Saturday, August 30, 2008

Just When You Think...'s getting better, you get another surprise. Guess who got a speeding ticket?? Oh yes, the 16 year old.

She wasn't TRYING to speed, it just happened.

Consequences? Oh yeah. She's paying the ticket out of her savings and will work to reimburse the increase in insurance. If she gets another one, the car goes in storage for 2 - 3 months.

Whew, Buddy, there was a LOT of crying and apologizing around here this morning.

The first decision was to ground her from the car and we had every intention of doing so, but with proper remorse and saying of the right things (and this is a BIG step for this kid due to her background, etc...), we are giving a "second chance" of trust.

Now, we wait and see.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Cone Of Uncertainty

Doesn't that just crack you up? It's only been within the last few years that the forecasters have started using this term regarding hurricanes.

We have Gustav heading into the Gulf of Mexico with Hanna on his heels.

Here we have the local NBC weatherman, Anthony Yanez, showing us the cone. All the yellow area is the Cone Of Uncertainty.

So, what they're saying is no one is certain WHERE in the cone Gustav will go, but if you're in it, you might want to get ready to get going.

I know the hurricane situation is NOT funny - especially to all those who endured Katrina almost 3 years ago to the date, but the term, cone of uncertainty, sounds like it came out of an episode of Get Smart or Wonder Woman.

Heck, just Google the term and look at what you get. Maybe I am IN a cone of uncertainty and just don't know it???


Man, leave your office two days and does the work pile up! It's not supposed to be like that right before a three-day weekend, but it is.

That's okay - five o'clock is within reason now, so I don't guess I'll die.

I was talking to one of my coworkers today - it seems we may have an assignment in Hawaii and one in Alaska. I, of course, volunteered for both.

Now, forget that we have people in California and Washington who could reach these destinations much more quickly than I can. The real issue here is air fare. Who knows? It's possible flights from Houston are more reasonable. Sure, it might require several layovers and long hours, but I am willing to sacrifice myself for the good of the company.

Truthfully, for work, I would rather go to Alaska. I have never been I think it would be the better venue for working than a tropical island. Plus, after my last post from Hell, someplace cold, even cold, sounds g-r-e-a-t!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hell Opened Up

That's right. The summer should be winding down and it feels hotter than it has all season.

Why a post about the weather?? No, it's not because I couldn't think of anything else, but because it put me in a really bad mood today.

First of all, I had to do "real" work today - meaning, I was OUTSIDE and in the heat. It was about 101F today here in Houston and I was on a car lot. I just can't tell you how hot new car dealer lots can be - white, white cement with shiny, clean cars covered in reflective chrome, and the sun coming out unclouded at approximately 6:45am and not settling down until after I was home. (side note - being outside and not in my office means I am not surfing blogs all day - I had to work the ENTIRE day! eewwwwwwwwwww)

What in the heck are you doing on a car lot, Lynda? An audit! Which includes an inventory. And that means counting every, single vehicle they have.

Luckily, I don't do these as much as I used to do, but there are days when I get the short straw and this was one of them.

So, after an hour and a half out in Hell's backyard (you know I'm right - it's a CAR LOT for goodness sake!), I am wringing wet and my hair is boinging in a 1000 different directions. And what do you know? Mascara seems to have made its waterproof way OFF my eyelashes and onto my face. Lovely.

What gal wouldn't feel pretty with all that going on? And it's right then, at that moment, that you have to go in and begin the audit part of the day. Kinda' sucks your professional impression right back down into the pits of Hell.

I didn't finish up today, so it's back there tomorrow, but hopefully only for an hour or two.

Don't they know I need to get back to the office and do some surfing????

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gordy and Georgi

Our two little dogs are just hoots. And weird.

Gordy is the older (he's 5) and Georgi is the teenager (she's 2). They are really smart and have learned to spell. We can't say the word, "walk," in front of either of them.

They also know the names of their different kinds of treats. One in particular, chicken strips, they both L.O.V.E. So, the words "chicken" and "strip" cannot be strung together or mass quantities of barking ensues.

Jerry has begun to refer to them as a "CS."

CS leads to WOOF WOOF. And usually, the woofing starts at the exact same time our two chiming clocks go off simultaneously, which, of course, is exactly at the dramatic conclusion of something you're TRYING to watch on television.

Gotta' love the pause (and the paws).



Day Two

I do not intend to keep this blog as a commentary on my child's school life, but felt a follow-up to day one, The Day When Only My Hair Matters, was in order.

Miss Priss zipped by the house after school to let the dogs out and might have been home all of the 45 seconds it took to get them out the door, peed, and back in again. We didn't see her again until about 8:50pm. She has to be in by 9pm on school nights.

Her hair was a success. Her ex-boyfriend's new, old girlfriend wore hers UP the first day? Can you believe it?? She's evil, though. And, if my daughter's name comes out of her mouth again, the gloves are off!

I cannot believe I have kid who would trounce someone because another person TALKS about her.

We spent about an hour talking about letting it go, quit carrying around all the drama, it's no one's burden but Nicole's as she is the one hanging onto it, and how life, in general, is just better when we release the crap. When all was said and done, she still wants to pound her if she says one more word.

At that point, all I could say was, "If I find out YOU started anything, you're grounded."

The rebuttal, of course, was, "Oh, she'd start it, but I'd finish it."

That's my delicate, beautiful flower.

Back to school. She needs to change her schedule, but informed me that the first period teacher said it might take 2 weeks. TWO weeks?? Goodness! I am having a hard time refraining from calling the school and making this happen today, but we're determined this year to let her reap the consequences of her own actions. If, by some reason, this means she has to revisit her junior year or spend next summer in class, well, so be it.

As a good mom, I want to end this report on a good note. Nicole's hair was just lovely today - she had her bangs pulled back and the rest straightened and hanging down. Lovely.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Most Wonderful Day of the Year

Oh yes, that's right...the first day of school! Nicole was so nervous about the first day, she barely slept. She had budgeted out her time to be able to flat iron her newly-cut hair. She thinks it's "short," but it's WAY below her shoulders.

I got up at 5:30am and saw her bathroom light flick on. A few moments later, she was straightening her layers. It looked great. If I hadn't left my camera at work.... oh well, maybe she'll let me catch her tomorrow.

So, she's a junior and driving to school (gasp!). She is picking up her best friend, Samantha, and they're riding together. I, of course, am nervous (breathe, OMmmmmmm, breathe).

Of course, she has informed me that she'll be completely changing her schedule - including dropping PE. It will mess up her hair. She'll play a sport next year or just take PE then. Like her hair won't matter in the future.

As you can see, school, thus far, is about her hair. And friends. And getting a good parking spot.

We did all the lectures about homework and grades, etc... she agreed to all our instruction, but we KNOW her...

Here we go...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

We're "Real" Parents - Our Adoption Story

My previous posts (aka the lie that wasn't a lie) have caused a few people to ask me to tell our adoption story.

I haven't done so on this blog and maybe now (my 50th post) would be a good time to share.

Jerry and I were not infertile, but we never tried to have children. Our lives were happy and we were both very career-motivated. My job required a lot of travel and I did it. I loved it! Those years were complete. For both of us.

We have been together for a very long time. We worked together starting in 1982. We quickly became friends. Jerry and I had a similar sense of humor and above-average intelligence. We meshed well. Time spent together became longer and longer. When the apartment next door to mine became available, Jerry moved in. So, we lived separately, but together. Truthfully, his apartment ended up being a big closet. With furniture.

Eventually, we made the leap from being single to being married in 1989. I was 30 and he was 32. We ran off and got married in the church my great-great grandfather help found on Grand Cayman Island. Yes, my dad's father's family are all Caymanian. It was such a nice wedding and my cousins were witnesses.

Years passed by. We enjoyed our families and friends and work. And then more years. And what do you know? We're in our forties and where did the time GO? We looked around our house. It was nice and had a bedroom that we only used for guests. Our two little dogs were more than just pets (still are). We knew something was missing.

Now, we were NOT interested in being parents to an infant. We were smart enough to know we didn't have the energy to make it that long with a little one. God bless the older parents that do, but it wasn't us. We knew we wanted to adopt. We were ready.

So....we did some online research and found various agencies, but figured out that no matter what agency you use, older kids come from CPS. Period. That's when we decided to cut out the middleman and just go through CPS for certification. Well, you have to go through an extended period of training for Foster-To-Adopt. It's intensive and intended to scare the holy bejeebus out of you. By the time you're through, you're certain any older kid coming in your home is going to hate you, will get a baseball bat and smash any item of significance you own, and you just might wake up in the middle of the night to find them standing over you with a kitchen knife.

I could go on and on...but I do have some advise if you ever choose this path that I will throw in right now: DON'T go through CPS - they are overworked and overburdoned - use an agency! Be prepared to do much more of the legwork than you can imagine.

So, we passed our classes and cleared the home study with a small glitch - they didn't believe Jerry and I really had normal childhoods. We are truly amazed that people are shocked that you could grow up like the Cleavers. We did.

And once you reach this point, you think, "Finally! Now we can get our child." We decided we wanted a girl as Jerry has four brothers and only one of them has a daughter. I have a brother and sister, but always wanted a daughter. So that decision was made. My brother and his wife had their first child at age 34, so we calculated up that a 12 - 13 year old would have been physically possible for us as well and decided to look in that range.

Believe it or not, each state has the children available for adoption featured on a website. Your caseworker is supposed to be looking for you, but I can assure you, they probably aren't. They're too busy.

Anyway, we spent loads of time online. And then we saw her. Nicole. One photo. And a brief description. They don't say on the site why the child is in the custody of the state, but we all know parental rights aren't terminated because you have great parents.

Nicole was in another Texas town. A small town. Through contact with her caseworker (an honest-to-God angel), we learned her story. This story is horrendous and I won't go into the details, but you wouldn't wish it on anyone. Ever.

She looked like me when I was her age. It was really bizarre. And yet, she had Jerry's eye color and skin tone. Now, we weren't basing this on looks, but we knew it couldn't hurt. To this day, people always comment how she is such a blend of us. We all always crack right up!

Nicole was 13 at the time she arrived in our home. She had been in foster care since the age of 7. She had never completed a full year of school in the same school she began. Foster care will do that - move you around a lot. She was almost adopted by a minister's family, but before the preliminary period was up, they changed their minds. Poor little thing thought it was her fault. That she was unlovable. That no one would ever want her. God moves in mysterious ways and all the forces of heaven and earth brought us together.

We adopted our daughter on her 14th birthday. There are days when we all truly feel like we've all been together since the day she was born. That's how easy the transition was for us all. The love has grown and continues to grow.

Have we had struggles? Goodness! More than you can imagine, but we have worked through them as they come up. Mostly, it's been difficult teaching her she is NOT an adult and she must respect those in authority over her. She is still learning this. We believe that foster care breeds this need to protect oneself - they are scrappers and defensive - they'll hurt you before you can hurt them. That's a BIG hurdle to jump, but we're getting there.

So, we've been through 8th, 9th, and 10th grades. Monday begins her junior year. She'll be driving to school this year. And we'll be praying.

This has been a long post, but I guess it was time to share. Was it worth it? Oh yeah. Life has not been the same, but we can't imagine it without her now. No bats, no knives, no hate. Life is good and we've been blessed.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Giving It Up!

Ok, I am a big, fat liar....

I told the truth about all of my three things in the previous post.

1. We adopted our daughter on her 14th birthday. We got her at age 13, and if you have ever wondered about adopting an older child, I HIGHLY recommend it and would happy be to discuss it with you!

2. I rode in a submarine in the Cayman Islands. It descended approximately 150 feet and the view was amazing - we went in both the day and night. Incredible!

3. My artwork has been used on two CD covers. One, unfortunately, I cannot remember the artist's name - isn't that awful? It was very obscure - the music was dark as was the artwork, which I still have and will share with you. The other was for Richard Orange and the Eggmen (great name, huh?). He still has a credit to a photo I manipulated for one album. The cover has changed, but I'll share that artwork with you as well.

I love that the most chosen "lie" for me was being an older mom. Psych!

This was for my obscure artist:


This was for Richard:
Falling Star

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Awards and Getting To Know Who?

Isn't it nice to get an award from friends? And isn't it even nicer when you get it from two at once??

A special "thank you" to Kerrie and Veggie Mom!

So, in the established tradition, I will pay it forward to the following four blogs that I enjoy daily. Give them a visit - you'll be glad you did!

A Shelter From The Storm

Tale of a Kansas Girl


The Scholastic Scribe

And there you have it - four different perspectives on life - each intriguing in their own way.

Now, for some fun...

Share 3 unique things about yourself and your life, 2 of them true, 1 false, and we'll all wonder which one is not true.

Here are mine:

1. I became a first-time mom at 46

2. I have ridden in a submarine

3. My artwork was used on a CD cover

And there you have it... what isn't true?? What are yours?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Where Are The Guys?

I know you're out there!

I don't know how I ended up in "mommy" blog land, but I did. Now, don't get me wrong, there are SO many mom blogs out there that are engaging, insightful, inspiring, touching, and flat-out funny, but there needs to be a balance.

Two male bloggers are on my Reads list - Gary and Carmi - I suggest you visit both. Gary is an amazing potter (check out his tag line - it changes often and keeps me laughing) and Carmi is a journalist with an artistic eye.

How about you? Any regular guy blogs that you visit? Share!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ground Rules

Last night, Jerry and I discussed our ground rules for Nicole's junior year of high school. When she got home, I called her in her room and we laid down on the bed and just started talking.

I told her now that she was an upperclassman, she could be home at 9pm on school nights (instead of 8pm last year). I wasn't going to monitor to see if she did her homework, started her projects, got the materials needed for the projects, etc... She wants more privileges, she needs to manage these areas of her life. She agreed.

I did tell her, however, that I would be watching her grades for zeroes. Any zero is grounds for immediate loss of driving privileges. Again, agreement. Our child has a tendency to NOT turn in work she's done. Can we say L.A.Z.Y.??????

There was a lot more, but no reason to go into every detail here. It just seemed that it went smoothly and I think a lot of it was my own approach to giving her the information. I need to remember that, as a teen, she needs to feel more in charge of her life and the choices made for her.

We'll see how it goes as the year progresses. Nicole is strictly a social animal. I am not exaggerating. Her ENTIRE being survives on being in her circle of friends and having "that special someone" in her life.

I keep telling her she's a flower and the boys are bees. Flowers don't chase bees.

My flower chases bees and it scares the holy bejeebus out of them!

Seems some pruning might be in order.

Monday, August 18, 2008

And It's The Last Week of Summer

...for kids! For kids in my school district, that is. Meaning, MINE!!! Wooohoooo!

I don't mean it to sound like I don't want her around - that's not the thing. The "thing" is she thrives so much better in structure.

She's SO boy-crazy, it wears me out. I'm telling you, Michael Phelps has nothing on me.

Except a well-muscled body and 8 gold medals.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Post Toastie

That's me - I seem to be doing more than I planned this week, so I am not being a good poster.

Oh well, it happens to the best of us from time to time.

This is tax-free weekend in Texas on clothing and school-related items. I don't know if you have these in your state, but it turns into a darned zoo! The bad thing is this is the weekend I coerced my daughter into going school clothes shopping.

Her schedule is so booked with her many social activities (read: "chilling" with her friends), that I have to get a commitment from her in advance and this is the weekend she picked. Who knew?

Pray for me... we're going to the mall with a gazillion other people tomorrow.

That, on top of missing lots of sleep (thank you, Olympics) is why I am a Post Toastie!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sleep Deprivation and Being A Rat

Weird subject, huh? It's mostly to remind myself about what I wanted to post today.

We'll start with sleep deprivation due to the OLYMPICS! (read that previous sentence in the same voice Forrest Gump used when he was letting Jenny's hippy boyfriend know she should go home to GREENBOW, ALABAMA!) I know I keep talking about the Olympics, but they have me completely sucked in. And, they wait until I know I should be in bed before Michael Phelps swims, but what do you do when Michael Phelps is swimming - watch, of course! Then, they go and show "women's" gymnastics.

There is absolutely no way all the Chinese "women" are 16. Have you seen the little one? She looks 10 (and that's being generous!). I have a 16 year old in my house. That child is not 16. Even Bela Karolyi thinks so and says so. It's a sad state to see a country go so far to win.

Look for yourselves:


Do they look even in the same age range to you???

Okay, so what's up with being a rat? (sigh) My boss called me yesterday...mind you, I am in Texas and my employer is in another state. It's just me and one other person in my office. He kind of wanted me to rat out my office mate.

It was deserved and needed to be said, but it still feels creepy doing it. Yet, things cannot be addressed if they aren't known. I just wish I wasn't the one to do the telling.

I did it. One thing I need to "say" out loud is our boss is fair and kind. This needed to be done. I just would've prefered not to do it. Oh well, it's over and maybe it will make a positive difference - that's what I am believing will happen.

If I find out, I'll let you know.

But STILL - are those girls SIXTEEN????

Monday, August 11, 2008

Listen Up (or Down)

This was big fun - hope you create one, too!

Get a Voki now!

School, Please Start!

I can't wait till school starts! It's not that I don't want to spend time with my daughter. We don't - she's "out" with her friends. Evidently, her friends' houses are cooler than ours - because we're not in them.

She just pushes the limits on every, single thing. "Be home at 10:00pm," I say. At 9:50pm, the phone rings, and she says, "Mom, can I please be home at 10:30 - Courtney is going out of town next week and this is the very last time we can hang out until school starts?"

Sounds reasonable - after all, she's 16, she's being polite, asking, etc.... except she and Courtney have been together since 2pm! Sheesh!

Structure and routines. I need them. Now.

Okay, and to veer WAY off-topic. Did you love that swimming relay race or what???

I admit it, I am an Olympic junky. I mean, I LOVE the Olympics. If I start watching, I can't stop.

Swimming, diving, gymnastics, volleyball, doesn't matter. I was reading on one of my regular blog reads that this particular person was not pleased that NBC is slanted toward the USA. Bummer. Gotta' say that it seems to me each country WOULD slant toward their own country. I can't really imagine that I would go to Japan and find all the coverage slanted toward anyone but the Japanese. That's their market.

Marketing 101 - appeal to your market. I want to see what my teams are doing. Don't you?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Never Caught Up

A couple of days ago I was mentioning how much I love naps. Now, that hasn't changed, but I haven't caught up with my sleep yet. Seems like I have gotten out of whack and I can't get my whack back.

Sheesh! That sounds like, "This Old Man," or something of the sort.

The weekend is coming and we might be teen-free for almost 24 hours. God knows we love her more than anything else on earth, but teenlessness is pretty darn good, too.

So, what drains YOUR energy the most?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Well, Tropical Storm Edouard (he never got his winds up enough to be a "real" hurricane) made his way to the Texas Gulf Coast and let me have a half day off.

He came, rained, and went.

So, it's back to work, the sun is shining, white, puffy clouds are floating by, and the humidity is about 94%.

Talk about a bad hair day! Of course, most days ARE bad hair days for me.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Monday, Monday

It's one of those days where I got up needing a nap. Here I am at work - no napping's just not right.

Once upon a time, I titled my blog, Art On A Limb, and there hasn't been any art displayed. So, speaking of naps... here's one of my pieces I did a while back:

Off The Clock (aka - Napping)

Now, I am going to drink coffee and pretend to work for about 30 minutes....

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