Mar 05, 2008
March is a travel month for me.
I fly to Washington, D.C. today to take part in a two-day training and Lobby Day for the Servicemembers' Legal Defense Network in the ongoing effort to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That means I'll be in DC for the start -- but not the finish of -- my birthday this Friday. That's after we drive up north to Saginaw to attend a hearing for a client this morning.
Next week, I'm a panelist on the subject of Don't Ask, Don't Tell at the American Medical Student's Association national convention in Houston, TX. I got invited to this panel because a good friend of mine is the LGBT chair for the organization. To my delight, this will give me the opportunity to have dinner with my dear friend Jami.
Then, beginning on March 17 -- St. Patrick's Day for the Irish among us -- we leave for a 2 week road trip. It seems this is becoming a March tradition. First stop, St. Louis where we drop off MIL so that she can pack a few more things to bring back. She's still not ready to shut down her house there and pack everything up. We think she really likes the idea that she's still got that place to go stay once in a while.
Next stop is in the western part of the Florida panhandle where we'll spend a day with The Girl's dad. He is an interesting character and has seemingly completely accepted me. They don't have the best father-daughter relationship I've ever seen. She tries, but he makes no return effort. Makes me sad, that.
Then, down to Spring Hill to visit with my step-dad and middle kiddle. He's lonely and somewhat isolated since my mom died. We sent him to Daytona for his 80th birthday earlier this year. He's a huge race fan. Thankfully, he is still in really excellent health. We'll spend a couple of days there. We'll get only one day with my middle kid, Melody. She's been off work for a couple of months following a car wreck where she was rear-ended while stopped at a stop sign (her 3rd or 4th wreck, all but one of which were where someone hit her). She just started back to work and is crazy busy playing catch-up (despite her classes being covered by a substitute teacher while she was off).
After that, it's to Orlando for some fun at Sea World and maybe another attraction. By coincidence a very good friend of ours will be down there (who is, coincidentally, also a school teacher -- in a catholic school, however). We're going to pick her up in Orlando and go to Lakeland to watch a Tigers spring training game at Joker Marchant stadium. This will be the 3rd year in a row we've done that and it's always a blast. I am excited about baseball season starting back up. Come on Spring!
Then, we turn around and head back to St. Louis to pick MIL back up. A night or two there and it's back home by March 31. 55 total hours of driving and over 3,000 miles.
April will be here quickly.
Dec 29, 2007
Happy -- Holidays, Christmas, New Year, Anniversary!
Warning: Long, catch-up post follows...
Nope...not dead. I apologize to anyone who has been checking my blog only to find it not updated for these past 3 weeks. It's just that life has been crazy busy -- in a good way -- and I decided that when I began blogging again I wouldn't let it make me feel guilty if I went extended periods of time without updating. So, with no guilty feelings to motivate me, I've just been loving life. But, now I want to share all that's been going on with you (OK, well, at least some of it)!
First, Happy Holidays to everyone. This is a time of year that I've always loved. Raised a Christian, I have always celebrated Christmas. A long time ago, I gave up on the idea of JC as being the only begotten son of God and then not too long ago I acknowledged that I didn't even buy the whole "single god" theory. Still, I celebrate Christmas. Which is to say I (we) put up a tree (a real one for the past 3 years), exchange presents, overeat, watch sports on television and generally enjoy quiet family time. After that, of course, comes the New Year. No major celebrations here. We're not unlike this reporter. And, of course, for those of you who are Christians, Merry Christmas! As a side note to this whole religion thing -- you might find it amusing that I now attend an Episcopal church service every Sunday. My MIL is Episcopalian and we take her (and then go out to brunch afterward).
Our trip to Sint Maarten was fabulous! You'll just have to take my word that this picture is of me (trying to take a photo underwater -- none of which turned out wonderfully, I must add). The other picture is a photo of the resort where we stayed while we were down there. It was really lovely trip; it started off with a stop in South Carolina to visit MIL's younger sister who has heart problems. It was wonderful to see the two of them together; it's clear that they share a loving sister bond. They hadn't seen each other is several years, given everyone's health and we were so thrilled to be able to make this happen. The resort was nice, the people were friendly and the weather was amazing. Of course, the fact that we left just as a blizzard descended upon the Detroit area may have colored our appreciation of the 80 degree temps and clear skies a bit... Do we look like a couple of drowned rats in this final photo? As always, you can click on the photos to enlarge them (and thereby see my new bathing suit, which is *much* cuter on the model than it is on me...).
When we returned home (1 AM this past Saturday before Christmas), we put things into high gear for our Christmas preparations. As my Girl said: "It [was] cruch time for elves". Indeed. We got holiday cards out late (apologies if you didn't get one -- it was not an intentional slight) and then only to immediate family, darn it. We scurried around trying to do Christmas shopping for each other, and we put up a tree. Now the tree is a bit of a story (I will post a photo of it as soon as I can). Remember last year? Well, in case you don't suffice it to say that we put up a large, 10 foot tree and it fell over in the middle of the night, causing us to have to completely re-decorate it. This year, we thought, "you know, we have these beautiful high vaulted ceilings; we really should put in a tree that fits the room." (Note to self: Mistake. Do not repeat this mistake next year.) Trees look larger indoors than they do out-of-doors, especially when they're in a tree farm surrounded by other large trees. We honestly did not realize that we would have to cut off a foot of the top of the tree in order to have it fit in our 13 foot high ceiling (the low part -- where the vault meets the wall). We also did not realize that the base was likely the culprit in our tree mishap last year, and probably not our poor wrongly-accused pussycat, Buster. Without dragging you through all the agonizing details, let me just say that 1,600 lights, 6 nails in the wall, and three fishing line supports anchored thereto later we finally quit with the tree at 2:30 AM the day before Christmas.
Christmas day itself was great, as it almost always is. The only downer part of it for me was the missing of my mom. I spent last Christmas Day with her in the hospital. I think I knew then that she wouldn't live to see this Christmas. I'd give anything for another conversation with her. And funny thing is...there's nothing I could say to her that I didn't say while she was living. I just miss the conversation. ::sigh::
Although Christmas is never all about the gift-getting for me (though it is often about the gift-giving), I would be lying if I didn't admit to being absolutely thrilled to get a new PDA for Christmas from my sweetheart. She got me this HP IPAQ pocket PC. My PDA (an old Palm Pilot which I lived by) died earlier this year and I've been lost without it.
This brings us to today. Today is my Girl's and my 2nd wedding anniversary. How did I ever get so lucky as to find a woman who loves me as much as she does? I must have been very, very good in a former life. We agreed to not exchange gifts on our anniversary, but instead to simply celebrate it each year (part of which involves watching the tape of our actual wedding day...). Still, I can never let this day go by without giving her cards and flowers. It's just not in my nature. I sent her this bouquet.
Finally, please accept from me my sincere wish for a peaceful, loving 2008 to all of you.
Dec 08, 2007
Middle of Hanukkah -- a late Christmas tree
We now have our house all decorated for the holidays (we have no religious paraphernalia (except a random angel ornament) in our decorations. This is a completely secular holiday to us). My Girl has a tremendous stash of holiday decorations -- for nearly every holiday. So, we have Halloween stuff, and Thanksgiving stuff and Christmas stuff (and other holidays as well, but you get the point ...). She doesn't mind (too terribly) that I'm a lazy butt and hate to cart all this stuff out and then put it all away again only to cart out the next holiday's stuff. But, I love her so and it's really not such a chore. And, because it's her thing, she does most of the work. Today we put out all the outside (ginormous) wreaths and put colored lights on the 12' pine that stands just outside our master bath window (all the rest are way too big to attempt to decorate). We even have two small fake trees lining the entrance on our porch.
But, despite all the decorations, inside and out, we have no Christmas tree. Moreover, we won't get a Christmas tree this year until the Saturday before Christmas. Therefore, it still just doesn't feel like the Christmas season to me yet (notwithstanding the 2nd week in a row of temperatures below freezing). Now, one might reasonably ask why we are waiting so late to get a tree.
Well, that's the point of this post. We are going to St. Maarten one week from tomorrow and will spend a full week basking in 80 degree temperatures, swimming in the ocean, golfing in the sunshine and generally relaxing. I am so excited. I've lost 20+ pounds, so I rewarded myself by buying a new swim suit. OK, so it's still one of those lycra, hold-in-your-tummy things, but hey. I even bought the pareo.
We will be staying at the Royal Palm Beach resort in Simpson Bay (the Dutch side of Sint Maarten). It may not feel like Christmas yet, but I'm coping ...
Mar 27, 2007
Courtesy of She Says.
Wow. I have a LOT of traveling to do!
Mar 18, 2007
So much to report, so little time and space. After 15 days and nights away from home (and away from a high speed internet connection; I'm so spoiled and addicted) we're home. It has been an extraordinarily trying and emotional time.
We stopped in Lexington on the way to Florida and visited with my youngest. She turned 21 the following week. I know everyone is tired of my saying how proud I am of her, so I'll simply wish her Happy Birthday.
We also stopped in Tennessee and met, for the first time, a long-time blog reader, Sally. Sally is an older transgender woman just beginning her transition. She is in her upper 70s and has been on hormones for a few months now. It was a delight to meet with her. Sally, I look forward to continuing reports and I really appreciated your meeting with my Girl and me. And, thanks again for lunch.
Two days later, after a fun, cold, and I'm sure soon-to-be picturesque detour through the Smokies, we arrived in Spring Hill Florida to visit my mom and step-dad. I was at once heartened and dismayed to see Mom. I think our presence there helped lift her spirits and perhaps even her health. Her appetitite returned temporarily. But, it was short-lived. We stayed through last Saturday (a week ago) and then began the journey home.
Along the way, we stopped in to see the Girl's dad, my first introduction. He was very nice to me and seemed to accept me with no questions. As we left, he hugged me and said: "Take good care of my little girl". So, now I've met all of her immediate family. I like them all, and I am pretty sure they all like me (when we got home, I had a birthday card from her mom, addressed to "My daughter Denise").
We headed home through Nashville where we stayed overnight and went to see our Detroit RedWings handily beat the number one Predators (and they beat them again the next night, taking over the number one slot in both our division and in the NHL). It was a lot of fun as we were dressed in our Wings shirts amidst all the Predators fans.
The next morning, as we continued north, we learned that my mom had taken a serious turn for the worse. After pulling over in the first rest stop in Kentucky we pulled out the laptop (using a Cingular Wireless card) and looked up flights back. Basically, none of them got us in before the next morning. So, we turned the car around and drove back to Florida, arriving at 1:30 in the morning after 14 hours in the car.
We stayed another two days, as Mom showed signs of (physical) improvement. She has lost her will to live and would gladly accept an injection that would put her out of her pain and misery. At this point, I think I'd personally administer it. Why do we allow people, with terminal illnesses, to suffer like this if they don't want to keep fighting? The last day we were there my Girl and I went to breakfast and I simply could no longer maintain. I sobbed through breakfast, right in the middle of the restaurant.
I have never left anything unsaid between my mother and me. She knows how I feel and what I think (about everything!); I know the same about her. Nevertheless, the thought of a "final" conversation with her was more than I could bear. How can I not have her to call any longer? She has always been the first person I turned to when I had news (good or bad) to share. Still, I wanted to have that conversation. I wanted, once again, to tell her how much I love her and how much I appreciate the life she's given me. I didn't get that chance this trip. When we got to the hospital, visiting hours were nearly over, and she was surrounded by people. I hope I get one more chance.
Two more long days in the car and we got home about midnight last night. My sister, still in Florida, called to say that Mom is out of Intensive Care and in a regular ward. I don't know how much more of this she can take. I don't know how much more I can take.
Jan 11, 2005
Let's try this again, shall we?
I'm back (3,300 new miles on my car). I'm safe. I'm unpacked.
And, I'm cold. I heard a sound outside my apartment this morning that sounded like a lawn mower. I thought - "why would someone be mowing the lawn?" Then I realized -- it was a snow blower. I've not heard that sound in many, many years!
I'm totally excited about law school beginning this week. In addition to taking on the challenge of getting good grades this semester, I've not backed off my other commitments (too much). I've decided to join the Speaker's Bureau of the LGBT affairs office and I've enrolled in -- get this -- an undergrad course (just auditing it) called "Dialogues in Diversity". I thought it sounded fun and I thought I might learn something (and, maybe, along the way contribute something).
I'm playing racquetball this morning with a friend from Outlaws. This fits nicely with my new resolve to get back into decent physical shape. I am committed to losing 15 pounds before my birthday at the beginning of March and then another 15 pounds by the end of the semester. As part of my own motivation strategy, I plan to post my progress online (oooh, that does actually put the fear into me! LOL!).
It is nice to be home. I love Florida, I love travel, I love visiting my folks. But, there is just something about your own place and your own bed and your own shower that is comforting.
And, hopefully, I'll have something decent to blog about for a change in the upcoming weeks. If you've stuck around through these past few pitiful weeks, thanks! :)
Dec 21, 2004
Everything I know about me says that I should not write this post. I should wait until things look better in the morning -- as they always seem to do. But, then, I've made a life out of not doing the smart thing.
Lots of bloggers write about the virtues of writing anonymously or not. I've always maintained that it doesn't matter to me -- I write about what I want to write about, regardless of if it means I have egg on my face. But, of course, everyone knows it's not true. No one writes about everything they feel, think and experience.
Things are not, shall we say, perfect for me right now. I've written before about my marriage coming to an end. We've been separated for nearly 9 months now and I've known we were going to do the whole divorce thing for over 6 months. For those past 6 months, I have also known that the Christmas break was when I was to drive back to Florida and clean out the rest of my stuff from my house and "settle up". For the first time, it won't be my house any longer and I won't be living there anymore; I'll be staying with my parents.
During the middle of the summer semester it all came to a head and to help me deal with it, I went to a therapist who recommended I do the whole prozac thing (I still have a hard time actually owning the label "depression"; despite its obvious applicability). And, I have been. And, it's done good things for me. But, of course, I still have to actually do the stuff that has to be done this break. I hate it. It makes me sad to my bones.
So, just to start this break off on the right foot, I just failed my ConLaw final. I know there are those of you out there who will dismiss that. I assure you, if I did NOT fail it, it is only because I managed to get really lucky on the multiple choice (and everyone else managed to get really unlucky). It's a real shame, too, because I really liked that class and I really paid attention in it and did the reading and thought I understood it.
My kids are spending Christmas with their maternal grandparents in Colorado. In 3 days it will be the one year anniversary of when my daughter told me that I was no longer welcome in her life.
I am incredibly depressed right now. I apologize for sharing that all out in the open here. But, it is what I do.
So, I'm going to get up in the morning, I'm going to pack my car, and I'm going to set off for Florida. I am going to spend some quality time with my mom and Augie. I will not be blogging for a while. School starts in the middle of next month. I intend to try and not think about law school, or divorce, or missing my kids. I am going to play music, loud. And, I'm going to sing. And, I'm going to put 2004 behind me. When my attitude shapes up, maybe I'll be back.
Carolyn, line up some good bars.
Dec 10, 2004
Tomorrow is another day
I guess since it's nearly 3:30 AM (4:30 in A2), it technically is tomorrow. However. I choose to put the entire past 12 hours into yesterday so that I may look at tomorrow with a fresh eye!
My flight was scheduled to leave A2 at 3:53. I wrote this big long entry describing the details of what happened and decided to spare y'all and deleted it. Suffice it to say that the flight got delayed twice -- to 5:45, which meant I would miss my connecting flight. They (Delta) put me on a flight with Northwestern (in a completely different terminal!) that would get me in to Biloxi only about two hours late. It meant, of course, that I had to do security a second time. This time I got selected for the random search. They did the full thing -- went through my backpack, my purse, my coat and my shoes. Then they used the wand on me and then patted me down. What an ordeal!
This flight connected through Memphis, but I didn't have enough time to eat. I planned to study on the airplane, but my seatmate had to tell me his life story and then ask my advice on what he should do about his company and his job. I finally got to Biloxi three hours late and -- you probably guessed it -- they lost my bag.
They did give me $50 to spend for incidentals over night (assuming (and hoping!!) that my bag will arrive sometime tomorrow morning). You can only imagine how funny it is to pull up to Wal-Mart in a stretch limosuine. So, with the $50, I was able to get what I needed to get me through one day.
That detour (waiting for the bag and then filing a claim and the going shopping) cost me another 1 1/2 hours, so it was nearly 11:00 by the time I got here. I should have just gone to bed. But no. I gambled. I played blackjack and lost $350 in 30 minutes. Then I played video poker and was down $150, but managed to break even. Then I played some more blackjack and won $100. Then I went to craps where I promptly lost $200. But as I stood there the table got hot and I jumped back in. I won back the $200 and called it a night. So, as of now I'm down $250. Considering my luck these past 12 hours, I consider that pretty damn good!
Tomorrow -- a day of beauty and some serious gambling!
Nov 24, 2004
No school today, tomorrow, or Friday. A really dedicated woman would put that time to good advantage and get herself caught up on the classes and reading she's behind in. Whoever said I was dedicated?
The weekend started off beautifully last night. I was invited to see an operatic singer, Measha Brueggergosman, perform at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater on campus, with a couple of friends and classmates. I thought she was awesome. I really enjoyed her performance very much (I think my seatmate feared I might burst into song, but thankfully I still have some of my faculties and was able to restrain myself). Afterward, we all went to a local pub and had a glass of wine and nice conversation. It was a great way to begin a weekend dedicated to appreciation.
And, now to clean house, do dishes, do laundry, go to the grocery store (fighting the maddening crowds), make beds, cook and generally prepare for my kids' arrival this afternoon, and turkey day tomorrow. There is, truly, nothing I'd rather do today.
Saturday is my best friend's 45th birthday. She's been begging me to drive out there (Chicago) to help her celebrate, but I don't know. I mean, 45? No one celebrates 45! ;-)
Schoolwork be damned! (Are you, like me, beginning to think that maybe that's my motto? It's not, really!)