Thursday, January 31, 2008


I've mentioned before that my ex has trouble showing interest in the things that interest our daughter. His excuse is that he doesn't have a creative mind, so he can't relate to what interests this highly creative child. And I might be a proud Mommy, but she's spectacular in her interests. She is a musician, an artist, a writer (fiction and poetry), and a dancer. She sees her dad be there for all the football and baseball her brother and step-brother dish out. I see it hurt her. I've tried to talk to him about it, but all we get are excuses. It doesn't get better. It's sad for me to see how she has resigned herself to being in the shadow of their interests, as she sees it.

I believe she thought that playing basketball would be different. Her dad is interested in sports, so she picked a sport she might like. She has loved it. Of the three teams in her grade at her school, her team was the only one to go all the way and win the tournament. She played her heart out! You've hardly seen a prouder child when that final buzzer went off! Such a smile! I watched her jump around and celebrate with her friends and teammates, and couldn't help but jump around and holler myself!

I took a picture of the scoreboard with my camera phone and sent it to her dad's phone, with a message that they'd just won the championship. I was sure he'd be excited about that and call her immediately.

Several minutes went by. No call. No text. Maybe he hadn't gotten it yet.

We decided to go out to lunch to celebrate. The child was starving! Two games in one morning had been exhausting, but she was running on adrenaline!

We've ordered. I've had time to argue with my son about why he isn't going to hang out with an 18-year-old senior girl at the mall. No messages for my daughter yet....

"Sweetie, why don't you call your dad and tell him the news?"

"Didn't you send him a text," she asks. I see it in her face. She's been waiting for the response.

"Yes, but maybe he didn't get it," I said.

Her look brightens a little. "That's true," she says, taking my phone. "I'll call him."

She dials, and he answers. "Hi Daddy!" she's so excited! "Guess what?" She listens. Her smile fades. "Oh. You got the text?" A pause. Her smile is gone. "Oh. Ok." She tells him a little about the game, but her voice is lower. She glances at me and I stop watching her. Soon, she closes the phone. She just sits there, staring.

"I'll bet he's proud of you," I said.

She nodded. "Yeah, he is," she said. "He said he got the text but just didn't answer it." She's looking down.

"Maybe he was just busy," I said. I hate seeing her hurt like this. She isn't one who hides her feelings well. He was too busy for my news. She's thinking. She's feeling the rejection and the shadow again. My heart is breaking for her. "You really did a great job today," I add. "You should be really proud. You've accomplished a lot this season."

She smiled at that, and her lunch came. She ate quietly. Conversation moved around the table. She sat in the middle, quiet. Finally, she looked up at me.

"Do I have to go see my dad when I'm in college?"

My mother responded quickly. "When you're 18, dear, the law considers you an adult and you can decide what you want to do. It'll be up to you then."

My daughter chewed thoughtfully. "Okay," she said. "That's good." And she returned to her lunch.

The man is burning bridges with her, the most serious ones in his life. Her heart is broken, and I see her thinking of ways to protect herself from it in the future. Technically, she has a say in whether she wants to see him now, but she'd have to tell a judge that. I haven't explained that to her, but I can see her trying to find ways to spend less time at his house. I mean, from her perspective, it's one big wound for her. There's a stepmom who says things about and to my daughter that are harmful, then lies and says she wouldn't do such a thing. My daughter knows that her dad always listens to his wife and considers her more than his own children. Her interests are of little to no interest to them. From her viewpoint, she's swept under the rug and devalued....but that's what she has to put up with in order to have what little time she can get with her dad. It hurts me to see her in such a dilemma.

She wants to see her dad, but there's a price. And it's never what she hopes it will be. I can understand why she wants to put an end to being let down. for me, it's frustrating and heartbreaking. I never thought he'd be this person, especially to his own kids. Why can't he just get it? Why can't he appreciate her for the wonder that she is, and love her with all his might? My heart aches to see her so disappointed, so often.

She has blossomed here, in Colorado. She's come into her own and she's become the most lovely, spectacular young woman. I have a feeling that his problem might have something to do with the fact that he doesn't want any good news from this move of ours. He wants to see me fail. He wants me to crash and burn here, and for the whole thing to be a mistake that I have to admit to. But it's not happening that way, especially for her. So, he's letting it get in the way of celebrating her triumphs. He's holding onto his own feelings, and shutting hers out. If only he'd see the damage he's doing, and put a stop to hurting her.

Whatever happens must be her own decision -- I will not try to influence her either way, but I will support her in what she wants. That's my exterior. My interior is very sad for her, and very disappointed and frustrated with him.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Benefits of getting along with employers

I've always made a habit of not burning bridges with past employers. My ex was slow to learn this trick and made a lot of professional enemies in the meantime. He liked to threaten to sue people, to try to get more money from them. Employers don't find that an impressive quality.

Anywho..... This habit of mine has led to more than one past employer hiring me on a contract basis to continue to work for them. It happened with The Weirdest Job Ever, and it happened with my last boss....who has admitted that I'm "damn difficult to replace."

So, why am I on about this now? Because my last boss is about to bring me in to finish up a project. Next week. In Lubbock.

Hoorah!! I'll be there for a couple of work days, and a couple of play days.

I talked to Greg this morning and delivered the good news. The dates are confirmed. I'll be there next week.

"Oh, that's excellent! It will be good to see you again," he said. "Are you staying somewhere closer this time?" We laughed about that. Although nice, the last place was way far out of the way. This time, I'll be much closer.

"Well, get your butt down here as fast as you can," he said. "I can't wait to see you."

Me, too. So far, the week is starting off smashingly! (Knocking on wood)

This is in stark contrast to my weekend, which sucked the big one. I haven't heard from South Carolina in a few days. I didn't go out with Fella. His son is leaving for the Army today, so he thought they might do something together Saturday night. Totally understandable.

"I'll call you later and let you know if we've made plans or not," Fella said. I still have yet to hear from him.

The following day, I managed to eat something dangerous and have been down with food poisoning ever since.

Oh, it was a lovely weekend....but it's looking up!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

If I were a conspiracy theorist....

....I'd plan a trip to Grand Junction.

Here's the deal.

Over the weekend, several people spotted "weird lights" over the Grand Mesa, on the eastern edge of this valley. The news that night carried many amateur videos of the lights. They looked red and moved in odd ways around each other. I live near the airport, where we've had lots of military flights lately. The lights didn't seem to move like any aircraft I've seen before. The news people said they'd pursue the story, including getting information from area radar sites and the military, and update the next day.

What happened the next day?

The TV station burned down. And the "lights" story doesn't seem to exist anywhere. Like it never happened.

No kidding.

I'm just sayin'....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Keep praying, y'all!!

That my boss manages to find someone with $790 to give me. That's what I need to make it to New Orleans. Uhm...for the conference. Right. The conference. Not a particular South Carolina guy. A conference.

He's been very attentive lately, with the idea that we might see each other in March. He's as anxious to know if I'll be there as I am! We talked a little about how I've gotten the cost down, to make it more attractive to my boss.

"The hotel cost has dropped," I said. It had, dramatically. I also found that it's actually less expensive for me to stay an extra day, with airfare specials.

"You know," he said. "If I didn't think the people coming with me from here would go nuts, I'd just have you stay with me...."

And there it was. The question I'd been pondering has been answered. Yes, he wants to share a room with me. It's only the reaction of his coworkers that is stopping it.

So, keep those prayers and well-wishes coming. $790 has to exist somewhere on this campus, and it needs to come to me. Quite honestly, the conference really is a huge benefit to what I do. It would be give some significant information that we need at this point in our program. Seeing South Carolina is just a really delightful benefit to me, personally. That's the part that just warms my heart.

He does such sweet little things, letting me know he thinks of me. I spoke with him just before lunch yesterday, and told him I had to go meet a friend for lunch.

"Oh," he said. "Are you doing anything fun?" Was he fishing about who my friend might be? Maybe, maybe not.

"I'm picking up lunch and taking it to her store," I said. She's a shop owner and can't leave for lunch. I mentioned that I was hoping for Mexican food.

"Oh! That's good!" he responded, and wished me well. I didn't get to talk to him again yesterday, because it proceeded to be The Day From Hell (semester started and profs freaked out all over the place).

This morning, my cell phone goes off at 6:15. It's a text from South Carolina. "How was the Mexican food? It's all foggy and cool here," he said. I tell him it was very good, to be careful in the fog, and to keep warm. He sent me a "Dang it's cold!" message the other day, too.

I also talked to Greg yesterday. Looks like I'll be in his neck of the woods in about two weeks. I gave him a heads-up. He's not sure what his schedule will be then, and asked that I call in another week to check on it. However, he was really glad to talk to me, which was nice.

And I had a date with Fella on Saturday night. We had a really nice dinner at a favorite Mexican restaurant. I know, I'm on a spicy food kick. I haven't seen him in nearly a month, so we had lots of news to catch up on.

First thing that struck me is that his coloring didn't look right. And he's dropped weight. He looks like he's been ill. We talked about his diabetes, which is slowly improving with a new medication. I noticed, he ordered fajitas, but didn't eat the starches (like the tortillas). We talked about his son going into the Army. We talked about how he's just praying to get him there without major trouble. We talked about his visit with his younger son for Christmas. We talked about my job. We talked about my kids' visit with their dad for Christmas.

I know money has been tight for them since son stopped working. So, I snagged the ticket when it came. He said, "No, I'll get this." I said no, and wouldn't let him reach it. He grimaced at me for a moment. "Okay, then. I'll get the movie." I agreed, but I was a little surprised. I didn't know we were going to the movies! I know his energy has been low, so I didn't know if he was up for more than dinner.

We saw "The Bucket List." It was a very good movie! We enjoyed it very much. The theater was packed. We were early and had a good time watching the people arriving, laughing at some of the dynamics between couples. As is par, he did not hold my hand or make any moves towards me during the movie.

Afterwards, he walks me to my car. We thanked each other, chatted a little. He kissed me. One of those feel-it-in-your-toes kisses. People were milling about, so it was a shorter kiss than usual. He pulled back and looked at me, silent.

I smiled. "I hope you have a good week," I said. I normally don't see him during the week, and we seemed to be saying goodbyes.

Something flashed across his face. Surprise? Was he not expecting me to say goodbye? It was only 9:30. Was there more? Something he wanted to say? Do?

Then, it was gone. "You, too," he said with a smile. "I'll see you next weekend, and hopefully talk to you before then."

But I still wonder.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Put Me In Your Lay Away

I've not done this kind of post before, but it was too intriguing to pass up. I copied it from Dhor's blog, a few days ago. You do it, too, and let me know the results!

You answer the following questions by putting your MP3 player on shuffle and seeing what comes up. Let's tempt fate here, shall we? :o)

"Mama Can't Buy You Love" - Elton John (Uhm, I guess that depends on what they want to be okay....)

"Give Me Strength" - Howard Jones. (LOL I do ask that a lot lately, through gritted teeth. And I'm a strong personality, so I guess it gets answered!)

"Show Me The Way To Your Heart" - Mr. President. (Wow, that's about right.)

"Into the Night" - Santana with Chad Kroeger. (Okay, this gave me a chill. This is the song that makes me think of South Carolina. It transports me back to our time in Utah. Lines like "It was love from above that could save me from Hell," and "No room left to move in between you and I." And besides....Chad Kroeger is too yummy to believe.)

"Tell Everybody I Know" - Keb' Mo' (The line is actually, "I love my baby, gonna tell everybody I know." Well, I suppose it's accurate....when I get those stirrings, I tell everybody. I gush. That's why I have this blog!)

"A Little Less Conversation" - Elvis Presley (Oh? So I gush too much, do I??? maybe I do.....)

"Honey, I'm Home" - Shania Twain (Okay, yes, I do think of that. I think about who might come home to and how nice that would be. I find joy in the mundane....or I want to.)

"Still There For Me" - Keb' Mo' (She sorta is, even though she's flaked out on me a lot lately. This "shuffle" thing is a little uncanny!)

"Emotions in Motion" - Billy Squier (This is better than an 8-Ball! Seeing as how I don't know who I love, that emotion is very much in motion!)

"I Believe" - Mr. President (iPod is kinda stuck on this group today, it seems.... And it is my life story. Often, I have nothing else to hang onto but what I believe -- be it what I believe in spiritually or believing in what I can do or handle.)

"I'll Walk Alone" - Martha Tilton (Oh NO NO! I do not want to walk alone! Okay, the rest of line is "with your love and your kisses to guide me, until you're walking beside me..." That's a little more hopeful. Whew.)

"G.I. Jive" - Johnny Mercer (Okay, iPod missed the mark on this one.... Since I don't have a "person I love," I suppose my vibes confused it. Yeah, that's it....)

"Dog Eat Dog" - Adam (Ant) & the Ants (Hmm. Well, I am the go-getter now, in the household. I've gone after everything I have to do to take good care of my kids. And the song is actually about standing up for you, what you believe, what you think, who you are, etc. I've always been that way.)

"Burning Love" - Elvis Presley (Okay, this is just FUNNY! I'd LOVE to do a dance to this at my wedding! Especially with my overactive libido.)

"Peggy Gordon" - the Corrs (This is a traditional Irish love song. It does stir my heart and my Irish blood. Pretty good choice, since I want to be remembered for love and life.)

"Follow" - Breaking Benjamin ("I follow you, You follow me!" Hmmm....maybe there's an interest there. I can track just about anybody....remember the idiot who was cheating on his wife? Then again, maybe it's my quest to find a man worthy of following in life, and of following me. A deeper meaning. Wow, I could really grind this idea into the ground, couldn't I?)

"My Lagan Love" - the Corrs (Another traditional Irish love song, of a lover admired. I have a couple of those....but one I think of in particular.)

"Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" - Rod Stewart (Awwww! I do need to tell all my friends how I love them, more often.)

"Put Me In Your Lay Away" - Muddy Waters (Okay, that's just funny.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Professors piss me off

It's that time of year, boys and girls! The semester starts in one week and professors start pissing me off.

I hope that I remember, when I have my Ph.D., that the world does not bow to me. People without Ph.D's are not stupid. The world does not owe me an ass-kissing every day. Okay, okay, some people do....but not the world.

And I, Blogget Jones, pucker for no one's ass.

Well, not professionally speaking. There are some rather nice asses I can think of....hmmm.... But WAIT! That's not the point!! Back on task.

Like I have nothing else to do but cater to their whims. Especially when those whims involve their own stupid procrastination. What's the phrase? Stupidity on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part....or some such?

AND especially when those whims involve not following instructions, just because they somehow consider themselves above performing the procedures I have in place. I don't give a damn if they don't want to fill out a form, or bother to pick the right form, or even bother to put the right information in the form. "Can't you look that up for me?" NO! I have better things to do than run around looking for stuff they should know in the first place.

See, about a month before each semester ends, I send an email to everybody on campus. Everybody. I tell them to submit their online course requests by a certain deadline, so I have time to build the Web page for each course that is to be taught online next term. I direct them to the request form (also online), and they just have to pick whether it's a new course or one they are reusing. The form needs their class information. That's it.

My favorite so far is, "Why do I have to request anything? Can't you just KNOW that I want to teach that class online and create a new one for me? And put my stuff in it?"

Nope. You want it, bucky, then you ask for it. And why? Because their Ph.D. asses are so picky that I can't keep up with all of their special orders, semester to semester. Does Burger King remember your hold-the-pickles-hold-the-lettuce order each time you come in, bucky? No, they don't. Neither do I.

About half of the professors met the deadline. Those that didn't say things like, "I know I'm late with this. Sorry! Can you build it please? And I need it, like, now." So do the other 80 people requesting courses. And they were on time. So, get in line. "But it's really important." Yes, darling, they all are. Have a lolly and wait your turn.

So, I've finished all the existing requests. Now come the calls and emails of "I just know I made my request already, but my course isn't there. When are you doing this for me? Here's my course info, in case you forgot." No, I didn't forget. You never did the form. They get pissy when I tell them they must use the form. And this is exactly why I have a form - so I can search the database and say, "No, you didn't send it already." Have a lolly and I'll get to it when I'm ready, because my life has moved on to other problems on my desk. This is why I made a deadline.

Of course, then they call. "Uhm, this is Professor Procrastinator. I was just wondering when you'll get that course made. I really wanted to work on it today. I only have a week until classes start now, and I decided I'd work on it today." This just emphasizes to me that they keep their own hours and aren't in their actual offices unless they feel like it.

This term, I have the clever fella who thought he'd bypass me and get someone else to set up his course. He actually emailed the Director of Information Technology (he's not even my boss) to see if one of his boys could do it for him. He told this man, "I can't locate Blogget anywhere and I need to get this done."

That. Pissed. Me. Off.

As I read his message, which had been forwarded to me in an attempt to scold me for being MIA, I fumed. I was sitting not thirty feet from this man's office, and had been there all day. He hadn't bothered to call, write, or just get up off his spoiled ass and come to my door. Oh wait....he was probably working from home. Jackass. He doesn't get a lolly, and you'd better believe he's going to wait.

My Irish/Scottish/German/Viking blood began to simmer. Diplomatic. Must be diplomatic.


Jackass. It's a small campus. How did he think I wouldn't find out? How did he think it wouldn't make me look bad?

"I've been in my office all day," I wrote back, copying everyone who might care. "Did I miss a message from you?" Then, I told him where to go -- to use the form.

He called me and offered to apologize with whiskey. Or chocolate. My pick. How about "I will not lie about Blogget," on the chalkboard 500 times.

Now, I get an email from a student. "I registered for an online class for the Spring semester, but I don't see it yet. What's wrong? Why can't I get to it? Is my registration messed up? Who can fix it? Help!"

Okay. Classes start January 22nd. It's January 16th. Do the math and wait for the class to actually start. Have a lolly.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Quote for the day

"Well...if you have a greasy mechanic fantasy....I'd be the perfect candidate this morning."

From South Carolina. He's home today, working on his daughter's car. So far, he's replaced the rotors and pads, and is working on the flywheel.

Just to recap, this means that he fixes cars himself, raises banana trees, can dance like a dream, appreciates good music, kisses to make your toes curl, hunts and knows how to cook the meat he gets, leads a program in my field at a large university, has taken classes in massage, and is ABD on his doctorate. Don't forget, he also delivers Thanksgiving dinners to the poor and cooks turkeys for a women's shelter.... And he's more than willing to protect me in any questionable situation.

And lives 1800 miles away. So not fair.

New Orleans just has to come through.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Gather the little children....

Sometimes, church is just dang entertaining. Little children can totally make or break a situation like that, when reverence and quiet are expected. Young kids don't get reverence and quiet. They get "I want that NOW" and "I AM WHISPERING!"

Our little clan found our customary seat today, noticing that a particular family with a particular couple of hellions was much closer to the front. We would be free of mad scrambles under the pew for our purses, and the resulting dumping of said purses (should they be captured), for one Sunday.

In the pew in front of us sat one woman and her one boy. As services started, a particularly harried woman approached, with children in tow. "May we sit here?" she whispered to the seated woman, who nodded and moved to allow the newcomers into the pew. As they filed in, I counted. One, two, three, four, five.

The oldest boy looked to be about six years old. He watched over his two younger sisters and two younger brothers dutifully. The next oldest sister looked about five, and bore a remarkable resemblance to a child version of Ally Sheedy. The next was a boy, about four years old, who was extremely put out with Mama at the moment. The next was a girl, about three or close to it. And the youngest was Cody, the baby. He was about a year old.

But it was the four-year-old who was commanding attention. See, he wanted to site beside the boy who was already in the pew. Mama sat down in what he'd determined was His Spot. As she cradled Baby Boy in he arms, Four-Year-Old grew red in his pouty face, and refused to sit in his designated spot. She patted the pew seat and told him to sit. He stoutly refused. "I DON'T WANT TO SIT DOWN," he insisted loudly. Well, maybe not so loud, but it seemed so in the chapel.

"I WANT TO SIT THERE," he repeated, pointing at Mama's seat. She quietly, patiently said no, and patted the seat beside her again. She bounced Baby Boy on her lap, all the while. He was drooling.

I noticed that the two little girls had matching bright pink skirts, with matching headbands. I recognized home-stitched clothing, having made my own child's clothes at one time. And home-clipped haircuts. Oldest sister propped her feet up on the pew in front of her. One blue sock. One purple sock.

Methinks it had already been a long day for Mama.

At the same time, I become aware of a little girl, about two years old, in a pew to my left. After every prayer that's said, we all hear a delayed "AMEN!" at the end. The congregation mutters "amen." A beat. Then a bright shining "AMEN!" Cracked me up.

While I was distracted, Mama's patience with Mr. I-Won't-Sit snapped. Suddenly, she turned around to me. She held her baby out to me. "Please hold him so I can take him outside," she said. I nodded and scooped up Baby Boy. He looked stunned. In a flash, he went from Mama to a row of strangers. Strangers with interesting hair. He was mesmerized by curls. Mama hauled out his brother by his arm. The poor woman hadn't even taken off her trenchcoat yet.

I threw a look at my son's girlfriend. Her eyes were wide. Her mouth pinched shut. This was the best form of birth control I could ever hope for.

I haven't held a baby that age for a long time. I had forgotten why my left arm got so strong during those years. Luckily, I remembered how to dodge drool.

"LOOK!" came the little voice to my left. "THERE'S JESUS!" She was pointing excitedly at a little book in her mom's lap. "RIGHT THERE! LOOK MOMMY! THERE'S JESUS! RIGHT THERE!"

The speaker ended his talk about then. "And I leave this message for you in Jesus' name. Amen."


Baby Boy was captivated. I'll bet he marries her someday.

In front of us, Older Brother found a way to help entertain his younger sister. They were building towers with their children's books and all the hymnals they could find. Not stacks. No, no, that's too stable. They stood the books on end, making structures with roofs that were delightfully wobbly, threaten to crash at any moment. They were tickled.

Mama returned and somehow managed to bypass the wobbling towers. Baby Boy burst into tears at the sight of her. As she hauled him over the pew, into her lap, his brother curled up on the seat he'd previously shunned and promptly went to sleep.

Littlest Sister went into motion. She needed a piece of this Attention Pie. She plopped her little butt beside her brother's sleeping head and wiggled herself a space between him and Mama's hip. Baby Boy giggled and slapped her on the head.

Pleased with herself, she propped her feet up on the pew in front of her, like her multi-colored-socked sister before her. Her shoes were shiny sights to behold. Silver and glittery, even Dorothy would have envied them. However, the woman in front of her did not seem so the shoes tapped on the back of her neck.

Now, you have to understand this particular woman. She's in her 70s, trying really hard not to be. Her facial skin is stretched tighter than that of those who are truly as youthful as she wants to appear to be. Her hair is an eye-catching shade of pink-burgundy, but the front is a brilliant platinum blonde. And it is teased into a fluffy tower that would make any Texas beauty queen proud.

She does not want glittery shoes anywhere near her neck.

She shoots a look over her shoulder at Twinkle Toes. The little feet drop to the floor. There's some small shuffling, and the feet reappear to reclaim their spot. Sans shoes.

Twinkle Toes stared at her sleeping brother. You could see the wheels turning in her little head

She patted his hair. He didn't stir.

She patted his cheek. He didn't stir.

She touched his eyelid. He didn't flinch.

She stuck out her little thumb and jammed it against his eyelid. Slowly, she peeled back his eyelid and peered into his sleeping eyeball.

He did not flinch.

Can you imagine? Do you recall ever sleeping like that?

And she did it three times.

And here's the punchline:

When Mama turned to catch Baby Boy as he attempted to scramble away, her trenchcoat fell open and I noticed. Number Six is well on his (or her?) way.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Everything's awash!

I've never seen anything so white. The entire world was white, yesterday morning. And dang cold!

We really do have mountains, somewhere beyond all the white! And here's my new friend, in the white.

But there's lots of beauty in it, too. Like these trees in my backyard.

Okay, enough gushing about the weather. I'm sure after a couple of years of this, I'll be screaming for it to stop. So, for now, I'm going to let myself enjoy it.

In other news....

Still praying for the conference in March to come through. I think I misspoke and said April before, but it's March. I found a cheaper hotel in the vicinity, one that interests South Carolina, too. However, he's in the middle of sticky politics, too, so he needs your good vibes to make it happen, too! There's a VP at his university who picks up some of their expenses. Proper politics with this guy might dictate that SC stay at the conference hotel. That would be a BIG bummer.

"I don't want to be stuck out at a different hotel, all by myself!" I lamented to him.

"Well, the good thing would be that I'm only two blocks away," he said.

"You'd have to be my escort," I said. "To make sure the walk was safe and all."

"That's a deal," he said. I think that even if I was walking through police-lined streets, he'd be my escort.

He'd rather be at the hotel I found, though. It's much more intriguing than the gigantic chain hotel. It has history and character. And I just HAVE to make it there!

I heard from Aspen the other day. The poor fella has been stuck staying in a hotel most of this week. Road conditions have prevented him from making the nearly-two-hour drive home. Maybe one of these days we'll manage to actually spend some time together.

I also heard from Fella the other day. He called to apologize for not calling as much as he should. He said he doesn't mean to be so out of touch. He's just been dealing with the visit from his youngest son, trouble with the other son, and his health problems. He was due to see his doctor again that day, so we talked a bit more about that.

Personally, I hope the doctor is aggressive about this. I'm afraid damage has already been done, and we're behind the curve already. I'm not voicing that to Fella because he's still depressed over the diagnosis. I do get annoyed when people wallow in things. I mean, you have your time for that, then you really must DO something and climb out of the wallowing. At least, in my humble opinion....

He mentioned more trouble with son. I'll ask about that later. One major issue at a time. I just hope the Army is all he wants it to be.

Onward and upward....

Monday, January 07, 2008

"Going to Carolina in my mind...."

That song makes me think of him. And I love James Taylor, anyhow.

South Carolina was chatty today. "You know what I was thinking of this morning," he asked today, when he IMed me. "The next conference is only ten months away." He's referring to the one where we got together.

"I wish it was sooner," I said.
"St. Louis will be so fun," he said.

"Are you going to others this year," I asked. He named a couple, but one in particular is huge and an industry must. I've never been to it, but have been selling the idea to my boss.

"It's expensive this year," he said. "It's in New Orleans and everything is expensive there. The rooms are $185 a night."

Whoa. That's steep. I don't know if I can sell that expense to my boss, at our little college with my little travel budget. He looked around for hotel alternatives, but the lowest was $160 a night, and then you have to rent a car, drive, and park at the conference hotel. The cost doesn't improve.

"How sure are you that you're going," he asked. I said I wasn't sure. I still have to sell it to my boss. I thought about this question a moment too late, and missed a chance to ask why he wanted to know.

"New Orleans is a crazy place," he said.

"I've heard it can be fun, but you gotta be careful," I said. I've heard a lot of stories....

"It can be very unsafe," he said. "Particularly the French Quarter." The hotel overlooks the French Quarter.

"That's what I've heard. It's not someplace I'd like to venture to on my own," I said.

"No...definitely not," he said. "I carried my tazer with me last time."

"Really?" For some reason, the image of this peaceful man carrying a tazer was a surprise to me.

"Fits nicely in the pocket," he said.

"Yes, I've seen them," I said. I didn't add that my friend used one to light cigarettes in college. "I don't have one, but might need to look into that if I manage to go."

I paused. He wasn't responding. "Or I'll just stick close to you."

"That'll work," he said.

"Good," I said. "I feel safer already!"

And he cyber-laughed.

So, it was a small conversation, but interesting to me. Correct me if I'm wrong, dear diary, but sounds like he wouldn't mind seeing me in April. Now, I just need an offering to the Travel Budget Gods to make it happen.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Llamas, donkeys, and herons....oh my!

UPDATE 01-09-08: It's official. From Audubon. My new friend is a Great Blue Heron.

This fella has taken up residence in the tree outside my kitchen window.

I don't know what he is, but I've sent pictures to the Audubon people to try to identify him. Maybe some kind of heron, I think. He's HUGE. Look at those claws on the tree branch! He moves up and down the branch, depending on how much noise is coming from the house.

There's a pond in the yard next door, and a large pond at the end of the hill. But it's all frozen over right now, with more snow coming as we speak. I can't imagine why he picked this unsheltered tree!

I'll let you know if we get an ID on him. Still, I just think it's cool to have this new pal right outside my kitchen window.

And down the road, we have....

Yep, llamas and miniature donkeys. And in the same yard! They live next door to the horse and mule. Gotta love this neighborhood!

Friday, January 04, 2008

A last bit of weirdness for the week

This was the fifth year I attended the conference where I met South Carolina. In those five years, I've made a lot of good friends. A couple of the men have caught my eye, too (shocker, I know). But SC is the first one I've had a romance with.

Last year (the 2006 conference), I noticed one of the men watching me. It seemed every time I turned around, I would find him already looking at me. I'd smile. He'd smile. He seemed very shy. He finally spoke to me as we entered William Faulkner's home, for a tour. I remember, it was cold and I was wrapped up in my Irish ruana.

"You like Irish music," he said. "Right?"

"Yes, I do," I said. I love Irish music. He started telling me about a new band to look up on YouTube.

He's from Missouri. He's older than me. Probably quite a bit older, from some of the things he's said. He remembers reading about Marilyn Monroe's death in a Mexican newspaper, while on a vacation. That's six years before I was born.

We kept saying this year that we needed to get time to sit and talk about music. We didn't manage it. So, we've been trading emails about the Irish music scene where he lives (there isn't one here), the albums we have, and then about his secret passion -- Alamo history.

I got a different kind of email from him today, though. All it said is that he dreamt of me last night. He was at a conference, it was still November, and he found me there. He'd just said to me, "Hey! I just saw you a couple of weeks ago!" and then he woke up.

And he wrote to tell me. That's an unexpected turn of events. And a typical way to wrap up my week, with something out of left field.

Posts are coming like rain today....

I talked to SC today. His situation has gone from weird to weirder lately.

He started out explaining that he likes to make "country fried steak" with the venison he got from hunting. He said, "It's a Southern thing." I reminded him that I'm a Texas girl, and need no explanation of country fried anything. He also asked about my trip home from Texas, adding, "Did you get BF snapped into shape?"

He's referring to Fella.

I said, "BF? No. I don't know if I can count him as a BF if he's saying it's okay for me to go out with other people." And I explained about Fella's stressful situation.

He responded by saying his ex is weirding out his life. Her sister is gone, leaving him as the only caregiver. He hired someone to look in on her while he was out of town for the holiday. He came home to find all the burners on the stove turned on.

Suicide attempt? No. She thought she was turning on the microwave.

By profession, she's a high-powered stock expert, earning over $600 million for a major financial corporation last year. She's been trying to read the Wall Street Journal and watch CNBC, but her comprehension is minimal.

Worse yet, she's forgotten they are divorced. She walks into the bathroom when he's in there. She climbs into bed with him at night.

"How do you handle that?" I asked.

"Well....I push her back out of the bathroom...cause I'm usually pooping," he said. I had to laugh. He keeps a cheerful heart, no matter what. "If I'm in the tub, I'll tell her I'll be out in a few. If I'm in the bed, I get her up and help her back to the other room."

She thinks he's mad at her for the surgery. She has no memory of cheating on him or of them breaking up.

He told me it puts a crimp in dating, too. "What happened in Ogden hasn't happened again," he said. "But I'm probably telling you too much."

I assured him that it's okay. I'm interested in anything he wants to say. He thanked me for that.

I had to wonder, did he mention Ogden as a way of telling me he doesn't have another dating relationship like that? Or to let me know he's not sleeping with his ex?

Honestly, I wanted to cry for him, and for her. It's like when someone has dementia and forgets a loved one is dead. You can't say, "But they're dead!" because for that person, the grief is new. For his ex, they've been in love and suddenly, he's turning her away. How sad for her. How hard for him, to break her heart when that love is long gone for him.

A small decision

I heard from dear Greg. A missed call. So, I called back. I waited until I thought his shift would be a little slower, but I know enough about the business to know Fridays are busy all day.

"This is Greg," he said. I could hear the rush in his voice already.

"Am I catching you busy?"

"Yeah, but that's okay."

"This is Blogget."

"Oh hey! What's up?"

"I just thought I'd check back with you."

"I thought I'd let you know, the dates you're talking about won't work out for me. It turns out this month is bad for me. I'm going to have to make a trip to Houston at the end of the month." I read the subtext. That means he has to work his ass off the rest of the month, to make up for that expense.

"Oh wow," I said. "All right."

"How are things there?" he asked.

"Things are pretty good," I said. I don't know why I was caught off guard by the question. "It's cold!"

"I like cold," he said.

I laughed. "You do? Then you do need to come back to Colorado with me!"

"Uh-huh," he said, and repeated it. "Uh-huh!"

"Well, we're also looking at a weekend in February," I said.

"I'll know more about that towards the end of the month," he said. "Give me a call then and we'll work it out."

He was very busy, though, and had to go. I said "Take care," and he said, "You, too." And that was it.

I put down the phone and took a deep breath. Houston? What's going on in Houston? I'm intensely curious, so I couldn't help but wonder.

But here's the crux of it. He has his life. I have mine. Two weeks ago, those paths hadn't crossed. They did briefly. Will they again? I hope so, but in this moment, I don't know. In the meantime, I'll let his life flow without me, and mine will flow without him. Now and again, I'll stop and remember his beautiful face, his strong body, his sweet voice. When and if I stop doing that, I'll know our time has passed.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Other testosterone-related updates

Getting back to my usual life, there's a few things going on with the other men in my life.

Aspen called me a couple of days after Christmas. He was on his way back from California. Apparently, the week before Christmas, he got fed up with the stress at work, and he wasn't going to see his daughter for the holidays, so he set out driving to see relatives on the West coast. I'd left him a "How are you doing?" message when I hadn't heard from him for a couple of days. Last time I didn't hear from him like that, he'd come down with a mystery infection in his arm, was on IV antibiotics, and nearly lost his arm. So, I was concerned.

He apologized for not calling sooner. He said, "When I heard your message, I thought, 'Oh, shit! I forgot to call her before I left!' So, I called as soon as I could." Better than nothing, I suppose.

He asked how the weather was. I said, "Well, it's warmer here, but a little windy."

"Oh yeah! You're not in Colorado either!" he exclaimed, remembering my holiday plans.

He asked me how Texas was treating me, and I told him what I could...obviously omitting dear Greg, as he winked at me while I was on the phone. I promised to call when I got back, but have yet to do so.

South Carolina texted me an early Merry Christmas, letting me know he was headed to his parents' farm to go hunting for the holiday. I heard from him again on New Year's Day, when he came back to civilization and sent me New Year's wishes in a text. He'd gotten four deer and had gotten some much-needed rest, and a break from the situation with his ex. I told him about being stuck in Denver. He let me know when he'd be back in the office and returning emails, which is when he finally saw my Christmas gift to him. He loved it -- I e-gifted him an album called "The Story of the Blues." Excellent album, and he thanked me for my thoughtfulness.

The biggest news is from Fella. We'd played phone and text tag for a couple of weeks before Christmas. His messages didn't sound good, which worried me, but I chalked it up to the trouble with his son.

I can't recall if I blogged this, but I spoke to son after he'd returned from his swearing-in for the Army. Yes, it's official. He goes at the end of this month. He wanted to chat when I called, and so did his girlfriend. However, I think they'd been drinking a little. They were just a little too silly, you know? He told me about his swearing-in, and about breaking his hand, and about the surprise party for his birthday that he wasn't supposed to know about, but did. Fella was ticked at him for knowing. When I got off the phone, son stopped and said, "Hey, Blogget. I love you!" It was sweet, if a little sloshy.

I finally saw Fella the night before leaving for Texas. We went to dinner at a new barbecue restaurant here. I went to his house and his kids were excited about a little gift of bread and jam I'd left at the door the day before.

"[Girlfriend] was so excited to see her name on the card," son said.

"Hell," said daughter, "WE were excited to see our names on the card!" And they laughed.

Fella didn't say anything about it at all. "Do you mind driving?" he asked. I didn't mind. He likes the seat heaters in my car. He calls them "bun warmers."

He told me in the car that he's had a hard time lately. He wanted me to drive because his eyesight has gotten bad lately. By the time he gets home each night, he's so completely exhausted that it's all he can do to fall into bed. And he's drinking so much water that he has to pee every hour, which makes it hard to get good sleep. It's a vicious circle. Then, leg cramps wake him up all the time.

He yawns. And a bell starts going off in my head.

We talk more while waiting for a table. We have an hour's wait, since the place is new. He orders tea and sets to creating the perfect tea concoction. There's a science to this with him. Four "pink packet" sweeteners. Two lemon wedges. And whatever you do, don't take his glass for a refill and come back with a whole new glass. That's an insult to his concoction.

But that's exactly what the bartender did. The resulting cascade of apologies was hysterical, as all of three servers rushed to blame each other for dumping out his finely-tuned tea.

He got the next glass just right, leaned an elbow on the bar, rested his chin in his hand, and tilted his head to look at me. It was one of those looks, that I haven't seen from him in awhile. Affection in his lovely green eyes, a small grin. He can look at me with such intensity that I have to look away.

Our table is called. The waitress has to do an elaborate demonstration of the variety of sauces they offer. He hassles her playfully, messing up the tidy little picture she's supposed to make with the sauces. We're laughing and things are good. Then, he goes to the restroom for the fourth time. When he comes back, I say, "You know you've seen that sometimes I wear my glasses for the movies, and sometimes not. That's when I'm having blood sugar trouble. I wonder if that's going on with you?"

He seemed to consider it. "Hmm," he said, chewing thoughtfully. "Maybe I can get that checked during the break." I hope he does. His symptoms are alarming me. The bell in my head is loud.

The rest of the evening is delightful. We laugh at the kids in the booth next to us. We tell humiliating peeing-outdoors stories on our sons. He takes tastes from my plate, and I take some from his. I couldn't finish my plate, but he didn't let the waitress take it away, so he could take my leftovers. It's a comfortable familiarity. But he's worn out already.

At his house, he says to give him a call when I get back. We'll get together and do something the next week. He says to call when I get to Denver, on the 30th. He might be in town that night, to pick up his youngest son the next day. It's a small kiss goodbye.

I called him on the 30th. No answer. I texted on the 31st, to see if he made it through the weather to Denver. He hadn't. He was stuck in a town called Dillon, waiting for weather to clear. They had a friend near there to stay with, or they'd have been in a Red Cross Shelter.

Yesterday, I called and finally spoke to him. He sounded rough. He said it had been a tough Christmas. "What's going on," I persisted. He seemed reluctant to talk about it, but I'm a little tired of tip-toeing with him.

"They found the source of the trouble I've been having," he said. He left it hanging.

"And?" I said, pressing ahead.

"It's diabetes," he said. He sounded like he was pronouncing a death sentence. Well, if he doesn't take care of it, then it is. But there's a lot to be done.

"That's what I was thinking it was," I said. "What medication are you on? An oral?" He told me about the medication, that it makes him feel bad, but he's only been on it a week. Damn, he sounds depressed.

"Are you checking your sugars?" Yes, he is, but.... "Yes, I know," I said, "It's a pain in the ass." He told me about Christmas night, when his numbers were off the charts and his kids almost took him to the hospital.

"That's scary, I know," I said. "Sounds like your medication needs adjusting." He sees the doctor again this week. I'm of the opinion he needs to call the man, but I don't want to push that hard.

"Fella," I say. "I've been on insulin for close to ten years."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah." And I tell him my story, of knowing the fatigue from when I had gestational diabetes, to knowing I'd have full-blown diabetes someday, to managing it now. "There's a lot they can do right now," I said. "A lot of new medications are on the market. We just have to find what works for you."

He says he'll get this settled at home, then call me. I told him I'd call him to check on him. When will we go out again? I just don't know. I know he has to drive his son back to Denver soon, but he's worried about even making it through a full day of work. I'm concerned, to say the least.

It's tough to say, but his son going into the Army is probably best right now. He needs a break from that stress and pressure. It's certainly not helping his condition any.

Once again, we'll see....

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Holy crap, here we go again....

So, I bit the bullet and called. All the cute things I thought I'd say went out the window.

"Thank you for calling [insert restaurant name here]. How can I direct your call?"

I asked if they were getting busy. The voice on the other end said no, not at all. I asked if Greg was working.

"Speaking," he said.

"This is Greg?"


I smiled. "Greg, this is Blogget."

"Hey! What are you doing back in town?" I could hear his smile over the phone.

"I'm not. I just got home last night. We got stuck in Denver with the snow. "

"Oh yeah, I saw that."

"I just didn't want to bug you if you all were busy."

"I just have a couple of tables. Four, actually. So, what's up?" He really did sound like he wanted to talk to me.

"I was just getting ready to make plans with my ex for getting down there again. And I wanted to know if you'd be interested in getting together again when I got there."

"Uhm...," he paused. "Yeah, I think so. When are you talking about?"

"Probably towards the end of the month."

"Hmmm. I'll have to see about that. The end of the month is when I really have to work my tail off. Why don't I call you tomorrow, or you can call me...oh, wait, I'm off tomorrow. I'll have to call you."

"Well, is there another number you'd rather I try?"

"No," he laughs. "I don't have another number right now."

"All right," I say, trying to keep the disappointment from my voice. It's not going as I'd hoped. "I'm looking at the weekend of the 18th right now."

"I don't know when I'm working then," he says. "There's a bunch of people here right now. I'll call you." No place to have a private conversation, I think.

"Okay," I said. "Talk to you tomorrow."

"All right," he said, and we said goodbye.

I'm left with a dissatisfied, unsettled feeling. Was he really concerned about working too much to see me? Or was he trying to make an excuse to not see me?

Here comes the Second-Guessing Singleton Syndrome.

The thing is, too, that I don't know how good he is about calling, especially when he has to find a phone to call me long distance. Ugh.

I have to wonder what the purpose of all this is. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. Is this just another one of those things God puts in my life to hurt me? Because I think I've taken about all the heartache I can take right now. I'm tapped.

I'm trying to keep in mind Sassy Lucy's sage advice, "If it's meant to be, it will be." I think my trouble is that I'm tired of having the carrot dangled out there, then it's not meant to be mine....


Even during all the garbage we went through with the divorce, I never thought I could really hate my ex. I felt angry a lot of the time, but I didn't hate him.

I'm learning to hate him now.

I've been trying very hard to help my son transition into his new life in Colorado. He's seen the positives here, including a lower crime rate, a lack of gang activity, and a relief from Texas football. They literally burned him out, and he's learned here that it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, he knew that if he'd played football here the whole time, he wouldn't feel burned out by it.

Then he visits his dad, and the turmoil starts all over again.

See, my ex wants this child to do all he didn't do in high school sports. And he takes tremendous pride in being the dad of the "star." He wants him to accomplish all of this at his alma mater, too, where he can be prominent in the parent organization.

Whenever he visits with my son, this is the pressure he exerts. "If you stayed here, you'd be part of something big. You'd be a star in Texas football!" Nevermind all the practices that this child actually said he thought were going to kill him. Nevermind the mentality that it's not a workout until everyone is vomiting. Nevermind the stats of kids who are seriously injured or even DIE because of this. And my son is not unscathed -- he has a bad knee now and probably forever because he was injured and then threatened if he went to a doctor about it.

Instead of helping my son make a healthy transition, my ex pushes him the other direction. Encourages him to be difficult. Drives wedges between him and me, his sister, and his grandparents. And Christmas was just the icing on the cake.

The idiot gave him memorabilia of his old high school in Texas. Blanket, t-shirts, hats....the works. Pumped up the old school and the old coaches, the ones who did him damage. Why is he doing this? So he can try to influence the child, and boost his own ego? It's so damn selfish.

I've warned him about this, and I've warned of the impact it has on my daughter. She watches her dad harping on her big brother, pushing him to stay behind and break up the only family unit she can remember in her life. He has no concern for her feelings. He can barely acknowledge the things she's interested in. He allows his wife to berate and belittle her, doing nothing to stand up for her. He allows her to do the same thing to his younger daughter, too, as his wife openly belittles this little girl, and belittles her mother to her.

I must say, it's obvious to us that he's unaware of most of her antics, and believes her denials concerning them. He's in for a rude awakening one of these days, but he'll be too late for the damage this woman is inflicting on the girls and on his relationship with them.

And again, it's selfishness that will wreck things for him. It's what caused our troubles, too. I'm just so incredibly frustrated with what he's doing to my son, though. And he won't stop, no matter how much I've protested. He lies and says he will, but he just becomes subversive. I'm exhausted from constantly battling this. Like dealing with a teenager isn't hard enough, he has to make that much worse.

I'm so tired of the worry and heartache, with no shelter and no one to lean on myself. It's hard to be strong all the time. I need someone to be the water for my ship, as I wish to be the same for him. Besides the health, happiness, and safety of my family, this is the wish I hold for myself in 2008.

That, and for my ex to grow a brain and shut the hell up.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

What now....

It's New Year's Day, and I just got home. I left Lubbock on two days ago, but ice and snow held us in Denver until today. I'm tired....

But here's a small update. I did see dear Greg before I left. When I didn't see him Saturday night, I decided to write him a little note and say goodbye before I left town. We had to clear town no later than noon, to make our flight. The restaurant opened at 11:00. I had a one-hour window of time, but I didn't know if he was even working on Sunday.

Got there at 11:00. No Greg car. So, I went in and asked. Yes, he was due in 30 minutes. That's half of my window of time. About then, I learned the kids had not had breakfast (thanks to my wonderful ex). They were hungry, so we got a table, ordered, and I waited.

30 minutes went by, but no Greg. He was running late, this day of all days. 11:50 AM and still no Greg. I was familiar with the bartender, and she knew I had to get on the road for Colorado. "Listen," I said, "I can't wait any longer. Can you please see that he gets this?" I handed her the envelope and turned to go, disheartened.

And there he was.

He rushed to get clocked in, then came to see me.

"I had to come say goodbye before we hit the road," I said, and handed him the envelope. "This is for you."

He stood close beside me, taking the envelope. "It's good," I said, wanting to assure him I wasn't mad about our spoiled date. "Very good."

"I'll remember that," he said, smiling and tucking the envelope away to read later. He turned to my kids. "You must be the son," he said, shaking my son's hand as I introduced them. He turned to my daughter and said, "I remember you. I was telling people about your hair." She has very distinctive hair, and gave him a narrow look, as though to say his comments had better be good. He assured her they were.

"So, when are you coming back," he asked me. "Before next Christmas?"

"Spring Break," my daughter said.

"I'll be back before then," I said. "I'm being subpoenaed in a case against the university." This caught his attention and we chatted about that. Then he asked about our travel plans. We needed to hit the road.

He put an arm around me and held me close to his side. "It was really nice meeting you," he said to me, low and with emphasis. "And you," to my daughter. "And I don't know about you because I just met you," to my son, which made him laugh.

Then, we were off.

We ended up stuck in Denver and extra day. Winter weather closed the interstate we needed to get home. In the hotel, I sorted through my receipts from the trip. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I have a recurring theme in my life -- the number 13. It started when I was a kid and I was number 13 on my softball team. Since then, if I'm in a contest or drawing, I'll win with the number 13. Addresses add up to 13. Office numbers and phone numbers will have 13 in them. The 13th is always a good day.

Looking at my food receipts, I realized that dear Greg is server number 13 at his restaurant.

Is there a future? I don't know. I'm due back there at least once a month, for the next three months. Does he want to know that? I'll have to find out. If I get the courage to ask, I'll definitely keep you posted, dear diary!