
  • Increase self-esteem.
  • Reduce anxiety.
  • Reduce loneliness.
  • Increase trust.
Who knew? It didn't take me long to sign the permission slip.

Let's just hope this dog hasn't also been trained to detect marijuana residue ...

*rolls eyes*


07 February 2011

10-4 Good Buddy


Those of you who have been reading me for some time know I've often toyed with the idea of getting my Commercial Driver's License (CDL), selling everything I own, and hitting the road ... Cam in tow. As silly as it might sound, it's one of those ideas I just can't get out of my head. It's something I've been thinking about for 20+ years (at least the driving part - Cam was obviously not part of the equation then).

In a strange twist of fate, Cam shares my fascination of long-haul trucking (I may or may not have had a little influence on that) and was thrilled to see a 2007 Volvo VNL670 for sale right here in Podunk! Isn't she pretty (No, this wasn't taken in Podunk, but it is the same truck)??

Anyway, Cam has requested we drive by this truck at least twice a week. He begs and pleads for be to buy it each time we drive by.

Finally, last night (as we drove by for the 6th time), in a fit of frustration, I devised a diabolical plan - and as he was begging me to buy the truck, I asked, "What do you think Cam? When you turn 18 and can get your CDL? What do you say I sell everything, buy a truck and you and I can drive as a team?"

Remember, Cam is (almost) 15. I was certain the thought of working with me - his LAME mother - would so repulse him that I'd never have to drive by that truck again. That was the plan.

The plan failed ... miserably ...

His eyes got huge as he slowly turned to look at me. It was almost as he had been possessed by C.W. McCall himself! I expected him to break out in song ...

♫ 'Cause we got a little convoy
Rockin' through the night.
Yeah, we got a little convoy,
Ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy
'Cross the U-S-A.
Convoy! ♫

I have now taken Cam's obsession to the next level, and that is terrifying.

He asked me about it again, this morning, before leaving for school.

Maybe I had better look into attending night school - we do have a local Community College that offers a Truck Driving Owner/Operator Certificate. Cam can get his CDL at 18 and drive the intrastate portions of our trips.

10-4 Good Buddy!


06 February 2011

Sunday Secret



05 February 2011

Action Jeans



Where have y'all been?

What? Y'all have been around, but I haven't? Maybe if I had a pair of Chuck Norris' ACTION JEANS I'd be kicking ass and taking names, but alas, my pajama jeans aren't having the same effect.

So, what's been going on?

I've been at somewhat of a crossroads - feeling kind of like I'm standing at an intersection in an unfamiliar city - looking left - looking right - trying to decide which way to go to find the nearest Starbucks.

The problem? I'm so worried about choosing he wrong path that I'm not getting any closer to that Trenta!

The good news? One of my 2011 "To-Do" items has been crossed off the list! I joined the gym - specifically a Snap Fitness 24.7 gym here in Podunk. I've been getting up at 5AM weekdays to spend an hour on me. I even purchased my first iPod - a Shuffle - and am scavenging the library for free music to add to it!

If there is good news you know there is going to be not-so-good news, right?

In the past few weeks I've learned that talking to your kid about smoking pot - telling him that you don't approve of it - that you won't allow it in you your home - but that you realize you are helpless to keep him from doing it when you're not right there on his ass, translates into "My mom doesn't mind if I smoke pot as long as I don't do it at our house" when run through the brain of a 14-year old.

And that translation? When shared with the substance abuse counselor at a Therapeutic Day School? Results in mandated reporting to DCFS for child neglect and an ensuing DCFS investigation.

Not a place I thought I'd find myself after removing Cam from an abusive home where DCFS should have been called but never was.

I expect the results of the investigation will be "unfounded", however that doesn't make the process any less stressful.

I'm about to take a hard left at that intersection.

Maybe I'll run in to Chuck Norris and his Action Jeans ...